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During your journey through life you will have many sparks that will ignite your creativity, goals, and dreams. A spark sets it in motion. It is that willingness to start something without knowing how it will turn out. When others are ” jealous” of your work or creativity, it should be taken as a form of flattery.
Most people depend upon someone or something outside of themselves to ignite their fire.
Your passions, your personal gifts are planted within you by God. It is up to you to grow them.
What are the 3 elements of fire?
1) Fuel – If there is nothing to burn, nothing will burn. Your “fuel” is made up of what you are focusing on. What do you read, watch, and listen to? Does it empower or enslave you? Be conscious about what you pour into your body and mind.
2) Oxygen – This is the essential bond that creates the environment so fire can continue to burn. Your oxygen is the people you surround yourself with. Be aware of who they are and whether or not they build you up or tear you down. Prune accordingly.
3) Ignition – A beautiful car will remain parked unless there is a spark that turns the engine. Your ignition is usually fueled by wonder and a willingness to try something new, or to take an area of your life to another level. How bad do you want something? What are you willing to do for your health, your life, your economics, etc.?
I had my “first spark” at 8 years old. I was at a summer reading camp. During the 15 minute recess between classes, I decided there was just enough time to climb the beautiful 9 foot tree by the girls dorm. I climbed hand over hand pushing up each inch with my tennis shoes until reaching the top of the tree landing my right leg on a rusty nail attached to a board.
As I came down my right leg ripped down and the blood flowed down the tree like sap. Nick, a counselor, saw what was happening and raced to the tree and said, “Do you want to lose your leg?
“I shook my head No!”
He scooped me up in his arms, called another counselor to call my parents and have them meet us at the hospital!
In my mind I see my Momma getting into our car, driving the 3 1/2 hours to the hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. As she is driving she says to herself, “I have to get her out of the trees before she kills herself!”
By the time Momma arrived at the hospital, she had a plan!
When she arrived, she saw me sitting there with over 25 stitches down my right leg. Momma leaned over me and gave me a ferocious hug. She looked into my brown eyes with her beautiful blue eyes and said, “Madeline, if I buy you a violin and get you lessons will you promise to never climb another tree?”
I looked into my Momma bright blue eyes and promised to never climb another tree if she brought me a violin and got me lessons.”
For many years I had wanted to play the violin and this was my opportunity. It all started with the 1st spark, landing on a rusty nail. That rusty nail saved my life and was the first spark of my journey.
What was your first spark, the catalyst, of your journey?
My second spark!
When summer camp ended, Momma came to pick me up with my new small violin and bow sitting on the back window in its case. The next day, Momma took me to see my violin teacher, a handsome, smiling young man, Mr. William Whitson, a violinist and military officer.
He taught me how to hold the violin and bow, where to place my fingers on the string, and how to make a sound on the instrument by pulling the bow across the strings. He did this by modeling how to play for me and then having me try it.
He also taught me how to read the notes on the musical page which is parallel to reading a book and taught me at my first violin lesson to play the theme of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ode to Joy.
After my first violin lesson with Mr. Whitson, I asked my Momma to take me to the public library so I could borrow a book on Beethoven to read all about him. That day was the beginning of my enjoyment with reading.
Mr. Whitson’s encouragement was the spark, the 2nd catalyst, fuel that kept me going during my moments of frustration.
Many years later at 17, I had the honor of playing at the world-famous Carnegie Hall. That journey would never have been possible without the investment my mentor made in me.
What are some examples in your life that changed the trajectory of your life?
What first sparked Charles Dickens creativity?
Dickens said, “One person fired up my imagination and gave me the tools to be a writer.” At the age of 3, Charles was so full of energy that he never wanted to go to sleep. His mother had a maid named Mary Weller who worked for 3 meals a day and a warm place to sleep in front of the stove. She did not clean the house. Her job was to “find a way to keep Dickens in bed at night. She told the best blood and guts tale of terror horror stories.” She knew 125 stories but Dickens favorite story was “Captain Murderer” and he asked for this story all the time. (Engels, E. (1997). Dickens for Kids. North Carolina: Authors Ink. )
What was his second spark?
At 11 years of age, the debtor’s police hauled Charles’ father off to Debtors Prison in front of Charles. He said, “I shall never be poor again.” His mother and brothers were sent to Marshalsea Prison and during this time Charles was sent to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory for ten hours a day. He had to wear five pairs of socks, while working at the factory, so he would have some protection from the rats that bit through his socks at the factory. His traumatic experiences, feelings of alienation and betrayal are themes of his books “David Copperfield” and “Great Expectations”. (Claire Tomalin, “Charles Dickens”.)
These two sparks were the catalysts for Charles Dickens future of writing books to bring about social change from poverty, child labor, and work houses. Dickens changed the world through his writing.
What sparked Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
“In 1995 I had $7 bucks in my pocket and I knew two things: I’m broke… and one day I won’t be.” He decided to relentlessly pursue his definition of success. First in the wrestling world, then later in movies.
Do you remember that first spark that set you on your journey?
Through your journey there will be many sparks to get you moving!
How can you help set a spark in others, a fire within them, to take action and take that first step?
How can you be a spark, a catalyst for change for someone else?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Who will you help to change?
Sparks are the catalyst for change!
1) Write down your first, second, and three “sparks” that changed your life’s direction.
2) Like Charles Dickens was there a person or place that sparked your creativity to take action for your future?
3) How can you activate a spark in someone else’s life to make them take action?
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