The day is cold and wet. I began a 40 day fast on September, 18th 2009. A spiritual pilgrimage to the innermost heart of my true being. I have been intuitively preparing for this process. But all things must ripen. Now the fruit is full and laden with the weight of summer. Autumn begins the inward stroke. I heed the call. My body has always been a reservoir of profound wisdom, I trust in it, implicitly. It has led me faithfully without food or water on the sides of mountains, on desert plateaus, in the sage brush covered ground of Northern New Mexico. These hanbleceyas ( traditional vision quests ) were supported by the presence of my teacher, fire keepers and those that waited in prayer for my safety and well being. Alone on that hallowed ground with my chanupa (sacred pipe ) I prayed for a vision, for wisdom, and truth. I sat in the sanctity of my own fragile self and the earth transformed me cell by cell. I was emptied as never before. It was here that I first experienced the true Oneness of all creation. There was no division between the earth and the sky and my human body. All of the fear, doubt, and insecurity I had ever known appeared and there was no where to go, nothing to do, but sit with it. So I did. I watched it, and it transformed. I experienced the transiency of even the deepest and darkest of human emotions. I learned the power of observation, of remaining unmoving when confronted with the contents of my unconscious mind. I connected with a power within that was luminous and immortal. The veil between the worlds thinned and I understood that the concepts of past, present, and future were illusions. In the moment all was present. The suffering of my body was inconsequential because I was being nourished and restored as I had never experienced before. I thought of the legendary Taoist “magic tortoise.” A creature possessed by such supernatural powers that it lived on air and had no need of earthly nourishment. I was walking with the ancestors, I was being initiated.
The fasting deepens my purification, stills my wandering mind, and illuminates my spirit. My breath deepens into my belly as I relax all resistance. The first 3 days were challenging. I have had an intense headache that is finally easing. I have felt every ache and pain, every growl and moan in my stomach. Yet despite these common maladies I feel the quickening of my senses, the moment to moment awareness of my consciousness. I walk in Wash park, it is raining lightly. The drops land on the lake making perfect little circles that hold hands. The leaves take their solo, earthbound flights and land in disarray. Their choreography takes place under shifting skies. I wear my black polka dotted rain boots, a lucky find at a funky used clothing spot in Colorado Springs. I splash my way around the park, each puddle an invitation to say… yes I am alive!
I am not “on the hill,” I am not sundancing, I am not at the ashram in India. My ceremony, my sacrament takes place in the every day of this life. I dedicate this fast to every being that is suffering, to the hungry and the homeless, to those who are impoverished. To every man, woman and child in war torn lands. I fast for those who are stricken by grief and loss. I fast for those who are addicted, for the mentally ill and imprisoned. I fast for peace in this world. I feel the suffering in the core of my Being, I hear the pleas for help and I am listening.
I pray for the strength and courage that has always seen me through every initiation, every trial. Beloved guide me, be ever near. Let me surrender completely to the One that is my home, my belonging and my love. Let all the fruits of my labor bless this world.
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