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All of my life, I have either been over weight for FELT like I was over weight.  Why?  Because my mom told me I was fat.  My dad told me I was fat.  My brothers told me I was fat. And the kids at school told me I was fat.  When I look back at my high school pictures, I see a completely different story; I was gorgeous!!!!  I have spent my entire life believing this story.  Which means I have spent my entire life (from time I became a teenager to now…at nearly 41 years old) on some kind of diet or thinking about being on a diet or thinking about how fat I am or that I would feel so much better if I was thinner.  I would say that I became conscious of my body shape and size at the age of 5; 36 years is a very long time to not like yourself/body image, don’t you think?

To try to change things I have been on numerous diets.  As a teenager, I would take dexatrim like it was candy.  I would binge eat then exercise like crazy to work it off (exercise bulimia).  As an adult, it started with “Medical Weight Loss Plan”.  I lost 60 pounds on that, I think.  Then I joined Jenny Craig; didn’t do so well with that one.  Then I took Phen/Fen; thankfully my heart was unaffected.  Then I tried just the “good” part of the Phen/Fen; that didn’t work at all.  Then I did Weight Watchers…..twice.  Then I just did my own thing; eating healthy and exercising; it worked great.  I even saw a therapist.  I felt great.  I even became a Beachbody Coach and started selling workout systems and coaching other people.  Yet, I gave up the eating healthy part and even my exercise routine has dropped.  I have gained back 10 of the 40# that I have lost.  Now what?????

This is where the email from Oprah came in.  She suggested everyone read Women Food and God.  Now I’m not one of those people who drops everything and does what Oprah says to do.  But this one intrigued me.  Probably because I was already on my 52 books in 52 weeks journey; and this book sounded interesting.  Besides, it might actually help, right?  So I ordered it…..

I have to be honest and say that before I started reading the book I felt pretty jaded.  What is a book going to say to make that much of a difference in my eating/weight issues?  I have been through almost every diet out there; at least every type anyway…except surgery (and that is only because that scares the heck out of me).  But I read it anyway…  And what I found was spot on!  This book is such a worthwhile read.  It’s not just for those of us with weight/food issues.  It talks about Compulsive eating, but I think this book would help anyone with any kind of compulsive behavior like smoking or drinking.

“Compulsive eating is an attempt to avoid the absence (of love, comfort, knowing what to do) when we find ourselves in the desert of a particular  moment, feeling, situation.”

One of the biggest concepts this book talks about is “Bolting”.   “Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron writes, ‘Never underestimate the inclination to bolt.'”   Bolting; this is something (I realize now) that I  have learned from my father.  Whenever the going got tough, he ran.  He ran from churches, from places of employment, and from his emotions.  Me?  I have bolted from friendships, emotions, and sometimes even volunteer work.  When things don’t go my way, I have been known to throw a temper tantrum and run.  How does this pertain to food?  Well, when things go bad, I like to eat..and eat alot!  This is “bolting”.  It’s the way we run from our emotions or “stuff” them as some people say.  Instead of staying present and feeling what we feel, we “bolt”.  This was a huge Ah-ha moment for me.  I have done this alot in so many ways.  But it stops here!

Like I said, I have done alot of diets..some were very successful it helping me lose weight.  But it has never been about the weight; well okay part of it is.  Mostly its about what caused me to put on the weight, until I could figure that one out and go from there, I would also put the weight back on.  Figuring out that I use Bolting to “protect” me is a big step in figuring out why I eat the way I do.  “Saying where you are with what you are feeling or seeing or sensing is the first step in ending the obsession with food.”  Yes, indeed it is.  “Staying requires awareness of the desire to bolt.  Staying requires being curious about who you actually are when you don’t take yourself to be a collection of memories….When you stay,….anything becomes possible.  Even living through the extraordinary pain.”

Roth says it’s not about the weight.  We spend so much time in what she calls the “When I Get Thin (Change Jobs, Move, Find a Relationship, Leave This Relationship, Have Money) Blues”.   We wait for something before we start living our lives.  I am so guilty of this.  I say, “When I get down to my perfect size, I’m going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.”  Well you know what?  I can do that now.  Sure, I will pay a bit more, but I can do it now!  I don’t have to wait!  What does jumping out of a perfectly good airplane represent to me?  Freedom. When I say I will do it when I lose my weight, I am saying that I am STUCK.  Well I’m not stuck, and what a horrible story to tell myself.  My weight may make it uncomfortable to do things, but it certainly isn’t going to stop me from  living a full life!  And it shouldn’t stop you!  Yes, get healthy!  Yes, use food as nutrition to fuel your body.  But STOP putting things off until you get to whatever it is you think you want to get to.  This kind of thinking has you believing that you are not worthy of your dreams right NOW…and You are..I am.. WE ARE!!!  Start living today..stop waiting for that perfect time.  If we can start living today, the rest will catch up!

I loved this quote; “Because until you understand who you take yourself to be, true change is not possible.”….”The shape of your body obeys the shape of your beliefs about love, value, possibility.  To change your body, you must first understand that which is shaping it.  Not fight it, Not force it.  not deprive it.  Not same it.  Not do anything but accept–and, yes, Virginia–understand it.”

This is what I was saying earlier.  Until we understand who we are and what shapes our beliefs, our body will not change.  We need to understand what is making us run, hide, stuff and eat compulsively.  The same can be said for alcohol, drugs, smoking……..  “Truth, not force, does the word of ending compulsive eating.”  We can’t force it with a strict diet, by counting points, by eating premade frozen meals, by taking shots, or swallowing pills.  We must find the truth..by being curious, by inquiry.  Asking ourselves, why we feel like eating.  What is that food going to “fill”.  Where in our body are we feeling?  What does it feel like?  What color is it?  Once we can recognize this, give it a name and sit with it in truth instead of trying to run from it or stuff it, we will realize that it’s not going to kill us..and guess what..we don’t want to eat anymore!

Just when you think you don’t want to feel those things that hurt, comes this quote from Roth: “the medicine for the pain is the pain.”  Last weekend, when I did a Firewalk, I heard myself say, “you need to feel the pain.”  So I let myself feel the hot coals beneath my feet.  Walking fire can be “easy” and painless, or you can choose to make it  hard and or feel the pain.  I chose to make it easy AND feel the pain?  Why?  Because I need to feel the pain in my own life.  I need to recognize when I feel sad, lonely, hurt and FEEL it instead of stuffing or bolting from it.

One of the ideas in this book also blended well with The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Ruiz says to listen and be skeptical.  He was talking about doing this with others, but you should also do it with yourself.  According to Ruiz, we have been “domesticated” from the time we were children.  It was important to be thus so that we could learn not to put our hand on a hot stove.  We were domesticated for our own safety.  But these teachings also went further than this.  These teachings also taught us who we think we are based on someone elses’ perceptions of who they think we are.  Roth suggests the same kind of thing with the practice of Inquiry.  Be still and listen..be curious..ask..but don’t believe everything you hear.  Remember that what your mind tells you is what you have learned from the past..from other people..  Inquiry is body based.  What is the Body feeling..not the mind.  Listen..and be skeptical.

Roth calls this banter inside our heads “The Voice” (what Ruiz calls domestication).  The Voice has been running our lives.  Telling us that we are fat, our thighs have too much cellulite, we are quitters, we are losers..yadda yadda yadda.  Those are lies!  We are so much more than that.  We are the very essence of GOD; we are LOVE and JOY.  When The Voice talks, tell it to shut the heck up!  And get back to feeling what you feel in your body.

Another practice Roth suggested in this book is to meditate…..ON YOUR BELLY.  Think about what you belly feels like.  Now I know that as women, we try very hard NOT to think about our bellies..  But if I told you NOT to think about your belly, what is the first thing you think about?  YOUR BELLY!  So instead of pretending not to think about it, embrace it.  Your belly is your place of personal power.  It is your 3rd Chankra..your solar plexus.  This is what balances you and gives you power to speak your truth.  You NEED to focus on it, and love it and listen to it.  It is where you intuition resides.  It is an amazing part of your body, and by ignoring it, you are mistreating  it and yourself.  You deserve better than that :).

There is so much more to this book than what I have typed, and I have typed ALOT!  She goes on to talk about whether you are a Restrictor or Permitter when it comes to food (or even life).  She goes on to talk about the Sufi’s 3 ways to God and how that pertains to our eating.  And she gives us her Guidelines for eating, remember that you can eat anything you want and still get to your NATURAL weight.  To learn more about these, you will want to read for yourself.  I just can’t do it justice.  But I will leave you with a couple of quotes…..

“Bliss occurs by arriving where you are.  When we are not reconstructing the past in every nanosecond, what is here is so satisfying, so loving, so unbelievably simple that once tasted, it changes everything.  because then you know what’s possible and you refuse to settle for anything less.”

“There is nothing like having chocolate cake three inches away to reveal your fear of chaos or your desire to melt into it.”

“Once ou realize that it’s possible to feel good by not eating certain things and including others instead, the compulsion begins to fall away because you’ve found something better:  getting your life back.”

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I couldn’t sleep.  Visions of artwork and poems were flying through my head tonight..all brought on by the Firewalk…  I tried to scan the picture I drew tonight, but it didn’t come out right.  But here are the poems I wrote…

Like a spiral she spins round

Full bodied and never ending

Always fertile and creative

Flowing freely, curving curving

She dances to her own tune

Wild and naked

Beneath the full moon

Never apologetic

Her laughter sings out

Daring the stars to shine brighter

Stomping the dew soaked grass

Awakening the creatures of the earth

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rise and Dance

Join in the revelry

Play with me she becons

Come play!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I stand her naked

Proud as I please!

Full bodied

Heavy breasted

Look at me!

I have curves!

I have dimples!

Juicy and succulent

Sexy and Free!

Beautiful

Intelligent

Strong

They all describe me!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She licks

She burns

She dances a blaze!

She destroys

She transforms

She calls my name!

Can you hear

Don’t you see

She lives within me!

Licking

Burning

Setting me free!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fire

Slow to start

Fast to rise

Burning hotter

Reaching higher

Destroying and Creating

Passion all consuming

Seducing

Caressing

Transforming

Peace making

Renewing

It’s been 3 sleeps since I walked the Fire, and yet she is still with me.  I realize that my post about Firewalking was about just that, Firewalking.  It wasn’t about how it has touched my life or the way I felt that night as I slept or how I felt the next day.

Wytomi told me that my body would be doing crazy things.  I couldn’t imagine what he must have been talking about.  He told me that I would have some huge awakenings, so I have waited in anticipation.  What exactly am I suppose to be expecting anyway???  Lightning bolts from the sky????  I haven’t experienced anything like that, so I find myself asking, “What did or am I doing wrong?”   The answer is “Nothing!”  Everything is perfect.  I have experienced a few things and I will share them with you.

That night as I drove home from our IHOP dinner, my toes were burning.  I swear I wanted to rip off my shoes and socks!  I felt like they were on fire.  Wytomi told us we would or might feel “hot spots” on our feet, but we were not to think about our feet and look for blisters.  Because if you look for blisters and expect blisters, you will certainly have them.  And who really WANTS blisters (except for those who were expecting them and  looking for them)?  So okay, my feet felt like they were on fire.  It felt like the flesh was being burned off of my bones!  Outside I was smiling and laughing.  Inside  my heart was soaring.  But my brain..that darned brain of mine..it was screaming, “What the heck did you do?????  The flesh on our feet have fallen off and our feet are raw and you put wool socks and snow boots on them!  Get them off!!!!”   I told my brain that our feet would just have to deal with it until we got home…in the mean time, SMILE and FEEL!  So that is what I did.  I continued to smile and feel everything that I was feeling..the elation of a free heart and the pain of “hot spots” on my feet.  It was kind of like the sweet and sour of Firewalking.

I came home from the Firewalk still unable to vocalize to my hubby what I had been through.  He had done several Firewalks before; he understood.  Yet, I still couldn’t find the words.  I washed off the face paint that was refusing to come off.  My husband said, “Maybe you were suppose to keep it on.”  I told him I was not going to get face paint on the pillow.  I would however refrain from washing my sooty feet.  Between the sheets I climbed.  I was freezing.  The Fire was still inside me and coming off of that high, makes you cold.  I was shivering, but I felt a burning in my stomach.  No it wasn’t heart burn.  This was different.  This was literally a FIRE in my belly.  I could feel its Flames licking my insides.  I could feel it spinning around like a pin wheel.   Then I felt Fire burning in my throat.  Again, it was not the burning you feel from acid reflux.  This was a FIRE in my throat.  Interestingly, enough, my feet were quiet now!  *laugh*  The Fire, She was inside me!

I remembered standing beside the Fire getting ready for the walk.  I had invited her In..to fill the void that urges me to eat compulsively.  I invited Her in to heal that hole.  And there she was, burning away inside my belly…burning away inside my throat.  I had set the intention and purpose to transform myself so that I may be able to help others transform.  Transformation.  Purpose.  Passion.   These all come from a place of power.  Following our goals takes power.  And this Fire that was burning in my belly was in the Solar Plexus Chakra, the 3rd chakra.  This chakra deals with digestion; when we harness the power of this chakra we have the strength to conquer our dreams!  It was also burning in my throat chakra, the place where metabolism is controlled.  It is also the chakra from which we speak our truth.  How will I help people transform, through speaking.  Yes indeed, I had invited the Fire within, and there She was in the 2 places I needed her the most.  I got exactly what I had asked for!  And even today as I write this, I feel Her burning in my throat.

I had finally fallen asleep.  My dreams were scattered.  We were told to pay attention to them.  But they were so scattered.  I found myself waking up constantly through the night.  Every time I woke up, I found myself singing a song of praise and gratitude.  Literally.  I was singing in my head.  I sang all night long!

Saturday, I did my best to pay attention.  I tried my best to listen.  I even went to lay down in  my bedroom to take a nap ( instead of laying on the couch to do it). I wanted to make sure that my brain didn’t have the TV in the background to interfere with my dream time.  But that night, I told my hubby that I just didn’t feel anything.  What was I suppose to be feeling?

I woke up Sunday morning after having a “nightmare”.  It wasn’t a scary thing; it was just sad.  It was about a previous relationship that had ended.  As I type this, maybe this wasn’t about THAT relationship, but rather a relationship with MYSELF that had ended that night while I walked the fire.  I’m done stalking myself.  I’m done with the false sense of control that compulsive eating gives me.  I am welcoming the softer side of me; the side that wants to FEEL.  Yes, that is what it is.  Again, I am crying.

We went to church Sunday.  It was Palm Sunday..the beginning of “Holy Week”.  We talked about Judas’ betrayal.  Jesus never blamed Judas for his betrayal; he knew it would happen.  It was what it was.  That is all.  Jesus knew that Judas had his own path to walk, and Jesus had his.  It’s just that simple.  “There is no betrayal, only the divine nudge to set us on our own path.”   What strikes me is that Jesus didn’t blame Judas…see if you can follow me on this one.  If every person in our lives is just a reflection of ourselves; is it possible that Judas was a reflection of Jesus and vice versa.  Judas betrayed Jesus (the symbol of what is good and right within Judas).  So..bringing when I put this story to my own life, I see where I have betrayed myself…in my eating..in different areas of my life.  But I focus on eating alot.  When I betray myself I judge myself  harshly.  But Jesus didn’t judge Judas, did he?  Nope.  As a matter of fact, he loved him.  I forget to love myself.  I should remember.  I should not blame myself.  There is no betrayal, only the divine nudge to get right back on that path of what is good and right and true in my life.  Wow.  Okay…….. more awakenings.

I was *GOING* to say, that maybe not feeling or seeing these huge awakenings was just par for my own course.  I have seen so many congruences in my path.  I have started this 52 books in 52 weeks journey on my own.  It has turned into my own private little version of a retreat I would have paid James Arthur Ray THOUSANDS of dollars to lead.  Instead, I am reading and learning on my own.  The Firewalking and the Sweatlodges that I would have done with James, are being brought to me here locally without the thousands of dollars being spent.  And EVERYTHING I am doing and reading relates to everything else.  It is perfect.  So I was thinking that maybe not having these huge awakenings is because I am constantly growing and awakening, and the Firewalk was just that, a Firewalk..a chance for me to face my fears and also realize that I am the only one who is going to cut my way through this life…that it is up to me.  This 52 in 52 is on my own..my own doing, right?  Yet, as I write this, I have found that this Firewalk, when I open up to the messages, has really sent me some awakenings.  I just needed to sit down and “write” it out.

So last night, I dreamed again.  I can’t remember what they were about now…..oh..I was in a mall shopping looking for spiritual talisman or some sort.  There were people waiting to get into this store in the mall; they were the chair people of this community.  They were waiting to go in the store called the “Board Room” a “front” for their meeting area.  This store sold things made out of wood.  It was a bit weird.  But they were going in to get some vital information.. a naming ceremony of sorts.  All the other stores in the mall were closed still.  It was too early.  Yet the mall was packed with police officers.  Something huge was going on.  I remembered that as I walked into the mall, I saw a child with a very bruised face (had been battered) talking with the police officers outside.  A little ways away, was an adult male sitting on the ground with officers hovering over him.  I thought it was odd, but I just kept walking.  Then all of those officers were in the mall, looking for something.  I had no idea.  As I walked back out to my car, I was pushing a stroller.  Where had this stroller come from, I have no idea.  There was no baby in it.  I thought I was pushing it to carry my bags (like a shopping cart), but I didn’t buy anything, so it was empty.  I was pushing it out to my truck, and every time I walked by an officer, he would stop me and look in my stroller.  They thought I had taken some baby.  They were looking for a baby, and I didn’t have it.  Each and every time I passed an officer, they stopped me and interrogated me.  “Where is the baby?” they would ask.  “I don’t know.  I  never had a baby.  I was using this as a shopping cart.” I would reply.  Finally, I got to my truck.  I put the stroller in the back of the truck, but I couldn’t get into my car.  Cars were double parked on both sides of my truck, and I couldn’t open the doors wide enough to get in.  I was frustrated.  The officers were still looking at me like I was suspicious.  I just wanted to leave.  I was confused.  I was frustrated.  I couldn’t find what I had been looking for in the store.  I kept seeing visions of this battered little boy and the look on the adult male’s face.  The weird “chair people” meeting..everyone dressed in the same colorless beige clothing.  Finally, I realized I could get into my truck by crawling through the back.  It would be difficult and uncomfortable, but I could do it.  I could reach my goal of sitting in  my truck and driving away from this scene of confusion and suspicion.  I knew I was innocent.  It was okay to walk around with an empty stroller.  I didn’t HAVE to have a baby in the stroller.  I didn’t HAVE to buy something to put into that stroller.  It was okay to have a “void” inside of place that was suppose to carry something. I didn’t have to buy something just to fill that void.  I could have bought a fake baby to put into that stroller. I could have bought something from that wood store, but I didn’t want to.  I even found a friend of mine in that mall who had been selling something weird, but I didn’t want to buy from him either.  I didn’t want to buy just anything, and it was okay to walk away empty handed.

Wow..okay.  When I woke up I just thought my dream was weird, but as I typed it out just then, I realized what this was all about.  Walking into the mall, I walked past a hurt child..I walked past myself.  I went searching for something spiritual..something physical.  I had this stroller it was empty waiting to be filled.  That is this hole inside me when I am bored, lonely, depressed, angry..that which I fill with food instead of letting it be and feeling.  Walking through the mall and not buying things..walking by those people going into that meeting to “name” something….they were going to “name” my emotions…to allow me to feel.  They were all the parts of me waiting to be addressed.  I was the Chairman of the board…they were my emotions..having never been named or given the color of life.  I walked out with this empty stroller and those officers were all the judgements I use against myself..I was Judas AND Jesus…and they were there to judge me along my path.  I didn’t let them get to me.  I stayed on my path.  I got to my car, and found more obstacles getting in the way of my goal; yet I allowed myself to find a way; it was going to be hard.  It would have been easier to just take the stroller and go back to the mall and shop and fill that carriage with whatever the officers said I needed.  I could have “bolted” but I stayed, and I listened and I found a way to make it through…with the stroller tucked safely away.

Wowzers!

Okay..so who wants to do another Firewalk with me?

So earlier this week, my friend Forrest posted a link on Facebook about a Firewalk that Wytomi, The Elk Shaman, would be holding on Friday night (last night).  As you might recall from my profile here or my first post, that Firewalking was definitely on my “to do list”.  Knowing this, you would think that I would JUMP at the opportunity.  Ya, I thought so too, but I was wrong.  I found all sorts of reasons/excuses NOT to go.  I don’t have enough money.  I am suppose to go snowboarding the next day, and what if my feet are blistered?  I am suppose to go out dancing the next day, and my feet are blistered.    Then Friday morning, Forrest, had replied to 2 of my Facebook statuses (that had nothing to do with Firewalking) about the Firewalking, and he replied to one of my friends’ facebook statuses (that again had nothing to do with Firewalking) about the Firewalk.  As I was complaining about this to  my husband, he simply said: “Martha, you need to go.  Call Wytomi and make financial arrangements.”  I did; then I found myself crying from fear.

All day, I was a bit worried about this.  Walking on fire.. HOT HOT coals… the possibility of blistering one’s feet while walking across something hot enough to cook a steak on is quite real!  I know I have been told its a “mind over matter thing”, but what the mind knows and what it feels are different things.  Of course, that is why people do these kinds of exercises…to get over the blocks that keep you from living the life you want.  So okay, I went through the day working through things.  My mind still came up with reasons not to go, but my heart kept coming back with reasons TO go.

I have to tell you that I started reading a book Thursday night called Women Food and God.  Yesterday, I got to a chapter that talks about “Bolting” .  “Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron writes, ‘Never underestimate the inclination to bolt.'”  Let me tell you, that if ever I had an inclination to “bolt” it was yesterday!  Not only did I feel this way all day, but as I was driving there, the traffic on the highway was horrible.  I was going to be late for the 7pm start time.  I kept telling myself, “I don’t want to disturb anyone by arriving late; I should just turn around and go home.”  I was following the directions on my iPhone, and I have to admit to being a bit scared of driving out there.  The Firewalk was on a farm out in the middle of nowhere with country/dessert roads that twist and turn and have a propensity for getting people lost!  When I drove by the place where this farm was suppose to be, I watched the dot on my iphone directions passing the place I was suppose to be…yet I didn’t see the farm or the house or the dirt road I was suppose to turn on.  I was RIGHT THERE!  It was 7:05pm.  I kept telling myself, “You can’t find it. You are late.  Just turn around and tell them you couldn’t find the place.”  Finally, I looked out into the distance, and I saw an old farm house with lots of cars out front.  Sure enough, it was the right place!  Okay, so I won this battle!  I didn’t bolt!  In the book, it talks about Bolting as being one of the roots to compulsive eating.  We bolt by eating food to avoid whatever it is we need to feel.  But by staying, we allow ourselves to feel, listen and grow.   When I was reading the book, I “understood” the way you understand book knowledge.  But by the time I found this farm house, my friends, and completed the Firewalk, I had a completely different understanding of the term bolt and what it means to stay!

The farm was beautiful.  It was right on bank of the Snake River.  It had a sweatlodge, a medicine wheel, a tepee, and regular fire pit, another meditation/teaching spot, and a big pit that is perfect for Firewalking.  Randy is the owner of this beautiful farm turned spiritual retreat.  As soon as I stepped out of my car, I felt the healing energy wash over me.  I knew I was suppose to be here.  I greeted my new and old friends with hugs.  I was among people who loved me whether they knew me or not.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Randy(the owner of the property) building what I thought would be the fire that would create the coals for us to walk on, but I couldn’t figure out how that was suppose to work.  I was wrong……

THIS is the pit and the stack of wood that will be lit up for the Firewalk 🙂

The Buddah just outside the medicine wheel

The Medicine Wheel

The tepee

And the sun sets as the transformation and the real work begins….

Now that the sun was setting, it was time to really start this thing. Wytomi walked us to the Firewalking pit and began to lead us in a meditation of sorts.  It wasn’t the kind of “sit on your butt cross legged and be quiet” kind of meditation.  It was more of a storyline that we followed. The drum began to beat, and 2 of the men lit the big fire that would later become our coals.  It got HOT.  We were there to set an intention, find a purpose and use this walk to really set it out there and bring it to fruition.  So what was MY purpose?  What did I want?  Wytomi sent us out into the corn fields to listen and find out.  I went.  And I found I couldn’t get the heck out of my head.  It was like I “knew” this already.  I was fighting it.  I wanted to have “all the right answers”.  I wanted to be able to go back to the pit with all the right answers and be the “star pupil”. (This “star pupil” mentality came from working with James Arthur Ray…afraid of his wrath if I didn’t play full on and do what he thought was right….more Ah-ha moments and healing for me.) I found myself shouting at myself, “Oh my god! What is wrong with me!  Get out of your head, Martha!  Let Go! Stop fighting.  Stop bolting!”  I sat down on the previously harvested stalks of corn and finally quieted my mind.  The same ol’ stuff just kept coming….”Lose weight, get healthy, transform the world, community centers for youth…..”  This is just great.  I felt like these were “old stand-bys” and not genuine goals or purposes.  I was judging my thoughts.  Can’t get out of my head.  It was time to rejoin everyone at the fire…..

Wytomi, the Elk Shaman, by the Fire

Standing close to the fire but lined up against the cement walls in 2 lines facing each other.  Wytomi goes into what we will do next and he starts talking about transformation.  Honestly, truthfully, I can’t remember what he said.  I remember him asking if we all had our intention, and I thought to myself, “Shit!  What am I gonna do?  I don’t have mine.”  Then all of a sudden, there it was..clear as day!  “Transform myself so that I may help others transform”.  That was it..I felt it in the marrow of my bones.  Great..now I can go on with this exercise and support the others in their intentions.  What happened next was a very intimate, loving exercise of support for the my fellow walkers.  It was beautiful, and I cried.  (big shock there, huh?)

We stood closer to the fire..She was HOT HOT HOT!  Flames were jumping high..15 or 20 feet!  She was beautiful.  There was more meditation, then Wytomi sent us back out to the fields to find the animal guide that would help us walk this Fire.  We would not be walking this Fire alone.  I left the pit and didn’t get very far into the fields (like maybe 5 feet from the pit) when it came to me.  There was no questioning it.  Hawk would be my guide through this journey on this night.  She represented Freedom, Vision, Sight, Strength.  I immediately returned to the Fire.  Wytomi was playing his big drum, and I stood close to the Fire, feeling the heat wash over me and through me.  I felt Her in every cell of my body.  I loved Her and She loved me.  The vibrations of Wytomi’s big drum hit the pant leg of my jeans and they vibrated and I felt my own blood ripple and pulse in rhythm with the vibrations.

More meditations and movement…then face painting.  3 symbols that were given to us..one for our intention/purpose, one for our animal guide, and the one that Wytomi  had set for the Fire.  We found partners and painted our faces….my intention was the symbol of the Goddess with the spiral in Her belly (transformation)…my animal guide were wings and a tail of a spiral….and the intention of the fire set by Wytomi was courage symbolized by an arrow head.

Now we were ready!  We gathered together at the edge of the coals that were all laid out.  Wytomi lead us in more movement and meditation…bringing the Fire  from outside into our bodies.   We were one with the energy of the Fire.  Our energy had to  match that of the Fire, or this Firewalk would not happen.  He instructed us on the “how tos” of walking the Fire.  He told us again that until the Fire is “cut” (I think that is the term  he used) by the first walker it would be very very very hot and intense.  He asked if anyone wanted to be first or if we wanted him to do it for us.  I heard the whole group say, yes they wanted him to do it for us…but in my head I heard…”No one will cut the way for you, Martha.  It will not be easy.  You have to do it for yourself.”  Wytomi kept talking and kept the energy building.  Once again, he asked, “Who is walking the Fire first?”  I heard myself say in a voice I don’t usually hear myself talking in, “I AM!”  and I stepped forward.  “Che Ho!” I heard the group reply.  I stood at the edge of the Fire, felt Her heat.  She loved me and I loved her.  Wytomi was at the other end, clapping and chanting.  My friends were behind me clapping and cheering.  And I took that first step and kept on walking…my bare feet upon the coals.  It felt like stirofoam beneath my feet.  I walked steadfastly towards my purpose shouting at the top of my lungs, “No body but me will do this!  It’s all me!  I AM THE ONE!”  Having crossed the goals, I found myself in the arms of Wytomi squeezed in a big bear hug from the Elk Shaman, and I heard him shout, The Fire IS OPEN! Let the walk begin!  I turned to watch my friends start their journey across the Fire and I greeted them with hugs on the other side.

Together, we walked these coals several times.  The coals were refreshed 2 more times, each time making the Fire hotter, and we walked again!  I remember feeling the heat beneath my feet.  I heard myself say, “You need to feel the heat and discomfort..you need to KNOW that this is painful and difficult.”  So I allowed myself to feel the heat and the pain as I walked across.  We clapped, we cheered.  I stood against the cool cement wall and laughed until I cried.  I cried some more.  Peace.  Love.  Determination.  Healing.  Joy.  Power.  Health.  Transformation.  It was all there……

It was time to put our shoes back on and take some pictures…and get going….  What a celebration.  No one wanted to leave..well okay, some people did.  But the first timers, we wanted to stay beside those coals all night.  *laugh*  But we didn’t.  In the end, I decided to join a group of them at IHOP for “dinner”.  There was no way I was going to make the hour drive home in the dark alone without eating and grounding myself.  The fellowship at IHOP was so much fun..10 of us walking in with faces painted, all very loud and making quite the scene.  It was awesome!  So much fun!

The Fire after all the walking was completed

Face still painted..shoes back on…standing beside the Fire as She cools down

I am very glad I did this.  What I learned about myself was HUGE.  I’m still not very grounded, and that is okay.  I was replying to an email about Especially Me!  and had to send it 4 times to get all the information in the email; I kept forgetting the attachment.  *laugh*  Yup, its a good thing I am not heading up the mountain to snow board today!  And by the way, my feet are perfectly fine!  See…

My feet this morning after my shower, but I didn’t scrub them clean.   Some of the soot came off in the shower, but I still need the soot on my feet, I still need/want that sacred feeling.  And YES I need a pedicure BADLY..just ignore that :).

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