Rites of Passage Teach Lessons of Life
What has it meant, all these years of leading people to the river of wild nature and holding watch for them as they dive in? I’ve seen all kinds of transformation–wounds healed, relationships repaired, families strengthened, inner purpose confirmed, love of the earth ignited, path with heart illuminated. And you never know who is hearing the call! It comes from within, when the person is ready, and it’s hard to ignore-you pay a price for ignoring it, but a different price for following it.
These changes take time, and there’s no quick fix for the challenges of life. But when you return from a rite of passage, your vision has expanded, you’ve woken up, and you have courage and inner strength to draw upon. You put your feet on the path and start moving, in full awareness of your mortality. Hyemeyhosts Storm called this “Decision Road.”
Time is short and here’s the damn thing about it
You’re gonna die, gonna die for sure
And you can learn to live with love or without it
But there ain’t no cure
There’s just a slow turnin’
From the inside out
A slow turnin’
But you come about
–John Hiatt, Slow Turning
What’s meant the most to me is hearing from people a few years down the road. From the Native American woman who sent her husband to do a vision quest, and then called two years later to confirm his changes, telling me that in her tribe you wait two years to see if it’s real or just words. From the parent of a teenage girl who contacted us to say that their relationship had been restored after her daughter’s quest. From a business consultant who told us of the impact of the quest on his work with clients-how he now took them into nature to discover their deepest values and direction. And many more stories like this.
We need rites of passage to awaken to the beauty of life, to recognize the mystery of death, to embrace the turning of the wheel of life, to heal ancient wounds, to find and give our deepest gifts, to fall in crazy love with the earth. And then, it’s a slow turning that can carry us for a lifetime. What’s more, the world needs us to do this.
Mike Bodkin, Executive Director