Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In which a candle is lit

A day made for fire. 

A day so dim, still and cheerless--a day so November--that flickers and flamings felt needful to my mental health.

Our home has no hearth (woodsmoke brings on a headache, anyway), so I lit two votives. Juniper, who is yet a young and inexperienced cat, jumped up to investigate. I shooed her away. But with the persistence of the feline, she would not stay shooed. And in an instant, the fire elementals had kinked her eyebrow hairs.

After that, she abandoned the intrigue of the candles and sensibly curled up against my side.

Maybe going to sleep is what I should have done, too. Instead, I worried, about not having found work yet, and every other thing I could latch onto. Like the November sky, my inner weather was murky with cloud. Every pathway of thought ended in a confusion of tracks. What step to take next? Where am I even trying to get to? Questioning this. Second-guessing that. Resisting…spinning like a leaf in a pool where the stream’s been dammed.

But the next day, the sun was blessedly bright. With it came a sliver of clarity: Perhaps I can’t pin down where I am, because I am in motion.

Where I am is not where I was—yet neither have I reached the place I am trying to get to.

This year in particular, my thoughts were shaped by the people whose creations or lifestyles or insights have lit me up. Through these gurus, it may be that part of me has leveled up in some way—but uncomfortably, the rest of me hasn’t caught up yet. The outside doesn’t match the inside.

And maybe that is why I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time expanding my Pinterest boards. Maybe, in an intuitive sort of way, I’ve been trying to shape a vision for where I want to get to. What does this same-only-different Carmine look like? What does this different life look and feel like at its essence?

My mantra this year has been: "Listen and receive." To paraphrase Sonya Darien over at tiny buddha, if everything I am receiving is perfect as it is, what is it that I am not seeing?

“Receive” means embracing the whisker-burnings as well as the flame’s beauty…the darkest of November skies and the mystery of not-knowing, alongside the moments of near clarity--like the sharp call of the soul-as-Blue Jay that says Wake up! Be patient. Something is happening.

On the paths of confusion, it would be wise to trust that all is happening in perfect timing. Even and especially in the closing-down days of November and December.

Photos: Early November 2013, Minnehaha-Park-above-the-floodplain


  1. A time of incubation, maybe? I've had many, many of these times when I felt as though the inside didn't match the outside! Not easy, sitting in the mystery, dreaming of something new. The most intense and challenging of these times I kept feeling the urge to move forward and accomplish something, but I kept hearing NO WAIT, LISTEN!! After a year + of this, one February morning I awoke with intense clarity, new I needed to get a grant to build the new studio/workshop space, found a grant due in a month, applied, got it, and woosh..... built the studio. It felt sooo difficult to sit in the mystery, but the outcome was rewarding beyond measure. May it be the same for you!!!

    1. That is encouraging...I'm sure resisting prolongs, and listening carries one along. I admire your trust in the process and thank you for the encouragement.

  2. I think we expect some sort of definitive resolve or outcome to things in life. I'm not sure progress is about least not for me. The spiritual being that has chosen to inhabit these days I call my life chose a very strange path: one where the cards are some of the poorest possible; and where, no matter what happens, there is no obvious resolve. I have only just begun realising what a great gift not having things work out in a certain way is. Not to mention getting handed sometimes terrible things & trying to understand what to do with them. I am thankful that things are complex & difficult, because it makes me know that I must be rare enough to stay in the game with such dreadful cards, and where life is never ever easy & the dice only come up 1s or 2s. So my hope for anyone (as strange as it sounds) is that life will not have easy choices or paths: I find this is the way to powerful change—& that those changes are from Within, & the Without is not as important.

    1. Yes, changes from within, finding a way to manifest outwardly in a search for coherence between one's vision and one's reality. Thanks for the reminder that the obstacle is the path.


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