January 19, 2009
My husband recently bought an outdoor fire pit for our son’s backyard camping party. Last night, I was enjoying the crisp, cool evening by the fire and was mesmerized by the stunning flames. Within in a minute or so this question came to me—“What’s burning you?” So, I decided to ponder upon the question for a while.
There are two ways to look at this question—both very useful. The first way provides us with a mechanism to dig down deep inside and discover (or rediscover) what positively ignites us—“lights us up.” A great way to do this is to think back to your childhood (8 yrs old or younger) and try to remember what you absolutely loved doing. What were you doing? Who else was with you? Can you remember your feelings? Why did you enjoy doing this activity so much? How was it meaningful for you?
Don’t you remember the feeling of being a child…carefree with not much to worry about or fear over? These feelings tend to get tucked away as we grow older and the expectations of others and the world weighs heavily upon us. But, if we can just tap into that fire again (our true colors) and learn to incorporate some of these childhood passions into our lives, perhaps we would feel more fulfilled.
Here’s an example…I recently heard a woman describe that as a child she absolutely loved to dance. Now that she can look back at that experience, she realized that it wasn’t the dancing itself (because she commented that she wasn’t a good dancer), but how she felt when she was in front of an audience, and her interaction with them. So, today, she taps into that passion by making sure that she often has the opportunity to “perform” in front of others in her career, whether it be during a staff meeting, presentation, event, or otherwise. These activities conjure up in her the same emotions she felt as a child dancing. What has resulted for her is that she now feels happier at work. Neat realization, huh?
A second way that we can look at this question is to uncover what negatively burns us inside. You know that feeling when someone embarrasses you in public or doesn’t include you in an activity or gives you criticism you can’t handle? Whatever the “thing” or “things” are that burn us up inside truly provide us with some insights that, if uncovered, can help create new opportunities in our lives that we, ourselves, are blocking.
Let’s take the example of not being included in an activity. I know someone who would “burn up” every time his peers would go out for lunch and not invite him. It would infuriate him, especially because he felt he had a great relationship with all of them. He never spoke to anyone about it though so as not to be seen as a pushover. However, after digging a bit, he realized that perhaps the reason he had not been invited was due to his office door being closed around lunch, which may have given others the impression that he was not interested in socializing or joining them.
So what changed? You got it…he opened his door and the invites poured in! It is amazing how our beliefs and self-doubts can limit us and make us angry in the meantime. And what does anger do? It can affect our stress levels, which can in turn affect our health, sleep habits, etc. Let’s leave this for another blog!!
So, what fires within yourself can you IGNITE or PUT OUT? Sometimes, simple internal shifts can make such a difference in how we feel and how we show up in our lives each day.
This week, I encourage you to light your fire within. As singer and songwriter Jerry Garcia expressed in one of his beautiful ballads, “Inspiration moves me brightly”, may you be inspired and moved this week and brightly shine your light!