Vision Quest Part Dos

Tuesday 9/5 (continued from where I left off in Vision Quest, Part Uno)

Despite the mild panic that my mind is going though at the moment, I know that these people are thinking of me: My mom, Gina, Naomi, Devona, Amy, Kyle, Mary, Cori, Ryan, Heather, Liz, Kim, Kris, Kendra, Tom, Brooke, Scott, Gent, Linda, Josh, Haylee, Austin, Alan, Nina, Tanner, Karen, and Kirk.  And with that, I know that I am loved.  I am loved.  I am loved.

 

I don’t quite know yet how to make a living yet out of my passion of inner-work (meditating, journaling, nature, and dream-work), but I can at least work on it on the side like I am doing until I can make a career out of it.  I need to change into shorts, aye yi yi!!!

 

So now this funny, I had intentions to get my hiking boots back on, but there has been a butterfly on the right shoe for a long time now, it opens its wings as if it’s about to take off, then closes, then opens, then closes.  I was gonna attempt to try to scope out a place that is fly-free so that I can maybe try to sit my ass down and draw.  Wish me luck. 

Love,

Me.

 

Tue 9/5 (continued)

My back be hurtin’ yo.  So this is kind of hilarious…it is raining right now, but only in this very section of my Vision Quest spot.  Is this Portland’s cruel joke on me? 

 

When I get back to St. George I am going to try to be less controlling.  I am going to make my main intention be that I’ll be sure to light a candle/incense every day and meditate for 20 minutes, journal for 20 minutes, and read something spiritual.  I understand that I’ll need to go back to the working world for now to save up money and get groceries and what not.  But I will continue to practice my spirituality without a doubt. 

 

I have now seen: butterflies, flies, birds, squirrels, and one chipmunk.  Looks like this rain is passing and I am definitely starting to get wayyyyyyyyy hungry.

 

So far, my day has pretty much gone like this: wake up, pee, brush hair, brush teeth (with no water it made it kinda tough), get dressed, make bed, meditate, yoga, journal, walking meditation, take some sips of my peyote tea, explore my surroundings (including one brief fall off of a tree, haha!)  Then, I napped, meditated, drew, another walking meditation, started to make a rock drawing on my tarp until I felt as if I was going to faint in which I headed to some shade, rested against a tree, and took a few sips of my tea and voila—here I am again.  I have decided to make cards of my butterfly drawings to give to each of the beautiful souls that I have met on this Vision Quest.

 

Mother fucking flies! I talked to them, tried to reason with them, but they don’t give two shits.  What the fuck is the point of these ugly horse flies—they have no purpose except to annoy the fuck out of us.  I just got stung by a wasp too, but at least I know that I am not allergic, eh?

 

These flies are definitely giving me a run for my money.  I have been walking in a loop that I created just to get the flies to leave me alone.  It started thundering and there was a bit of grey cloud rolling in, my ego panicked for a second.  I was like “ahhhhhhhhhhh, toss out your rock art, pick up the tarp and put it over tree branches somewhere, rain is coming!!”  But then my heart (the calmer and quieter voice) said to wait it out because my rock art that spells out “LOVE” on top of my tarp is pretty epic and sure enough, it never rained…only thundered. 

 

I had a little girl-crabby moment at the 26th hour of no food and with flies attacking me.  But once I discovered the art of walking at a specific pace that keeps the flies off of me and didn’t get me too tired, it was quite perfecto!  There is something soooooooooooooo incredibly familiar about this whole thing, as if I have done it before or something.  Hmmmmmmm?

visionquestphoto1Helping to build the sweat lodge with my brothers and sisters at Vision Quest, notice the sunbow that encompasses us?!

Tuesday 9/5 (nightfall)

Well, hello there.  Peyote reminds me of opium.  It’s so interesting, it’s nothing like what I thought it was going to be.  I thought that there was going to be more hallucinations, but in reality, it is truly a heart opener.  I’d love to do this with someone I love, be it a family member, friend, or lover.  It truly is a truth serum, just as Gent mentioned.  Gent, the peyote whisperer.  Hehe, I am a silly one.  In my hours of idle I started to make little butterfly cards with messages for everyone, but I am afraid my pen might run out soon, so I might need to finish them at base camp.

 

I have pretty much forgotten the fact that I haven’t eaten anything in about 30+ hours now.  Definitely feeling the peyote harder tonight (probably due to the whole not eating for 30+ hours thing).  There are a lot of memories coming up for me.  Memories about visiting Mount Shasta with Meghan and going to that delicious pizza parlor, Matt harassing me to go visit him after my Mount Shasta trip (I feel so safe to be far away from him.  Truly.)  Flashbacks to Eugene and then to the lovely people that I sat with at a half-day meditation retreat in Eugene.

 

 I just heard some dude coughing, strange.

 

It’s interesting because I am having all of these memory flashbacks, but I’m not really having any emotions attached with them.  I need to give myself more credit, I have lived a pretty brave and adventurous life.  I am feeling ready to settle down though soon and have a home base.

I feel that I have had a truly blessed life for the most part.  This peyote is extraaaa strong tonight, yowzas!  I’m really realizing the multi-dimensional aspect of my being.  I still have many more lessons to learn here in the 3D realm, but this quote from this song is coming up for me now, it’s that one “The future’s not ours to see, whatever will be will be.”  I need to remember to have fun with playing in the 3D realm, it can be playful if we allow it!  It feels as if it has been dusk for hours and hours! Haha

 

Wednesday 9/6 (AM)

This might sound harsh, but I could kill for some water right about now.  The tea will help a little, but I am fantasizing about downing a whole jug of water.  24 more hours to go, 24 more hours to go.  Right before I awoke, I dreamt that I had to run an errand for my mom.  I went and did that quickly, but it was intense because traffic was a little nutty.  I got back to my mom’s and I was putting eyeliner on, but she needed me to help her and my brother with finding a specific talk show.  I was attempting to text message this teacher guy who I was dating to tell him that I was going to be late for our date.  My text messaging went on the fritz, he got mad and texted back “you deleted my text message!  You know what?  Just forget about this.”  I froze up in place and couldn’t move for a minute.  A bunch of light was pouring down into my physical body and then I woke up.

 

I am noticeably weaker today.  Yesterday, my head was aching from no food, but now it has spread down my whole body, it aches and feels very weak.  I don’t know what I’ll do about those flies today because I am thinking that my body will probably be too weak to do the walking loop that I was doing yesterday to have them leave me alone.  Man, I am not joking about the water thing, I could seriously go for some water right now.  I had a dozen sips of tea, which was glorious, but that’s that I can have until evening besides a sip here or there during the afternoon today.  After I got back from going to the bathroom, I walked back to my sleeping bag and everything started to fade to white.  I am also having the beginning stages of a UTI.  As in, it keeps feeling like I have to pee, but I know that I don’t have pee because I just went and I have barely been drinking any fluids.

 

This is going to be a long day, I feel like my whole body got hit by a truck.  I feel slightly nauseated, thirsty as I have ever been in my life, and having periodic UTI symptoms, aye yi yi.  Spirit, please please please be with me for the next 24 hours, I know that I can get through this.  I think that I am going to be doing a lot of sleeping and resting today.

 

Water, cranberry juice, Nutella on bread/bagel, peanut butter/sun butter on tortilla, fried ice cream, this is everything I am craving right about now!

 (To Be Continued…!)

The Magical Power of Touch Points

touchpoint

Last winter after I resigned from my job and decided to head overseas for an adventure, I volunteered at a 10-day silent meditation retreat as a transitional activity to ease my mind and to get comfortable with the complete change in my normal routine that would be coming soon.  I had sat at a 10-day silent meditation retreat before as a student and I had volunteered half-time at another one, but I had never volunteered a full course.  I expected the usual hard work in the kitchen where about six to seven of us would start the day at 4:30 in the morning to cook three meals per day for 70-plus students.  While the work could be strenuous, it was fun to chat with my colleagues in the kitchen and have friendly banter. We also had three different times during the day where we were able to sit for a full hour and meditate with the students.

Soon enough my work-in-the-kitchen and meditate-on-the-side routine became very comfortable five days into the retreat, but on the sixth day that all came crashing down. The manager of all 40 of the female students took a nasty fall on some ice and all eyes (literally and figuratively) were on me to step in as the female manager as she ended up having to leave the retreat early.  I had no experience at any point ever in my life of being the manager of anything.  The stress of the situation felt very dense as it was the sixth day in and I could tell that many of the students’ mental states were being tested. The main female meditation teacher sent me on three different errands within the first hour of being the manager, mostly to help check in on girls that were having sickness or intense emotional trauma.

Just as with most big changes in my life, even ones that from an outsider’s perspective might seem small, my egoic mind started racing.  Not only were the thoughts in my mind racing, but they were crashing into each other like children playing bumper cars for the first time.  Here I thought that I was such a good meditator, but I figured out that this was a real-life situation where I was being tested on how skillful I had become with my mind. On the second day of being female manager, I almost had a sheer panic attack as I had to stand in front of 70 pairs of eyes peering at me as I counted to make sure that every female meditator was in the meditation hall and if they weren’t there I’d have to discuss with the teacher and go to find them.

I mentioned to the meditation teacher that second night of being female manager that I have an extreme fear of being in any spotlight, even at a silent meditation retreat.  I told her about how I was on the verge of a panic attack a multitude of times that day.  She had great advice which to this day still sticks with me.  Her advice was that as soon as I felt that panicky feeling come on, to notice my extremities.  She told me to feel where my fingers and toes were at the moment of panic or anxiety; for an example, right now I can sense my fingers tapping against this shiny keyboard and my feet…they are resting on top of each other on this cool pavement below me. It instantly brought me back into my body and out of my head.

touchpoint2

I have brought this tool with me throughout all the hustle and bustle of daily life.  I often get anxiety attacks in grocery stores.  Most recently I was at a grocery store on a weeknight around 6:00 and I was standing in line with crowds of people around me.  I had that familiar panicky feeling come on, where I felt as if the floor below me was just about to collapse and the walls were going to come down, but before that full on anxiety attack could hit me, I brought awareness to the extremities and was instantly calmed.  As soon as I sensed my fingers placed on the handle of my shopping cart and my toes were resting in my shoes that were flat on the shiny white floor, I felt soothed.  I am so thankful for learning this technique and highly recommend it if you struggle with anxiety or panic attacks.

Peace out!  🙂

–Ilona

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Walking Revelations…

Yesterday afternoon I went for a two hour walk with a new friend at Forest Park, one of the biggest urban parks in the U.S. located right in the city of Portland, OR. Getting started on the walk, I noticed my sense of thinking forward, as in “I’m feeling kind of lazy and a little down today, I hope this is a quick walk.” Right as I noticed myself having those thoughts I snapped out of it. Noticing how vast this forest was, the happy dogs and people passing us by, I thought, “why would I ever want this to pass me by without taking it all in?” I’m truly starting to get the sense of what “being awake” really means, it’s definitely not wishing for time to speed up so that you can get to another desire, it’s not to dwell on the past and think of things you miss….it’s being fully present in the moment (even if the moment seems treacherous or daunting.)

As our walk went on, we had some of the most intense and deep life talks that I have had with anyone in a while. It was an incredibly meditative walk, the two hours actually ended up feeling like 20 minutes and we both came up with some deep realizations and revelations.

Walking, although it’s pretty simple, can do some amazing things to our body and brain. Last Friday I took a half an hour walk around the block and although I started it in the same thinking mode as yesterday, the whole “I can’t wait until I get this done with,” after just 10 minutes thoughts started just flowing and I wrote all of this down when I got back to my house:

–When something is really upsetting you, or you can’t get your mind past the worry of it, remember that you were a baby at one point….right now, who you are is only temporary….so why let something get you down when you know that EVERYthing is temporary. Don’t waste that energy, let things pass and everything will become lighter.

–If you gain control of your thinking/analytical mind and realize that it has no power over you, you open yourself up to a world you have never noticed before.

–If you let go of the ego, nothing will hurt you anymore…you will have no regrets in what you tell people.

–If you quiet that incessant chatter in your mind, you really start to notice amazing things that you, at one point, took for granted: the way a shadow looks against the sidewalk, the shine on your dining room table when the sun is blaring down on it, the way the moon appears at 3:30 in the afternoon: as if it was drawn onto the sky with a small piece of chalk.

–If you are ever in a negative funk or you feel you are alone, realize that you can never be alone because you are all that you see and every living thing is part of you.

Easier said than done with a lot of this and of course many of these thoughts have already been stated, but remaining present and realizing everything is temporary….moments don’t own you, is ever helpful to remember.

Peace and love,
Ilona 🙂

P.S. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, I want to leave this with one of my favorite quotes of his:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”