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Opinion & Essays - Jan, 2001 Issue #77 

A Student writes...

I was on a primitive course for three weeks during which time I ate one meal a day of rice and lentils or plain oats. I cooked these meals on an open fire that I made with the bow drill, a tool of the Native Americans. Though physically challenging, this primitive journey was more of a spiritual adventure for me. I had been working on my recovery for about four months prior to this experience. Two weeks into the course we constructed a sweat lodge consisting of small mountain Maple trees, wool blankets, sinew, and ponchos. We then heated rocks on a large fire, placed them in the pit of the lodge, and four boys including myself sat in a circle around the rocks. The heat rose and I prayed for my fears to be released over and over as the sweat poured off my body. After exiting the lodge I went down to the creek and submerged my body. When I stood up I felt as if every emotional weight was taken skyward and I had been freed. I sat on a fallen tree by the creek and wrote this. 

I can hear the waters Ė 
I have felt the trees
All has come together 
in the subtleties of the breeze
The weights have been taken
from their resting on my back
The sky and earth have filled
what the shattered pain once lacked
The bustle in my vision
and the clatter in mind
Still reside but are not recognized
by the peace of my new find
A feeling in my soul
is what tells me who I am
The open gates release the thoughts
from behind fearís ancient dam
Drops of cleansing water 
still drip from my naked skin
As I look to the sky I now realize 
it is here, it is now I begin
Though little time has passed 
the change has been made in which my spirit can see
And I thank my teacher and father
for taking my fears away from me

~ Art

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