I generally recognize the moments in my life when I’m simply to say “Yes!!” without hesitation. Whether I actually do it or not is another matter entirely. Sometimes fear makes me second-guess myself, paralyzing me when I most want to act & filling me with regret if I submit to it. When I find the courage to release the apprehension that grips me, instead confidently seizing life’s opportunities when they appear, I act from an authentic place- a place of intuition & deep knowing. Then, there can be no regrets for at least I had the courage to try.
One of my spiritual teachers & dear friends offered me the chance to go on a Vision Quest…but wait a minute… aren’t Vision Quests for adolescent boys & girls of Native American descent or other indigenous people desiring a connection with all that is? Yes. Can Vision Quests be a way for any of us to connect with all that is, respectfully crying out for a vision for our lives, too? Absolutely YES.
The Vision Quest is a way to seek clarity during life’s transitions & move forward from a place of greater awareness. For example, we may need redirection or illumination at stages of our lives such as adolescence, graduation, marriage, divorce, empty-nest syndrome, menopause or retirement. Any time we feel apprehension, restlessness, self-doubt, or a gnawing eagerness for transformation is a perfect time for a Vision Quest.
Diverse groups of people around the world have participated in Vision Quests for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. There are just as many ways to prepare for a Vision Quest, from purification rituals to fasting, as there are ways to experience the quest itself. Some believe a Vision Quest should be taken without food & water while others believe water is acceptable. Some believe it should last several days while others believe a shorter time is just as relevant. There doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong here. It’s all about intent.
Can a Vision Quest be a meaningful experience for a middle class, European-American woman, like me, in the 21st century? Again, YES. I approached the concept of Vision Quests carefully for I never want to be disrespectful of someone’s beliefs by arrogantly sticking in my flag, claiming their tradition for my own. (There’s already been too much of that.) Yet I continue to consider the value in the quest for I view my spirituality globally, believing wholeheartedly that everything is connected & that truth can be found in a variety of places if viewed with open eyes & open hearts. I researched & meditated on this topic for weeks to ensure that I was doing this for the right reasons, taking time to consider my motives & expectations.
So why do I want to do this? Time alone with the Divine speaks to my spirit (my soul) so I’m going to go on the quest, staying open to what will be.
As I prepare, I realize the need for a physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual commitment on my part… obvious proof that my intentions are pure so I follow my instincts & do what feels right to get ready for this experience. While some people set a specific purpose for their quest, I choose instead to humbly say, “Communicate with me in a way that I can understand. Tell me what I need to know for my greatest & highest good.”
The quest itself will be a significant amount of time alone in the wilderness, where I will designate a patch of ground as “sacred space” for my quest. It is on that patch of ground that I will simply BE… open & aware. My quest will be like no other for each Vision Quest is as unique as those who quest.