Parenting sometimes feels like walking through fire, doesn’t it? We do it because we love our children, but the relentlessness and the need to call up our best selves under adverse circumstances can be daunting.
Several times in my life, I’ve “walked through fire.”
There have been periods of darkness and devastation that felt as destructive and dangerous as a fire. Some were related to parenthood and some were not. But like the fresh, green new growth that needs the intense heat of the fire to sprout through the charred forest floor, when I came out the other side, I, too, was transformed by the experience.
Yes, I’ve metaphorically walked through fire several times, but last Thursday, I literally walked on fire, along with 5600 other people attending Unleash the Power Within (UPW), a Tony Robbins live event that teaches participants that all you need is within you now.
About a month ago, I received a clear sign telling me to go to UPW. I’m very familiar with Tony Robbins’ work, doing my coaching training through one of his companies, Robbins-Madanes Training, but I hadn’t yet experienced a “live Tony event,” as people refer to them. By all accounts, four days at UPW is a life-changing event, and of course, those of you who know me know that I’m always up for anything transformational or life changing! Bring it on!
But until last weekend, I hadn’t been to a live event, because the bulk of my coach training occurred while I was writing Raise the Child You’ve Got—Not the One You Want, and I didn’t want to take any focus from finishing the book. I needed all the self-discipline I could muster, and rocking my world would have to wait.
Well, the book’s been done for nine months now, and that message I received was insistent, so I signed up and was in San Jose last weekend to get rid of some limiting beliefs, step up, and create an OUTSTANDING life.
Fire walking is different.
The first night of UPW is the fire walk, where you stroll across about 20 feet of burning coals. Now, most people are (understandably) afraid to walk on hot coals, and the first day is spent in conditioning our minds and our bodies to face the fear and do it. In this way, we set the stage for facing other fears and doing what needs to be done in our lives.
Unlike most people, though, I was not afraid. I was actually pretty blasé about it. I kept saying, “Other things scare me but not that.” I knew I could do it, and that I would do it. With this mindset, I wasn’t paying quite as close attention as I might have on that first day of conditioning. At one point, I took a long, relaxed restroom break, and missed getting paired up with someone to do some exercises, and to provide mutual support through the actual fire walk. So, at the last minute, I scrambled to find a partner, who, like me, hadn’t gone through the exercises.
No big deal, right? Wrong! Instead of feeling supported through the fire walk, I felt annoyed, because my partner was making distracting, but well-meaning, small talk as we poured en masse out of the convention center and out to the waiting 2000 degree hot coals. I was not in the right state…I was annoyed. Before I knew it, I was up on the grass and the crew shouted, “Make your move!” I was not prepared.
I made my move, did the fire walk and it was awesome. But I did feel the burning coals and found that my right instep was slightly burnt. Why? Because I wasn’t as well prepared as I should have been.
Fire walking is the perfect metaphor.
Here’s the thing…I realize that the way I approached the fire walk is a perfect metaphor for how I approach so many things in life. My intuition is strong. I get feelings about things. I enjoy “winging it.” I rely on this guidance and proceed confidently and with determination, but perhaps not as cautiously or as prepared as I might be. The result may still be excellent, but excellent is not OUTSTANDING.
I want to live an OUTSTANDING life and do OUTSTANDING work. In that spirit, I’m going to rely a little less on intuitive winging it, and focus a little more on caution and preparation. That’s one lesson I learned from fire walking.
What about you? Are you cautious and methodical, or do you like to wing it? Can you tell your child’s style yet? Do you have any conflicts with your child over differences in style?