Above: Image by janka00simka0 from Pixabay
The Shoes on the Hill
I wanted to do a vision quest. I have always been interested in spiritual searches and experiences in the other world. Vision quests were not a part of my culture. Maybe they should have been. Moses had been on a hillside when he had his vision. Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. How many other people in the biblical history had done similar things?
3 nights and 3 days. Yes. I could do that. I asked a friend if they would drop me off to do the vision quest as I did not drive nor had a car. She said yes.
But soon enough there was a problem. They wanted to do one too and come with me. Its not supposed to happen that way but I ran into my first problem. I could not say no. I had been brought up ‘not to argue’, especially with my father. To say no was not allowed. So I said “OK”.
On the day of, we went to the place I had in mind. As we loaded our gear she too had a problem. She had a bad back and couldn’t carry her gear. She asked me if i would carry it for her. It could have gone a lot of different ways. I could have said no – but then I couldn’t, could I? It could have been hers to work out. I didn’t know things like that then. So what did I do? I said “OK”. I was a helpful and nice person after all. Shouldn’t I be?
I carried all our gear down to the place by the river. I found a place I wanted to be but she wanted to be there instead. I deferred. She put up her tent and I put up mine.
Were there to be visions? I already had a ton of visions through my life. Most of them I did not know what to do with. What would I do with one more? I was afraid. What if it was a bad vision, or something someone was mad at me for? But here I am, on a vision quest.
Above: Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
It began to rain. It rained for 3 days. What do you do in a tent for 3 days? Should I sleep? That is a good time to have a vision. But maybe I should stay awake? I did not know. No visions came. It was wet.
The 2nd day my friend came over. She was washed out of her tent and wanted to stay with me. OK.
I had no visions. I was feeling very depressed. I had failed. There were no messages. It came time to pack up. The rain had stopped. We left going up a big grassy hill. I had been carrying her stuff when I had another problem. My favorite shoes had no tread and here on the grassy hill slippery with rain and carrying extra gear, I could not go up the hill. For every step I took up, I slid back to where I was. It could have been dangerous. I couldn’t bend or do anything in case the gear toppled me.
She reached into her bag which I was carrying on my back and pulled out her shoes from the bag. She had to take my shoes off my feet as I could not bend without losing the gear on the steep hill and she put her shoes on my feet.
My shoes were on the hill. I wanted to take them. “Why?” she asked. They were no good to me. I did not argue and we left my shoes there, abandoned on the side of the hill.
I had felt my vision quest to be a failure. Nothing went the way it should. Nothing. It wasn’t until a few years later that I could see the humor in the situation. The universe does have humor after all!
When I discuss my vision quest with people and ask what they think, they all say, as I am sure you will, that I needed to stand up for myself more.
Here’s my add-on. Did I get a message from the universe? Yes I did. What did it mean to leave my shoes on the side of the hill? To wear her shoes instead?
I was walking in someone else’s shoes. Literally! I was walking her path and not my own. Mine, my shoes were left on the hill. My path was left behind. There is humor in the world of spirit! I could not have what was mine!
There was a second message too.
Above: Image by Alexandra Vlad from Pixabay
If I carry anothers’ burdens it weighs me down to the extent I cannot move well, or freely. I lose opportunities that would be there for me otherwise.
But let me tell you something about visions and messages. When we do vision quests or prayer quests, or personal retreats what we are doing is putting time aside to listen to the sacred world.
Did you know though, the sacred world is always talking to us, answering our questions, directing us? We don’t usually hear it. Why not? We are too busy to listen, too noisy. As in any conversation we need to be silent to listen to the other person. We need to watch, to pay attention. That is what compassion is all about. It is the silence of listening.
You are always being given your answers. Those who are sacred to you, walk with you everyday, by your side. Do you have time to stop and acknowledge the divine and sacred who loves you so? Will you stop and listen to the Beloved of your life? Will you listen with your heart?