Firewalking, Rebar, Glass, and Arrows; what do these things have in common? Well, they all played a role in a Firewalking workshop I participated in this past weekend, facilitated by Phoenix Transformational Services from Las Cruces, NM, and hosted by the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, in Tempe, AZ. Thanks to both; it was a great event, and turned out to be much more than a firewalk.
I know a lot of people who would say, why would you even want to try that? Well, I have lots of reasons why I would walk fire, but I still don’t think I’d swim with Sharks. Hmm…I just realized that’s a metaphor for another book, one I’ve never read, but I like the title. It also occurs to me that I may have swum with a few sharks or maybe a barracuda (save that as a song hint).
What can I say, I’m a bit of a pyromaniac at heart, and I am a fire sign. I’ve got lots of stories involving fire that would strike a few questions. When I got the e-mail advertising the Firewalk, I got hit with an intuitive spark. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was severely burned before I was 2 years old, and still carry the scar today. Me, being me, always alert for cues and enjoying word play, my next thought was, Hmm…that burn scarred me, but didn’t really scare me.
Likely it was 2nd degree, but who knows it could have been a 3rd. I had a cup of scalding, hot coffee spilled on me, and all I remember is my mother saying that the skin peeled away when they took my shirt off. Like everything involving my family, not much else was ever said, and even if you asked, the answers were ambiguous or sarcastic. After a while, you quit asking because…well you know; it becomes insane. I am fairly certain I’ve finally let go of wondering how I ended up in that family. Remembering my parents were fond of instant coffee (yuck), and how the water was always scalding hot, and having other memorable burns throughout my life, I can only imagine how that burn must have felt.
Working with abuse, and the trauma it causes, I still often ponder what causes one memory to stick, and another to have little or no relevance. It also occurred to me that even with all the conscious, unconscious, and energetic journeys I’ve taken to embrace the emotional impact sexual abuse has had on me, I’d never really explored this burn event. It was natural for me to accept that it was truly an accident without malicious intent, because that is the truth, but the scar is there to remind me every day that it happened. Knowing what I know now, there likely were unconscious elements challenging feeling safe and protected, particularly at such a young age. I’m certain it was some sort of set up for the future, and time for any unconscious remnants to leave.
With those thoughts influencing me, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I also realized that I have been burning myself physically and metaphorically my whole life. That was one of those “of course” moments, since I see it as more evidence pointing to a definitive connection between the mind, body, spirit, how we create, how we store experiences and their impact in our bodies. Along with that is knowing that what we create unconsciously is there to offer us hints if we allow ourselves to see them. Something was showing up, asking to be released. It actually would make more sense to say transformed, since fire is a representation of transformation. Regardless, it was time to stop burning myself, believing that I always get burned, and that I tend to burn myself in many ways.
So did I have to ritually, walk the fire to prove to myself that I could? No, not really. It was more about being in action, and having the experience. It was an opportunity exercise in humility, and an opportunity to be an active participant in my own life, experiencing what being limitless feels like. I chose to show up for myself. I’ve always been fascinated by seeing others perform extraordinary feats that defy typical human comprehension. I know it’s more than just mind over matter. It comes from a deeper level of awareness, and breaking down outdated belief systems.
Having already practiced getting into altered states of consciousness, I showed up with no fear of walking the fire. However, when we were presented with some other challenges, like breaking an arrow with our throats, my comfort zone was a little rattled. Now, this might sound silly to some of you, but I wasn’t so rattled about breaking the arrow, as I was deciding and stating what breaking the arrow represented for me. In other words, what fear it was that I intended to break through. I’ve broken through so many, but with all integrity, I have a few still hanging around. Like being overly concerned about setting my intention in a calculated and precise manner, as if it were life and death. It’s not like I don’t have pages of carefully thought out intentions written down already. Maybe I was rattled in just picking one. Silly.
Truth be told, my biggest fear is of being alone. Even though I summoned the courage to walk away from my ex-husband, I still hear the ex’s voice saying, “if you ever leave me, you will die alone, because everybody hates you.” My ego says, “if you end up alone, your family will have been right about you the whole time. You should have just remained their target of belittlement, and kept your mouth shut about the sexual abuse. They see it as you being the only one with the problem.” Plus there is still the memory of that nasty voice saying, “what makes you think you’re so special.” Granted, I know it’s all lies and b.s., but the ego slips in once in a while to test my commitment to defeating the issue of abuse. It’s not an unbending, stubborn stance, as my family sees it. It is a dedication, and commitment to transformational change that is absolutely possible in a limitless capacity within realism.
Still, when I decided it was my time to break the arrow, I didn’t say I wanted to break through my fear of being alone. Instead, I said I wanted to break through my fear of being heard and noticed, which has to do with more successfully putting myself out in the world to write, speak, facilitate and teach about breaking through all types of abuse using conscious awareness. In all reality, it is connected to being alone because it is their voices that are still causing me a small amount of fear, but in an ever reducing proportion to my determination to assist others eradicate the after-effects of their abuse. Even though I know I am not alone, the physical act of breaking this arrow with my throat, metaphorically offered a representation of what I needed to never feeling lonely. It shattered. See Below:
Often abuse victims will isolate themselves because for a while during the healing process, it is easier to tuck ourselves away from triggers than it is to recover from them. It gives us time to learn how to shatter the arrow headed towards us before it hits the target; the target being us. Truth be told, feeling alone is not exclusive to survivors, and is not the same as lonely. All humans have a fear of being alone, abandoned, betrayed, lonely, separated, or isolated, even the hermit. This is where remembering our own divinity plays a magnificent role.
Back to the event itself, next up was walking on glass. Yeah that was no big deal to me. It’s all in the navigation, but I do understand why others had a fear. We’re taught to believe that broken glass cuts, and it can. I’ve actually navigated over glass in bare feet following a creek trail I used to visit numerous times. Now the rebar, bending that by pressing it against your trachea, that made me sit on the edge of my seat. After watching it, a couple of times, I asked myself if I really needed to do it?
Then I remembered the courage I had to summon to jump off the 30-foot cliff at Fossil Creek, AZ. The waterfall itself, is 20 feet. That time, my daughter shook her head. My boyfriend was annoyed. My sister laughed, but didn’t walk her ass up there, and all the teens and college students cheered on the 50-year-old woman. I admit it wasn’t pretty. Someday, I will go back and redeem myself, but none-the-less I did it.
The rebar is bent with a partner, and being there alone meant I had to find a partner, and trust that partner. Really… so ridiculous that it takes more courage to ask someone to do something with me then it does to actually do the scary thing. It all comes down to belief, not power of positive thinking. Positive thinking alone can get you hurt, and so can fear. I’ve actually written about how the power of positive thinking can create sabotage in my book; Why Bother? Because Self-Help is Never Stupid. Are you ready to read it yet?
The ability comes from conscious intention, and believing in yourself. It’s not even a matter of altered state of consciousness. It is important for your vibrational rate to be raised, which it naturally is when you believe. Our facilitator, Marvin did a great job of making sure the energy level was in the right zone. This is what I encourage all who are stuck in victim mode or still in survival mode for that matter; believe you can heal. Believe you can get beyond the hurt that you will never forget, and someday you will. Remember to be patient with yourself, that divine timing exists, and to be grateful for how far you’ve already traveled.
It may seem like I am getting off track from the event, but that is only because events like these always have a deeper, more profound meaning, if we allow ourselves to explore that on an integrated level of awareness. If you don’t allow it to integrate, it won’t have the same empowering impact. None-the-less, I found my partner easily, without anguish, and we did it; we bent the rebar. Third challenge complete.
Now it was time to walk the fire. Yes! Bring it on! Anyone who thinks this is a parlor trick, let me tell you that those coals are 1200 degrees or higher. The first time through, I walked the 21 feet alone. Yes! The second time, someone I just met asked, “want to do it again, together?” “Hell yeah, I want to go,” and honored to do it with a new acquaintance.
Just as we approached the pit for our turn, the facilitator decided it was time to stir the coals. That means hotter. Hell Yes! The third time through, I walked slower and much more deliberate, really testing the limits, or should I say my sense of being limitless. This girl (Peter Pan Syndrome) is done with the ingrained belief of being limited. At the other side, my new friend said, “you walked that like you owned it.” Yep, that’s what I did, and that’s what I am doing with my life. After all, you can’t really own anything else in this life, but your experiences. What seems like a simple act, can show you how doing something different or being in action can have a profound effect in many areas of life.
On a final note, I’m pretty sure having someone I just met, and may never bump into again, ask me to walk the fire together, was my sign, that I am not alone, never was, and never will be. I’ve got a real sense of empowerment now over that fear and limiting belief.
Oh, and one more thing, only what you fear hurts. Remember that when you still feel like you’ll never get past whatever you are struggling with. Instead embrace it.
So what songs can we relate to with this post? A lot of songs about burning fire, are too obviously about sexual desire, and hard to spin to this post. How about the classic by James Taylor and Carole King, “Fire and Rain?” Fire and Rain – James Taylor & Carole King And I like, “Barracuda” by Heart since this song exemplifies the sisters expressing their empowerment by not allowing their reputations to be tarnished by false immoral actions. I hope they shattered the ego of the ass hole who wanted them to pretend to have an incestuous relationship. I love how well the song, and the story blended into this post, and its purpose. YES! Rock on Heart sisters! Barracuda by Heart
A blip from the song:
If the real thing don’t do the trick
You better make up something quick
You gonna burn, burn, burn, burn, burn to the wick
Oooo, Barracuda, oh yeah