We attend to many things throughout our lives. We attend to children, to houseplants, to relationships, to the turkey in the oven, to the sick or weak loved one. Many of us have attended to the campfire, which takes patience and skill to build and to feed and to burn down to coals.
The skill of tending, or attending to, is one of the most beautiful skills to cultivate. We are able to do this well when we can listen and see deeply the person or thing we are attending, to anticipate their needs, and to get ourselves out of the way so that we can be in the present moment, in the flow.
Beneath all of our fears, resistance, worries, doubts, there is a brilliant flame of passion that lives within our hearts. This passionate heart is not trying to seek fame or fortune. It is not trying to look good by wearing a persona. This fire is burning on the fuel of our purpose-the gift we are here to give, what we are made for. Some teachers say that we each have a unique purpose in life. Some say that everyone's purpose is the same. I will leave that up to you to decide what is true for you, and we find out what is true by digging deep to find this passionate fire and then tending to it.
I would love to hear from you in the comments! What are some ways that you feed your fire? Does your fire ever get too big and you need to spread it a little thinner so it doesn't burn up your life?
In this season of fall, and turning toward winter, the fire is especially important. Our ancestors would not have survived the harsh, cold winters without the fire-and neither would we. Our furnaces are still burning fire. Our ovens are fire. Our combustion engines in our cars are fire. Fire is what keeps humanity alive in a harsh world. Tending our fires within keeps our spirit alive, too.