Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Fire, Then Life

At the same time over 12,000 acres of land was on fire in the Sequoia National Forest last summer, my life was burning too. 

As flames threatened the Giant Sequoia National Monument, headlines proclaimed that many of these trees that had lived thousands of years were in danger. If we didn't take action, these pieces of natural history would be lost. 

"We must stop the onslaught of this natural disaster!" Shouted reporters.

Eventually the fire subsided and something amazing happened. The trees that were actually injured by the heat and flames of the fire were able to produce "stump sprouts," new life from the very place that the fire touched. Instead of being destroyed by the disaster, the Sequoias were able to produce life and grow.

I took this to heart and told myself to look at my crumbling life as an opportunity to create something better.

After being in a long-term relationship with a good person who was wrong for me, we ended it and decided to move on.  As we broke up, we changed the structure of our small business into a silent partnership (I becoming the silent partner, he becoming 100% manager). We also decided to split time taking care of our lovely dog 50/50. Things seemed to be amicable. I breathed a sigh of relief…

…Until the fire started.

The fire came in the form of love; not only did love ruin a pleasant ending to my previous relationship, it created something new in my life that has enhanced and rejuvenated me beyond anything I could have imagined. 

The thing is, I fell in love with someone on the heels of a broken relationship.

"How can love happen that fast? You must have cheated on me." Reasoned my ex.

True, it seemed to have happened quickly in his eyes, so when he read my e-mails and saw that I was in love with another man, he reacted. His reaction was the spark that started a fast-burn.

As it was unfolding, I shouted alarming, sometimes opposing things in my mind; I was on offense, then submitting, questioning my worth, then on defense:

"Attack and fight!"

"You must stop this from gaining ground!"

"Give in and concede!"

"How could you let this happen?"

"Defend yourself from this disaster!"

In the end, all I could really do was wait and let the fire burn itself out.

What happens after everything that your life was, is gone in the end?

What happens when the man you once loved, the gym you once spent hours a day training and coaching at, is no longer part of your daily routine?

What happens when you disappear from countless people's lives without an explanation?


I have mourned, gotten mad, felt extremely sad, asked countless questions, felt sorry for myself, felt sorry for my ex, cried, felt relieved…and done it all again, and again, and I still do it all; sometimes in the same night. 

But all of those feelings have burnt themselves out to some degree too. 

Giant Sequoias reproduce best by becoming "injured," by losing a limb or getting burnt by a fire. They create something new from what many see as a natural disaster.

Now in my life there is space where disaster once was. I, like the Sequoias, take these losses and use them to create something new. The love that has sprouted from a disaster has made me grateful for all that can come from an ending…a beginning.

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At 3:05 AM , Blogger Valerie Perez said...

nice perspective


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