May 23, 2012


Fire is a life source.  We all know the cliches, about how fire transforms, it creates and it destroys, it changed human existence and in fact the world forever.  It is huge and yet it is nothing; it has no substance.  It is terrifying, but it is also beautiful.

But fire also dies.  Fire pits, bonfires, even expansive forest fires will eventually burn out.  Nothing lasts forever, not even fire.  And yet, we can always start fire anew.  Sometimes it even restarts itself.

©2010-2012 ~persistentgloom

When a fire "dies", it still retains a tiny bit of life.  Embers can survive even buried beneath debris for days.  All it takes for an ember to bring about the life of a fire anew are the right circumstances and some scraps - wood or material otherwise considered worthless - which are known as kindling.

Image found here.

We humans are fire.  We destroy, we build, we leave nothing untouched.  We eventually run out of fuel and sometimes it appears we've lost the passion that drives life...but we don't truly 'die'.  We are more than raging, uncontrollable flames - we are also embers, waiting for the right kindling.

It's been a long time since I've posted.  The demands of my job, trainings, and some scattered projects have taken their toll, on top of which the springtime (formerly a favorite part of the year) has become the worst for my overall health.  The wildly fluctuating temperatures coupled with seemingly endless rain & humidity play games with my physical being.  Coping with all these forces as well as plain old exhaustion and has left me drained.  

In a webinar I did with WEGO Health on "IRL Activism" (In Real Life), I was asked to summarize a few of the lessons I've learned into tips I could share.  One of the biggest hurdles I face in common with my peers everywhere is burnout, and I was asked how I cope with that.  The best I could offer is to let yourself be burned out.  Give in to the void.  Just as you would switch gears to cope with physical pitfalls, you must also allow yourself to heal from emotional, psychological, or even spiritual ones before pushing back into the grind.  I think, perhaps, it's not a coincidence this is called "burnout" (though, I swear it was a coincidence that I ended up saying it in this post - it's one of those posts unplanned, which gushes out of me unaffected by my urge to organize).  This 'burnout', like a dying fire, is full of embers and if you can be patient and observant, you will find your kindling.  Your fire, passion, will burst into new life, almost of its own accord.
(Although, I certainly didn't say it with this finesse...maybe I should ask for a transcript revision;).)

I think I'm finding my kindling.  I am not dead; my passion, my activism, my dreams, and my life are not dead.  I've just been stuck for a while on "smolder".  But tonight I felt a scrap of kindling fall in my lap and catch, warming itself as well as the world around it, and now eager with the potential to show its full force.  I just might burst into flames.  Tomorrow I will finally get to wear my Walking Gallery jacket for the first time. In 12 more days, I'll not only get to wear it again, but do so besides dozens of other exhibits in this gallery and the mastermind herself Regina Holliday, when we form a true Walking Gallery in DC.  The thought went through my head "I don't know which I'm excited about more"...and my embers glowed.  I'm ready at long last to explain the Gallery and my story depicted in my jacket, "The Picture of Health".  And I'm ready to burn up the web by resuming my blogging.  It's been a painful month since my last post (again, I swear that was coincidental too) and writing again really feels like I've come back home.

I'm glad to be back, readers, and hope you're ready because I can feel the impending blaze.  It's going to be a beautiful thing.
Image found here.


  1. Sometimes we need that cool down time to regain our strength. R&R is a good thing in my book. No, a great thing actually. We missed you and I am glad you are back with us once again :-)

  2. So happy to find you're posting again and completely can relate to the burnout factor. It is important to let oneself recharge and re-energize and taking a break can generate all sorts of new ideas and creative approaches. Very interested in hearing more about the Walking Gallery in DC.

  3. Wow. I never thought about just letting myself burn out before. It sounds so freeing, in a strange and wonderful way. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for this amazing post! I have often found myself feeling a bit lost and smoldering. Thank you for pointing out that burnout is not only OK, but a natural part of the cycle!

  5. Jenny, I admire the energy you put into your life, and really don't know how you do it all...the activism, work and home life. Thank you for all you do and the great topics you post about. Keep well.


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