“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” –Audre Lorde
It’s been one year since I published my first book Life on Fire. Sharing it with the world was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. That terrible voice inside, the negative, nagging one, said: Who do you think you are?
Writing Life on Fire in Indonesia
What I was, what I still am, is someone who wanted something desperately. I was terrified to go after the thing I wanted the most but, ultimately, I knew I could not live with myself if I turned my back on my dream. I had no idea what I was doing. But I set out on the journey because I knew it was the only way I would ever be fulfilled and whole.
My Life on Fire is to be a writer. It’s to be a traveler. To see the world and meet the people and tell the stories of what it means to be alive. I want to teach others how they can live their own Life on Fire. I want to encourage and inspire and mentor. That’s my role. I know it is.
These past eight months back in the U.S. have been a trying time for me. Sometimes doubt creeps in. I question what I am doing. Wouldn’t it be easier to go back to a 9-5 job? There’s a pull towards an easier and more stable life. It’s hard to keep the dream at the center because it’s a lot of work and there are no guarantees. I might spend three years writing a book that no one will read.
Still, I have to write. I have to write because it feeds my soul. I have to write because the books are asking to be written. Being a writer, or an artist of any kind, is an act of faith. You create what needs to be created because if you don’t the world is less colorful, less energized, less soulful, less moved. Whether the world embraces your art or rejects it is not up to you. Your work is to create. Let others compliment or criticize. For what it’s worth, you get the better job.
Sometimes when you are living in the murky middle you don’t always realize that you are right where you need to be, doing what needs to be done. You are keeping that flame of your dream burning even through the dark seasons when the nights are long and cold.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that that’s what I am doing. Maybe I forget the feeling I used to have that I was wearing someone else’s skin. Maybe I forget, just a little, how hard and scary it was to get here. Maybe I don’t always appreciate how much I have changed and grown. I forget how much I have created. I forget that there is no timeframe and that as long as I am breathing I get to keep doing what I am doing.
When I wrote Life on Fire I knew that for a subset of you, maybe a very small group, that this book would matter. And from the emails and comments I’ve received from you, it has. It’s not for everyone, but the book seems to find its people. It falls into the hands of those who need to read it. I continue to be grateful for that.
Here’s the thing about a dream: It doesn’t end. You reach it and then you realize it’s evolved. The dream is a journey. Somewhere along the way you’ll realize you’ve learned something and then you’ll go from being the student to the teacher. That’s why I wrote Life on Fire. I learned something and I wanted you to know.
It’s tough to listen to your own truth. And so for those of us that do, we need to be here to help each other and cheer each other on. When the flames burn so hot that we want to step away from the fire, we need to remind each other that relief comes from stepping closer. If we are ablaze together our flame can light the world.
Here’s to a lifetime of fire.
Life on Fire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Living Your Dreams is now only $4.99.