I'm a Firewalker!

The Bean in ChicagoI'm back!

I got sick a couple of weeks ago, on the 4th of July - my favorite holiday! It came on me the night of the 3rd. I haven't been sick in four years, with the exception of the time I ate something that didn't agree with me when I was in Cambodia. And let me tell you, that's a sick you never want to experience!

That's why you haven't heard from me much lately. That, and...oh ya...I went to see Tony Robbins at the Unleash the Power Within event in Chicago this past Wednesday through Sunday. 

My amazing stepdaughter, Jackie, told me about it and highly encouraged me to go. She and her friend Shannon had experienced it back in February, and they had volunteered to crew at the Chicago event. They brought their husbands so they could experience it too.

I decided to join them. There were about 9,000 of us gathered at the United Center in Chicago.

Close up of the Bean at Millennium Park

Holy moly. As they constantly reminded us, my life will never be the same again. 

I can't begin to explain it.

Mind blown. 

I've been to powerful life-changing spiritual retreats in the past. This was similar x 1,000. Seriously. It's hard to explain.

We laughed. We cried. We sang, and sang, and sang. And danced. And screamed. It was primal. It was fearsome. It was empowering.


Holy, holy shit.

After an entire day of preparation through meditation, visualization exercises, dancing, singing, jumping around, and discussion, we walked through 1,200-degree hot embers. You read that right - 1,200 degrees.

One of the last things Tony did with us before we went outside for the firewalk was hypnosis. It felt like we were under for about 15 minutes. In truth, it was 45 minutes. He brought us through several emotional states. At one point, we were all laughing so hard my stomach muscles hurt. 

When we came out of it, we were taught how to walk across the hot embers. Get "in peak state," be direct. Do not run. Wipe your feet immediately when you get across before you come out of peak state.

Then the music came on. Tony was up on stage dancing, the music was blasting, and there was a picture on the big screen behind him of the bonfire the fire team had been preparing for the last several hours.

I felt some fear.

We were told to change our state. We were given some physical cues. Everyone started screaming and yelling and dancing. 

I thought to myself, "Holy shit. I've joined some firewalking death cult." 

It was around midnight. We exited the stadium into the parking lot - all 9,000 of us (minus a few who decided not to participate - can't blame them!). We were clapping our hands in time and chanting "YES!"

As we walked into the parking lot, the smell of a burning bonfire wafted through the air. 

"This is real," I thought. I was walking with another woman, Amy, who was my partner. We were told to grab someone we didn't know to help us in this endeavor. I'm not gonna lie. I asked her if she'd go first! 

The crowd was thick. The lines were long and messy. There were about 30 lanes of hot embers. The clapping and chanting continued. We were too far back to see Tony do the firewalk. But we heard the clapping and shouting. We found out later that Tony talked to Shannon's husband (Jeff) briefly.

I kept reminding myself to stay in state. 

Finally, it was Amy's turn. I watched her bravely approach the area and walk directly across those glowing red embers. 

My turn. 

Smoke was thick in the air. I stepped up onto the grass. I turned and looked at the trainer.  He was there to stop anyone he felt wasn't ready. 

"Okay," he said. "You're ready. Go."

I clenched my fist once more - a physical cue to indicate emotional readiness. I shouted "Yes," and stepped onto the burning embers. Heat radiated up through my feet. I walked directly across.

Tony mentioned before we went out that he had burned his feet badly one time when he came out of state too quickly. He didn't wipe his feet and some burning embers stuck.

"Make sure you wipe your feet before you come out of state!" he said. He was quite clear about that. 

I forgot.

I was so excited to be across that I forgot to wipe my feet immediately. I threw my fist in the air to celebrate, and someone on the fire team nearly picked me up and yelled in my ear, "Not yet! Wipe your feet!"

Oh shit.

I quickly wiped my feet. Wiped and wiped as they sprayed them down with water. 

Oh my gosh my feet felt hot, so hot.

I thought I'd messed up. I thought my feet were burned. But I celebrated anyway - hey, I'd had the courage to try! But, then there was Amy yelling at me, "We did it!"

When we got back inside, I looked at the bottoms of my feet. They were black from soot and the asphalt of the parking lot. 

But - my feet were fine. No burns. No blisters. 

Don't try this at home. 

I walked across a line of burning embers. And I'll never be the same again. 

My feet felt hot and tingly. They felt like they could have been burned. But they weren't. My feet tingled for another day. It was the strangest feeling. But there was absolutely nothing wrong with them.  

No burns. No blisters.

I had one tiny black mark where an ember stuck briefly. 

I can't explain this.

I've heard people say it's some sort of trick. It's not. It's a beautiful illustration of the power of the human mind. I felt my body in a peak state. I felt the heat of the burning embers as I walked across them. 

It was magical. It was empowering. It's hard to be afraid of anything after you've walked across burning embers. 

And I would never, ever try this on my own at home. I'd like to do it again, but only if I'm at another Tony Robbins event where he guides us through it. 

I wish I had photos. But that's not what it was about. Standing around taking photos might have taken me out of peak state, and I didn't want to risk that. I was immersed in the experience. 

I did, however, take my camera with me to Chicago so I could get a few photos the first day I was there, which was last Wednesday. I didn't get many photos. We were in the seminar from early in the morning until late at night from Thursday until Sunday. I came home Monday morning. 

Detail close-up of the Bean in Chicago

But on Wednesday, we went to the Taste of Chicago - yummy - and then to Millennium Park. 

What a blast. 

I'm still processing this. 

I just took my life up a notch or two or 1000. I'm not sure what's going to happen next. No doubt it's going to be grand. 

And I am so grateful! Grateful to Jackie for encouraging me to go. Grateful for this life and the amazing people in it. I know you have much to be grateful for too. Feel it. Live it. Give thanks for it. 

See you between the raindrops!