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Vision Quest

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#1
The White Coyote

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It seems that it is once again time for Belle and I to go on our pilgramage to the desert. For several weeks now I have been suffering with a nagging headache, not sleeping well and finding my spirit weak and without direction. For those of you who don't remember my last visit or do not know what a vision quest is I will explain. A Vision Quest is basically a trip to a remote location without but a very few physical comforts. I will not take food for myself however Belle will be well supplied. I will take ample enough water for her but only limit myself to 2 cups a day. I will not take a shelter or tent for myself. Only a blanket. During this time in the desert, I will contemplate and cry for a vision who will hopefully guide me back to my center and heal my heart. My spirit guide may appear to me in any number of ways. An animal, a star or even a warm wind. When she comes, I will know. Many non indian people do not understand this practice and I could try to explain it all day but the easiest way to describe it is to try and imagine yourself tied by hundreds of small pieces of twine. You are so wrapped up in the drudgery of everyday life, that you have forgotten those essential things that we need the most. Our cellphones, computers, time schedules and automobiles are all slaveowners and we are the slaves. All these things are like those twines knoted around us. Now imagine each one of those pieces slowly untying and falling away. Feel the air as it hits your skin, the water as it cools you. The wind as it blows away the plastic and toxics of everyday life. When all the strings are gone and you are free of all bindings, it is then that you light the sage and wait for your vision. Your spiritual guide to set your feet back on the good red road.

When I return I will be broken, bruised, probably sunburned and slightly dehydrated, but inside my heart will be clean and ready to start life again. Belle will be dirty and happy she was able to run free for a few days.

I will likely leave this Friday so if you don't see me post for a few you will know where I have been. If anyone has any questions about Vision Quests or feels they may want to take the journey themselves I will be happy to answer your questions or help you prepare.

#2
Ungodly

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We will miss you while you are gone, and celebrate your return.

I admire your doing this.

#3
Storybook

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I look forward to hearing what you discover.  But, for my own peace of mind, would you take more water with you?  Please don't put yourself in harms way.


#4
Unbeliever

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Yeah, watch out for those rattlesnakes! See you when you get back.  :rebel_cool:

#5
The White Coyote

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Not to worry. Rattlesnakes won't harm me and to bloat myself on water would be working against the purpose. A vision quest is not a campout nor a sleepover. If I were to take with me all the comforts then I would never be able to minimize my life to those things which are literally essential. Even taking little Belle with me is a stretch but we are so much a part of each other she will not hamper my search. She typically will find a shady spot in the heat of the day to snooze while I will sit in the open and wait and listen. At night she curls up in my lap and sleeps. She was with me the last time and other than harassing a tortise she found, she just sniffed around all day.

#6
TopHat

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I hope you find what you are looking for, be safe.

#7
FlatEarth1024

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Compared to TWC's trek, this is very insignificant, but I find myself able to relate to the sentiment.  I've begun walking recently.  At first, it was short...then longer, currently at three miles.  At the beginning, it was strictly for exercise and the physical benefits it brings. 

But I find my walks taking a more introspective turn, especially as I cope with an unpleasant time in my life.  Instead of concentrating on walking for exercise, I find myself using this time to look inward and cleanse myself of anger and sadness.

If I were to take with me all the comforts then I would never be able to minimize my life to those things which are literally essential.


On my trip, I pass hundreds of homes and many of them are running sprinklers, so I am never in danger...but I find myself choosing to go without water on my trip, and even welcoming the pains and strains that often arise.  I can't really explain it.  Sometimes, sore and getting thirsty and with a mile left, I just want to quit, whip out the cell phone and get a ride home.  But that's when IT happens.  Suddenly, instead of staggering around, my pace quickens to nearly a march and my breath finds a steady huff.....huff.....huff rhythm every six steps.  That's when my thoughts become so clear I can actually hear them in my own voice, as if they were off-screen narration.  The once unbearable pain is now forgotten, and I am at once oblivious to my surroundings and completely aware of every rustling of grass every bird on every phone wire.  That is when that which was confusing begins to become clear.

I wish I could put that feeling into a bottle, but I guess it can only be reached through some sort of physical trial - me through my walks, Coyote on his quest...maybe one of you suffering through 100 situps or something.

#8
TopHat

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I've always wanted to just go into the forest with a lined book, and several pencils. I would just sit there and write, not worry about anything else. However, I fear I am to young to do that.

#9
Ungodly

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What a wonderful bunch of people are here.

I was doing a very similar thing to you, FlatEarth, shortly after I retired last fall.  But some problems with my feet made it very painful to walk, and one of them became worse the more I walked, so I spent the winter indoors not getting my exercise.  I think you guys are pointing me to what I really need to do, and the injured foot is much better now too.

I do so love walking.  As a child I'd be the one encouraging everybody to go for long hikes, and the one to insist we go a little farther usually too.  It does bring clarity to the mind and it stimulates lots of good processes in the body too.

#10
Ungodly

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I've always wanted to just go into the forest with a lined book, and several pencils. I would just sit there and write, not worry about anything else. However, I fear I am to young to do that.


You are not too young to do anything, don't put limitations on yourself.  When you have a creative impulse, go for it.

I promise you that when you get to be 149 you will not regret the things you did, you will only regret the things you did not do.

#11
TopHat

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You're right
maybe I should do it...

I have time.

#12
The Force

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Good luck on your vision quest, WC. May you rediscover your center of being. It really is so easy to get caught up in petty things that don't really matter in the modern world, things that we allow ourselves to stress and fuss and worry over.

What matters is taking advantage of opportunities to improve yourself and learn new things about the world, cause in the end, you're only going to care about what kinds of relationships you had, how much personal enrichment you undertook, and what kind of impact you had on others; the business deals, the tests, the GPA's, the stuff you accumulated, what others thought about you, they don't matter in the long term.

I have to keep reminding myself of these things constantly, because I worry too much about the future and get depressed.

FlatEarth, the experience you have when you get a "second wind" and your thoughts become clear and confident is kind of like the runner's highs I get when I'm out running. Distance walking/running is great for clearing the mind and just allowing all kinds of random thoughts to jump around in your head as you push yourself past what you think you can do. Doesn't it feel great afterwards to keep going even when you really wanted to stop?

TopHat, go for it! Just make sure that someone knows where you're going and around when you plan to be back (sorry, that's my wilderness training kicking in. Too many people get lost and die in the Rockies around here because they didn't think).

#13
The White Coyote

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The "Vision Quest" the "Walkabout" and all similar treks have their root in mans quest to see something within himself that is screened or blocked out by modern life. The key is to know your own physical limitations and press yourself just a bit past that point. It is in this state that you find the strength and power that is the actual furnace that drives your body and mind. The things to remember are that anywhere you walk is only half the distance you will have to travel. Also, if you choose to travel in the wilderness, woods or desert, you either better know how to read a compass or navigate by the sun and stars. Thirdly and probably the most important is to know why you are going and expect nothing. Not every walk is a vision quest and not every quest is successful. I have spent many nights in the desert, the seashore and the woods and believe me most of the time it was nothing more than an ill prepared camping trip.

TopHat: Although you are young it is never too early to begin your own spiritual quest. This has nothing to do with any religious ideas or ghosts or spirits but rather the driving force, the furnace in your belly, the guide that controls your life. For me the Coyote came to me in a dream and ate my heart, yet I live and walk. But my heart belongs to Coyote and it is her path that I must follow. If my life strays too far, then I become weak and tired. Take your pencils and your book and find a place where the only thing you hear is the woods. Sit quietly and count slowly from one thousand. Do this backwards. Then rise up and look around. Watch as an entire new world opens up and you won't be able to write fast enough. Try it, you will be amazed.

FlatEarth: Next time, leave the cell phone at home. Go barefoot or wear sandals if you have sensitive feet and when you get to that point, run your toes through one of those sprinklers. Then turn about and walk home. I had a similar trek once for three miles through the woods to the ocean. When I got there I was facing the largest body of water in the world and hadn't a drop to drink. I walked into the ocean up to my knees and never had water felt so good. Then I had to walk three miles back. Just like you, the walk back was incredible. my senses seemed to be on fire and I saw everything so much clearer. When I finally got back I drank from a clear stream and I have never found water so refreshing.

Force; thank you. It is true we sometimes get so caught up in the trappings of life that we forget our way. I have very little actual family, only one friend left, other than you guys,  and much of my life has centered around death and killing. My past is an ugly one and if I were to think of it too often I would probably end up a blithering idiot drooling in a closet somewhere. I am and always will be "under orders" to not say too much so I must keep much of my life a secret. It is all of this "stuff" that has driven me, perhaps guided me back to the "religion" of my ancestors. A belief that all of us are a part of this world and each of us is no more important nor less important than the next. Each people, two legged as well as four legged has a purpose and although some may seem useless, they too have their uses if only to provide us with humor or objects of ridicule. In the end, as Steve and I have already discussed several times. We will be nothing more than ashes spread across the desert blowing in the wind. And all the money, riches, wealth and fame will mean nothing more than an irritation in some dumb ass  tourists eye.

#14
The White Coyote

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I am back. Very tired and sick with a cold. It was raining about half of the time and very cold at night. I sat through the night with the Coyote in my lap, hunched over to keep her dry with a blanket around us. The desert spoke to me and although I did not have a vision it was cleansing none the less. A tiny scorpion used my knee for shelter and I saw no reason to brush her away. Like all desert creatures, she too was just trying to seek shelter and survive. A thunderstorm crossed over us in the evening so I thought it prudent to walk away from the mountaintop and down into the valley. The following morning we walked back out and went to another peak. We sat down for a rest and as we were sitting, Belle having a little snack, I noticed something far off on another hilltop. It looked like a large white pole or tower. All about me was nothing but desert, yet here in the middle of nowhere was this pure white geometric form. It was probably two miles as the crow flies but over the sage and rocks I knew it was much further. I tried to put the thing out of my mind but I kept looking at it. It is not my intention when taking this type ofjourney, to seek out things made by man. I try to focus on the natural world but for some reason I could not stop my gaze from returning again and again. After several minutes I decided that this object had peaked my curiosty too much for me to ignore so we set out to see what it was. The sagebrush can be very abrasive to a little dogs tummy so I carried Belle in my backpack. She doesn't care much for that though as she is facing backwards and can't see where we are going. Somehow the little twirp wiggled around so her head was on my shoulder and she was happy being able to see where we were going. After about two ours I trudged up over the last rise in a rather steep hill and the white column was about 50 yards ahead of me. From my shoulder I felt the low growl of the Coyote. She knew this thing didn't belong in "her" desert. It was strange, out of place and just not right. I walked slowly around the tower which was I guess about 20 feet high. As I came around the side I realized that what I was looking at was a giant cross. The view from my vantage point did not allow me to see the arms and it wasn't until I came about the structure that I saw what it was. I began to approach this thing and Belle began to growl louder. I set her down, poured her a cup of water and went alone to get a closer look. The cross was made of large timbers bolted together. I was impressed that someone had taken the time and energy to build such a structure so ar from anything. There were some footprints about but I couldn't see any tire tracks. Whoever built this thing had to have carried those timbers up one at a time. The highway was probably 4 miles away across a couple very deep ravines. It was a formidible task. I walked around and around the thing several times. There was no graffiti or trash around. There was no plaque or sign, just this cross out in the middle of nowhere. I could see the highway off in the distance and suppose that a keen eye would be able to make it out if somone pointed it out, but for all intent and purposes this thing was isolated. Why? Was this some secret memorial or shrine? Was it a private act of pennance or sacrifice? What was the point? I circled around several more times. Belle was growing impatient and began to bark. I looked over and she was still next to the pack but pacing anxiously, I gave the cross one last look and walked away. I gathered the pooch back into the pack and started back. Belle watched the cross disappear behind us and finally she settled down. As we walked along I thought about the experience and how futile it seemed. Why place a religious icon in the middle of bumfuq nowhere? If you are going to profess your faith, why not do it for all to see?

I may never know why that cross was built there, but it did have a somewhat subtle effect on me. I was raised to be tolerant and accepting of all faiths. I was raised to believe that whatever you felt was the right "religion" for you, was just that. Be it Christian, Islam, Jew, Pagan or Hindu or a combo plate or something you just dreamt up, if it feels right to you, it is right for you. My only prblem has been with those that tell me the opposite. That what I believe is wrong. I don't go door knocking on strangers doors and I expect the same courtesy. I was raised as the ultimate in tolerance. Sometimes I forget that though and this little journey reminded me that I am not against anyones religion as long as their religion isn't against mine. That cross on the hill did not offend me nor anger me. I saw no reason to deface it or damage it. I could have easily taken out my Bowie and carved something profound in it but I felt no compulsion to do that. And even though I believe the person who built it may be misguided and incorrect, I admired their sacrifice and suffering in order to profess their faith. Unlike the great cathedrals of Europe that were built to dominate and belittle the masses. This simple cross was built knowing that it would never be an attraction or even noticed.

So my trip was not wasted. Those of you who know me know that I am a shaman and an elder in my tribe. It is my duty to remain open and accepting of all who come to me and to allow anyone of any faith to enter my home. Like most of you I am extremely intolerant of sillyness (dog butt virgin sightings) and especially proselytizing as that goes against everything I have been raised to believe. I also do not believe in harming anyone for any religious purposes nor forcing anyone to do things against their concience.  So even though I did not have a vision I am renewed in my own beliefs and my spirit has been reinforced. Glad to be back!

#15
Ungodly

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Welcome back!  Not much new here.

I'm glad you are safe, and your tale about the trip was fascinating.


Steve

#16
lady

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Hi Coyote,
Nice to have you back even though you are tired and sick.  But I guess you might have known that this could happen and accept it. Your related adventure was very interesting and makes me think you fulfilled your mission even though in not the way you expected. Perhaps the vision will come as you reflect on your journey.
Not many of us take the journey in exactly your way. And not many will hear of this from a shaman either.

I read your statement "If you are going to profess your faith, why not do it for all to see?"  Perhaps the person/persons who erected it felt as you do and wanted his cross not to be seen and meaning not questioned and did not want to have to defend it.  Wouldn't it be nice if more people just let their beliefs be part of themselves and not try to force it on others?

Thank you for sharing this with us. :Smiley: I am sure it is very satisfying to you to know exactly what you believe
and live accordingly. If you ask some people, they really aren't able to put in clear words just what they do believe.

#17
The White Coyote

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Thank you. It was regenerating. The journey to ones beliefs can be a long and difficult one. For me it began when in Seminary, I let go of God and returned to the faith of my fathers. Alcohol, drugs, religion and gambling have all played a part in the downfall of so many of my kinsmen. I hope that the re-newed interest in the old ways will be a spiritual nutrition for all peoples, red or white or whatever color. This journey was like an oil change, car wash and interior cleaning. It may not have changed the value, but it sure made my spirit feel better.

#18
The White Coyote

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Don't think for a minute that I didn't crack a smile at the irony of it myself. But after having no sleep or nourishment for so many hours prior to my discovery, I wasn't in any mood to laugh. I was worried about Belle too as she wasn't acting like her nasty little terrier self, so I suppose that contributed. What I did get a good laugh at was last week when I was in Arizona I saw a big white cross above a church that was also a cell phone tower. I wondered how many phone sex calls were beaming from it on any given day, or how many drug deals were being made.

#19
Ungodly

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That's a very fertile imagination you have, with the wondering about the cell-phone-cross-tower.

#20
Storybook

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Those of you who know me know that I am a shaman and an elder in my tribe.


I didn't know this.  Please tell me more about this.


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