/// I G N I T E . I T ///
January 16, 2018

Hello friends! This has been my heart, so I wanted to share it with you. It was healing for me write, and if it brings one of you comfort, then my heart will be content. 

My 2018 didn’t start the way I envisioned it, quite the opposite actually. The literal New Year’s celebration was perfect. I spent the evening all cozied up with my closest friends. We talked about the year and made some resolutions. I hadn’t even thought about any resolutions until that time, so it was nice to make some self-improvement goals. I went home that night, feeling full of love and content with my life and overwhelmingly grateful for my friends.

A few days into 2018, I had a clarifying conversation with a person whom I have cared for and put energy into for approximately 6 years (against the advice of my friends). During this conversation, I finally realized that this was a completely one-sided relationship. As in, I was there to bring this person joy and fulfillment that they did not have on their own, and what I needed and felt was completely irrelevant to them. As I spoke my truth to this person, I realized that my feelings had never been a consideration. I’ve never been one to burn bridges. In fact, I avoid it at all costs. I hate the idea that there really is no reconciling, no resolution. However, in this clarifying moment, all I could see was a bridge in flames. This feeling is so rare for me that it has kind of knocked me on my ass. The acceptance that there is a time to stop hoping for someone, that there is a time to give up comes at the cost of immense pain (perhaps why I never want to take this route). Endless hope just seems so much more positive and easier to bear. However, I have learned to trust my own voice. She is wise. My voice told me that it was time to set the bridge on fire and never look back. So I did. I requested the person not contact me again, and I walked away (with imaginary flames behind me).

Since that interaction, visions and dreams of fire keep appearing which I interpret as reassurance that this fire was absolutely necessary. My classes have been feisty and full of fiery songs and my voice a little sharper. All of this feels new to me. I’ve been contemplating fire and its vital purpose in the natural world. I even took to reading about wildfires. Most of the information I’d heard before, but the science of wildfires has been comforting to me in recent days. Dead matter (twigs, leaves and trees etc…) accumulates in forests over time, and this dead matter fuels wildfires. Did you know that wildfires can increase the water supply for the surviving trees and plants? Fewer plants absorbing water equals more water for the remaining and new plants. Also, fire kills pests and keeps forests healthy. Change is vital for a healthy forest. Some species of trees and plants need fire during their lifetimes in order to release seeds for regeneration. The parallels between this and my life have never been clearer. I was due for a massive wildfire. Fire doesn’t come without pain, tears or fear, only a promise of ending once the dead matter has burned, without fuel there is no fire. The spring will come and there will be room for flowers and fresh air to breathe.

I’ve been so obsessed with fire that I even had my own fire. Yes, I did the dramatic fire ceremony where you burn all of the things that remind of something painful. I never thought I’d be that person who has to light things on fire for comfort…turns out it felt amazing. I saved things over the years that gave me hope for this person (cards, letters and drawings etc…). It hit me one day that I no longer wanted these things in my home or anywhere in my world. The garbage wasn’t far enough. I stood outside on a dark winter night, took one last look at each item then piece by piece ignited them. I stood quietly and watched them burn. Ashes rising up into the cold Montana sky. I heard the ashes softly landing on the frozen ground, dead. I thought I would be devastated in this moment. Tears fell from my eyes, but ultimately I felt relief. The dead matter was part of me and the clearing of it painful, but I also felt like I could finally breathe. I heard my voice, and she whispered the word, “freedom” again and again, giving me the strength to let the fire burn.

I will leave you with these questions and thoughts:
What dead matter is taking up space in your heart?
Is there dead matter that you are insisting on watering when you know deep down that it is dead?
What might a fire make room for in your life?
Is there a change you are avoiding? If so, why?
Envision yourself withstanding the fire and the freedom that comes after the flames have decimated the dead matter.

Run, don’t walk from the things that no longer serve you. Also know that you are the only one who can decide when to strike your match and burn the bridges you no longer want to cross. Some of my friends would have gladly burned the bridge I am referencing for me years ago. However, I would have rebuilt it. It would be nicer if others could do our dirty work for us, but it will never work. I lit my fire when I knew without a doubt that I never wanted to cross that bridge again. We are the only ones who know when that time comes for us. Bless our friends with their good intentions to protect us, but our own voice will always win.

When I sat down to write this, I felt a little silly focusing on a relationship. However, in my humble opinion, relationships are the largest part of life. Romantic or not, what do we have without relationships with other humans? At the end of our days the only thing we will have to hold is the hand of someone we love or the memory of their hand.

So here’s to 2018, may we love without fear and ignite what no longer serves us.

Strength and love to you all.

Amanda Taylor, Director of OULA-Power