I am barely settled.
One day up, one day down, most days sideways. A transcontinental move of epic proportions from Colorado to Zambia. I'm in it. I'm in the fire, facing the challenge of overwhelming change. This missive is for me as much as it is for you. A smoke signal rising from the ashes for those of us who are walking through the fire of challenge.
As I take one step and then the next through the fires of change, I'm reminded that there is a particular set of circumstances that feels like fire, but also a choice and a practice that has guided and shaped my life and my work: I believe that the way we dance with and walk through the fires that we face both within ourselves, and those that life provides, reveal the heart of who we are.
I believe that the way we engage with the fire, more than anything else, defines our lives.
We humans tend to seek comfort.
I've experienced my share of fear and anxiety -- I say this to affirm that I'm no different from anyone else. I identify myself as someone who is sensitive, intuitive, a certain level of trauma in my life, self-aware, a body that needs extra care, spiritually oriented and committed to making a positive contribution to the world. I'm guessing you have some, or all, of these qualities as well. These qualities point to a greater need for safety.
These are real aspects and qualities that require compassion and care and tenderness and, can be a real strength when tended well. I would even go so far as to say that when tended through diligent and honest self-care, these qualities are the foundation of being a skilled fire walker in day to day life. On the other hand, they can also become reasons that sensitive souls might justify disengaging. Wrapping up in a soft warm blanket of comfort zone and keeping the world at bay.
The fire beckons us.
We can recognize the call by paying attention to our fear and our resistance. Taking a moment (or two) to notice if what we are feeling is the signature of wise fear (full stop, turn around, don't do it) or if it's the signature of resistance/fear (there is something amazing on the other side of this fear... I wonder what it is?).
Listening beneath the fear for the truth: is there something beautiful, powerful and true waiting on the other side of this fear?
This skill, this capacity to turn and face our fear, to meet the challenge, to walk through the fire, to vanquish our demons teaches us who we are. It expands our world and transforms us into the people we truly are, the women we were born to be. It gives us joy, presence and strength.
Whether it's learning to stand up for yourself and what you believe, or marketing and charging appropriately for your work, or learning to set boundaries and say no, or speaking out and educating your family about racism, or learning how to push yourself physically by mastering a new skill (like surfing) or even moving to Africa - this is the invitation. There is no room for cynicism or apathy or numbing out. This is life itself calling you out, inviting you to risk it.
Walk through the fire. Face the fear. There are endless opportunities for each of us to walk through the fire and in doing so, we expand into more of who we are here to be. There is gold waiting for you on the other side.
If you are afraid and it's time to walk through the fire, time to face you fear, this prayer is for you.
A prayer for fire walkers.
Fire. I honor you.
I honor you as a master of alchemy. An agent of change.
I honor you and the way that your smoke and flames wake me up, bring me to full attention.
May I be alert in your presence and listen closely to your wisdom.
May I easily discern whether to flee, or to brave the fire and face my fear.
Fire. Guide me.
Teach me how to tend you wisely.
Teach me how to be consumed by you, renewed by you.
May I have the courage to be the warrior you ask me to be.
May I commit to knowing your power and in doing so, know my own.
Fire. Light my way.
Inspire me to burn bright, to ignite the courage of those around me.
Inspire me to speak truth, and in doing so, inspire others to know their own truth.
May I know the gifts you offer to those who are brave enough to court you.
May I enjoy the abundance of fertile wealth that you leave in your wake.
Fire. Knowing my truth, I face you.
Eyes and heart open, I walk through the embers, the smoke, and the flames.
Eyes and heart open, I surrender to your teaching, one step at a time.
Show me who I am. Burn away what I am not.
Transform me into the woman I am in the heat of your glorious flames.
Fire. I honor you.
Walk with courage through the fire you face.
I am with you, sister. Share with me what you are facing with courage -- let me hold it with you and affirm your power, your affinity with the fire itself.