Let Love’s Fire Burn Away Your ‘Me’.
Have you ever met someone multiple times and never really seen them? Walked past someone on the street and never let yourself be moved beyond brief glances and half-smiles?
Have you ever wondered in those moments at the hesitation in your gaze, your mouth, your heart? Felt the pull toward another and leaned away, unsure of where the resistance lay?
Have you ever unknowingly trusted your intuition’s reluctance, despite your mind’s curiosity? Barely noticed your subtle longing for a stranger, distracted as you were by fleeting affairs and flitting hearts?
Have you ever pondered the myriad reasons for your moving toward the wrong person at the right time to keep you from moving toward the right person at the wrong time?
Have you ever had to look at yourself to see the ways in which you’ve chosen to live perpetually in the wrong time, and then made the choice to step into the potentiality of rightness in any moment?
Have you ever stopped to wonder how to love yourself enough that any day could be the right day to meet the right person?
Have you ever intentionally retreated from distraction and sat quietly, in love with yourself alone and scared, growing trust in your heart that all you need is already there?
Have you ever burst from a cocoon of self-love, with a sudden certainty that you were ready, and that now has always been the time?
Have you ever stepped out into the world, free from every excuse and sure that there was no reason good enough to waste any more time, determined not to walk by a person one more day with a halfhearted smile and hesitant eyes?
Yesterday I walked outside, thought to myself The next time I see him, I’ll draw my mouth wide, really open my eyes, and whisper to my heart that it doesn’t have to hide. And at that very right moment, you strolled by and we locked into each other and our hearts said Hi.
I asked you for a drink and, though you were shy, I knew that you were ready and, finally, so was I. So together we sat and took sips of wine. And also, I drank you in, after nine years, for the first time.
What did I see? An intrepid heart, opening and closing, as calculated as a swinging door blown by the wind. No pretenses, only a quiet hesitation tucked in between easy conversation, the kind which burns slow and hot and makes my muscles hard and soft at the same time.
I felt the tension of the nervousness of new.
Have you ever felt that? Have you ever inhaled the possibility of something real, let it catch in your throat, afraid to exhale? Feared that with your out-breath would be lost something more than old air?
Breathe out now and let go of thoughts of the future and figuring something out that can never be known in a mind, but must be felt in a body over a long period of time. The slow burn that holds potential for all possible outcomes.
Imagine the burn that blazes up fast into a forest’s fiery flames, ravaging our landscapes and leaving nothing but ash, blowing forever into the wind.
Imagine the burn of an ember that never quite ignites, instead dies, sometimes from a smothering lack of air, sometimes from a strong gust of wind moving too fast over a fragile just-burgeoning heat source, sometimes inexplicable and just because it’s time.
Imagine the burn of a wild flame roaring too hot to touch, that urges you to move away with a gasp for fresh air; to bask in the coolness of solitude.
You sense calm and return, only to find a smoldering pile of black ash with one spark, which you save at the last moment by a furious stoking, over and over until that one time when the light goes out and you don’t have a single match left in the house.
Imagine a burn that explodes instantaneously into infinite stars, white-hot and blinding, that brings everything together, breaks the world apart, and leaves your body untethered, spirit floating in space, dizzied and giddy from overloaded senses disintegrating into the boundlessness of dimensions beyond the ones you’ve come to know.
Imagine the burn of a fire that glows just warm enough that you can take off all your layers and relax, naked and unadorned, comfortable in a space where the temperature is such that you can’t tell where your skin ends and the rest of the world begins, and where differentiating oneself by skin barriers and temperature doesn’t seem appealing or necessary anyway.
And as you rest, disrobed and unassuming in the cozy home of the whole universe, you notice the light of this fire is simultaneously bright and subdued, allowing for clear sight with just enough shadow to soften the edges of everything you see.
Your heart settles into the peaceful steadiness of a fire that has received just the right proportion of air, fuel, space, and the kind of magic that sustains the molten core of the Earth, the miraculously undying flames of myth, and the mystical force of love.
Now don’t imagine.
Don’t flip through the book of history to read and reflect on every possible outcome that has ever emerged from the meeting of spirits. The thread that runs through every story is that fire has never been predictable.
We can write a list of the resources and methods needed to create fire.
We can tell love stories from the past and speak with full certainty that there exists the potential for two souls to merge and change each other and the world.
We can revisit old heartbreaks and heart melds, and write a million endings for the same story in an instant of fantasy.
We can do and know all of these things, but we can never foretell which way a fickle flame will flicker next, and we certainly can’t catch it and put it in a box with a bow.
What I do know is this: I’ve spent years fearing the fire. Feared the dying fire, the raging fire, the fickle fire, the cozy fire. Feared every form, knowing that there is no way to keep a fire burning forever.
I’ve sat, cold and lonely, blowing lightly on a single ember containing the dream of eternal fire, hoping that the permanence of an unfulfilled fantasy might keep me warm at night.
And I never fully thawed that deep chill in my heart — the one that sat at the root of my core, unwilling to be held in the hands of a stranger, intent as it was on staying solid and secure.
I know that as I draw open my ribcage and let you reach inside, it feels tender and sometimes painful to let you touch my rawest places. There are times when I recoil and think that the intensity of the heat will be too much to bear. But I stay.
I titrate in this love, and even when I must move away, I do so knowing that I will have the courage to approach once again, melt another layer of freeze off the place where there lives the pure truth that love always stays.
The impermanence of the form is the part that I’ve feared. But as I burn away the illusions of here, now, you, me, these hands, these hearts, this life… I feel free.
We are melting together, and even if one of us decides to leave, we’ll not re-freeze the parts of ourselves that we’ve newly seen. We’ll have discovered something important about our ability to be, even more formless within love, closer to unity.
The melting is not into another form where we solidify as a we, but into a formless consciousness in which we are breathed. Lit on fire and burned away as a me, and dissolved into the greater truth that love sets us free.
Ashley Berry is simplifying her life to create ample space for the existence of the complex range of human emotion and creative expression.On resume paper, Ashley is a certified Yoga instructor, seven-year social work veteran, bartender extraordinaire, and holder of a BA in Psychology. In her paper heart, she is a lifelong writer, curious photographer, adventurous world wanderer, gracefully spasmodic dancer, and passionate food lover with a penchant for potatoes in any form. She has a lot of gusto for life and the myriad joys of the universe, and in looking for a lens through which to focus her energy, has discovered the freedom in writing, which allows her an outlet to explore a million potential paths through words. You can follow her work on her blog.