Where Can You Rekindle Your Flame?
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” - Albert Schweitzer
For many people, the pandemic was one collective, colossal fire extinguisher. It forced a solitary reckoning and often doused the flames of momentum we had in our lives. Unfortunately, except for the few Eagle Scouts in the crowd, we haven’t been trained in building fires (especially for those fires that come from within). I think this is why so many people are making the pilgrimage down to MEA these days. They’ve heard stories from friends that their purpose and sense of self “burst into flames by an encounter with another human being.” We see it every week, as we all slowly realize that maybe the best way to make fire is with others.
But, what do you do when your fire fades (pandemic or not)? If you’ve ever gone to a transformative retreat (MEA or otherwise), you know there can be a quick refractory period upon coming home. The cruel re-entry of life in the default world can create another debilitating douse on your inner flame.
As MEA alum Bill Apablasa suggests in his essay “Keeping the Glow Alive” in the MEA workbook,
“Rub sticks together long enough and sparks are bound to catch. And while the choice of which sticks to use will be up to each of us, I have to believe the most fuel-efficient way to reignite that MEA glow is to reclaim the spirit of the metaphor, reminding ourselves that the world isn’t magical in one place and not in another. The universe is the same miraculous and poetic puzzle waiting to reveal itself, regardless of where we live.”
In the quest to keep our flames alive, it is no surprise that the number one piece of advice we heard from MEA alums during our beta period was “please create an alumni program.” Well, we’ve taken that a few steps further, with 26 regional chapters globally dedicated to our 2,500+ alumni, with our most active group being in Australia. Recently, we had 7 Australians in the MEA ‘hood! Can’t keep an Aussie down, can you? It’s in these chapters, or in our Corazon subscription program, that our alums help rekindle that inner spirit.
Finally, speaking of metaphors (and fires), it is ironic that MEA purchased a modern fire engine for our little village of El Pescadero. The whole community was without a firetruck.