My Life on Fire

Setting my life on fire had me choking on the smoke there for a minute. Whoa. But now it’s clearing, and I can see, off in the distance, the sun rising over a new valley.

How do you leave something good?

I kept asking myself this question as the little voice – getting bigger every day – rose up within me. It started as a whisper, I’m not happy in my marriage. Then it was an argument: me vs. my own inner voice. I’m not happy in my marriage. “Yes you are! Stop that nonsense. Life is better now than it ever has been. You love your family. Knock it off.” But it doesn’t feel right anymore. “You just shush! Everything is fine.”

Intention is a powerful thing. It overruled the voice, for a while. We worked on it. Talked about it. Tried to reconnect through it. “I am responsible for my own happiness; no one can make me happy but me,” became my mantra.

Then I started to hurt. My neck would “go out” for days or a week at a time. I could hardly turn my head and the pain was so bad, even through and after massages, yoga, and reiki, that I actually took over the counter pain meds just to numb it enough to be somewhat present in my life. This happened more times than I’d like to admit.

My intuitive friends took notice, of course, in that way we do when we totally know The Universe is trying to send a message to an unwilling receiver. “Oh, your neck is out? Oh, you have another ear infection, cold, your throat hurts?” they’d say. “What message are you ignoring?”

I’m not happy in my marriage.

“It’s not something I’m ready or willing to hear right now,” I’d answer, and they’d smile the sad knowing smile that my own heart hid.

Eventually, the pain would fade enough.


That was the word that finally broke the wobbly barrier I’d built to keep that little voice in (and expansion out). It was something he said to me the first time I told him about that little voice. That was one of the many wonderful things about my marriage, that we were safe and open to talk about even the hardest things. So I told him, of course.

“Today in Yoga Nidra, we were prompted to allow our inner truth to speak to us something we needed to hear. I heard, I’m not happy in my marriage. And I have to say, I don’t really like it. I don’t know if it’s right or what, but I wanted you to know that it came up,” I said to him.

He looked thoughtful. It wasn’t all that surprising, what with a spirited baby, a new business, crazy work hours, and other strains on us. Then he said it – that word that would eventually undo it all.

“Don’t you think we are happy enough for now?” he asked.

It churned my stomach to hear it. In that moment, if I had listened to my body, I would have known the answer. But I was shushing my body. So I used my mind instead, and that thing told me yes of course we are, considering all these strains and stressors.

Time passed. My right hip started “going out” along with my neck. Finally, I sought chiropractic care because I just knew I was out of alignment.

And if that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what would.

You’re out of alignment. My body, mind, and inner voice were screaming it to me. The x-rays proved it.

My friends, even the less-professionally-intuitive ones, took notice. “Sometimes, when I feel like this, I take a step back and listen to my own inner voice,” she said one sunny day down by the water. “What is your inner voice saying?”

I’m not happy in my marriage!!!

And once I said it out loud to them, once my body started coming back into alignment, once I allowed myself to journal and feel and Know again . . . it became clear.

I had to set my life on fire. I was terrified.

How could I leave something so good? Good enough, my intuition reminded me. “No. It really is good. He is an amazing human, and I’m lucky to have him,” I firmly reminded myself. But my body knew – our bodies always know. Good enough wasn’t right for me. HE is wonderful, and I am wonderful. But together, we were enough.

Spirit called me to rise to the occasion, to meet my higher truth, and to leap off the cliff into a fire I wasn’t even sure I had the courage to light. It took me a week to start that fire, and when I did, it was blinding.

We both cried. I was in a fog. His heart was – is – broken.

But my body . . . it was like I could breathe again. My forehead unwrinkled. My little voice was singing a new song that I didn’t – and still can’t, not quite – recognize, but it sounds like hope and excitement. My hip and neck stopped hurting almost instantly.

I found a new place to live and once I moved in, I came down with a debilitating head cold. All those unspoken truths and the force with which I had shoved down my intuition was finally coming up, clearing out, and leaving my body.

I was forced to sit in the smoke, alone, for a week. I slept a lot, I cried some, and I trusted.

Because, once we set our lives on fire, we must deal with the smoke. Starting the fire takes courage; sitting in it takes strength and blind faith. It would be so easy to grab a hose and douse the whole thing – to take back the words, renegotiate the change, put it all rest. But that’s not what fire is meant to do. Fire is meant to cleanse, to clear, to burn away and purify.

Last night, on the eve of the solstice, I lit a new fire: candles and stones, sage smoke and moonlight, and a salt water bath to wash away the last of the density. I took back my body, claiming it as my own. I slept and dreamed and woke with the sun feeling better than I had in a long, long time.

The smoke has finally cleared. This fire moved me, body and spirit, to a new vantage point on a strange and curious mountain. From here, I can see a world waiting to be explored. As the sun rises and the fog burns away, the trees below are whispering to me about dreams coming true, about believing in magic, and about a fulfillment so deep and satisfying that hunger never existed.

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