I am preparing, as I have been since April of last year, to go on a vision fast in May; traveling further from home than I have ever gone before. I am intermittently terrified, expectant, and ready. As I get closer, I am being asked by others why it is that I do this. I can see that the questions, and even the skepticism, is serving as a kind of preparation; with the questions posed reminding me, and even schooling me, on why it is that I do this. Why it is that I put myself out there. Why it is that I invite discomfort and risk exposure of all kinds.
I do this because in the safe haven of an environment that is built to support growth and transformation, I am always brought to the very best in myself; despite, or maybe because of, any struggle, doubt, confusion, or fear I encounter. There is just no substitute for being surrounded by outer circumstances that support your deepest work, and therefore your fullest expression.
I do this because whenever I set and then live for a time with a strong and clear intention for my life, without exception, I get whatever it is that I am intending, in the most profound, magical, mystical, and beyond my control of ways.
I do this because in the structure of a retreat experience, I can better allow everything to be exactly as it is; including it all and weaving it in through my intention. Through this level of focus and inclusion, I am made whole through the experience, no matter how difficult it might be. As a matter of fact, quite often the intensity of my emotions and experience is exactly what it is that breaks through the old conditioning, and lands me in a place that is new and ripe with possibility.
For a very long time, I did not understand why I was so compelled to put myself through all of this. Now I know. I do this because this is how I want to live in the day to day; focused on what I most want, embedded in what is real, and guided by the Great Mystery. I do this because in order to reach certain understandings about myself and Life, I must put myself in novel situations; recognizing that the more unknown the better when it comes to breaking away from old thinking and habit patterns.
And ultimately, I leave so that I can return.