Firewalking is the marquis activity at Tony Robbins’s “Unleash the Power Within” seminar. While I found him–on the homework tapes prior to the event–to be a smart and inspiring speaker, I wasn’t so sure about prancing across the hot coals.
But I decided not to take a firm position, to see how I felt at the time.
“It doesn’t have to be fire walking,” says Tony, as he prepares us. “It can be anything that you consider really challenging. It can be jumping out of an airplane. But it would be pretty hard to organize jumping out airplanes with 10,500 people.” Which is how many of us there were at SAP Center in San Jose this weekend.
His events have gotten lots of attention over the fire walking lately as a few people got burned. It happens occasionally. In his many years of events, he himself has been burned twice. Once a coal had become affixed to his foot. He says a slight burn happens in less than one percent of the time. Although the entire fire walking activity takes only a couple hours of the four-day seminar, it’s what people talk about.
Why do it?
It’s a metaphor for life, for anything that challenges you. The same reason I did the flying trapeze the day I filed for divorce. The reason that after her dreaded three-week backpacking trip in high school Ariel said, “I can do anything now.”
They add a huge wheelbarrow full of red coals to my lane just before I get there. There is absolutely no chitchat as bunches of us stand on the pavement barefoot with our pants rolled up, awaiting a turn on 30 lines of hot coals.
And suddenly here I am walking across the coals and into a new life where I can do anything.
It’s over lickety-split. I am busy saying “Cool Moss” as directed and not looking down. Doesn’t even feel hot, although my feet feel a little tingly a bit later.
No one ever talks about the big afternoon session on examining your personal beliefs.
Compared with eliminating false beliefs from your mental vocabulary, walking on hot coals is a piece of cake.