You may be sacrificing all that your childhood ideals drove you toward.
And if this is the truth, if vision quest, and following your heart in life presents so much contradiction to our "happiness and hopes" for a nice life, why do it?
And the answer is simple.
Because everything else becomes a waste of time.
During that sweat lodge eagles circled overhead, and I had my first real vision. What I saw, was not a bucket list of all the things I wanted to achieve, not a list of responsibilities or obligations I had to comply with my societies expectations of a good man. Not a picture of comforts and materials that could offset my fears of dependency and poverty. What I saw was the reason for my birth, my purpose, nothing more and nothing less. Everything else, is up to me.
"Will we see you at Sundance this year?"
The words took me by surprise. I had neither anticipated nor sought them out. As I stammered "Uh, well, uh...sure" in response, I had a rush of fear because I knew that this was not a question or a request, it was a directive. And the directive was not from this man called Godfrey; it was from Spirit.
About a month and a half earlier, in 1990, after a ten-year involvement in various Twelve-Step programs based on Alcoholics Anonymous, I had come to an unusual realization. For the first time in my life, I found myself expressing a desire to have a Teacher that would help facilitate my spiritual path.
I was never one to follow anyone in my life. I knew that "following" wasn't what it all was about. I had no idea what such a Teacher would look like. I simply longed to be able to sit at the feet of someone of flesh and blood for a change who could perhaps model what a well-rounded relationship with Spirit was, perhaps just talk to me about such things...who knew? The gist of it was that I was tired of having my spirituality so deep inside me that it had no form.
Within two weeks of expressing that intention in my prayers, I was at a local coffee shop and saw a makeshift poster announcing a "Cannunpa (Cha-nupa) Ceremony," a ceremony with the Sacred Pipe by a Lakota family, who was in town. With no particular investment, I went to the address, only to find that it was at the home of a friend.
I found myself in a circle with about twenty people, and quietly watched the proceedings. Curious. The family was named Chips; a mother and her three sons, with a couple of assistants. It was all very simple. The eldest brother, Charles, led the ceremony after talking a little bit about their lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He said nothing at all astounding or earth-shaking, and I suppose what I appreciated most was that he seemed very aware, and happy to be alive.
He said they were there doing healing ceremonies for the sick, that they had been invited, or "sponsored" by a local family, with whom they would be staying for a month or so. He spoke of the Yuwipi ceremony where Spirit comes through his younger brother, Godfrey, and directs the people seeking healing. A good leader will appreciate that you are speaking out.