Playing with Fire

With so many planets in Aries this month, the Fire element is in the house! How can we play with Fire, in our relationships, and not get burned? Fire can show up in lots of different ways: the spark of passion that fuels sexual excitement; a twinkle in the eye that incites play and laughter; or the flash of inspiration that sets you off on bold adventures. Fire gets things moving, and the springtime energy of Aries brings us back to life, after winter’s hibernation. What is stirring within you, in regard to relationships? What do you want to birth or renew? What (or who) are you motivated to move towards? What are you fired up about creating with a partner?

While the Fire element brings action, heat, and illumination, it can also get out of hand. We don’t want to burn the house down! When excessive, in a relationship, Fire can show up as an over-emphasis on “me” vs. “we”, which can ignite conflicts. Healthy self-assertion is a form of Fire that helps us stand up for our needs. But when out of balance, Fire can become aggressive, crashing recklessly past personal boundaries. That kind of fire will burn bridges and ruin relationships. In the bedroom, Fire is hot (in a good way)!  When unbridled passion explodes in ecstasy, happily exhausted lovers bask in the afterglow.  But blind passion can drive people to take stupid risks that lead to destruction. Some examples: Getting an STD after having unprotected sex or having an illicit affair that destroys a marriage.

Playing with Fire can be dangerous, or it can be a pleasure. It all depends on how well the Fire is cooperating with the other three elements. When Fire is in harmony with the Water of emotions, the clear communication of the Air element, and the stability of Earth, it can bring pure delight to any relationship! Take a look at how fire is showing up within you and in your relationships. Maybe you need to stoke the fire, or maybe you need to contain it. Maybe you need to act with courage, and ask for what you want. Or maybe you need to listen more closely, to understand the heart’s desire of your beloved. This month, as the temperature rises, have fun and channel your passion in creative ways!

The Heart and Soul of Desire

Heart and soul of desire

My earliest encounter with Eastern philosophy came via Hippy culture, in the early 80’s. The take-away message went something like this: “Let go of all attachments. Let go of all desires.”  One cold winter’s eve, I attempted to follow that guidance and be “spiritual” by throwing away a box of photographs and memorabilia from my childhood.  That rash act may have cleared out some space in my closet, but it didn’t do a thing for my enlightenment!  These many years later, my understanding has deepened and become more nuanced. We don’t need to let go of all desires in order to be “spiritually-correct”. In fact, our desires can actually lead us along our spiritual way.

Our hearts’ desires and our souls’ intentions are naturally aligned.  Their shared purpose is to support our evolution and spiritual awakening.  A Course in Miracles describes the “prayer of the heart” and how our hearts know, perhaps better than our minds, what we truly desire. “What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying…The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience.” (A Course in Miracles, Teachers Manual)  For example, your heart may be asking for a deeply connected, loving experience. Your heart isn’t saying “Give me a single professional who loves Salsa dancing and sushi.”

Spiritual teacher, Bentinho Massaro writes: “If you have passionate desires raging within that are not just revolving around protecting yourself, but feel truly inspired, that bear with them a spark of excitement, of joy, of possibilities…then they have a very real purpose. They are a glimpse into your possible future…Let it all out, and act on it with respect and integrity toward your environment and the beings in it…Everything you see is the result of desire. Without desire, there wouldn’t be creation. Thus, even The One, The Absolute, has desires. Why try to be more non-dual than The One?”

The important question is not “Should I have desires?” but “Where is the desire arising from?” Is it coming from ego or from your essence?  The litmus test is this:  Is the desire driven by fear? If so, that’s your ego talking.  The ego is based on separation consciousness, which breeds fear and a belief in lack.  Yet the heart and soul are rooted in your essence, which is love. Your heart and soul know that you are already whole and interconnected with all of life. From that place of love, wholeness, and interconnection spring the profound intentions of your soul and the precious prayers of your heart. What are they whispering to you?

Transform Your Inner Critic

Aquarius encourages us to live our lives with authenticity and embody our unique expression of the Divine spark without apology.  That means accepting ourselves with all of our quirks and eccentricities, and not worrying about the judgments of others.  While Aquarius can help us break free from anything that gets in the way of expressing our true selves, one of the biggest obstacles to our freedom resides within.  It’s the Inner Critic.  You know that nagging voice that’s always pointing out your flaws, showing you where you fall short, putting you down, and judging you more harshly than anyone else.  With Mars in Virgo turning retrograde this month, be aware that your Inner Critic may be especially loud and hurtful.  But you don’t need to let it beat you up or stop you from expressing your true self.

In my work with a technique called Voice Dialogue Process, I’ve talked to a lot of Inner Critics.  They can be mean and nasty!  They know just how to make a person feel like crap.  Yet, every Inner Critic starts out with good intentions.  They start out wanting to help.  Basically, the Inner Critic is afraid that other people might judge you, make fun of you, disrespect you, or reject you.  So, it steps in to judge you first.  It tries to keep you in line, through constant condemnation.  It says that if you would just listen to its raucous demands maybe you could eventually be “good enough”, “smart enough”, “strong enough”, “successful enough”, etc, etc.  The Inner Critic warps the Virgoan desire for discernment and self-improvement into self-judgment and relentless perfectionism.

So, how can you transform your Inner Critic?  Voice Dialogue provides a powerful process that helps you get past the insults and critical jabs so you can reach the Inner Critic’s heart.  When you can embrace your Inner Critic, you regain your power.   Now you can recognize when it’s acting up.  You can gently but firmly tell it to take a break.  You have the power to look directly at what your Critic is telling you, and ask yourself, “Is it true?”  If what the Inner Critic says is a lie, then simply dismiss it.  If what it says is true, then you might benefit from the Critic’s discerning wisdom.  You may need to remind your Critic to offer it’s insights with a good dose of kindness and compassion, but if you are willing to hear her constructive feedback, the Inner Critic can become a valuable member of your inner support team.

If you want to free yourself to be yourself, you may need to forge a new relationship with your Inner Critic.  That familiar inner voice may be harsh and blaring.  It may dominate your thoughts and masquerade as the truth. Yet, when embraced, the Inner Critic can be transformed into a powerful ally. Leave me a comment, and let me know your best strategies for dealing with your Inner Critic, when it’s on a rampage.