Maybe this image appeared to me this morning because I live on a lake in the mountains. I have a beautiful fireplace which is located in front of my cottage that lies just a few feet from the water’s edge. The view is spectacular. The surroundings are pristine. Harmony and serenity are everywhere. I am not sure why, but this image was somewhat of a revelation in my mind.
In a person’s life, I think that we exist on a day to day basis by fueling our emotional campfire. It is the inner glow that “warms” us. Recall the saying, “Keep the home fires burning.” Often when you encounter people, you often think “Now, there is a warm person,” or “there is a cold person.” Maybe it has to do with how “warm” their emotional campfire is burning.
My emotional campfire is fueled by my life experiences. It can be many things that provide the twigs and logs to keep it going.
I think it is necessary to find the comfort level of your own campfire. I believe that my comfort level is medium, to medium high. I believe I live a very rich, warm life. I also think that I am the type of person that can “gather” my own fuel supply because of my medium to medium high interest and involvement in life. It seems to correspond equally, at least to me.
My fuel is provided often when I participate outside of myself. For instance, I recently volunteered at a local thrift shop. That experience allowed me to gather several logs to put in my stockpile of fuel. Another small task I did for them, I revised a price list and printed it out, and that provided me with some kindling. I am hosting a business meeting at my home tonight. That gives me a couple of more logs. I will be volunteering to sell tickets for a production of the local theatre, adding more kindling.
I sometimes gather fuel just by personal activities such as reading a book, or writing some poetry, or painting a picture. Whenever I go kayaking, that is an experience that provides me with a wheelbarrow full of logs. I see my stockpile growing when I am sitting in my Adirondack chair looking out at the lake, reflecting on the day.
Whether it is spending the day with your children or grandchildren, taking a friend to lunch, writing e-mails to people you have not seen in a while; these actual experiences provide fuel. Some times it might be a mere twig, sometimes, it can be a whole wheelbarrow of logs. What the actual experience is does not matter.
I feel it is my responsibility to keep my stockpile stacked with enough fuel to keep me warm. It is quite a task, but the benefits certainly outweigh the effort. It is closely related to us having to gather income to provide for our physical needs such as food and shelter.
Then there are times in ones life, when someone comes into their lives and stays for a while. When two people are connected as close friends, they often are jointly able to gather an abundance and share their fuel with each other. It is important that they keep their individual fires burning and fueled. However, there is an extra warm feeling that is obtained from sharing the extra fuel.
When this connection happens to two people that are in love, the campfire can actually grow to be a bonfire. The relationship is so exciting. The individuals are extremely motivated to gather, gather, and gather more fuel to keep the bonfire “hot!” It may even appear that fuel is generated just by their existence with each other. They do not have to be “out there” to gather as much, but the stockpile keeps growing just by the energy of their relationship. The more energy, the higher the stockpile grows.
Something can happen though, if this connection is broken. The abundance of gathering of fuel is discontinued. I know that I have experienced this when a friendship disappears. You can feel the warmth of the fire growing a bit less intense.
The intensity of your campfire can be extremely affected if a love connection is broken. The warmth suddenly diminishes so that you feel very cold. I have found, though, that I have grown so accustomed to the “bonfire” warmth that I want to sustain that feeling. So I start fueling the fire with my surplus stockpile. Oh, the warmth, I need it. I keep depleting my stockpile, as it is only I that is gathering at this point. The sadness that comes along with this separation also diminishes the other efforts of the regular sources of fuel gathering.
I believe that I need the warmth, I want the same feelings that I have grown accustomed to. I keep taking more and more from the stockpile for an occasional burst of heat. I slowly come to realize that the stockpile is growing smaller. I can deny this for a while
I realize that I must get out there to gather, I have to make sure my stockpile does not grow dangerously low. But it is such an effort. It is not nearly as much fun gathering fuel by myself as it was when I was part of a team.
I so miss the extra warmth. I even miss it so much sometimes, I find myself selfishly putting on a bunch of logs, just so that I can feel that heat again. Oh, that works. That feels so good. But the effect of the stockpile going down concerns me. I go back to being careful. I slowly start, with much effort, to get out there and gather fuel from other sources.
So, naturally, I start to put less and less of the extra fuel that I am providing by myself into the fire. The extra warmth that I was feeling starts to grow a bit less. It is comfortable, it is okay, I am slowly adapting. I remember… I used to be able to live this way. It is just not as wonderful a feeling. But, I can survive.
My responsibility of keeping my campfire going and the stockpile large enough to survive is as natural to me as breathing. I have to be frugal. I have to limit what I can use on a daily basis. I have to get back to gathering. I have to conserve the fuel.
Oh, yes, I miss the bonfire. I miss it more than I could have ever imagined.