After the circle is complete, the people leave, and I settle within the tall grass. I feel overwhelmed by the cushion of support beneath me, and I weep for the shame of this struggle. Though the morning has passed, I sit facing the East for a moment gazing at the mountains and express gratitude to the Great Spirit for my sponsor. I know I would never have picked this place for myself, but I am grateful for the opportunity to be nurtured.
I mourn for some time until I feel the shifting light around me returns me to the clock. I realize how late in the day it must be, and I turn to the West thinking of all of the changes I’ve experienced since my last vision quest. I am excited to open my heart to this new experience, and I am determined to stay, to finally allow myself the gift Spirit has to offer. I am in no hurry for my vision. I know I must first allow myself to process my life and release it. This takes time. It requires patience. I am in no rush to do anything.
I sit and allow my thoughts to come to me, and when I am done with them, I \give them to the setting sun to feast upon. Then, I will wait for the next thought, and I give again. For now, I do not look beyond this simple task. The thoughts come, and I give them to the Great Spirit to take over the mountain. I empty myself of all of the trite and meaningless ideas in my mind until more difficult thoughts rise. And again, when I am done with the difficult thoughts, I will create new thoughts. I will continue to think and surrender until my brain remembers the quiet place inside, beyond my thoughts, where lessons are taught. Then, I sit before the Great Spirit, and I will be able to hear him speak, and this time, I will stay for His entire message, no matter what he asks of me. This time I will receive my gifts gracefully and with great gratitude.
I look back over everything that happened after I returned from my vision quest last year. I experienced dramatic changes in my life, and while it was not always comfortable, my life is far better than it has ever been. I finally abandoned an unhealthy relationship which had continued off and on for many years. The man I was with had always been so kind and so complimentary, but I was never really the woman he wanted, and I have decided I deserve to be someone’s one and only. I don’t, at my age, expect to be their first choice. Anyone my age will be far beyond finding their first love, but I do want to be the one they choose now. I do not want to ever feel again like someone has ‘settled’ for me. I’ve always been told I would be lucky to have anyone at all, but I am trying to release words like these and to finally have faith in myself as a prized possession and believe the next man to love me will be blessed to have me and even more, he will know it.
During my time away, I also purchased my first home, my only home. I bought it myself, without help from a man, and I am so proud of myself for this accomplishment. I am all of the things they told me I would never be. I am successful and strong, and I am centered and healthy. I am finding my way out of the quicksand that was my childhood, and I am more than I ever believed I was destined to be. I have come out better than anyone ever expected, especially me, and I demand my life reflect these truths.
I am not completely happy with my career, but it is continually moving forward, and I am hopeful for the future. I am making more than double what I did in the past, and I am finally coming to understand my value in the workforce. More importantly, my employers are coming to recognize it, as well.
My son is here at Vision Quest camp with me. He is learning to walk in a good way. He is questing himself, and he is having a life better than the one I lived. I am breaking the cycle of abuse. I couldn’t be more proud of the man he is becoming, each and every day, I watch him. He is amazing to me. He is the mirror of the good in me, and I am honored to know him.
As I sit facing the West, thinking of the remarkable changes that have occurred this past year, and I am so grateful for the catapult of this work. I cannot imagine changes so dramatic again after this second year of vision quests, but I hope. My life is finally becoming what I hoped it could be. I have a wonderful son and a supportive community. I am successful in my financial life, and I am happy to the center of my being.
As the light around me begins its fade to darkness, I surrender the thoughts of the past year, and I return to my contemplation of how difficult it was for me to settle in this circle. I have spent my entire life taking care of the people around me. I often surrender my hopes and dreams for the hopes and dreams of others. I have done this for so long, I do not even know how to hope or dream anymore. I am here to learn comfort and nurturing, the two things I’ve treated with little importance in my life.
I open myself to the truth of how I have lived, and I allow the tears to return. I let them empty me. The pain sitting beneath all of those mundane thoughts of the world to come, and I surrender myself to them. I know it is not pretty, and I know I have failed. I mourn both my own failures and the failures of those around me, who taught me to be alone in the world, who taught me to not trust, who led me to suffer. I accept their failings as my own, and I ask the Great Spirit to forgive us.
I know forgiveness really needs to come from my own heart. The Great Spirit has nothing to forgive because He sees only the truth of what we are; children trying to find our way through a lost and lonely world. I open myself to His Love, and I mourn the life I’ve spent without it. I surrender to the tears, emptying my heart just as the last of the day’s light is emptied from the sky. I guess I will follow this pain into the darkness.