First there is smoke. Then there is Fire.

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This coming weekend I’ll be teaching one of my favorite workshops "Ignite Your Light"

We explore the Alchemy of Fire by weaving together the ancient practice of creating Fire by Friction with Modern Manifestation techniques. In preparation for the workshop I was looking over past classes and came across the video below of one of my students getting their first flame and it reminded me of the inevitable stages we go through with any creative process we undertake.  

What I've learned can be summarized in this mantra:  First there is smoke. Then there is Fire.

Fire By Friction with Leah in Hawaii. As with Any creative process, this video is unedited, raw and full of chaos.

To be clear, creative endeavors are not a straight forward process.  But I also know there are patterns that when recognized can shed light on the very real ups and downs that are a part of bringing any dream to life. Knowing these patterns and that they are normal and cyclical is what helps keep me going when I might think I am failing, when really I am just experiencing a natural phase of a much bigger pattern.

"Knowing these patterns helps me keep going when I otherwise might think I am failing."

Most of our dreams start off with an intention that must be backed with focused effort to get our spark to a stage where we can share it with the world.  Making fire by friction takes focus and dedication like I'd never known before (well maybe surfing is a close tie). The coordination, skill and knowledge required to get the mechanics going to start a fire is something that takes practice. Everyone can do it, but no one gets away with sitting on the sidelines or looking at someone else's notes to pass the class. The is the first step we grapple with during the creative process. There is effort involved in the very act of bringing a dream into reality even in its most raw, course and unrefined form. Nothing truly new and original can be created without this kind of upfront investment. 

If you're the kind of person that doesn't like dirt and sweat, then fire by friction is not for you. The irony of starting a fire by friction is that by the time you're at the stage to light your fire you don't even need it any more. After straining over your bowdrill back and forth, back and forth gaining enough friction to create a coal to light your fire, you are so sweaty and hot that you'll be craving a tall glass of ice cold water. The last thing you'll need or want is a fire.

One of the sneakiest things about the creative process and bringing our dreams to life is that even though we think we are creating our dreams, our dreams are really creating us. In order to manifest outwardly what we desire inwardly, we must become it. So too with fire by friction. To light the fire externally we must become the fire inside. We generate the heat inside us to match the heat of what we are bringing to life in front of us.

What we create, creates us.

And when we have become that which we desire we have finally reached the moment of creative ignition! We have reached the point where our dreams and desires are coming true! The plane is about to take off, the paint is on the canvas, the business has opened it's doors, the book is finally written... but wait...The paintings need to be framed, the business has only one customer on its first day, and the book...well the book-- let's just say that finding a publisher is not my personal idea of fun hobby.

So here you are having poured your blood, sweat and tears into your work and what you have is a little fragile coal of an idea just beginning to emerge into reality. It's like a new born baby that has so much vitality and freshness and aliveness, but actually needs lots of care and attention to grow into the full strength and potential of what its meant to become. 

But here's the thing that almost always happens to me at this stage, and its what I noticed in the video I watched of my student. I get so excited at this stage that my dream is ALIVE! And start to give it all my energy and I huff and I puff breathing life into my creation from all directions and angles...and...

Smoke.

Cough, gag! Ugh....What the?  Oh no. Am I doing this right?

I start to question if any of this was a good idea in the first place. I got this far, and now I can't even see what I'm doing. This is not looking good! Should I keep giving it energy? Or should I just stop because I've probably already failed? Or...Am I going to put out the fire Im creating by breathing too much air onto it? Maybe I should back off a little?

First there is smoke. Then there is Fire.

This is the critical stage of any endeavor, be it fire making, painting, writing, website building, store opening, you name it.

The trick here is to keep going.

Keep giving your dreams the energy they deserve. Don't let go. Trust.

Keep blowing air onto your coal. No matter how much smoke clouds your vision, no matter how it might appear as if you are failing.

And if you think you are blowing too hard, you aren't. Believe me. You can't put out your dreams with air that's backed by your desire to bring your vision--your fire--to life. The only thing you should fear is the temptation to stop blowing. Don't blow it by not blowing on it. Don't stop believing. Don't stop breathing life into your dreams.

The likelihood of your dream failing when you stop giving it energy because you're afraid it won't work if you give it too much energy is a 100% likelihood of failure. The likelihood of your dream coming to life when you decide that it's worth it to give it as much energy as you can until it either takes off and ignites! ...Or fizzles out completely is 100% chance of success.

I say 100% chance of success not because you will get it right the first time. It is entirely possible that you will get it right away. You'll watch before your very eyes as Wooosh! The fire jumps to life in your hands, your project and dreams have solidified! You did it.

And it is also entirely possible that in an effort to give it your all you may blow on your coal so hard that the tiny ember burns too fast to catch the tinder on fire, or maybe it falls to the ground, or maybe you get spit on it from blowing too hard and it goes out. The point is, it's possible you may not have everything set up right the first time. But this is how learning works.  And I promise that if you give it your all,  you will achieve 100 % success in one of the following 2 ways:

1. When we give something our all we have no excuses for why it didn't work. While it may feel self defeating in theory, in practice, when we give something our all and it doesn't work out it can feel inspiring. Because we are sure of our investment in the process we don't doubt ourselves and we look at our roadblock or "failure" with curiosity. And curiosity is the key to overcoming fear. When we are curious we create a little gap of inspiration that allows us try again until we do get it. 100% success!

OR

 2. You will have learned something invaluable about your process of trying your hardest and if you keep applying what didn't work the first time and try other approaches you have 100% chance of succeeding.

In case number 2. Your project or Dream may look a lot different than when you started, but it will be a more refined version and will be in closer alignment with what you truly desire. And you will have been shaped into a person who is alive and determined and willing to trust that anything worth while takes energy, time and trust. And the next time you see smoke...you will know without a doubt that then there will be fire. 

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And if you can light your own fire with your own two hands...

Well, there's pretty much nothing you can't do.

And if you can light your own fire with your own two hands...

Well, there's pretty much nothing you can't do.

Don't believe me? Come find out.

This weekend March 17th and 18th in Ojai, CA. Click HERE for details and to say YES to Igniting your Light to bring your dreams to life.

Ignite Your Light