Wanna hear my story of walking on a bed of hot coals?
As many of you know, my book, Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities, is essentially about my life experience of learning how to lîve happily and successfully with a disability.
Here’s the story about how I really got the lesson in learning to live fully and happily with a disability. Several years ago I was invited as part of a group training I was doing to take part in a Firewalk.
The group didn’t know walking across hot coals was one of our exercises until right before it was presented to us. While the group leaders made it clear that no one had to do the firewalk, as I listened to them talk about it, I thought, “Well, of course I’ll do this.”
As the group broke to walk outside to the firewalk ceremony, one of the group leaders approached me and said, “You do not have to do this.” I began to cry when he said this because I knew the willful place in me that was going to do it, was coming from my ego, which said, “The girl with CP is going to prove to everyone I can do this.”
Our leader just said, “If you do do it, come and get me and I’ll hold your hand.” This was a great relief to me because I was already imagining falling and burning my face or something. Weren’t my feet enough to worry about?
The core philosophy of a firewalk is that if it’s done with the right intentions, one won’t get burned. Well, I knew if I did the firewalk from my ego, my feet would surely feel the pain.
So I proceeded outside to join the firewalk ceremony which included drumming and people walking around the bed of coals, meditating on their intention. As I began watching my colleagues take their thoughtful turns on the firewalk and celebrate their process, I realized I wanted the experience of doing the firewalk more than the fear of what would happen if I did it.
I also realized throughout my life of living with a physical disability, I lived with the fear of what might happen if I did things – falling, not being able to do things, needing help – and I was tired of it.
I knew at that moment I had my right intention to do the firewalk.
So I approached my leader and took his hand. Now I was naive enough at the time to think he would actually do the firewalk with me and I led him to the coals, he stopped alongside the coals and I realized he was just there to walk alongside the path of coals and help me balance but I was on my own.
I took a deep breath and place my bare foot on the 1500 degree coals. I did feel an instant hotness, but after that I just felt how very alive I was in that moment and that I was literally walking on my fear toward greater freedom in living my life.
Doing the firewalk changed me and how I approach taking risks and fear’s hold on me.
I’m here today to encourage you to take the firewalk (obviously not an actual one) that is facing you today. It may be applying for a job, trying to return to school, making friends, living on your own. Allow the experience to help you discover how you can live more freely from the fear that holds you.
Make a comment below and tell me what firewalk you’re facing and what fears that brings up in you.