The Fire of the Heart


“Many sacred texts, such as the Bible, Koran, and Torah, speak of fire as a symbol of the vital life force that can be called upon for transformation, revisioning, or the transmission of renewed meaning.
Reflect upon the four fires—the fire of vision, the fire of the heart, the creative fire, and the soul’s fire. What does fire reveal to you about your dreams, work, health, relationships, creativity, and soul’s desire at this time in your life?” 
The fire of the heart teaches us about what and whom we love. Angeles Arrien
Love comes in so many guises doesn’t it? And I have said, “I love you”,  many times and to many people. Each, perhaps, has a different nuance.
Now, late in this second half of my life, love broadens further in its meaning.
I spent many years feeling that romantic love was the key to happiness. I got my models from novels and movies – certainly not always from real life. And I placed undue importance on it. I didn’t realize that romance in very much in the soul and that moments of it weave themselves in and out of our relationships in all different ways. The warmth of romantic love is, perhaps, what melds us together throughout the work and sweat and tears of sustaining love. Or maybe it is the salve that we apply to the emotional scrapes and bruises we all seem to acquire along the way.
I have been fortunate to have a life-long love for the man in my life. Even when I didn’t like him so very much, my underlying love (or perhaps my tenacity) held me in place for the satisfaction of living with a man who knows my history, who knew my parents, who loves my children and grandchildren as I do, and who has seen me at my best and my worst and still wakes up each day and remembers to look and me and wish me a good morning.
Friends have been a blessing throughout my life. My BFF is now lost in dementia but she still looks at me with love when I enter the room. My circle of support has widened as I have grown older. The more I have learned to value my friends, the more friends I have. I just had a flash of those junior high days when I must have felt that only one friend was necessary at a time…how jealously I guarded the intimacy I sought in those years.
Now I know that my heart is big enough to hold everyone who means something to me. And my life is enriched by that nurturing circle of men and women who feed me emotionally and spiritually.
Not everyone has children and grandchildren. I consider mine to be the richest gift of my life. Perhaps I raised my children. Perhaps they raised me. I know that I still learn some of my greatest lessons from and through them. And their children shine so brightly in my heart that I sometimes feel it will burst with the joy. (I write a lot about my family here.)
But, I think that the greatest knowledge I have gained from the fire of my heart is that I am truly meant to love everyone. I am meant to believe in health care and education for everyone. I am meant to feel sorrow when a mother loses a child or a man is cheated by his financial advisor. I am meant to see the individual behind the matted hair of the crazed street person. I am meant to be damaged by violence in Istanbul and death in Ferguson, Missouri. I am meant to share what I have to support refugees and battered women. I am meant to understand that we are all the same.
It is all love.
The Student

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Filed under Angeles Arríen, Reflections, The Second Half of Life, The Silver Gate

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