Fires and floods is Australia: where one part of the country sandbags and another can’t get enough water to douse flames as a destructive Red Shiva showing his more destructive self.
Dust settles. The rain comes and after a good soaking, the parched earth sighs with gratitude.All the elements of fire, air and water fused in one summer day.
So it is with our inner lives too, just as the rains follow the fires or the dry follows the floods, tears come to encourage, engage, enrage, hold and move us on. One part of our lives might be flooding or on fire and another in drought and unproductive. Waiting for the fire to pass, or bagging up the sand to hold back the flood is a positive and necessary step to inoculate and protect. These responses are also a reminder that the flood and the fire still come despite your best efforts.
In your day Juana, Mexico was flooded and the locals stormed the Vice Roy and set the palace on fire to try and get access to the food that might have been stored there as most days there was no bread for people to eat. Your response it is written, was to sell your beloved books to give the money to the poor. The fire in your heart for justice and a desire to feed the hungry was quite a contrast to your earlier pursuits of living off the benevolence of the court. Such a practical response to raise money. I find myself talking about monetization of products, services, ideas, networks and all sorts of things to enable those with the least to not be passive recipients of someone else’s goodwill, but to have home grown solutions to poverty – even though I know storming the palace may be the consequence of a lack of generosity and sharing by those with the most. I certainly have more than my fair share of what the planet has to offer. My little efforts are no more than an indulgence, a pathetic crumb from the table.
You gave away all you had that was valuable to you a study in detachment par excellence.
She rid herself of her ample library, only reserving for her own use a few slim devotional works …. She also removed from her rooms all the exquisite and unique mathematical and musical instruments; as well as any valuable or esteemed jewels … and reduced everything to reales sufficient to feed many of the poor …
The floods and fires come and impose detachment for those directly effected. The invitation is to know we are all facing floods and fires in our internal and external lives. It is always the practice that counts. Reduction, detachment, is a distillation bringing an essence to birth. Juana you left yourself to your prayers and retreated deeper into your spiritual practices eventually that led you to silence. My hunch is shedding yourself of all your valuables was for your own preservation as much as for the poor.