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fire quoteThe warmth of fire is necessary for life. As a medical social worker with the elderly, I once met an old man with a broken hip who was sent to the hospital where I worked. His fire, his passion for living, was being extinguished by circumstances. What might once have been a furnace of enthusiasm had become the barest flicker of dancing flame. He could no longer live alone in his little dingy apartment. Disconnected from humanity, he had no real home or friends. He had lost touch with his Earth.

Once our pilot light is turned off, life shuts down. Fire finds its greatest strength within borders. Fire contained properly produces useful energy. In a similar way, our own internal fire, as critical as it is, needs to be placed within a boundary to be used effectively.

The Dark Side of Fire

Passion can overwhelm us at times. The emotion of rage is unbridled inner fire. Shakespeare wrote, In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire. When unconfined, fire can ravage and destroy that which fuels it. When our own fire, or that of our children, is out of control, we feel consumed and exhausted. We feel burned out. Others may feel burned by us. On the internet, disagreements can erupt into flame wars.

If nature teaches us one critical lesson, it is one of harmony and balance. The Lodge Pole Pine tree found in the northwest USA is what is called a fire-origin species. The cone from this pine tree falls to the ground but fails to germinate in response to water and sun. Instead it gradually becomes buried by residue and earth. Only when a fire passes overhead, sometimes years later, does the buried cone germinate, to quickly push its new bud through the ashes above.

fireworksThe wild tendencies of fire have to be moderated by the cooling forces of water. Strength held in check by calm. Each holds the other in balance. Fire's complement, Earth, provides its fuel. The more one loves, the stronger, more protective one feels. But if love, care, and support is blind and misguided, the fire of passion can become unrestrained. One can be consumed by fire.

How is the experience of Fire (metaphorically speaking) important in your life? In your relationships with children? Just visit the threaded message board to leave your comments and read those left by other parents.

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