Keeper Of The Flame: Preventing Your Everyday Hopes and Dreams From Goin Up In Smoke

flame 1So imagine there you are going about your day toting not an iPhone or a Java Chip Frappuccino, but a small forged metal box containing a smoldering cinder kept alight throughout the day with tiny bits of kindling.

Now you’re no doubt thinkin, “Why in the world would I ever do that?”

A good question, yet one you wouldn’t have been asking yourself a mere 1000 years ago. 

Ya see back in the Middle Ages lighting a fire from scratch remained a relatively tricky if not arduous process. Thus people would painstakingly do whatever was deemed necessary to, “keep the fire alive.”  

I wonder, are you?


Earliest indications suggest that fire may have first been discovered as far back as 1.7 million years ago.

And inadvertently so no less by some matted haired primate playfully chafing two sticks together.

Yet despite how well founded these assumptions may or may not be it doesn’t alter the fact that the initial finding of fire was without doubt a major turning point in human evolution, changing forever the cultural growth of humanity.

I mean seriously, picture chillin around that first ever communal campfire with a few fellow troglodytes, the ever present evening chill quelled by a new and welcomed warmth, the savory scent of tyrannosaurus flesh being lightly charred atop a blazing flame, and all the while the notion of fathomless possibilities dancing on the intellectual taste buds of all those gathered in its glow. 

Sounds a bit like that inaugural trip to Mickey D’s as a youngster slammin back your first ever Happy Meal, lost in transcendent thought over the giddy prospect of exploring the unseen treasures of Uncle Ronnie’s Play Place for the very first time. 

Speaking of firsts, do you happen to remember when you first, “felt the spark,” got a sense, or a taste if you will, of what might be in store for you in the future?

Chances are if you’ve been draggin your knuckles on this ridged rock for as long as I have it too was, “ages ago.”

  • Perhaps it was when you first sent that Wiffle ball streaming over the neighbor’s prized wall of manicured cypress trees, or helped your older brother change the rear brake shoes on his self-proclaimed chick mobile.
  • Maybe it was on an informative field trip in grade school, or on a family vacation somewhere tween “Are we there yet?” and “Can we please come back here again next year?”
  • Or might it have been the first time you warmed up to a John Grisham novel, heard Norah Jones sing, Al Pacino act, or learned of some undue injustice that prompted in you a profound and urgent sense of responsibility.   

In any case, somehow, somewhere, something clicked—something called, and when it did it screamed, “Now this is something I can definitely sink my teeth into.

This is something I can see myself putting my heart and soul into—even dedicating my entire life to.”

So let me ask you, how’s that workin out for ya?


The reason I ask how it’s workin out for ya is because with the discovery of fire, be it 1.7 million years ago or a week ago last Wednesday, comes the inevitable demands of protecting and preserving it.   

Now it’s reasonably safe to assume that during the Early Stone Age the first order of business would have been to protect or safeguard it.

Pardon the puns but when that dude in the animal skin tunic first rubbed those two twigs together clearly he must have known that he was sittin on an extremely “hot” commodity, and that it wouldn’t be long before every club slingin thug in the valley would be lookin to, “steal his fire.”

No easy task I’m sure, yet ya gotta remember back in those days one’s best/only line of defense was comparatively straightforward:

Hide the women and children and come outta your cave swingin.

These days, however, the chances of some Neanderthal sneaking up on you and beaming you over the head with an oversized drumstick are exceedingly remote.

That of course is the good news.

The bad news is that today the threat of someone (or something) stealing your fire is every bit as real.

And that your contemporary army of adversaries is much more cunning, highly more sophisticated, and abundantly more pervasive.

In fact, if permitted, these modern day desperadoes will not only steal your fire, they’ll pilfer every last morsel of flint and steel (aka time and energy) you need to potentially recapture it.

Plus, unlike a barefaced blow to the head, odds are you’ll never even know what hit ya.

That’s why today more than ever it’s imperative that you take heed; that you, like your Middle Age ancestors, take the initiative to keep that fire alive.

And how might you accomplish this?

The exact same way they did.

And if in any way, shape, or form that sounds a little too demanding for ya, then heed this:

Ya think draggin around some bulky box that requires a topping off of kindling every couple of hours is a pain in the ass, try carrying around the crushing weight of an unfulfilled dream in the pit of your stomach for the better part of the rest of your life.

Looking back, if there’s one thing history has taught us, aside from the invaluable fact that by playing with fire you’re bound to get burned, it’s that by ignoring it—that by neglecting to constantly protect and preserve it—you stand an equal if not greater chance of suffering a very similar fate.

See ya on Dec 1st, till then, keeep it up.

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