Years ago, Smokey Bear was most famous for his admonishment:
“Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”
He would point directly at the camera and we knew Smokey meant business.
Today, when I hear of wildfires burning out of control, Smokey’s words are the first thing that comes to mind.
” ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES,” he’d warn.
The second thing that comes to mind are relationships. How we behave in relation to others around us.
When I hear of relationships spiraling out of control, I think of Smokey saying,
Only You Can Prevent Your Relationships from going up in flames.
Now you may point a finger and ask about the other person. You may wonder why they can’t share some of the blame.
And if I were Smokey, the honorary forest ranger, I’d say because you are the common denominator in any of your relationships. What you bring to those relationships, i.e., your internal condition will affect them all.
For example, if I have trust issues then no one will be trustworthy. Not my spouse, my friends, my employer, my co-workers; not even my children. Whatever is navigating my life course, whether it be the 7 Deadly (wrath, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, pride, sloth) or LOVE, it will be how I’ll steer my relationship with others. It will be the lens through which I see everything.
It doesn’t matter if I’m ‘sexing’ in a marriage or in an affair; guiding in my parental duties; working; supervising; befriending; I am the captain of the SHIP, so to speak, and how I lead is where each of my relationships will go during the journey.
If I’m divorced, happily married, separated, partnered, have happy children who adore me, have children that despise me, fired, laid off, living from paycheck-to-paycheck, gainfully employed, at the helm of a thriving business; a failing enterprise, happy clients, dissatisfied customers, a boss that sings my praises; a boss who wishes I’d call in dead, coworkers that want me on their team; coworkers who hide when I come in the front door, friendless, or experiencing thriving friendships, have parents who adore me, parents that hate me, loving relatives, or relatives that are ghost, will be all because of me.
I was reminded of this oneness on Sunday June 10, 2012, as we were flying into Denver Airport.
In this photo you can see an aerial view (at 10,000 feet) of the wildfires that are burning out of control in Larimer County, Colorado.
When our “Ship” hit moderate-to then severe turbulence, it would be an understatement, to say it rocked our “boat”.
We made the choice to fly that day but the atmospheric conditions made flying difficult at best.
Even though the wildfires were burning out of control about 10,000 feet below us and northwest of our destination –the air above the fires, whirling Eddies, appeared to cause the turbulence. I wondered if the captain piloting our “ship” didn’t maintain the plane’s distance and altitude could our ship go down – as did the fatal Utah Air Tankers fighting forest fires, the prior week?
“We didn’t start the fire”, as Billy Joel sang, it was burning long before we got there. But for a few moments we got caught up in its rage and it became very clear to me.
“Internal conditions could affect everything outside and around it.”
If I had a fire raging inside of me, I thought, could I bring
down all around me?
What if I had an abundance of LOVE coursing through my very being would I be able to lift everyone around me to new heights?
I accept I set the course and navigate my relationships to their destination.
You too are the captain of your relationSHIPs.
So, look around you. Look at your life. Our lives are made up of moments. Those moments make up the experiences. The experiences make our relationships. What do you see?
If you don’t like where you are heading remember you can
always change course.
Only You Can Make the Change
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Thank you for reading. If you find any typos, grammatical errors, or incorrect information please share in the comment box below or via email to mel at melhopkins dot-com.