Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Walking on fire . . .

The night before I flew back to Madrid I took on a challenge to walk on embers that were radiating heat of 1236 degrees fahrenheit. After surviving the worst heat of a Madrid summer, there was something symbolic about facing this challenge and getting "fired up" for my return to the city and to job hunting. If nothing else, I would have a great story to share with my students who could practise some interesting new vocabularly!

So why fire walking? It started with a facebook post from Jo who challenged her friends to do it to raise money for a great charity, London's Air Ambulance, which needs to raise a million pounds every year to run its vital service. I have always wanted to do this believe it or not and so here was my chance.

The event took place at a pub in Cockfosters - at the end of the Picadilly line in north London. It was trek there and I was intrigued to discover what our two hour training session would involve. I can't actually say as it is a bit of a secret but I can tell you that is was fun and motivational and I now know the secret of how to turn on happiness. I also know how to "marshall my resources" and "raise my game" (wait till I run that by my students!).

I learnt some stuff about body language and positive thinking that I can use in my daily life and I also learnt that the best mantra is to tell the doubting voice in my head to "shut the f*** up!" OK so it was nothing new but it was a great reminder that we need to keep our thoughts positive and banish those self limiting beliefs forever!

I like to think of the fire walk as a metaphor for life. When we are children we reach into the future without fear as we have no experience to suggest that there is anything to fear. As adults, we have to put ourselves back into the mind of a child and imagine that there is nothing to fear and reach for the future or we are held back in the past. To walk that path of burning coals, I had to focus on the immediate future of reaching the end and believe that there was nothing to fear.

So what happened? We left the training session in darkness and I was taken aback by the density of smoke in the air and was excited by the sight of the blazing embers that marked out my route. There was crackling of wood and a cheering crowd of onlookers waiting for us.

We all walked the ten or so steps over the blazing road and I was so amazed to be there that I almost did the unforgiveable and stopped before the end. I was fine until I thought, "oh my god I am doing it and walking on fire!" and immediately slowed down! A tiny wobble and then a quick stride to the end as I felt the heat for the first time before jumping with glee!

I had very sooty feet and a happy smile to show for it. Plus I raised over £120 for the charity to make it all worthwhile. Now what is my next challenge going to be I wonder?



  1. Well done, Debbie! now, where are the pictures?

  2. you will have to use your imagination I am afraid as there are none of me but if I can get it to work, I will add the write up and photos of the event that are in The Londonist as they covered it.

  3. Unfortunately I forgot to take a camera with a flash with me but thankfully Londonist was there to take some which are pretty good. It was a great evening. Maybe next time I might take part.

  4. Very impressed with your efforts! Mad idea though!


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