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How my Vision Quest helped reconnect me to myself and to Nature, then to start a new journey in green-living coaching
A Vision Quest is an experience into the deeper understanding of Nature and Spirit. It is a ceremony and a rite of passage similar to an initiation. It can be a turning point in life taken, for example, before puberty to find oneself and one’s intended life-path and spiritual direction. When an older child is ready, he or she will go on a personal, spiritual quest alone into the wilderness, often in conjunction with a period of fasting. This usually lasts for a number of days while the child is tuned into the spirit world. Usually, a guardian animal will come in a dream or vision, and the child’s life direction will appear at some point. The vision quest is a powerful way for adolescents as well as adults to acknowledge, mourn, release, welcome, and celebrate important life transitions of any kind. A vision quest can also be a deeply cathartic way to get away from it all and recharge your batteries.
After some years of hesitating about my participation, I finally decided to set off on my first Vision Quest. I had heard some short stories, interesting moments from my friends who had already done it, but what was inspiring me more to do it was my current life situation. I was helping others to change their lifestyle; which was my professional career, but I was a little stuck with it and having a kind of mid-life crisis of my own with questions like, Who am I? What am I doing?
I had been working as a green-living coach for ten years. In the beginning, I worked a lot around the practical side of living green, but after a few years it turned out that it is simply not enough to teach WHAT to do. We need also to understand the WHY and the HOW. I strongly felt the need for something different; I didn’t know exactly what it was, I just knew that it should be something that comes from the inside. The way our ancestors just did the what, why and how, we somehow forgot for they didn’t learn from others how to live more naturally; they just lived their own life as being part of Nature.
I simply loved all the moments of my Vision Quest, although some of them were not so easy. Preparing together with a bunch of people with different backgrounds, going out in the heavy rain to the other side of the bay to a beautiful forest, finding my own place out there, building my shelter and just being there alone. I observed every little detail, finding my place in the world, then staying awake in the last night to have a sign from Nature. The next day we all returned, sharing and listening to our stories, mine and theirs.
To sum it up, and although at the same time I don’t want to persuade all people to do it, it is a great opportunity to experience deep connections to ourselves and the surrounding world. And so I incorporated the learnings I had as much as I could into my way of working with people.
I usually organise personal time in my programs; being alone, time for reconnection to ourselves, being aware of our personal wellbeing. I feel it also important to find our own way of learning and changing, spending time in nature which is essential for observing the world around, sensing it and becoming part of it. In such a journey we also need a safe environment; a circle of people, a community to share our stories and listen to theirs.
Even though it was a life-changing experience; spending twelve days in preparations, being ‘out’ and having my story mirrored back to me; my inner change had only just begun there and is still unfolding eight months later. So my first learning was that a big change, a great turning, doesn’t necessarily happen as instantly as sometimes we might think in the consuming world. One should have a moment when crossing the threshold, starting the journey and then going at one’s own pace and style. This experience has really changed my way of thinking, way of living, relationship to myself and to nature and helped me to find a new approach in my green- living coaching work. Now my work is rooted in re-connection to ourselves, our community and to nature. I think this is the way one should go in working with sustainability; starting from the inside in marking our own personal journey, then finding a community to work or live in, to then find our place in the beautiful system around us.
This is my way of using it, but there are many ways of being in nature and working with it, an inexhaustible source for all of us. For me; being present, connecting, sensing, finding ourselves, are the keywords when planning my activities.
How do you consciously mark a threshold for time out?
What does Nature mirror for you right now?
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