Friday, February 17, 2017

Tending Our Fires

“Fired up
Ain't gonna take it no more
Tired up
Ain't gonna take it no more...."
lyric by Holly Near

Fired up then tied up. As I surf today’s political waves all too frequently that’s how I feel. 

The Women’s March in Washington D.C. with its Sister marches around the world energized us giving us hope. They were followed by a barrage of proclamations, Executive Orders, and the ensuing protests.

In Canada, where I reside, we have our share of political betrayals.  From reneging on his campaign promise of electoral reform to supporting the construction of two pipelines all the while maintaining that we can protect our waters, Trudeau’s appeal is wearing thin.

The news twists and skews events to promote fear and sensationalism rather than understanding.  It seems essential to remember who I am and what I know in order to navigate daily events.   To help me out, I turn to the Elements of life.

Today I am thinking about Fire and how it warms us and keeps us going. Fire can also get out of hand and return as the Great Destroyer.  But that destruction leads the way to rebirth and unexpected growth. 

Let’s hope so…..

Start with the Embers; the Fire in the belly maintaining warmth between the flaring up of Flame.  Glowing Embers give us endurance for the long haul.  They are the glowing coals that can be stirred into life at a moment’s notice.

As activists, we need our Embers to stay strong so that they keep us going even when the flames are not yet lit. Glowing Embers represent our self-care; they are our long-term resilience; they are our persistence and perseverance.  The Embers give birth to the Flames.

Flames spring into action when we stir the Embers and feed them with action.  They do the work of change.  The Flames of our activism are the letters and post cards we write to our MPs or our PM, our Congress people or President; the phone calls; the signs we take out to the streets. Flames are our presence in the streets.

The Arc of Fire is the inspiration we find when we gathering. Offering courage and support to imagine the next action.  It is the determination to run for office or to speak out against bullying, illegal actions, wrongdoing.  The Arc activates new Fires in each other, giving us strength to take another step.

And the Spark.  Ah!  The Spark is where the Arc lands to start new actions.  To take up the work from someone who needs to step back and recharge.  The Spark might appear anywhere.  Watch for it.  Be prepared to harness it to support your intention, your cause, your community and its action.  Run with it when the Spark ignites within you.

And when the day is done.  When the Arc has ignited new Sparks and they are being tended, that’s when we bank the Flames to heat us through the night, becoming Embers to carry us through the night.  To be rekindled in the new day.

One final word.....
 Fire, in order to be effective must be contained.  So build your circle of allies well.  Know your intention as you prepare to stir the embers of Fire into life.  Hold each others' back.  Plan and act.

P.S. Although the metaphor is mine, this would be incomplete without a nod of gratitude to T. Thorn Coyle who first introduced me to this way of understanding the power of Fire.
There is also a version (I think out of the Reclaiming Tradition) that includes Ash as an aspect of Fire.   To extend the metaphor, Ash fertilizes the soil for new growth.