Where I grew up, there was a series of small canyons not far from our house – each connected by wooden bridges, many with water from the streets above forming little creeks.
I used to love pushing through the cattails and exploring under these bridges. Among the broken beer bottles and cigarette butts, I also found busted TVs, dog-eared Penthouse magazines, names of teenage lovers etched in the supports … and matches.
One summer day when I was 10 and all was dry and brown, I got the bright idea that wrapping toilet paper around cattails, lighting them on fire, and throwing them like burning spears was going to be fun.
Long story short, I did not burn down the park. But that’s only because my aim was poor and the spear landed in the water and not the pile of brush I was aiming for.
Today, I was thinking about how we use terms like “engulfed in flames” to describe how a fire quickly burns a structure, a spark to total devastation in minutes.
And I realized that’s what has been happening with my thoughts lately. I see a story or a post or watch the news or just sit with myself and – before I know it – my mind is ablaze, fully consumed, totally engulfed. By fear, by doubt, anxiousness, confusion. The full gamut of emotion. Heart racing, adrenaline pumping.
It’s a sign of the times, for sure. But also the immense amount of ongoing work I have left to do – fireproofing my heart and “home,” so I can find balance even when the conditions are harsh and dry.
If you could
do a “controlled burn” to clear out some built-up emotive brush or tinder,
what’s one thing you would burn today and how would it feel to watch it turn to