I have a story to tell.
I’ll start with a bit that happened a little over 16 years ago.
Here we go.
I had a sweat lodge experience – the kickoff to my solo cross-country road trip to scatter my Mom’s ashes. The experience brought me a vision. I carry it with me, but have gone through long periods of time without remembering at all. I am thankful that it has come to the surface. This is changing the course of my journey.
Sweat lodges are not for wimps. Nope. http://kalinin1158.hubpages.com/hub/Lakota-Sweat-Lodge – link to a bit of a description. I had made my prayer ties in the months my Mom was dying. My step-uncle (by my Mom’s 3rd marriage) had taught the two of us how to tie – and so we did – before she got too sick to continue. I continued on so there were many. I took all of them with me – after her death – to hang from the inner wooden structure of the lodge during the ceremony. At the end of the lodge they toss all of the strings of ties into the fire. Ours were all tied together on one string. My uncle told me to tie a new string just before going in – in order of meaning (different colors represent different prayers) to represent my intention for the lodge. I tied in an order asking for wisdom through truth and knowledge or understanding. When I told my uncle this on the way in – he told me, “Oh – be careful what you pray for.” I went in with them and the greeting to the leader, “Hau! Mitakuye oyas’in.”
The sweat. I had been fasting. I was in there with a bunch of guys. I was sweating with the Lakota tribe. It was hotter than hell. We were sealed in with this heat. The only air was coming through a crack in the bottom where the coverings meet the ground. I swear – at points – I put my mouth down there just to breath in a little cool air. Inescapable, indescribable heat. My uncle leaned over and let me know I could leave if I needed to. “Are you okay?” My reply, “Yes.” At least one person left – maybe two. I was in for the long haul. I kept looking all around in the pitch black for my vision – my answer. I almost expected my Mom’s head to pop out and tell me what to do. I was looking for something big. Full of expectation. It wouldn’t come. Finally, I came to a place of resignation – where I knew that the reason for the lodge was the cleansing experience. Not everyone has a vision – especially not first timers. I came to a place where the experience became all. I was with this group of men who held a deep respect for my Mother even though they had never met her. They held a deep respect for me just for being her daughter.
See, my uncle is a Vietnam vet. Most of the men in the tent were vets, as well. Years before her death my mother had heard that my uncle could not afford to get to DC to see the wall dedicated to Vietnam vets. She couldn’t stand this thought. She took her frequent flyer miles and bought him a ticket. She never boasted of this. It was just something she did. He told me of this on our ride out to Timbuktu – in his old truck – on the way to the lodge. I remember how that hit me. My Mom was such a mixed bag – but overall – she was good. She died the same week as Princess Di and Mother Theresa – no shit. Even the pastor at her Memorial Service had to mention this as remarkable. “What a train ride that must of been,” he said. She had a good heart. Yes.
Anyway – all that to say – these men cared about me, my Mother, my quest with her ashes. I couldn’t have asked for anything more in that moment and I knew it. I knew that this was the vision – the answer. This was enough.
Right then – it CAME. A big heart came out of the darkness. Not a Valentines heart. A big beating person heart. Then a huge eye. Then a hand – reaching out – palm up. Immediately in my head – it came. “Follow your heart. There will be an eye watching over you and a hand to guide you” Oh my god. It was beautiful and scary all at the same time. It overtook me – and then the lodge was over. We sat outside for awhile – had sips of water – said our goodbyes – then left. I didn’t share what I had seen. I think I was in a bit of shock. On the way back to the city, I told my uncle what I’d seen. He asked me what I thought it meant and I told him without skipping a beat. He said he had never met a first timer who that had happened for. He reminded me that some people never have a vision. Some do have visions but have no idea what they mean.
I am so grateful that I have this to hold in my heart.
Yes. I had a vision – and then I forgot.
And then I remembered.
So now – I am here.
Following my heart.