It was a snowy Saturday in April in Denver, Colorado. Two days earlier, I had seen a promotion for a Women’s Empowerment Workshop not far from where I live. HeatherAsh Amara was leading it. I was intrigued because I had recently read her “Warrior Goddess Training” books. She is an acclaimed author, trained by Don Miguel Ruiz, author of “The Four Agreements,” who weaves Toltec Wisdom and Shamanism into her teachings, which I find fascinating. So as if HeatherAsh leading the workshop wasn’t enough, I went on to read that the event would conclude with a firewalking ceremony. WOW, I was sold and immediately signed up!
I didn’t know what to expect but I was excited, especially for the firewalking ceremony. I have always been mesmerized by fire and love trying adventurous activities so in my mind this would be the ultimate experience. When I arrived at the event there were already about 30 women, of all ages, there in the hotel meeting space. I quickly spotted HeatherAsh at the front of the room. I was surprised to see that she looked like a normal woman. Perhaps my admiration for her as an author had led me to believe she would be surrounded by a Golden Aura or be riding in on a unicorn (LOL). I quickly made small talk with some friendly women on either side of me. Everyone seemed very upbeat and enthusiastic about the 8-hour workshop in store for us. I couldn’t help but eyeball the room and wonder, much like I do when I am in the doctor’s office, what was everyone here for. For me it was undoubtedly the fire…
HeatherAsh started with an introduction of herself, her journey and her teachings. She then began revving up our energy by having us work in pairs and groups doing various empowerment exercises. One thing that stuck with me, was how these women who seemed very calm, cool and collected at the beginning of the workshop, were now revealing their vulnerabilities and insecurities to total strangers. And more importantly, common themes like the fear that “I am not enough ____ (fill in the blank)” permeated this seemingly strong, competent group of females. Being a Pilates and Yoga Instructor, Nutritional Coach and Reiki Master, this was something I saw all too often in my work and is one of the main reasons I still feel compelled to work with women.
Despite these exercises being very engaging, I found myself becoming more and more eager for the firewalk. I felt like a dog locked inside the house, standing at the door whimpering as I waited for that divine moment when my master would pull that door open just a crack, so I could escape into what I imagined to be pure bliss.
Soon we broke for an early dinner. A group of us departed to a nearby restaurant. As we were waiting for our meal, everyone started sounding off about the future firewalk. I declared my excitement and how I couldn’t wait! I was surprised to hear others voice concerns, fears and apprehension. Logically, it makes sense. However, those thoughts didn’t even enter my mind. Instead I was filled will unwavering anticipation and pure exhilaration.
When we got back to the hotel, I found my leg shaking like it did when I used to get antsy sitting in class in school. Come on, come on, come on….give us the fire already. After about an hour, HeatherAsh announced the fire was ready. YES! Finally! So am I! She briefly went over some do’s and don’ts and we walked as a group outside in silence.
The fire was in the hotel parking lot. It was already raked into a well-formed path of burning red coals with some flames burning along one side. I was in awe. It was magnificent. My bare feet tingled at the very sight despite being almost numb from the freezing concrete underneath them. There was hypnotic drumming playing in the background. HeatherAsh stood at the start of the walk and we all gathered in a circle holding hands and began chanting with the music. The sky was richly dark, and the moon was near full. Even though the freeway was only a few hundred yards away, it seemed as if we were in the middle of nowhere. I felt like it was just me and those invigorating tangerine flames intertwined in that moment.
HeatherAsh announced we could begin. No one moved. I immediately hurdled towards the start. Just as I did, another girl slipped in front of me coveting the first to walk position. I didn’t mind. It wasn’t about my ego. I just wanted to feel those coals on my feet as soon as possible. My toes were curling with anticipation. As I stood at the head of the walk, I couldn’t help but know that this was going to change my life forever. The first girl was halfway through and it was my time to go. I looked up at the sky, silently professing my love and gratitude for this moment, and stepped on that sacred bed of coals. “AHHHHH” is exactly what my mind, body and soul instantly felt. With every step that feeling heightened. With every step, I let go of what no longer served me. With every step, I felt my soul become more and more alive with a passion I had only ever dreamed about. With every step, I gained momentum and clarity to the life I was now destined to live…
And then I was back on the cold pavement. But those feelings remained. I felt like I was flying. I had never felt more ALIVE in my life. I never felt more in my element. I never felt more aligned with my purpose. I never wanted this feeling to end. I walked 5 more times that night until it was declared finished.
We went back inside and HeatherAsh wrapped up the event. We took pictures with each other, exchanged numbers and hugs. In the matter of hours, we had become a tight knit group and shared something so sacred that we would all remember for the rest of our lives. And as I drove home, I couldn’t help but think what each of my “sisters” was able to take away from the experience and how it would change them.
As soon as I got home, I researched how to become a firewalk instructor and registered the very next day for the Certification Program with Peggy Dylan, the Mother of Firewalking, to be held in Scotland. I knew this was going to be a wonderful new chapter, perhaps my favorite yet, in my journey…