How many of us cringe at the notion of going into the fire? After all, fire is hot, it burns and it destroys whatever might be in its belly. Yet, fire also nourishes us by forging strength, cooking food and keeping us warm – of course that is usually by staying around the edge of the fire.
In the work I do, we talk about going into the fire. By this we mean, standing with courage where the heat is – the tension, anxiety, frustration, turmoil – places that often generate a cry to please come and fix this for us, tell us how to do it, show us the right way. This is the moment of intentional resistance for whoever is leading this work – resisting responding to those cries for help and inviting these people to stand in the heat of the fire and the flames.
If the answers really do exist inside of the group, team or organization – and believing they do is the essence of my work – the ability to stand in that fire and hold the space so other people can too, generates self learning, self healing and collective solutions to problems or challenges the group is facing. They don’t need to be told. They can discover it for themselves. But allowing this to take place takes discipline and courage on the part of the leader.
The fire puts us directly on the edge of what’s possible, what’s waiting and wanting to emerge. It forges the courage and passion that makes the impossible possible, shows solutions where none seemed imminent. It is through going into the fire that the shape of an individual, team or organization shifts to its own next level of development and growth.
A few days ago, through a little “journey” I did with a friend, this message came home to me loud and clear – it is not the fire that harms, it is the fear of the fire. If we fear the fire, we are tossed into it with a sense of terror and learning is blocked. If we take a deep breath and walk into it, despite our fear of the unknown, it has the power to transmute fear into courage, stuckness into movement and playing small into standing in our strength and the power of our essence.
We can do this individually and collectively. The more we do it on an individual level, the greater our capacity to bring it everywhere we go – work, home, elsewhere. The more we do it, the more magic infiltrates everything we do.
Just understanding this has grown my own capacity to walk into the fire – remembering that the Phoenix is fed by and rises out of the flames.