2 min read

Leave enough space between the logs of a fire

Fire, like humans, can easily get overwhelmed if it doesn't have enough breathing room
Leave enough space between the logs of a fire
Photo by Haut Risque / Unsplash

I recently listened to Tara Brach’s meditation on the concept of being vs. doing.

We are human beings, not human doings. If we're always doing (i.e. have activities scheduled, working, watching TV, scrolling our phone), we lose our ability to be as fully present and in control. That is, we lose our ability to think as deeply, connect as deeply, feel as deeply, and have deep willpower.

This is not to say that all doing is bad and should be wiped completely. Not at all. Scheduled activities to connect with people are great. Work stimulates (and pays the bills). TV transports us to different worlds. And even scrolling our phone in small controlled doses keeps us current on what's happening around us.

But the more time we spend doing, the less we're able to just look around, be bored, and think. The less we're able to just be human beings. Human beings in the moment.

I am never one to quote a poem, but I like how this excerpt from "Fire" by Judy Brown sums up this idea.

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

The idea is that fire, one of the most powerful and essential forces in life, can easily get overwhelmed if it doesn't have enough breathing room. If it doesn't have enough space between the logs.

The same goes for us. We need many things to stimulate our flame, but just as important is the space between. And sometimes it requires we rearrange or remove logs so our fire burns effectively.

Make sure to leave enough space in your fire.


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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