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  • Linda Samuels

    What a wonderful evening last night, sitting around the fire with such an amazing group of wise women! I love this image of the sparks flying in the dark night with the hand reaching towards the warmth. The image conjures the idea that each of us have spent this year reaching for something deep. We seek to understand, honor, and compassionately accept the beautiful beings who we are. Every life stage. Different challenges. Yet we come together each month to share the warmth of the fire and discover the sparks that bring light to our lives.

    Grateful to you, dearest Yota, for gathering us and creating this safe space to explore. Grateful to you beautiful women for sharing your dreams, challenges, and successes.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda,

      I love how you see our gatherings as coming together by the fire “to share its warmth and discover the sparks that bring light to our lives.”

      When we dive in to explore the questions that matter to us, we light the fire and let the sparks fly upwards. Every month, each of us brings something to feed the fire … We arrive, as you say, with the unique perspective that our life stage affords us. Our challenges may appear different, yet they have a few things in common, including the need to stay true to ourselves and be seen and accepted for who we are.

  • Sarah Lipscomb

    I’m so excited for this time of reflection on this past year and using it to help me look toward the year to come. I think the imagery of the fire really lends itself to both the past and the present; leaving things that no longer serve us in the fire and using the spark of a fire to ignite us in whatever direction we’re traveling.

    I’m not sure I can find the right words to thank you all for welcoming me into such a safe space, but please know the gratitude is there. Yota, none of this would be possible without you and I think I would still be stuck where I was when we connected this summer. I am eternally grateful.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Sarah,

      I love your realization that the act of offering whatever does not serve us any longer to the fire, in turn, fuels the flames that “ignite us in whatever direction we’re traveling.”

      What a wonderful way of honoring the past, even if it does not serve us well anymore. After all, there was a time when it had its proper place in our life. Now, it has one more role to fulfill; to generate and feed the “fire” inside that will get us moving forward.

      Sarah, you arrived by the fire because it was your time to be there. As grateful and humbled your words of gratitude make me feel, the truth is that without you saying “yes” to the invitation and without your willing and full participation, none of this would have taken place.

  • Kathleen Ellis

    Fire is such an awesome power–it can purify and it can burn. It can lead us into meditation and, as Sarah said, ignite the spark within. Linda, I love that you mention all the stages of life our group represents–the continuity of life and the eternal circle. I feel like we all tend the fire and make it safe for each of us to enjoy and experience our own own power and channel the collective wisdom of the women who have come before us. Thank you Yota for lighting this fire and nudging us gently toward sitting together.

    • Yota Schneider

      Aah … the purifying power of fire. I am reminded of our days at the ashram and the yajnas we had the good fortune of experiencing.
      For those of you who may not have heard this word, Yajna, in Hinduism and the Vedic tradition, is the ritual of offerings made to a sacred fire.

      Thank you for bringing up the awesome power fire has …. it can purify and it can destroy. It also mirrors that fire inside … the fire that keeps us going. It too has the power to mobilize us or paralyze us. It depends how we tend it and the relationship we develop with it over time.

  • Kathleen Lauterbach

    Last night’s session and the image of sitting around the fire made me think of the times I have been mesmerized by the power of fire. As a 9 and 10 year old I went to Girl Scout Camp for two weeks in the summer. My favorite part was the nightly campfires. What a sense of community- a huge circle of girls sitting and singing our hearts out. I can still sing those songs today. Fire destroyed my classroom when I was in 6th grade. Luckily we were at lunch when the fire started and no one was hurt but I will never forget the images of a room with blown out windows and charred bulletin boards and browned text books. Again though that fire evoked such a sense of community among our class. We were moved to the library for the rest of the year and out of necessity learned in the most marvelous ways. We wrote our own newspaper, became political countries at each table and grappled with our relationships to each other – a mini United Nations, we had guest speakers, did science experiments outside and worked in teams on almost everything. It forever influenced my idea of what good teaching and learning can be.
    I loved hearing last night how fire could spark creative energy and how it was in constant motion yet had that entrancing, calming power. Of course there is the warmth created by the fireplace in my house. I love how a damp miserable day can become better by lighting the fire. The room temperature becomes more friendly and the day doesn’t seem so blah.
    Our virtual fireside chats have brought me back to that strong feeling evoked by group sharing -the kind you experience when singing in unison- each voice unique but somehow blending together to make beautiful music.

    • Yota Schneider


      What a great storyteller you are. Have you thought of writing a children’s or young adults’ book based on your experience of your classroom getting destroyed by fire and the aftermath?

      You have the gift of community and I love that about you.

      From your days with the Girl Scouts, sitting around the campfire and signing your heart out, connecting, and building community, to being part of the mini United Nations at your school’s library … obviously these two events shaped and transformed you and set your feet firmly on the path you so diligently walked through life.

      Always fun and inspiring to spend time by the fire with you!

  • Kathleen Ellis

    Kathy, I second Yota’s idea about you writing about the fire. I always love reading your stories, and I think how you and your classmates dealt with the event could be inspiring to young kids. There’s so much fear these days, sheltering in place drills for young children, that a scary event that ends well with people coming together to support one another and finding creative ways to deal with challenges–actually being more creative because of the challenges– is very much needed right now. It could be really fun and exciting!

  • Kim Cartwright

    I’m late to the conversation as internet hook up in NH has been delayed until next week. Fortuitous perhaps as just last night I hosted a community Bon Fire – Our First. It was hugely successful. Aside from the many interactions between neighbors and friends, were introductions, interest in joining and supporting our conservation efforts and the comfort, awe and appreciation for the event and the fire itself. The 5′ diameter pit of glowing embers was mesmerizing and comforting to me as the crowd dwindled. I could have remained there all night staring into the glow.

    We each have a glow, that those who bother to stop and notice, become mesmerized. You each have your own glow. I have come to know it, and it too is comforting, awe inspiring and appreciated.

    • Yota Schneider

      Hi Kim,

      Welcome! I am really happy to see how the fire keeps burning and inviting you closer and closer. In turn, you are inviting a brand new community to surround, support you, and be supported by you.

      Here’s to continuing to build the warmth and glow that is yours to enjoy!

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