Last weekend I went on a Vision Quest. It wasn’t your old school, fast for days in nature until you hallucinate type of vision quest. It was at a beautiful nature retreat, with a bed and fantastic organic food prepared with love and intention. It was time to be deeply connected to nature, to ourselves, and to our spirit.
There has always been a big part of me that longs for community- to feel connected with a group of people with like-minded spirits that see me, the light of who I am really am, and this weekend I experienced it. Where I came from, what I did for a living, none of it mattered. We were one.
On our first full day we were to venture out in nature alone. Now as a tree hugging, surfing, loving of the Earth kind of girl, I was a bit embarrassed to admit that I am terrified to be alone in nature. This was amplified by the sharings of bobcat sightings, rattle snakes, etc. that happened the night before What if I hike out and get injured? I don’t have the skills of that guy that cut his arm off to survive. I don’t really know if I can trust the bobcat didn’t wake up wanting to eat me. I really don’t know if I’m suited for nature survival at all.
As it turns out the universe offered some support. Our guides, Gary and Flossie actually hand-picked destinations for each of us and the beginning of my hike was actually with another vision quest attendee. We start out, not really sure where we’re going or where we’re headed. We hike, and hike, and hike, and I start to wonder if perhaps we missed our spots where we were supposed to venture down our separate paths. Then we see a sign indicating we are in fact still on the right trail. The trail got narrower and steeper, and as we head deeper into the thick cover of trees and I share out loud how glad I am that I didn’t have to do this part alone! I would have been terrified. We finally got to a spot where there was a clear left and right. She went right, I went left, and off we went to find our destinations. I hike alone for another 20 minutes after passing a very active bee hive (which I find more terrifying than a bobcat) and somehow I end up right back at the spot where we saw the trail sign… I just went in a big loop! What do I do? I’m supposed to be having some epiphany as I head to the overlook called “Inner Temple” and I can’t seem to find it. What does this mean about me that I can’t find the Inner Temple?
Well I do have a stubborn streak, so I decided to forge ahead thinking I must have missed the trail somehow. I end up back to the spot where we parted and she’s not there, but there is a beautiful canopy of tress and lovely red bench that I settle on. I am alone, having now completed the entire piece of the trail I said I was terrified to trek alone, and I haven’t died or been attacked or eaten by a wild animal. Score!
I settle in to meditate because time is running out for my epiphany, and a few minutes later I hear rustling. It’s my new friend who also went venturing and had made her way back when she also couldn’t find her destination. She and I sat for about 10 minutes writing in our journals and meditating before we needed to return. In my meditation, I asked my guides why I couldn’t find the elusive Inner Temple? What did it mean? And clear as can be, I got that the inner temple isn’t a destination. It’s always been with me. It will always be within me. I guess the inner temple is just like Dorothy’s red shoes. Who knew it wasn’t a destination?
As we are more than 1/2 way back, we finally found the turn offs we missed. We decide to join the group a little late, and take a few extra minutes so that we can at least see our spots. I head up the hill to the inner temple which was a short little hike. I enjoy the view from this magical spot, standing in clarity that the inner temple is not this physical space. Just as my guides had said, it’s within me. The irony of the story is that I actually resonated more with the spot I found “on accident.” The message was so much clearer from having gotten lost.
It reminds me that my divine higher self is always guiding me. Sometimes I yearn for the shortest distance between two points, but the longer, scenic road is actually more fulfilling. So as I return home and begin to integrate my learnings, I ask myself, what would it look like for me to trust my guidance, even if it seems like I am lost? What would happen if we could all trust that we are exactly where we are supposed to be? For today, I choose to honor the inner temple inside of both you and me and enjoy exactly where I’m at.