Finding Our Way Through

Cassandra Tondro, "On Fire," abstract painting

Hello Friends,

It’s been another challenging week, with the mass shooting down the road in Thousand Oaks, and the Hill and Woolsey fires, just ten miles away.

Dozens have lost their lives, thousands have lost their homes, and hundreds of thousands are still evacuated, including my mom, their fates uncertain.

Once again we are facing the fire element, which can be terrifying because of its destructive and unpredictable nature.

Fire is destructive, but it’s also cleansing. It sweeps through and releases old energies, making way for the new. It burns everything in its path and creates ashes to nurture new growth.

But fire also creates trauma and pain, paving the way for an outpouring of love for ourselves, for others, and for the Earth and all of its creatures. We empathize with those who have experienced loss, and we naturally want to reach out and help.

Our job now is to open our hearts and comfort those who are in need, either through words, actions, donations, or energy work. It’s a call to love in a bigger way.

Fire transforms, but it takes time, a lot of time, and we can’t see what the outcome will be just yet.

Stay open, my friends, to your feelings and your heart. Let the tears flow, and let the healing begin. I am right there with you.

What have you been feeling this week? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us in the comments section below.

The painting at the top of this message is a new piece I created right before the fires started. Fortuitous? “On Fire,” 36 x 36 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas. Click here for more information and to purchase this piece.

P.S. – I’ll be showing my work at the Focus on the Masters Holiday Gift Shop this weekend, November 17th and 18th. I’ll have my leaf print and handwoven scarves, fire stone necklaces, leaf prints on paper and more!

Focus on the Masters Holiday Gift Shop



  1. Good job Cassie. As always your post is lovely and timely and touched a bit on what I am feeling.

    Yesterday after I left you and our lunch, my errands took me past a friend’s new home. She had recently moved in after losing her old home in the Thomas Fire. I had not seen her place yet and I know she has been spending a lot of energy painting, working in the garden and making it her’s. So I stopped by. She so proudly showed me her absolutely beautiful new place. She pointed out all the furniture and art given to her by friends and took me around showing me the closest, the organization, etc. Everything was so clean and fresh. It was stunning. I found myself just for an instant wishing that a fire would take my home so that I could start over. Understand that I love my home. I find it beautiful spacious and restful. Yet, after over 30 years here, I know where in all the nooks and crannies there is stuff that needs to be gone through and discarded. Of course, the reality of that sounds dreadful, easier to just get in and clean out everything, but there was that instant of longing for forced new beginnings. Fires and deadly, destructive and dreadful, but they do offer a chance at new beginnings. The trick, I suppose, is what we do with the dreadful, how we move on and start anew.
    Take care of yourself,

    1. I know what you’re saying, Celia. No one wants disaster to strike, but there is something freeing about losing everything. I think the harder part is when you’re in the disaster area and you haven’t lost everything — like when all of the homes around you have burned, but yours still stands. Then you have an even bigger mess to deal with!

      As you know, I struggled with this newsletter all week, and only came to what I wrote at the very last minute before it went out. It’s taking time to process all of this and deal with the emotions. I’m still reeling from it. And it doesn’t help that my mom has no idea when she’ll be able to go back. There’s no electricity or water there yet.

      Thanks for sharing your story. It makes me feel hopeful in the midst of chaos and confusion! It was great spending time with you over lunch on Monday. Let’s do it again soon!

      With love,

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