Light a Luminous Fire

Here in Arkansas, we had our first snow on Sunday.  The temperatures dropped and it’s been cold since. I feel so fortunate to have a wood-burning fireplace and a stockpile of wood to feed it.  Last night I had a great fire, a lovely cozy evening. 

It seems like all humanity is in the depths of winter. This year has been isolating and fearful, threatening and lonely.  My emotions waver between deep gratitude for my little home and good health to fear that the next trip for groceries will be my last.

What sustains me is knowing that we’re not alone.  Like the embers that keep the flame burning in my fireplace, our connections hold us together.

The behavior of fire

I read an article in the November 2020 issue of Wired Magazine about how researchers are learning about the horrific wildfires in California.  The fire activity is like nothing they’ve seen, with giant heat plumes and firenadoes. 

The article states, “The key ingredient in a firestorm… appears to be the simultaneous burning of many small fires in a combination of light and heavy fuels over a large area with light ambient wind.  As that broad area continues to burn with glowing and smoldering embers over many hours, the separate convective columns of all those many little fires begin to join into a single, giant plume.”

Glowing embers

If we think of our human connections as energy, then humans are like fire in many ways.  Each of us is a glowing ember.  What is in our heart is our fuel.  The ideas that glow in the heart of one person spreads to another and together we form the giant plume that directs humanity’s path.

When we experience and hold joy and gratitude as a glowing ember, that energy can spread like a fire.  It fills our life with a positive energy that fosters creative thinking and generates strong connections with our loved ones.

It works the same way with fear.  Those glowing embers can ignite destructive forces that burn away the fabric of the connections that bind us.

How do we keep ourselves grounded in what’s real?  

We do it by tending our own energy and taking radical responsibility for the embers we emit. Embers that provoke fear, that provoke in-group/out-group dynamics, or that offer violence as a solution will grow into destructive firestorms. 

Instead, we can use gratitude as our fuel and stoke fires of love and connection.  When we open our hearts to each other, those embers will flame into the creative solutions we need so desperately to solve current problems. 

No doubt it’s time for a change. Humanity is at a tipping point as this UN Report explains. We need harmony and creative solutions to survive.

Whether your embers glow from gratitude or fear, the fire uses the same physical dynamics. Why not use it to build instead of to destroy?

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