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Throughout your journey through life, you will have many sparks to fuel your creativity, goals and dreams. A spark sets it in motion. It is the willingness to start something without knowing how it will turn out. When others “envy” your work or creativity, it should be taken as a form of flattery.
Most people depend on someone or something outside of themselves to light their fire.
Your passions, your personal gifts are planted in you by God. It’s 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” consists of what you focus on. What do you read, watch and listen to? Does it empower you or enslave you? Be aware of what you are putting into your body and mind.
2) Oxygen – This is the basic bond that creates the environment so the fire can keep burning. Your oxygen is the people you surround yourself with. Realize who they are and whether they are building you up or tearing you down. Trim accordingly.
3) Ignition – A beautiful car will stay parked unless there is a spark to start the engine. Your passion is usually driven by wonder and a willingness to try something new or take an area of your life to another level. How badly do you want something? What are you willing to do for your health, your life, your economy, etc.?
I had my “first spark” at the age of 8. I was at a summer reading camp. During a 15 minute break between classes, I decided it was enough time to climb the beautiful 9 foot tall tree by the girls’ dorm. I climbed hand over hand and pushed my sneakers up every inch until I reached the top of the tree and landed my right foot on a rusty nail attached to the board.
As I was descending, my right leg was torn off and blood ran down the tree like sap. Nick, the counselor, saw what was happening and ran to the tree and said, “Do you want to lose your leg?
“I shook my head No!”
He picked me up, called another counselor to call my parents and have them meet us at the hospital!
In my mind’s eye, I see my mom getting into our car and driving 3 1/2 hours to the hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. As he drives, he says to himself, “I’ve got to get her out of the trees before she kills herself!”
By the time Mom got to the hospital, she had a plan!
When she arrived she saw me sitting there with over 25 stitches in my right leg. Mom leaned over me and gave me a fierce hug. She looked into my brown eyes with her beautiful blue eyes and said, “Madeline, if I buy you a violin and give you lessons, will you promise never to climb a tree again?”
I looked into my mom’s bright blue eyes and promised that I would never climb a tree again if she brought me a violin and gave me lessons.”
I wanted to play the violin for many years 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 for your journey?
My second spark!
When summer camp ended, my mom came to pick me up with my new little violin and bow sitting on the back window in a case. The next day my mother took me to see my violin teacher, a handsome, smiling young man, Mr. William Whitson, a violinist and a military officer.
He taught me how to hold the violin and the bow, where to place my fingers on the strings, and how to make the instrument sound by pulling the bow over the strings. He did this by modeling for me how to play and then letting me try.
He also taught me how to read sheet music on the music page, which parallels reading a book, and taught me to play the theme of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, Ode to Joy, in my first violin lesson.
The Third Spark:
After my first violin lesson with Mr. Whitson, I asked my mom 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 joy in reading.
Mr. Whitson’s encouragement was the spark, the second catalyst, the fuel that kept me going in moments of frustration.
Many years later at the age of 17 I had the honor of playing at the world famous Carnegie Hall. This journey would never have been possible without the investment my mentor made in me.
What are the examples in your life that changed the trajectory of your life?
What first sparked the creativity of Charles Dickens?
Dickens said, “One man fired my imagination and gave me the tools to become a writer.” At 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 by the stove. She didn’t clean the house. Her job was to “find a way to keep Dickens in bed at night. She knew 125 stories, but Dickens’s favorite story was “Captain Murderer” and he kept asking for it. (Engels, E. (1997). Dickens for Children. North Carolina: Authors Ink.)
What was his second spark?
When he was 11, the debtor’s police dragged Charles’ father to debtor’s prison ahead of Charles. He said, “I will never be poor again.” His mother and brothers were sent to the Marshalsea Prison and during this time Charles was sent to work ten hours a day at Warren’s Blacking Factory. While working in the factory, he had to wear five pairs of socks to have some protection from the rats that gnawed through his socks in the factory. His traumatic experiences, feelings of alienation and betrayal are the themes of his books “David Copperfield” and “Great Expectations”. (Claire Tomalin, “Charles Dickens”.)
These two sparks were the catalysts for Charles Dickens’ future writing of books to bring about social change from poverty, child labor and workhouses. Dickens changed the world with his writing.
What ignited Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
“In 1995, I had $7 in my pocket and I knew two things: I was broke…and one day I wouldn’t be.” He decided to relentlessly pursue his definition of success. First in the world of wrestling, later in the movies.
Do you remember that first spark that set you on your way?
There will be many sparks to move you along your journey!
How can you help ignite a spark in others, a fire in them, take action and make the first move?
How can you be a spark, a catalyst for change for someone else?
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Who will you help change?
Sparks are the catalyst for change!
1) Write down your first, second and third “sparks” that changed the direction of your life.
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 the spark in someone else’s life to make them take action?
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