Start A Fire

738. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Dale was my seatmate on the flight from Minneapolis to Seattle. He’s a firefighter and had donated some time to the nature conservancy to do a controlled burn in northern Nebraska. We started talking before he’d stowed his backpack in the overhead bin and didn’t stop talking until we landed in Seattle almost 4 hours later. It was as if we were picking up a conversation that we started yesterday and continued today on our plane ride.

Dale is like an artist who has mastered the technical skills and now wants to transcend his technique to fulfill his artistry. He knows fire. He knows how fire behaves in a variety of circumstance and in the face of shifting forces – in a windy canyon or in a warehouse filled with chemicals. Fire has been his life’s pursuit. To hear him talk about his work is like listening to a painter whose canvas is combustion and whose brush extinguishes. Fire meets water. He has the utmost respect for his medium.

What baffles him is people. He can talk to fire easier than he can communicate with his fellow firefighters. They don’t get him and he is at a loss to understand them. People behave unpredictably in the face of shifting forces. Of course, the person that baffles him the most is himself. He asked, “Why do we put so many limits on ourselves?” He knew the answer even before he asked the question, so I sat still and kept quiet. After a moment he said, “I don’t hesitate to run into burning buildings but it terrifies me to show up as I am. All of those limits keep me safe in my comfort zone.”

I asked him if he granted himself as much respect as he granted to fire. He knit his brow. “What if you are your medium? Could you study yourself with the same passion and respect as you study fire?” I asked, followed by, “What would you need to let go to show up?” He eyed me for a long moment and then said, “I’d need to let go of my belief in all of these limits.” After another moment he added, “I’d need to give up my dedication to staying in my comfort zone.” When I smiled he said, “Sometimes it is so simple. Easy to say, hard to do.”

One Response

  1. Thanks David! xxxooo

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