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Memories: The Longest Walk…

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“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Memories: The Longest Walk... May you always walk in sunshine...

What’s the longest you’ve ever walked in a single day? Throughout our lives, we are on a steady journey, taking a long walk to meet ourselves. We take one step after the other until we get there – the end of life; when all is revealed and all our questions are answered or perhaps we merge into the void. We also take walks for all sorts of reasons. Over a lifetime, I’ve taken many walks – symbolic and otherwise; I remember a walk with a friend across the Manhattan Bridge after a meal at Junior’s on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (Flatbush Avenue to Amsterdam Avenue 12.02 miles); I remember walking home from a dizzying shopping spell after I bought my first punk rock clothes in London (Kings Rd to Golders Greens 12.97 miles); Several times a week, I take a 6.34 miles power walk on the Aqueduct. Each walk we take is an important record of our life’s journey.

“May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.” Irish Blessings

Of course, after I saw the movie The Way; a moving tale about one man’s pilgrimage to walk the famous 800km Camino de Santiago, known as The Way of Saint James, I imagined myself taking that walk which would be the walk of a life time… But I digress. My longest walk is actually a memory from adult life; it has stayed with me. More below.  😉

“If we all tried to make other people’s paths easy, our own feet would have a smooth even place to walk on.” Myrtle Reed

Memories: The Longest Walk... May you never want for more.

What prompted your walk? Several years ago, I was going through a tough transition and, feeling somewhat dis-empowered, I wanted to do something to shift my thinking and help me regain my spirit of adventure. I had heard of Tony Robbins Walk on Fire retreats but never felt ready to try it. But this time I was ready to try almost anything; as long as it was legal. I signed up, flew to Atlanta, and spent the next 5 days or so with other attendees, getting positively psyched up for the walk with chants, motivational talks, exercise movements, meditation and self hypnosis. By the night of the fire walk, I was so pumped up, I imagined myself pushing through a firewall. Before our actual walk, we gathered for a final You-can-do-it rally with advice given on how to move through it without getting burned. I was impressed that even though everyone was encouraged to go for it, it was also made clear that if one wasn’t ready, it was fine to step back. This was mind over matter work and we had to be mentally prepared; no one could do that final work for us.

There was so much excitement in the air as we gathered for our fire walk. When it was my turn, I turned within, focused on my goal, and with a steady mind repeating “I can do all things,” I stepped on those coals. I was in the “zone.” There was heat as I stepped out but then something amazing happened, I felt a shift in my mind as if I was above my body, watching myself, and witnessing my voyage across the hot coals. I marched forward like a warrior on that thousand mile path. Time stopped. Everything stood still. Even the din of the crowd cheering me and everyone else on faded away and there was profound silence. Silently, I trudged on, shedding a lifetime of muck. After what seemed like eternity, I took my last step across the fire path. I was done, and with nary a burn or bruise on my bare feet. Miraculous. I remember asking the security team if I could do it again.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking”. Friedrich Nietzsche

Memories: The Longest Walk... May all your steps be swift and self-assured.

How did you feel afterwards? With each step I took on that fire walk, I felt a load lifting off my shoulders. The fire of the walking path was searing away the layers of a lifetime of accumulated debris; I felt both a sense of relief and exhilaration. I was jumping for joy and floated back to my hotel room to call a few friends and my family. I was stoked; the positive energy and vibes stayed with me. My outlook on life also shifted and whenever I felt my energies waning, I revisited those moments inside myself and watched myself soar. I still do. It was an amazing experience… What memories of the event come to mind? There’s more below… 😉

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” Mary Anne Radmacher

Memories: The Longest Walk... May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door

What memories of the event come to mind? Recently, I was looking at some photos I took at the retreat, (we weren’t allowed to take fire walk pictures – pity really), and remembered the happiness and sense of anticipation in the room. There were people from around the world, and I made some new friends. Signing up for the fire walk was a great leap of faith on my part, but it was worth it. Before the retreat ended, we wrote letters to ourselves about our goals for the coming year. Because we were operating from a place of clarity and strength, I believe we wrote what we truly intended to accomplish. This was not a fickle attempt at a list of new year resolutions most of us know we won’t keep. Tony’s people collected them and mailed them back to us in a year. When I opened my letter a year later, I was impressed to see that I had honored what I committed to do. For me, this was the longest walk…

What about you? What are your thoughts? What’s the longest you’ve ever walked in a single day? What prompted your walk? How did you feel afterwards? What memories of the event come to mind? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: What’s the longest you’ve ever walked in a single day? Write about what happened, how far you walked, and whether it was by choice, or something happened that forced you to travel differently than you expected.

Positive Motivation Tip: Throughout our lives, we are on a steady journey, taking a long walk to meet ourselves. Be steady on the path and all will be revealed…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Horse walking, Fire walking, Walk cycle, and castle walking, via Wikipedia. Or via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

48 Comments leave one →
  1. 27/12/2011 9:33 pm

    Wow, such amazing post you shared. I couldn’t see myself doing what you did. Then again we can never know what we can actually do. Ty for sharing your story with us. God Bless 🙂

    • 28/12/2011 8:06 pm

      TY too for your feedback. I suppose I was ready when I took the leap. 🙂

  2. 27/12/2011 10:05 pm

    Love the story of your fire walk and how much of a difference it made for you.

    My longest walk in one day was 25 miles – on the AT. Many people do far longer days, but backpacking up and down hills, that was plenty for me! 🙂

    • 28/12/2011 8:08 pm

      Yes, I didn’t expect that much shift in my consciousness but it was quite powerful. TY! 🙂

  3. 27/12/2011 10:31 pm

    Wow! Walking on coals! Here I plan to cross America on foot in 2012 and think nothing of the dangers of that, but the idea of walking on super hot fiery coals makes me go a bit pale. I don’t think I could do it.

    Kudos to you!

    • 28/12/2011 8:09 pm

      Please, a walk across America is huge in my book! I think you should do the fire walk before or after your walk… Now I’m impressed. TY! 🙂

  4. 27/12/2011 10:44 pm

    Whoa…fire walking? How awesome is that?!?! Personally, I think my memory has deleted most of my walking experiences since my body is totally against any type of physical activity…just kidding. 🙂 I love the walking in sunshine part… hummm, I wonder why???

    • 28/12/2011 8:10 pm

      😆 Yes that sunshine line is just for you. I bet you’ve done some heavy lifting in the walking dept. TY! 😉

  5. 28/12/2011 12:13 am

    Fire walking sounds like an amazing experience! This past year, we went on several nature hikes that were each a little over three miles in length. We took our time and stopped to take photos along the way. It was wonderful, but not nearly as empowering as fire walking.

    • 28/12/2011 8:12 pm

      It was an amazing experience and I have thought about it over and over for many years… Ditto my experience with being elevated into the air without any support in my NLP class … Now that was mind bending and I was wide awake, though in a state of hypnosis. TY 🙂

  6. 28/12/2011 1:40 am

    good, Eliz, that you start your front page now directly with the latest blog post!

    • 28/12/2011 8:13 pm

      TY Frizztext! However nothing has changed. If you click on the post link that arrives in your email, it always takes you to the post not just to my blog page… 😉

  7. 28/12/2011 2:40 am

    A wonderful post! I have missed reading your postings because Google wouldn’t let me into your site (something about a bug detected) so today it occured to me to try a different search engine and voila! I’m here!

    I have taken many long walks in my life but never thought about the longest walk. I think my longest walks are the internal journeys that take us through life transitions. I’ve had a few of those, the greatest transition taking place after my divorce. The walk of the soul since that time has been phenomenal. I am not the same person. I like the person I am today, but I expect more long walks from time to time, literally and figuratively.

    I am impressed with the fact that you actually walked on fire! Much to think about.

    • 28/12/2011 8:03 pm

      TY Cecelia! I’m still crawling through everyone’s blog to catch up; it’s been a difficult two weeks for me… As for the bug Google mentioned,. If you had trouble visiting my blog in the last few days, it is because I unwittingly added a shiny tree with icons to my blog, apparently it came from a questionable site and Google had to warn people off until I deleted the tree. My blog has been cleared now. Thank God! Phew! 🙂

  8. 28/12/2011 4:42 am

    I love walking. These days that’s the most enjoyable thing I do. I walk in the morning and afternoon. Yesterday, my walk in the falling snow took me to my special spot in the woods where I visited with a doe and her almost grown fawn. They were not happy to see me, but if you sit motionless they will just snort and stamp feet, — they will not leave until you do–but all that’s not why I’m commenting. Back in the day, JFK put forth a challenge to every kid in school (or out of school), he said go out and walk 50 miles. I never took him up on the challenge, but a heavy set kid in my class (I think I was in the 5th or 6th grade) did. It took him from the dark of the morning to the dark of night, but he made it and nobody ever teased him again about his weight after that.
    My point is–look how far we’ve come (backpedaled)–from having a U. S. President challenge us to walk 50 miles in a day to………Nice post.

    • 28/12/2011 8:15 pm

      You share you observations and journey beautifully. I love walking too and I find it very relaxing. Because I do it regularly, my body craves it and I always feel calm after a long walk. TY! 🙂

  9. 28/12/2011 5:02 am

    Nice post as always.

    By the way I can’t read your blog recently because your site may have viruses. However, I can access your site today. I’m glad to read this again.

    • 28/12/2011 8:05 pm

      TY Cocomino and I will definitely complete my visit to read all your remaining posts too. As for the bug Google mentioned, if you had trouble visiting my blog in the last few days, it was because I unwittingly added a shiny tree with icons to my blog, apparently it came from a questionable site, and Google had to warn people off until I deleted the tree. My blog has been cleared now. Thank God! Lesson learned. Phew! 🙂

  10. Bree permalink
    28/12/2011 7:28 am

    This is a fascinating story. I’ve never walked on fire but hope to one day. I enjoyed the details and the excitement in the retelling. I guess you decided to leave out the other story from your childhood? This was engaging.

    • 28/12/2011 8:16 pm

      Yes, I decided that the childhood story belonged elsewhere… Glad you noticed! I hope you try a fire walk someday. Tony Robbins offers an excellent workshop or retreat that includes it. TY! 🙂

  11. 28/12/2011 8:12 am

    There are many approaches to handling tough transitions, but I know no one else who has done what you have! Walking on fire is something people read about or see clips of but don’t really think about doing in their own little comfort zones. Amazing journey. The power of the mind is sooo strong and so are you to show us how! Thank you for sharing this journey Elizabeth – I love that you got the letter back after a year and you held true to your goals. Beautiful!!

    • 28/12/2011 8:17 pm

      TY Karen, I agree… The fire walk was a big mind shift for me and I’m glad I did it. Yes, the letter was a treat. TY! 🙂

  12. 28/12/2011 8:29 am

    You have lived such an incredibly interesting life Elizabeth. When is your memoir coming out?

    • 28/12/2011 8:19 pm

      Oh but so have you Barb! 🙂 The memoir is in development and, like yours, I pray to complete it in a timely manner. TY! 🙂

  13. 28/12/2011 9:50 am

    That’s wonderful, E! Good on you!!! 😀

  14. 28/12/2011 10:05 am

    Wow – fire walking! I enjoy hiking. I don’t really know how long the hikes were. I left that detail to my hubby. I was enjoying it too much and taking lots of photos.

    • 28/12/2011 8:20 pm

      I love hiking to and used to do quite a bit of it when I was in school… Great memories there too. Photos are wonderful to take. Good for you! TY! 🙂

  15. 28/12/2011 11:23 am

    What an incredible experience…

  16. 28/12/2011 5:28 pm

    Amazing, Eliz! I certainly don’t have the courage to fire walk. But I do love to go forest bathing and hiking–just went today for a 6-mile hike. Great post.

    • 28/12/2011 8:22 pm

      I didn’t have the courage either until I tried it and then I wanted more… 😆
      What is forest bathing? What an interesting concept. TY! 🙂

  17. 28/12/2011 5:30 pm

    I love walking, but sadly in the middle of Kingston, Jamaica it is not a pleasant experience. The Blue Mountains are wonderful for walking, however, so long as you watch your step and don’t slip down a steep slope! I always remember with fondness long winter walks with my father in England – along the bleak seashore or through the woods. I complained then – but would give anything now to take one more walk with Daddy… And what a wonderful RW Emerson quote!

    • 28/12/2011 8:23 pm

      Oh I totally get it. I have some good memories of family walks too… We took it for granted back in the day… Yep, I hear you. TY! 🙂

  18. 28/12/2011 9:09 pm

    Wow, what an amazing story to share. I haven’t ever really taken the time to think about the longest walk I’ve ever taken. Mentally, it’s been from 2003 – 2011. But I think that phase of my journey is complete. I’m at a state of rest and 2012 will begin to be my new walk onto greater things. May I ask what your accomplishment was that you’d put in the envelope that he mailed to you? If it’s too personal, I totally understand. But just know this story is beautiful and inspirational for my 2012 walk.

    • 31/12/2011 11:52 pm

      Oh TY and I feel the same way about how to tackle 2012. My goals were professional and to do something special for my kids… I did them all. ♥HAPPY NEW YEAR :-)!

  19. 28/12/2011 9:16 pm

    What an amazing experience, Elizabeth! It seems to me that was a very brave thing to do, but you were obviously really ready for the experience. I have often used walking as a way to work through grief and times of emotional distress. I have been known to walk for miles, simply taking off from home base and making my way to a track or park or just through neighborhoods I enjoy. I get into an almost spiritual zone and the walking helps me emotionally unpack. Thank you for sharing so personally. Debra

    • 31/12/2011 11:53 pm

      Walking has always been a refuge for me and I do it regularly to clear my head. I love it too. TY! ♥HAPPY NEW YEAR :-)!

  20. 29/12/2011 1:10 am

    Great Entry my friend very Helpful 😉

    • 31/12/2011 11:55 pm

      TY Jake; love your posts too. ♥HAPPY NEW YEAR :-)!

  21. 29/12/2011 8:09 am

    There are times when I walk deep in thought only to realize it’s been miles. I suppose the beauty of the earth was needed at the time for me to reflect on life.

    • 31/12/2011 11:57 pm

      It was probably the call for you. Glad to see you here. TY! ♥HAPPY NEW YEAR :-)!

  22. 29/12/2011 5:52 pm

    I love this post, Elizabeth. I felt as if I were there watching you walk on fire. How beautiful, how empowering. The longest walk I’ve ever taken? Probably from mid-town to Harlem on 9/11 and again during the blackout — not sure how many miles. I took that walk or part of it on other occasions but it seems more rushed than meditative, though I’m sure there was some meditative quality there.

    • 31/12/2011 11:59 pm

      Hi Marcia, TY for your feedback. It was a powerful time and I felt like I was in another space altogether. It was euphoric and empowering. TY!

  23. 30/12/2011 10:08 am

    I never knew anyone that actually walked on fire. Amazing. I guess after coming through at unscathed, you can face anything!

    • 01/01/2012 12:00 am

      I can face many things but I’m not tempting fate… Blessings to you and yours! ♥HAPPY NEW YEAR :-)!

  24. 02/01/2012 12:09 am

    My husband walked for four hours when he was first released into community detention during his asylum seeker days after well over a year held in captivity.

  25. 02/01/2012 6:31 am

    Fire Walking!??!? I am so impressed and envious. I have always wanted to try it. I am not sure if I am brave enough though. Maybe I should add it to my bucket list!

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