by Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn is the space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing, 
too many logs packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely as a pail of water would.

So, building fires requires attention
to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build open spaces
in the same way we have learned to pile on the logs,
then we can see how it is fuel, and the absence of fuel together
that makes fire possible.

We need only to lay a log lightly from time to time.
A fire grows simply because the space is there,
with openings in which the flame that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Perhaps like many of you, I celebrate the solstice on 21 December, it is part of the overall Christmas experience for me, bringing together both my Celtic roots and the Christian tradition I was brought up in.  In recent years, the place I’ve celebrated the Solstice is Nano Nagle Birthplace a beautiful place close to my home and my heart. 

This year, I had the pleasure of reading the above poem during the celebrations on 21 December and it put me in reflective mode.  2018 was a busy year for me, as it was for many of my clients and workshop participants.  For me personally, there was a lot of “piling on of logs”.  And just as the poem describes, part of the result of that was a dousing of the flames – too much activity at times created overwhelm and loss of vitality and
momentum.  And even though I didn’t always understand it in the beautiful way the poem describes, I did learn through meditation, the practice of focusing and through reflection, that the way to overcome that is through creating space – time to meditate and reflect, time for holidays and weekends, time to simply be and to do nothing.

This was key learning for me this year and I wanted to share it with all of you.  So this poem and my experience of it in action in my own life is part of my end of 2018 gift to you.  Thank you for being part of my community this year, for being with me at workshops, on strategy sessions and as my coaching clients.  May 2019 be a special year for you, with time and space to grow and become even more of your best self.

Wishing you all the blessings of the festive season and a happy, healthy and successful year in 2019, however that is defined by you.

​First shared December 2018