Waking Up: How to Become a Fire Starter

Waking Up: How to Become a Fire Starter

We have to begin somewhere.

What if it begins with a simple spark? In the world of somatics we say: an impulse to move.  A tiny electric sizzle that jumps from one synapse to the next. What if it doesn’t start in the left brain? Rather, it’s more like an image, a sensation, an intangible suggestion that bubbles up from deep inside, still not fully formed.

Before that moment, there was stillness. Silence. Perhaps a fog. Even confusion.

Before that you were full of potential, yet inactive. In that moment, it would have been easier to stay asleep. But somewhere, you feel it. As if in the distance. It seems to approach, slowly moving toward you from an unknown location. When it’s near enough, you reach out…

I have always struggled with waking up. Even as I write the words, I laugh to myself at the intended pun. Yes, it’s true. Each morning, since childhood, I find myself in a tug of war (sometimes gentle, sometimes not) between my inner pull toward stillness and my inner pull toward motion.

I love sleep. Comfort. Safety. I love the feeling of calm and quiet that hugs the world before the sun peeks out over the hills. The pause, after the in-breath, and before the exhale.

Yet those who know me also know that I am a fire starter. I take risks. I dance. I jump and pray the net will appear. I love the morning, in all its newness. Like a sea of un-potentiated electricity it sits teasingly in its own calm, as if daring me to stir it.

On days when the inner impulse is strong, the momentum takes hold quickly and I come alive. I dive in with a splash.

On other days, when the impulse is faint, it takes a lot more listening. I stare back in stillness, waiting for the right moment to engage. I resist. The impulse beckons. I turn away. It taps me on the shoulder.

This week I invite you to engage with these questions for yourself. How do you listen? How do you court the impulse to move?

How do you follow the thread that pulls you to wake up?

In your movement practice,

I invite you to pay exquisite attention to the moment before your muscles wake. Can you sense the impulse that comes from your body, before you step into action? Wait for it. If you become impatient, notice the ways your mind tries to take hold and give guidance, foreclosing on your body’s deeper, more primal desires. Can you slow down enough to feel that tiny, distant spark? Can you let it move you even in the moments your ego would prefer to resist?

In life,

take a look at where you are currently in the cycle of waking up. Are you at mid-morning, joyfully barreling forward with the momentum of a spark-caught-fire… or effortfully dragging yourself along the trail with no spark to be found? Are you still in the early stages of dawn, sitting in silence, listening for the distant voice that is just beginning to call? If so, how can you listen more deeply? How can you wait more nourishingly?

With what will you fill the empty space the present, such that the spark can truly take hold when you are finally ready to wake?

I trust that you can and will hear your own voice through the fog. Your voice – your impulse – holds the key to your potentiation.

Are you willing to let that voice guide you this week?

Loving the metaphor…


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