My name is Pennie Hunt and I am a firewalker. That is probably not something you would expect to hear, but it is true. I even have the T-shirt to prove it.
Several years ago I attended a motivational conference. After days of inner work on personal power, strength, focus and motivation, the climax of the event was a fire walk.
A huge pile of wood crackled and burned until it fell into a thick layer of chunky red-hot coals. We were instructed not to run, to walk at a slow, steady pace and don’t stop.
Look up and forward at our destination, not down at the fiery hot coals. Others could stand behind the starting line, but fire walking was something we had to do alone.
As I stood at the edge of this path of fire watching others successfully walk through and celebrate at the finish line, I wondered if I had the courage to do it. The previous days of learning (and believing) that I had the strength to control my own outcome circled in my head.
Did I have the courage? The answer was yes.
As I stepped up to the coals, barefoot and ready, I heard the crowd cheering words of encouragement. Once I took the first step there was no turning back.
The cheers became muffled behind me. I looked up, walked forward and listened to my own voice tell me I could do it.
As I stepped into the wet pad of moss waiting for me at the end, my hands flew up, my support team cheered and yes, I may have cried with excitement. I did it!
I came home from that event exhilarated and believing I could accomplish anything. After all, I was a firewalker.
Many times since I have revisited the lessons of that event and the feelings of walking over burning hot coals. I realize how it has related to the many fires I have walked through in my life.
Here’s the thing. Everyone is a Firewalker. We all walk through fire at some point in our lives. These fires take many forms: divorce, health issues, loss of a job, or the death of someone you love. The lessons I learned that day on the burning coals work for all of life’s fires. I will share a few here.
You must take the first step: If you stand at the edge of the fire yearning for the soft landing on the other side, you will either be pushed in or remain living in a place of fear. You must take the first step.
You must take your time; walk slowly and experience the fire: If you try to rush the process believing that by running through you won’t feel the pain, hot coals will be kicked up lodging deeper into your skin. You will have to deal with the pain.
You must feel the fire, but keep moving through: If you get stuck too long, the fire begins to feel normal to you. You become used to the burning and the attention you receive for being there. Eventually, others may lose interest in your burning and leave you standing in the heat.
You must walk through your fires alone: You may have many people cheering you on from the sidelines, but ultimately you have to learn the lessons and walk through fires alone.
You must look up and forward as you walk: As you walk, if you continually look down at the fire, the fear will consume you causing you to live a life of victimization and bitterness. You must look ahead to a future past the fire.
You must check for smoldering sparks: Tiny pieces of hot coals stick between your toes and in the depths of your heart. These hidden sparks may seem harmless, but when left unattended may flare up again and again.
Say thank you and celebrate what was good about walking through fire: When you have walked through the fire, look back at what you accomplished. Honor the fire for the lessons it gave you –strength, courage, patience and love.
You must believe you can: Finally, and most importantly, from the first step to the last, you MUST believe in yourself. I am Pennie Hunt and I am a Firewalker.
Pennie’s Life Lesson: Believe you have the courage to walk through the fires of life and be grateful for the lessons they teach you.