Firewalking: Mind Over Matter or a Tool for Personal Growth, or Both?

ABC News' Elliot Lee Speigel and Moonfire Meeting House founder/director Lorraine Simone slowly walk over 50 pounds of broken wine and beer bottles in the martial arts studio of Michael Agugliaro, also pictured, in Middlesex, N.J., Oct. 17, 2009. (Courtesy Michael/Jennifer Agugliaro)

As with the firewalk, the upshot of this experience, for me, was that I successfully walked over broken glass with no problem. And except for the unnerving sound of the glass crunching beneath my feet as I gingerly made my way across the shards, I came away uncut and exhilarated -- a feeling that has lingered long after the event ended.

Firewalking Out of Katrina

And proponents believe that an activity such as firewalking can help people pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

Charles Pizzo, a communications consultant, and former chairman of the board of the International Association of Business Communicators, lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. He lost everything in the storm: clients, employees and his home.

After several years of trying to rebuild his life, Pizzo discovered firewalking through the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education. "Right then and there, all my resolve galvanized, came together," he says. "It definitely lit a fire inside of me that's undeniable."

Pizzo is a newly certified firewalk instructor and finally excited about how his life is unfolding in the tragic wake of Katrina. "What happened for me, all of that noise in your head -- that head trash -- symbolically got burned off," he says. "Water washed away the life that I knew. Fire reignited my passion for life."

I don't think there was anything mystical or magical -- certainly not supernatural -- about my firewalk-glasswalk experience. But I can say with total certainty that I've been on an interesting "high" since the event. And, yes, I am more motivated now than I've been in recent memory. So, how can that be a bad thing?

I highly recommend the experience.

If you consider trying this out, the best rule of thumb is A) do it under the supervision of someone who knows how to help you be 100 percent safe and comfortable with the experience, and B) don't try this at home.

ABC News' Dan Childs contributed to this story.

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