Fact: I was gone from my house for over an hour yesterday - and left a candle burning. This is especially bad because I have one Nugs who lost her whiskers to same said candle a couple of years ago. When I got home, visions of potential disaster flitted through my head. Such as...
Fiction: The house burned down, or in the least was very damaged. Though it would be an opportunity to meet the local fire department, I would feel like a tool (not fiction). Next thought: "What do I need to do to make sure that NEVER happens?" Several factors contributed to the house (potentially) burning down, so several options exist that could break the cycle of possibility. Such as...
1. Take a look around before leaving... write myself a note on the door if I have to - "blow out candle" - so that I'll do just that.
2. Never EVER buy a candle again... crazy dangerous things! How could I have been so stupid to have been enticed to buy a candle in the first place? I can never be trusted with a candle again. It wouldn't be right to forgive myself and as penance I'll subject myself to this punishment.
3. Never EVER light a candle again - even though I love them... maybe I should expand this to include birthday candles - because look where it almost got me!
4. Get rid of the Nugs. The candle itself was in a safe container in a safe place - only she could cause this disaster - it would be HER fault! Make her pay! (in advance...)
5. Change? Meh... nothing happened. Who cares?
Philosophizing: Most of those options are extreme, I know... but here's the thing: don't we take similar routes for other bad choices we've made in the past? Don't we overcompensate for past experiences to make SURE we will never be hurt like that again, and blame ourselves, deprive ourselves, and mistrust ourselves? Do we blame others - even before we know them - just because they COULD hurt us; and if they do it would be our own stupid fault. Or maybe we strengthen our resilience to believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with ME and the choices I've made... and then repeat dangerous and hurtful habits just to prove to ourselves those offenses didn't really matter.
So I left a candle burning. It could have been bad, and I need to make sure it doesn't happen again. But the HOW is really important. A lot of ways of prevention are arsonists to our souls. Yes the past can burn us, but we're the ones who pick at it and don't let it heal... there is a better Way.