Fires are raging as I write this in the southeast – over 200 in Florida alone as well as several large ones nearby just across the border in Georgia. In our backyard squirrels are scurrying frantically in the trees above, displaced by the fires that are in the process of destroying their homes as they seek safe haven here. The air is thick with smoke and the light filtering through it casts an almost eery orange glow.
Though all the elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Spirit) are powerful in their unique forms and manifestations, that of Fire seems to me to be the most obvious, the loudest, the quickest. My Teacher told me early on in my studies of the elements that Fire is the most dangerous element when out of control – it reaks the most havoc and destruction – whether in energetic or literal terms. When it comes to natural phenomena, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes – they’re all impressive in the destruction they create. Yet, even with those three, there is a chance that some things may be salvaged even after a direct hit. I don’t think that’s the case with Fire, at least not in my mind. It consumes everything in its path. Virtually nothing is safe. Because of that, perhaps, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the destruction Fire leaves in its wake, to get caught up in loss to the point of being blinded as to how to move forward. In times of great tumult, we tend to forget that everything moves in cycles; that a new beginning follows each ending; and, that Fire is also the element of purification, transformation, and creation. Even wildfires have their benefits – the ash that remains nourishes and provides nutrients to the soil that enrich it in ways nothing else can so that what grows there next is stronger and more amazing than what was there before.
This morning I took my meditation time out on our back patio to a soundtrack of newly transplanted squirrels having animated conversations in the trees over my head. I felt an odd kinship with the furry little creatures and had a great appreciation for their agitation at being displaced. I have spent more time than not focusing on feelings of devastation, dis-ease, and discomfort recently. The moments when I have reminded myself of what I wrote above – that this is simply a part of a cycle, that it is not an end that lacks a new beginning, that it is a time of transformation and renewal – have frequently gotten lost as I allow myself to plunge back into those feelings of being overwhelmed, displaced, and disoriented, and wanting nothing more than to tuck into myself in some small corner of the world until it’s all done and is safe again.
That tucking in to myself-ness I’ve been feeling lately leads to not wanting to interact with the rest of the world except when it’s absolutely necessary. No amount of reaching out feels safe from right here. It feels like it could just be one more thing that could get taken away and right now, it doesn’t feel like I can afford it. Unfortunately, I cannot stay balled up somewhere and wait until everything’s all better again. It doesn’t work that way, it seems. Grace wrote not long ago about just taking one good step each day in times like this. I took one earlier today when I emailed a place to donate my counseling services so I can acquire the hours I need to complete my EdS degree. I’m not certain yet whether it will work out, but I did my part.
When just taking that step feels monumental, going so far as to making a wish is even scarier. A wish feels like a little piece of my heart that gets sent out into the Universe, and given the current state of my heart, letting go of any of it seems a great risk. But I’m determined to keep moving forward, so I will dare to wish. The delights I wish for today, perhaps as a consequence, are not luxuries like spa days, shopping sprees, or vacations to exotic places. The delights I wish for include seeing my wife smiling with ease, laughing, and being happy; a house with a big backyard for me and my family; shots and vet care for all of our kitties and for them to be able to be inside with us; a job doing what I am meant to do that comes with an income that more than covers our needs; our debt to disappear in a way that doesn’t destroy anyone’s credit report; our 14 year old’s tooth fixed and new teeth for L; my EdS degree completed and my associate license as a counselor; my relationship with my parents to be healed and for them to be an active and loving part of our lives; waking up each morning with a feeling of joy and anticipation instead of sorrow, stress, and struggle; being able to afford to spend energy and resources giving back to those who have supported us and others in need. That is what I wish for today.