9-18-12 As this last month with Fire begins, I find myself feeling a little flat in comparison to other years. This is actually reassuring because it means that the internal work and balancing work I am doing is working. And maybe its just fire fading into embers, which would be appropriate enough. I see a year of tempering passion and raising creativity, while coming to grip with the shadows of fire. It feels good to end this elemental balancing work on a note of quiet, much like the crackle of flames that warm you in the night.
9-20-12 Something I've always recognized about my inner motivation is that part of what motivates me is proving other people wrong, specifically in regards to their perspectives about me or what I can or can't do. Undoubtedly this arose as a result of so many people trying to tell me what I couldn't do. When I was told I couldn't do something, it made me do it and do it in a way where I made it very apparent I'd done it and they were wrong. Even with all the internal work I've done I found that this is still an intrinsic motivation and I realize that I like having it as a motivation. It might seem petty, but the truth is showing someone they were wrong about me is empowering, because in the process they learn its better to let me do as I please, instead of trying to get in my way any further. I suppose it's a shadow aspect of fire in a way, but the point isn't to extinguish the shadows, but to learn how to work with them constructively, and this very intrinsic motivation has pushed me to do some awesome things, so I can't say its bad to draw on it or use it to focus my efforts.
9-26-12 I'm reading Love and Awakening by John Welwood with my wife. We read books together and then discuss them, and I've read this book once before, a few years back, but I was the only one who read it, and although I understood some of the concepts then, I find that this current re-reading is allowing me to engage and apply the concepts much more meaningfully as tools that can help my relationship with my wife, especially with how we communicate and work through any issues that arise between us. We've become very proactive and aware of our respective issues and we are able to hold space with each other and create a sense of safety, where even if we feel vulnerable, we know we can be safely vulnerable. Of course this has occurred as a result of reading a number of books on relationships and then discussing and applying what we've read to our own relationship.
At the same time, I was filled with an intense sadness the other day as I felt a sense of empathy toward people I'd been with in the past and thought about how they must have felt dealing with my issues and also with perhaps feeling unsafe with me. This doesn't absolve them of their responsibility, but recognizing how I contributed to the dysfunction on a wholly new level, one where I was putting myself into their perspective makes me sad and helps me realize why things didn't work out. It takes a lot to communicate how vulnerable you feel to someone else and if you don't feel that you can safely do that, the only alternatives are to shut down or leave the relationship. I'm sad that I helped create an environment where someone wouldn't feel safe, because how I was communicating or not communicating was causing them to feel not listened to or respected. My lesson is to take that sadness and use it as a tool to help me understand how to be a better listener, a better person at holding space so that everyone is listened to, respected, and a mutual solution is arrived at.
10-04-12 A while back I started adding push-ups to my daily exercise/meditation. I've noticed lately a distinct difference in how I feel. I feel more in shape, I feel better, and I'm liking how I look as a result. I've always included some level of physical exercise in my spiritual work as I feel my body is a temple and I want it to be in the best shape possible, but how I feel now reminds me that I really do need to keep that exercise at a certain level to fully benefit from it. It feels good to feel this in shape and I want to keep it that way.
I've been doing some further thinking about this year's work. I think for a long time I used fire (as a symbolic force) in my life to justify some of my behaviors and now I can't do that anymore, because I recognize that fire has little to do with it. It occurs to me that in general people do find ways to try and evade responsibility to one degree or another. Such an evasion is unhealthy for everyone involved and yet it's an easy way to avoid feeling vulnerable. Indeed the flipside of taking responsibility is allowing yourself to be vulnerable in that process of taking responsibility. At the same time, going overboard and beating yourself up is really a way to attack your vulnerability...to be truly vulnerable with someone and responsible involves sharing without blaming, acknowledging without judgment. Hard work, but worth doing.
10-08-12 Being vulnerable with someone who is supportive is truly a gift. It's something I've only been able to do in the relationship I'm in now, and it still surprises me. Something that the element of fire has taught me is that to truly feel the fire of love, you have to open up to someone and let them in. If you are always guarded, there will always be some part waiting for when things don't work out. But if you truly commit yourself to a person there is a realization that you are giving yourself over and not planning for when things don't work out. I feel that this year has taught me that.
10-10-12 I'm reading through old journal entries on this blog as I'm compiling them for a book project. when I read the emptiness workings in particular, I see some real progress. I'm not that miserable, empty person that I was then. I'm not feeling the abuse or sensation of being eaten up or anything else I felt back then. It's taken a lot of work, but I am much more at peace with myself than I was three years ago.
10-19-12 The neuro-biology of a human being is something that is responsible for so much of the behavior of people. I'm reading a book on the biology behind sex and how different types of sex affect the behavior of a given person. It's really eye-opening and it helps me understand certain relationship and lifestyle choices that I've made from a different perspective. At the same time, knowing how your biology works can help you anticipate it, and plan accordingly. This is something Kat and I are exploring very intentionally in our relationship and I can already see the benefits.
10-21-12 I chose my birthday celebration as my way to send off Fire. Kat through me a murder mystery party, with friends from the Magical Experiments group showing up. I remarked to one of them, who I also see in business meetings, how I must present a very different appearance during the magical experiments meeting. She admitted that there was quite a difference. For the actual party I invoked dragon by wearing a dragon ring I have and allowing him to partake in the festivities. To me, fire is a social element, as much as anything and I wanted to show my appreciation for this year's work.
Looking back on this year, I realize that my initial concern about fire being a fiery element that would amplify my emotions was based on a fear I had when I was younger. But working with fire has been illuminating (you know I couldn't resist). I have worked with the shadow side of fire, with my passion, desire, and anger, and I have also worked with fire as a purely physical force, and as a force that can represent love and friendship. I feel I have been tempered this year, and made ready fr the next year which is movement.