Are you, like me, noticing the pace of the year start to take hold? As the term picks up speed, we can all feel as if we are taking a dive into a fast flowing river and that we just have to keep paddling until we are washed up, exhausted, on the shore of the next holiday break

Last weekend I walked along the beach. In the middle of my walk there is a long strip of rocks. I don't really like this section of the beach – I prefer the sand to the clambering. So I was doggedly marching across the rocks, wishing them done, hurrying to get to the other side so I could get back to my relaxed pace. Mid way across the rocks, the line of a poem popped into my head - "what makes a fire burn is the space between the logs, a breathing space". It occurred to me that I could stop, mid rocks for a moment, or longer if I chose. I didn't have to finish my rock crossing to earn the right to take a breath or two.

Perhaps this applies to all aspects of our lives. If we want to keep our fire burning bright throughout the year, we need to pay as much attention to the breathing spaces, as to the logs we pile on. Stress can threaten to douse our flame unless we learn to take a break in the midst of busyness, to create 'space between' in which mind and body can rest. How will you pay attention to the spaces between this year?


What makes a fire burn

is the space between the logs,

a breathing space.

Too much of a good thing,

too many logs

packed in too tight

can douse the flames

almost as surely

as a pail of water would.

So building fires

requires attention

to the spaces in between,

as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build

open spaces

in the same way

we have learned

to pile on the logs,

then we can come to see how

it is fuel, and the absence of fuel

together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log

lightly from time to time.

A fire


simply because the space is there,

with openings

in which the flame

that knows just how it wants to burn

can find its way.

(Judy Brown)

Tarnya Mitchell (BA (Psych), BSocWk, Grad Dip Teaching, M.Ed (Guidance and Counselling))

College Counsellor

Immanuel Lutheran College