SURVEY: Can Someone on the Internet, that You’ve Never Met, Have a Profound Effect On Your Life?

Four years ago, I found him because I googled “pillow forts”.
He made one on an airplane.
He posted this photo:

I got caught in his blog for an hour.
His name is Burning Dan.

I looked up his pictures and his videos of fire spinning and thought…
“I really want to learn that.”
I started taking classes in fire. I got my first poi.
I would go to his blog for inspiration, for his kind words and to tap into his wild sense of adventure.

Five weeks after my first poi class…

Burning Dan died suddenly.

I read about his passing and started to cry uncontrollably.
I was devastated by the loss of this person.

I never did comment on anything he had written.
He had no idea I even existed.
And yet, watching him and his life encouraged me to take chances, embrace adventure, do the unexpected and learn fire.

And now I would never get to thank him.
It seemed wrong.

Four years have passed.
I can spin fire.
Now, I’m learning guitar and sometimes get frustrated at my beginner status –
and out of nowhere,
just yesterday,
I had the thought to check his old blog.

And this was Burning Dan’s advice to beginners:

It was exactly what I needed to hear.
Right now in this moment.
Burning Dan, 4 years after his passing, came through for me again.

And reading what he wrote from 4 years ago, made me want to share with you one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever written in which I had mentioned him….

and you.

Yes, YOU.

I wonder where in the world you are.
I wonder if we’ve ever spoken. I wonder if we know each other really well or if we’re just passing ships in the night on the sea of cyberspace.
I am a girl who is deeply touched by human connection and the mysteries of nature and I’m not afraid to get emotional about it.

This is what runs through my mind this early in the morning…the marvel of our connections with each other.
Can I write words here that will make you feel less alone in the world that you can read at all hours in the morning as I type them?
Can you inspire me to change my life for the better through a few words in your blog or through sharing a positive or impactful experience you had?

My answer is yes.

It made me realize what a connection that we can have to each other here. ….We can share so much and change the world for the better by the good things that we put out there.

Through watching Burning Dan’s videos and reading his positive message, I was inspired to learn something scary and new – and I am grateful for that. I wish I would have gotten the chance to give him a hug and thank him, or to write him a letter and let him know what a positive effect he had on my life.
But sadly, I can’t.
So I’m writing it here to share with you.
I’m writing it here to put out there into the universe.
Thank you, Dan.

Four years ago, in my favorite blog post, I had written a story about fireflies.

In June and July out here in the mountains – they light up the sky with their symphony – talking to each other – blinking signals in the night. The females stay on the ground mostly and the males fly around using light code to talk with the females.
I can sit out for hours watching them light up the dark forest.
They are, and have always been, otherworldly to me.

By September, they are completely gone and I miss them.
It isn’t the same night sky without them.

But that year, I saw a dull glow in the grass.
I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me because it was September, but I got down on the ground and put my face inches away from the glow….and there she was…..the last firefly of that year.
Burke and I laid down on the grass watching the glow go on and off, very dimly.

Suddenly, I felt the tears running down my face. Here she was. All alone. The last of her kind for the year. The other fireflies of that Summer were long gone and here she was blinking a soft glow into a dark night.

It just made all of these thoughts rush through my head.
It made me think of all of the times in my life where I felt like I was communicating and not being heard, or when I felt alone or misunderstood.
Because we’ve all felt that, haven’t we?
We can all understand that occasional feeling of being hopelessly alone even when we’re surrounded by a billion people.
But here was this creature….who was truly alone….who was the last of her kind. Blinking softly – awaiting some response in the night.

It made me emotional because I wish I could have blinked back.
I wish I could have let this creature know how much it meant to me.
I wish I could have let it know that that simple beauty of their communication in Summer nights is always one of my best and magical memories every year.
I wish I could have communicated that my life has been enhanced by the very existence of fireflies.
But I couldn’t communicate that. I could only sit there and watch its dim glow attempting to reach out to others long gone.

Then something beautiful happened:
A little bit away, another one blinked softly. There was one other left. And this relief washed over me that this wasn’t the last firefly. That it wasn’t alone.
The whole experience really struck me.
I feel like that when I hear other people’s life experiences or when I read blogs of others.
I feel like we put our lights out there.
We share our emotions and what we are thinking and our daily experiences.
And like my case with Burning Dan, even if I never reached out to him, I saw his light.
And his light made me want to glow brighter and reach higher as a person.

We can have that effect on each other.
Be kind. Put good things out there. Know that you’re not alone and through all the highs and lows of this beautiful life – we are all fighting the good fight together.

And I’m over here just a little bit away –
softly glowing in the dark night.

Has someone affected you on the internet that you’ve never met in person?
Has your life been changed in a positive way that someone has put out there on the internet – through blogs or videos?
Please share your experience here, and if you appreciate this post….
kindly share or RT with others.

I leave you with a touching tribute to Burning Dan – who 4 years after his passing is still affecting me and others to burn brightly.


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