Playing with fire, walking on glass

Three essential lessons

Date published 11/10/2019 |

A while back I trained to become a firewalk instructor. I still see those words and feel a little bit of astonishment, and wonder how on earth I got to doing something that a few years ago would have been so completely, utterly, outside my comfort zone that the phrase ‘I’d rather stick needles in my eyes’ springs to mind.

And I did get there! I did the training with a teeny weeny bit of trepidation, though mostly joy and delight mixed with the most amazing feeling of accomplishment, because of three essential lessons I’ve learned in recent years.

One - connect with your intuition, your gut instinct. My head related to the course from the perspective of my work, adding something new to what I already offer, how I contribute to workshops, about self confidence and empowerment. And there was something else, much deeper. My intuition, my gut, told me this was a course I really should do. A really powerful feeling. No argument, don’t overthink it, just do it. That’s not to say we throw conscious decision-making to the wind, it’s more about recognising that sometimes we have an inner knowing that we should try not to disregard.

Two - connect with your inner wisdom, the still, quiet place within yourself. There was a particular moment when we were being advised about walking on glass. Yes, that’s right, glass. And we were told that doing this would give us the most powerful sense of how to tap into our body wisdom, our sense of doing the thing that ensures our utmost wellbeing. Seems a bit counterintuitive doesn’t it, to say that we’d learn about wellbeing by walking on glass? And yet it made perfect sense to me. Slow right down we were told. Go inside yourself and find your stillness. And then step on the glass and let your feet find that place of perfect wellbeing. Let your feet attend and move and go slowly, until you just know that it’s all good. Let your inner stillness take you to a perfect noticing of every single individual sensation, and give you the cues you need to find that place of safety, and you will be safe. So it is every day, if we give ourselves the time to notice, and we can follow that inner guidance.

Three - there is only now. As the course unfolded, and we learned the practices we would come to teach others, and we connected to intention and courage and stepping up, there were several moments of pause in me. Really very useful. Years back I would have got into projecting forward, wondering how I’d do this thing, wondering how it would be if I failed, if I got hurt. In those days I would have felt fear in the pit of my stomach, breathless terror in my chest. Less about the specifics, more about being seen ‘getting it wrong’. These days I know I’ll witness what’s going on in my body, I’ll notice my breath, and any points of tension. And I’ll know, deep within myself, that at some point the now will come and I’ll move. Or I won’t. And both reactions are perfect. It’s not about getting it wrong, it’s about being true to myself. And with that knowledge and confidence and kindness towards myself I stepped forward, or I didn’t, and I felt a sense of certainty and achievement every single time. Because there was no right or wrong, only being in the now.

This isn’t to make light of the challenge.
Not the challenge of walking on hot coals or glass though.
The real challenge of learning to feel safe and confident and to have compassion for myself. It’s taken a lot of work, and I love noticing those moments when there’s a younger me, looking through my eyes now, totally astonished and delighted at the freedom of expression that has become an intrinsic part of my life.

I came away from that amazing experience with a deeper, softer sense of what courage, confidence and resilience means to me. Three wonderful lessons re-enforced - pay attention to your intuition, connect within yourself and your felt sense to access wellbeing, and be in the now. Oh, and breathe!