My aunt once gifted me a “director’s chair”- a birthday gift, that also happened to fall close to a recent breakup. Strung out on denial and melodramatic self pity fits, I looked at the chair and asked “Why a director’s chair?”
“Because, you’re the director of this show, W.P. (warrior princess). Let the auditions begin.”
She smiled as we sat at her kitchen table, a place I find myself often. I was struck with the painful and somewhat embarrassing realization, that I had no idea how to “audition” someone in dating terms. For as long as I could remember (one man aside) I had always been the “auditionee” .
And time, after time, I was cut. The worst part was, I stuck around knowing they would do it. It was as if I was a lit candle, and they would *snuff* me out.
How does one begin to light their own candle? How can you expect a person to come into your life and light YOUR flame? Is that really their job? Or is their role to add fuel to your existing spark. I’ve grown to believe in the latter. I want my own fire, and it’s my choice to invite another to come sit next to me and enjoy my pre-existing radiant fire.
Vivian’s step by step guide to building fires
Burn, baby burn.
number 1. gather your kindling
[ translation: “get a grip” ]
Those words can be harsh, “get a grip”. Hearing that makes me want to simultaneously punch and hug the sender, because I find their words ring with truth.
Two things will happen here. You’ll first become defensive because their painful truth hits home and you know you must in fact “get a grip”. Secondly, you’ll start retreating to your old patterns because getting a grip means some work and some work means some pain; and nobody wants to feel pain. So, naturally you’ll be tempted to run.
Unless you want to stay the “auditionee” forever, I suggest you get busy with that work. Start gathering your kindling, let’s light the flame.
Kindling are small, forgettable, little pieces of wood and sometimes a pain to find. That’s because it’s ground level, hands and knees work. You’ll be looking for tiny brittle twigs that have fallen from great heights. Your kindling will be found in the deepest woods, on unexplored ground, amongst all the tigers and bears.
“You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path. Where there is a way or path, it is someone else’s path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential.”
- Joesph Campbell
Do not become distracted by the seductive beautiful boy right outside the forest line. Trust me, you aren’t ready for that beautiful boy. Continue gathering your tiny twigs of confidence, branches of self love, and sticks of independence.
number 2. choose tinder
[ translation: “humility over ego” ]
What are you going to ignite and place on top of your kindling? This tinder material will catch a spark, start to smolder, and travel all the way down to your kindling.
So, ask yourself, “What is my tinder?”
My tinder is humility. Without it my kindling qualities have the tendency to become self- absorbed and fueled by vanity. Humility is my tinder in day to day life, it’s where I check in and observe how my behavior effects others around me. Humility is a lens I choose to look through when assessing situations, contemplating emotions, and responses.
What does your heart pull towards? Peace, thankfulness, faith, compassion? This should be something that you trust, lean on, and depend on to maintain and sustain your kindling qualities. It is the life force and the only reason the kindling actually catches spark. In other terms; your kindling is meaningless without the ignited tinder.
number 3. assemble the logs
[ translation: “ too late to turn back now”]
You know the gross anxiety feeling when change has swept over your life? There’s a moment where you kind of want it to go back to the way it was, because all of this new stuff is “way too intimidating" and you were comfortable in the old ways. Well, sorry- it actually doesn’t work that way with fire. Why don’t you take a deep breath sit in your directors chair for a moment and think about these words.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
- Isaiah 43:18-19
We have a small fire but it cannot maintain itself without your attention. You will now need to collect logs. You can search for your logs amongst the enjoyments of life, but be sure that they are healthy logs not full of bugs and full of pitch. I think of the logs that are too dry that tend to burn out fast that leave your heart and camp cold. Look instead for the hard healthy wood, that burns long and slow.
I would imagine your forest camp is becoming cozy, yes?
/ / / /
Keep feeding your fire as you experience life’s many adventures and lessons. Remember, this is your fire to tend, and you can sit in your directors chair and be the director.
Ps. remember the boy just outside the forest line?…. well he's still sitting there. If he wants to audition, it’s up to you.
He must bring marshmallows.