I’ve done my share of workshops. I’m looking for something that has deep and lasting results, and that involves fresh air and the outdoors. Any suggestions? Best, JW
Thanks for your question, which is perfect and perfectly timed! I am currently contemplating such a workshop for myself – a guided “vision fast” in the great outdoors.
A vision fast, which is also sometimes referred to as a vision quest, is a rite of passage – a self initiated ceremony or ritual that is done outdoors, facilitated by experienced guides, and which gives the individual time to pause, time to mark significant life transitions, and time to initiate desired new life changes.
Such rite of passage ceremonies are as old as dirt, found in almost every tradition, culture, and religion throughout the world, and continue to be a powerful way for teenagers and adults to acknowledge, mourn, release, welcome, or celebrate important life transitions of any kind, such as actual or symbolic births and deaths, major life changes, career changes, divorce, marriage, menopause, birthdays, successes and achievements, children leaving home, recovery from addiction, etc.
Taking the time to give ourselves something like this is a highly conscious way of taking stock of and honoring our lives, and being deliberate about how we want to live our lives going forward.
There are groups around the world that facilitate rite of passage programs such as the vision fast. I have participated in this work for more than a decade with the School of Lost Borders in Big Pine, CA. Check out their website for schedules and lots more information. www.schooloflostborders.org
In addition to other trainings at the school, I've done six vision fasts with them to date -- marking two significant birthdays, a career change, two key life changes, and a relationship change. And I've participated in these programs with all types of interesting people of all ages and from all over the world, including artists, doctors, grandmothers, teens, moms, dads, CEOs, therapists, you name it -- all embarking on a vision fast to mark their own unique transitions.
The Vision Fast: Preparation, Solo, Return
The format and length of vision fasts may vary, but typically the ceremony involves 4 days of preparation, 3-4 days and nights of fasting alone in a wilderness place, and several days of incorporation.
Intent and Preparation
A key step in preparing for your ceremony is to deeply engage the question, “What is my intent for my upcoming ceremony?” In other words, right now, and from the deepest place in your psyche, what can you say about that which is compelling you to embark on this vision fast?
During the four days preceding your fasting/solo time, your guides will help you further clarify your intent, which can be a process as powerful and profound as the actual fast itself. You will also be educated and readied to physically, mentally, and spiritually benefit from the experience of fasting alone in the wilderness.
Solo Experience in Nature
The solo experience involves time alone in a natural place (solitude), fasting (emptiness), exposure to the elements (vulnerability), and self-reliance (self-trust). During solo time, the guides maintain a safe perimeter around the area and make sure you have sufficient provisions. I liken solo time to being inside a cocoon, where within the illusory sheath of dormancy, new life percolates, just waiting for its time to explode into full potential. The experience of solo time is somewhat indescribable, different for everyone, and guaranteed to create memories that stay with you for a lifetime!
Return and Incorporation
Upon return, you join together with the other fasters and guides for the sharing of personal stories. The guides support you by listening and reflecting the significant lessons of your story, and then challenge you to give your vision practical feet -- to live the life and change(s) you have rightfully claimed as your own!
To read more about the exact stages of a vision fast and how to prepare, read this article on the School of Lost Borders website: http://www.schooloflostborders.org/content/how-prepare-your-vision-fast-ceremony-0
And so, dear JW and all my readers, I hope this answers some of your questions. If you are being called to honor yourself, your life, and your people in this way, perhaps you are ready for this deep and lasting initiation in nature. The truth of nature is what will make your solo time real, mysterious, and meaningful.
"My soul is striving to remember who I am, to make who I am compatible with who I was born to be, to bring who I am into synch with who I will be." – Stephen Foster and Meredith Little, founders of the School of Lost Borders
“Initiation causes a funeral and a birth; a mourning appropriate to death and a joyous celebration for the restoration of a full life.” – Michael Meade
"Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
From the heart,
your Life Coach Maddisen
Copyright 2013 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.