Overcoming Fire Flee-ing

My Ring of Fire

I am having a hard time creating my next blog post.  I think it’s partially because I don’t want to let go of Sooke.  I like seeing her picture whenever my blog site shows up, and being reminded of her ‘kind eyes’ and contented spirit.

I keep finding little signs of her all about the house.  There’s the obvious, hair.  (That will be with us forever.)  There’s also the toys.  I thought I had gathered up all the signs, but no.  Today starting my yoga practice, stepping back into downward dog,  I noticed her tennis ball stuck under the office cabinet.  I started to cry and downward dog collapsed into bout of sadness.

It’s odd how grief hits.

Like flames from a fire.

What might seem like a small flicker comes roaring up when it meets open air, and knocks me back or singes my hair.

Yesterday I published a new blog: To Skin or To Ski.  It was about how I was getting excited about my new winter community building project – skiing. You may have seen it briefly, that is if you looked quickly.

Last night, in the middle of the night, I trashed it.


Well, though it’s true that I am caught up getting ready for ski season, the post wasn’t a genuine reflection of me.

No.  It was a reflection of my desire to distract and move on, but not move through the grief I feel about the loss of Sooke.

Martha – that is Martha Beck – calls it fire fleeing.  Running from those deep emotions – like grief or despair.

I don’t like to admit that I am indeed a fire flee-er.

Run, Susie Run

It’s true. I sometimes like to run, Susie run from those less than comfortable feelings. In this case, it is ski, Susie, ski.  Frankly, I’m not even that good of skier. Maybe it is helpful that the the snow hasn’t arrived just yet!

It’s not just grief.  I am also flee-ing the left over feelings from my month up at Haven.

Prior to saying good-bye to Sooke, I had just returned from my annual Living Alive Phase program up at the Haven.

A month with folks is a long time. Especially when I’m with people who are sharing and inviting me into their darkness night. These people let me see their courageous steps to reclaim their voice, their heart, even their rage, and acknowledge their despair, and in a world that simply isn’t always kind or fair.

No, I don’t think I did such a great job of allowing myself to acknowledge and feel my own feelings that arise in holding a space for deep transformation for so many.

Sure, I am much better these days at working with what’s coming up inside of me all along the way.  However, a few things really touched me deeply during this Phase.

One that stands out, was the number of folks who were living day-to-day fighting the urge to quit life. Often there’s someone who is having suicidal thoughts, but usually it’s not so openly brought into the circle.  I was deeply moved by the times the group willingly invited, and created, a place for someone to step in and share the raw, real fight to live or die.  Equally touching was the response from others to not fix, but to feel.  To share their own anger, angst, and fear of what it was like to watch someone pull away and choose isolation, not knowing if they intended to come back.

So for me, at times, it was hard to hold, to wait, and let people find their way.  I do believe, though, that is my job as a leader.  To anchor in my belief that the greatest gift we can ever offer another human being is the gift to choose, and to have faith in their ability to make the right and best choice for their journey.  My job is to remain true and responsible for my own reaction or response, staying open and real, even when I don’t agree.  It’s not easy.

If I’m honest, I am rolling through various waves of feelings, (or flames.)   Some related to weaving the month of learning and leading.  Some from the waves of deep sadness that comes from letting go of my dear friend and beloved, Sooke.  Even other waves of the joy of being home with my honey and diving into making our work and world sing. I have to admit that does present it’s own flames as we adjust to coming back together.

There’s so much more to my life than snow and skiing! Still, maybe trashing that post was a bit harsh. Because it is okay to seek the bright spots, as long as it’s not to simply to avoid dropping into the fire.

This post, though not smooth seems more real. I’ll see if I can save To Skin or To Ski – if not just know one of those bright spots is seeing the snow fall on our mountain! Opening day is December 6 – until then – well no more fire fleeing.  (Okay, maybe just a little!)

Life is about being in it all – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.


Interested in working with Susan.  Check out her Oh Sh*T! to Aha Coaching   or sign up for one of her Haven Programs in 2015:

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