It is not the quantity of time spent that guarantees someone touch or change our life, but the quality. Sometimes a person we know briefly can have a lasting effect on who we are and how we live our lives.
When I was a teenager I became friends with someone who I will always hold dear to my heart. His life was short, but he lived it with passion….savoring every moment as it could be he last. I think this was in part because he had faced illness as a child and knew that illness could come back to claim him at any moment, as it did. Living with death as ones companion changes the way we think. It makes us relish every moment we are given, and worry less about what we look like or if we will be successful.
When my friend passed I was 21 years old, and still caught up in the fear of failure. The fear of failure or making a fool of oneself is the prime reason most people don’t step out of their comfort zone. We walk around fantasizing about the things we would like to do and the life we would like to live, but we struggle with that leap of faith. We struggle because we are afraid to fail, to be less then perfect and for fear that others will see & know we are flawed. I admired my friends zest for life so much that when he died I asked him to stand by my side and kick me square in the ass if I held back because of fear. I wanted to live my life on fire, to follow my heart and experience all there was for me this lifetime…the successes and failures. That was 23 years ago, and I am pleased to say that I have lived my life willing to take chances. In fact I often tell people that when I am 80 years old and looking back on my life I would rather have a good story to tell, then to say I wish I had tried that.
How do we step out of our comfort zone?
The act of Not Doing-
We can start by the act of ‘Not Doing’, which is exactly what it sounds like. The act of not doing is getting out of autopilot and thinking about what we want instead of just doing what we always do. Lets face it, we are creatures of habit….we drive to work the same route every day, go to the grocery store on the same day, put our yoga mats down in the same spot in the studio and watch the same television shows. That’s auto-pilot! It’s basically being asleep at the wheel and letting our non thinking, same old-same old self rule the show. What happens when we are in auto pilot…the same old song and dance my friends, the same old song and dance. ‘Not Doing’, is really a simple act to accomplish, but the results are sometimes anything but ordinary. Try taking a different route home from work, call up a friend and go out for dinner on a Tuesday evening instead of watching your Shows, place your yoga mat in the opposite corner of the room and think….Think, watch, observe. Often the conversations & experiences we have while Not Doing are profound…we are awake, aware and ready to live truly. Not Doing is just a start, it is not the be all end all of changing your life to one on fire. But you certainly will not get there while running on auto pilot.
Dare to Dream-
My second bit of advice would be dreaming…it’s not a waste of time, in fact it is in this space of Awen (the spirit of creativity) that greatness dwells. If we do not fantasize about what we want, then we will have a hard time reaching for it. We do need to be clear with our selves that dreaming is not the last step, it is the birth place of our reality. Quantum Physics has proven that thought matters, the more energy we feed our dreams, the more like they are to manifest on us. In dreaming our life we need to make sure we do not focus entirely on the outcome, getting there such a big part of the whole. The journey is the story….take the Hobbit for example. Bilbo Baggins story was ‘there and back again’. He wrote about the adventure. Anyone who has ever taken a road trip, also knows that the hardships, uncomfortable bits and unexpected treats are what makes the story worth telling. If every venture we took had a guaranteed glory at the end, life would be a bit boring. The journey is life.
The word Compromise means to come to an agreement, to settle matters. It is created by the prefix Com which means-with, together, in association & the word Promise which mean-a declaration of something that will or will not be done.
When living our life on fire we must make compromises, we must readjust and come to agreements along the way. I love the fact that compromise can be broken down to show that inside of the word there is a promise. The promise we make to ourselves when living our life on fire is that we will give our all to being alive. We will not simply be a bystander watching as the world moves on around us, nor will we throw ourselves into the pit of doom if our plans go a muck….we will compromise. We will make adjustments and keep on going, or we will throw back our head and laugh and weep, then keep going. But either way we will not see ourselves as a failure. We may have failed at a thing, but we did not fail at life. In fact the willingness to take chances is what shows we are succeeding at life. By taking chances I want to clarify I am not telling you to take stupid chances like drinking and driving or Russian roulette. I am talking about taking chance on your dreams.
Give it your all-
For dreams to become reality we must give it our all. Giving something your all means all that you have at that moment….in different points in our life we may have more to give then others. When raising my children I did not have as much energy to devote to my career, as my focus was centered on being a mother. I did however give all the energy I had available. We need to give our dreams our all regardless of the outcome. That way even if you do not succeed, you know that you have shown true merit and dedication to yourself.
Rewards are often hidden in failure-
One of the best things we can acknowledge is that failure often has a hidden gem within it. We learn from our mistakes and often find our true selves sitting, waiting for us in the darkest of times. I was out dancing with my girlfriends last year when one of them said “Wow Sali, you have done a lot of things for someone your age!” That’s true, my resume would be chocked full of stuff…many lives I have lived this lifetime for sure. I have been a clothing designer/seamstress, owned a store, owned a bar, worked in pediatric dentistry and the list goes on. Her statement was true, that being said I made sure to point out that I had not succeeded at all of them. Inside each of my failures I have learned something about myself. I have learned what I really want may be different from what I thought I wanted and that like all things I am changeable….my wants and needs change as I grow. I have found deep friendships inside of my failures, people have crossed my path who I may not have ever met if I wouldn’t have taken that leap into my life. I have found strength and determination that I never would have known I had if not for trying & I have great stories!
Laugh at yourself-
This is probably the best piece of advice I can give. When we can laugh at our mistakes and the roads that went off the beaten track, we can stand tall and proud. Success in life is based on how well you live it, not what you accomplish. God/Goddess is a comedian and will give us opportunity after opportunity to make fools of ourselves. When we can laugh at our own folly we are having a good time. When we take ourselves too seriously, every mistake becomes a torture and abuse to withstand. I personally would rather have a good belly laugh at my follies then weep and moan over my fuck ups.
I am proud to say that I live my life on fire…I relish at the opportunities the universe presents for me to test my merit and laugh at myself both. I find it opportune in writing this, for I did not decide on this subject today. Rather I picked it from my journal jar ( a jar I keep in my office with subjects I want to write about). The synchronicity of the matter is that this weekend I will be walking on fire. This is my second time to walk on the hot coals and I look forward to it. I look forward to embracing my fear, to stepping forward in the face of that fear and the strength of character I will feel when I have done so. I always go into these opportunities as ‘Moments with Spirit’. For they are moments when I am truly alive. I set goals for myself, goals I want to put into motion when crossing the gateway. I am sure I will have more to say on this after this weekend. For the time I leave you with this thought….”What are you waiting for? What is holding you back from living your life on Fire?”