I have got to tell you about something that happened to me this week. So I love to make new year goals and plans. I usually fail but at least I try. I always accomplish some of my goals especially at the beginning of the year when I am all charged up and ready to go. So this year one of my goals was to try new things. To live more adventures, and to take more chances. This was kind of my theme for the year. To face my fears and do things I wouldn’t normally do. So I was not doing very well with this and was at my house having a good ol fashioned pity party. It was about 5:10 pm and I was laying on my couch watching tv. I was doing my normal time wasting on Facebook and wishing I had something fun to do. I saw the little tab on Facebook that said events next to it. So I decided I would check and see what events were happening around town and maybe talk myself into going and checking one of them out. So the first event to come up said Fire Walk. That grabbed my attention fast. I had seen these on reality tv shows and heard about people who had walked on hot burning coals bare foot but I had never been to one. It started in 20 minutes. I had the argument in my head about should I go, should I not, should I? back and forth. I decided to go. I decided I could leave at any time and just watch other people walk on these coals. When I got there it was windy and freezing outside. There were not a whole lot of people there but I recognized a few people so I started talking to them. They talked me into staying and told me once it started there was no leaving until it was over. I was really worked up over this and wanted to sneak out. Then they asked me if I would help them with fire wood and load it in the back of my truck. I couldn’t resist helping out so now I was really stuck. There was no getting out of it at this point and so I decided to stay and make the best of it. I went through all the steps of the process. I helped build the fire. I helped prepare the fire. Then we were asked to write our biggest fears on a 3×5 card and once the fire was burning throw them into the fire. We had several team building exercises where we told complete strangers what we thought that their gifts were just by how they made us feel on first impressions. We told of how we got to be at this event. Most thought it was funny when I said I was laying on the couch and saw this event on Facebook. I told how my new years resolution was to try things I would not normally try and that this was very much something I had never seen or been to before. The instructor told us that our minds had to be right to walk on the coals. This fire was super hot and it was a huge bon fire. I could barely stand by it. I had no plans at this point in walking across it. I made it clear that I was just here to watch. As it got closer to the fire being only coals they spread out carpet on all 4 sides of the fire. They invited us all to remove our shoes and socks and told us that this in no way meant we had to walk across. That if we weren’t in the right frame of mind it was highly possible to get burned. He told us that many times the fears we see or feel before walking across the coals are very real and could be not just fears about the coals and getting burnt itself, but fears that are really big in our own lives. I remember standing at that point with my shoes and socks off and freezing. A lady next to me said are you going to walk?. I told her that I was not going to. That i didn’t want to get burned and that I already know what my fears are. I remember hearing him say “The coals are ready and I invite any of you who feel like you are ready to cross the coals. What is on the other side of these coals that you need to cross for? Don’t look down, look past the coals and just tell yourself what is it that you need to get past in your life.” It hit me hard at that point. How could I go home and say I had spent 3 hours of my evening getting prepared to cross hot coals, and not ever try it. It will haunt me for the rest of my life. I could see myself saying to myself, Why didn’t you just cross the coals. Even if it burned you at least you can say you tried. Just then I saw the first person cross the coals. He looked so determined and he never looked down. I remember being jealous that he didn’t need to see anyone do it before. He just trusted that it could be done and he went for it all on his own courage. Then I beat myself up more that I didn’t trust the leader. I didn’t even trust that the guy I just saw cross wasn’t burned. Then a few others crossed. There were cheers and hugs and people crying on the other side of the fire. They were saying that they weren’t burned. I thought in my head that this was all a big trick. That they were all in on this. Maybe the lesson was that you did get burned and that you were to go home and think about how it hurt but it was worth the pain to cross and beat that mental hurdle. Then I felt myself inching closer and closer to the coals. Someone said are you going to go? I said no way but I want to stand up here and at least look at it. A few people offered to walk with me and help me. I looked closely at the coals and looked for the darker spots where peoples feet had dampened the heat and thought maybe I can just step on those spots. Just then a gust of wind hit and I saw all the coals fire up and start glowing intensely. I stalled for a minute to see if they would start to cool off again. My heart started pounding. Just then I heard the words in my head, Eric, you never finish anything. You chicken out at the very last minute and you don’t trust anyone. You made it this far and the worse thing that can happen is your feet will burn. However if you quit and walk away now, you failed. I was in a huge turmoil in my head and I was literally on the verge of a panic attack. I remember saying that my new years resolution was to try new things. I was here, I was prepared, I needed to show myself that I don’t always quit, and I don’t need to trust, and so what if I get burned. Is the pain of burning worse than the pain of regret? I felt myself step off toward the coals with no turning back and i remember saying out loud, OH My Gosh!! I can’t believe I am doing this, before my foot even hit the coals. I pushed ahead and one foot after the other, never looking down, never slowing down, and only looking at what was on the other side. I crossed those burning coals and I conquered the inner voice in my head at that time that wanted me to fail. There were cheers, and Hugs, and high fives all around. This was exhilarating and amazing. My feet hurt just a little. They may have been slightly singed but definitely not burned like I had thought they would be. I am attaching a picture of one of the coals that I took home and put in a jar in my window sill as well as a picture of my foot. I am ready for this new year and I know that my fears will always try and control me. I also know that at that moment I didn’t listen. I let that voice whine and cry at me all night that I could’t do this but I still crossed those coals. I accepted the risk of failure over the risk of regret. The pain of regret is much stronger then the pain of pushing ahead. I felt it that night and I hope you are pushing ahead this new year. Whatever hot coals may fall in your path I hope you tell yourself that you have come to far to not cross these coals. Maybe you will get a little burned but it will be SO worth it in the end. Thanks for letting me write a whole novel to you about this experience. I know it is long and you may not even get through it all but to me that was a very incredible important night worth writing about. I learned so much about myself. I also have made a commitment to continue to try new things. Even if it seems a little uncomfortable or crazy at first. You never know what kinds of friends you may meet or what kinds of road blocks you may break through. Have an amazing week.