The Calm Fire : A journal entry

My husband has been away for a few days and he will be away for a few more. During this time, as I go about my day, managing my 2 little girls, the 2 dogs, a cat and my most recent baby Memetales, a number of thoughts flow in and out of my head …thoughts about my life, my kids and mostly my husband. I go about my day with a sense of calm (so far at least :) ) and manage to last until 10 p.m every single night when a strange kind of exhaustion starts to hit. And then, I try to work some, but eventually decide it is best to go to bed at a time when my head feels like a trash truck filled to the brim …

I lie down and my thoughts start to flow out – like water that flows out of a jug when tilted. Wonderfully bloggable ideas …but by the morning they have all flowed out and evaporated …and new thoughts start to form again ….

After a few days of this, I am exhausted. Tonight, I just have to unload some of my thoughts ….

This post today is more of a journal entry than my typical blog post … I have just decided to go with the flow on this one …

And I wonder where does my strange sense of calm come from when I am all by myself with at least 5 living creatures completely dependent on me and my husband is half-way across the world???

It is really coming from me – somewhere deep inside of me ….

But how did that calm get inside of me – somewhere deep inside of me ?

I guess it comes from inside of me – like a fire that burns within, but one that is kept alive by a number of people and factors. My “fire of calm” is kept alive by the support I get from my husband, a sense of accomplishment/learning I get from pursuing something intellectual/spiritual in my life and a sense of self-worth and simple joy I get from caring for and sharing with my kids and animals. And so, like all paradoxes in life – this fire that burns bright is  a calm one, this fire that burns deep inside is fueled as much from the outside as the inside.

And the fire burns on – even with my husband half-way across the globe …

But it is not always this way. There are times when I am completely the opposite. When something someone says will fill me with a great sense of self doubt. When I am filled with hopelessness. When the world looks different and my response to every single thing will be vastly different from what it will be today, when I feel that calm fire inside of me.

All my life, struggle and introspection in my life has been about understanding who I am when and learning how to respond to and tend to myself. This seems to be paying off somewhat as I learn to bring up my own children, it seems to be paying off.

Do you have a calm fire inside of you? A fire that keeps you warm and protected? Or a rock that keeps you grounded? Who or what is that? And do you notice when the fire is disturbed?

In my next post called You and You, I will talk more about how I recognize myself in my different forms and what I do about it. And as usual, I will come up with a structure to help you recognize the different YOUs you might come across.

And do check out my latest guest post about Negotiating out at Simplemom if you want to learn about a few universal truths about negotiating.

Creative Commons License photo credit: lrargerich

  • Shalini

    Hi Maya,Too good. I am really inspired by your article and the fact that you are managing your kids and pets all by yourself. Here I am with my two boys, at my mom’s place, and tons of people to help me, and still I crib a lot when Venky is travelling and Pranshu misses him :-(.

  • maya

    Hi Shalini!!

    So nice to see your blog!! Nice to hear that Pranshu is doing so well with the baby. They turn out to be amazing helpers :)

    Hope you are doing well. Liked Venky’s post – and seems like we have a GG to balance your BB afterall 😉

    I tried to comment on your blog but I cannot seem to just sign in without an openid username :(

  • Avani-Mehta

    Maya, sometimes it feels as if you mirror my thoughts and feelings. I can’t think of anything to add to what keeps your fire burning. One thing I have noticed – whenever there is a storm within rather than calm, it’s just me trying to get my attention. When I give myself some self-love, calm sets in.

  • ankur kakkar

    as always, your illustrations elucidate your viewpoint so eloquently that one feels like ” I SHOULD START DRAWING ON MY BLOG AS WELL ” !!

  • Davina

    Hi Maya. I enjoyed your journal entry, especially your mention of how the calm came from inside of you, rather than in relation to your outer world. I don’t have a calm fire inside of me. It’s usually raging wildly while I keep a calm exterior.

  • Barbara Swafford

    Hi Maya,I like this post, your drawings and how you described your calm.  I think it’s the same as when I say I feel “content:”, It’s that same calm feeling when I know everything in my world will work out for the best. Although it’s not something I feel all of the time, I have noticed with age it happens more often.  Happy Easter to you and yours.   

  • Tricia

    Beautiful, Maya. I believe what keeps my fire burning calmly is the same as what keeps yours tended. When my fire is disturbed, it’s most always by something I did, some reaction I’m having and an inability to calm myself. I’ll start to self sabotage, and then I need help from the people around me.

  • J.D. Meier

    I think the ability to manage and change state is powerful.I think one way is to “remember the feeling” but I think another important technique for peaceful calm is to have the right inner dialogue.  I find thoughts trigger emotions … so if you want to change how you feel, change the questions (and questions change the focus).

  • Maya

    Hi Avani,Yes, it is often me asking for my own attention – which was a lot easier to give before I had kids … :) Bu then, having kids has made me somewhat selfish – in a good way. I seem to understand that I shoudl take care of myself if I want to care for them :) Hi Ankur – I will wait for your doodles ;)Hi Davina, is that the unrest of passion that is inside of you or true unrest ?? I am almost jealous of the flow you exhibit on the outside with your writing 😉

  • Maya

    Barbara, Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend! It is good to know the calm gets easier with age… I have not felt that way looking at my parents really – I always thought that age brought new insecurities that make life a lot harder for us …Hi Tricia!Wow – you recognize self-sabotage so well. It took me a while to realize when I get in the cycle of self-sabotage. It is so important to have external strength and support at those times …you are right …I am not one to use outside help very often but I wonder what I’d do without my husband :) Hi JD,So true – that right inner dialogue is the key to going upwards or downwards on that spiral, isn’t it? Probably explains why  I shut myself off from th eworld in times of serious self doubt ….

  • Vered – MomGrind

    I don ‘t think I have that. I sensed that you do – I could tell even before I read this post. My husband is my rock in many senses, which means I often feel lost an ungrounded when he’s away.

  • Marelisa

    Hi Maya: Just recently I read that Harry Truman had a calm space in his mind that he would retreat to when the world was going crazy all around him.  It’s interesting how we can create a safe haven inside our minds regarldess of what might be going on around us. 

  • Manasi

    Hey Maya,

    I believe what keeps my calm fire burning is as simple as the joy of doing the right things, supporting the right cause and taking the right decisions at any given moment, seeing a smile on someone’s face and then smiling away myself, I am calm when I am in the nature all by myself. A good awareness to what I generally am feeling at a particular moment is what gives me a signal whether I am nurturing the right thoughts or not. Good feelings come from thinking good and healthy thoughts and you are unruffled and undisturbed and are at peace with yourself. When I am feeling bad then definitely there are some unhealthy and bad thoughts disturbing me. So many a time, when I am depressed I try and exercise my mind to digress telling myself that I am unhappy right now coz I am not thinking right. So I tend to talk it out with myself coz at the end of the day the inner fire of calm kindled by me alone is more stronger and more powerful than the calm generall provided and kept alive by some external sources.

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    Do I have a fire of calm inside of me? At my core, I do have a fire of calm. Well, I’m not sure if it is a fire, but there is definitely a shining light of calmness. And then, when I’m not paying attention, my ego and the drama will swoop in to cause waves of chaos.

  • Positively Present

    Maya, I love your website. It’s beautifully done and very inspiring!

    Positively Presents last blog post..don’t settle for anything less than butterflies

  • maya

    Hi Vered,

    Yes , I feel mostly calm – but again – not always :) Isn’t it amazing how people becomes such a part of us? It scares me soemtimes…

    Hi Mare – I have to learn to find that space quicker – it takes too long sometimes :)

    Hi Manasi – yes, bad thoughts kill me too – but the power of positive language is immense, isn’t it? I used to be like you – nature used to calm me – but now,  it has been forever since I heard the quiet of nature ….with  the kids way too much goes on in life and I long to reconnect with nature once again!

  • maya

    Hi Stacey –

    Haha – shining light of calm  is a great way to put it.

  • maya

    Thank you so much! I appreciate you leaving me a note and saying that :)

  • Still Life in South America

    Hi Maya,

    Your words always fill me with peace.

    Like others have stated, your post reflect my feelings of late. I am a gentle person, and I am aware when the calming fire dims. It is as Tricia states when I have the, “inability to calm myself.” I blow up scary scenarios in my mind and my heart is overwhelmed with dread.

    There is no better feeling than the calm fire you speak of. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Still Life in South Americas last blog post..Peru’s Sacred Valley

  • kathryn1951

    i appreciate running across your comments, but i find that after many years of being a mom and a wife i am now by myself with my pets. i find that having worked for over 35 years my savings are gone, my home and a few others due to two divorces are gone, too. i worked hard to do the right thing yet i find i wonder what for? always concerned about money with so-called abundance all around, always robbing peter to pay paul no matter how much i work. what would you do should you find yourself with your children gone and not much communication? what about no husband? no home? no assets in material sense? i find that i make corn bread or take a walk, or drink a few beers (careful about that), listen to music on the internet (no tv and no radio except a portable radio with poor reception), fortunately free wi fi (no home now, but a small travel trailer i managed to keep all these years). then i look around and see more clothes than i can wear, plenty of blankets and a couple of beautiful quilts, but at times very little food, yet i manage, use mayonaisse for oil in a home made batter bread, plenty of “emergency tuna” and a few noodles. i have water, feet that still walk easily, eyes that see the birds and the bay that is near, even if it means walking to it, since no vehicle due to no money for insurance, must make the payment. getting ripped off by creditors, yet i am honest, and say i do what i can. hearing of high paid movie stars and sports people; i do not listen too often and i do not watch movies. look up old celebrities and see how much trouble they are in! even with all their money. i think of patients i have had who suffered for no reason, greedy doctors. yet from time to time kind souls who seem to truly care, or a patient who actually feels better about my being there. nasty coworkers for no good reason. my jealousy of many yet my ability to realize it and get through it. family who turn a deaf ear to my problems when i finally express them and ask for help; no good reason, i have not abused them either emotionally or financially, ever. so, i wonder what is wrong with me or is it them? yet, slowly i can release that, very slowly, just to say, it is them, they are fearful for many reasons, some are selfish, most are fearful, and even though i do not matter much to them and never have, and so they lost the love i could have given, afraid to say such a thing, but it is true. i am kind, not perfect by any means at all, but considerate and caring and often very compassionate to see their side of their fears, so that is greater than their lack of caring for me, does this make sense?

    so, these are my journal comments for today. i, too, have some type of inner strength, inner quiet fire that keeps me going, not sure why; even the pets are not enough of a reason, but i find that i can enjoy just the simple things and so despite my tossing and turning in my sleep with worry far too often, i get up, afraid, but shake myself out of it, and try again for another day.

  • Baby Bedding

    I love and enjoy reading your journal. By the way I'm also impressed on your drawing. :)

  • travel trailers

    I appreciate you leaving me a note and saying that