I once worked with a very wise woman who said to me, eyes closed and hand over her heart, “Always protect your flame.” We both had demanding, multi-tasking jobs, and I was frequently frazzled. I thought what she said was powerful, that it could change my life and help me find that work/life balance I’d heard about. The problem was I never figured out how to do it.
Looking back, I think I was focusing too much on the flame. “Oops I got distracted and forgot about my flame,” or “Yikes! It’s going out!” or “Flame? What flame?” I think I might have done better if I focused on protecting instead. When I think “protect,” I feel strong and up to the very important task. I intuitively know how to protect: shield, put an arm around, offer the most comfortable chair out of the weather and make a cup of tea.
Learning to roller skate was also difficult for me, until another wise person told me to find my balance point. First I had to realize there was such a thing as a balance point, and then learn to feel where it was. I think these two bits of wisdom are related.
Writers talk about the importance of making time every day to write, and we all know how easy it is to do just about anything else. Sometimes we blame our circumstances, but the truth is it’s up to us to guard our dreams. The flame is internal and no one else can help us protect it. We have to take charge, find the balance point in our particular situation and protect what’s important.
There’s that flame. A little air. A little fuel. Feel it getting warmer?