Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Hearth

"As I understand it, laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway."

~Anne Hutchinson, Puritan visionary and mother of the understanding that God speaks in the hearts of us all, and not just in the hearts of leaders and ministers. She was banished for this idea that Protestants now accept as common sense.

When I was very small we had a wood burning stove. I remember it being cast iron--my older siblings may correct me here--but it was black for sure. It sat on a raised brick floor, and I would migrate there after a bath to let my hair dry. Mostly my memories in that room revolve around watching pro wrestling with the family, which was a pastime that died off before I even went to school. One of my fondest early memories involves my dad's slipper catching fire. He had a habit of resting his feet up on the ledge of the stove. I remember him slapping his slipper against the brick, and then looking at me with a stunned expression before crumpling into a heap of laughter on the floor. Most of my early memories don't involve his laughter, so this is one that cherish.

After the attic fire during my Kindergarten year, the stove was removed from the house. I have never forgotten its warmth, and even after my parents built a new edition onto the house complete with a fire place, that little hearth was never buried too deeply in my memories. It was always fresh, like it never really went away.

A couple of years ago, I began to hear little snippets of...direction, I'll call it. I would write it down, and then wait. During the first year, I would monthly receive more clarity. It would show up without fail just as I began to doubt the whole ordeal. During one of the early months the name Little Hearth was all I received, and so I've carried it with me since, not knowing exactly what it would entail or what it meant. I went back to school, and received more direction through the experience (I remembered my confidence there). Then, the entire year of 2011 was consumed by preparing for, and then executing a major family shift, and another, and another. The shifts kept coming and the direction fell silent. Everything fell silent. I felt completely awash without direction. I lost faith all over again in the idea of conscious living, and instead floated where the waves took me. It was exactly what I needed to do. I see that now.

As the year began to close, though, I felt an urgency that I noticed others were feeling as well. Things were about to change, and so I needed to in order to be ready for the new year would bring. I trusted, and I began to move. I followed my intuition to my bookshelf and pulled down a long shelved book. I dove in all over again new that this was the culmination of the growth that began the first time I picked it up years ago. I began to meditate daily. I came to terms with a long held notion that was clearly holding me back, and then I released it at solstice. On Christmas day, I knew for sure it was gone.

With the new year came new and specific direction, which I followed. It led me to one of the most intense periods of personal discovery I've ever experienced, and I hope it never ends. I know now that my first job here as a human being is to tend to my Little Hearth, my inner light, every single day, every single moment. The tending is what keeps me connected to God(Source, call it what you will), and without it I am lost--looking for answers outside of myself and forgetting to check my inner compass for signs of truth. Nothing confuses my sense of direction more than that.
I can still see the little hearth smoldering in our living room. I can still hear Dad's laughter after he put the fire out on his foot. I can smell the scent of burning wood, and I know that wherever I am, I am home. When I am at home with myself I honor God's amazing ability to never screw up when creating new people, and I unlock the door to the vast potention that lies within us all. When you see it in yourself you see it in others and you know you have to let it shine.

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