Day one, 7am, Gila Wilderness, New Mexico/USA:
I arrived at my spot and meditated a bit to relax – I was so fuc**** nervous, afraid and already hungry. When I opened my backpack to get the rope for my tarp: surprise! There he was, right on top of my yellow jacket: a little brown scorpion “starring” at me. He looked exactly like the one Sparrow, our Vision Quest guide, warned the group during our four day preparation time as being one of the few dangerous creatures in Gila Wilderness – together with bears and rattle snakes. I remember Sparrow`s words: “if it stings you, you won`t die, but you will wish to!"
A few minutes later, the little brown scorpion had not moved and I didn`t know what to do. “Nice to meet you Freddy, my name is Raissa”, I said to him. Wondering where the name “Freddy” came from (I have a habit to name things), we started a really nice conversation. I suddenly noticed that my fear was almost gone, and I kindly asked him to get out of my backpack. It did not work. "Of course, scorpions don`t talk..." - you could say. But I knew he was understanding me in other ways. I took all my stuff out of the backpack and tried to shook him off, hoping that – maybe – Freddy could find his way home. The result: he was not inside the backpack anymore, but he was definitely somewhere around me.
Where is Freddy!?
Like most people, I am scared of the unknown. So I decided to talk to him again, and – speaking out loud – I nominated Freddy the president of all the beautiful creatures that there live (bears, wolfs, snakes, ants, spiders, …. ) and decided that they would be my guardians during my solo time. From a potential danger, Freddy had turned to be the symbol of safety during my time alone in the wilderness. Perfect, I felt secure enough to set up the tarp to protect myself from the hail storm and simply feel at home.
Day two, three and four, Gila Wilderness:
During the next days, I made many other friends besides Freddy: from animals, to plants and insects (specially spiders, MANY spiders). Freddy was the president, but we were all a family. “Good morning, Family!” – were the first words coming out of my mouth every morning. Spending 4 days alone in the wilderness, with no food or shelter (besides my big-blue-full of holes tarp and a sleeping bag) – had a huge impact in my life. I spent my solo days doing many rituals (that`s why we were all there), feeling connected to the inner and outer nature like never before, and of course, learning A LOT about myself. But what Freddy taught me was one of my greatest learnings: the skill to feel myself at home no matter what, even if I am in danger, or out of my comfort zone, or simply out of what society usually considers “home”.
To feel at home – without having a house – means being able to recognize your own being and the present surrounding as your temple. It means being able to wander the world without leaving home. It means being welcomed by everyone that will live together with you – for one day, 4 days, 1 year or a life time.
This learning brought me one of the values I most appreciate now: inner peace – which is endangered nowadays. I can build many houses, pitch tents, set up tarps, rent apartments and call them home. But to me, what really matters, is to always make allies with the outside world, finding my Freddy, and let the home be permanent only inside myself.
Thank you Freddy, for inviting me to your home and introducing me mine. Thank you for not showing me how it is to die, but how it is to find home. I hope no one has stepped on you. :)
#This was a bit of my experience during my Vision Quest on October 2014, in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico/USA. To learn more about Vision Quests and find your own Freddy, check it out by yourself here: www.questforvision.com