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(inspired writing by G. Greves-Participated 4/14/95 St.Thomas, USVI)

Yes, we can do practically anything if we have to. But we didn't have to walk those coals. It was our choice. That is the difference. Everyone's fire walk experience is different.

To give you any one reason as to why you should participate in the fire energy experience would be to limit you. Yet somehow I feel driven to tell you that to do the walk, to feel the levels of awareness that flood through the seminar during the course of the evening, is essential.

We met under a large canopy that stared out at the Bay and faced the moon squarely. It was an evening filled with questions, nervous laughter, self doubt, self realization - you name it. Most of the thoughts were not shared, this after all was not a psychotherapy session, it was an experience; an experience each was allowed to undergo privately. Sure, there were times we blurted or shared a feeling, a fear, but all in all it was a time to go within. And so we did.At one point during the evening we were taken out to light the fire. Matches were passed around and we set to work lighting the logs. For me, at that moment, fear crept into my heart. As I felt the heat rise from the logs and the smoke surge into the night, my heart faltered and I struggled to understand what it was I was doing. As David Burns of The Talking Heads sings, "how did I get here?" I looked around at all the people and wondered; was I the only one asking this?

Just then we were given the instruction to express verbally why we were walking. Oh. Oh. This didn't sit well with me. I was having enough emotional turmoil as it was. So, I slowly turned towards another soul who looked calm, almost cheerful.

"Should I go first, or should you?" I asked, hoping that I could hide behind someone else's confidence. I stared at the woman and waited. She opened her mouth to begin... no sound came out. We both looked at each other."You go first." she said, "I'm not ready."And suddenly I knew exactly why I was there. The answer seemed absurd ... ridiculous. Dangerous.

"Well," I said, allowing the realization of what I was about to do to sink in as I spoke, "I'm an artist. I'm a blocked artist. I can't seem to feel inspired about painting anything. I feel as if I've been painting for other people, not for myself I've been doing it for so long that I don't believe I have a soul. Somehow I've taken on the needs of my clients and forgotten myself I'm walking the fire tonight to set fire to my soul... to ignite a fire within me that will burn with passion and inspiration."

And there it was. The answer. My answer. I can assure you that the other woman's answer was entirely different. In fact, each man and woman there had different reasons for wanting to walk the walk.Thus, after some empowering guided meditations, some encouraging video presentations of other walks at other times, some primal free for all dancing - yes, even the most reserved and timid people were seen to be lightstepping across the room - after all this preparation, we were again standing before the fire. We watched as the coals were spread onto the ground. They were certainly not dead coals. They glowed red, small flames licked up at us. We giggled, sighed, exclaimed and faked bravado. No matter, it was time. And so, as I found myself staring down at the coals and accessing the energy and spirit that Geoff Giovan (our Fire Experience Guide) had taught us that evening, I summed up my feelings. Those coals look too hot. Shouldn't we let them cool a bit? Na This is what it's about. This is an age old rite, a tradition our ancestors found empowering. But what if I burn? Nah! This is it, this is what I want! I'm doing it. Yes. Yes! YES!

I stepped out. And walked. And when I reached the other side, I looked back at the coals and smiled. And got back in line. I thought to myself, this is for all those people who told me I would burn myself and thought me mad. This is for them, that they may feel my energy and faith, so that if they should falter some time in the future, they might somehow subconsciously access the power that is here tonight. I walked the fire twice that night. No I didn't run. I walked. I wanted it to last forever. And no, I didn't burn. But my soul, once the color of the dead of night, has begun to glow red.

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