My 1st Firewalk Experience (losing my fire virginity)

I found an old email from when I firewalked the first time in 2000 with Michael McDermott. What I recall is my Life Coach at the time was going to fire me as a client because I had the same complaints after almost a year of working with her. She told me I had to go do a firewalk.

Below is the email I sent out to my friends the day after I Firewalked. Looking back this experience forever shaped the course of my life. The experience is invaluable. 


By Julian D. Bergquist

August 20, 2000

Hi Friends,

I went to a firewalk last night in Redmond, WA. A What? Firewalk. You know, walk on hot coals. Some of my friends and family said i was crazy and had lost it. There were about 25 people in attendance. Seven of us walked on the coals, the other eighteen were voyuers or just curious. I walked twice over a 6" deep, 10 foot long bed of coals and did not get even the slightest of a burn. I was not in a trance or possessed by some spirit. I was scared shitless. I felt a huge wall of fear just before my feet stepped on the coals, but once i hit the fire the fear went away as i walked toward the end of the coals as quickly as possible, but without getting burned. I don't have an explanation for why i didn't get burned, but here is how the exiting event unfolded. At the end of this letter you will find more information about firewalking and several theories about what makes it possible. It isn't as cooky as you might think. Also you can subscribe to my personal newsletter.

It was 6pm when I arrived at the outdoor retreat center in Redmond. I am wondering what the hell have i gotten myself into. All i know is that i am ready for some changes in my life. Maybe if i take drastic measures i will get drastic results. The firewalk instructor named Michael ( ) was burning some sage and sweet grass in a small little fire about the size a homeless person would burn under a bridge. There is a stack of of dozen small boards near the fire. I think that maybe this is the wood that will be used. No problem. Maybe enough wood for one quick step in the fire, in and out. Find out later these boards will be used for a board breaking warmup to prepare us for the coals.

After the sage and grass offerings burn down, Michael rakes out the coals to the side and asks if i will help him stack the wood. Off to the side by the black berry bushes is about a cord of wood. We begin stacking the wood 2 rails wide and about 5 feet high in a criss cross pattern. Other people show up and help with the wood stacking. Michael tells us that stacking the wood is helping us to get into the proper head space. When we are done we have a big ass pile of  wood 10 feet long, 4 feet wide and 5 feet high. Enough wood to keep my house warm through the entire month of january with the front door wide open. I say that there is at least 100 split logs in the stack.

7pm rolls around and we begin. Michael lights the fire and begins dumpings about a gallon of kerosene on the fire. The fire is now flaming 10 feet in the air. For the next 15 minutes the flames grow to 20 feet in the air. I'm sitting 20 feet away mesmorized by the intense heat and beauty of the fire.

Finally the instruction begins. Everyone gets in a circle and shares our name and why we came. I say i want to learn to transform fear into a creative force in my life. I'm tired of living in fear. "I you have lost your marbles" i think to myself. "Can't you come up with a better way to conquor fear."

Michael talks about intention and that 100% focus on our intention is going to be the deciding factor that makes our firewalk a success. Michael picks up a 1 foot square board that is 1" thick. He says that normally you need some martial arts training to break this with your hands, but he will teach us to do it in just a couple of minutes. He talks about visualization and seeing our hand and energy driving through the board and at least several inches beyond. A little discussion of technique (rotate hips, explode, pull other hand in to chest, etc) and we began. We write on the front of our board our fear and on the back what we want after we break throught the fear. I write "fear of failure" on the front and "success/psychic" on the back since i want to be financially successful and to develop my psychic abilities to help other people. I break my board with one explosive punch. My hand didn't hurt even though i have a sore wrist and fingers from all the computer work i used to do. Adrenaline was pumping hard now.

Now off to the side of the fire Michael sets down a practice runway on the grass. He shows us the proper technique for firewalking the first time. Drive toward the goal 3 feet past the end of the fire. Get yourself in and the hell out of the fire. Michael talks about how he has been burned very bad and couldn't walk for a month. Right now would not be the best time for a visit to the hospital. 100% focus and being in a high energy state is required. You can't be lethargic or scattered. After we practice the firewalk we wait another 30 minutes for the coals to form. I stare at the coals wondering if firewalking for the first time is kind of like losing your virginity.

Michael uses a 8 foot long rake to form the coals in to a 10 foot runway about 2 feet wide and 6" deep. We take our practice run one more time on the grass.

Now began the real things. Michael firewalks first. Then 5 other people. I'm last. My nerves are fried like i had hadn't slept in 2 days or as though i was about to be introduced to a famous person i had always wanted to meet. I take a few steps forward but i just can't go those past few steps to the coals. It felt like mount everrest was in front of me and would just not budge. I try several more times. I step back and tell the next guy he can go again. My knees were quaking like when i had to give an oral book report in 5 grade.

Thus starts the mind game. I think that i have this wonderful opportunity in front of me and i wonder if i can live with myself if it let it pass. What if my feet burn and i need skin grafts? (Fortunately before coming i had checked to make sure i had paid my insurance for the month.) What if what everyone told me is right, that i'm crazy for even trying? I told you so, i could hear them saying. Then i began thinking about the many opportunities i have let pass me by because of fear. Will i continue this cycle for the rest of my life? No! i tell myself. I want happiness and success. I want a career i will enjoy. I want to help people. I want to eliminate my debt and have plenty to enjoy.

I step up again to walk. My heart is racing, my energy is high, i'm scared. From 6 feet away the fire is hot. I look past the end of the fire and put all my concentration there. One of the guys who walked already walked up and tells me something encouraging. I think he said that i have created many illussion of fear and now is my opportunity to break through them. I don't remember for sure what he said, but it was enough to assure me i could do it. I put my focus on the goal 3 feet past the end of the fire. This time i walked on coals.

I don't remember feeling anything, i had one thing on my mind: get the hell to the other side. Three seconds later i was on grass. Ten minutes later i did it again. I was just as scared the second time i walked. I noticed my focus drifting toward my feet during the last step. When i got to the grass i kicked off any remaining embers. They felt tingley, but there were no burns at all. After the second walk i decide that i have had enough for the night. I don't want to push my luck, my focus was beginning to diminish.

My world didn't change drastically in those three seconds or in the hours to follow. But i have begin readying myself to move through some of fears in other areas of my life that are preventing me from enjoying life to the fullest. I learned a tremendous amout about focus and having a singleness of mind. I don't think that firewalking is for most people, but i'm glad i did it. I think i will probably do it again sometime. The fire seems to have many lessons to teach.

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