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‘Don’t be an Idiot!’ screamed my Lizard Brain.
‘Cool Moss,’ came the cryptic reply from my conscious mind.
‘You’re going to burn the soles right off the bottom of your feet!’ yelled the logical, analytical part of my brain.
‘Cool Moss,’ replied my conscious mind once again.
‘You’ve been sucked in by a charlatan spouting psychobabble for the past three days!’ protested my ego.
‘Cool Moss,’ came the calm mantra from my conscious mind.
My inner conflict raged back and forth as my wife and I walked hand in hand in an uncomfortable, shuffling walk made necessary by the slow progress of the line of people that stretched more than 100m both in front and behind us. We were among the thousands of people attending a three-day event in Sydney called ‘Unleash The Power Within’ by motivational speaker and self-help guru Tony Robbins. It was the night of Day 3, culminating in the Firewalk – a barefoot journey more than five metres long over red-hot coals burning at over 500 degrees Celsius.
Earlier that day, we had seen the fire crews tending multiple bonfires, with tongues of flame leaping skyward and now, in the pitch darkness those same fire crews were ferrying the burning coals in steel wheelbarrows and laying them out in long lines for the multitude of attendees to take their journey through fear.
As we approached closer and closer to our starting point, I looked over at the ambulances standing by for emergency treatment and squeezed Liz’s hand even tighter. Every part of me wanted to run away from this madness, to break away from this hypnotized herd. But Tony’s powerful presence and inspiring words from the prior three days helped me stay the course; I knew I would feel incomplete and a deep sense of disappointment if I didn’t follow through and complete the Firewalk – the ultimate completion of what had already been a transformational weekend. And so we shuffled on, holding our peak state, chanting our mantra and visualising our bare feet walking on cool, green, wet moss instead of fiery embers.
Liz went first; she made her power move and walked confidently and steadily over the glowing red coals, making it to the end with ease. She raised her arms up to the night sky and shouted in jubilation, then looked at me and beckoned towards her. I made my power move; the cacophony of noise faded into the background, I defied my monkey mind and stepped through my fear, pictured myself walking through a meadow with a stream running through it and felt only cool moss as the sole of my left foot hit the hot coals for the first time. My right foot followed, and on I walked until suddenly I was at the end!
My fists punched the sky and I let out a primal roar as the crew quickly tended to my feet with a splash of water. As I came down out of my peak state, I suddenly realised how hot those coals were, when I could feel the heat radiating up at me like a blast furnace. The enormity of what we had just achieved streamed into my consciousness – despite all logic, I had overcome my fear, given in to faith and taken a major step on the pathway to change. It helped me understand that fear is just a state of mind and that I have control over what I do and how I react to that fear, and the importance of these wise words: Danger is Real, Fear is a Choice.
I could now call myself ‘Firewalker’.