She fascinated me. She embodied everything I thought and dreamed could be possible but had never known or seen. The healer had tapped into her inner wisdom to connect with spirit in a way that allowed her to share its wisdom to guide and help others. She was in constant communion and it was a way of life for her. She wore white, explored and prepared the land quietly. She was magic, y’all. And so was the ceremony.

Looking back, it was a remarkable journey how I got there, in that space, with those beautiful strangers, all of us seeking to connect with Spirit.

As some of you may know, my spiritual background started out Catholic. Through Catholicism, I was led to believe that the ways of man were sinful and mistaken, that we had to pray and hope that God would connect with us, forgive and deliver us to access a peaceful life and then heaven.

Deep down, I questioned. “There is something more than this…there must be more to this life and me.”

 

I always felt like something was missing. At the height of my frustrations and need for answers about who God was to me, I stumbled upon new age books and Buddhist philosophies. What intrigued me the most was the idea that your soul knows who you are completely and understands its connection to the divine. I figured that if I connect with this part of myself that is god or was made in his image, I’d get all the answers & cures to my life! So, I started to explore meditation and concepts around enlightenment.

A Whole New World

I loved all the new information coming my way. I was eating up spiritual and self-development books about consciousness, universal laws, nature’s wisdom, healing the body naturally, sacred sexuality, and more. By now I knew that we had power within us that was reachable, attainable, and no waiting for heaven to know or experience enlightenment. Every great religion and spiritual philosophy described it differently but pointed to that. I also knew that nature has a very mysterious, magical, & mystical wisdom and way about it. All the sages {wise ones} would reach enlightenment some how in dedicated connection or communion with nature and that fascinated me. It’s like this epic power we walk around all day, yet barely know.

The little bits of information I found weren’t enough for me to delve in deeply information overload was setting in. The need for practice & experience grew larger than the need for information.

My meditation practice was going okay, but I still felt I was missing something. The journey to enlightenment felt too long and I deeply wanted to FEEL, KNOW, TOUCH spirit in any {sacred} way possible. Spirituality started to feel less like something I was learning for myself and more of a passion and purpose, like this is what I’m here for. If nothing else this is all I care about and it’s calling me. I had no clue  where these feelings were leading me. All I had were modern and new age words suggesting themselves to me: ‘interfaith minister’, ‘life coach’. I sensed that I would have to put some skin in the game, take a risk, to get the experience I was seeking. I had to take some kind of action to find out what I was missing.

That Day in the Woods

In an effort to feel and touch spirit I jumped at the opportunity to attend a spiritual retreat. I honestly stepped out on faith. I added someone randomly on Facebook, because I was searching for like minds, who happened to post about this retreat held by people I’ve never met. I went for it. It turned out to be a lovely experience and pointed me towards the road to ancient and holistic spiritual practices.

We camped outdoors, I communed with sisters, we learned about herbs, healing, storytelling, altars, healthy eating, and ancestral teachings, but the topping on the cake was the Native American Sweat Lodge Ceremony {a sacred ceremonial steam bath}. Finally an opportunity to experience spirit!

 

A young native healer was invited to the retreat to lead the ceremony and as I mentioned earlier, she was magic. This type of ceremony should be experienced more than read about. Just to give you a taste though….everything was sacred. We connected with the earth, we sang and chanted, we released our pain and wounds, and we called on the great spirits and ancestors to guide and help us.

I loved every ounce of it. I let go of some of my pains around feeling disconnected and “sinful” and experienced others connecting to spirit in a very deep way. It was the first time I saw people “in spirit” {similar to the baptist church concept of catching the holy ghost}, channeling spiritual energies and ancestors, and healing in community through ritual.

I hit spiritual gold. This is what I’d been missing! It felt like I was finally getting somewhere meaningful. None of it seemed strange or weird. I wanted more!

I left knowing and believing more than ever that our connection to spirit is natural and infused in our dna, our inner channels and inner workings. There is great wisdom, power, and medicine within and our curiosities and sufferings are guiding us there. I no longer believe that I walk alone. I no longer allow myself to feel helpless because I know at any given moment I can tap in, tune in, and honor the power within and around me.

 

It has taken a whole lot of pain, long depressive seasons of my life and doubting of all of my foundations to finally find my connection to spirit and what felt lost or missing… I definitely got more after I left this retreat.

See you soon in part 2. I would love it if you leave a comment about your thoughts & experiences!

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