There are moments which seem burned into my memory—those with the never forgotten realism of a life lived on fire.
I was on fire. I was so hot that I burned to the touch, and I danced in the chaos of confusion and loneliness without ever stopping to wonder if that was where I wanted to live permanently or not.
But, something has shifted.
At first, I thought it was just an external difference in my life and where it was headed; but now, I see that it’s something more—it’s the presence of peace.
Yet, even this seemed to not fully fit the feelings growing and drifting within my soul, because peace is always supposed to be welcoming—a relief from the rest of the world. But then, I wondered: What happens when we become used to turmoil?
I realized that in the years since my marital separation and journey toward my new life, I’d seized my uneasiness about my future with such zest that it didn’t matter if I slept with madness or confusion, because I simply used it to feed my fire.
My fire existed because I wasn’t at peace.
It wasn’t that I needed these feelings of uncertainty in order to function, but I had gotten used to them. I became accustomed to the feelings of going to bed alone and unloved, as well as the unruliness of tangled, messy love affairs in which it seemed I was always chasing love—or, at the very least, journeying toward it.
But, for those of us who feed our flames from disappointment, anarchy, or even being unfilled, what do we do when we suddenly find ourselves at peace?
We’ve become so accustomed to the mess that is our life that we unconsciously create situations or moments that are full of disorder and pain, just so we can once again feel comfortable.
We create problems where none exist, because that is what we are used to.
Some may call it self-sabotaging, but in many ways, it’s just about maintaining—because for some of us, it’s difficult to thrive off of peace and love when we are so used to being unfilled and in pain.
It’s also about vulnerability and our ability to accept uncertainty—because if we already believe we’re going to be hurt and let down, then if that actually happens, we will have already been self-protecting ourselves for it.
We can’t ever truly let another person in if we are already expecting to be left or let down.
For some of us, the most difficult thing we can experience is being unconditionally loved and secure in knowing that a person or relationship will never be lost—because then, what is there to feel uncertainty about?
How do we fuel our fire if nothing is going wrong in our lives?
This is where the shift has to occur within ourselves. We have to stop looking on the outside expecting something to be wrong or to hurt us, and instead, look for the growth that can occur through that sense of peace and love.
None of us are meant to experience only one set of emotions in this lifetime, and there is a season for everything. We need to experience those times of distress, but we also have to welcome those phases of peace, because there is as much to be learned during those moments as when we are on our knees crying and shouting out to the universe for answers.
Peace is usually found not only through acceptance, but also for our answered prayers.
Sometimes, it’s when we stop and realize that we actually have all those things we always said we wanted that we become the most scared. It’s much easier to be alone in some ways, because then we don’t have to fear losing anything—what we don’t have can’t actually be missed.
I don’t think that it’s an issue of worthiness; for many of us, we know we deserve love, friendship, peace, and success—but even that acknowledgement doesn’t make it any easier for us to actually process once we finally receive those things.
Ultimately, it’s about us giving up our previous story lines—the ones that we’ve grown up with and clung to—the ones in which we are left, disappointed, or even betrayed. We must acknowledge that while they served us while they were meant to—now, we’re headed in a different direction.
It’s okay to release the chaos we’ve thrived off of for so long. It’s safe to let go of the person who needed sadness in order to feel that fire inside her, driving them toward more. It’s time to say goodbye to the person who always expects to get hurt.
That fire that we all love to have inside of us isn’t only conditional upon chaos, but rather, our thirst for change—for newness and for life. It’s acknowledging where our fire is coming from and choosing to let it come from a place of fulfillment, rather than unattainable expectations.
Once we channel our hopes for the future instead of our fears, we will find that the fire we thought we lost was really just smoldering all along.
There are different kind of fires—those that burn hot and extinguish just as quickly, the ones that are difficult to start and never really seem to take off, and the best kind, which I think are the slow burns. It’s the kind of fire that’s hot, with a rich full bed of coals that just keeps burning, smoldering, and never really goes out.
So, here’s to those smoldering, lost-lasting fires that are built on peace, love, and the acceptance that sometimes it’s safe to trust that we won’t get hurt this time around.
Author: Kate Rose
Image: Max Pixel
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May Big Papa Daddi-o
Social editor: Callie Rushton Stinkypants Awesomesauce