As short as the time
From spark to flame,
So brief may the distance be
Between heart and being.
Cause our hearts to flame,
In the name of the Fire,
And of the Flame
And the Light.*
(John O’ Donohue)
In her book Strengths Based Parenting, Mary Reckmeyer tells the stories of fashion designer Jason Wu and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, examples of pursuing passions from an early age – both supported by their parents from before the age of 10 in what they were becoming interested in.
Whilst these stories show us how it is possible for someone’s curiosity can become an interest and turn into a flaming passion, they may leave us believing we are too late when it comes to pursuing passion.
This is just not so.
John O’Donohue offers us the image of spark to a flame to illustrate how things can so quickly alter.
We need only start by noticing what we notice and lean into this.
I was reminded of the Jesuit steps** that allowed them to pursue what they most wanted to pursue in life, these being self-awareness, innovation, love, and courage:
It takes courage to specialise and build a small great thing.^
Courage is the product of our pursuit of interest: we will be most courageous about those things that matter most to us.
Onwards!, because it is not too late:
Knowledge allows us to get our bearings, but it’s imagination and action that give us the forward motion we need to start and finish.^^
*From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus: In Praise of Fire;
**Check out Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership;
^From Bernadette Jiwa’s The Story of Telling blog: A Small Great Thing;
^^From Bernadette Jiwa’s The Story of Telling blog: Start to Finish.