But the fire is so delightful...

Have you ever heard the phrase "out of the frying pan, into the fire?" It seems as if many of us, myself included, live our lives somewhere between the pan and the fire. We occasionally drive ourselves to the brink just trying to get it all done, experience it all, try it all, do it all. Many of us wear several hats, or occupy several diverse roles in our lives. Many of us have several different commitments that all vie for the top spot in our day-to-day.

On some level, the heat of all that doing provides us with a sacred spark that gives us energy, courage, and vigor. On the other hand, it can become fuel-depleting. Around this time of year I hear many people committing to self-care. What does self-care look like, even if there is still a fire burning all around? How can we carve out space to breathe amidst the chaos, and find our inner calm? My upcoming Spaciousness class is all about how to do that, and how to make it last. Our first round of the class last year went so well, we are offering it again beginning Jan 11. I also have some other classes and offerings starting this week- see below for details.

One way we can defend a sense of calm amidst the myriad demands and distractions of life is to breathe mindfully. If you feel nervous, agitated, anxious, or overwhelmed, take a few moments to count your breaths in counts of four. 1-2-3-4 in, 1-2-3-4 hold, 1-2-3-4 out, 1-2-3-4 hold, and so on. The effect is very soothing. Close your eyes. Let it all go for a minute. Breath into that sacred light of life force you carry at your core, and stabilize.

But what about when we are drowning in so much to do that we feel stuck, frozen, and unable to even begin? Another type of breathing can help. Envision that there is a tiny flame at the center of your being, and you are trying to feed and stoke it to be a crackling hearth fire that warms and empowers you. Breathe in short gusts (careful not to hyperventilate), until the furnace of your belly begins to warm up and you begin to feel more energized and clear.

At this time just past the solstice of light's return, when the spark of 2016 is fresh from the flint, take time to review and redefine your relationship with the fire of being. It can be a weak flicker, it can be an anxiety-inferno, or it can be a warm catnap in front of the fireplace. It can get us hot under the collar or it can be sooo delightful. We have to learn to treat ourselves well, even amidst the fires of life. We cannot count on anyone else to do it. Let's all hold our flame of self-care aloft this year, for real. It begins with taking time to breathe.

CAYA Coven is working with the theme "Song of the Phoenix" this year, and one of the lines of our Daily Practice by Stella Iris RedRaven is, "I find myself in the heart of the flame." When have you found yourself at the heart of the flame? How did it shape your life?