Igniting & Harnessing Your Inner Fire
My 34th birthday came in on FIRE.
I had been planning for ages to spend the day riding roller coasters and letting my inner child run wild at Six Flags. Normally early June is relatively cool in Southern California, but this day was an anomaly.
It was HOT. The first real sweltering day of summer, with the car thermostat reading over 100 degrees when we pulled in.
After standing in the security line for an hour, we finally got into the park and made a game plan, heading for our first roller coaster, the Viper.
On the way, we saw some smoke over the trees. We tried to be optimistic— with my friend commenting that maybe it was a barbecue restaurant firing up the grills— and we continued on to the ride.
As the roller coaster climbed to the top, with my friend and I near the front, we looked out over the horizon and saw the field directly in front of us burning. The brushfire was surrounding the vehicle entrance to the park and moving toward the parking lot. There were no firefighters in sight. For a split second at the top of the coaster I thought, “We are trapped. How will we get out of here?” And then the bottom fell out of the coaster (and my nervous system).
That roller coaster ride ROCKED me. It put my body through exactly what my internal landscape felt like when I saw fire blocking the only entrance and exit to the park.
The next few hours were chaotic. It felt like I was in a dream as we looked for a place to rest indoors to keep from inhaling too much smoke and ash. First the park employees told us we were on lockdown because the fire was blocking the only entrance. Then they told us we had to evacuate. Everyone we talked to had a different story. I felt dizzy. The heat was suffocating. The smoke in the air was nauseating.
Obviously, the story has a happy ending because I am here telling it. We made it out of the park and home safely (no thanks to Six Flags’ laughable emergency protocol and horrific customer service—but that is a rant for another day. #BoycottSixFlags). I ended up finishing my birthday on the beach, toasting wine with a blanket wrapped around me because L.A. weather has more twists and turns than the Viper roller coaster.
Since that event, I have been thinking about how I stayed so calm in the midst of the chaos that day, and what propelled me through the days that followed, where I tried to recover from that shock and trauma while also dealing with a broken air conditioning system in the midst of a string of 95+-degree days.
I think the lesson in it all for me is to learn how to manage FIRE. (Figuratively, in this case.)
My 34th year came in fiery, and ironically fire has been one of my biggest fears since I was small. The time has come for me to embrace it more and learn how to work with it. The universe decided to slap a big, fat, OBVIOUS challenge in front of me so that I could practice what I know.
Fire is a complex element. It requires the right amount of both kindling (earth element) and air in order to stay lit. And it requires solid boundaries in order to stay contained and to serve its purpose.
It is teaching me that I need to both stay grounded in myself and my values (earth) and hold the vision for where I am going and the impact I want to have (air). And along the way, I need to be firm in my boundaries in order to direct the fire in my soul so that it neither fizzles out nor burns out of control like the fire in the field.
→ Grounded in self and faith.
→ Eyes trained on my vision.
→ Solid in boundaries to direct the fire into my mission, impact, and purpose.
Those are the cornerstones of “fire safety” in your life, creating your ultimate fulfillment without burning out.
→ Start at square 1, where you get in touch with who you are and what you believe and come home to yourself.
→ Then move to step 2, creating the vision of the life and the impact that you want to create.
→ And finally step 3, creating loving boundaries that protect and channel your energy into your maximum impact.
That’s exactly the process that I walk my clients through in coaching.
With my walking-through-fire experience now behind me, the fire is lit within me more than ever. If you are ready to take on these three steps and create a container for your fire that helps you step into the highest version of you and make your biggest impact here, schedule a complimentary possibility call to see if coaching is right for you.
And if you aren’t ready for coaching but want a place to start, I chatted about setting healthy boundaries on my friend Kari’s Work Hard, Mom Hard podcast, and we broke down a few simple things that you can do right now to get yourself started. (Listen here on iTunes or here on Spotify.)