“Walk across hot coals” was one of the first ambitions on my bucket list. For me, being adventurous is all about finding the courage to do something you never thought possible, and feel an inordinate amount of pride in yourself for reaching that objective. After a brief search via Google, I realized that Firewalk Canada holds walks at its beautiful Fang Shen Do Pagoda in Casselman, Ontario.
Because I didn’t want to partake in this activity solo (Jeff and I hadn’t met yet), I dragged my mother along with me, although she was adamant about just being an observer rather than a firewalker. We arrived at the special 90-minute pre-firewalk ritual, where the instructors’ aim is to dissolve fear and other emotional blocks that keep you from going through with it.
At the time, my anxiety disorder was quite severe, so this challenge sounded great! However, the thought that I was about to intentionally place my (according to many aestheticians) smooth, unworked, uncalloused, precious little feet onto a burning substance (for more than a few seconds) was somewhat overwhelming. I did find solace in the fact that our group wasn’t the first to walk on hot coals. Many cultures have undergone the amazing firewalk ritual, as a rite of passage and initiation or a test of courage.
When it came time for me to engage in this experience, it was very powerful and transformative. Not a magical experience that healed all wounds, but it did unleash a bit of the fearless, determined, healthy person that I know I can be. And because my mom was participating in all the pre-walk activities, the staff and I were able to convince her in that moment to attempt the walk herself. She expressed genuine gratitude towards us for broadening her mindset on this adventure, allowing her to feel comfortable enough to experience it as well.
After the firewalk, we gathered in the pagoda to share stories and experiences – I reflected on how I not only completed a goal, but created a memory with my mom that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
We are not the only (crazy?) adventurers to have participated in this activity – so has Oprah Winfrey! In celebration of her embracing the National Capital on April 10, I have to share her story. She made the walk with Tony Robbins in 2011, and exuded nothing but extreme confidence. She broke through the mental barriers, and pushed herself across those burning coals. It’s just another testament to how strong-willed a woman Oprah is.
If you’re ready to walk through fire to reach your dreams (as soon as April 28) then check out Firewalk Canada’s website at http://www.learnkung-fu.com/firewalking/.
If anyone does end up participating, please share your experience with us here by commenting!
Editor’s Note: Firewalking is not a decision to be taken lightly.