Fire on the Mountain. Internal passions and holding space: Elise Sunday

Elise outside her store, Fire on the Mountain in Leadville, CO.

“The name of my store here in Leadville, CO is Fire on the Mountain.  I didn’t name it; I inherited the name, but I like it because the “fire” to me is passion; finding passion. Passion has everything to do with creativity, which is what this whole business is based around: my passions of providing space for other people to express themselves through art and their own creativity. 

I do all kinds of things here. I do have a short attention span, so I get bored easily. I started off with yarn and teaching people how to knit, crochet and we do various fiber-art types of things. I also learned how to work with clay a bit, so we expanded with that. I love the feel of the Earth in your hands; being able to mold it and shape it. Both the clay and yarn are very forgiving, so if you mess up, you can always take it out and reuse it. That’s kind of neat. 

Working with these mediums is a different form of mindfulness and meditation for me. If you can let go of the end result it especially is. You’re not so focused on thinking it has to be this certain way, or this certain thing and just kind of be present in the process.

Elise spinning wool at Fire on the Mountain store in Leadville, CO.
Elise spinning wool at Fire on the Mountain store in Leadville, CO.

I also spin wool. Something about that wheel draws people when you spin it; it draws a crowd and everybody’s mesmerized. 

In spinning, the wheel helps get you in this meditative space. There’s the rhythm to your feet moving; it makes a certain sound and lulls you in. I don’t even know what’s going on around me because I’m so into it. I have thoughts of course, but they’re not as constrictive and I no longer hold on to the worry or heaviness of them. They can just kind of move through me.

I’m being human, fumbling along the journey and sometimes, it’s tiring owning a business. I hadn’t felt all that passionate about knitting lately- and then the energy just moves through you again: all of a sudden I got a bug and started whipping up these sweaters until my arms hurt! It’s gorgeous working with the color. That’s the other thing with the yarn and the fiber- are the colors. I’ve been lucky to know some people who dye yarn and one woman custom dyed this one for me.

Elise spinning wool at her store, Fire on the Mountain in Leadville, CO

Following the curiosity and the things that naturally present themselves and show up is what my focus is on. One avenue that’s been opening up is the photography and it’s pretty magical. I still have fears that I’m not good enough and the whole ‘working with people’ aspect is challenging. Still, every photo shoot I have overcome my fears of: what if they don’t like the pictures that we get, and, what if it doesn’t go well and I can’t get them to relax enough…and all those stupid things. Even if I have doubts or fears that want to hold me back, I really just have to forget them and do it anyway- just keep doing it. If you look deep enough, this “forgetting your fears” applies to everything.

It reminds me of the saying: resistance is futile. There are certain things your ego wants to resist, and it’s a waste of time really. You’ve just got to go with it. 

Elise admiring her flowers at Fire on the Mountain store in Leadville, CO.

I was fortunate enough to go to Paris with my daughter for her 18th birthday. Everywhere you go they make these rich, beautiful things- the flower markets; their food. Aesthetics is more of a priority for them than it is in our country. My big takeaway from Paris was to quit making excuses and saying: 

You don’t have time to do that or don’t have money for that. And rather, ask myself: How can you surround yourself in beauty? Give yourself the best, nurture yourself and quit the negative self-talk and be more of the perfect parent to yourself. 

So, when I’m facing hard emotions, I just try to picture me cradling myself as a small child and give myself the most love and compassion that I find is so easy to give to everyone else. We often forget or are never taught or realize that really, we need to give it to ourselves first. 

Now, I always make sure that I have flowers here. 

Elise spinning wool at Fire on the Mountain store in Leadville, CO.

I want to be a better listener to others; for others. I do feel like part of my purpose and one of my natural talents is being able to just hold an accepting space with compassion for people and being present when somebody’s going through something rough.  I feel like lately I’ve noticed I tend to be a little more self-absorbed than I want to be. The theme of wanting to give selflessly is what I want to focus on and figure out how to do. Before, I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but this year I hosted a fundraiser for an acquaintance I’ve known for a while, Angie. She has breast cancer and is choosing her own healing path aside from traditional chemo and radiation. We had all profits from the event go to her and with the help of the community and her friends, we were able to raise $1,400. It felt amazing to use my space for people to come together in love and support for one another and to raise the money I personally don’t have to give to her. 

Elise spinning wool at Fire on the Mountain store in Leadville, CO.

It’s hard to find a balance because I do believe a lot in flow and letting things unfold the way they want to. But, that’s not always easy to do. 

I think it’s more important than ever for each person to find their own balance and sense of inner peace now. Holding that space for yourself will be what makes a difference; not getting other people to change. It’s about: being what you want to see created in the world, if that makes sense. 

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s scary to think: what if you really didn’t shine your brightest?” – Elise Sunday

Check out Fire on the Mountain store here:

Check out our other inspiring stories of everyday yoga practitioners and please, #ShareToEmpowerALL ! We strive to empower others to get vulnerable, and be inspired to start a yoga practice of their own to bring in hope & possibility.

2 responses to “Fire on the Mountain. Internal passions and holding space: Elise Sunday”

  1. […] My writing group and author mentors Carol Bellhouse and Stephanie Spong, and photographer friend Elise Sunday […]


  2. […] Author Laurel McHargue is working on a new science fiction series! (Photo Credit: Elise Sunday) […]


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