Welcome to this week’s wisdom for the Inner and Outer You. I hope this article finds you all somewhere cool! Here in Toronto, Canada we are experiencing a sweltering heatwave. It feels like I’m back traveling through Thailand or India.
Talking about heat this week’s article tells about my experiences with FireWalking, another very hot topic I can tell you! However, like anything with the right preparation and mindset the heat can be handled.
Before the article I wanted to let everybody know that I have organized a group trip to the Northern part of India (much cooler there) for the end of October. It will be a two week pilgrimage that will be an eye opener, and I’m not only referring to the two eyes you utilize for the sense of sight. You will have me as a personal guide and coach/trainer along the way. I promise what you bring back with you from this spiritual adventure trip will last a lifetime. You can click on Pilgrimage India 2012 to read more and sign up.
I hope you enjoy this week’s article and remember to stay cool!
The FireWalk Ceremony
It was kept a secret until the end of the week. We were at a five day long warrior’s camp and had many other arduous events to accomplish before the grand finale. When it was time for the last event we were told it was one of those that you would definitely need to mentally and emotionally prepare for. I’m sure by now from the title of this article you have figured out what event I am referring to. The activity of walking on hot coals without burning your feet! Let me say that again…WITHOUT BURING YOUR FEET. Another name for this practice is called The FireWalk.
Firewalking is one of the world’s oldest and most widely spread spiritual rituals. In some ancient cultures it was used as a “coming of age” ritual. This doesn’t necessarily refer so much to a particular biological age as it does to a mental, emotional and spiritual evolution. Many tribes would use the practice of FireWalking as a test for the FireWalker to enter into warrior-hood, by demonstrating the mindset of a warrior. Having the courage to do such a thing proved that you were ready for whatever might come your way. Other cultures would use the ritual of FireWalking as a test of faith. Others would utilize the Walk as a way to show their dominance over one of the most feared natural forces in mankind’s history: Fire!
There are many more reasons why people choose to FireWalk. Some are very personal. I remember a lady doing it for her child who was having a very difficult time at school. Her son, a 17 year old reluctant teenager couldn’t believe that anybody, never mind his mother, could walk on fire. So his mother set out to show him that with the right training and preparation, things that we think are hard or near impossible become possible! What made it possible…PREPARATION!
When you are prepared for the challenges that come your way in life then you have the ability to meet them. Often when people are faced with challenges and have no training or preparation on how to deal with them they give up and quit what they were trying to accomplish. Having the proper resources and tools to accomplish any task is important; having the correct mental mindset to go along with the resources and tools is just as important!
In my recent Break Through and Succeed Seminar one of the things I talked about was owning the twin C’s: Competence and Confidence. Competence is the knowhow or having the proper training to know exactly what needs to be done to accomplish the task. This knowhow is like the light that shines the way to your accomplishment. However, even when you have the light to walk the path you still need to walk that path. This is where confidence comes in. If you don’t walk then you will never discover how all that training and preparation will work well for you. Confidence is in knowing and accepting you can do it, even when you are frightened and that critical voice in your head says something like “oh it’s too hard”, “you’re not good enough”, “you’re going to fail”. One only needs to know that this is simply a perception that arises because information is filtered through areas of the brain such as the amygdala and the hypothalamus. These areas control our fight or flight response mechanism in the sympathetic nervous system. This automatic reaction to perceived threats in our environment has served us well through the millennia, helping to protect us as a young species to survive against the intensity of nature’s elements or that of wild animals like tigers and bears. Fighting off the threat or running became the norm and we often experienced this reaction due to the unpredictability of our surroundings.
Nowadays, we are not running so much from the old reasons but are still activated and respond regularly to other information that is processed in the same old manner. This is where confidence comes in. With confidence on our side we can override the fight or flight automatic response and achieve our aims and much more. The nice thing about confidence is that the more we accomplish the more confidence we grow that enables us to accomplish more. In my Break Through and Succeed Seminar I demonstrate how a hand can penetrate through a few inches of solid concrete, breaking it in half and without any damage to my hand. This is to show people that with the right training (competence) and mindset (confidence) those things once thought impossible become possible. I then lead the group through a number of interactive exercises that help them to discover this for themselves. The FireWalk is a natural extension of my Break Through seminar…it’s something that most people would declare impossible and yet many others have done it without being harmed.
The first time I performed this FireWalk, way back at warrior’s camp, I had no idea how to do it. I was just told it was something we were going to do. It was a most ominous experience, standing there looking at red hot coals and knowing I was about to walk over them. Yet, I was mentally prepared by our teacher and had seen others do it successfully, so I knew it could be done. When that critical voice inside my head spoke up and said “are you crazy, you will be burned” I simply thanked it for doing the ancient job of trying to prepare me to fight or run away from the immediate danger. Instead I focussed in on the training I was given and the proper mindset I would need (even though I was still experiencing fear). The time came and I stepped up closer to the hot coals. As part of this events training I announced who I was and why I was doing this and then committed to my walk. When I got to the other side I felt that something had clicked inside me. A shift had taken place that would be with me forever. Okay maybe I wouldn’t be walking on hot coals every day but there were many other events in my life that I could surely see where I could use this experience to empower me. How many times had I shied away because I hadn’t thought that I was good enough or capable enough? And these were things that had no serious physical consequences like getting burned; the only thing that might get damaged would be my ego from embarrassment.
Later I would introduce the FireWalk into the martial arts curriculum for obtaining a black belt. I would always give my students a choice: they could either do a FireWalk or the Sweat Lodge Ceremony. Both of these rituals would challenge a person and make them dig down deep to accomplish the task. It became a standard practice in our martial art school and I have done a great many FireWalks and Sweat Lodge ceremonies to lead by example.
The FireWalk is a great experience to show you that you are far more capable than you could possibly imagine. Once you break through the self imposed limits of your mind and taste this for yourself, then Watch Out World, for there is no telling what else you will accomplish!
By Terry Hodgkinson
The next FireWalk Ceremony is on August 25th. Please contact Terry if you would like to be a part of the training seminar and FireWalk event. You can find out more information by clicking on: August 25th FireWalk
Quote for the week:
“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible”
― Cherie Carter-Scott