“We are on fire!”
My dear friend and colleague said this to me a few days ago as we high-fived and bounced out of the room, feeling good about our current situation. And we should feel good right now. We are nearing the end of a challenging and yet rewarding writing unit where we have seen so much growth in our students, we had powerful conversations with parents at conferences just last week, we even presented our current practice to our peers and had people walking away impressed, changed, and inspired, we recently took time for ourselves and challenged one another to be better at our favorite place Barre3, we are on fire right now. But what does that mean exactly?
To be on fire, starts somewhere, with a spark, with inspiration. The fire is fueled somehow, by an ambition, a goal, a want, a need. To be set on fire can look different. It can be a blaze of enthusiasm, a consuming force, a light leading us out of the darkness. When someone is on fire, you can see it. They have a drive, a fierceness. They exude energy and are inspiring. To be on fire is rewarding, it’s fulfilling, it’s a rush.
I have had this feeling of being set on fire in many arenas of my life, within my job like I described before, but it can occur even at home. Remember all it takes is a spark and then some fuel. The flame can start when the morning routine runs flawlessly, no push back from kids, no hiccups in the transition out the door like spilled milk, a blowout, a grumpy toddler, or a forgotten item. Then I’m inspired. How efficient can we be today? That is the fuel and then the goal. Sometimes the day doesn’t run smoothly, but how I attack it, how I react, creates the feeling of being on fire. When I successfully distract from a sibling conflict, when I check something off of the to-list that has been sitting there for awhile, when I can even accomplish tasks ahead of time that will ensure the evening hours will be smoother… I’m on fire! It’s that same feeling of wanting to high-five those involved and bounce out of the room, it’s just as rewarding.
When I am on fire, I can juggle all of the hats I wear with ease. I can navigate from work to home and keep all of the plates spinning in the air. When I’m really on fire though, it’s not just balancing mother, wife and teacher, that is when I’m successfully balancing the others as well - sister, daughter, friend, even beautification chair at my kids’ school, neighbor, and writer. It’s hard to maintain that type of energy, it’s challenging to keep that type of fire burning.
To be set on fire can also be dangerous, a fire can ravage and rage. A fire can consume in a second, and leave a charred past. When we feel burnt, when we live scarred by that force it can be hard to reemerge, it can be scary to put yourself out there and try, the fear of getting caught up in the flames again. You know that feeling, right? The tenderness and slowness required when moving on. One way to shield ourselves from the all consuming flames is to have perspective. Perspective allows us to be humble, to clearly see our path and our surroundings. Perspective helps us to be guided by our instants and heart and at the same time a rational point of view. To be set on fire in this way can be a result of someone’s words towards you, or when someone deceives your trust. We can be blinded by the smoke and fall. We can’t fully protect ourselves from that feeling, but if we can accept that it’s part of our journey, our story, we will reemerge and be better.
So how can we help be the fuel for others and help to grow their fire in a positive way? Sometimes it’s hard to watch those around use be set a blaze, seem unstoppable, constantly find success, when our own fire is struggling. By helping others, even if that purely means being happy for those around us and their journey it can help to revive our own flame. This type of energy is contagious, we can fuel one another, this isn’t a single journey, it can be in tandem and it can still be rewarding. We can lift one another up, we can share their story, we can support them in the process. We can wash away potential hurdles for them, we can be their cheerleader and sounding board.
A fire contained can do so much good. Be on the look out for your spark and "seek what sets your world on fire,” by doing so you will inspire those around you and before we know it, we will all feel the rush of being set a blaze!