Nourish Your Fire With Care

Keeping your flame burning brightly takes special care and attention. Act wisely and purposefully as you nurture your fire, and others’.

Today I gave a talk at the school my daughter attends. It was a brief motivational talk, and I was asked to use a holiday-related theme. I chose the metaphor of fire, and one of my favorite poems.

Our core vitality is like a fire. At times, we enjoy the dynamic warmth and energy of a robust fire. At other times, our flames may dwindle, hopefully leaving glowing embers that we can resuscitate. I’m sure you’ve experienced wild days where your flames seem to surge, out of control; a powerful mix of exuberance and chaos, sometimes dangerous. And with our last earthly breath, our flames are extinguished – leaving fading images that dance in the memories of our loved ones.

Each of us is responsible for tending to our own flames. Parents also have to nurture the flames of our offspring. If you’re lucky, you’ll have people in your own life both personally and professionally who invite you to help in nurturing their own fires. As a spouse or partner, you have this unique privilege.

Many of us, in our enthusiasm and love rush around looking for wood to heap on the flames (especially with our children). Our fervent desire it to see massive, roaring flames … and so we heap on more wood at every opportunity, with significant negative consequences.

I invite you to read and remember this beautiful little poem, written by Judy Brown, a leadership educator, author and poet. I carry it with me each day in my binder, a simple reminder that sometimes doing less is more, especially as a parent.


FIRE

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.


Have fun,

Roddy

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