Healing Through Fire

13 Jun

Growing up in an Orange County beach town, I’ve been to my share of bonfires, but last night was my first Community Fire Circle.

I have the pleasure of being friends with someone from the Diné (Navajo) reservation who inherited traditional native practices of healing and balancing energy from her family.

With the summer solstice approaching, the change of season is a time to let go of things that no longer serve us and create space for newness with the new season. And what better way to let go and create space than through fire? Given what I’m going through, I wasn’t going to miss this chance.

A small group of us gathered in a friend’s backyard for a breezy Oakland June evening, sitting around a lovingly-tended fire pit. No ocean waves, bottles of beer, or stick pies (did you know that you can make a pie on a campfire by wrapping pillsbury ready-made dough around canned pie filling and sticking the whole thing on a stick?). But lots of love, honesty, and faith.

Passing around an eagle’s feather and through the custom of talking circle, we each shared prayers for ourselves for the new season. To practice being vulnerable and open, I’d like to share mine:

1. To feel grounded in my community, knowing that my community is about who I care for and who cares for me, and is not dependent on a place.

2. To understand that my parents don’t need me to take on their hurts and regrets, and that I can make my own choices for how to live.

3. That my partner, who needs and deserves healing and compassion but doesn’t have a mindful community to help guide him, finds a way to become the man he most desires.

Growing up Catholic, I don’t know how I feel about prayer. It’s hard for me to shake the memories of mindlessly reciting hundreds of Hail Mary’s. But there’s something magical about fire that makes you feel, in its glow, that prayers can come true.

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