My heart aches as I watch my neighbors in both Ventura & Los Angeles in pain over the loss or potential loss of their homes & beloved communities to the Thomas & Skirball fires.
In the days, weeks, & months to come, I would be honored to offer my services to those who are suffering in body, mind &/or spirit as a consequence of the firestorms (or otherwise). Chinese medicine can be profoundly beneficial in strengthening the respiratory system & clearing the lungs of toxic residue (cupping is especially phenomenal for this, & all firefighters should know about it!), while simultaneously allowing for the healthy processing of emotions such as grief, worry, fear, & anger that are likely to emerge alongside any physical imbalances. I am here to support my community - if you can't make it to our West Hollywood Center, I will do my best to come to you.
While the Earth here welcomes the flames, the society we have constructed exists in an almost constant state of threat & vulnerability to these natural cycles. At the risk of sounding insensitive to those whose lives are being impacted in a real & devastating way, I feel compelled to discuss the self-imposed nature of our predicament.
The fact is, "our wildland vegetation burns. It burns periodically, and must burn in order to survive. In much of California, the problem is not so much the fact that it burns but that all too many people chose to build within it, surrounded by what many consider to be a sea of gasoline. A combination of ignorance and several million years of evolution have combined to create a deadly situation along the serene and scenic battlefront commonly referred to as the 'wildland/urban interface'. The situation has been further exacerbated by over a hundred years of fire suppression where man has tried to control nature, usually with disastrous results.
"Fire is an essential part of most wildland ecosystems. In Mediterranean climates around the world, plant species have adapted to a point that they would not exist without the presence of fire. Wildland fires spawn a period of rebirth and vigor in post-fire environments by removing dead materials and by releasing nutrients back to the environment that are locked up in mature plants and organic litter...."
"As fire is a natural part of most California ecosystems, chaparral has adapted to rely on the fire/flood cycle as a means to survive. Fires clear dead materials, open up seedbanks, and release nutrients back to the environment." (https://www.coastal.ca.gov/fire/ucsbfire.html)
Just as the fires invite the natural ecosystem to give birth to new life, they can do the same in our internal landscape, if we chose to embrace the opportunity. In the midst of loss & devastation, we are forced to confront our capacity for darkness, to reacquaint ourselves with our deepest wounds. But we are also inspired to ignite & cultivate our innate courage & strength of spirit.
We are left naked as the hillsides, stripped of our fleeting facades of meaning & material possessions, staring straight into the face of what we truly hold most dear. Amidst the wreckage, we find compassion, connection, purpose, inspiration, determination, creativity, and love. And so, as we honor & grieve the destruction of what once was, we can give thanks for the clearing & rekindling made possible by the loss. Sometimes it takes a fire to unlock the nutrients & seeds of survival & new life within us too.