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How tending the fire does your soul good

It’s been 2 weeks since I left Cali and I’m feeling like my spunky self again after mucho traveling. Ya know, singing while walking the dog, writing from a place of spaciousness, feeling ready to step outside my comfort zone with good friend Curiosity at my side.

There have been several things to get used to in my house sitting arrangement: a dog to establish a routine with, low doorways to avoid bumping my head into, and a wood stove to keep warm with.

Tending a wood stove is a new experience for me. A lot of peeps back home in Nevada City get their heat from burning stuff in these little black container thingies but I’ve always had central heat.

For the first week it was only really cold enough to want the stove going in the evening. And then Sunday came along. It rained. It was cold. It was an indoor day. It was a fire-burning-all-day kinda day.

After building up a fire in the morning, I was hyper-vigilant, constantly checking, poking, and wondering if I needed to add more wood.

As the day went on I tuned in to the heat being emitted and the nuances of the sound of burning wood—the stream of air suctioning up the vent, the sparks and crackles as a piece of olive wood smoldered and sizzled.

The subtle cues of heat and sounds told me when it was time for another piece of wood.

They became a part of the background. A friendly presence that I was aware of but wasn’t fretting and hassling over. Instead of drawing 40% of my attention, it settled contentedly at about 5%, maintaining a pleasant warmth with occasional tending until I went to bed.

The next morning, journaling after yoga and sitting, it struck me: Hey! That’s what self-care is all about: Keeping tabs on your inner landscape so as to maintain a pleasurable, healthy space!

When you let it go for too long, you get out of whack, and then you have to give all kinds of attention and energy to get back to your Home space — like building a whole new fire.

When you’ve been out of touch for a while, you might be over-protective or spend what feels like too much time taking care, like it’s demanding more of your attention than you want to give because you’ve got so much else going on.

But here’s the thing… Just as no heat on a cold day is a Major Bummer, neglecting your inner space leaves you feeling unfulfilled and out of sorts. And just like that wood stove, it takes a lot more energy to start a new fire than to keep the current one going.

When you’re in the groove of staying tuned in to your inner landscape and keeping regular maintenance, everything’s a little easier, a little brighter, a little more enjoyable.

You’re likely to be more present and patient, to be more adept at handling the myriad of holiday details demanding your attention.

Not to mention that you’re less likely to get thrown off when your not-so-favorite in-law makes one of his tasteless comments.

Is your Home space needing some TLC? I’ll bet you have some simple and easy things to keep your inner heart fire happily smoldering.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • A few moments of gratitude practice
  • 10 minutes of blissful quiet time
  • A warm chai latte in the middle of the afternoon
  • Reading a chapter of a good book
  • Giving your favorite feline some luxurious petting
  • Watching the rain splatter in puddles and bounce off of leaves
  • Taking a few extra minutes to pamper yourself in the morning

You know what keeps you warm and content within. Extend the best-friend treatment to the one who deserves it most (You!!) throughout the day. She’ll love you for it—and this love will extend to all those around you.

Build a House for men and birds.
Sit with them and play music.
For a day, for just one day,
talk about that which disturbs no one
and bring some peace,
my friend,
into your beautiful eyes.
― Hafiz


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