Winter is finally yielding to spring in New England town I live in. I woke up this morning excited to go outside for a walk to feel warming air and sunshine on my face. As I walked briskly throughout my neighborhood I was grateful for my life and all my blessings.
As I was breathing in all those good feelings I became aware of some not so nice thoughts that began nudging me for attention. Thoughts like, youíll never make it as a coach, youíre not good enough, donít let down your guard, youíll wind up alone. The thoughts began to get louder, and pester me like a child wanting candy in grocery store check out line. My good feeling was quickly being drowned out. Where did these thoughts come from to threaten my great day?
Our lives and experiences are always being shaped by something. When we are growing up we are influenced by our surroundings, our family, culture etc. and we absorb and make part of us what we hear and experience both positive and negative. We go on and live our lives with these subtle, and sometimes not so subtle messages running in background.
Many of us live our whole lives listening to messages with loudest and most persistent voices, and often these voices can be ones that represent fear and limitation.
Iíd like to share a story from my own life to show how we live with thoughts and pain from outside ourselves.
Early on my path of self-discovery I was curious about Native American ceremonies. I was seeking experiences to deepen my spirituality and connection to earth. I was also looking for ways to reclaim my wholeness and resolve some of fear that I had learned to live with. I became interested in sweat lodge ceremony because it offers opportunity for purification and a chance to face some core fears and issues. It also symbolizes safety and nurturing womb of mother earth.
I accepted an invitation to participate in my first sweat lodge ceremony with a Cherokee elder. I shared that auspicious day with 8 other women. We spent day preparing for what was to be a rather intense experience.
When it was time to enter lodge, I followed tradition and removed my clothes. I crawled on my hands and knees in to this very small, structure made of bent tree limbs covered with tarps and blankets. Once inside dark, musty lodge, sitting on bare, cold ground shoulder-to-shoulder with other women I began to feel a bit claustrophobic and nervous.