FEAR – ‘the unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat’.
This is the emotion that I and the other 20-odd partakers were taught to leave behind on Sunday when taking in the ancient feat of fire walking.
An timeless rite of passage dating back to Iron Age India in 1200BC, people from across the globe, from a variety of religions and beliefs, have used fire walking as a way of proving faith and testing courage and strength.
Driving over to Claydon House on a cold Sunday afternoon, I was more than a little sceptical about exactly what lay in store for me at this rather unusual ‘Festive Firewalk Fair’.
With bated breath, the group of soon-to-be fire walkers filed into a large hall ready for the hour-long seminar which would make up our training before taking to the hot coals.
The first ‘fear’ we were taught to conquer was that of embarrassment – and were asked to pair off and show each other dance moves which the other had not seen before – for me this was certainly the most painful part of the day.
Next we were given a talk on the capability of the human mind to conquer physical challenges were fear ignored.
It really is amazing just what we, as beings with immense mental strength, can achieve.
We were then asked to take part in a variety of rather unusual acitivities – ranging from snapping boards with the sole of our hands to breaking arrows and bending great big metal rods with the soft parts of our necks – just above the collar bone.
All of these feats, strange as they were, proved that when the average human being applies themselves appropriately there is no end to what can be achieved.
And the same goes for fire walking – with little to no training at all, we took to the coals with an eagerness to achieve the impossible – to walk on fire.
With focus and determination, we each completed what we had set out to, and no one was taken to hospital with burns either, which is always a bonus.
Sophia Goodford, manager at The Carriage House Restaurant based at Claydon House, also took part in the firewalk to raise money for cancer research as her sister has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
And as well as completing my own personal fire walking goal, I managed to raise more than £150 for the cancer care and haematology unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, thanks to help of my friends, family and colleagues.
If you would like to support the unit, it’s not too late to donate to the cause by digging deep and sponsoring my fire walking feat at www.justgiving.com/kirstenrawlinsfirewalk