The Vision Quest (Part 3)

Okay, so where was I up to? Ah yes, I’ve planned and prepped and now I was ready to begin. My last meal before fasting was at 3pm on Friday. I made it a biggun! Very high fat and I enjoyed it thoroughly. That evening I went to a Kundalini Yoga workshop where we focused on our “Soul Purpose”. I thought this was the perfect way to start my vision fast as one of the reasons to carry out a vision fast/quest is to find your purpose in life.

The next day when I woke up my first thought was “I’ll just make breakfast”. Er, no I won’t. “I’ll just make lunch”. Nope not that either. It made me realise how much of my life revolves around food. I wasn’t even that hungry, it just seemed to be a go-to habit and a conditioning to eat at certain times.

I was all packed and ready to go but had another yoga workshop to attend before setting off. Getting ready to leave after the workshop I did just think “What the f*ck am I doing?” “Just go home, stay warm, eat some yummy food”. But I’ve got this far, I’m gonna do it. By the time I got to my spot I was happy I didn’t back out. It felt right being there.

I did the whole ritual thing on arrival. The Quest book gives all the details on how to do this. First I set up my medicine wheel (a protective circle made around my sacred spot). I collected stones (asking their permission to be moved and made into my medicine wheel) placing them in east, south, west and north corners. I then added a few more stones as well as twigs, feathers, berries, leaves and even a mushroom. I “washed” myself in sage and cleansed the circle. I only entered and exited from the east as that is the beginning of the wheel relating to the direction of sunrise. On entering the circle, I took time to centre myself, breathing in each direction and using visualisation to draw in energy.

I then set up my hammock and tarp and settled in for the night. I had felt slightly nervous before going, it’s funny the stories your mind can make up in your head. I just had to not listen to them and know that I was completely safe. It wasn’t the best nights sleep but I didn’t actually feel that tired to be honest. The moon was so bright too (it was the night before full moon) and was like someone had a light on in the trees. Which was amazing (I’m definitely a “look at the moon” kinda person)!

To be continued…..

Tobeawarrior x

The Vision Quest (Part 2)

So I know you’re all anxiously waiting to hear how my vision quest/fast went (good news, I’m still alive) but part 2 is gonna talk you through the preparation stage first.

Obviously one of my random internet searches had brought my attention to vision fasts and various programmes you can pay to attend. After discussion with a friend they basically said “so you pay this money to people for them not to feed you or give you any accommodation, sounds like a good way to make money”.  Hmm, maybe you’re right, I can do this on my own.

[Searches internet] A few YouTube videos later and reading of the book “Quest: A guide for creating your own vision quest; Denise & Meadow Linn” determines I can indeed carry out my own vision fast.

I start journaling and writing about my intentions for my quest. But where the heck was I going to find my sacred spot in nature? [More internet searching]. This time Googling sacred wells in Yorkshire (as you do). I find one that is written about in a text that makes it sound magical. It doesn’t come up on Google maps but has reference to some ordnance survey co-ordinations. [More internet searching] This time trying to figure out how to use these co-ordinations. I download an OS app. Cool, I figure I can find it and set out a days adventure.

The walk up the hill feels good, right even. Between using my Google and OS maps I see I am getting close. I take a right down a track and a deer crosses my path. It is quiet and the story of the well location so far seems accurate. Ah, the well! But nothing like my imagination or the story would have me believe it to be. Nice view though. Back to the search for THE spot.

On the walk back another deer crosses my path. This time, this one stopped to stare at me before running into the bushes. Decision made. I will follow the deer. I didn’t have to go too far before I found my space. A small clearing with two trees perfectly positioned for me to hang my hammock. It felt cosy, homely. Awesome, what a success to find my spot so easily.

Those who know me know that I am one of those hangry sort of people. So a 72 hour fast was a big ask. I decided to opt for a ketogenic diet (high fat, very low carb) the week before the fast so that I was already glycogen depleted and fat adapted, which would hopefully reduce any hunger/carb cravings I may have. I also tried to eat in excess the few weeks before to put on some weight to account for what I might lose (I wasn’t successful in doing this but it wasn’t without trying). Apologies to those who only have to sniff some butter to put on weight, but I was literally chomping on blocks of cheese and spooning the peanut butter in.

I cut out all caffeine a few days before D-Day. It was already going to be a challenge without having to deal with any potential withdrawals and headaches. Luckily I’m not that much of an addict to notice the difference of going without but I wasn’t taking any chances.  A lot of water we consume in the day comes from food so I made sure I stocked up on some electrolytes too.  This would ensure better hydration than water alone and also help to avoid nasty headaches.

Packing list: Layers (the forecast was cold & rain), hammock, tarp, sleeping bag, water, electrolytes, journal/pen, quest book (for reference), torch, baby wipes, rubbish bag, sage (for smudging  and cleansing my sacred space obvs), emergency Lucozade, small shovel, scissors, extra string. Wow! So much STUFF!* This was more than I was expecting for a minimalist expedition.

That’s it then. I’m ready. Let’s do this.

To be continued…..

Tobeawarrior x

*I hate stuff. I’m continuously trying to de-stuffocate. I want to live a simple, minimal life. But I always seem to have so much of it. I’m currently preparing to move into a small van and this is certainly going to limit the amount of STUFF I have. But this is another story to be told…

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This was the magical sacred well I had read about, the view from the well and my hammock tress. These were taken on my first expedition to the location. I didn’t have my phone turned on to take any pictures of my set up, though I wish I had.

The Vision Quest (Part 1)

This weekend I am preparing to go on a solo vision quest. Well at least my version of it. Vision quests more specifically relate to Native American rites of passage.  Vision Fast is a more appropriate name to use to differentiate between the two and out of respect to the indigenous culture and ceremonial practices. Retreat in nature, 72hr fast, whatever you call it, it is less about the name and more about the intention.

“Sorry, what are you doing?”

In short, I will retreat into nature with little more than water, my hammock and my journal for 72hrs.

“And why are you doing this?”

The answer to most things could be “Why not?” or “because I can”.

But my main reasons for it are that I am currently undertaking my yoga teaching training qualification. We are writing an essay of our choice and I wish to explore the effects of fasting and retreat on spiritual practice. This is not a new concept, fasting and retreat feature in many religions and traditions throughout time. I want to investigate areas of pain/discomfort, attachment, intention, absence/abundance, sympathy/empathy, gratitude/gratification, sensory deprivation, inward reflection and connection. It is a balance of yin in a very yang world. And as well as providing me with primary research for my essay, it is essentially an experiment on my “journey of self”.

Some people think it sounds crazy. But when you think about it, many people spend an entire weekend drinking and eating crap food. How is that any less crazy? It’s probably more crazy in fact, we’ve just accepted it as the norm. Just another example of social conditioning/programming. But there are no rules to life. We don’t have to all fit in the same box. I’m daring to step out of the box and my comfort zone. I want to figure my own life out, for myself.

Also, I studied a degree in nutrition and the scientist in me is interested in the health effects of fasting and potential benefits to the immune system. In my studies we looked a lot at food and it’s symbolism, it’s part in religion and culture, status, emotion but never the withdrawal of food.

I literally have no idea how I will react or what will come up, whether I will last the whole 72hrs or anything. It might be the best experience of my life, maybe the worst or perhaps just a neutral. But I’m curious. And that is good enough for me. Stay tuned for part 2 to see how it went.

Tobeawarrior x