By Karen Mehringer

“Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness.”
– Julie Cameron

Parker, Colorado on October 24th, 2007. Fires raging in southern California. Family and friends in the path of danger. Tension in my body. A dark, unsettled feeling. Unable to experience peace. Remembering the trauma of having to evacuate due to the Old Fire in 2003, while living in Big Bear City, California, I feel the energy of anxiety and fear even though I’m several states away from the blazing embers of fire and lung burning smoke. Surrounded by crystal clear blue skies and several inches of snow from the storm last Sunday, I notice the dichotomy to the stifling heat, dryness and smoke of the fire stricken areas. As I walk my dog in the snow, I find myself contemplating how I might lift myself out of this uncomfortable state of being. I want to feel strong and in my truth which is about embodying love and trusting the Divine in ALL things. I want to experience peace.

As I walk, I begin to shift my perspective to what I know is true for me. Out of death, devastation and destruction is the opportunity for incredible transformation, new life, creation, and expansion. In order to grow and transform, we need to be open to the possibilities that life offers at all times, even if painful or frightening. Out of the pain, after the winter and darkness, life always brings us spring and light. In the midst of our own darkness, sitting with what is, without resistance and with an open heart, the fear dissolves. It melts away and calms down like a raging fire being put to rest. Silence and stillness follow. In this silence and stillness, new life starts to germinate and the cycle repeats itself as it’s done for eons, as it will for eternity.

Four years ago, while driving on Highway 330 during the first spring after the Old Fire, I saw evidence of this cycle of renewal in the green grass and blossoming flowers where the fire’s destruction once left only charred and blackened debris. Similarly, the untimely deaths of my brother and father were catalysts for tremendous personal and spiritual growth in my life. As I allowed the light in to heal the charred ares of my grief stricken heart, seeds of love and joy were planted causing me to blossom into the person I am today. Reflecting back, I am reminded what death and destruction are really about… a change of form, new life and creation, and that there is incredible beauty in this inevitable process when we allow our hearts to remain open. A sense of hope, and faith in life, is then restored.

As we chose to remain fully present and awake during the dark times in our lives, we awaken to the beauty in all of life and open ourselves to experiencing incredible joy. We open ourselves to feeling one with God and ALL of creation.

After my walk, I return home and meditate. I picture the fires being put to rest by a blanket of beautiful, cold, white snow. With it, the blanket subdues the anxious, unsettled energy and smoke as well. I am able to go to that place of stillness and silence, to the void of where it all begins and all ends. I am able to go home to myself and feel at peace.

“Being awake is about seeing the beauty in all things.”