I start more than 100 fires each year.
Just about every morning from late autumn to early spring, amidst the darkness, I coax my wood stove to life and keep my family warm.
During the other seasons, I light a couple dozen more outside, for ambience, heat, and bug protection.
The thing about fire — it draws people close. When I think back on my fondest memories, usually there’s a fire in there somewhere in the background.
For me the act of starting fires is part ritual, part art.
After my years of study and practice with building fires, I was awarded a Master of Fire-Starting degree some time ago. How does one earn the prestigious MFS degree? Glad you asked…
To earn your degree there are two requirements.
Given all the necessary materials, such as dry tinder and the sparking device of your choosing, you must:
1) Be able to start a roaring blaze with only one match with a success rate of 90% (minimum of 10 trials).
2) With any attempt at starting a fire, you have 60 seconds to make any adjustments. After one minute, hands off, at this point the fire must be self-sustained to be considered successful.
You want that MFS, right? Of course you do. After all, nothing impresses people more than a few letters after your name. At the very least, it will make your parents proud.
Well, I have good news! Even if your fire skills are questionable to start, if you learn the simple rules of fire-starting, you will have no trouble becoming a fellow pyro.
There are really only two things you need to know to get your degree…
First, you need to embrace an approach that is grounded in the physical mechanics of fire-starting. You need to understand the relationships and balances between heat, oxygen, and fuel. If you respect these relationships and set up your materials with respect to the laws of fire, you will succeed. In this way, every successful fire starts before the match is struck.
The second thing you must do is practice. You could read every book every written on fire-starting, but that will not make you an expert. We really only learn things from direct experience.
So if you want that degree, it’s time to get some dirt on those hands. And yes. You may just get a sliver or two along the way. It’s all part of mastering your craft.
The bottom line is that fire-starting is easy. You were born to do it. It’s simple, because fire obeys consistent laws of our universe. Heat source + fuel + oxygen = fire. Every time. When you understand and follow these rules, it’s all over except for the beer and hot dogs.
However when put to the test, most people fail to qualify for their Master of Fire Starting. Certainly, in the era of thermostats, most people have little reason to seriously practice their skills, but I find that most people’s attempts fail because they have never been schooled in a proven method of fire starting. In fact, from my observations, without a philosophical grounding, I’ve observed that most people’s default method of fire-starting is the “throw anything that may be combustible into a pile and pray” approach.
The results usually have friends scrambling to avoid lungfuls of smoke.
So, if you want to become a fire-starter, learn the rules and practice. Do these two things and you’ll be throwing your mortarboard and shaking the dean’s hand in no time.
What’s that? You want to know what inspired me to write about fires? Great question! (I told you the metaphor would return).
Let’s say that you want to rekindle a fire somewhere in your life and you feel the burning desire to become an MFC (Master ‘Effing Creator of your life). Well, becoming a Master Effing Creator requires the same two ingredients essential to becoming a Master Fire Starter.
Once again, you’ll need an approach grounded in the proper mechanics of a very cool life. In other words, you’ll need to understand the mechanical rules of how things get created in our universe.
The grounded approach I follow (and recommend) is called Universal Law, also known as the Law of Attraction. Study this law, and you’ll arrive at a clear understanding at the relationship between your thoughts and the reality you experience.
In short, whatever you wish to create is within your grasp provided you align your thoughts with your desire. Take note, like fire-starting, this alignment process is an art. And like any art, mastery requires practice.
A key point that I want to convey is that none of this is difficult. In fact, directing your thoughts and experiencing your true power is one of the most delightful experiences of being alive. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
If you truly wish to experience the magic of becoming a Master Creator, you cannot take the less mindful approach— you cannot just haphazardly dump a pile of flotsam and a match into a fire circle and hope that “one day, somehow” the spark will take flame.
This approach ends in smoke, disappointment, and frustration. And yet this is what most people do.
In the long view, it’s so much easier to invest the time and energy learning the rules, practicing, and living as a Master Creator of your life. In fact, that’s what you came here to be and do.
Start the fire. Feed the fire. Kick your heels up and bask in the warmth.