Fire and the Fog
The Pursuit of Authenticity
One of my biggest struggles for my early life has been staying true to who I am. I grew up as a notorious people-pleaser, subconsciously believing that I wasn’t allowed to have my own ambitions, dreams, beliefs, pursuits or opinions.
I thought I was doing something “kind” and “polite” by never disagreeing with someone, never stating what I truly believed in, hiding my true dreams, and holding back my emotions and feelings. I thought I was doing the right thing by following other people and believing what they did.
I did it not because I wanted to “fit in,” but because I didn’t want to be “left out.”
It wasn’t until friends started to go off to different schools or colleges and when many of those “friends” began to disappear from life that I realized…
I had no idea who I was. I felt lost.
I was just fragments of other people. Who I truly was had been buried beneath layers of fear and anxiety and shyness and trying desperately not to be an outcast.
The voice inside of me and the calling of my heart never really had a chance to shine. I kept it under a veil anytime it began to peek out.
Eventually, new friends emerged and helped me understand the importance of staying true to who you are. That you have to follow your heart. Find your passions and follow them. Stay true to what you believe in. Focus on what you want to get out of life, not what you’re afraid of.
All that cliche stuff. But it’s cliche for a reason. And it resonated with me.
I’m finally listening to that little “voice” within me that has been speaking up, louder and louder as time goes on. I’m beginning to discover a FIRE within me that wasn’t there before. Like a lantern in the night, it’s lighting up the path before me.
And I soon realized that it doesn’t just light up a path I was blind to all these years.
It lights up an expansive field where I get to choose which direction to go. I could follow the path at my side. I could explore the forest at the other. I could run across the hills to a shining city over yonder. I could challenge the mountain rising high above me. Or perhaps relax in the grass.
This awareness has enabled me to recognize that for most of my life, there has been a FOG resting silently around me, trying to hide my paths around me. What if I wanted to see where that path leads? Or explore the forest? Or daydream as I walk towards the shining city? Or find true challenge by climbing the mountain? Or find peace right where I am? The fog kept me from recognizing any of it.
The FIRE and the FOG are two distinct emotions and feelings in my life that now help me recognize when I’m living a life that is true to who I am.
The fire is a sensation I can’t quite describe, because it manifests in so many different ways for me. Its purpose is to help us recognize when we are on the right path and being true to who we truly are.
We feel alive. Our stresses disappear. Time begins to vanish in the blink of an eye. There’s excitement. We begin to believe in things bigger than ourselves. The world begins to open up. We feel better about ourselves. We believe we are worthy of whatever we desire. We know that yesterday doesn’t matter, tomorrow doesn’t exist and the only thing that matters is right now.
We focus on what matters to our heart. The fire lets me know when I am being “me.” When I am taking action on what’s actually important to my heart at that moment.
For me, the fire expresses itself when I thinking of a new idea. Making a new client. Learning a new skill. Reaching out to someone intimidating. Finding a new ambition or goal. Being moved by someone’s story. Getting emotional. Connecting with people. Making a new friend. Doing something unorthodox. Helping someone. Challenging myself. Overcoming a fear. Staying up late and losing track of time. … The list goes on.
The fire shows itself when I’m answering the call of the heart and whatever compels me, no matter what it is.
What the “fire” really is, I have no idea. I have no interest in trying to label it. The Muse, God, Creativity, Genius, Passion, the Universe, Authentic Self, the Soul, Guardian Angels: I think they are all the same. They are here to tell us when we are on the right path.
To me, the important thing to worry about is answering the call of the fire.
The fog is “Resistance,” the weapon of the devil trying to trick and coerce us away from the fire within us. The fog in our life will do everything it possibly can to hide all of the amazing opportunities and dreams we could ever have. It makes us think that we aren’t worthy of having our aspirations. It makes us think we are lost, even when we’re going the right direction.
The fog makes me look at only what I can see and tricks me into disregarding all the possibilities I can’t and never will be able to see until they are already in existence.
The fog will try and tell me that the progress I’m making or the projects I’m working on “don’t matter.” That writing these blog posts have no effect on my life in any positive way. That it’s a waste of time.
But the fire burns from the inside out, trying to tell me to accept that it is my way of expressing myself. Even if the fog or resistance is right, that it has no significant impact on what I want to accomplish, I have to answer what the fire is asking for first.
It can lead me to a new discovery.
It could help me connect with someone who fights a similar battle.
It could provide insight to someone who wants to understand my quirks.
It will put me in an environment where I can find something even better.
There’s a million other reasons why any one thing lights me up, and I know that if I don’t answer the call of the fire, it will leave a scorch mark of regret within me.
The fog says, “there has to be an endgame or you are wasting your time.”
The fire says, “you don’t need a reason beyond ‘I want to.’ Just fucking do it and see what happens.”
What point is there to do anything that doesn’t light us up? The fire must win.
There are so many different elements of my life that I’ve intentionally and unintentionally hidden from myself and others out of fear, because of the fog trying to keep me from really lighting up in the world. And now I’m determined to discover and create “me.”
I have to realize that by consciously embarking on a quest of authenticity that I will have to let go of people from my life that no longer matter, that I’ll find new companions that do, and that I’ll be able to create a life worth telling.
One by one I will discover my unique quirks, beliefs and desires.
One by one I will accept them within myself first and foremost.
One by one I will crush the fears and anxieties holding me back.
One by one I will rid people that discourage me or do everything they can to hold me back.
One by one I will build relationships with people that share similar beliefs and goals.
One by one I will take action on what matters to me and not because someone else said so.
This is the ‘manifesto’ in which I will use to create the Mission of Admission, where I will identify, accept or share one quirk or element of myself that I have intentionally or unintentionally kept hidden from myself or others.
It will help me to stay aware of the fog shielding me from a more engaging life.
It will help me to find and recognize the fire burning within and to accept it wholeheartedly.
The fire is the way of life, whatever it manifests as for you.
The fog is what covers your field of view.
And what gets rid of fog?
A “drop in atmospheric water vapor.” A rise in temperature. Heat. FIRE.
I know that my method is a little unorthodox and won’t make sense to most people. And that’s okay. It’s kind of the point of it all.
But if you struggle with it too, I’d love to hear from you. If you share similar struggles or are currently working on finding, creating or accepting yourself, I would love to connect. Maybe we can help one-another. Maybe you will feel better just letting things off of your chest. And knowing that someone on the other end will be receptive and open minded.
Even if you don’t, I hope that you are following your own fire.
However the FIRE manifests in your life, LIVE BY IT.
Let it LIGHT the way towards many new opportunities that have gone unseen.
Allow it to GUIDE you towards your true desires.