• Nick Aunkst

Walking on Fire

"The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition." - Ryan Holiday

When Nick and I lived in Rhode Island, we went to a personal growth and communication seminar. A patient of Nick's at the time was working the seminar and urged us to come. She thought we would love it; however, we were both a little apprehensive as we knew we would be given the option to walk on hot coals at the end. Yes...coals from a fire. Saturday morning came and we headed out for a forty five minutes drive away from the safety of our home into uncharted territory in the woods. We wondered if it would be silly, weird, fun, helpful? Who would be there? Should we turn around? We wondered all of this but continued to drive there anyway. When we arrived we saw bubbles floating along the parking lot. I remember looking at Nick, my eyes widened a bit as I began to judge and assume that the bubbles meant this would be silly. We walked in and we were greeted by the team. We began the seminar with a communication workshop. We sat in chairs facing our partners and chatted. This felt easy to me as I was working with Nick. Little did I know a game of musical chairs was about to commence. I had to stand up, walk away from Nick and sit in front of a new person...a stranger. I had to talk about personal things to someone I didn't know. This felt very uncomfortable for me at that time. I'm sure my posture showed my discomfort; I can picture myself curled into a ball, slumping some. Next, we were asked to go outside and to pick out 2 logs from a pile. We were to "set an intention" for each log: What is something we wanted to improve upon? Is there a negative energy we need removed from our bodies or lives? We then placed that log near the fire pit and headed back inside where we received a piece of wood and a pen. This wood was blank and smooth. We were asked to write down anything in our lives we needed to let go of. What did we want to change. How could we improve. I began to write. My list grew...and I realized I had more to work on than I thought. It felt freeing to take the time to be thoughtful as I wrote. To be honest with myself about where I am currently in my journey and where I hoped to improve. Our next task was to face all of these items we wrote down. We placed the wood on cinder blocks, stared at the obstacles we recognized in our lives and then break through them with our bare hands, just like a ninja! Nick was the first in the group to go. He broke through that wood and beamed with joy. Then, I walked up...nervous. I've never liked to have all eyes on me. The group sensed my fear and encouraged me that I could do it! That I had the mental and physical strength to break through my barriers. I stared at that piece of wood, I looked at my list and knew that I could overcome each and everyone of them. I took aim and made contact, a direct hit...I broke the wood and felt this immense sense of pride. I am capable of great things. We then as a group went outside. We each walked taller as we carried our broken pieces of wood that held all of our fears and obstacles into the fire pit among our logs. We stood around and watched as they caught fire. We released our fears. We felt light and strong. From there we were allowed the opportunity to conquer another walk on hot coals. At the end of the seminar, you felt so unstoppable that you walked right up to the glowing orange and black coal walk way in front of you without fear. The thought of being burned is not even in your frontal lobe. You look straight ahead and just go for it. I watched my foot step as I took my first step. I remember seeing my foot on a patch of black and orange and just kept moving forward, free. I walked that line twice, as once was just not enough. That day we left empowered. We are each capable of greatness. We just need to overcome any obstacle or barrier in our way. Often times, we are the only thing stopping us from finding and achieving greatness. I encourage you to look at your own dreams and goals. Set intentions for yourself. Create your plan and take action. Happy Monday! Dr. Ashley Moody

This week's reflection:

  • What are obstacles I am currently facing?

  • How can I overcome those identified obstacles?

  • What are 2 goals I'd like to accomplish this month?

  • How can I make today better for someone else?

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