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The call to spirit and a spiritual life has always been in the background of my life. In my younger days, as I contemplated my life purpose, I used to think it depended on transcending the mundane world. I certainly have had experiences that were “other-worldly.” But as I reflect on these now, I see how they were not really about being “someplace else,” but were showing me glimpses of what it is to be truly present here and now, experiencing life fully and directly.

Experience is opening my eyes: to live a life of purpose and meaning, no matter how that looks externally, means to be truly touched by life. By all of it: the ups and the downs, the deep well of love, the grief of loss, the knocks that bring us to our knees and the strength that comes from standing back up. It is about being part of and touched by life. It sounds so ordinary, but in reality it is extraordinary. To the mind it may seem pointless, yet to the heart it is fulfilling beyond measure. It brings me tears of gratitude.

I was at a funeral of a friend recently. The officiating minister, in his address, spoke of these ups and downs, and noted the alternative: a straight line. He pointed out that in an electrocardiogram this “flatline” represents a non-existent heartbeat and signifies death. Through the shared loss and simultaneous celebration of this woman’s life, the grief and the gratitude were both palpable. We were feeling deeply. We felt alive.

It is this being touched by nature and by my fellow humans that draws me to sit around Fire – feeling the wind, the earth, the heavens, the trees, with the dancing flames at the center drawing us together, calling out our stories, drawing feelings forth from our depths. A deep longing in me is satisfied, leaving me strangely settled. Without this time around Fire, I feel that I have lost my bearing, my orientation. When I sit with Fire in this way, it’s a little like going to sleep and waking up renewed and ready for the next day. And for this I am very grateful.

— Annie King
Florence, SC (USA)
January 23, 2019