How many flames quietly burn in our world?
In the past year I’ve wondered how it is that in the city, I feel a literal connection to nature that I don’t in the country. How is it running or walking city sidewalks, I feel circles of energy moving from the trees to me and back again from me to the trees? How is it that I, an introvert, am fed by this energy as traffic noisily passes; while in the country where I could run and not be passed by cars, I stay inside or in my yard?
I love the trees in the country. They quietly stand, encircling me, but I seem to take them for granted. Whereas the trees in the city seem to call out and say, “Acknowledge us not just on Earth Day but every day.” In the land of concrete and asphalt where Nature is easily forgotten, they see me and I see them seeing me.
New Year’s Day I decided to venture out and run the country road I don’t often travel. I didn’t run to have an epiphany but as I ran I felt a sense knowing in my body. The wide open spaces of the country hold an expansiveness with which I’m unaccustomed.
I think of myself as being outside the box, yet running along with the sky overhead unencumbered by noise and boundaries I felt the box in which I live unknowingly. I felt viscerally constrained.
Arriving home I pondered the gift in this containment for I’ve experienced the energetics of me, how the body can circulate energy feeding and being fed. I now ask can I open to the freedom of expansiveness wherever I am? Can my heart and being encompass the all, the unknown or will I choose safety, living constricted and small?
Then I hear: Light constricted is flame.
I don’t know physics but I think of the atom and molecule and the energy bound in very small things. I think of the seed and the child, the ant and the bee, the lessons found in small mysteries. Can I be bound by a body yet feel boundlessness at the same time? Can I open to something larger than my city streets and engage with expansiveness all around me?
How I Learned Containment
I began the next day with a ritual honoring people past and present on my family tree. I lit a candle to honor the flame my father carried. Wanting to ensure this light burned through the day and into the night, I transferred the flame as the hours passed from candle to candle.
My father’s physical flame went out January 2nd six years ago, yet I suspect through many kind deeds known and unknown his light continues to burn. His acts from which I benefited most were related to his hard work. With me, he was more often harsh than kind with words.
His parents feared the going out of his flame as a child for in his baby book my grandmother noted her fears early on of his dying from whooping cough.
Worried she and my grandfather hovered and smothered not wanting to let go. This worry became control leading to irritation and harshness between my father and his parents. Not knowing how to navigate vulnerability and closeness, my father in turn visited a similar harshness upon many of those who were close.
This generational dance of love and control is a piece to the puzzle of how I learned containment.
I sat with the flame representing my father and pondered his passing over several months time. Although there was much I said to him, there’s always felt like one missing piece.
As I sat with the flame, the sun came through the blinds and I felt compelled to take a photo. I wondered if I was diverting from the moment by trying to capture it.
Yet when I looked at the photo I saw the presence of a light being. Not only did I see a beautiful six pointed star, but a green and blue orb sitting side by side with what looked like piano keys above the blue and green and a wing above and below.
Since green and blue represent the heart and voice chakras, I immediately thought, ‘The voice of the heart holds the keys to flight.’
It was around this time that it came to me, the one thing I didn’t say to my father, the one thing that was so obvious.
Twice while he was ill, I looked up to see him sitting in bed looking at me. Our eyes locked and his face was the saddest I had ever seen yet I looked away.
In a flash six years later, I knew what I wished I had said. I wished I had simply said, “You look so sad.”
How is it I allowed fear to keep me from being personal, from being me? What’s the worst thing that could have happened? He could have been sharp or dismissive, yet still that would have been his loss and I would have gained me.
In that moment, I was afraid of expanding. Afraid of using my heart’s voice, I chose containment.
So I consciously chose to use my voice later that day and called a family member. I related the bittersweet realization to which she said she never talked to him that way either because she assumed if he wanted to talk about it (feelings) he would be the one to bring it up.
How much isolation’s been bred over time through not wanting to be rude or cause distress and upset? How much constriction and containment has this quiet, no talk rule bred? And if light constricted is flame how many flames quietly burn in our world? How many hearts await flight?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse 9 January 2011