Hot & Cold

Do you know of the game Hot & Cold? Someone hides something, and you have to look for it, and as you do you’re told if you’re getting closer (“warm… warmer… hot…”) or getting farther away (“you’re cold… ice cold!”). When you know you’re cold, you don’t keep heading in the same direction, because it’s clearly the wrong way to get to that thing you’re after. You don’t know exactly the steps that will take you straight to where it is, but you can pay attention to the clues and gradually move in the direction that gets you warmer.

When you feel numb to life, when you feel dull and deadened inside, that is the soul’s equivalent to cold. Arctic cold! On an emotional and energy level, that is the life force of your own spirit dimming down. It is your inner fire going out, losing heat, because you are going in the opposite direction of “Hot”.

“Hot” is the truth of who you are and why you are here.

There is no point to staying in the cold, in that empty space. There is nothing for you there. You might think it’s a good idea to keep meandering around and searching in it, hoping that somewhere in the nothingness you’ll find a sense of direction, or some sense of security. It’s tempting because so many others are wandering around in it too. Is it really so bad? (What do you think?)

In that place, you and everybody else are going to slowly die through life… instead of fully living in it. We are all going to die at some point. The greatest risk we can take is never truly living, never feeling alive, never knowing fullness, never feeling our inner fire or shining with our own light.

How can you find that light when it’s nowhere around? To start, feel. Everything. Anything. Come back to life inside, in whatever little ways you can. Start moving your body. That’s the best advice. Get to flowing physically and the emotional and spiritual parts of you will start to wake back up. Pay attention to the emotional shifts you experience in different moments, and the energy levels that various activities and ideas provide.

I read once about a turn-of-the-century American writer who spent his whole life passive, uninvolved, on the outskirts of things and staying buried in his work. He was in Europe when WWI hit, and he couldn’t believe the tragedy happening all around him. He couldn’t understand how joy and light could possibly exist in so much death, so much misery. It ripped him wide open. He wrote letters to friends about it, like a woman he knew whose husband was killed during battle. He didn’t tell her to have hope and find peace. Instead, he just told her to feel. He said to feel, as deeply and fully as possible. The senselessness of war made people numb, made them dead inside, and closed them off to the flow of life. To feel, he said to her, is the one thing we can do to stay truly alive.

Our existence on earth is so short, and each moment we have of it is unspeakably precious. Others might tell you who or how to be or not be, how to feel or not feel, what to do or not do, but nobody gets the consequences of that but you. Nobody else experiences your life on the inside but you. Each of us lives and dies with and within our own experiences. That’s it. We cannot live any other life but our own. And it is our choice what to do with it.

You can live a half life, one that is not quite true for you, that is not really yours. You can be a shell of a person, hollowed out by the demands and expectations and needs of others. You can tend to everyone else’s fire, keep them company in the cold and attempt to keep their happiness alight for them. But by doing that at the expense of your own, your inner fire will die out, and you will be left to carry the chill of death around in you until the day your spirit is freed from the body.

Why wait for that? Your spirit can be free *while* you are in your body, while your body still has a heartbeat, while your lungs still have air. It is your will and your power and responsibility to exercise that freedom, however selfish it may seem to those who want to keep you imprisoned in their fireless world, or even how selfish it may seem to you to leave people behind and alone there. If you stay for them, then they only get a phantom of you, a shadow; mere smoke and ashes where there was meant to be a great light burning within.

Choose to live your life. Stand your ground, walk away, whatever it takes. Leap beyond all the “shoulds” of how you think you’re supposed to live and move courageously toward something warmer, toward finding (i.e. creating!!!!) a life that is worth living.

Risk is nothing, when staying safe there in the emptiness and the cold means nothing to you. Everybody else’s lives are their own to ruin or revel in. Don’t waste yours. Go where you feel yourself getting warm, and then warmer… If it’s sunny California or snowy Siberia or the coffee shop down the street or the chair in your living room. Don’t worry about happy vs. not happy. Focus on feeling your way out of the cold. Turn up the heat. Get angry. Get passionate. F*** all the b-s that’s holding you back, that’s kept you down and out, that’s left you shivering far away from your path with heart.

Breathe, move, let life course in your veins. Read something positive. Repeat a mantra. Clean your room. Take a walk. Take one day at a time. Do anything that makes a spark, and then you can make another, and another… Until you are able to light your own inner fire and are blazing with it.

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