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“Though I didn’t know it, I was in a dangerous place now.  Having determined that this world was the only one I had–or would ever have–here I was, in conscious mistrust of its core.  And on the other hand, it had been confirmed that the outside world, the one that I had been trying to escape into since I could walk, was not my home either.  I was a misfit in both places.  The only true home I had was inside the notes of music, inside the all-consuming world of white ivory keys and their black flat and sharp companions.”………….

The passage above comes early in this book, thoughts from a 14-year-old Adelaide.  Being raised in an  ultra-conservative home where a girl/woman’s hair was a glory to God, where dancing was not allowed, public bathing (swimming) was not allowed, as well as so many other “thou shalt nots” (as I call them).  From such an early age she wanted to run away and explore, calling herself a gypsy; yet she was stuck in a home with an overbearing mother and father who was emotionally absent most of the time. What she knew to be HER truth and what she was being raised with conflicted on a daily basis, and she found solace and place of “belonging” in her music.  I too shared this kind of confusion in my childhood faith and struggle in my home and solace in my music…..  this was just many of the similarities between Addie and I that I found between the covers of this book!

This book is such a beautiful and heart-warming journey “Walking From Religion to Spirit” (as the cover of the book says).  Isn’t this what this blog is all about?  Well kind of anyway, right?  I, too, was raised in a conservative Christian home.  Though admittedly I was allowed to wear what I want, dance, swim and certainly didn’t have any rules in my house.  The only rules in MY house were that you were to be a God-fearing, tongues speaking, baptised Christian.  Scratch that, these rules weren’t the rules of my house, but they were certainly the rules for ME.  My brothers didn’t have to live by these same rules.  I’m not sure why, but as I read this book and even typed that last sentenced, it dawned on me that possibly the reason that I was the ONLY child out of 4 that was supposed to live by these rules is because I was closest to my mother and I was expected to be a shining light for her.  (Mother daughter issues…….this book is filled with them!)

Anyway, back to the book.  I LOVED it!  I love the history behind the words.  I love the visuals created by the words.  Every time I turned a page, I felt like Addie could have been telling my own story from Religion to Spirit.  I even learned a bit bout my own father and the way he must have been raised (though Addie is nearly 20  years older than my dad would have been today).  More than just her spiritual journey, there are a plethora of insights into being what I call a “sacrificial mom” (or even wife)…of being that care taker.  I found myself self saying out loud…”Hey, Addie!  That is what I am dealing with right now!!!!  Thank you!!!”

All the way through I kept thinking how incredibly blessed I am to have Addie as a member of my church.  This book was released on her 90th birthday…at my church.  Even though I have been attending this church since January, I had never met her until purchasing her book and having her sign it.  When I smiled and wished her a “Happy Birthday” I had no idea just how much this book would  mean to me and how it would touch my life!  Now all I can think about his how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing woman and possible friend in my church.  I can’t wait to send her a card and thank her personally!

Addie’s story is such a blessing and inspiration to all women out there searching for their spiritual path…for all moms out there who give so much to their families…for all the wives who just might  give too much of themselves to their husbands….to women who suddenly find themselves empty-nesters and wondering what the heck to do next!  For all the women out there who say, “I’m too old to do this…..”  you should read this book!

Have you heard the saying, “the only thing constant in life is change”?  Addie’s book is a perfect reminder of that.   As a matter of fact, one of my favorite quotes in the book says, “For me, the status quo, however appealing, never shone as brightly as the radiance of change.”  You get to follow her journey as she moves from parsonage (the home of a pastor) to parsonage and finally to her own homes.  You get to follow her journey that starts in New York and ends in Idaho and takes you places in between.  You get to cry at the unfairness of abuse, face fear in the face of disease, revel in the feeling of first love, feel the darkness of depression and the climb back out to light.  You get to sit with Addie at the bedside of her loved ones as she says goodbye, and you get to say goodbye too.  You get the thrill of not just becoming a mother..but of becoming a grandmother AND a great-grandmother!  This book is a fascinating and exciting read!

I find myself having a hard time sharing what I have learned from this book, but I will say that there are no coincidences in life…….and just as Addie mentions being led to our church (CSL) for a reason (this book), I feel as though I have been led to CSL for a reason…one of them being this book!

I will close with this thought.  Lately, I have been feeling “old”.  I’m only 41.  Yes, this is young.  I never felt old until I started in a sport where the women start retiring in their mid to late 30’s and I was just getting started!  Trying to get onto a Roller Derby team at the age of 41 seems kinda crazy.  And with my new schedule, I will be 42 by the time I can get drafted!  That is even crazier!  Then to add salt to the wound I was inflicting upon myself, I started to read a book on menopause.  The book is written by one of my favorite, entertaining local authors, but the idea of me going through menopause just made me feel even older!  I had to stop reading it.  The next book I picked up was this one, and towards the end of the book, there is this great quote from Addie reminding me that 41 is still very young!  “The new energy breathed into my home lifted my spirits and supported the feeling that, at the age of eighty-three, I was entering the best era of my life.”

Go, Addie, Go!!!!

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Looking for a quick, inspirational, entertaining read?  Look no further!!!

Since I am trained in the art of oral storytelling, I am a total sucker for a good storyteller.  Let me just say that the title “author” does not mean you are a good storyteller!  However, Johnna Johnson has a true gift!  Many people can TELL a story, but getting it into writing with the same flare is completely different.  Her life stories will make you laugh, cry, and feel like they are happening to you!  You will be thoroughly entertained!

With that said, this isn’t just a book of excellent personal stories.  These stories are used as excellent examples of how to actually live your life and put the principles of living in excellence and courageously in action!  The whole time I was reading her book, I took notes and followed along.  Her book suggests you use a journal or buy the companion workbook to this book; I just wrote in the margins (since I printed out the ebook).  I like having the notes right beside the text, so I can go back and re-read what prompted my notes :).

The 2nd paragraph into the actual text of the book says this about the prospect of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane:

“If you are like 99 percent of the population, my guess is that you would not jump.  Yet,  it’s at that very moment of decision — when we chose to jump, in spite of our fears — that we build the confidence we need to take full advantage of our potential.  When we choose to  jump, in spite of the fear, we choose to live lives with more adventure, passion, challenge, excitement, meaning, appreciation, accomplishment, and excellence.”

This paragraph totally sums up the life I chose to live at the beginning of this year….I have totally chosen to live fearlessly!!!!  I even have a blog post about “Just Jump” (my own experience)….so this book is perfect for me!!!!

Johnna Johnson suggests that there are 4 types of Action Zones in life:  Zombie, Comfort, Panic and Jump.  She describes all 4 of these and challenges you to figure out which one you are in….and if you are not in that Jump Zone yet, she challenges you to get there!!!  She gives you the tools to get there..you are not doing it alone!

I did have a good laugh though.  While I was reading about the comfort zone, she said this, “Instead, you choose to put on your warm woolen slippers, pour a cup of hot tea, and cuddle up with a great book with your favorite comforter–all in front of a warm, crackling fire.”  Ummm..ya…..that is EXACTLY what I looked like while reading this..minus the fire place (it’s not cold enough in Boise for that yet!)  I am in no way sitting in a comfort zone, but resemblance to my current situation while reading this book just made me laugh!

Like I said, her storytelling is amazing.  She tells a story of her sky diving experience, and she shared an image that I just loved:  “Do you know what happens when you put your leg outside of a moving airplane?  It slams up against the plane, confirming your insanity.”  I LOVED THIS!!!!!  How many times have you done something that you KNEW was crazy, and had something confirm it, yet you found the courage to face the fear and do it anyway????  Maybe that is why I loved this story.  I haven’t jumped out of a perfectly good airplane…yet…but I certainly have had the “OH MY GOSH!  WHAT WAS I THINKING????” moments!

Once again, this is a very short book, and if I shared everything I loved about this book, there would be no reason for you to run out and buy it for yourself!  So I will just share a couple of quotes I loved from the book.

“When we jump out of our comfort zones, we very often find that what we feared most was truly nothing to fear after all.”

“When you know where you are going, you are much more likely to reach your destination.”

“Success is a process, always in progress, so you will never be ‘finished,’ but you can get started today.”

“A setback is just a set-up for a come back!” ~ Mary Kay Ash

“Ultimately, your thoughts create your beliefs.  your beliefs create your feelings.  Your feelings create your attitude.  Your attitude creates your actions and your actions create your results.”

“How can you afford NOT to be doing something you are passionate about?”

“Feel the fear, then the faith, and Just Jump!”

There was one passage that really gave me a feeling of “relief” when it comes to my son, Nate.  “When you are crystal clear on what you want and why you want it, the impossible becomes probable.”   So my husband and I always worry about our son, Nate.  He has had some challenges when it comes to school and understanding things.  He often says, “I don’t get it.”  When he is cleaning, he says he is done, when I can clearly see there is still work to be done.  Nate says he can’t see it.  Now, just in case you might think its a “guy” thing….even my hubby could see where Nate still needed to get the job done.   It’s not a “kid” thing either, cause Omi Girl can see it.  It’s just Nate.  (I won’t get into the whole long story about him.)  I will just say that we have reason to worry about him once he leaves the house.  Soooooooo…..the other day, he asked if he could clean the garage for some money.  He wanted to earn enough money to buy Halo Reach (the new game that came out this week).  He kept asking me how much I was going to pay him to clean the garage.  I told him I didn’t know; we would just see.  Now, in the past, we have told him that his payment would depend on how well he did the job…hoping this incentive would help him do a more thorough job of cleaning.  And Nate didn’t know how much the game would cost.  Knowing EXACTLY what he wanted the result to be..being very clear with himself…he went out to the garage and cleaned it out.  When he was done, he parked the car in the garage and didn’t ask us to check it out.  The next morning I went out to the garage and IT WAS GORGEOUS!!!  I had no idea he knew how to clean that way!  There is hope!  If he is clear about what he wants and why he has to do what he has to do get what he wants and keeps his eye on the prize and not the process, he CAN do it!!!!!  I feel so much better now!

There are so many great teachings in this book.  I loved it.  It is only 54 pages long…can be found in hard back…with a companion book.  Seriously, if you are stuck in a rut and/or have goals you want to accomplish, pick up the book and get to work!  You will love it!

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 :).

The other day, at the urging of one of my friends/mentors, I watched The Shift by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Here are some of the quotes from the movie that stuck out for me..along with some insights.

• “We can not live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning for what was great in the morning will be little in the evening and what in the morning was true at evening will have become a lie”
• The real purpose of life is to just be happy where you are. Return to nature. Find your own nature.
• “All being originates in non being”~ Lao Tsu.. Jesus said “It’s the spirit that gives life. All of our purpose, everything that we are to be (physical, mental, spiritual), was all given to us from the moment of conception, but its our culture that tells us differently.
• Edge God Out (Ego) “Who you are is what you have” is what the world would like us to think. “The more that I have, the more valuable I am as a person” Not only is what I have what I am; it is what I do. It becomes achievement. We become consumed by success, my value, my worth as a human being is what I accomplished. Competition is what the Ego says. I am what other people think of me (my reputation). I have to dress the way people think or there is something wrong with me. Women: in relationship to family, the only way we can fulfill ourselves is by how we relate to our family: mother/daughter/granddaughter. This is NOT The only thing. When we have a calling to do something great. Don’t ignore that calling that says we are here to create something powerful. We have just as much of a right to do this as anyone else.
• Who I am is separate from everyone else and everything that is missing (all the things I would like to have) in my life. We think we are separate from God. I came from a source and this source is everywhere. If there is no place that it’s not, it must be in me and what I feel to be missing from my life. Then in some way that is missing from my life, I am already connected to it in spirit. Just have to find the knowing to connect with it.
• Let yourself be lived by it rather than you taking over
• TS Elliot, “We shall not cease from exploration. In the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
• Non interference: parenting is not about having children lean on you but making leaning unnecessary. They have a compass, let them follow their own compass; freeing you up to be your own person on your own time and allowing them to become who they are to become.
• If you can stop interfering in your own life and just be done, everything will be done for you.
• Enthusiasm: Greek: Enthios yasm “the god within” when you have enthusiasm/passion for something. In side of you, that is god speaking to you saying “don’t get to the end of your life and ask say “what if my whole life has been wrong’”.
• When you trust in yourself, you trust in the very wisdom that created you.
• The best way to have those doors open is to forget about yourself and serve; it’s always about service. You can’t attract what you want into your life; you attract what you are.
• Sometimes all you got to do is show up and engage and music happens…YOUR music happens
• I think you have to get to a place where you no longer focused on just yourself and the things you really want for yourself. When you begin to say “how can I want them more for someone else than I want them for me?” That’s God Realization.
• You must be like what you came from; if you came from divinity, you must be divine. If you hold your hands up and say these are the hands of god, and what does god do with his hands? God is just giving that is all God know how to do.
• Becoming the observer (step back) you begin to live in process, trusting where our source is taking you. You begin to detach from the outcome. That detachment allows you to stop fighting and allows things to just come to you; you no longer make things happen but allow them to show up. The fight is gone.
• We came here with music to play…
• When the shift happens, you begin to realize you are not here to push life and make it a struggle all the time you being to enjoy life and that is what happens in the afternoon of life.
• After all this time, the sun never said to the Earth “You owe me” Just think what a love like that can do; its lights up the whole world.
• “If you want to be like me, knowing that we are alike, I will help you. If you want to be different than me, I will wait until you change your mind; and you will change your mind” ….Jesus from A Course In Mirracles.
• No one needs to ask the question “What is my purpose. It will always be founding service. If you can just for one day put your attention on making life better for someone else, if you can focus on thinking like that. That’s how god thinks.”
• To touch someone’s life is more valuable than any amount of money
• You can run an entire business on not being attached to outcome and putting your attention on service. Your life becomes about living these virtues: how can I serve, be gentle & reverent. Thinking like this means you are living in meaning.
• The messages of the morning are about what you can and can’t do…about how society defines you but in the afternoon after the shift its about connecting to an energy that is taking care of everything and we are all just being done. Living the virtues is all we need to do.
• It’s about surrendering to something else that is bigger than you and is control of everything.
• You’re only a thought away from changing your life.

Most of these have been quotes or ideas from the movie itself. I did a lot of stopping and rewinding so I can get the words right. This was such a beautifully made movie with even more beautiful insights. The whole time I was watching this movie, I felt like I was surrounded by this loving peace…like being wrapped up in a warm, fuzzy blanket.

This is one other scene in this movie that really got to me, and I did not capture any direct quotes from it. In the scene the maintenance guy from the hotel (where most of the movie took place) thought he was alone while he played this amazing piece of music. Well one of the characters had been quietly sitting in a corner without saying anything, until the music stopped. They started up a conversation about why the maintenance guy doesn’t play piano for a living.

His reply went something like this: I used to love to play the piano. When I started playing as a young boy, I played for it for myself. Then I started playing for the audience. And I began to wonder if I failed at playing the piano, if the audience would still love me. So I began to fail on purpose. I would miss notes here and there, and the audience members noticed, and they began to treat me differently. They didn’t love me when I didn’t play perfectly. So I stopped playing all together.

This hit me like a ton of bricks. Self-sabotage: that is what he is talking about. In my eating/weight struggles, I have done exactly this. I start doing something right, and I lose weight and I get praise from my husband or my children. Then I wonder, will I still get praise from them if I eat a muffin and drink a diet soda; will they still love me? So, I start eating like crap again. And sure enough, Nate (my 17 year old son, whom I have given permission to rag on me if I eat like this) starts to rag on me and berate me for making poor choices. And to me (even though I have given him permission to do this and keep me in check) it felt like he no longer loved me. (Whether I asked for it or not, whether it’s true or not, that is the way I felt). So I would give up on eating right and exercising, and I would gain back the weight plus some. I’m not entirely certain how to correct this other than to refocus myself and do this FOR ME and no one else and to let go of my EGO….because ultimately that is what is causing such issues. Letting go of EGO can be difficult (because we make it so). Letting go of outcomes……….. whew…breaking habbits…that is what this is about.

Interestingly enough, one of my good friends also watched this movie (and neither of us knew the other was watching it). He too has a weight issue, and we have supported each other through this over the last several months. When I told him about my insights regarding this part of the movie, he said, he came to the same conclusion. Pretty cool, I think.

Anyway, it is a truly amazing movie. I have never read any of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s books. I’m not sure how they slipped under my radar, but they have. He will certainly be put on my list for the year. Along with some of the books he mentioned throughout the movie.

Also, if you are into listening to some great music, the Ethan Lipton Orchestra is the band that plays during the movie, and they are amazing!

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