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“Live with Passion” - the first time I heard Tony Robbins speak those words was on a cassette tape, probably in my car, driving to work and I was instantly hooked!  His voice, as well as what he was saying resonated with me on a level I had not felt before.  Tony invigorated me to do more with my life than just exist.  If I ever had a bad day I always knew I could count on Tony to rejuvenate me.  Throughout the years I have subscribed to his emails, read his books and bought his updated programs. I was invited to Dreamforce 2012 in San Francisco at Moscone Center (I was living in San Jose at the time) where Tony spoke for four hours – he had us all dancing, hugging and high fiving those around us.  Typically I would not be participating but when Tony said jump, I jumped.  It seemed the most natural thing in the world.  So when I had the opportunity to spend four days with him (along with 10,000 others) in Los Angeles I signed up.

 

I had always thought that a seminar with Tony would be thousands of dollars, but I only paid $650 and got a free ticket for a friend.  I didn’t invite anyone because everyone thought I was crazy for wanting to do the Fire Walk and I didn’t want anyone to ruin my experience.  A few years before, when I was living in San Jose, there were injuries at his Fire Walk. I remember being envious of the attendees as we waited in line together at the Starbuck’s close to the convention center.  Now I think it was meant to be that I didn’t attend that event! The injuries didn’t scare me because I knew I had to try it myself. I would have attended the four days without the Fire Walk, but the Fire Walk made it a MUST instead of just a WANT. I love to push myself to do things others find uncomfortable – the very same reason I take classes at local colleges for credit instead of taking classes at a community center that cost less, but do not test me.

 

The first day of the four-day event was the Fire Walk.  We started at 11 a.m. that day. All 10,000 of us in a freezing cold room (we were warned about the temperature before the event), with little to no breaks that day – we jumped, we danced, we hugged, we screamed, and all the while the Fire Walk loomed.  At 10 p.m. the preparation began. I was excited to do it, and was happy it was happening earlier than the scheduled midnight.  Little did I know that it would end up being MUCH later. We meditated, we had a live performance from Melissa Etheridge who attended the event last year and did the Fire Walk. Melissa sang a song dealing with fire: “I’m the Only One.”  The large screens around us flashed live shots of the burning flames throughout the night.  Instructions were given not to look down, to not run or you might trip and end up with burning coals on your face, and they gave us a mantra to chant – I don’t remember exactly what it was, something about “cool grass” – they repeated the instructions several times as they alternated the screens from hard rock music videos to the burning flames of the fire outside.  Finally they had us pair up and take our shoes off. We would leave all of our belongings inside the convention center while we went outside. I, of course, took everything, not sure why people trust strangers.  With 10,000 people the procession was not quick.  We probably spent over an hour in line and the queue was not well thought out – everyone crowded in to get ahead.  It was uncomfortable and by that time it was after 1 a.m. – we had been there 13 hours and now we were sandwiched together outside in almost total darkness with the sounds of jungle music rising from around the corner.  I wasn’t sure if this was a Fire Walk or we were being burned at the stake. It was all very surreal.

 

As we approached the approx. 12’ of burning embers it was a relief. I wanted to go home since we had to be back by 8 a.m. the next day.  A few people in front of me walked away, they got within inches of the prize and they said “no thank you.”  It was hotter than I imagined.  And of course, I got a fresh batch of burning embers right before I walked.  But I was READY.  I started out across the burning coals - it was HOT, you definitely knew you were walking on fire, and the heat rising up was enough to make me walk a little faster. Luckily no one fell or was seriously injured. I saw a few limping to the First Aid station in the Los Angeles Convention Center and many complained about being burned. Well, you did walk across fire. 

 

How did I feel at the time?  I was glad it was over and I could go home.  I was a little annoyed, I wanted to come across completely unscathed but one ember had embedded itself in the soft part of my left foot and I had to flick it off once I got on the other side.  Even the water that you step into immediately afterward didn’t remove it.  I can still feel that burn if I think about it now. I didn’t feel quite as accomplished as I thought I might, just relieved. I had done it! I didn’t need to do ever again, but it was an experience no one could take away from me.  I have always valued the experience as much as the achievement. I can access the memory at any time and it takes me back to that precise moment and feeling. I am forever a Fire Walker!

 UPW 2012 – If Oprah could do it, I could do it! 

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