Fire; in the wilderness, one of the priorities of survival. Fire keeps us warm, it can ward off insects and predators, it can render meat and some plants edible or more digestible to our stomachs, it can purify potentially harmful water to drink and importantly fire also boosts morale.
Fire is a great metaphor for the life burning within us. Fire takes effort to ignite and tender loving care to sustain and forethought and planning ahead to keep it burning long term. The same can be said for enjoyment in life and chasing our dreams. In a survival situation as within our lives it is all to easy to sit down, let the fire die down or go out, feel sorry for ourselves, give up and wait to die. Sometimes life feels so out of control and it becomes easy to blame others for the ‘short straw’ we appear to have drawn. At the end of the day we are only given one chance at life are you going to live your life as a roaring firestorm or are you going to spend it as a glowing ember waiting for an external force to blow you back to flame? You are ultimately the CEO of you.com and it is time to take control of you.
5 tips to reigniting your flame.
- Campfire wisdom.
For thousands of years our ancestors have been making and manipulating fire, how can it not be a part of who we are? As well as the practical uses of fire, the camp fire was a communal space where rituals were performed, stories were shared and tribes people came together and connected with each other. In modern day life we have lost our campfires in the traditional sense of the term and it has become harder to socialise and physically connect with others. Social media in a way is a form of campfire, it is a space where people come together to share stories, wisdom and adventure. As much as it can be a positive experience it can also leave one feeling even worse about ones own life when you see picture perfect snap shots of someone’s beautiful life. It is hard to remember that they choose what you see and most likely they have the same insecurities and frustrations as the rest of us do. It is so important for the fire within to build meaningful relationships with other people, friends, family, colleagues. Positive interaction with others really fans the flame and helps you burn brighter. Why not invite friends you haven’t seen in a while over and light the campfire and share stories around it. Disconnect from the web to reconnect.
2. Let your ember catch.
Most of us are our own worst critics and when looking back over life it’s rarely other people who hold us back but ourselves. Allowing your own insecurities and self doubt take over is like pouring water over your flames. Give yourself a break, focus on the internal ember and listen to what it wants and needs and gently feed it positivity and self love. The same as creating fire by friction (rubbing sticks together) it takes time, effort and patience to reignite your internal ember, particularly if it has been dormant for a long time or a bit damp from all that negative self talk
3. Take control of the fuel you feed your fire
If I pour petrol on the fire it immediately burns brighter but then quickly dies down taking the light with it. In life there are many quick hits that get our flame temporarily burning brighter, that bring us a momentarily euphoric feeling followed by a crash, leaving you feeling worse than before. It is important to acknowledge these accelerants and minimise their use and find more sustainable fuels to feed your fire with.
4. Get your fire in balance
For a fire to burn it needs three things, known as the fire triangle, these are Oxygen, Fuel and Heat. If these three things are not in balance the fire will struggle to burn. For example if I take a match to a log, the log will not burn as there is not enough heat to ignite it. However, if I take the match to a candle wick it will light as there is enough heat, the right fuel and oxygen in the right proportions to ignite it. To burn the log I would need to build up my fire slowly, increasing heat with fuel and ensuring the fire can breath. In our hectic, modern lives it is so easy for one or more pieces of your own fire triangle to be out of balance. Once one piece of your life is out of balance, the fire struggles to burn and you feel overwhelmed and life ceases being fun and becomes a chore. It is important to take time to reassess which parts of your life have fallen out of balance and try and rebalance them. For me, the best place to find the answers is outside, going for a run, a walk or mountain biking
5. Become a fire starter
In our interactions with other people we have the ability to light other peoples embers or feed fuel to their fire. Helping someone who is struggling, offering a listening ear or words of encouragement, even a smile can help your own fire burn brighter as well as feed that persons own fire. Sometimes removing your head from your own worries and stresses and looking around makes you notice someone close to you who is struggling. Helping someone else can really bring a sense of purpose into your own life.