Walk on Fire, or Wimp Out?

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A whole bunch of you have contacted me following Monday’s post, demanding the next piece, so look, you greedy gulls, I slogged away getting the next bit written up – here it is. Drink the freakin kool-aid.

BUT WAIT!

Before you read any further, you absolutely have to watch this.  Watch this and witness the state of pure weirdness I’m currently residing in.  If it’s not joy, I’ve lost my marbles.  Either way it’s bloody awesome fun.  When you’ve watched it you can scroll down and read the rest.  Push play – I challenge you not to smile, even if you think I have indeed lost my marbles.  I am not an actor.  I am a human being.

Yep…. I know, right?  I should clarify that I have drunk no alcohol in 6 days, and taken no illegal substances.  I had one cup of Earl Grey two days ago though, could it be that?

I’m assuming at this point that you’ve read my last post (link here).  If you haven’t, please go back and give it the 5 minutes or so it deserves, this will all make a lot more sense if you do.

So, we’ve got to the point where Mr Robbins has fired up the crowd to the point of ecstasy. The entire room, all 8,000 of us, is screaming “YES” over and over again, reflecting their determination for the better life Dear Leader has promised us.

“Dear Leader”

Indoctrinated much?

Tony quietens the room, and gets down to the important business of describing how we have to tackle the small task of walking over burning hot coals.  Now, it would be easy to understate how hot those coals are.  Boiling Water is 100C, your conventional stove top maxes out around 300C, these coals are 1000C.  Don’t believe me?  Google it – or here’s a link to a cooking website that will tell you the same

When the big man is up there on  stage, describing a horrible burn he sustained to his foot whilst fire walking, and tells you that if you don’t exactly follow his instructions, this too could happen to you – YOU SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE.  There was a perceptible shift in the atmosphere of the room, it went from pumped to anxious.  Old Tony has been here and done this before though, so he tells us straight:

“If you walk across the coals with absolute certainty that you will not get burnt…you won’t get burnt”

“If you walk across the coals with trepidation and worry, you will likely get burnt”

Well fuck that, I don’t want to get burnt!  I’m not going to get into the science here, I don’t know enough about energy flows to talk about it, but the general gist was this: it’s all to do with the energy of your body when you’re firing at an extreme level repelling the heat energy of the coals.

The room looks conflicted, many look anxious, they want to feel hyped, pumped and ready for action.  But I felt PUMPED!  I was READY FOR ACTION!  I wasn’t alone, and we became the leaders as we walked out of the main room and into the dark outside the arena.  We chant “YES”  at full volume, looking around us, inspiring and certain, “YES…..YES…..YES”

Before I go any further, time for some music to set the scene with some backing sounds.  I found this from one of his previous events, listening to it took me right back there.  If you’re on your phone, look for tribal drum music on your streaming account.

There are 8000 people taking on this fire walk, so as we leave the building, walking barefoot on the warm concrete, you can’t see the fire, or the coals, or Tony, but you can smell them, and you can hear the Tribal drums that are booming through the late night air, and you can hear Tony, bellowing.  Motivating us, shouting for us to maintain our energy, telling us why we are great, why we are destined to walk over these coals, why there is nothing to be afraid of.

I felt great, looking around me, so did everyone else now, we were moving to drums, clapping in time with them, pure intensity and certainty in the eyes of nearly everyone I looked at.  I was not remotely scared.  I felt more alive and in tune with the world than I can remember ever feeling before.

And then the drums stop suddenly.  Everyone looks around, confused, worried.  Has someone been hurt?  Word goes round that there’s a late night curfew on noise in the area.  WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.  Okay, we re-find our confidence, we can work with this.  This is not a problem.  The crowd claps and shouts “YES” louder.

And then Tony comes on the speakers and asks people to stop taking photos with flash photography as it will kill people’s state.  WHO THE FUCK IS TAKING FLASH PHOTOS RIGHT NOW?? I’M ABOUT TO POTENTIALLY LOSE A FOOT. OR TWO!  PUT THE PHONES AWAY YOU STUPID MORONS.

I sense that everyone feels this, as after that, the clapping becomes disjointed, the Yes’es subdued.  The pure certainty and belief starts to ebb away from the crowd, and for the first time I feel scared.  I notice this, and realising it, I chose to listen to the stuff I had been told.  I needed to change my state of mind, and how do we do that?  By altering our:

Focus – I focus on the outcome.  Which is….me celebrating on the other side, unscathed.

Language – I remove all language other than the word ‘YES’ from my mind.  I say YES over and over again, so that there is no room for anything else.  And I play the sound of tribal drums as a backing track.

Physiology – I fist pump a few times and then I bounce up and down a lot.  Then I sway with the imaginary drums in my head.

And with these three tactics deployed, I close my eyes and shuffle forward with the crowd, the smell becoming ever stronger.  I don’t remember much of this 10 minutes, I was completely in the zone.

Eventually the coals come into view, and BLOODY HELL! WHAT IS THIS?  They’re not red-hot at all.  I was promised red-hot coals, these pieces of shit are white.

“Will they be hot enough?  Shut Up You Idiot!”

I’m two from the front, it’s almost my time.  I force myself back to the ZONE.  Shouting “YES” at the back of the head of the guy in front of me.  The Firewalk marshalls are shouting at us to keep us focused and distracted from our impending doom. I’m one from the front, and just as the guy in front of me is about to march across he is stopped. Someone shouts “FRESH COALS” and out of nowhere a wheelbarrow appears full of bright red coals.  It takes them a minute to spade the coals out and onto the strip in front of me.  They sit there, glowing menacingly.  I do everything I can to battle the fear that has resurfaced.  I yell “YES” louder and quicker.  The guy in front of me must have taken his turn because all of a sudden I’m stood in front of those coals.  I shout “YES” again, I look up…….And I march across those coals like they’re nothing.

I’d love to explain to you what those 5 or 6 steps (the strip is about 12-15ft long) felt like, but I have no memory of them.  I know I did them because 6 days later I still have this evidence:

Wait, what?  You weren’t supposed to get burnt, Chris??!!

I didn’t get burnt on the walk, but I forgot to wipe my feet as I hit the end.  And so as I relaxed and savoured my triumph, I didn’t realise that a piece of coal was stuck to the bottom of my foot.  It only started to hurt about a minute after I had finished the walk.  Think about that.  If you touch boiling water, how long does it take to hurt?  A split second.  How is it that this took about a minute for my body to register the pain… Incredible stuff.

So I walked across fire.  And I survived to learn a very valuable lesson.  The mind is more powerful than we can possibly imagine.  I’ll leave you with some sage advice from the big man:

“If you can’t, YOU MUST”

That’s Day 1 wrapped up…..

 

Footnote:  Did you know you can subscribe to the blog to have it delivered to your email? Well you can!  Navigate to the homepage – link here – scroll to the bottom, enter your email and you’ll get no spam, just a tidy little notification from WordPress when a new piece is available to read. 

I’d absolutely love it if you did this.

2 comments on “Walk on Fire, or Wimp Out?”

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