Friday, June 27, 2008

Eight Gifts from a Wild Fire, OR, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, 2008, OR, What I Gained in the Fire

by LaSara FireFox,

1. It's reminded us what's truly precious.

Life, limb, love, family, breath itself. Houses can be rebuilt. Communities will resurrect. Dreams can be molded from scratch. Life itself, and those we love, are the only truly non-renewable resources we stand to lose in the ancient battle of man against nature.

Nature's bigger, and we owe It Its due. Sometimes it's time to stand down, turn-tail and run. If it comes to it, at least we know we did what we could to create the most positive possible outcome.

The permanence/impermanance questions arise and fall away, and what's still true when the smoke clears is that if we're all still standing, we've made it through with what truly matters.

2. It's an opportunity to catch up with childhood friends.
Many of us have moved far a field from the halcyon days that founded the fields we grew up in. But in the last week I've seen more than a couple friendships renewed.

It's great to see everyone claiming the ground we stand on again. We've had a chance to meet anew on common soil. We can continue the trend.

3. It's a chance to remember what we're capable of.
Felling and moving trees by hand, making homestead after homestead fire safe, sleeping with the crackling of fire and the occasional "BOOM!" of an exploding tree echoing in the distance.

Emergency may bring out the best or the worst in each of us. I think most of us have had our moments of each. But the glory of the body under strain is miraculous. Feats of amazing strength and endurance stand as testament to our ability to persevere. To endure.

My personal contribution, while not monumental in the overall scheme of things, has made me feel more competent and confident. And younger than I was last week.

On a community level, we've been reminded too. Teams of community crew have been out roaming from home to home, making sure things are as prepared as possible. I think we've been given back something in that; it's a thing we FOUND in this fire.

4. A common "enemy" unites the good in us all.

When was the last time you got to see a sheriff, county and state employees, and medical marijuana providers pulling together to create a positive outcome?

Well, there's a first time for everything. This was it, for this particular assemblage. It was, and is, a thing of beauty.

Let's adopt this one for the long term, wherever we can. What would the world be like if we focused on the areas that bring us together rather than the ones that divide and conquer?

There will be a lot of rebuilding to do here in our community, in our county, and across the state, once the fires have burned themselves out. Let's learn from the fires, and from the flooding in New Orleans, and the other disasters that we've all been shaped by over the past few years. Let's find, and reinforce our strengths.

5. It's a chance to let bygones be bygones.
Communities pull together in times of challenge. With communities as old as ours, there's a lot of water under the bridge. What better chance will we ever have to let the past fall away and the present emerge renewed, like the naked floor of our forest home, than this?

We're all lending a hand. Let's try to find a smile for one another in the shared work. Let's let words be a balm and hearts heal. It's never too late to let our wounds heal.

6. It's a chance to get perspective on continuity and change.
Last time our community had to pull together to fight fires, it was a generation earlier. The kids at the edges were us - now we're the ones on the front lines helping the older folks stay out of harm's way.

A generation ago the gardens of green would have been yanked before the fire crews got on site. Now the conversation had as we sit with the civil servants waiting for the flames to come - or fall away - are about legalization, double binds, fair taxation, and how to end the war in Iraq so we can all feel good about paying our taxes again.

Some things change, some stay the same. We're still proving what we're made of out in the outlaw hills of Mendo, but we're also taking direction from the trained professionals who are here to help. We're sitting in community, uniforms of tie die and jeans, and uniforms of safety yellow, side by side.

7. It allows the space to cultivate nonattachment.
Nonattachment is a practice. Sometimes it's a practice breath by breath. With the fire, we've had days of preparing for the possible loss of childhood homes, investments, holdings. And, day by day we sacrifice more to the hope of stopping the fire before it hits the houses.

Trees come down, one by one. Bulldozer tracks are cut into hills and valleys. Dirt stands exposed - raw soil open the amber, apocalyptic haze of day.

We lose a limb, to save a body. And even then, it's a gamble. There is nothing to control, nor be controlled by. Moment to moment new choices arise. And then the moment passes, and that is gone too.

8. It gives us a chance to gain global perspective, and cultivate compassion and gratitude.
While taking tools in hand and making our space "defensible", i thought long and hard about my friends in the middle east who have this thought as a constant one, and not against a force of nature, but against other human beings.

With this awareness, I grow the love in my heart, wishing that this love could come like a cleansing rain and quench the thirsty soil and soul of a planet embattled. I find gratitude in the moments where common ground is found, and grow the prayer, rising up, from my lips;

"May this act and all acts be dedicated unto the complete liberation and supreme enlightenment of all beings pervading space and time. so it is. may the benefit of practice, mine and others, come to fruition ultimately and immediately, and i remain in a state of presence."

May this act benefit all beings.

Stay safe wherever you are. Kiss your babies. Hold your loved ones. Look for the silver-linings in those billowing clouds of smoke. And, keep on loving each other.

About the author:

LaSara FireFox, MPT-NLP, is a master practitioner/trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming/Patterning, life coach, educator, and professional speaker. LaSara helps her clients to find balance in their lives, and alignment with their personal and family-held values.

In addition, she is a mother of two, a successful author (Sexy Witch - Llewellyn, 2005), and founder and CEO of two companies; the Ecstatic Presence Project and Global Family Awakening: an educational, peace and humanitarian family adventure club. She teaches and coaches internationally.

LaSara's first book, Sexy Witch, was published in English and internationally distributed in 2005, has been reviewed in twelve languages (at last count), and will soon be available in Spanish, Russian and Czech. Her next book, Yoga Mama, is due out in 2009.

For more info, please visit

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(L) – Copy Left: All Materials may be reproduced with attribution, and in-full. Leave links intact. May not be excerpted without permission. Quoting is welcome, when conducted in accordance with Basic MLA quoting guidelines. Created by LaSara FireFox, January 2008. Updated 6.23.08. * 707.293-5153 *

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