Week 16: Fire Walking

Week 16 of my comfort zone challenge saw me do a Fire Walk for the Sara Lee Trust.

A bare foot walk over red-hot wood embers measuring around 800 degrees. No tricks, no special effects. Just me and the fire.

Burning Embers

I originally got an email informing me of the fire walking idea. The subject line being ‘BRAVE AND FEARLESS PEOPLE NEEDED’.. of which I am neither. Though, when I read about it, I entered without hesitation. The only time a little bit of fear came around was a couple of weeks after signing up, on a tube journey with my friend who said “yeah, but what happens if you trip up?”… Bloody good point I thought.

I have to admit, I did have the attitude of they wouldn’t let me do it if it was dangerous. It was only on seeing the ambulance upon arrival, I remembered this is dangerous, and the nerves kicked in. Granted, the physics are there. Both wood and the human foot are poor conductors of heat. The time that the moving feet having in contact with the wood isn’t enough to cause real damage, and if your feet sweat, the moisture can help to prevent any burning.

The un-nerving ambulance
The un-nerving ambulance

That said, you are still walking on fire. Your brain still tells you, you should not be doing this. That was until we went through the 2 hour training session that is. This training session had nothing to do with walking techinque. It had no practice on any fire. There was no rubbing the feet with any moisture. This was all about getting into the correct state of mind.

For an hour and a half, we went through a mental journey. Starting from posture , what you say in your mind, to physically shouting. You know that posture you have, when you feel like you can take on the world in the morning. Recreating that. You know that voice, that says you can’t do something. Telling that to shut up. Making sure everything in your power is telling you, you can do it.

Cliff, our instructor, was one of the most motivating people I’ve ever met. Through posture, visualisation and voice he took me to a place where my body was genuinely tingling and I felt I could take on the world. By the time we had finished the training, I honestly felt as if I could take on a round with Muhammed Ali in his prime. I felt invincible and more pumped up than I’d ever been in my life.

By the time we got around to walking on fire, there wasn’t a single nerve in my body. It was just a formality of ‘I’m going to do this’. All I needed to do, was visualise my place of conquer, remind myself I’m doing this, and sing ‘Roll with it’ by Oasis (my personal sound track to my visualised place)

The first five walkers went immediately after each other, and even when Cliff stopped me for what felt like 10 minutes before my go, to heat up the embers, I was 100% walking through that fire. “What’s your name?!” Cliff shouted. “TOM” I belched back and then before I knew it I was on the other side, giving the biggest fist pump of my life.

The release was incredible. It sounds ridiculous, but I felt so alive. Adrenaline flying through the body and it took me a good couple of hours to come back to reality. What’s more, these techniques to over come the fear, weren’t hard. This is something replicable in everyday life, every time nerves take over your body. It’s amazing how much your brain controls what you do. My brain sent out those tingling feelings and the feeling of invincibility, not Cliff. There was no hypnotism, no tricks, just the brain opening up your body.

I challenge you, next time that voice that talks to you in your head says “I can’t do this” put another voice in there to tell it to shut up and tell yourself 5 times that you can. Once you get over your inner demon, half the job is done.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this, and further to this I managed to raise some money to a great cause, The Sara Lee Trust. I must thank all those that have donated and all those that came to support me. I must also mention, Rob Marchant’s stag do which I missed to do the fire walk, many congratulations sir.

For those interested, I did have 3 small burn blisters on my left foot after the walk, a small price to pay for a great experience.

If you would like to donate still please visit my just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Rose-comfortzone 

BELOW IS MY VIDEO OF THE WALK (You’ll have to excuse random bits of darkness at points)


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