Monday, April 27, 2009
Going to the Campfire
1980 found me in New York, where a close-knit circle of women friends meditated together every Monday. During one session I was brought to a campfire, joining a very old Native American woman with long white braids. She began to tell me a story of a woman's life quest and, as I stared in the flames, I watched myself become the character in the story. To say it was an incredible experience would be an understatement; friends gathered around after, concerned at the flush on my face and completely dilated pupils. I was tingling from head to toe.
Many times after that, I returned to the same campfire and was told more stories, experiencing them as they unfolded. I began to write the stories down. The first tale had been the larger story that contained all the others, being about life, the fear of death and the connection to the infinite Great Mystery. When I wrote that first story, my mother-in-law was dying of ovarian cancer and I was taking care of her. I gave her the pages to read with a little trepidation (she was a very practical, real-world sort of person) and was gratified to find that it helped ease her fear and doubts in the final months of her life. It also opened the door for us to talk about life, death and love...not the daily conversations in my first husband's family, that's for sure, but she was desperate for just that.
The meditations and stories were very helpful to me during this difficult time, my first marriage crumbling around the events and my husband's alcoholism. What I didn't know at the time was that the woman always waiting at the campfire for me had plans and needs of her own, searching as she was for the old grey wolf.