Within a matter of hours, I would take a step I once thought impossible. The master firewalker was about to prepare me and a roomful of other courageous and anxious souls to walk across a bed of hot coals on our bare feet.
“What are the fears that have held you back?” She asked. Now I was not only going to have to worry about a trip to the emergency room, I should think about a lifetime of fears? I reflected on a huge host of insecurities that had blocked me from taking that first, or that next step, or that final step. I pondered the doubts that had kept me from moving forward as I tried to stay safe.
I put my thoughts in writing and carefully placed them onto the stacked pile of cedar wood that would soon be a roaring fire for reflection before the firewalk.
I prepared. From noon until the sun set and the stars and moon appeared in the Midwest sky, I prepared. I practiced being 100% attentive and focused. I envisioned my success. I affirmed my intentions aloud, laughed from my belly, drummed and danced—raising my energy to be ready.
I was not alone. I had a teacher who had earned my trust. I had a circle of fellow would-be firewalkers to cheer me on. If I “chickened out” at the last minute, or burned my feet (the former being my greater fear), others would be there to comfort and support me.
The choice was mine. I was free to take the first step on to the glowing embers or I was free to stand alongside and simply observe. It was up to me to decide. Was this my fire? Was this my time? Would I focus on my fears or focus on my goal?
My intuition told me when it was my time. My attorney mind loves to analyze. I often opt for overthinking when a situation heats up. Moments before I made my move toward the entrance, a fresh few shovels of coal were heaped and raked onto the path. Best not to overthink.
The first step was the scariest. As I stood between the pair of flaming torches that marked my start, I could feel my heart pounding. I took a few of the deep long breaths I’d practiced. I looked forward instead of down at the 1200 degree row of red orange heat. As I took my first step I could feel the warmth on my feet, but quickly refocused my thoughts to my deeply held intention to complete my walk.
The courage it takes to take the first step toward a new life is no less than the first step into the fire. Indeed, for divorce it can be greater. If you do dare to take that first step, may you one day join me to declare: I have completed my pass across the coals and am on the other side of my fears—I am a firewalker…really.
I remember the night of November 6, 1997, when we walked on coals in the yard of Unity Church of Omaha. SO amazing! And, the next morning, you and John came to church with still-ashy feet: showered with your socks on! We did it. I am still so grateful for that time.
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