Last weekend I closed my Vision Quest. It was a year and a week since I went out to nature and spent 4 days, and nights alone.
A time to contemplate what was important to me in life. Following this we kept it quiet within ourselves. If I’d shared my thoughts, I’d have had other peoples’ impact. This would have taken me away from the purpose of being alone.
Over the past year I re-read and re-wrote my diary every 3 months, keeping my attention on this important time. During my time alone I’d written over 80 pages, including an outline of a book and 10 poems. A week or so ago, I re-read the journal I summarised down to the core detail and made notes on where I wanted to focus.
I arrived early afternoon. Pitched my small dome tent and walked the land. Beautiful nature, and time to prepare. I didn’t want to rush the following day. Saturday morning, I made a cup of tea around 6.30 and then walked with my rucksack, into one of the woods. Whilst I considered putting up the same shelter as last year, for one night, and knowing it would be dry, I opted to sleep under the trees and the stars.
I was travelling light. In the wood I sat on a fallen tree and listened to nature. I heard the sound of the wind in the trees. I think I made out 7 or 8 different birds singing. So quiet, so peaceful.
No watch, and my phone was switched off and, in my bag, kept just in case of an emergency.
I then walked; across land I’d covered the year before. Walking mindfully, conscious of each step. Really looking and listening, nature does have the answer.
The sun was warm, so I lay down and thought about how far I’d come this past year.
One area I had considered was about whether, or not to study for a doctorate. I’d had an interview the day before I left. And if so, what topic. I went on my solo fast thinking I was going to study Unretirement and came back knowing I had to look at meaningful ageing. There was a more long-term focus too, on what to do after this, but one step at a time. I’m 9 months into my doctorate now, on my journey to be a researcher.
The 4 day solo fast was also time to consider my past – regrets, as well as successes. Seeking forgiveness and giving forgiveness. Helping to be more comfortable with who I am. I came back with a glow about me, friends said. I still feel a greater calmness within then I had before. Whilst a couple of times I felt myself losing this, time back in nature, and a more reflective period helped take me back.
This past year my love of nature has deepened, and I need to spend more time out on the land. It needs to be more of the work I do with people too, and once we move on from the current situation with the pandemic, I want to do group work with people that is focused outside.
A Vision Quest is such a powerful experience and I will start another in September. This will allow me more time to focus on life after my doctorate.
I will continue to be more intentional in what I do, more mindful of my environment and more at peace with who I am. This is both for me and for the people I work with.
An amazing life changing year. and thanks to my Vision Quest Guide – David Wendl-Berry
And to read my past blog posts on my vision quest, follow this link.
See some photos of this amazing land here.