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Sparks ignite here

Make Room for the Fire


By Denise Connell, Publisher | Éclairity.org Founder

Last Autumn, when the first faint chill stirred the air and winter’s promise teased of more, Reggie and I knew it was time for a fire. We had the wood and matches, and could easily picture it blazing bright in the backyard. We reminisced about old fire experiences and imagined how great this one would feel. Smiles lit our faces and warmed our hearts as we talked, anticipation rising with sparkling eyes and fire-dreams to come.

However. No actual fire was built.

It wasn't a good time.

There was too much to do.

Life has its priorities.

Weeks and months slipped by with the occasional fire-wish breathed and sighs of want exhaled. The idea of it persistently knocked, but work and the responsibilities of daily living knocked louder, and the great fire idea remained a distant thought. 

Until last night.

Last night, reality hit. Maybe it was the New Year vibes lingering on and nudging, but we realized a bit of simple wisdom:

If we don't just stop and make this happen… it never will.

The cool months will pass, summer will be upon us, and the opportunity will have drifted by untouched, unfulfilled, unlived one more year. The moment to be experienced, the memories to be made would be lost.

And so, we stopped.

We stopped doing what we normally did, rearranged priorities, and started a fire. 

It took a little time, of course, something I always forget when it comes to fires: The good ones, the lasting ones, take time.

I dusted off a leaf-piled, cobwebbed chair and sat down to watch. I love seeing an idea go from nothing to something, and there's nothing like the something of a fire that starts with a spark.

First, it’s the spark of the idea in our hearts; then the spark of axe upon wood, and the spark of fear as it falls too close to fingers (Are you sure we should be doing this in the dark?!); sparks of excitement, sparks of anticipation, sparks of joy; the small teepee of wood built just right, stuffed with tiny pieces of paper just so... impatience sparking my spirit as I want to see it burst into flame already. And then the spark of the first match. Energy surges in one brilliant instant, the nothing to something; wondering, waiting silence to crack, sizzle and pop!

Sparks ignite, flames bright, flying, whipping, raging light. Free at last they dance; fearless and fierce they blaze growing bigger, bolder, brighter still.

The blazing fire rises before me, joy as tangible as the sparks that fly, mesmerizing, intriguing, enchanting, energizing, renewing, revitalizing. The reality around is changed. Dark to light, dull to bright. Peace within, all is right. 

How alike is this spark-to-fire in our lives?

As I sat in this place of energy and life, its wonder holding me fixed, I wondered:

How alike is this spark-to-fire experience in our lives?

We all have dreams of what life could be and what we could do, if we were given free rein – and time and money – to design it. Some of these dreams and ideas have been there seemingly forever, like wood stacked on the side of the house. They sit, waiting and ready, but somehow rarely lit, rarely taken down to explore and try to build something that could set our hearts ablaze and add more meaning to our lives, and to the lives of those around us.

Too often our dreams – like backyard fires – get delayed as we let our schedules, and the perceived parameters of our life today take precedence over passion and possibilities. We inadvertently, and sometimes willfully, choose to focus on what is as more important than what is waiting to be created by what might be.

Shifting that dynamic, even a little, would require belief that our dreams are more than just frivolous fantasies.

It would require belief that we are called to live a life that regularly prioritizes purposeful pausing over profit, and the pursuit of life-generating possibilities over a life solely focused on work-to-pay-the-bills. Do not misunderstand me. Working to pay the bills is needed, and heroic and admirable on its own. But if that focus becomes the primary air we breathe, then the oxygen that our soul needs to thrive will eventually get sucked out, making it difficult to ignite the sparks needed to ignite the deeper joy, meaning and fulfillment we were designed to experience.

We have hearts and spirits that dream and wonder what-ifs for a reason. But if we extinguish the possibilities for a more meaningful life, if we stop hoping and forget looking for the fire, we short-change ourselves, our loved ones, and indeed, the world around us from the more life we are meant to create. Not one day or someday. But now. With who we are. With the dreams we were given.

We have to stop if we want the fire

Like a fire in the backyard that actually gets built, we have to stop to make it happen. We have to pause and rearrange priorities, making room so the spark can ignite and the fire catch.

I believe the sparks of our souls – those “crazy” dreams, ideas, and unrelenting interests – are there for good reasons, for beautiful, life-enhancing ends that we, and the world needs fulfilled to become the better and more beautiful place it’s meant to be.

I believe that when a spark sparks in us, it’s also meant to fly.

Sparks ignited here

Beliefs and dreams – like real fires – need to be fanned so the sparks ignite and turn into flame.

That is what I hope to do in this new Sunday morning column – fan the sparks of your ideas; give oxygen to your dreams; be the kindling you can use to build the fires you are meant build.

I hope the words I write will help you believe again – or for the first time – that you and your life are meant to blaze and shine. I hope it will open a way for you to look for and find your own sparks – dreams and ideas, work and calling – that are waiting to make a difference in your life, and in the lives of those around you. I hope you will start to see that how you are wired – your personality, strengths, life-long passions and crazy dreams – are there for a purpose, for pleasure, for meaning, and for beauty.

I hope that the sparks of your soul will fly high, catch your breath and not let you go. I hope they will burn brighter and blaze hotter so you'll stop thinking it's too crazy or maybe someday, and instead see that crazy is really creative, courageous and colorful, and someday needs to be right now because the world – and your friends and family and this city – can’t go another day without you living fully.

I will be hoping with each word I write that you will not fight it or hide it, but let those sparks fly. Your spirit is meant to soar in this life, right here and now, and it will indeed with each spark you set free.


WHAT'S NEXT? Ask the deeper questions & take action

  • What spark of a dream or idea is smoldering inside of you? Share it in the comment section below. Dreams shared multiply the sparks.
  • What have you done so far to give oxygen – time and attention – to your dream?

COMING SOON: A spark becoming a flame 

The Apopka Voice will launch our For the Community, By the Community section where you can share your sparks and dreams-in-action. This will be a place where readers can share their creative ideas, writings, photos -- anything that inspires you to more life and deeper living. It will be space for you to share “local hero” stories of neighbors who have made a difference; express a kudos/thank you to a local person or business; or pass on good news to celebrate. You will be able to write it up directly on our website, include photos, and send it for publishing, all in a few easy steps. This has been a spark burning in us that we’re finally giving oxygen to with the hope it will bring another flame of warmth and beauty to Apopka and beyond.  Keep your eyes open for it!

Faith and Inspiration, How can I know what my purpose is? How do I know if my dream is worth pursuing? How can I get my ideas off the ground? What is Éclairity? Creative Dreams, How do I take the spark of an idea and turn it into a blazing fire?


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