A Tale of Two Fires
Lighting Our Own Candle
There are two types.
Constructive and destructive.
Destructive fire burns uncontrolled, claims the oxygen surrounding it, and ravages what lies in its path.
Constructive fire is well defined, intentional, and purposeful. It creates rather than destroys.
This Chanukah season the battle between constructive and destructive fire is particulaly palpable. The destructive fire is Blame. The productive fire is Compassion and Openness.
The fire of Blame is a time-tested, common, but ultimately destructive way of trying to feel better. Blame prevents us from communicating genuinely with others and separates us from our truest selves. We then fortify the barrier of Blame with our concepts of who's right and who's wrong.
When the fire of Blame is raging, you can't get near it. You don't want to get near it. You have to keep a safe distance and protect yourself. It is a hot and powerful distraction from being in touch with ourselves and others.
By contrast, the fire of Compassion and Openness is quiet, warming and productive. It draws us to it.
Only in an open, non-judgemental space can we see and accept what we are feeling. Only in an open space can we put aside our preconceived notions and judgements and hear and feel who someone really is. Only in an open space can we appreciate that being human means accepting all of ourselves, including the parts we don't like.
The flame of Compassion might be small and still, but it has the power to illuminate us from within. It invites us to wrap our arms around ourselves and connect with our deepest needs like love, belonging, connection and understanding. And it allows us to share that light with others.