How not to scorch the earth when lighting the flames of love

Ian Munro at Leading Essentially wrote on Sunday about the natural power of a forest fire to clear out deadfall and create room for new growth.

Ian writes:

forest fire“A forest benefits from naturally occurring fires. It is one of those counter intuitive things in nature.  The forest ecosystem needs a good fire occasionally.  The larger, older trees form a canopy that blocks the light and suppresses new growth. Over the years, it also accumulates a lot of dead wood and brush on the forest floor, making it less passable for animals and less arable for other plants.  A good burn cures a lot of these issues.  At first, there’s nothing but a blackened mess.”

Read more of “The Secret to Avoiding Drastic Measures”

What we humans sometimes do not see is the beauty in the devastation. The possibility in the mess.

No matter how messy and filled with dead wood our path may be, we don’t want to feel the loss, experience the trauma, know the grief of burning down walls, tearing out the roots of the past, sweeping away deadfall on our path.

We focus instead on keeping going, no matter how dark the road, how treacherous the way. We keep on going in whatever direction we’re going, if only to avoid having to see the loss of light on our path.

Nature is patient, writes Ian.

We humans, not so much.

We want to continue on whatever path we’re on, be it comfortable or not, and not face the devastation, not confront the need to uproot or, as the case of a forest fire, burn down the overgrowth to get to the sun.

Two weeks ago, I married my beloved and we committed to live together, ‘happily ever-after’.

Okay, well the happily ever-after bit maybe wasn’t in our vows, but sometimes, in the beauty of the moment, happily-ever-after seems not so far away!

What was in our vows was the commitment to love one another, in the broken and the whole, of who we are, where ever we are.

We committed to be true to one another, no matter how dark the skies around us. To always find the path of least-destruction through all kinds of turmoil.

Life isn’t the culprit when our paths become dark and gloomy. We are.

In our quest to live in constant ‘happily ever-after’ we forget that life can be messy. It can have challenges. Ups and downs and disappointments. We must continually sweep away the fallen branches and deadfall that has collected on our path as we’ve journeyed from yesterday to today if we are to keep the light coming in. Or, to paraphrase M. Scott Peck who wrote over three decades ago about love and life and spirituality in “The Road Less Travelled”, if you don’t take out the garbage the whole house will stink. Our shadows are like the garbage, suggested Peck. If we don’t face them and all they carry, they’ll really stink up our lives.

I’m not a scorched earth supporter. I don’t believe we need to continually burn the earth on which we walk to keep our paths clear. I do believe, we need to continually clear out the deadfall, examine fallen branches and either turn them into walking sticks or let them go if they no longer serve us well. We need to continually seek the peaceful, loving path through our lives.

If I want my life to be filled with peace and love, joy and harmony, I must let go of lighting fires that destroy the world around me. As a couple, we must choose the road less travelled to find eachother’s hearts, in darkness and in light.


This post is in response to Ian’s question on his post:  The Secret To Avoiding Drastic Measures:

  • As a couple do we allow small irritations, poor habits and minor incompatibilities to fester to the point where the level of resentment cannot be reversed?  Or do we pursue more open dialog that allows these issues to be addressed individually, accepting that sometimes it will cause an argument or “small fire” that can be more easily controlled?


5 thoughts on “How not to scorch the earth when lighting the flames of love

  1. Elgie,

    I read something I can’t recall exactly .. something about grit/irritations … in an oyster, it gets you a pearl. In a relationship, it feels more like sandpaper on your ass. So, the message was … purge those bits of grit and irritation first chance you get. So much easier to remove a grain of sand than it is to repair the damage done by the sandpaper. Sitting is easier too.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great follow-on post Louise. When I started my blog I set out to create a conversation and this certainly is the longest answer to any question I’ve posed! 🙂 I love the concept of the third way … not of apocalyptic forest fires or controlled burns, but of clearing any debris as it falls such that the forest is always healthy and beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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