Sometimes, we go on a journey.

Sometimes we take a journey. We leave our protected "training grounds" where we have been taught many things. Places which are out in the land, and usually, are sacred and hidden. They are always the same places our ancestors walked for the same reasons; places you can "cry for luck" (visions) and places you learn about life, nature and the cosmos. They are sacred and ceremonial landscapes. These are places we find, or are led to, and then learn from, but from a perspective of protected comfort and reflection. They're places we "talk to." We talk to the land, the elements, the animals, rocks, plants and spirits. We learn while "within." They are places that heal us and clear our minds. Places that cut the cords we no longer need. Then, fill us with "medicine" or power; new life-- a rebirth so to speak. They change us; they "grow" us.

But then, one day, like a baby bird urged from the nest, we take the journey "out" to see what we've learned. Call it a test. We go out cold into society and try our best, to use the skills and things we've learned from the land; the sacred place we've been studying and also, those places within ourselves. We "go out."

What kinds of things does the land and these sacred places teach us? It teaches us that all things are conscious and alive; spirit. It teaches us that though we only touch down for a moment, like a bird landing on solid ground, we must leave good prints on those we meet. It teaches us that we are indeed all connected, but in a way where each is unique and sovereign. Something the daily mind cannot contemplate easily. It teaches us that we move through the storm of life, alone but not alone. It teaches us that we should live in harmony and peace with the land and all its inhabitants. The land is always there for us; we came up from it, we return to it, it is our mother and family, both. It teaches us that "life and death" are two faces of the same "Being; The Creator." And that we are all, even the animals and plants and rocks, the many faces of that same Being.

And perhaps, this post is a reminder to myself.

The land has "sent me off" twice in my life. Twice, I've returned to the sacred site called Severed Hand. Each time I returned, I returned for years and for more study. As I write this, I yearn to return to my places there; my safe and comfortable "classrooms." But I'm on a journey at the moment. It's not an easy journey. And I know, if I don't return to Severed Hand in this lifetime, I will walk it again-- as I have many times before.

Sometimes, we go on a journey. Call it life, or even call it a death. Sometimes a journey can feel as if it is never ending. But rest assured, we always return "to the land." And there are always more lessons to learn. We call it "practicing," this journey we sometimes find ourselves on.

Adisi Waya