Thursday, 13 October 2016

1236 Degrees Fahrenheit

I realised it was going to be hot...

'It's mind over matter', I told myself. So no one was more surprised than me when two small but painful blisters appeared on the sole of my right foot on Sunday night.

How did they get there? I had just walked for 20 feet (that's 9 paces) over embers burning at a temperature of 1236 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why would I do such a foolhardy thing? For the love of animals.

Blisters on my foot

Julie about to do the fire walk
I approach everything in life this way!
Smile, walk, worry about any consequences later!
Julie fire walking
It was at about this point that I began to feel the burn.

Wood Green: The Animals Charity

I've been a supporter of Wood Green in Godmanchester since 2005. This was the year I first homed two elderly cats from the animal rescue charity. Their names were Betty and Lola and they were both 15 years of age. Since then I have homed Smudge (15), Jasmine (10), Sooty (14), Derek (14) and Gracie (4) and a dog called Reggie (7). My cat Betty lived until the ripe old age of 20.

All have brought joy to my life beyond measure.

Picture of Smudge by Penny Howie
This picture of my cat Smudge was drawn by artist Penny Howie.

When I heard that Wood Green had organised a fire walk fundraising event I was one of the first to sign up. I also took the opportunity to start a blog about my cat Gracie, who is the newest addition to my feline family. Gracie was not doing well when I met her. She had been living a very stressful life and had begun to self harm. She was terrified of people and very aggressive. With time, patience and perseverance I am very proud to have helped Gracie to turn her life around. She is now the most sweet-natured and loving cat I have ever owned. Gracie has taught me a great deal about trust and fear. You can read about Gracie here.

Fire is Hot!

I approached the 20 feet of burning embers with confidence. Perhaps a little too much confidence! By walking a fraction too slowly I allowed the soles of my feet to remain in contact with the burning embers for slightly too long. The result: scorched feet!

But do you know what? It's no big deal. Any 'suffering' that I experienced is nothing compared to what the animals that Wood Green rescues have been through. The experience was a very positive one for me. Not only did I raise £305 for Wood Green, but I learned a little bit more about confidence than I knew before.

20ft of fire
I walked on this. Could you?

Become a Community Volunteer

There is no magic to fire-walking. It is real fire and it is as hot as they say. The 'trick' is in how the heat is conducted and if you stand on the embers you will burn. Walking at a brisk pace is the key.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. When you put yourself into a new situation or do something that scares you a little you soon discover that you have personal resources far beyond what you had imagined. Most of us do the same things every day because familiarity feels safe. But when we take personal risks and try things that we wouldn't 'normally' do, it can help us to realise that life is a lot less limiting that we had imagined.

If you get the opportunity to do something a little outside your comfort zone I encourage you to embrace it wholeheartedly. In the coming months, there will be news of many activities in Orton that the Green Party is organising and we'll be looking for volunteers from our local communities to help us! If you've never volunteered before and feel a little daunted, grab your courage with both hands and walk with us. You'll be amazed by how good doing something different for the benefit of your local community makes you feel.

Fire walk challenge certificate

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