This week, in an online discussion group, someone posted a quote from Albert Schweitzer that would have fit perfectly in my 12/24 blog:
“In everyone’s life, at sometime, our inner fire goes out. It is then rekindled by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who have rekindled our inner spirit.”Albert Schweitzer
As I look back over my life I am amazed by how very many times my own inner light has flickered or seemed to go out, only to be rekindled even more brightly by an encounter with the needed teacher. That teacher may have appeared in any form. It might have been as a wise tutor, a student, a friend, a family member, or a stranger…. It might have been as a story or a poem, an animal, a tree or a forest, a river or lake or ocean, a rock, some ice crystals glinting in late afternoon sun, a garden, the way tall grass speaks when the wind passes, the smell of soil after a rain, or…… I wish I could name all those teachers that have rekindled my spirit when I have forgotten to feed my fire or have hidden it so completely that — starving for air — it has been smothered, extinguished by my own reluctance. Fortunately, our true teachers — the beings who help us rekindle and replenish the fires of our hearts — are everywhere. They find us when we stay open to at least the possibility that a flame could be offered to help us keep burning brightly.
How many times has the smell of hay or even old landscaping straw pulled me out of dark thoughts & taken me back to the times when I have been in deep relationship with horses and their wisdom & spirit?!
Certainly Trickster Stories have held out their torches again & again — patiently offering their lessons until I finally peek out from behind my shield of fears & realize that they approach with their wild flames not to burn down my house but to keep its hearth alive with fire.
And I will never forget what happened during a difficult time when I lived in Lynchburg, VA. I was feeling both overwhelmed by & disconnected from my life, and my inner light was quickly fading. I longed hopelessly for the kind of companionship and encouragement that I seem to find so easily in deep wilderness. Then one morning, while I was walking my beloved Siberian husky in the park across the street from my apartment, I saw three vultures feasting on something on the sidewalk just ahead. As I approached, one of the vultures flew to the top of an adjacent chain-link fence, looked at me in exasperation, put her hands on her hips, and said firmly, ” You ARE in the midst of it!” Immediately I was filled with joy & awe, my feet were once again gripping the earth, and my body wanted to do a “vulture dance” – even though I didn’t know exactly what that meant.
Indeed, wherever we are, we are in the midst of Life, in the midst of the Mystery. I didn’t need reminders of that during the two decades I lived on our llama farm in the woods — or, perhaps I should say, the reminders there were omnipresent! Now, in my more urban location, the old oaks remind me, and I am reminded every time one of the neighborhood hawks or owls comes to visit, or when I’m lucky enough to be looking out the kitchen window as a possum scuttles out from under the workshop in back & hurries off into the deepening dusk. A recent unexpected glimpse of a fox just a block from our house reminded & delighted me:
In my heart I am sending a love letter to each of the multitude of people & other beings (some long gone, some forgotten or unnoticed at the time) who have so touched me and kept me truly alive.
I imagine there may be people who have always tended and enlarged their own inner fire, but I think I am not the only one who can look back at flickerings and fadings that were rekindled just in the nick of time by just the right teacher. It might be fun to look back and trace the fortunes of your own bright spirit. Who were the helpers that reached out to reignite your flame if/when it dwindled?
PostScript to last week: I was so happy to send out the Raven shawl & 3 masks this week. I received a 2nd request for one of the masks shown in the post, so ended up sending out a different but related mask that I still wanted to clutch close to me & so hadn’t listed. Apparently, my masks are less reticent about showing up in the world than I am! There are more teachers here, with many lessons for me to learn, unlearn, or relearn! Ember Dreaming Flame, Waking Lion Spirit, and Desert Dreaming are still available — ready to fly off as gifts to you or to someone you know.