It will be one year since I went up on the hill this month. It is surreal to believe that a year has gone by. It feels so very present within me still and yet so much has happened since then.
I realized while I was on the hill the deep power of Spirit. I knew it intellectually before I went but still I prayed for a sign of the power I believe in, born from our environment, our consciousness, our connections. No one will ever convince me that magic doesn't exist as a result. I've seen things that are unexplainable, but for this.
I came to an important lesson while I was there. The veils are thinner than we imagine. To see deeper into this reality, I had to allow myself to surrender into not knowing. If there was one thing I knew nothing about, it was going without food and water. I had no idea what to expect. This was a beautiful gift. All my life, I have been able to sense or dream our present. Not in any kind prophetic way. More like a remembrance of what I already know has occurred, but only as it happens. It's a mind twist. And it's different than deja vu. I can see things happen a split second before they do or know how an experience will look and taste as it unfolds. But on the hill, I had no predictions or remembrances like that. I went into it asking to be shown, concretely, the power of belief and its fruition. I yearned for a sign that what I sense ACTUALLY IS. My ego was all wrapped up inside the prayer. Spirit saw into the heart of me, beyond my physical limitations....my humanness, into the realm that animates this vessel. My true consciousness. The SOUL. The place of evolution.
The nights I spent in the forest were a strange mix of physical discomforts, bug invasion, fear, and the intense desire to stay awake and bear witness to the darkness. My teacher had told me that the night was where all the fun happened. The physical effects of not eating and drinking felt more pronounced in the night, too. I observed how my body was slowing down, processing a little less and a little less each day, each night. My resistance, the urge to fight, was being ground out of me with every prayer I drummed and sang into. By morning three, I was jotting down the impact of this adventure with longer looping handwriting and shorter messages, brought on by my fatigue. More often than not, I drifted in and out of waking at night. I was surfing a wispy landscape of disjointed dreams or vivid interactions with different Beings when I closed my eyes. I remember feeling, in one of those rare moments of life, that I was truly safe in every way. I was so thirsty that my mind chased itself into the deepest cracks and crevices of my soul looking for moisture. I came to the knowledge that people, children, feel like this everyday in our world and felt deeply moved and appalled. This, the first inkling that I was soon to Stand Up for something important. Our water. The entity that makes all of life continue.
The third night I slept, I was plunged into intensely crisp and rich lands. They flitted through me in a not unlike dream state. I knew I wasn't exactly sleeping though. In one, I met an African man. He stood before me, unattached to my suffering. He was straightforward and direct with me. Kind.
"Drink," he said, as he handed me a pint glass filled with water. I lifted it to my lips and swallowed as I took him in. Tall and dark, with close cropped hair and a simple shirt and shorts, flip flops on his feet. His hands were large, his fingers long and tapered. He stood watching, waiting for me to continue.
He said, "No, you must move your throat if you are to feel the water become real."
I had to push myself hard in order to exert control over my swallowing ability. I could visualize it as if it was something I was watching. Yet, I couldn't feel it happen at first. I felt as though I was trying to swallow through slow motion. I watched myself drink into that first glass he handed me, still disembodied. But towards the end of the first glass, I reached my willpower - seemingly buried in the thickness of the moment. I only wanted to move my throat and feel the wetness slide into my body. My single focus. The moment merged from watching into feeling. I handed him the glass back. Immediately, he handed me another.
"Again." His commands were gentle but firm. "Try again."
I finished another glass.
He handed me another. Several more glasses of liquid to rehydrate me.
The morning of the fourth day, after this series of glass after glass of water, I awoke. As was my habit, I rose to relieve myself in my designated spot. I did not think of my night. I did not think of much, rather taking in the sunshine and the ways the leaves were flickering in the light of the morning. I looked around the forest knowing today was my final day on the hill. I would be retrieved the following morning. It was going to be a long day, I thought. I wondered what was in store for me. I was keenly aware of the descent I was making into a deeper consciousness. And while I didn't have the energy to dissect it, I was present in the ways that only deprivation make possible.
As I crouched, I began to go. And go. And go. My legs were so weak I had to brace myself against a tree until it was done. I felt astonished. I barely made water the day before. Today, I was a fountain. Suddenly I remembered the African and he smiled in my mind. I stumbled to my feet, fumbling with my clothes and headed straight for my drum. My prayer for this quest felt granted in that instant. I had secretly, even from myself, asked for a validation of this spiritual experience I was having. The very experience that my mind wanted to refuse as made up. I fell into trust and gave up my resistance. The clarity of this path was present in every cell of my body. My body confirmed it. The messages I had been given, furiously scribbling down in my journal, felt full and rich, yet, until that moment I held a simultaneous doubt wondering if I was a very creative imaginer. After all, I had always been a dreamy child and that has followed me into adulthood. In that moment and into all the following moments, it no longer mattered.