Friday, January 08, 2010

Still burning

A few days ago, I let Maddie drag me out of the house to see the Olympic flame as it passed through our city. It was my first day back to work and I really didn't relish the thought of leaving my warm cocoon again in the evening, but I just didn't think it was right to extinquish the enthusiasm of a 7 year old child who'll probably only have one chance to see the flame in her lifetime.

In the end, I was glad we went. We didn't get there in time to see it arrive at the Forks, but it was burning brightly in a fairly large torch on the stage where performers were putting on a concert.

At the end of the festivities, the flame was passed from the large torch to a very small enclosed lantern where they keep it burning through the night. It was just a tiny flame, but it was still THE Olympic flame. The next day, it would burn brightly again as it continued its journey toward the coast.

As I stood there watching them shrink the flame and then extinquish the large torch, a sudden epiphany visited me. That flame is just like me. Sometimes I'm burning brightly for everyone around to see, and then sometimes I have just a tiny flame burning inside me, nearly invisible to the naked eye. The beauty of the moment was the recognition that that small flame still holds within it the capacity to burn fiercely and powerfully.

Lately I've been going through one of those "tiny flame" periods. There are moments when there seems to be no more passion, no more inspiration, and no more energy. No more fuel for my fire. It's not just a "January blahs" thing this time around. It's a "something happened that makes the future seem dark again" kind of thing.

But seeing that flame reminded me that it's still burning deep inside me. I just have to wait for it to be refueled and then it will shine again.

This morning, after having a conversation with a good friend over a chai latte, and then reading the article that my friend Darrah passed on, I had another epiphany. I am letting the shadow of this difficult situation cloud the future and I am forgetting to focus on that tiny speck of light that still burns within me (and within the people around me). I am also forgetthing that I have some control over what fuels my flame and do not have to wait for external forces to fuel it for me. But at the same time... I don't NEED to burn brightly all the time - some times low flame times are crucial for helping me refuel and prepare for the times when I am called on to burn brightly.

As Pema Chodron says in the article linked above, sometimes we take the shifts of our emotional weather too personally. Sometimes we let ourselves believe that our current experience is how it IS instead of remembering that things are always shifting and changing.

A few days ago, I wrote this on Twitter: "I'm in one of those moods where I can flip-flop between 'life is beautiful' and 'life sucks' in mere seconds."

Today I wrote: "Every day gives us another opportunity to rise above the things that dragged us down the day before."

What about you? Where is YOUR olympic flame these days?


Anvilcloud said...

So, I guess we need to dim down recharge our batteries every now and then.

Dovelily said...

Sounds like where I’m at, too. Most days I can keep up my energy and positive attitude, but I’ve been letting some things sway me lately that I shouldn’t be letting bother me at all. I can’t control them, anyway, so why worry and sap my own strength? Thanks for the reminder and the post!

ABCcreativity said...

i was at work that night and got to watch the parade from my office window.

my flame is brighter than bright right now. getting set up for this "make it happen in 2010" workshop is generating AMAZING creative energy all over my life. since a lot of my workshops have been about healing, as i prepare for them i tend to gather "opportunities for healing". this one is attracting incredible dreams come true into my life and i am so excited to see what it does for the participants!

gathering this incredible community of creative dreamers together generates a wave of love, positivity and clear intention that keeps me lifted up.

having said that, the last workshop i did was on shadow work. i don't believe you can get to the light without being willing to be in the shadow. it's all important.

knotaway said...

Thank you so much for this post. I just found your blog (through twitter) and needed this article so much.

Bethany said...

I LOVE Pema, she always saves me when I take the time to find her. Thanks for giving her to me here.
I love your writing bout the flame. So true.
I'm only just finding my light.
Allowing it, I guess.
And it's so flickery and dim.
But it's there. And so it's yours. And that's what matters.

Jane Steen said...

When my flame is burning low (for whatever reason) I allow myself a time of wallowing, sulking, or whatever seems appropriate to the moment. Business setbacks usually merit a half day of sulking (I do routine busywork while I'm stewing, so that it's not a complete waste of time) and then I'm usually ready to regroup and try again.

I liked the image of the Olympic flame, and will keep that in mind next time. The idea of encouraging that small flame to blaze out again might help me get back in the saddle quicker. Good luck with your work issue, whatever it is!