Chapter 9 – Blaze

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames”
Rumi

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames”

Rumi

Footprints in the concrete is an urban art story, it is my story. It shows how the many complex chords that are attached to our journey can find meaning. It starts with a dream, it always starts with a dream. We see the invisible first before it is realised, thought produces the action. Many situations can arise that can kill our dreams and so infect our hearts. This causes us to live below our designated life purpose. Imagine if that spark is reignited. Imagine that passion not just catching alight, imagine it ablaze. To blaze means to make a mark, usually indicating a path, he blazed his way through the storm. I am using the term Blaze to describe a life on fire, full of purpose and direction. We want to live a life blazing a path that encourages others to do the same. John Wesley said, “I set myself on fire and people come out to watch me burn”. To see us reaching and influencing the lives of our peers, reassuring them they have a unique identity, a place where they can belong. Helping them in visualising a positive future, giving them something to aim at. How good would it be to see us, set free of the limitations that are placed on us, and use this platform so we can connect with our purpose, and maximize our potential and creativity with confidence. To see a generation living without the masks and live without the false expectations placed on them.

“It takes your knowing to decide on your going. If you know where you are going, you will keep going because you have already seen yourself gone”

Israelmore Ayivor

Sometimes people are in the right place at the right time with the right mindset. Most of the time, however, it isn’t luck that makes the difference; rather, it is the fact they will not throw the towel in, despite the odds, failures, criticism or past mistakes. Much of the success of those we admire today is based on the unwillingness to stay defeated or to give up. Thomas Edison failed more than 3,000 times in his attempts before successfully creating the electric light bulb. When asked why he persisted after so many failures, he replied that he hadn’t failed, rather he had “discovered 3,500 ways not to make a light bulb.” He used each failure as a learning experience and catalyst for the next attempt.

Being ablaze is continuing to push forward, to strive to reach a goal or objective despite the many discouragements, setbacks or loss of faith. It is keeping faith with your mission, purpose, or set of values long after the others have thrown in the towel, that is the pathway to success. The world is full of people who are more than willing to tell you all the reasons why you can’t follow your dream or succeed at something others haven’t done yet. Vision is about creating something new, not in contempt for the past, but built upon the foundation of the past and the present, emerging with a reality that is better than that which is currently available. When fully enacted, vision brings us closer to our ideals. We must be the ones who do things on purpose. Wake up focused and be purpose driven. We won’t be successful by mistake, but by a well thought out strategy of faith and love. We must love on purpose, give of ourselves on purpose, reach out on purpose until being on purpose is our natural response. That is when we will see the blaze.

Can I get your attention?
The rhyme drops can you feel the connection,
It’s like a wave and it’s moving in sections,
Front to back this is the direction,
I keep moving the key is will you follow me,
If your propping up the walls then it bothers me,
If you’re looking for a squabble then unfollow me,
If hate is in your heart listen to me,
Get in the flow, coz real life is in this,
It’s like a light, and so I’m moving with this,
I’m dreaming good times, like it’s supposed to be,
It’s Reynolds why don’t you come with me.

Within hip hop culture, much of the artist’s success depends on how they “represent.” To represent in a hip-hop context in large part means to be true to one’s self. For other hip-hop artists, the success of their careers has not been based on keeping it real, but instead on wearing a mask or adopting an alter ego. In life we can end up having many different identities that we wear in various ways for various reasons. Peer pressure is a powerful force that squeezes our identity, we must resist its subtle advances and be advocators of individuality. One of the major truths of the gospel that spoke to me was the fact that I was made by design.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

New Living Translation

We follow the footprints of others not to become clones but to learn from their journey. We celebrate their victories and allow the realisation of their success to penetrate our beings. If they can do it so can I, if I work hard and choose life at those moments when we are questioned by our circumstances.

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be otherwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Sometimes we struggle against incredible obstacles. It can feel like they are impossible to overcome. At times it seems easier to wear a mask to shield your heart from rejection. This keeps us from sharing our dreams and passions. I believe whatever dream we have, we also have the strength to break through the barrier.

When I see you living life it’s a hype thing?
Each step I take and we in full swing,
Dance in the moment, I just love the bass lick,
Inspire fire as the melody and drum kick,
See I love the way the Spirit’s moving it,
Feel the rhythm in your spine while you’re living it,
All the troubles of the day you are losing it,
Your heart ached in the past so where soothing it,
Negative words are depressing so where moving it,
Raise your eyes to the dream where pursuing it,
All your friends along the way, not forgetting them,
I know myself who I am so I’m bringing them,
We be doing this until the early morning,
We ain’t stopping until all hearts are burning,
And now your calling me, the host of heaven are supporting me,
Fan the flame in your heart, why don’t you come with me.

Footprints is all about motivating us to realise our dreams and help provide the focus to make them come true. Despite the hardships and conflicts that we face on the way to our dreams, we realise our life purpose is worth pursuing. Sometimes we must go against the odds, against the opinion of others and learn to swim against the flow. By focusing and realising my dreams, we learn to survive despite the negativity that pulls us back.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk without having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

Tupac Shakur

The poet begins the poem with a question that whether we have heard about the rose that has grown out from a crack in the concrete. Refuting the laws of nature, the rose has learnt how to walk without having feet. Although it seems funny, but by focusing and realizing his dreams, it finally learnt to survive by breathing the fresh air around him. The lack of care and surrounding did not prove to bring hindrance to the rose’s growth. In the last lines, the poet expresses support by saying ‘long live’ and he claims that as the rose focused on keeping his dreams, it was able to live a long life. We must see beyond what we go through!

We have heard the saying the early bird gets the worm. This is true but so do all the other birds get a worm. There are more than enough worms to go around. In the same way there is a place for each of us to fulfil our dreams and be complimentary of each other as we come together in the greater story. It is within the greater story our purpose and passion are realised. It is our responsibility to make something happen. It is in that place we understand that our behaviour is a function of our decisions not our conditions. I am what choices I have made.

As we move the pressure heightens,
We hit the floor so hard where like titans,
We go hard you would think we were violent,
To see our dreams fulfilled we can’t be silent,
I need more strength in my cup,
On the road of life, it’s not down to luck,
To the right move and just sway a bit,
You can do it, I know that you’re feeling it,
To know your purpose in life, there’s no need to fear,
Inside your passion are the keys to why you’re here,
No stress, we dress so we can impress,
I confess my dream, reveals I will bless,
In every test, I follow the light he gives me,
No regrets, I’m living the life I dreamed see.
People can have enough to live by but nothing to live for; they have the means but no meaning. If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. There is always a solution to the problem, an answer to life’s questions, a meaning to life. You have to stay in the game to win it, only then will you see the answer of that you so diligently seek.

Leviticus 6:12-13 (ANIV)
The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.

At one time this was the practice of the priest but today the methodology has changed but the principle remains the same. Today the altar is our heart and the fire is the light that shines within us. Each day we can add or detract from the things that will keep the fire blazing.

The well-known village atheist was seen running vigorously to the site of a burning church building, intent on joining with others in helping to extinguish the flames. A neighbour, observing him, exclaimed in amazement, “This is something new for you! I never saw you going to church before!” The atheist replied, “Well, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a church on FIRE before!”

Author Unknown

The fire must never go out it must be kept burning, it must give off its light. When Jesus walked he was the light, through our giftings and passion we reflect that light. Eric Liddell said “God made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.” Those dreams that are inside us are clues to our divine purpose. The moon has a glow that can light the night, but the source of its light is a reflection off the sun.

A man returning from a journey brought his wife a matchbox that would glow in the dark. After giving it to her she turned out the light, but the matchbox could not be seen. Both thought they had been cheated. Then the wife noticed some French words on the box and asked a friend to translate them. The inscription said: “If you want me to shine in the night, keep me in the light.

Who am I? I am a creative and as I walk in who I was designed to be, I will stand out as unique and powerful. As we all are unique and powerful. We have the unique ability to bring something out of nothing, to reach within and take a thought, a dream and see it transform into a reality. This gift, this ability brings us closer to God than many realise. It could be a song, a rap, a piece of art, a dance, a story, an idea, as we draw out what is within us. My creative identity gives me the foundation to overcome the many limiting beliefs that exist. As I overcome them. my light will shine brighter. My passion and purpose drive’s me towards this end, to see these limiting beliefs broken in the minds of every person I come into contact with. I am a light and I was designed to shine. To share my light so others can shine. To see as many light’s shine together so we can blaze.

Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.

Kevyn Aucoin

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey”.

Stephen Covey

Be the best version of yourself, fight against limiting beliefs wherever you stumble upon them. Let our lights shine until we blaze and become that beacon that warns others on this journey where the rocks and pitfalls are at. The lighthouse reminds us that, regardless of how turbulent the seas may become, we need only steer towards the light. So, blaze wherever you are, be that light wherever darkness presents itself. Never forget who we have inside us, creation itself is thirsty for the revealing of the sons and daughters of God. When the sons and daughters of God are revealed, when the presence and Kingdom of God is manifested in us and through us, when we meet with God, something happens in the natural world as a consequence to our choices. When we connect with His Spirit in us, when we bring forth his Kingdom into our present reality, something happens between heaven and earth when we, as the children of God, encounter God and His powerful presence.

I hope you enjoy the journey.