By Louise Kleu McEvoy

Vision Quest

When I was 23 years old, my father passed away. I was living in a different country at the time, on another life path, I rushed home to South Africa leaving behind a romance & a dream. I tried to settle down there, believing I needed to stay to take care of my mom, and as the months passed I became sadder and more lost, wandering what I was meant to be doing with my life.

I eventually got a job as a salesperson in a music shop, just passing the days, waiting for something incredible to happen! One day, a woman came in to the shop looking for World Music, something to sing to the soul. We chatted a bit & out of the blue she suggested that I join her upcoming “Kahuna Massage Retreat”. A what?!  Little did I know at the time, this woman would soon become my teacher, mentor, and friend.

The weekend retreat was brutal and life-pivoting. Brutal in terms of the hard, deep and raw emotions I experienced. Life-pivoting in terms of the profound compassion, acceptance & understanding I experienced, a tasty morsel of the connection I so desperately craved. I’ll always remember my first kahuna massage there on the verandah by the sea, a gentle breeze on my skin, the warmth of the African sun going down, the birds singing, the sound of deep breathing and a meal being prepared in the kitchen, the comforting and safe touch & flow of my Giver’s forearms navigating with such awareness the depths of my body & self….

In the evenings, we were called to a “sharing circle”. Since childhood I was exceptionally shy & introverted. Years of adolescent abuse & secrecy lead to an even deeper level of hiding & inability to express, person-to-person. I found relief in writing & poetry, which I never shared with anyone. But to share The Voice…this was one of my greatest fears! The sharing circle began with anticipation & a faster-than-fast beating heart. My God, what have I to say about Who I Am? Who Am I? What if I stumble, ridiculed, stuttering, fumbling, crying, mess…even worse, what if I do reveal myself…then I’m vulnerable, open, soft, laughable. I’ll for sure be judged and misunderstood and rejected. All the things I have learned to be for myself.

Yet…the magical whisper of an old wisdom lingered in my consciousness. I know you have heard it too…the voices of your higher self, guardians, guides and ancestors…the Ones who sing you awake with their gentle and foreboding encouragement…that finds you sitting in a circle of strangers about to bear witness to your innermost pain and expression.

The ceremony begins. I had only ever sat in circle passing around a joint, so this was a whole new level of ceremony! Anthea, our leader, explained the etiquette. One by one, each person who felt drawn to speak, reached into the middle of the circle to claim the “talking stick”. Everybody else listened. Really listened. When you were holding the stick it gave you power to express truthfully how you were feeling and if there was anything you would like to let go of. The power of the group is to Witness. It’s one thing to have your own thoughts and meditations, yet to verbalise within a group in sacred space, is quite another dynamic.

That first circle, I was not listening. I was only experiencing the pounding of my own heart that deafened my ears. I was the last one to pick up the talking stick. Deep breaths, apologies, then sobbing. Not the graceful falling of tears down one’s cheeks as the truth begins to flow, but that supressed then snorting and wailing kind of release. I was so embarrassed. It’s incredible to acknowledge, when I have ever been in the presence of anybody releasing or expressing in this manner, I have never judged or felt pity for them, only compassion, in contrast to how I viewed my self…

TO BE CONTINUED….

Leave a comment