“You can blow out a candle
But you can’t blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher”
— from Biko by Peter Gabriel
Through the course of our lives, we occasionally experience moments that light up a candle in our hearts.
It can be a journey, a retreat, a book, a random encounter, a moment with friends, a walk in nature, a concert, a speech, a workshop or something else.
Once that candle is lit, its flame allows us to see the extraordinary beauty that we hold inside.
Sometimes we share that moment with others, and the combined light from all the candles gives us an opportunity to see more.
More of our beauty and more of others’ beauty.
To lit a candle we need at least three elements.
First of all, we need the candle, obviously.
As human beings, the candle is our potential to shine.
A potential that, like a candle, won’t shed any light if we don’t light it up.
Then we need a spark to kindle the flame.
Sparks are everywhere around us, and they can take any form; people, places, words, images, silence, animals, elements of nature, objects.
Anything can become the spark we need in order to light our candle.
Then, there is the final element.
A vital one that is often overlooked.
Like all living beings, a flame needs to breathe.
We can’t lit a candle without oxygen.
To ignite the flame, we must create the space for the wick to burn.
It is amazing what happens when we create and hold a safe space for others.
They open up, surrendering to the space, and they kindle the candles within allowing their inner light to radiate.
When the space is created and nurtured by a sacred circle of people, the light becomes brighter.
It makes everyone shine.
And it is in that moment when we allow ourselves to shine that our fears show up.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson
The flame of a candle is feeble.
A small breeze can kill it and bring us back to darkness.
So, we want to protect it.
Protect it from our limiting beliefs, the naysayers, the struggle of our daily lives, the small difficulties we encounter every day. We start worrying that someone may want to blow out our candle, for fear of the greatness they may discover if they lit their own.
To protect our burning candle, we hide it inside.
Someplace where nobody and nothing can blow it out and take that light from us.
Until, without air and space that same flame we want to protect, slowly dies.
But here is the good news.
You may blow out a candle. But you can’t blow out a fire.
Once the flames have started then the wind will only blow it, higher and higher.
Before a fire nobody can hide, they will all feel the warm power of liberating their inner light.
Anytime someone or something light up a candle in our heart, instead of thinking about how to protect it, we should ask ourselves a much more powerful question.
How can I use my candle’s flame to start a fire?