I closed my eyes, placed my hands on heart, and inhaled deeply.
I felt the fear and anticipation flow through my body.
I shook my hips, grounded my feet and let the reason I was here to wash over me – to be present and to keep walking forward with a commitment to ever-evolving into more of myself. To burning away the aspects of self that were never really true and embracing the power and strength that I never knew was there.
Then I opened my eyes and walked forward. My bare feet (which are normally crying with discomfort from simply walking over coarse sand…) walked step by step over red, hot burning coals.
Last night I walked across the red, hot burning coals of a fire.
I had no plan of doing this. When I found out this was happening, my mind see-sawed back and forth between “it’s no big deal, you didn’t know it was happening so you don’t have to do it,” and “think about how strong you’ll feel if you do this!”
In the past I know I would have just said I was tired (which I was verrry tired by the time we were actually getting ready to walk down) and went to my tent. But, today I took it as another gift to help me with my intention of the year.
Courage. Will power. Devotion.
Earlier this year felt like one of the most challenging periods in my life. It was challenging in my mind, energy and body.
I’d wake up with knots in my stomach and fears of checking my messages and emails.
And, I’m grateful for it.
It helped me to see what I’m capable of handling, of moving through… of navigating with as much grace and compassion as possible.
I can safely say I’ve lived my life for comfort. I used the excuse that I value pleasure and that’s why I avoid discomfort. There were times when this was perfect for me, but other times when following that path of comfort prevented me from stretching and growing and going for what I really wanted.
The worst part – I am someone who believes SO much in the possibility and power you hold within you.
I believe in YOU.
And, yet I projected that need to be comfortable onto my clients. I wanted them to be comfortable and happy too. I took that on as my responsibility. I believed that if they weren’t happy then I wasn’t doing a good enough job.
I made it about me and my comfort instead of their power and capability to move through those challenging times with more courage and strength than they had before. I didn’t see the value or gift of adversity, in the way I do now. And, I wasn’t giving them the opportunity to see the power of moving through discomfort.
Discomfort and pain can be great gifts if we allow ourselves to see them that way. They teach us about who we are and where we want to go. They teach us what we are capable of and help us to believe in ourselves. They give us the opportunity to rise to the occasion when we need to.
Last night I walked across these flickering red burning coals with my eyes on the prize – getting to the other side feeling stronger, more courageous and with the knowing that with a focused mind I can do anything.
I had no idea what to expect, and felt kind of surprised to feel the heat on my feet (hah you mean my mind can’t wrap my feet in a completely protective bubble??!). Once I reached the other side though I was quickly met with a big hug and felt a wave of accomplishment wash over me.
Here’s my favorite part…
After I went once my mind quickly went to “Great! Now you’re done and you don’t ever have to do that again.”
A saying I’ve heard and loved for years is “new level, new devil.” It’s so true. It’s not like you go to a Empowerment Retreat and walk on fire and then the challenge stops (I wish!). My mind instead went to that comfy place of soothing and comfort, trying to prevent me from doing another challenge.
It wasn’t the first time of walking over those coals that I’m proud of, it was the second time. There was a part of me that heard my ego, but instead let me know that “the challenges won’t ever stop, now you have the opportunity to show resilience, to show that you won’t stop after you hit the first checkpoint, but that you will keep going. That you will keep walking and moving forward.
I felt more scared the second time, because I knew what it felt like the first time. I took an extra second or two to breathe and ground myself. And, then I went for it again.
*Picture of the fire, pre-coals.*
It felt hotter. My feet throbbed for hours afterwards. I took care of them, and in the morning they felt good as new. And I felt stronger than ever.
And, you can too.
This fire walk was such a powerful metaphor for me on what it’s like to have a strong desire, and to be willing to move through the challenges that may arise on the journey instead of giving up when stuff feels scary, uncomfortable or hard.
There’s so much possibility that lies in front of you when you embrace the fear and step forward with courage.
The more you do this for yourself the more those around you will see that they can move forward through their fears and discomfort too.
Share your thoughts and experiences with comfort/discomfort, desires and courage in the Soulful Success Tribe here.