Myles Horton was a famous adult educator in the Appalachian mountains. He rode the rails with the hobos and learned valuable lessons from them, lessons that I’m applying during my volunteer work at the 2010 Olympics.
Fire was valuable to the vulnerable men who hitched a ride by train. Fire kept you warm. It protected you. It was a means to a meal.
During those long train rides Myles learned that if you used up your fuel source too soon the fire would go out, leaving you cold and vulnerable throughout the night.
He also recalled times when men kept the fire burning too low and there wouldn’t be enough heat. You’d still go cold and hungry.
In his autobiography ‘The Long Haul’ he talks about how our life’s drive and goals are the same.
Fire yourself up too much, burn the midnight oil too often, don’t take care of your whole self, don’t have a life beyond work and you’re in trouble. All consuming and consumed, you’re headed off the rails and towards burnout and major stress.
Don’t fire yourself up enough and you’ve got no heat, no oomph, no zing, passion, or drive. You’re coasting through life, unengaged and uninspired.
The trick? Keeping your fire burning at a level that works for you.
Speaking of which, I’m volunteering for the 2010 Olympic Games. We volunteer 6 days on, have 1 off and work 9 hour days. Fire’s on my mind, I’m tending the flame.
And you? How’s your fire?