Sometimes I think I’m falling down
I wanna cry, I’m calling out
For one more try to feel alive
And when I feel lost and alone
I know that I can make it home
Fight through the dark and find the spark.
- Bright, (from Julie and the Phantoms)
Everyone needs a spark. How can one go through life without being “alive”? A spark inspires us, propels us, invigorates us. It has different meanings and varies in its existence for everyone. A spark could be the will to live as shown in the highly enjoyable Pixar movie Soul (2020); or the passion to be who you are with no limits as sung endearingly by Katy Perry (‘Firework’).
This spark can manifest itself in numerous ways. As I write this, I realize the power of something so simple yet so herculean in the existence of a spark. I would like to highlight the presence of this spark in my life through 3 main sources.
The first is through my Christian faith: more specifically, my experience with the Holy Spirit. Every year, we Christians, celebrate the feast of Pentecost which is a reminder of the providence of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God, the provider of mental strength and inspiration. This feast made me look back to times when I was feeling low or lacked the inspiration to follow through with anything, from writing to thinking. And that is when the Holy Spirit prompted me further. Through the simplicity of routine prayer and meditation, I found my spark. And through many occurrences, I found that my faith has given me the spark to live life on these terms and moral grounds.
The second, is the less-noticed scenes in movies or TV shows that leaves me in splits or makes me cry my eyes out. Having loved movies and TV shows from a young age, anytime I saw or heard an impactful quote, an original joke or a fascinating monologue, it spoke volumes to me and propelled me to write more. It is imperative to know that sparks are created not only through fictional mediums but also through real life events. I often find a spark when I read people’s success stories and love stories. I could give many examples of the latter, but one of my favourites is an article that I read in an edition of Reader’s Digest. It spoke about how the reminiscents of the love of a couple (both travelling journalists) persisted through past text messages and emails, after the heart-breaking loss of one of them through a tragic case of cancer. I also found my spark of interest through stories behind important discoveries and how an accident could lead to a feel-good, or sometimes even life-changing invention. To elaborate on this, I tend to reminisce about the backstories behind two of my favourite comfort foods- the chocolate chip cookie and the chocobar ice cream (the ice cream bar). The invention of the chocolate chip cookie came about where Ruth Wakerfield in order to save time, unknowingly created one of the most popular comfort foods of all time and the ice cream bar came into being when the indecisiveness of a young boy between an ice cream sandwich and a chocolate bar led to Christian Nelson encounter the spark of creating something so simple yet incredibly delicious.
The third is certain events in nature, natural phenomena that come about in our external surroundings and the role of our emotional state. The current pandemic has stifled everyone, myself included. But I do believe that it has prompted us to be more appreciative of the nature that has always surrounded us. And very often this power of nature can produce a spark of interest within us. A certain poet comes to mind when I think about this. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote in his poem ‘Dejection- an Ode’ about the perils of losing his spark and how in his more productive efforts for inspiration, he turned to natural events, particularly storms. But another important fact that he pointed out was that the difference between that productive time and his current predicament was that even though the stimuli was the same, his emotional state determined the effectiveness of the same. According to sources, ‘Dejection- An Ode’ was Coleridge’s despairing farewell to health, happiness, and poetic creativity. As stated by the lines- ‘I may not hope from outward forms to win, The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.’ Coleridge admits his failure to write from the external criteria due to the overpowering depression from within him. This points to the importance of how our internal psyche and emotional awareness play an important role in finding our sparks.
I find that a spark of interest is like finding a firefly. It may come and go, we may be lucky to catch one and so on and so forth. But we have certain skills and advantages that help us grasp and hold on to this spark. And no, it isn’t our IQ levels nor materialistic possessions that define us (wealth, background, etc.) It is our attitude towards life, our personality and the way we choose to define ourselves, that equip us to have more sparks in our lives.
A spark of interest could also be a walk into the “unknown”. The key to the unknown is the willingness to change. Change is a constant in our lives and I believe that this change is the key to harnessing the magic that the spark provides.
In essence, the spark of interest is something which is ever-fluctuating and can be represented in distinctive ways. But I believe that it is a force of nature to contend with and that it is needed, especially in times like these to live the best version of life that we make out to be.
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