Things may never be the same, and that’s all right | PostIndependent.com
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Things may never be the same, and that’s all right

Dear Editor,

Having recently been evacuated due to the Coal Seam Fire in Glenwood Springs, I have heard many people speak of a desire for things to return to “normal,” for things to return to the way they were. From this moment on, especially for those who lost their homes, things may never be the same, and that may be the point.

My life in the theater has taught me about human behavior. Most external behavior reveals an inner reality, even when we think we are concealing. So too, mythology allows us to perceive the external events in our lives as symbols, clues to a larger reality. My time invested in mythological research has yielded a profitable return. As Joseph Campbell instructs, we are all on a hero’s journey, and the Coal Seam Fire is our current guide. I take my cue from the flames . and endeavor to serve as a “light bearer.”

The fire consuming the forests of Colorado, and threatening our homes (foundations/sense of security) is offering potent messages. On some level each of us is being asked to jump the chasm, or cross the bridge of transformation, into new territory. In Egyptian mythology the phoenix symbolizes transformation as it surrenders to fire and steps out cleansed and endowed with new life.

Forest Service workers tell us that occasional forest fires benefit the natural world. The rich soil, nourished by ashes, allows for abundant growth. If we apply this thinking to our own lives, mythology tells us we can relate fire to the removal of useless or destructive habits and the subsequent creation of a stronger self.

Specifically, we can learn to make decisions in the present moment, the way required when fleeing from the path of oncoming flames. In such a situation decisions are made in an instant, based on instinct and survival. We need these skills because LIFE DOES NOT REMAIN IN STASIS. There is no room for “attachment.” Those of us who are holding on too tightly are being hurt the most due to our childlike attachment to things and people.

Glenwood’s leaders have warned us of the need to be packed and ready to move. We need to be spare, clear and focused, free of baggage that ties us down, and burned clear of thoughts that burden and prevent our growth. The impermanence of the material is being demonstrated to us on a very personal level. As my experience in the theater has taught me, and as Coal Seam is now making abundantly clear, we would all do well in our lives to respond purely, in the moment, from a gut-level. This response allows us to grow phoenix-like wings of flexibility with which our souls can take flight.

Kathryn Preston

Glenwood Springs


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