Burn it down to make it blossom. This might sound as a contradictio in terminis, but I do think it’s pretty logical. If we want something new, we have to say goodbye to the old. Often we can’t have and … and. It’s the law of nature. A law that applies for relationships as well.
Between August 1999 and July 2000 I spent a year writing my way around Australia. Three of those months I was up north in a small little place of nothing, called Darwin River. I did some voluntary work (woofing) on a farm. Living in the dry, tropical heat we would often see smoke of flames high in the sky. Sometimes we would go over and find a black forest; burned down to the ground. Smoke would circle up from the hot earth. I don’t think I have seen something so dead as a forest just after it is burned down.
Two days later we would return to check if there was no fire anymore smoldering underneath the earth. The first time I returned to a place like that I was amazed. Within two days a macabre piece of land would have been turned around in a young, fresh breeding ground, where new plants where already sprouting.
Seeds need fire
A few months after my visit to the Northern Territory I was so lucky to spent some time with an Aboriginal chief. He explained me that the seeds of some plants and trees in Australia need fire. Without fire they can’t germinate. The Aboriginals new this already ages ago. They would burn forest down – in a controlled way – to help the plants.
We talked for hours about living in harmony with nature. He explained that Aboriginals will never eat more then they need. If you do it, you harm nature. It’s all about balance. Fire brings balance. You have to burn it down to make it blossom. He used the four seasons we have in Western Europe as an example. Maybe there is no big fire, but in the fall everything starts to die. Winter looks like a dead period, but underneath the ground there is already a lot happening as we can see in spring when (almost) all trees and plants blossom. In summer we harvest, before dead comes along again.
Cycle of life
It is a normal cycle of life. A cycle of life that – if we look around us – we can see everywhere. Even a day has a rhythm like that. A few friends of mine are stuck in this cycle. Stuck because the natural movement is gone. One friend is waiting for his lover to break up her relationship for eleven months now. She says she wants to, but she doesn’t do it. At the same time she is not ‘setting him free’ as well. So she is cheating on her husband and at the same time playing with my friend’s heart. She says she is not, but not making a decision is making a decision as well, because she lets the situation the way it is. She is afraid all her friends will think she is a bitch when she leaves her husband. She doesn’t want to burn it down to make it blossom with my friend. In words yes, in deeds no.
Another friend of mine is kind of in the same situation. Her relationship has been dead for quite some time. She tried, created all the circumstances to make it work, but it didn’t work anymore. I’ll write more about this soon. She wants to break up, but is looking for ‘a clean way out’ so she finally can go on with her own life. Sometimes there is no clean way out and you have to burn it down to make it blossom. In this case her own life.
Burn it down
I understand putting things on fire is a horrible thought. Unless you are a pyromaniac. Seeing a relationship that is dead is horrible as well. But burning it down, after you tried everything to get the magic back in, is sometimes the only option that is left. If you don’t burn it down to the ground, the new seeds won’t germinate. They will stay hidden under the dead ground till you finally find the guts to light it all on fire and follow the law of nature. Old things have to die to make room for new things; new loves, new chances, new life.
My own life
I’ll give you a simple example out of my own life. I sold my yoga school. I loved that school. I had built a whole community around it. Was teaching yoga in the park, gave yoga concerts and much more. But there was something inside aching for more. Some people thought I was crazy. Leaving my school behind. Especially now it was finally making money. Last week I read an interesting quote about a similar situation where somebody called an old swami (Bhaduri Mahasaya) crazy because he had forsaken family wealth and had entered the yogi path. Mahasaya’s answer was: “You are reversing the case. I have left a few paltry rupees, a few petty pleasures for a cosmic empire of endless bliss. How then have I denied myself anything? I know the joy of sharing the treasure.”
I feel the same. I left my school behind. I burned down what I had built up with hard work, but only to give new seeds the chance to germinate. I’m still working hard, but I’m harvesting. I’m teaching yoga around the world. I’m writing this blog, a hundred meters from the ocean and I will dive in it in a few minutes. I’m eating amazing food, sharing my knowledge, learning new things, made new friends and found new love. Only because I dare to burn the old down to make the new blossom.