Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The other day we went skiing at our local area; it has a number of shorter, basic runs that are great for practice, and one or two longer ones that always test my stamina and technique. For me, skiing is a great way to clear the mind. Nothing helps one to focus and be present like the danger of falling down a steep hill!

The last time we were there, this day I referred to, I couldn't get myself into that place of presence as easily as I had in the past. It showed in my struggle to navigate the various terrain, and I got tired faster. It got better over time - made some adjustments to my boots, tried to relax and not push my pace - and even if it wasn't an effortless day of gliding, it was a good day of practice and learning overall.

What did occur to me, however, was that the situation seemed to mirror the fire circle in certain ways. It takes intention and focus to navigate the various terrain at a fire, and sometimes being "present" is challenging, while other times it's easy.

I'm wondering about your experiences with this. Can you think of times that being fully engaged at the fire was effortless, and times when it seemed really difficult? What struggles did you find yourself engaging with internally, and were there any externally?

And how did you work it out?

1 comment:

Lyra said...

Ok, it's early yet, but I'll try to be concise and brief.

Yeah, for sure, there are plenty of times when it's harder to be fully present. I can point to a bunch of different factors which may or may not "matter": too much observation, not enough participation (I'll qualify that later if desired), stepping out of the circle for too long, struggling against whatever energy is happening at the moment (wishing it were something else).

One of the 'external' things that's always been wicked hard for me is the desire for conversation. I'm not immune to it, but more often than not, I find myself being spoken to and I get thrown. Mad thrown. Even if I'm standing way, way far back--I don't always want to talk. In fact, I usually don't. I've had a few hard moments around that involving hard-core cleaning up the social disaster I've caused later.

I can have a hard time when there's an off-balance, when it seems like more people in the circle are in clusters on the ground, chatting and laughing, and less people are actually in the circle, drumming and dancing. I can get very, very self-conscious (which is lame, I know) and I have to work harder to not think about the space being multiple things to multiple people at once.

As for how I work it out--99.9% of the time I go in and dance. That tends to put me right back in place almost instantly. The opposite is also true: leaving the circle tends to exacerbate any feelings of separation and it can be much harder to get back in.