A part of the path of my spiritual journey…
“Learning to be self-reliant in healing yourself is of utmost importance. The stronger and healthier we are as spiritual warriors, the more we will have to give of ourselves to the continual healing of the Mother Earth. Good health makes it easier for us to do our part in the universe, to serve our people, and for each of us to fulfill our personal life visions.”
-Sun Bear, in “Walk In Balance: The Path to Healthy, Happy, Harmonious Living”
I went to Cherokee, NC for an alternative spring break trip my freshman year of college, and that is where I met one of my longest lasting and best friendships. I went on this trip seeking spirituality and attempting to connect with the earth through native traditions. As part of our trip, we went to a sweat lodge, and went hiking in the hills and mountains surrounding the Cherokee Reservation.
In learning about the Cherokee spirituality, I remembered being disappointed about the “intrusion” of Christianity into the native religion. Though, later in college, I learned that this was a coping mechanism for the indigenous people to preserve what they could of their culture in the face of colonial imperialism and Christian crusades.
I remember a group of us, about 10, went hiking up near Mingo Falls in the Great Smokey Mountains. I think we were all somehow on a spiritual journey. On our hike, we got up into the trees on the mountain and sat down to rest. A hush fell across among us and we must have sat in silence for about 20-30 minutes, warming in the early March sun. At some point we all kind of looked at each other and smiled, agreeing that there was something larger than ourselves at work. On our way beyond this special spot, I grabbed a stone to remember the moment. When we got back to town, I got beads and buffalo string at a shop and made a necklace that I never took off for probably a year.
On that trip, I got a copy of a book that has the quote from above, “Walk In Balance: The Path to Healthy, Happy, Harmonious Living” by Sun Bear. I knew I needed this for my spiritual journey, though I never got to a point of reading it with a purpose. Just the other day, my partner picked it up off the bookshelf, and while reading before bed, he picked those few sentences to read to me, the ones quoted above. It was the few sentences that I was searching for back in 2005, and he found them for me…