Vision Quest is a multi-cultural ceremony that has been leading people into the wilderness to ‘cry for a vision’ for thousands of years. For some, it is a response to a tap on the shoulder, a tug at the heart, an opportunity to get quiet, go deep, search for answers, and face the fears that we are ready to remove from our path.
By fasting and sitting alone in the stillness of Nature, we are given an opportunity to listen with all of our ears and open ourselves to the Wisdom within and without that speaks with a golden voice through the seen and unseen worlds.
It is not a Ceremony to be taken lightly and all women are expected to come, participate in service and support at a Women’s Quest Fire and base camp before making the commitment to climb the mountain and seek a vision.
Questing begins with a series of circle gatherings to explore the foundations of self discovery. Part of taking care of oneself is remembering how to connect deeply with nature, and with the sacred rhythms of the earth. All one needs to understand spiritually can be found in nature. In this modern-day, fast-paced living that we do, we often forget to slow down and see the sacredness all around us; to really honor the sacred space of the plant people, the stone people, the four-leggeds, the winged ones, those that crawl, and those that swim.
We are nature, and in our spiritual walk, we want to respect, honor, and learn from the beauty that surrounds us, the life that surrounds us. We have merely forgotten, and it’s time to come together in Ceremony, and remember. Vision Quest is an opportunity to peel away the layers of everyday life, and connect deeply with nature and one’s place in it.
Whether you are going up on the mountain, or supporting the Questers and community at base camp, it’s a time of inner growth by learning to live fully in gratitude, honoring the sacredness of all life, honoring ourselves and one another, and becoming comfortable with our own personal power. Everyone Quests. It’s a beautiful time to go deeper into learning the value of ceremony.
This is a wonderful sisterhood of women growing together in community while holding a higher vision for humanity. There are many variations to the quest, which we have been holding annually since 2008. If you are interested in learning more about this sacred tradition, supporting the Questers at base camp, or are being called to Quest yourself, please contact me.
The hearth Fires are burning, the nights have turned cold, and some may be feeling a longing to discover something forgotten, remember something hidden.
If you are hearing a call for deep introspection, release of old patterns, and clarity of purpose then this weekend retreat has arrived right on time.
Space is limited!!
We look forward to assisting you in Tending Your Fire Within.
What is Inner Fire? It is the essence of creation that exists within all people; the spark of inner power, creativity, and joy that motivates and directs us to make the specific choices that become our path. It is the essence that is unique to you.
A Women’s Winter Retreat of Introspection…….sound like something you need? Come, step into Sacred Space with us.
I continue to search for my own honest answers about myself, and work to change the things I can as they become visible to me. I arrived on this planet under the Native American astrological sign of the Salmon (known as Leo to others), and have an intimate experience of seeking the courage and strength needed to leap into the current that is my life.
I recall accepting full responsibility for making all of the choices that positioned me in joyously fulfilling situations. I was not as willing to claim an awareness of choosing the challenging ones.
Clinging to a mindset of desperation, loneliness, and a general feeling of being out of control, it seemed like the world, and everything in it, was against me. Nothing seemed simple. Struggle, hardship, pain, disappointment, and despair were my reality. Something outside of myself seemed to be writing my dramatic script, and was creating endless obstacles that kept me swirling in chaos. I was convinced I was a victim of life’s cruelty. It was not the truth.
As we experience these bumps in the road of life, we often embrace the emotion that accompanies the event, becoming that emotion. What we don’t recognize is our ability to define the truth of the event, and, therefore, feed our higher purpose.
It is up to us to identify what and who we choose to be, every moment of every day. I remember when I decided to take an honest look at my life. Was I truly showing up and being seen as my potential? Was I seeing the potential in myself, or had I settled for the mask that appeared with the old patterns and belief systems from my original imprinting?
The answers resided in the old saying, “When you point a finger of blame at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” It always gets back to us. We are the only ones that we can truly change in any way. We may influence the opinion, choice, or response of another, but the ultimate decision to make a personal change is up to the individual.
My decisions will influence others by the choice of my words or actions, and I must accept responsibility for that influence. But it remains the responsibility of others to make their own choices when responding.
A stone thrown into a still pond is responsible for the splash. It is also responsible for the ripples that occur because of that action. So, the way we behave – the stone – becomes part of the reality of others. The effect of that behavior – the ripples – collide with the shoreline of those with whom we are in relationship. That collision creates an opportunity for a response, or a reaction, and we remain accountable for our action that influenced it.
It is important to accept responsibility in all life situations. We are surrounded by relationships, it’s what life is. As we dance this dance with others we are well served to gain proficiency in our challenge to respond instead of react in moments of conflict.
As human actors in this universal play, we define what our roles are. We are one part of the whole. We each hold a unique piece of this colossal puzzle; each voice is needed to ensure complete harmony. Now that I live with this understanding, I acknowledge my responsibility for maintaining my conscious awareness. To do so, I must constantly pay attention to my role in all relationships. I must determine to respond in a good way with a heart that holds no grudges, an ego that isn’t vindictive, and a soul that sees the fallibility and vulnerability of the individual aspects of humanity. We are all learning. Life is a ‘work in progress’.
I remember bumping into the walls of my life maze, only able to visualize the view my selfish perspective allowed me to see. I was doomed – cursed, to be sure. My prophecy was being self-fulfilled in every moment, and I remained totally clueless about the process.
When I first stepped onto the healing portion of my road, the challenges appeared endless, dark, and ominous. I felt a sense of loneliness and isolation. I persevered and continued my dedication to healing these slivers of my past that promised to stunt my spiritual evolution, and stifle my capabilities. I faced the power of the current rushing toward me and persisted on my destined journey, always swimming upstream. Continued recognition of old patterns and working practically to create change within was my only way to shift from who I had grown to believe I was, into the woman I longed to uncover and release.
Now, I no longer need to know why, about anything. Whatever reason I gave myself to bury and repress fear is of very little consequence. This moment, right now, is all that I have. The events that caused me pain are my past, my graveyard. They cannot feed me the nourishment my soul requires for its evolution, and I must leave them behind to move towards the feast that now feeds my life.
It is my belief that everyone comes from a dysfunctional family. There are varying degrees of intensity, but we are all surrounded by the learned patterns and behaviors of our personal environments. We experience the combined strengths and weaknesses of our ancestral pool and meet opportunities to choose the healthiest attributes to cultivate. When we are aware, we are able to access these handed-down contributions by building on legacies, strengths, and weaknesses. The negative behaviors learned in childhood do not need to accompany us any longer. It is a choice, whether we are cognizant of that choice, or not.
Willingness to Identify harmful patterns is the first step in this process. Learning how to have forgiveness is the second. As I delved deeper and deeper into my childhood memories I could clearly see the patterns I was repeating. I learned how I had become a mass of knots and stress.
None of those memories lead to major trauma in any way. They simply illustrated the affect that ripples had upon the shorelines of my life. I looked around one day and realized I had been blaming others for all of my problems, unfulfilled relationships, and numerous, chaotic life patterns. Although the memories were paramount in the formation of harmful attributes, I had no concept of choosing a different path for myself. My experience was precisely what I remembered, but the events were no longer happening in my present. I discovered how to make wise choices about where to place my feet next on my path. I could make a different choice. I was not a victim.
When I recognized that relationships in my life were comprised of individuals who were responding in the best way they knew how, it became easier to develop understanding and forgiveness for their choices. They were only repeating patterns they had been taught, and were allowing themselves to still be affected by their own unhealed wounds. I began to embrace forgiveness for them. I gave them my favor, my acceptance – and everything began to shift in my daily life.
Once in a place of forgiveness you notice your walls of self-inflicted imprisonment disappear, and you see they were only an illusion anyway. Now you stand in a place of calm understanding and are able to realize compassion. Life takes on new meaning, a new perspective.
Isn’t it easier to understand the outlook of another when we can imagine their reality, their experience, their pain? Isn’t it easier to forgive someone when we recognize their limitations, confusion, and mountains of emotional wounds left untreated?
When we pardon someone for a mistake, or a wrongdoing, we are listening to the truth of our heart and forgiveness reigns supreme. When we pardon ourselves, we are giving permission to step more directly in line with compassion, and love.
Now, I am able to view myself as an awake and aware human being. I observe my appearance in life by the truthful costumes and masks I wear on my stage.
I have learned to view all relationships as potential for great wisdom. It is up to me to pay attention, and listen, to the knowledge that avails itself to me. I stand at another crossroads, and await another choice. The same is true for you.
If we are all connected and we each carry a spark of Divine Creation within, then you and I are a reflection of one another. You are another one of me, and I am another one of you. I believe it’s the Mayans who say, “You are another myself.”
Am I showing up focused and centered within myself? Am I showing up as my true self? Am I ready to listen with no predetermined agenda, or am I still cloaked in my old aggression? Am I embracing the light I carry within? Am I in a place of forgiveness for my old choices?
If you say something unkind to me and I feel hurt, it is my responsibility to own any truth hidden in your statement and, to focus on understanding why I felt hurt. Why you wanted to be unkind is a question that becomes yours to investigate, or not. Look closely at what objects dwell along your shoreline, and at the stone or the ripples created.
How we show up in the world is directly related to how well we are able to listen, observe, and then respond to ourselves and others. Once we are able to fully recognize and discern our true Self, we own the ability to heal those aspects that allow us to participate in the drama of the macrocosm. By accepting our responsibility and accountability for our seat in the Sacred Circle, we set a powerful example as we walk. As we move forward within the spotlight of our own illumination, we reclaim glimpses of our peaceful origin. We remember a peaceful state of being and continue to inch towards that source as we quest for inner peace.
There are as many paths to the top of the mountain as there are individuals who seek the journey. They are all valid, they are all sacred. We are one human family living with many relations. Our walk must reflect the sacred path that we follow as we ascend our mountain of life, and prepare ourselves for further evolution.
Forgiveness is a life-changing stepping stone on that path.
Everything comes from the same Original Source, therefore it’s all connected in the deepest and most fundamental way. When we remember some of the basic companions of love – gratitude, respect, compassion, service, integrity, impeccability, forgiveness, and truth – and begin to use them, we immediately notice balance and harmony emanating from within. Then, we begin to see it reflected in the world around us. In order to create a culture of peace, we must walk a path of peace as individuals.
The Elders of many nations have spoken about the times we are living in. They have prophesied much that has happened thus far, and speak of a life out of balance, out of control. They highlight aspects of the patriarchal domination system – greed, separation, and violence – that keep us isolated from one another, and fearful.
They also continue to whisper a reminder of another way of living, another choice, another way of being in right relations with all members of Mother Earth’s family. These old ways offer a tried and true way of living with honor and respect for all living beings. It is a circular path, with a circular perspective of time and life through seasons and cycles. They offer reverence for our inter-connectedness with all of Creation, and the harmony that springs from that understanding. It is a way to listen and hear that opens the heart to a universal language of love.
This physical existence has spun its web intertwining life forms and providing an opportunity to grow and ripen to our highest and fullest capabilities. We have everything we need to transform violence, injustice, devastation and ruin. We have everything we need to heal ourselves and our communities. We have everything we need to create a path of peace and live it.
We walk our spiritual path alone, so it is ours to identify. We must walk the path that speaks the language of our heart. Each path that is based in love provides a way of walking that honors the most basic and universal Teachings of peace. When each of us discards our own contribution to violence, we are able to listen and hear that innate wisdom that surfaces from within. Once we access that wisdom, we are able to embrace a deeper love of self, and a deeper understanding and compassion for ‘the other’.
We all have a role to play in this unfolding event we call life. Each individual holds an interlocking piece of this grand, global puzzle. We see the crossroads ahead and remember, that by choosing love over fear this can be a new beginning on our collective journey of being peace.
Will you use this day to begin facing your own fears? Will you forgive yourself for the violence that continues to dwell within you? Will you make a new choice and truly hear the pain and suffering coming from those you consider ‘the enemy’? Will you greet the new day with love in your heart and say no to judgment?
Together, we can heal the wounds. Together, we can rebuild our broken system. Together, we can plant new gardens of hope and prosperity. Together, we can create a culture of peace.
I let go of all preconceived notions of who I had allowed myself to believe I needed to be, and gave myself permission to become the person I truly am.
I let go of self-doubt, feelings of lack, and old patterns of unworthiness that continued to plague me. Though they were not the formidable force they once were, I still gave them power to hold me back from stepping fully into my capabilities.
I let go of trying to balance my hopeful ideals with the negative activities of those who promote and participate in violence.
I let go of who I thought I needed to be because I was comparing myself to others who are doing what I think I want or need to be doing or being!! Acckk! What suffocating, limiting and self-imposed beliefs of the person I once was.
I let go because the ways I was trying to help in the world were twisting me up inside and creating a feeling of despair and failure. I was not being fed. I was being depleted and it felt like the life-force was being sucked out of me.
When I took a step back and focused on the direction of my life as an activist these past few years, I realized I needed to let go of following an agenda that other like-minded folks follow.
So, I let go of internalizing the global violence I have come to know about. It’s a painful process to witness the inhumanity of man and experience the frustration and helplessness that accompanies it. The inevitable question always surfaced – “But what can I do that makes a difference?”. There was never a viable answer that brought change to the daily lives of those oppressed.
I needed to open my heart and spirit to the creative process of redefining myself, how I relate to the world, and how I can be of most service to those voices that need to be heard and acknowledged.
I needed to begin to listen for my own rhythm.
I needed to dance to the beat of my own drum.
I needed to allow the true me to surface and shine, and then see what doors appear before me and actually begin to open.
So I did, I just let go.
I always talk about the magic in synchronicity, and now it’s time to give rise to the synchronicity that appears on my path and walk my talk.
I make a new choice to stand strong in love and gratitude.
I make a new choice to highlight and support the nurturing and loving aspects of the human spirit.
I make a new choice to remind others of what we are capable of, instead of what we are conditioned to accept as inevitable truth.
I make a choice to promote healing, and beauty, and kindness, and hope, and support, and compassion, and building community, and respect.
I make a choice to fly high, like the graceful hawk, and view life from the perspective that sees the endless possibilities of productive change, not only the twisted, fearful mess that our culture perpetuates and continues to impose on us.
I make a choice to let go of negativity, drama, and fear to make more room for life’s treasures of love, friendship, assistance, guidance, support, inner personal growth, and the healing and growth of my extended human family.
Like the leaves falling from their lofty perches and making their way to the waiting breast of the Earth Mother, I just let go and allow myself the life-changing opportunity to be embraced by the new path and new life of beauty that await the new me.
Have you ever had something happen in your life that turned everything upside down? Of course you have. I have too, but somehow this time is different. Maybe because I’m older and feel like time is running out? Or maybe, because it’s just time to stop and decide what’s really important, to me, right now.
That’s where I keep getting stuck. There is an enormous list of all of the things that hold importance to me. Peace, human rights, social justice, protection of the earth, to name a few. But where do I fit in now? What can I contribute to the whole? How can I best serve myself and humanity?
Peace activism, nonviolence training, mentoring women, support of veterans rights and voices, women’s ritual and ceremony all hold a special place in my heart and have for several years now. Enormous energy has been expended for the cause and we still face increasing global violence and war. Have I made any difference at all? Am I focused on what is really important to me? Do I even know what is really important to me? Something is missing. I am missing.
So, I ask myself, “What is it that I want to do for the rest of my life?” That sounds pretty huge! Maybe I should begin with, what is it that I want to do for the next chapter in my life? So, I made a list of all of the projects/activities that I have thought about getting more involved in. I grabbed my trusty yellow highlighter and decided to highlight the things that made my heart sing just from seeing the words. Guess what?
Travel. I want to travel and journal and take photographs to document my journeys. Not exactly a novel idea, but one that grabs my heart and says, “Let’s go!”. And I believe I shall.
Now, I get to decide where to go first and what to do when I get there.