I haven’t been very “productive” over this last year. I didn’t write the great American novel. I didn’t start a business. I didn’t get into amazing shape. I rested. And in a culture that thinks you only need 2 weeks of vacation and select holidays to recharge, I count that as a major accomplishment. I took a big break from life. I needed it. I deserved it. We all do.
In the midst of a pandemic I also dealt with heartbreak and a very tough illness. I didn’t want to do anything. I had no motivation, no drive. My once ambitious self had become fully content with staying in sweats and jammies watching hours of Gilmore Girls and taking naps. And when I thought about my past work experiences and how extremely toxic they were, I definitely wasn’t moved to jump back into the workforce. All the heaviness I was dealing with wore me out. And over time I began to fear that I was permanently burned out and my fire would never come back. Now, finally, I’m recovering and feel my internal embers warming up again. I want to make something happen; something significant. I want to make my mark.
It’s taken a while to even figure out what making my mark looks like; what matters to me and how I want to contribute. And I eventually discovered that it’s centered on communicating. Whether it’s writing or public speaking, utilizing language is always the thing I come back to. It’s the thing that makes me feel as if I’m in my most authentic and powerful place. It’s my dominant gift. And now that I have the motivation, I have to deal with the fear.
Somewhere along the way I think developed a fear of putting myself out there. I’ve done it many times before and taken risks that have paid off. But it’s been a while and it can be a challenge to re-light the flames. Sometimes we overthink and fear and doubt talk us out of our grand plans. But it’s time to pack the bags and move out of the comfort zone. And in the spirit of Black History Month, I think this is a great time to put some action behind our dreams as so many of our amazing ancestors did which resulted in a rich legacy that bolstered and defined this country.
So in this journey of finding my fire again I’ve affirmed that there are times when we have to tear down to rebuild. Occasionally we have to table our goals and just be for a while; allow ourselves to rejuvenate. We can let motivation and ambition make their way back to us. Our bodies and minds were not built to be in constant motion and it’s ok to take a break with no guilt. We are allowed to take time to rediscover ourselves. Sometimes we’ll get back on track and on other occasions we’ll change course realizing the things that once lit our fire no longer produce a spark.
Getting your fire back requires honest introspection to identify what brings you joy and fulfillment. It also involves making a decision to resume your passions or pursue new ones. It can take time, and often, involves courage. Whatever road you take to get your fire back, or however long it takes, know that your internal glow is an eternal flame and can be fully reignited at any time.