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Whatever you do, DON'T TRIP!!!

Approximately 8 years ago, I was invited to attend a motivational seminar put on and subsidized by the college my boyfriend attended. This seminar included the use of a firewalk as a motivator. Something to teach you that no event in you life in insurmountable. The chant was: If you can walk on fire you can do anything!

Of course I only went to try the firewalk! I even invited my father and his friend to attend, if only to bear witness to my amazing feat (if I didn't chicken out, that is)!!! And so I sat through the motivational and instructional portion of the seminar, antsy to get out to see the fire pits. As we were going in, they were preparing the coals by burning down a pile of wood about 7ft high. Interesting.

The presenter was quite simplistic. When you go across, repeat in your head 'cool grass cool grass cool grass' Then he demonstrated when might happen if we ran across the coals and did not walk. Here, he pretended to run across imaginary coals, tripped, fell in the imaginary coals, and burned himself! While we all laughed, it was a very real risk. Paramedics were present to help if anything went wrong, of course. When we were finally properly coached, we were allowed to go outside and observe the seminar presenter do a demonstration firewalk for us. There was 6 pits, all about 2 metres long, and about 3 ft wide with a strip of water soaked grass turf at the finishing ends. I watched the coals burn, in that mesmerizing way you watch the coals in a fireplace or a campfire that has burned low. Still slightly skeptical, but wanting to try, I watched a few gutsy people be the first to go across. They all made it unharmed. I lined up, thinking in my head, if they can do it, so can I. Finally it was my turn. I stood at the edge of the pit and looked at the coals. I could see the red of the fire within them moving. Suddenly it was as if all thought was suspended. I looked to the end of the pit, and it was as if someone had pulled me forward by my diaphragm. I walked the pit in the slow manner the presenter recommended, feeling like I was floating instead of walking. When I reached the turf, I wiped my bare feet to get rid of any possible stuck on coals, and looked up. People were cheering. Several people shook my hand, and my father gave me the wide eyed look of disbelief followed by a huge grin and a thumbs up! I think I know what people mean now when they say they have experienced ecstacy. At that moment, I felt like a bright light was pouring from my diaphragm, my eyes and the top of my head. The sound of the crowd of about 700 was drowned out. Best of all, I wasn't burnt in any way! I did it! What a high! I looked back at the pit to make sure I di d it, and saw my boyfriend coming across behind me. He made it unburnt , too. I hugged him and smiled. Still tripping on my own amazingness, I queued again and did it a second time. Still no burns!

Let me say here, these were real coals. Not like the Hawaiian firewalks were people walk across very porous lavarock. Porous materials don't hold heat very well. These were real coals, giving off some major heat and stirred up between people to keep them hot. The concrete all around had been soaked down to contain any possible fires, and paramedics and firefighters were on hand the entire time. I would not recommend you try this in your backyard, or at the campsite. You might be the one who trips and falls in the coals!!**

Even though this happened about 8 years ago, I still remember the feelings it caused me as clear as day. I remember the feel of the shifting coals, the heat from them on my ankles, and the softness of the wet grass afterwards. I remember how it felt to have light pouring from within me, and the look on my father's face. I sometimes pull out and read a newspaper clipping from the next day's city paper where the seminar received front page coverage, and it helps me remember the experience and get through rough times....which was the whole point of the seminar. It's too bad more people can't/won't experience this kind of self-confidence.

I would do the firewalk again at the drop of a hat. If you have a chance to try it under controlled conditions, I would encourage you to test your own limits. You might be surprised.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 16 Aug. 2002
in Ritual

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