I was in bed before midnight on December 31, 2015.
Last New Year’s Eve I drank buckets of champagne and spent two out of three days of the New Year in bed recovering from some pretty giant hangovers, which pushed me to completely change my relationships with alcohol and pot.
This year, I walked on fire on New Year’s Day.
So what a difference 365 days makes.
I’ve wanted to walk on fire since I first heard about it. I’m obsessed with fire. I love burning things-wood, incense, candles, sage, sweetgrass, Palo Santo. I’m mesmerized by the flicker of the flames and can sit for hours watching it burn.
I love the heat. I love the power. I have always loved to test myself. How close can I get? How can I play with it and take it right to the threshold? I had a very brief period of self-harm with burning my fingers when I was 14 years old. I used the fire because it was easier to work with the physical pain than the emotional pain. Even though it was destructive, I always enjoyed the thrill of taking myself all the way to the edge. I felt safe knowing that I was in control of how much I could take. Little did I know that I had a lot to learn about this magnificent element.
We studied the fire on New Year’s Day. We learned how to talk to it. We learned that is must be spoken to with gentleness.
The fire requires reverence and balance for its wildness. You do not want to ask it to destroy everything in your life that’s not working. You want to ask it to kindly assist you in bringing light to the darkness you hold.
I had a quick moment of fear as I realized exactly what the fire could do for me and that I’d been very cavalier in my relationship with it. The idea of balancing wildness and self-respect in my life is getting easier all the time. It’s been a swing that I finally understand how to push with tenderness.
The aspen wood was chosen, stacked and lit up. As it picked up speed and heat, we watched. We offered it tobacco and corn and seeds from the garden. We set our intentions in the flames and watched them disappear in an instant. We sang. I prayed.
When the coals were ready, they were spread out onto about a six-foot path. I stared at them with laser attention. Whoa. This is really happening.
I watched a few people walk successfully, cheering them on, feeling the magnitude of the moment for each person. No one was getting burned. People were prancing and strolling. No big deal.
I felt this surge inside that said YOUR TURN. I tore off my jacket, scarf, socks and boots and moved to the front of the line. I bounced up and down a couple of times and started to lunge forward. My teacher David grabbed my rib cage and pulled me back. Not yet. Ok. Ok. Ok.
He said many amazing things that all blurred together. He asked me to feel into my body. Find my star in the sky. Find my heart. Find my anger. Let out a big yell. No problem, I love a good battle cry.
My body shifted into pure single pointed focus. There was nothing else but the voices chanting, “My body will do whatever it must to let me walk on fire! My body will do whatever it must to let me walk on fire!” There was nothing else but the star I had found in the sky. There was nothing else but the love and support pouring into me and onto me from every side. There was nothing but the cold ground under my feet. There was nothing but my wild heart yearning and burning for more.
There was nothing to do but take a step forward.
Spine straight, sky focused, fully amped, I charged the coals. The voices shouted “PASSION, PASSION, PASSION”-my word for 2016. I could feel a crunch and warmth under my feet but I knew I was safe. I took who knows how many steps until I was caught in a big bear hug and swung off the coals into a kiddie pool of warm water. A friend grabbed my feet and rubbed them dry and helped me put my socks and shoes back on.
My first thought was - “I want to go again!!”
Second thought – “Slow your roll cowgirl.”
When everyone had walked, we somehow got our adrenalized asses back in the house for dinner. I felt like I’d had about ten tequila shots. I was a little wild eyed and a little shaky and whole lot happy.
So what’s the point of this story other than omg I walked on fire?
This fire walk happened because of five things:
Clear intention, right place, right timing, right preparation and inspired action.
Clear intention: I knew what I wanted.
Right place/right timing: I waited until I found the right teacher and right environment for me.
Right preparation: I needed to prepare myself by getting to a place where spiritual growth won out over the quickie thrills of partying.
Inspired action: I made a choice and did what I needed to do logistics wise to get myself in front of that fire.
You can make almost anything happen with these five things in place. We’ve got a New Year in our hands right now. That clean slate really wants your attention.
I notice that very few people take the time to think about what they want in their life and it makes me terribly sad. I don’t believe in resolutions but I really really believe in taking a few minutes to think about how you want this year to look and feel, what you want more of, what would make you happy, what are your true priorities and what you are willing to do to make them all happen.
As my teacher David says, “where attention goes, energy flows.” Choose a couple points of light to direct some love and growth at this year. You’re worth it.