The Doors wrote a song in 1997 called “Light My Fire”. When I sat down to write, this is what came to mind. Maybe because I find myself lighting candles more as the days darken and the snow falls. Maybe it’s because our fireplace isn’t working so we have a repair person coming this week to hopefully help us light our fire.
Aside from the literal sense of the word, do you sometimes feel a fire burning inside of you? I’m not talking about heartburn or stomach upset – although, those too can feel an awful lot like fire – I’m talking about some idea or thought that churns inside of you and heats you up, fueling you into action. As we settle into this first day of December and look at the month ahead, you’re probably seeing many things that you’re excited for and perhaps others that you’re looking forward to moving through and will rejoice on the other side. It’s important to balance our obligations so that they aren’t all one or the other. I know for myself when I have too many responsibilities or activities that may be necessary, but not fulfilling or enjoyable I tend to resent the whole calendar itself, leaving me bitter and with little enthusiasm. I need to feel the fire.
What fires me up will be different than what fires you up, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. I LOVE listening to people fired up! It creates this energy that is free for everyone to absorb. Once inside of me, I can do with it what calls my attention and you do the same. Feeling that fire and using it in deliberate action is pretty powerful.
I have been reading a lot of texts on yoga and would like to share a new Sanskrit word with you today. The word is svādhyāya which means self-study. By reading and studying sacred texts we are able to see a reflection of our mind in the text. This process and practice of understanding oneself is important for a robust and purposeful life. As we change throughout our lives, we may see and perceive these texts differently, just as we do our surroundings and other experiences in life.
Previously I had written a post about ikigai, which is a Japanese term used to describe “a reason for being”. It fascinates me that no matter our culture or the time period in which we live, we are all seeking meaning to our existence. Embarking on our individual journeys we are tested many times and looking for answers in many places. Training our hearts and minds to perceive happiness is the cornerstone of the book The Art of Happiness. The Art of Happiness is referenced many times in the field of positive psychology. We are so much more than what our external appearance would have us believe. Have you ever met someone that you judged immediately based on the way they dressed or a style that they presented, before even having a conversation with them? Unfortunately, this is what our brains latch on to during those adolescent years when we are trying to make sense of ourselves and others. It’s an awfully hard time in life when you aren’t sure of who you are (nor is anyone else), but we make each other feel bad by placing harsh judgment on superficial means. I recall being torn up time and time again, taping myself back together each time, trying to figure out why and what I was inside that I could conjure up when I hated my external self. I am sure this was torture to watch for my parents. I experienced a great deal of unrest for many years and only now – close to the age of 40, can I really make sense of it.
So these days I’m paying attention to what lights me up and what creates a fire in me. I believe these are clues to my life’s purpose. I feel a deep satisfaction and ease with this understanding. As the captain of your ship, you set sail, taking heed to the wind, and charting your course. Yet, the course can never be fully known or realized from your current state. Each day there is more learning, more observations, and recalibrating. You are not today who you were a year ago. Look at your calendar and make sure that in this last month of the year, you see enough passion and “fire starting” activities that feed your ikigai. Not only will you benefit, but so will the weveryone around you.