Burn it Down
Sociable Art - Creativity is contagious - pass it on!
Thoughts of A Sociable Artist

Burn it Down

I recently took a hike through the Linville Gorge Wilderness in an area that had recently experienced a forest fire.  The fact that hundreds of acres burned leaving a charred landscape may have kept away those seeking natural beauty, but to my surprise, the devastation of the fire cleared the way for wildflowers to bloom in the areas now open to the sun.  The path was bordered by purple irises, dwarf crested iris, pink trillium, hepatica, larkspur, lady slipper orchids. The backdrop of burned debris made them all the more stunning.  

I started to wonder about the effects of fire on a landscape and learned that there are many benefits.  According to an article from NCSU, fire clears leaf litter exposing insects and seeds providing food for wildlife and helping to prevent future wildfires, increases water supply to streams by removing water absorbing vegetation, opens the ground to sunshine, and allows plants to germinate and flower. In other words, "change is important to a healthy forest".

Change is also good for all of us, and sometimes this kind of sweeping, burning change is a good remedy for a life that has fallen into unhealthy patterns or a stale rut.  There are areas in all of our lives where we have let things grow out of control.  We have both actual physical clutter and mental clutter.  How many of us have a storage unit, a garage  or attic filled with "stuff" we no longer use or clothes that no longer fit or are not in style but might be "one day"?  How about all of those hurts, resentments, and painful memories we hang on to, so we have a reason to eat or drink too much, blame someone else, or get sympathy?  

After a time, all of this emotional and tangible litter can pile up until there is so much debris, we can no longer see the firm ground beneath our feet or the clear, sunny skies above. There's no room for new growth, and even if there was, the elements we need for growth can't find space to enter, much like sun and water in a densely overgrown forest.  Time to burn it down (in a controlled and responsible manner;).

Only a small amount of fires occur naturally with a lightening strike.  Most are set intentionally or by accidental human intervention.   If debris isn't cleared out of the woods in a smaller, more controlled way, there is more of a risk that a large, blazing hot inferno will take out everything in it's path, leaving only ashes.  Sometimes you can't wait for lightening to strike in your personal life and you have to set the match and see what ignites.

Get rid of thought processes, habits, relationships that aren't working for you to make way for more positive practices to flourish and new people to enter your life.  Clear out the physical clutter that makes it hard for you to see the path forward.  I have a service that comes to my house on a monthly basis to pick up my charitable donations.  In the weeks prior to pick up, I am always asking myself what can be tossed, so I don't continue to accumulate stuff.

If you are a very literal person, write down the things that are stifling your inspiration, the things that are weighing you down and slowing your progress as if you are pulling weights behind you.  Write them down on slips of paper, put them into the fire pit, and set a match to them. Possibly that small act of destruction, can start a transformation.  

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