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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:I have been grappling with this for over a week now, whether to bring it up or not and finally, you guys won out over pride. I really need your help on something of a more personal nature.I found out last week that a dear friend of mine was killed in a building fire (not poi related) in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago. It was shocking and devastating to me. I spent three days immersed in the steps to healing and am fairly certain I have worked through them all and have finally come to rest on that it was his time and his way.I am not saying this for sympathies sake, I am saying this because it has posed something of a dilemma for me. I don't practice anymore. I don't want to. I go through the moves when someone asks on here so I can give an accurate answer but I think I have practiced unlit about a half hour since I found out. I have forced myself to practice lit twice for about an hour each time since and I find it almost traumatizing. As the fire swishes past me I think of it along his body and it breaks me. In fact, I am almost in tears as I am typing.The fire was a heat fire, where the flames move faster than the smoke,so he literally burned alive. I saw a photo from a paper of them carrying out his body and while it afforded no graphic details (thank goodness) it is still stuck in my mind.I am not certain whether I should push the rehearsals and make myself jump back in there. I am not frightened of facing the same fate, I simply am overwhlemed by images of him on fire.Please, I am imploring for help here. I love poi. I love fire. I think no one here would dispute that but I don't know how to defeat this one. I keep thinking maybe it's like a complex move where practice solves it all, but then there are times when you should just put the poi down and come back later.If I do put them down what time frame should I allow myself? I think I will actually have to cancel a few shows and I am afraid once I put them down I will let the images get to me so much that I don't go back, which may not affect anyone but me, but it would still have an impact on my life. Help!?!?
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Thanks in advance.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Posted:Wow Pele.I cant imagine what you must be feeling right now, and anything I could say in regards to your loss seems meaningless.I am very sorry to hear about your friend, and about your loss.As you are asking for help in a public forum, I have to assume you are looking for our opinions on your twirling dilemma.I will address this issue.Once you think you have come to terms with your friends passing, a process of desensitisation is probly what you need (if getting back into fire-twirling is your aim). So rather than jumping in with lit poi, perhaps get back into the swinging aspect, and concentrate on the positive aspects of it, without having to deal with the fire. If this is too much, try to go through the moves in your head, while consciously attempting to remain calm, and breathe steadily. If it becomes too much, take a break, do something else. The emphasis is on re-establishing that mindset you used you have In regards to twirling. You want to associate feelings of calm and positiveness with twirling. At the moment this is not the case.Once you think you can swing unlit poi without the negative feelings being overwhelming, move onto swinging your fire toys unlit. Once you can do this without the negative emotional reaction..try moving back to fire twirling a little by little.I guess what I'm saying can be summerised by this; Start getting back into fire twirling a step at a time. Dealing with the emotions that arise at each step one stage at a time. That way you arent attempting to deal with the full-on response you get from fire, but you are developing coping strategies which will assist you when the time comes to go back to doing full fire rountines.I think it will be very important for you to try to seperate your grieving from your twirling, because if they become too closely intertwined, such that you can not think about one without having the other come into your mind, it may be much harder for you ever to get back to that place you loved when you were fire twirling before this tragedy.Take your time. From the sounds of it, fire twirling is a major part of your life, and I think it's worth treading carefully to avoid as much risk as possible of that being taken away from you.Also - you have to do whats right for you. If this doesnt sound like it will help, seek help elsewhere. I am not a therapist, but I do care.If you would like to talk about this more in private, email me; automated_dreaming@hotmail.com . I would like to offer any assistance or support I can to you, during this difficult time.I hope this helps,Josh

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Posted:Dear Pele,While I do not know exactly what it is that you are feeling, I do know that death always sends a real shock to my system. It is inconceivable in our day to day living that our loved ones may or may not be there tomorrow! I have been guilty of believing in invincibility myself. I have regrets of not getting to know my grandad and nanna better when they were around.I find meditation really really really helps. Like you can ask yourself why you are reacting a certain way to any situation and if you just meditate over it for a few hours (or days or weeks or months or years), it will have light shed upon it - sometimes faster than you'd like or realise.Try and remember how the fire looked the first time you started to get the flow going. If it is too painful for you I really recommend extending your grieving process. Even just another week. It is all too common in our society for people to be expected to "get over" a death in just a few days. But you don't *get over* a death. It's harder in the beginning to adjust to a person just not being there and I couldn't do it in a week. It's important to let yourself cry it all out. It's very natural. After you feel you've let a lot of it out of your system, don't let it get you down from living your own life to the full. Cause that'd be a *real* waste. I guess I turned to religions for help. We are all individuals and we all have individual needs.Get together with another poi person you are close to and talk to them about it. I really hope this helps

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flash fire
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

flash fire

Sporadically Prodigal
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2758
Posted:Pele - my compassion and strength to you.I understand that this post will be flooded with sympathy and kind words for you Pele, so although I mourn for you, I will stop my written empathy here.Dedicate your fire manipulation to the memory of your friend. Spare a few moments thought prior to each twirl. Consolidate your sadness and passion.My response is simple and obviously you will need far more than this to overcome the pain, but perhaps it will help you along. More power to you Pele. Please don't let this stifle your creative genius.flash

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Posted:Dear sister, I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for being brave enough to share that with us. Please, be as kind to yourself as possible. A three day intensive, as necessary as it may have been, may only mark the start of your grieving process. If you're not practicing now, you're not practicing now. Don't force yourself. Give up the gigs if you have to. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself in the here and now. This experience has changed and will continue to change you. There's no way of knowing when or whether you'll come back to fire. Release to that uncertainty now and your vision will be clearer when you've healed sufficiently. I'm reminded of that old saying, "If you love someone, set them free..." If and when it's appropriate, fire will come back to you. With love,Diana

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ykaterina
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

member
Location: east randolph, VT USA

Total posts: 107
Posted:*hugs for pele*it's only been a week...just let it go for a bit. you're really really good and what you do, putting it aside for a little while won't take away your ability.however, i think the more you can separate the two - practice and grieving - in your conscious mind, the better. try to look at this as grieving time, as opposed to "i can't practice right now". for example, if you're at the grocery store, you don't feel bad that you're not practicing - you know? you're doing something thta needs to be done. on top of the burden of grieving, you don't need guilt for setting aside the poi. when i read your post, i have this picture of you - you're still wrapped up in your friend's DYING. the actual process of it. the grieving process for you will be one of moving from the mental pictures of his dying to the mental knowledge that he is calm and peaceful in rest now. i really like what people have said, especially about working back up to the poi slowly and about dedicating your fire to him - later, when you're ready for it. when you can dedicate your actions to your peaceful resting friend, when you can picture him as he was before the accident. that's when you're ready: when he's at rest in your mind.until then, pele, it's ok to put it aside. it's natural. i haven't practiced all week just from busy-ness and a cold, but if i beat myself up then it isn't fun anymore. you do this because you love it, not to torture yourself. perhaps you could take some time this afternoon to care for your toys: while you're cleaning them and putting them away, you can remind yourself that that you have some things to do and you will come back to the poi when they are completed. spend some of your time practicing yoga. allow yourself to go back through pictures or visit places you were with your friend. practice remembering him alive and happy, and begin getting to know him resting and peaceful. eventually the process of how he moved from one to the other will seem less important, except for making your dedication to him all the more meaningful for his spirit. in life, i'm sure he loved to watch your fire. his spirit will love it too.

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:I'm hesitant to respond, because I feel strongly that all of us need to find our own ways to deal with all of life's various setbacks. Having said that, I'll say this too: 1) I think Josh was spot-on when he cautioned against associating twirling with your friend's death. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but if you think about it, it's sort of a false association--you might as well associate being in buildings with his death. 2) If you aren't enjoying twirling, don't do it. I see little point in forcing it. You'll probably get to a point, sooner than later, where you can't wait to twirl. Then again, if you can find a way to make your twirling a catharsis, an expression of what you are feeling (easier said than done, yes), that would be pretty powerful stuff.Hang in there,------------------Adam Rice :: www.fire-gear.com[This message has been edited by adamrice (edited 17 February 2001).]

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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protozoa
BRONZE Member since Feb 2001

member
Location: Baltimore, MD USA

Total posts: 148
Posted:Oh Pele,I am so sorry to read about your loss.I don't know what you could do to ease the pain and trauma you're experiencing, or what anyone could do.I tend to channel my grief. A while ago a friend of mine started volunteering in a local hospital's burn unit; visiting and reading to the patients. She's a fire dancer also, and while she was doing this to fill a community service requirement she found that it helped her stay in touch with the nature of fire's dark side and be more aware as a dancer of why she should work hard to be careful.Doing something of this nature; helping victims similar to your friend, or perhaps memorializing him in some other way may help you come to terms with your loss while continuing to confront the fire.In the meantime, consider a victorious emergence from the space you're in right now. I believe such an emergence can only happen spontaneously, as all the right variables come together and fall into the right alignment. It will happen, if you keep working and thinking on it.And I congratulate you on your bravery in this ordeal, and in sharing it with us. Please keep in touch; I'd hate to see your insight and intelligence vanish from this board.Yours in humble sympathy,protie

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Thanks to all for your thoughtful, heartfelt replies and insights both here on the board and through email.I have never been a religious person though I am deeply spiritual. I understand the my friend is in a better place. I think of him often and smile. I do regret that he never had the chance to see me perform fire. He moved to Brooklyn (about 7 hours for here) before he had the chance to. I know he will see it now, and I know he would be cheering and swearing with his usual gusto
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.In addition to performing I am also a writer and have been seeking solace through words. While I am not really finding it yet, I think you are all right in that I haven't given myself enough time. I also think you are all correct in that Rob would be very upset with me if I gave up on performing with him in mind. He never did take well to "sell-outs" and "quitters", and I wouldn't be honouring his dedication to the arts if I walked away from mine. Thank you all for making me realize that. I am going to give myself ample time. While the hurt will heal and the grief will pass I will always treasure him and the memories we shared. I have resolved to do a private performance for him when I am ready, just me, the fire and my thoughts of Rob..sans music or audience (yes, I will have a safety nearby). Until then, I will continue to frequent the boards and allow you all to inspire me the way you always do. I had thought that maybe I didn't have anything more to add here, but instead I realised I receive so much more from your "friendships" than I ever realized. Thank you. I will continue to run through the moves in my mind and eventually with the practice poi, building myself up for the day when the longing will strike me again, as I know it will do.You are all truly wonderful and I can not be more grateful than I am to have this site which brought you all into my life (since all my friends here are non-fire and say get over it).With deepest gratitude and appreciation.Okay, so I am sorry I am being sappy and weepy, thanks for putting up with me!
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...[This message has been edited by Pele (edited 17 February 2001).]


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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