Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago, I took myself firewalking.
Something about it being on Valentine’s Day made it seem like the most appropriate and perfect way to spend the evening. And I was interested in establishing a new love for myself rather than always fulfilling my love needs through a man. I was also recovering from a devastating breakup, and the thought of staying home alone on Valentine’s watching Sex & the City reruns was too much for me to bear.
My craggy and cynical heart had its doubts. And the monkey mind was running its script.
Impossible! I thought.
You can’t walk on coals that are 180 degrees C and not burn yourself! Can’t be done.
When I showed up, the bonfire was roaring in the back yard. It was cold outside, being that I lived in Canada and it was February. The flames were taller than me at first. There were possibly about 20 or 30 of us. The group got started indoors in the basement by sharing why we were there and what we wanted to get out of the evening. We spent a long time having the process explained, introducing ourselves, getting related. I knew a couple of the people there. I had taken a business course with one of the guys and had always liked him. He was there with his wife. The facilitators handed out wooden boards and we wrote down on the boards the things we wanted release from our past. The fire took its time to die down.
The firewalking itself only takes a few minutes. But the preparation for firewalking takes several hours. It is as much about the mental preparation as it is about the physical act.
When we were ready, we went outside, bolstered by hot chocolate and the sense of group togetherness. You build up the courage and confidence by learning how to break an arrow with your throat.
And that board we wrote on? I thought we were going to throw it on the fire, which we did, but first we broke it in half with our foreheads.
Pretty impressive stuff.
And as you watch each person one after the other do this and succeed, some magic starts to get created. An energy gets built, fear gets torn down.
And when I broke the board in half with my own hands, the symbolic breaking of the things in the past I was wanting to release forever, I was so surprised! I was much more powerful than I had ever given myself credit for. I started to believe that not only was firewalking possible, but that actually, anything was possible, and I could maybe, mayBE do just about anything I set my mind to.
We were down to the moment of truth. The mind was ready. The coals were ready. It was time to walk across them. The ideal mental and physical conditions had been created.
I stood at the brink of the fire pit and I hesitated. I was scared. I didn’t think I could do it. I was waiting for the perfect moment. Then my friend – the business dude I knew – looked at me and said, “C’mon Karen, let’s walk across together.” He reached out his hand and walked across the coals together.
And the end, he looked at me with fire in his eyes and said, “Let’s do it again.”
I walked across a few more times that night. On my own. With other people. It was the most powerful I had ever felt in my life up to that point.
Firewalking taught me that I can achieve anything I set my minds to as long as I a) don’t overthink it, b) don’t talk myself out of it, or c) worry about the ‘how.’
If writing a book feels like walking across hot coals, I get it. The main component to being successful is to first and foremost believe that it’s possible. Second, don’t overthink it and third, walk really fast. Or, since we are talking about writing, write really fast. That last part is the most important part: If you slow down or stop to think, you will get burned.
Is it possible to write a book? It is! Is it possible for YOU to write a book? It is! Is possible for you to write a book in three days?
Of course it is.
Is your mind going berserk?
Impossible! Can’t be done. That’s absurd!
Well it seems to me that taking on the impossible is the only way I ever get anything done. I can tell you why I think you should write your book, but really it is something you will have to decide for yourself. I think you should because you will experience a newfound power in the writing and freedom for yourself that you never thought possible. I think you should write your book because you will never feel more vulnerable, more raw, more challenged or more alive than when you are putting your thoughts to a page and sharing them with the world. I think you should write your book because you have something to say and you are the only one who can say it in your unique way.
Go ahead, take my hand and we’ll walk across the pit together. I promise you won’t get burned. To find out more about our NYC Writers Camp in May, please GO HERE.