To put the last few years simply (which have been anything but), the latter part of my twenties have been about healing and finding inner peace. Recently I’ve learned something that’s been extremely helpful, and frankly, very empowering.
This analogy, this imagery, is something I see in my mind every day now. I actually close my eyes and pretend that I’m walking around in my own brain.
There’s a fire in the middle of all of us. Right smack dab in the center of our brain, there’s a little stack of logs with a nice, small campfire. On one side of the fire is a gas can that holds negativity. On the other side, the same distance away, is positivity. Similar to what we see in the cartoons; there’s a devil on one side and an angel on the other.
These two cans have the exact same amount of gasoline in them, as well as the exact same potency. We can only pick up one at a time. The trickiest part, too, is that whichever one we choose to pick up and pour, we’re also subconsciously re-filling. There’s no limit; it only stops pouring when we put it down. It could go forever.
So let’s say: I wake up feeling very cranky. It happens. But from there, I have a choice. I can either do the easy work and pick up the can closest to me, continuing to pour from that negative can. Or, I can do the right work; often the opposite of the easy one; and walk the extra steps, put in the extra effort, and pick up that positive can.
The other tricky thing is perspective, right? If I wake up closer to the negative one, well it’s going to look bigger because I’m closer to it. But the farther away I walk from it, the smaller it gets, and the bigger the positive one appears.
It’s obvious what happens when we pour gasoline on fire; it spreads like crazy. It’ll rumble and spark and grow within seconds. The more we pour, the bigger it gets. Once that wildfire has grown all within us, it keeps spreading, and it’ll show up in whatever we show up in; our career, our family, our friends, strangers.
If we choose the negative gasoline, people will get burned because of what’s inside of us taking over.
If we choose the positive can, people will be offered a light because of what’s inside of us.
We feed our fire with our thoughts, every moment of every day.
Something else so powerful for me has been understanding that everything that comes out of my mouth starts with a thought, and that I have the power to extinguish the negative ones by taking the extra time to walk to the good can.
Speaking kindly to people, speaking kindly ABOUT people when they cannot hear me, how I communicate with my husband, the patience I have with my children, the empathy that I can give to other human beings;
All of these things start within my brain. All of these things are fed by me. All of how I respond to my life is within my control. Within my own strength. Within my own positive can. That is so empowering to me.
And you know what else? It’s easy to tell who picked up which gas can.
Whether they’re rude or kind, gossip or hold their tongue, harsh or gentle, giving or receiving, loving or hateful, happy or jealous; it’s obvious which we’ve chosen to pick up that day.
So the work for me, past healing, has been working very hard to feed my fire with the positive can so that not only is there a light within me as opposed to a wildfire, but so that I’m able to hand out candles as opposed to burns.
The most peace I’ve had in a long time has been from surrounding myself with people who take the extra steps to their good gasoline, holding my own thoughts accountable as I walk toward mine, and setting my surroundings and habits up to keep me as close to that can as possible.
It’s just like the old Indian tale of the wolf; the one that wins is the one that you feed.
Will we feed our fire to burn? Or will we feed our fire for light?
How empowering it is that the choice is completely ours.
I hope, more often than not, I choose to pour the good gasoline.