On a morning when our front yardd was dusted with snow like powdered sugar I knew it was the morning to light my fire. I found myself alone in the house, an uncommon occurrence with four children and a husband who works at home. I seized the opportunity and moved the furniture to the sides of the room, gathered up arm fulls of wood, turned on the music, laid out the sticky mat, my malas and my journal. While I got the fire going, which took quite some time, I thought about how much effort it can take to really get a good sustainable fire going, figuratively AND literally. With soot stained hands, the entire morning's paper crumbled and gone, frustration building, working on intentionally starting a potentially destructive entity. As though asking for your commitment to it, to let it know it can trust you to maintain it and not let it go out of control. A silent contract between creator and energy. Hence the adage "don't play with fire", it is to be taken seriously. So I asked for help (Google) and learned that a secret to building a roaring, nearly self-sustaining, long enduring fire is actually counter intuitive. Building a large base transitioning up to small twigs and needing only TWO sheets of paper, and ONE match, my fuel was mindfully arranged. A sacrificial Mayan pyramid of Colorado pine. Once the twigs and paper lit the brilliant red orange embers burrowed down into the center igniting the next layer of bigger and bigger wood pieces. None of this lost its metaphor for my life. It pays to design, prepare, have plenty of fuel, think of what comes next and ask for help. As the second level of my pine pyramid litup, so did I into my practice.
As I released and went deeper into the flow of movement I felt the tapas, the heat, rising through me, heating to my bones, the kind of warmth that will get you through a January full of Chinook winds. I caught a reflection of myself in our front windows a ghostly representation of movement with an intensity of blaze rising, roaring, raging, behind me. I turned facing the fire and met myself eye to eye in the old mirror above our mantel (what HAS that mirror seen and echoed back through time?). I was nearly unrecognizable to myself. How often do you really see into yourself, look into your own eyes like you would your beloveds? I saw centered in my grayish blue spheres a very tiny flame, a little light that I know has never been exterminated since I began this practice of breathing 45 years ago. I may have forgotten about it, ignored it, doused it in water and sometimes sand, entered into wind storms, used a regulated and licensed Class C Halon fire extinguisher, AND encountered several snuffers in my life, however it has never extinguished. I have often needed to strike another match (or 20), add more twigs, paper, cardboard and kleenex, and even resort to adding old candle wax but most often I've just had to let go and be consumed. A sliver of a flame in grey/blue eyes in a body that is dancing and swaying, sweating and on fire on a random Tuesday morning in my living room.
I replaced the furniture, nodding with gratefulness to our front door not having to have encountered the UPS man during my personal combustion. Gliding by the fire grate I dipped three fingers into the grayness and swiped a trilika across my forehead. " What is it about lighting yourself on fire and watching yourself burn that is so pleasurable?" my teacher asked me later in the week. I think it is the smooth, silky soft, pale smoldering ash that is left behind.
Posted by Mala Mama at 2/5/2010 8:37 PM |