The Shades of Light and Dark

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Usually the bright promise from the morning sun warms my face this time of day when I roll up the shades. This morning, had I not been aware of the fires ravaging Ventura and areas further south, I would have assumed the nuclear war had begun.

A thick tannish, orange-tinged dome has sealed out the typical clear skies and essential sunlight. It reminds me of the 9 months I lived in the fog in Los Osos. I yearned for the sunshine I knew was shining just beyond the layer of dense air blocking it out.

This is kind of how my heart feels at the moment. Darkened from the loss of my 2 fifteen year-old cats who've been my companions, entertainers, comforters and loyal friends. They were just kittens when my husband and I got married. They were 7 when his exit catapulted me into an abysmal state of despair. On the days I couldn't get out of bed to feed them they laid quietly by my side. This was highly unusual for Sable in particular, who was quite the foodie.

Some of the roses I'd arranged for Smora's ceremonial transition have died during the week since her death. Others are softly drooping their delicate light pink petals.

And today, as I've gotten back to writing, the sunlight has returned; dancing in shadowed patterns cast inside from the yellowing leaves of the persimmon tree outside my window. The rustling leaves and fluttering from the wings of birds landing on branches to feed at their own personal overripe persimmon comforts me.

All life has seasons. It's synchronicity when our emotional energy reflects the physical seasons; that burst of energy and creativity we may feel in spring and the more introspective time when winter shortens our days and invites us to wrap ourselves in the warmth of blankets, soups and cozy fires.

But as many of us in California are experiencing, fire can cause great destruction, engulfing a lifetime of memories and traditions within minutes. It quickly strips away the external elements we surround ourselves with that we use to define who we are. The things that ground us and give us a sense of belonging.

Most of us will face an emotional firestorm in our lives. Typically they involve a loss. A divorce, a death, an assault, a diagnosis or being let go from a proudly held professional title. We're stripped bare to the bone of the identity we've known. Who are we without the externals that we've used to define ourselves?

Soul searching begins. And if we are open to it, we will tenderly collect the ashes of the past and use their nutrients to cultivate the seeds of our rebirth. Our awareness expands to see that we are never without when we nurture what is within.

ALL I NEED IS WITHIN ME

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