I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what to do when I lose faith. When I need courage. When I’m feeling lost in a world that I don’t understand. Mostly it is about myself. I get lost in everything outside of myself and forget who I am. Do you do that?
As I was waiting at a stoplight this morning, I got this flash of an image. It was a little fire, the fire that burns inside of me that makes me who I am. Sometimes it feels like a wildfire, a little out of control, exuberant with too many ideas to chase. Sometimes it feels like it has gone out or maybe just a smolder of my truth buried under kindling that doesn’t burn very well.
You know that kind of kindling, right? Unfulfilling work, news reports, arguments and bickering, slamming around looking for something interesting that isn’t there on social media or maybe television. Gossip. Small small-talk. I could go on but I’ll just get depressed…
This little image of the fire – I was thinking about how to modulate that fire in my favor –finally understanding how I might gain control over this personal flame if I put my mind to it. Now, what is my personal formula for exactly the right kindling to make my fire not too wild, not too low, but just right?
Would there be a log of gratitude? Absolutely. Look around, I told myself. There is always something to appreciate, even if it is just the persistence of the weeds that grow between the cracks in the sidewalk who insist on thriving, even in a world of cement.
I’d add a log of love for my family and another for my little dog. Roxie barks a lot but she snuggles more. Let’s put a check on the side of the box that is for snuggling. I have more logs to add. Friends, community, the sunshine and the clouds. I’m a big fan of clouds.
I’ll add a log of enthusiasm for the story I’m writing even though I don’t know what is going to happen next. Somehow I always have faith that I will find a way into and out of my songs and stories that I share with you. I’ve figured out that creative process, leaning toward their particular mystery without flinching (most of the time). Maybe I could lean toward other things that I care about with an equal amount of confidence in the outcome. I’m grabbing a log for that.
Sometimes it is dark and hard to find kindling. As my friend Carrie says, sometimes you only have a small flashlight. I say, sometimes there is no flashlight at all and you have to feel your way toward the light. There are days when it seems my fire could never possibly go out. Life has shown me that neither of these experiences last.
I’m making myself a list of the particular logs my fire needs to burn at a nice purr. I’ll keep that list close and use it regularly, no matter how I’m feeling, to keep myself on track. I can put a log on my fire whenever I need it, right?
What are your logs?