Friday, March 12, 2010
I remember some years ago supporting an artist by being a part of a living art piece she was creating outdoors. A couple bus loads of us were driven to a gorgeous grassy area not far from our home town. We unloaded and were guided to lie down in the grassy field while the artist positioned us into the shape of a goddess.
She then jumped in a helicopter and flew above us taking pictures of us in our goddess shape. The whole project took several hours, but it was truly wonderful to help someone create her vision. And I didn’t even know her!
When the shooting was over, we were bussed to another location where we shared food and listened to music. My music group sang and then a Native American drum entertained us. When the drum finished, one of its players got up and introduced himself. He was a sun-dancer, meaning that through this Native ceremony he had direct experience in what it means to sacrifice for the benefit of others.
He talked about the rightness of being there to help someone else and of sacrificing time and energy to support another’s needs. He asked us if we were worthy to be acknowledged. Then he asked us to stand if we were worthy.
You can probably imagine how many of us scuffed our feet and dropped our heads, wanting to say, “It was really no big deal.” But one person at a time, most of the people stood up.
He created a moment of truth for us. The acknowledgment that matters is the acknowledgment we give to ourselves. One of the ways we see our true value is in service to another—when we give for their sake—selflessly.
Nearly 20 years later, this story lingers in my heart as the SpiritQuest Council makes preparations for SpiritQuest. I know that the people who are called to come, are people like you, willing to help; willing to make a sacrifice to help someone else; willing to support another’s spiritual journey and quest.
In doing so, they also support themselves in their own inner discoveries.
After you have tended a sacred fire with a peaceful heart for several hours across several days; after you have cooked a meal for the camp or chopped some wood; after you have gotten up early in the morning to sing and dance for others, you change.
After you have gone to an afternoon ceremony and shared your hat with someone standing in the sun or taken their place so they can rest in the shade, witnessed a teenager accepting her womanhood, honored a man as he received his sacred name, stood behind a woman making a life commitment to Spirit—you discover truths about yourself.
After you have prepared with prayers and journeys, and you sit alone on Mother Earth for a few hours simply being present to her, to you, and to Spirit—you begin to recognize how worthy you truly are.
This is SpiritQuest. After last year’s Questing week, I told my husband:
“You probably have no idea how much impact you just made on the lives of the people at Quest. Many women came to make significant commitments in their love for the Sacred Feminine, and there were no family or partners to witness them. But you were there, at their backs, honoring them for their dedication to themselves and to Spirit.
Imagine the volumes this spoke to them, that there are men who honor a woman’s commitment to the Sacred Feminine. Imagine what it said to our grandson about what it means to honor women. Imagine what is said to our grand-daughters!
Now imagine how much it filled the women’s and children’s hearts to honor you as a father even though you have never had a family of your own, and yet you still choose to be there for them—your sisters in spirit, and your adopted daughter and grandchildren. Imagine how it filled their hearts to thank you for the fatherly love you shared with them. Some of them have never known that kind of love.
You may never know how much your presence affected their lives, but I can assure you, your witnessing and your love has touched their lives forever in a good way.”
Over the next few weeks, you will see several invitations to come join us at SpiritQuest. You don’t have to be Native to participate or be a supporter in the ceremonies. You just need to have a Native heart—the kind that is willing to help; to be of service to others; to pray with a sincere and humble heart; to honor others with your loving presence—to be worthy.
Discover more about SpiritQuest—a Place to Belong at New Dream Foundation