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?