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Nurturing the Flame Within

Embracing Winter’s Wisdom by Lisa Burchartz

Winter has well and truly arrived in Toronto, and being a warm weather lover, I’ve sought comfort in the simplicity of moments—sipping steaming tea, basking in the warmth of our fire, wrapping myself in a cozy blanket, and savouring the wisdom of a well-chosen poem.

The busyness of life and daily stressors have a way of pulling us out of connection with ourselves and away from the natural Rhythms and Cycles of Life. I am no exception to this challenge, when I’m stressed (which often means I’m overly focused on “doing” things for others), self-care tends to fly out the window, so lately, I’ve been finding my way back by taking purposeful pauses, putting my hand over my heart and asking, “What do I need to return to myself”? 

Sometimes, it’s a few minutes of intuitive movement - accompanied by great music (Emm Gryner is a staple on my playlist - in fact I attended her concert last evening!), jotting down thoughts in my new journal, singing and humming, reaching out to a  friend, hugging my dog (or one of my kids when they’re willing), and on days like today, delving into the enchanting world of poetry. I randomly opened a book on my shelf, and Julia Fehrenbacher's words spoke to my soul.

“I am making a home inside myself. 

A shelter of kindness where everything is forgiven, everything allowed—a quiet patch of sunlight to stretch out without hurry, where all that has been banished

and buried is welcomed, spoken, listened to—released. 

A fiercely friendly place I can claim as my very own. 

I am throwing arms open

to the whole of myself—especially the fearful, fault-finding, falling apart, unfinished parts, knowing

every seed and weed, every drop of rain, has made the soil richer.


I will light a candle, pour a hot cup of tea, gather around the warmth of my own blazing fire. I will howl

if I want to, knowing this flame can burn through

any perceived problem, any prescribed perfectionism,

any lying limitation, every heavy thing.


I am making a home inside myself

where grace blooms in grand and glorious

abundance, a shelter of kindness that grows

all the truest things.”


— Julia Fehrenbacher

How do those words make you FEEL? 

I invite you to pause, get curious and really take them in. 

Gather around your metaphorical (or real) fire, and let yourself feel the diversity of emotions that are evoked by this poem. And, wherever you are in the world, may you enjoy this last week of January.


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