This post is for all those who struggle with their self-worth. This post is for all those who want to love and are not sure how or where they do. This post is for those who want to be part of the world and sometimes struggle with getting out of bed.
I’ve been thinking lately, inspired by a conversation I had with a friend, about the concept of the sacred flame. The flame inside that does not go out. The flame you would protect at all costs. The flame that fuels everything you do, that fuels your very reason for being.
Are you in touch with your sacred flame? Do you know what it is? Do you feel it?
Are you worried that your light is growing dim? Are you afraid it is as nothing beside the great lights of this world, and therefore might as well not be there? Does it feel as though no one recognizes it? Do you feel as though you cannot access it to fuel your dreams?
I believe we do each have a sacred flame inside of us, even if we haven’t been able to articulate to ourselves what it is. Maybe you know part of the power of your sacred flame. Maybe you’ve been able to use its energy to birth something in the world, such as a project or a child. Imagine it as a pilot light in the center of your belly, always there, always ready to light the way for you, to provide the spark that lets you go on, lets you know that what you do is in line with who you are.
Maybe you sense there’s more there than you’ve been in touch with. Maybe you struggle with bringing what you know is there, the inspiration, the passion, out into the world. Maybe something, a belief that you can’t do it, a belief that you and your ideas have been and will be rejected, keeps your sacred flame from connecting with what you are doing in this world, and you feel adrift, missing your spark, missing your alignment.
I co-created this ritual with my friend as a way of connecting with my sacred flame on a regular basis and drawing its energy out clearly into the world. I encourage you to try it too!
Find a space where you can feel safe and be uninterrupted. You will be setting this space up as a place you can come back to again and again, so make sure this will be possible here (i.e., no one will disturb the space).
The only essential material is a candle. It can be any type of candle, any color that speaks to you. This candle is going to represent your sacred flame, so if you wish, you may surround it with other objects that remind you of what you know of your sacred flame, the core of who you are. Place the candle somewhere it will be easily seen.
At a time when you can sit in your space for at least twenty minutes, sit near your candle with a journal or a piece of paper. Light your candle, with the intention that it represent your sacred flame and, in this time and in this space, help you to spend some time consciously with this part of yourself. You can speak your intention aloud or hold it in your heart as you light the candle.
While the candle burns, use your journal or piece of paper to write as much as you are able in response to these four questions:
What do I offer?
What sacred flame do I hold?
What am I not willing to compromise on/what boundary will I not allow to be crossed/what will I fiercely defend? (If these are separate questions for you, feel free to treat them as such.)
What are my expectations for myself? (Expectations can get in the way of truly seeing and expressing your sacred flame. How many times have you thought you should be doing things differently, or better? How many times have you compared yourself to others and felt superior or inferior? The point of writing down your expectations is to see and name what may have been getting in your way, without explicitly trying to change anything.)
If you don’t have enough time to finish answering these questions, or if you feel that you don’t have an answer for one or more of them, don’t worry. Do what you can. You may spend twenty minutes sitting in stillness with your sacred flame. This is not the only time you will be doing this. Things may become clearer or more complete with time.
As you near the end of your time, stop writing. Sit with what you’ve written, perhaps reading it over. You are now going to choose one action that flows from what you’ve written or from what you’ve felt and learned while sitting here, an action that directly expresses and embodies your sacred flame. Don’t overthink this. Let an idea for an action naturally rise within you. When you know what it is, write it down.
Now, imagine a line of light flowing from the candle of your sacred flame to the paper where you have written down your action. Imagine the light infusing and filling this action. Know that when you take this action, it will be filled with this light. Alternatively, or in addition, you can imagine a line of light flowing from the candle to a part of your body, one that will be involved in the action you take. If, for example, the action you chose to express your sacred flame is writing, you might imagine the light flowing into your hands, or your head (mind). Hold this visualization for a minute or so, and allow yourself to feel its reality.
When you are ready, put away your journal or paper. Thank your sacred flame, and consciously extinguish your candle. You might want to imagine its light moving into your heart or your belly, or even imagine that it still exists above the candle although it is now invisible. Even though you are extinguishing this representation of your sacred flame, the sacred flame inside you is still alive and burning.
Sometime soon, take the action you have written down. Observe how it feels to take it, and what results come from taking it. Return to your space and repeat this ritual as frequently as feels right for you. You might want to commit to doing this daily for a month, or weekly for a month, or every other day for six weeks. You might also want to do this together with a friend and compare notes/encourage each other to keep going. Continue allowing answers to the questions to rise up within you. Your answers may change over time. If no words come, just sit in stillness.
Spending time consciously with your sacred flame will strengthen your relationship to it and allow your actions in the world to be more aligned with this precious fire inside.