On the night of the election, I wrote about feeling a fire in my belly. That burn has not subsided.
I’ve read a lot since November. I came across some writing about the Native American role of a Firekeeper. A Firekeeper’s role is to keep the fire going, to not let it burn out. Since the open flame was critical to survival of early civilization and fire is sacred, this person’s job was of pivotal importance. He or she must keep that fire going, at all costs.
This made me wonder: Maybe we are all Firekeepers. Maybe there is a cause, a calling, a crusade within each of us that is asking to be ignited…
You can look at fire in so many different ways. A wild fire, spiraling out of control and gobbling up homes and trees. A campfire, with friendly singing voices joining in a round of Kumbaya, accompanied by crackling logs. A gasoline-infused blaze melting the metal of a crashed airplane on a runway. A single match, being used to light a candle in a Parisian cathedral, accompanied by a prayer for peace.
Same element. Different meanings. Fire burns. Fire restores.
This can be compared to how we handle our energy during challenging times. We can spend it all in a fit of rage, or contain it wisely, calculate its use and see the bigger vision for the greater good.
Yesterday was the inauguration, marking a new chapter in our nation’s history. The years to come will be challenging and revealing. We will see truth, and even though it may get dark, it will make us wiser as to what’s been lurking below. What needs to be seen. What screams to be heard.
We must pay attention.
Native Americans use fire as a sacred place. It’s a setting for offering their most delicious food, inspiring art and divine prayers to God. Keeping the fire going takes a team. People take turns throughout the night and day to keep it ablaze.
So a Firekeeper is a more than just a person. It’s a collaboration. The goal is to keep something alive. Together. For everyone’s benefit.
When I was younger, my approach to fire was to keep it hot all the time. Ultimately it became strenuous to fan the flames. I would burn out. Now I strive to be more sustainable. Nearing age 40, I’m more into tending a fire – and less into scorching.
And I feel this root sustainability of energy and efforts is critical for anyone tending any fire, anywhere.
I see the crisis before us. I’ve been researching. Listening. Gathering my facts, hearing my own opinions, challenging myself, hearing out others, challenging those people too. Distinguishing where truth prevails in all of it.
The rhetoric these past few years – in our news cycles, on Facebook – it makes me sad. I’ve heard the term for people whose hearts hurt because of these words is “snowflakes”. I guess this is meant to be an insult – snowflakes are unique and fragile. But man I love snowflakes! I am so glad to be one.
The thing is, WORDS MATTER. They do. I’ve witnessed it, first hand. The greatest progress and greatest atrocities of our time were first inspired by words.
Voting rights and civil liberties are good, but they began with words. Bombs and wars are bad, but they started with words. Words spoken somewhere. Around some dinner table or church basement or water cooler.
Yes, that’s where it all change begins. For better, for worse.
Because of this my friends, we need to be thoughtful and truthful with our words. No matter what side you may stand on, please know this is real. Words open doors, start wars, break barriers and shut hearts.
All of it. And then some.
Many of us are wrestling with questions and anxieties about what is next. How do we move forward? With this new era, this new president, this new reality of exposed pain.
This can feel defeating and overwhelming. So I urge you to ask yourself this question: How can I make the most impact in my tiny corner of the universe? Knowing that none of us can single-handedly change the whole world, what CAN we do to make a dent?
For me, my impact is made with words. Authentic ones, true ones. This is what I do – for fun, and for a living. My work in this next chapter is speaking my own words more often (hence this blog post, more forthcoming, I promise, I must.). My impact lies in calling people to seek their true selves, to share their stories and to identify a universal truth for all. It’s training future luminaries (teens especially) how to be, then how to lead – and move a room with their authentic, simple greatness.
My calling is to GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE HEARD. Today I sat in a meeting at Entrepreneur Organization (EO), where I passionately stated some big goals around the idea that we need to hear the best people, more often. My company Evoso, is going to kick things up about 100 notches this year. No more holding back. Prepare to hear incredible voices.
Because the wrong people have had their turn with the mic. We need better, brighter voices to help us see the light out of this cave. I know we will find the exit. There will be an illuminated path to show us the road beyond. And hopefully some handy LED torches to guide the way.
It makes me sick and sad, these awful, sexist, xenophobic, racist, hateful words. I am a positive person, and we can do better. We will do better.
This is my commitment: To bring more of the good words to you. To the world.
Yes I will. This is my fire.
It will burn hot and bright and never go out. It will not become a raging wildfire, because that is not sustainable. It will be a consistent beacon of warmth for those who are cold. A sense of clarity for those blinded by the dark nights of fear. It will be welcoming to all. For discussion, for acceptance for a new reality.
Perhaps your fire today is to march. To protest. To write. To celebrate. To scream. To get into nature. Maybe your fire is writing legislation, starting a business, finding your freedom or laughing more often with your kids. Maybe your fire is about unleashing your creativity, or finally speaking your truth.
I sure hope speaking truth is on your list, because goddamn – this world needs to hear more of you. The real you. All of you.
No matter who you are or where you are at, I challenge you to take out the matches and simply STRIKE. Now. Don’t await further instructions. You have everything you need.
Be the Firekeeper. Now and always.
i have no fear
to burn my mouth and throat
i’m ready to drink every flame and more