Let Your Fire Awaken You to Who You Truly Are
In 2008 I was about to lead my very first weekend workshop, a long-held dream come true. The week before the event I was incredibly nervous to the point of being ready to cancel. To say I was frustrated with myself would be an understatement.
I called Laura Kealoha, my Kahuna on Kauai, and she gave me a simple yet brilliant piece of advice that has stayed with me ever since:
“Have you considered that this feeling you are having might actually be excitement, but it just feels different? Focus your anxiousness into a concrete action toward your goal, just as you would with your enthusiasm. Use that nervous feeling and put it into taking care of the details of the retreat, making handouts, writing the schedule, whatever is left to do. That energy you feel is your fire and it wants and needs to be actualized.”
To reclaim your soul is to reclaim a force that is more powerful than anything else. This force is your fire, your light, your sun. It has been with you since you were born and has the capacity to let you soar beyond your wildest dreams. It can also manifest as anxiety, fear, worry, guilt, shame, anger, rage, or outrage. Ideally is speaks to you gently but clearly, but if it has been suppressed for long enough, it might need to scream to get your attention. Your job is to listen.
We are conditioned to judge intense fire emotions. We think of them as bad, scary, and not spiritual, so we ignore, turn away, and try to suppress their intensity. But they’re there for a very important reason, to let us know that something needs protection or something wants to be born. What these emotions truly need is our love, patience, understanding, and kindness.
Just like earth, water, and air, it is an essential element in the process of realizing your soul. It is a masculine element that makes things happen, awakens, sets boundaries, propels you to take action on your own behalf, and speak the truth of your experience. It protects the truth of your soul. It’s hot, intense, urgent, and often feels messy as it disrupts, upsets, creates resistance, and makes people uncomfortable, because fire brings transformation. Although we understand that change is the only thing that is constant, we are creatures of habit who find comfort in the status quo.
Fire burns the status quo to the ground and creates space for something new to grow. It destroys the old so that the emergent soul can manifest. There is no creation without fire. Fire is the only way forward. You can choose to love it, hate it, or deny it. Either way, it will continue to show up in powerful ways.
Fire is the element of your 3rd chakra, the solar plexus in the energy system of your body. When you were young it felt like pure excitement. Newness, mystery, adventure, and possibility were exciting. Until you were influenced by the judgments and fears of the outside world. You connected to this impulse in the body with delight and exuberance. There was a big part of you that loved that each new day brought endless possibilities. Not knowing what was ahead wasn’t scary, it was exhilarating!
If you have a healthy solar plexus chakra you tend to have an adventurous spirit, be willing to take risks, face the unknown, let go of the past, and speak the truth. You are willing to challenge the status quo and “give it all up” to create something new. When you have a good relationship with your fire, you are engaged, daring, bold, fearless, and enthusiastic about being creative. You feel safe in your body and you speak the truth of your experience moment to moment.
By its very nature fire disrupts and disturbs. It’s not about other people’s comfort. Our truth can overwhelm and upset the people around us. You’ll know other’s are uncomfortable, and seeking to suppress your fire when you hear: tone it down, stop that, you are too intense, you’re too much, I can’t take you right now, just be quiet, you are not making sense, that not how things work.
Eventually, we too become averse to taking risks, because we don’t want to risk not belonging or not being loved. We begin to measure our words, we become “appropriate.” Eventually, we begin to fear failure, being judged, disappointing others. The fire of excitement in our belly might become unease, nervousness, stress, anxiety, and worse. We being to think that something is wrong with us and there are plenty of opportunities to receive a diagnosis and a prescription.
At the emotional level, anxiety and excitement are both arousal feelings, the same fire response in the body, just labeled differently. However, with anxiety, instead of feeling inspired and ready to take action, we are stopped dead in our tracks, we back away, and our fire remains unexpressed. We disrupt our connection to the fire, the very element we need to fulfill and realize our soul’s purpose.
Fire can be blinding. Instead of seeing the positive things that could come from change all we see are the things that could go wrong, what we could lose, and how unsafe we could feel. As the intensity in the body rises, we hold our breath which doesn’t allow for the fire to do its transmutation work. Our attention moves away from our body, our mind races, and the next thing we know we are out of control and engaged in a fight or flight response.
One day I asked a client, “What if your dream actually comes true? You get the book contract with the perfect publisher, you are able to purchase the house you have always wanted, you get recruited for your dream job, or you have the stage at Super Soul Sunday. How would it make you feel?”
“I would be so excited!” She said, with delight on her face. But then her face changed, and she said, “I would probably be a little anxious.”
She wanted to feel excited, but that feeling bumped up against her sense of worthiness and her belief in her own capacity to live that experience. In order to move forward, she needed to address this energy, look at it, question it, and engage. Give it an outlet.
It is natural to be nervous about doing something that is meaningful but scary, we are feeling the fire. It’s getting ready to give us the energy and the vitality we need to engage. Without the fire, the moment would be flat, lifeless.
This is easier said than done. If you’re feeling highly overwhelmed or anxious, knowing this information won't be very helpful, it’s tough to bring ourselves down from that place of arousal. Something that works well, in the short term, is to try to attach the emotion to a feeling that vibrates at a similar frequency. For example, you could tell yourself, out loud, “I am excited,” and give yourself a smile. In some circumstances, it will feel like you’ve tapped into a superpower and you’ll access capabilities you didn’t know you had.
To this day, whenever I am about to step on stage, I hear the voice of self-doubt. I think it will always be there, but I no longer try to make it go away. Shunning and suppressing it will only make it stronger and more agitated. Instead, I acknowledge it, love it, and express my gratitude for all it has done for me, for keeping me “safe” all of these years. I tell it that it can’t be in charge anymore. It can come along for the ride, but my heart is going to lead, and my soul will be my guide.
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