Vision Quest Journal #3


You can read all of the posts in the Vision Quest Journal Series here.

The first round of tears has come and gone. The sorrow came over me instantly, from out of nowhere that I could determine. From that sorrow came the start of this conversation.

God, why have we created a world with so much pain and suffering?

In order to have a context from which to fully experience your joy.

But what about advanced cultures? I can’t imagine they choose to perpetuate pain and suffering the way we do.

No, they choose to perpetuate the memory of the pain and suffering in order to have a context for experiencing peace and joy.

But what about those who are born into a world without suffering? How do they experience or “remember” pain and suffering?

Through the collective and through a conscious transference of memories.

So instead of choosing to perpetuate the actual physical experience of pain and suffering they create mechanisms to keep it present within their consciousness?


And what if a culture does not keep those memories alive?

They usually cycle back down into darkness. That is why those of you who have said, of your holocaust for instance, “never forget,” are on the right track. Not that you should remember this to bang the drum of what you don’t want – thereby creating more of it. But so that you can remember the experience, the sorrow, the pain and the anguish in order to have a psychic and emotional context from which to fully step into and appreciate your joy. That’s why your Memorial Day holiday has the potential to be such a powerful force for good in your world.

You mean if, instead of using it as an excuse for another 3-day weekend, we actually used it as an opportunity to drop into grief and experience the pain and sorrow of the world?

Yes. Exactly.

Is that one of the ways advanced cultures keep the memories alive?

It is the beginner’s version. There are more direct ways of transferring the memories. But yes, most of them do have “holidays” when they collectively remember. As you have experienced with some of your recent tragedies, the experience of pain and grief is amplified when experienced collectively.

Yes. Thank you God.

You can read all of the posts in the Vision Quest Journal Series here.

Vision Quest Journal #2

Saturday, September 19th.

Last night, I dreamt of exclusion and alienation. All dreams of how I live my life… on the fringe.. touching the circle, viewing the circle but not stepping into it, not becoming part of it, not claiming my right to belong. That is what I seek here, my sense of belonging, the deep knowing that I am meant to be here. It is not a vision I seek. It is not guidance about what I am “meant to do.” It is confirmation or validation that I am supposed to be here.

Deep within me is a place that knows this to be true. During these days of fasting, solitude, prayer and seeking, I hope to find that part of me and bring it out of hiding, out of the shadows and into the light so that I can live my life fully as one who belongs in this world.


Big wind today. Feels good. Cold this morning. Welcomed the sun into this new day. Then clouds rolled in and I crawled back into my sleeping bag until it warmed up. Now it’s hot in the sun. Just moved to the shade. Big, thick clouds just sitting to the Northeast. Not moving. Rain was not in the forecast, but these clouds look wet. We’ll see what happens. If I have to set up my tent tonight I will.

It was beautiful sleeping out last night. I spent as much time awake looking up at the incredibly bright stars and watching them move slowly across the sky.

Had a short talk with God earlier while I was meditating. He made it very clear that this whole “vision” thing is all about me. I’ll try to recap our conversation:

You mean you don’t have a vision for me?

Never have, never will.

Then how am I supposed to know what to do?

You choose it.

So I create my own vision?

You always have. Everything you have ever accomplished began as a vision that you created. You had a vision to do a vision quest, right?


And here you are. You pushed through all the obstacles that got in your way. You pushed through the weakness in your body and the pain in your head. Yes?


And you had a vision of doing your quest up here in this spot. Yes?


And here you are. You pushed through your weakness. You carried your pack up here. You carried your water up here. And here you are.

Yes. Here I am.

And you had a vision of fasting for 4-nights and 3-days. Yes?


And I have absolutely no that you will turn that vision into a reality.

So I need to create a vision for my life that is as compelling as the vision I created for this quest?

No you don’t NEED to do anything. But if you want to feel compelled, passionate and have the strength to push through obstacles, a compelling vision would be helpful.

And you don’t care what it is?

Not in the least.

That’s not very helpful.

I should think that would be incredibly helpful. It gives you the freedom to choose any vision you want!

Yes, but some guidance would help narrow it down.

You humans are so funny. You want to be free to choose your own “destiny” and you also want guidance to help you make the “right choice.”Unfortunately, you can’t have it both ways.

But what about the stories of people who have received guidance from you? What about Moses and all of those biblical stories?

Stories are just that… stories. And after the fact, it is easy to give me credit for something great that someone did of their own volition. You see it’s difficult for most people to believe that a mortal human, like Moses, could have come up with the idea to bring his people out of Egypt on his own. So, after the fact, they wrote me into the story.

But weren’t you part of it?

Of course! Once he made up his mind. Once he had his vision. I was with him every step of the way.

So you were guiding him?

Not guiding him so much as reminding him of his own wisdom and strength.

So the whole thing with the broken tablets and you not allowing him into the promised land… another story?

Yes and no. And the truth is a longer story than you have pages left to write on. But the bottom line is that once Moses led his people out of Egypt many of them got scared… of him. They didn’t know what to make of someone who thought for himself. They were afraid of someone who seemed to treat me as a peer, instead of my servant, someone who, in fact, was my peer. And some of those whom he had led to freedom used the fear they saw in the people to make it clear to Moses that his joining them in the promised land would not be in “his best interest” if you get my drift.

And was Moses your peer?

Absolutely. Just as you are my peer. And just as all of you are my peers.

You can read all of the posts in the Vision Quest Journal Series here.

Vision Quest Journal #1


Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting excerpts from the journal I kept during and after my recent Vision Quest. I initially had not planned to take anything to write with. On a traditional Vision Quest you would not have any writing materials to minimize distrations. But at the last minute I decided to bring one sheet of paper for each day of my journey. I’m glad I did as there were insights that I was able to record while the experience was fresh.

My journal notes are an interesting mix of practical details, straight forward descriptions of events, observations of the wilderness, attempts at unraveling inner mysteries, descriptions of dreams and recordings of insights that came to me during the quest.

My hope is that these journal notes will be of use to those of you who may decide to do your own Vision Quest. And, hopefully some of these observations and insights will be of use to you even if you have no intention of going on a Vision Quest.

If you have not already done so, be sure to enter your email address in the upper right column to receive updates when I publish a new post.

And with all that, here is the first Vision Quest Journal entry:

Friday, September 18th.

Just remembered it’s my b-day today. Happy bday to me! Made it to Maud Lake yesterday… Barely! Altitude sickness kicked in Big Time. Worse than I’ve ever experienced. I literally did not think I was going to make it to the lake. But I knew I had to since I was running out of water and the creeks were all dry. I just kept saying, “I know I can. I know I can,” like I do with Ella when she’s really tired. For the last mile and a half or so, my head was pounding and I felt like I was going to throw up. At one point I had to stop because my stomach started heaving but nothing came up. I kept thinking I would see the lake any minute. And kept being disappointed.

After climbing over what I hoped would be the last ridge I was sure I would see the lake in the valley. But no. So I kept walking. At one point I almost stopped to get out the map to try and figure out how far I was. But I realized that would just make the journey longer and the map wasn’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know… I wasn’t where I wanted to be so that meant I needed to keep going.

And, as soon as I let go of the need to figure out where I was, I came around a bend and saw the lake!

I stopped at the first site I found, got my pack off and immediately threw up! After that, all my body wanted was to lay down and sleep… or die, not sure which! But I wasn’t quite ready to die, and that meant doing a few more things.

Had to purify some water, set up my tent and hang the food. Still not sure how I managed to get that one done with my brain barely functioning.

Threw up again before getting into my tent. My head was still pounding and I realized I left the Ibuprofen in the food bag. There was no way I was getting out to get it. So most of the night I kept waking up with my head pounding. Some time around 3:00am it started settling down and I got a few good hours of sleep.

Feeling better today. My body is tired and in recuperation mode. But no headache. And no nausea. I’m taking it really slow this morning. No rush. I’ve lowered my expectations about how far I’ll get today. And even if I just go find a site up the mountain from the lake, that will be fine!


Ahhh Sun!

Just walked up the hill a bit to eat breakfast in the morning sun. Feels great. My body doesn’t want a lot of food. I’m hoping it will be more receptive to food as the day goes on. Since I’d like to be fueled up when I start the fast tonight.

As I walked yesterday, I started wondering why I was reacting so strongly to the altitude this time. I had almost no reaction in Utah last month and that was about 2000 feet higher than here! And I’ve never actually thrown up before. So what was up?

It feels as if there is a very strong energetic component. When I come out to the wilderness it is with the intention of reconnecting with the earth in a deep way. In order for that to happen, all the stuff that keeps me disconnected from the earth has to be released. The energy of cell phones and computers and cars and other people. Beliefs about what is important. Perceptions of time. All of this needs to be released in order to truly reconnect with the earth. And whether I’m at altitude or not, the way my body deals with a major release of energy is with a headache and nausea. And when the release is very intense I have thrown up in the past. My energy systems are letting go of toxins and my body had to do the same. And it does it in the only way it knows how. No coincidence that my headache last night was focused mainly in my right temple and at the base of my neck on the right side. Telepathics and TMs. Two systems that are notoriously open for me and prone to taking on other people’s energy.

I tried to facilitate a clearing last night but the pain was so intense I couldn’t stay focused.

I also got a glimpse of a net of energy that seemed to connect TPs, TMs and drop down to a node of energy at the joint of my jaw.

I tried to explore it but again, the pain kept me from focusing for long.

When I look at it now, it seems to be an energetic information capture net. Sort of like a satellite dish. But it gathers info from different sources – TMs, TPs, physical ears – and seems to channel that info into the node at my jaw.

Doesn’t make sense to me that my jaw would be the central hub of that system. But that’s what it looks like. I’ll explore some more later.


I’m very clear that I’m not doing any extensive hiking today. Just packing up my tent left my body feeling weak. Earlier this morning I climbed the hill to the west and found a nice spot for my quest.

The problem is I’m not sure if I can make it up the scree field with my pack and 4-days of water given how I’m feeling.

I don’t want to quest down here by the lake. Too many people come by. (And by too many I mean about 2 or 3 a day at most!) I think I’ll just start climbing and see how far I get. There were a couple of nice spots about halfway up. If it feels like I can’t make it all the way I’ll stop at one of those. That feels good! But first I’ve got to go fill up my big water jug.

You can read all of the posts in the Vision Quest Journal Series here.

Why I’m Going On A Vision Quest

desolation-wildernessTomorrow morning I leave for Desolation Wilderness. Even though there are LOTS of wonderful wilderness areas to explore in Northern California, something about Desolation Wilderness keeps calling me back.

This time I’m going alone for 7-days with no distractions – no camera, no books, no music, no journal – nothing that could get in the way of my connection with myself, the wisdom of the Earth and the guidance of my Source. And from sundown on Friday night until sunup on Tuesday morning, I’ll be fasting and meditating and praying as I seek guidance and clarity.

Some of the reactions have been quite amusing as I explain that I’m going out into the wild world alone for 7-days with nothing to read, write, listen to, or take pictures with.

“Are you nuts?” seems to be the meaning behind the befuddled looks on their faces.

Perhaps I am nuts!

There is certainly a part of me that feels as if I”m nuts. The part of me that is scared sh-tless about heading out there alone for 7-full days. I’ve been out on my own for 4-days, and that was a long time. How will I survive on my own for 7-days? Well, I’m about to find out!

But why? Why am I taking a week out of my already quite full life to sit in silence with nothing around me other than the granite boulders, mountain water, marmots and ground squirrels and trees?

The easy answer is that I received clear guidance that it was time for me to do this. I was wondering how I could celebrate my 45th birthday in a way that would symbolize the transition from the very challenging period of my life that I am moving out of  and into the new phase that feels expansive and peaceful. And it was clear that this was the perfect time for a Vision Quest.

And what, exactly, is a Vision Quest?

A Vision Quest is an initiatory experience or rite of passage. It is most often associated with Native American traditions, though almost all indigenous cultures have some form of vision quest. There are as many ways to quest as there are cultures. But, regardless of how one quests, the purpose is the same: To seek personal growth and spiritual guidance from the world of Spirit and the wisdom of the Earth.

Here is what Black Elk wrote about the Vision Quest:

A Vision Quest is an experience of deeper understanding of Nature and Spirit. It is a ceremony practiced by American Indians. To prepare for this “insight” one must first cleanse the body and mind by going through an Inipi or sweat lodge. Then with the help of a Holy Man is told certain things and must go to a spot, usually on a holy mountain, and stay 2 or 3 days. During this time no food is eaten and one does not sleep but spends the time in deep prayer and observation. Many times, but not always, there is a vision. This vision is then shared with the Holy Man to help learn of its meaning. Sometimes the meaning is not shown for several years afterward.

I will quest in the Lakota tradition. On my second day out I will find a spot that calls to me, a space that feels sacred. I will prepare my questing space by smudging the circle, setting up my prayer ties for protection, placing my water and laying out my sleeping pad and bag. Everything else will stay outside of my questing circle.

After a light dinner, at sundown on Friday night, I will enter the circle and I will not leave the circle until after the sun has come up on the morning of the 4th day.

While I am questing, I will meditate, pray, probably do some crying as I shed old beliefs and patterns and thoughts about who I am. And if I open myself enough I hope to receive guidance and perhaps a clear vision of my path. But, whether or not I receive a “vision” I know that this time will bring me into a deeper connection with my true self and my Source.

The Vision Quest is a powerful tool for personal growth because it integrates a deep connection to nature with solitude and silence.

If you have ever been on a silent meditation retreat, you understand the power of silence to catalyze great shifts in your awareness.

Likewise, if you have ever spent any extended time in nature, alone or with others, you understand the power of the Earth to awaken long dormant wisdom.

The wilderness has always been a place where humans can connect with spirit and seek answers to questions and solutions to problems of the physical realms.

But all of this still has not answered the question of why I am going on this Vision Quest.

Certainly the answer I gave earlier – that I received guidance to quest at this time – is not a clear answer. But unfortunately, that may be the best answer there is at this time.

Admittedly, this is a time of some inner turmoil and confusion for me. I have been questioning my path, my purpose, my meaning. I have been struggling to understand why I am here. Certainly, I would welcome clarity and a deeper understanding of my purpose and the next steps on my path.

I am also experienced enough to know that I could come down from that mountain as confused as I am now! As Black Elk said, “Sometimes the meaning is not shown for several years afterward.”

Will the meaning be clear to me when I return, or will I have to wait several years? I will let you know!