The Four-legged Table


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A table supported by three legs is more vulnerable than one held aloft by four. The three-legged table is vulnerable; likely to be tipped over by a bump. While its four-legged counterpart, though jostled, will likely remain upright. As it is with tables, so it is with people. The challenge with having all four legs simultaneously present, alive, committed and engaged—the individual, the teacher, the teachings, the community—is that you eliminate the exit to your smallness. You are called to stay present when things become awkward or icky. The reward is that these four legs are solid and will hold you when the going gets tough. These four legs encourage growth. Support your purpose—in service to yourself and others. Providing the opportunity to see yourself more clearly (though you may not always like what you see). If you can look at these four legs with love, compassion and gratitude, inevitably you will see yourself, your path, your essence—more clearly. You will know yourself.”

—Kerry Cudmore, “REFLECTION”

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But … WHY?!

 

 

 

 

 


But … WHY?!
It’s the most common reaction I get when I tell people that I am a firewalker. The answer to that question goes back to what happened after I walked across the hot coals for the first time—because that’s when everything changed.

I never intended to firewalk. I was attending a weekend retreat about money, and coincidentally, that teacher ends her retreats with a firewalk. Traveling to Alabama, I was ambivalent. I may, I may not. It wasn’t the reason I was attending.

By the end of the weekend, following all of the instruction on how to walk across the hot coals, I still didn’t know if I’d do it. That changed when I was there at the fire, facing the bed of hot coals. Connecting with my intuition, I felt ready, confident. So I walked. And then I walked again. And finally a third time. In the moment, I felt elated—I had done it!

But I soon discovered that a firewalk doesn’t end after the coals are doused. Because what happened for me next is the real reason to firewalk.

I went back to my life and found that something had changed. I had changed, and in particular, my relationship with fear had changed. Where I had been hesitant, I was bold. Where I had been procrastinating, I took action and followed through. Where I had been scattered, I had focus. Consequently, my level of happiness and joy increased, and I had a feeling of gaining incredible momentum in my life and career. What I’d thought was ‘real’ wasn’t necessarily so. Things that had previously seemed impossible suddenly became possible, believable, even effortless.

Even though I had been doing personal growth work my entire life, and it had been my career for decades, this experience had been remarkable. It went beyond theory to physical integration. That transformation is what makes firewalking different.

When I realized the powerful transformation that had occurred in my life, I decided to become a firewalking instructor. So that other people could be empowered in the same way I had been. Life has not been the same for me ever since. I am freed from my fears, and I want others to experience this freedom in their lives.

Every time I firewalk it’s different. I never truly know if I’ll choose to walk, and each time, the lessons of the fire are unique. I always learn something important. For that I am truly grateful … and that’s why.

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I had given up.

Confession: my entire life I’d held a precious dream. To own a cottage by the ocean. I wanted it more than just about anything. Though I’d accomplished many things in my adulthood, I had reached a point of utter resignation. It was a moment when I examined that dream and thought to myself: “It’s ok. It’s just not going to happen for me in this lifetime. I’ll be fine.”

I had given up.

Surprisingly, though I felt a little sad, it seemed matter-of-fact. After decades of dreaming of something that now appeared impossible, I just laid it down. That’s the way it was, and with a sigh and a shake of my head, I was willing to accept it.

But that’s the funny thing about will.

My will wasn’t actually ready to lay that dream down—but my fear was. Fear is tricky. Sometimes, it’s big and loud, but other times it’s super stealth; and it had faked me out. It had tricked me into resignation. Luckily, my will was stronger (and more stealthy).

One day, out of the blue, I had a moment of what if. What if I could sell some un-utilized (and seemingly un-sellable) property I owned in Maine? What if it was possible and that could be enough? Hm. That hm was enough to get me started.

I began taking small steps. I contacted a realtor. Hm. Started tackling paperwork; one small task at a time. Hm. Simultaneously, I began my impassioned romance with Zillow and every other real estate listings site I could find. I was indiscriminate. I’d make out with any real estate site anytime. I had my search parameters, I was willing to explore, and through my explorations I began to access dreaminess and possibility. Hm.

Eventually, I shared my dream with a few of my closest co-conspirators. People who don’t get freaked out or scared by my dreams, but will unabashedly declare “Yes!” regardless of how improbable my goal seems—even when my fear does its damned-est to fake me out. (This is a noteworthy turning point. When I share something with the people I am accountable to, I’m definitely in.)

What comes next still feels surreal:

• The property in Maine was listed for sale.
• I accepted a full-ask offer the same day it listed.
• The day of the closing I deposited the check, and proceeded on an exhaustive tour of properties in coastal Maine.
• I continued the tour; crossing the border into Canada, continuing via ferry to an island in the Bay of Fundy. The ferry ride was magical, and the island brought a distinct feeling of homecoming. The next day I toured every single available property within my parameters guided by a wonderful (and very patient) realtor.
• By the time I drove onto the ferry to begin the journey home to Westport, I had three wonderful choices available, and a decision to make.
• The hours of driving brought clarity and within a few days the seller had accepted an offer on 2.5 acres of oceanfront property on the Bay of Fundy.
• We are now about to begin construction of a off-grid oceanfront cottage.
• One impossible, given-up-on, dream-of-a-lifetime—fulfilled—in about a year and a half.

The moral of this story is that even if you’ve completely given up on something; your will is stronger, more perseverant, cunning, and resourceful—than your fear. Just get curious, take one small step at a time over and over again, lean into your closest co-conspirators for support and accountability, and watch your dream become reality. It’s never too late and you can do it!