On Fire: Finding Your Gift And Using It

BonnieBraeCook up your grandmother’s meatloaf recipe.

The dirty laundry molding in the closet? Wash it.

Two years ago a couple moved in next door. Go introduce yourself.

Join the YMCA and sign up for classes.

Scrape the mold off the shower tile.

Call your cousin.

The little church down the street? Attend, smile and shake hands.

Enjoy an ice cream cone.

Turn off the TV.

Organize friends attending the theatre with you.

When driving, motion the person in the next lane he can move on over ahead of you. Wave.

Take up walking—outside.



 Because you have decided to love your life.


On Fire

On Fire

When I’m on fire, I’m filled with faith, hope and love. Others catch my fire and pass it on.

But a few days ago, my fire went out.

Several relatives got together—without me. They “had a great time,” according to the off-hand report circulated afterwards.

Why wasn’t I invited? I wondered. Perhaps there were reasons of convenience. Or not. Perhaps they just didn’t think of me.

I felt rejected. Of no value.

My feelings of rejection festered into plans to pack up and move to a desert town. Get a job waiting tables in a cafe. Do my own thing. Never be heard from again. I’m nothing to you? Fine. I’ll just hike it out of here then.

Problem was, I agreed to bring sliced tomatoes, onions and cheese for the hamburgers my small group would grill the next evening. The group is parents of teenagers, grandparents, and singles of all ages. Organized by our church, we meet once a week to eat together and pray for each other.

I didn’t want to go. Hurting, I wanted to distance myself from people.

Still, the hamburgers needed fixings.

I showed up…and learned:

The Millers are getting good results with the gluten-free diet they’re on. Tom is sleeping better and Sally, their seventh-grader, flies off the handle less.

Eric will pass eighth grade after all. Relief. Joy all around.

Martha, a new widow in the group, agreed to house-sit for the Johannsons the month they are away on vacation.

Bill’s court hearing is Tuesday. We pray and ask God to give Bill mercy with the judge and probation officer.

We pray for Gina’s interview on Wednesday.

I let the group know my son found a job. We offer thanksgiving.

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Driving home, I realize the hurt is less. I’m glad I showed up.

Embers glow once again.

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photo credit: aussiegall (creative commons)

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Dear Reader, thanks for stopping by ON FIRE. Your comments and feedback are treasured. Gloria













Steven Pressfield writes about watching a famous trainer work with his thoroughbreds. To Steven’s surprise, the trainer takes great pains to make the training sessions “fun” for the horses. The trainer explained:

Horses understand the whip but I don’t want a racer that runs that way. A horse that loves to run will beat a horse that’s compelled, every day of the week.

S. Pressfield in Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

What’s true for horses is true for you and me.

Too often the compelling voice of “should” plays in our heads: You should be further along…You should be more like so and so…Mom / the Boss / the Editor says you should…Necessity says you should do this, not that. “Should” is a loud, ever-present whip. Its fearful, urgent considerations hijack our focus and our lives.

The truth is, we hate “should.” It exhausts and depletes us. However, we use it to keep going in the parts of our lives it already controls—the parts where we are operating outside of our true heart. Unfortunately, a whip breeds the need for more whip.

Love, however, energizes and renews us. We, like racehorses, were born to do what we love.

If we are going to fulfill our destiny as co-creators with God, we must live and act out of love. Jesus said: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9 NIV)

I’ve also discovered the whip can interfere even when I am doing what I love. One of my joys is choosing and placing words on a page so that an important point is made crystal-clear. I am thrilled when someone is helped. However, “should” causes me to write less:

You should reply to these emails right away.

You should call her back right now.

You should do work that is more lucrative.

You should write more like so and so—he’s so awesome.

You should get more done in a day than you do.

 The pressure of the whip makes me question myself and what I’m doing. Back off! I tell this internal nemesis. I’m doing what I love—this is what I’m here for!

 I must train myself to run free, without the whip.

 You ask: “Are you saying we can live carelessly, without concern for food and shelter and caring for our dependents? Just go off and do anything we please whenever we want?”

No, no. However, consider this:

  • Review your entire life from as far back as you can remember up until now. When did you feel the most energized? The most truly alive? The most you?
  • What was happening during these times? What were you doing?
  • How can you do more of that now?


You were born to run fast and free.

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photo credit: sufw (creative commons)

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Dear Reader, thanks for stopping by ON FIRE. Your feedback is welcomed – here in the comments or to me by email:


Slaying the dragon

Slaying the dragon

Let’s be honest.

Life is good, bad, fun, terrible, beautiful and painful.

Filmmaker Patrick Solomon reports he “struggled with hardship, suffered defeats…and tried to make sense of [his] world.” Seeing life through the lens of Joseph Campbell’s “hero’s journey” strengthened Patrick; so much so, he decided to bring the hero’s journey to life on the big screen.

Patrick’s film, Finding Joe, depicts every man and woman’s life journey—facing and fighting dragons, walking through open doors and returning to our community with our tale of triumph. The film is based on the narrative Joseph Campbell observed in myths across cultures from ancient history to now. 

The key is to “Follow your bliss,” taught Campbell.

“But what if I’m stuck?” you may ask. “What if my dragons keep springing back to life? What if there is no open door? How do I find my bliss then?”

The heroes in Finding Joe share from their experience:

1. You must stop listening to voices outside of yourself. Your culture, for example. Mass media conspires to keep us “tranced-out consumers” and “sheep.” External voices can also include the words of those you hold dear. “Don’t do what Daddy says,” Joseph Campbell told his students at Sarah Lawrence.

2. Identify the earplugs you use to drown out your own voice. One storyteller reports that his journey included fighting the dragon of obesity. He realized his fat kept him from feeling pain from childhood abuse. This realization was the first step to slaying his dragon.

3. Fear masks what we love. Stretch yourself. Do the things that scare you.

4. Following your bliss means you turn up the volume in your own heart: what do you love doing? If you had money and time, how would you express yourself?

5. The most powerful thing you can do is love and accept yourself as you are. Self-acceptance “lines you up with the universe.” Doors will open.

The best part is bringing back the story of how you did it.

Don’t give up.

We need you to help us…

find ourselves.

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photo credit: (creative commons)

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Finding Joe is now available on DVD at

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Dear Reader: Thanks for stopping by ON FIRE. Your feedback is valued. You may post here in the comments or communicate with me by email: