When I talk about breathing fire, I’m not referring to coffee breath or morning breath or unusual carnival side show talent. I’m talking about something else that people may duck and run from.
Your fire is your passion. Your fire is your truth. Your fire is the thing that lights you up and heats you up. Your fire is the thing that makes you come alive, the thing that every cell in your body responds to.
Breathing fire is about more than just knowing yourself and knowing what your thing is—and yes, we ALL have a thing. Breathing fire is about knowing what lights you up and (here’s the clencher) sharing it with the world.
Your fire does you no good when kept inside, out of sight. Without oxygen, without the light of day, without breathing action into it, fires smother and die. Without attention and action, that thing you’re passionate about just . . . dies. Your actual fire will go out. Everyone needs purpose in life. Something to look forward to, something to fight for. People who lose their fires lose their light, their spark, their motivation. A part of them literally dies inside long before their body does.
You want to write? Write. You want to photograph? Photograph. You want to teach, defend, explore, challenge, produce, protect, prepare, nurture, cleanse, learn? Do. Those. Things. The fastest, surest way to give life to a goal or idea is to just DO IT. There will always be room for growth and improvement. Don’t let some arbitrary idea of being “good enough” be the thing that stops you from breathing your fire, from putting your passion out into the world and seeing it light up.
Breathing fire is about more than just keeping your own personal spark alive, though. That purpose, that passion, that subject matter, that topic . . . without everyday people breathing fire for it . . . it dies. The actual world loses a spark, loses something beautiful and necessary. As Henry Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”
The world, much like Robert Frost’s beloved woods, is lovely and dark and deep, and we need fires from each and every one of us to light the way and to push back the darkness. If there are no people brave enough to teach, teaching will die. The same for writing and defending and exploring and producing and all those other things people are passionate about. We must breathe our fires into the world so that the darkness doesn’t gain a single damn inch. So that dark doesn’t become the new norm.
So breathing fire is about honoring the passion within you and honoring the world beyond you. It’s about knowing yourself and speaking your truth. It’s about not letting fear—fear of shortcomings, fear of other people’s reactions, fear of being wrong—shut your fire down. You have something true inside, and it deserves to become truth outside.
Show your lights, people. Breathe your fires. That’s what they’re for.
So there it is. My mantra, my goal, my encouragement to myself and to everyone, everywhere. The story of the name of this blog.
Drink coffee, breathe fire.
Practice self-care. Do whatever it is that gives you strength, even if that thing doesn’t have anything in common with what gives other people strength. Value yourself enough to take care of yourself.
And then? Share yourself with the world. Verbalize your passion. Actualize it. Whatever that fire is that burns inside of you, let it burn outside of you as well.
The lovely, deep, dark world depends on it.