‘Loco’ was just one of the adjectives that I received today after posting some photos on Facebook about the fire walk I did last night. So why did I do it?
At the beginning of the year I went through a very bad patch in my life and I wanted to do something that would break me out of this downward spiral that my life appeared to be on. I had heard about fire walking and thought that might be just the catalyst to change the patterns my life was following. My reasoning was that if I can do something that I believed is physically impossible (in my mind), then I will have proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to do, and then hopefully change my life again.
So I did a little research and that idea came to a screeching halt. There was no way at that time that I could afford to do a fire walk.
Fast forward six months, and I meet up with some of the local South African Internet Marketers for lunch. You can see those photos here: ZA Internet Marketer’s Lunch. One of the guys there (Kevin Montes) turns out to be a Fire Walker Instructor and he invites me to do a fire walk as his guest. Oh yes please! There was no way I was turning down that generous offer.
Despite my excitement about doing the fire walk, I have to admit that I spent the week in terror. My logical, rational brain told me that it was not possible to walk on a bed of red hot coals and not get horribly burnt. And yet, I have heard dozens of stories of people who have done it and have not burnt themselves.
So last night finally arrives and we settle in for the seminar. Kevin takes us through a brief history of fire walking and his credentials. He then gives us each a thick board and a pencil. We have to write down our limiting beliefs onto this board and we had to be honest. I wrote an essay.
I sat looking at this list and thought “Do I really believe all this negativity about myself?”. I am humbled to say that in fact I did. I am going to share some of them with you in the hope that some of you can relate.
Every business venture I have taken on has failed.
I am not beautiful or sexy enough.
I will never be slim and trim
My family thinks I am a loser and a failure.
I don’t have what it takes to be successful.
I will never find a man that adores me for who I am and who truly loves me.
Next Kevin tells us that we are going to break the board with our hands. As in ‘Karate Chop’ the board. This will help us break through those limiting beliefs.
And here’s where my limiting beliefs proved me right. I could NOT break the board. I tried 9 times until my hand really hurt, but it was not going to happen.
After we were done with that section of the course, we walked down to the fire and we had to throw those boards into the fire. The symbolism attached to that act was that we were burning our limiting beliefs and turning them into ash.
Do you see that look on my face in the photo above? The thought that was going through my head was that I was a failure. Again!
The next section of the course took us through the concept of breaking through resistance and pain. He showed us a video of that awesome movie “Facing the Giants” where the coach proves to a young player that he is capable of so much more than he originally thought he was. He just had to be shown that he was capable of it. In the exercise that followed, we had to place the point of an arrow at the base of our necks and then push past the pain and resistance to break the arrow. So here I was with the arrow in my neck and in order to snap the arrow, I had to step forward, while Kevin pushed, and physically snap that arrow using just my neck.
I think that sometimes in life you reach a point where you get tired of always failing and as I closed my eyes, I felt a deep anger at myself and thought there is no frigging way I am going not get this right. So I stepped forward fast and the arrow snapped. What was really interesting is that it did not even hurt. The lesson? If you reach that point of resistance, you cause yourself unnecessary pain and anguish by hesitating or procrastinating. If you just plough through, push past the resistance and pain quickly, you get it done. Now I was to starting to feel better about myself.
So what was next?
Walking on broken glass? Pardon? How is that even humanly possible without you shredding your feet to bloody ribbons?
The key points that Kevin covered with us before doing the walk across broken glass were the following:
Pay attention i.e focus on what you are doing
Know where you now and where you want to go
Plan how you will get there
That’s my look of concentration.
And that’s my look of disbelief and elation that I had just walked on broken glass, and survived.
And now for the final stage.
I remember standing at the edge of the fire and thinking “I cannot do this. I do not have what it takes”. And then I started walking.
So what made me do it?
I am not sure if you will find this a shallow and superficial reason, but it was pride. I could not bear the thought of having to go home and tell my kids and the friends that knew I was doing this, that I had failed. I realised later that night that pride was the same reason that I made it to the top of Mnt Kilimanjaro 10 years earlier when I was violently ill and so close to giving up on that last night of climbing. I could not face the humiliation of telling people that I had not made it.
I wonder what that says about me?
Regardless of my reasons for actually getting it done, I will say that it has definitely changed something in me. I feel like I am 18 years old again and there is a long-forgotten feeling of hope that is bubbling its way through my spirit.
Someone asked what it felt like to walk on the coals. You can feel the heat but it is not unbearable. All you are focused on is getting to the other side and I think it is that single-minded mental focus on your end goal that stops you from getting burnt.
I walked on fire and I did not get burnt. I crushed that belief that walking on fire was not physically possible. I was wrong. It is possible.
So if I was wrong about that, what other beliefs about myself am I wrong about?