Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sweats and incantations

All the praying that is needed comes from the heart, not the mouth. Grace Spotted Eagle
It is Saturday morning. A grey cool morning. A morning to curl up in bed, relax, sink into calm.

Yesterday was a day of wonder. Along with all the very appreciated and soothing comments from my friends here on my yesterday's blog, (Thank you everyone! Your support makes a world of difference -- every day!), Joyce, over at Peaceful Legacies, left a comment on yesterday's blog that startled, and inspired, me. "They say, in 7 years every cell in our body is new so you are no longer the you you were..."

Wow! What a thought. That me, seven years ago yesterday, who sat in catatonic shock watching the man, whom she once upon a time had believed in, be arrested -- is not the me sitting here today. Every cell of my body has renewed itself. There is not one cell left that was around at the time of those events.

Now that's cool!

To celebrate the day, I participated in a sweat lodge. Pretty sure that if there were any cells hanging around from way back when, I set them loose in the stream of sweat that poured off my body.

A forty-five minute drive from city centre found me surrounded by aspen forest and rolling hills. Tucked into a reserve that edges the western end of the city, the Tsuut T'ina Reserve is a vast sprawling oasis that stretches westward towards the Rocky Mountains as it snakes along the Elbow River. As I drove deeper into native lands, I said a silent prayer of gratitude. "I am grateful the developers have not had access to these lands." I was embraced in peace and tranquility and raw beauty.

I arrived at the location of the sweat lodge and was greeted by the native gentleman who had invited me to participate. Seven other 'white folk', two women, five men, listened earnestly as he explained the journey we were about to experience. We changed into appropriate clothing and crawled to the entrance of the lodge, women first. As I crawled through the opening into the dim womb like space, I invoked the spirit guides to be with me with the native invitation to "All my relations" to enter the space with me.

As the first five rocks were placed in the pit in the centre of the space, we sat in silent prayer. Eleven more rocks and we were set to close the doorflap and enter the womb of darkness and the mystery of being at one in that space where 'all my relations' and the 'grandfathers' listened to our supplications and heeded our prayers.

"We are here to suffer together," said our guide. "We are here to lay down our burdens. To ask for healing, for ourselves and each other and for anyone else int he world, anywhere in the world. When we suffer, we understand the suffering of others. When I sit in the heat and know what it feels like to be gasping for breath, in pain, I can understand someone else's desperate struggles with pain. We are here to suffer together."

And suffer we did. The searing heat. The sweat oozing from every pore. Four times, the doorflap was closed. Four times it was opened. And each time a different step along the journey. From prayers to chants to invocations, we shared two hours of pain and suffering. Of healing words and prayers for healing.

And when I crawled out, after thanking all my relations at the door, I felt soothed. Mellow. Released and revived.

In seven years every cell in our body will renew itself, Joyce wrote.

I am renewed.



Maureen said...

What an experience!

Perhaps if we remember or remind ourselves that are cells constantly renew, we will be more apt to let go of what we hold in our minds that causes pain.

M.L. Gallagher said...

so true, Maureen. It was my other thought -- our body cells renew. It is our thoughts -- those non-cellular based entities, that challenge us in our attempts to re-new, re-do, re-think them!

We're having rainy days here too!



Joyce Wycoff said...

Louise ... welcome to your new world!

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks my friend! And while you were posting to me, I was posting to you!

How cool is that?!

Anonymous said...


just a thought for you . .

.... for your next book - start it in the sweat lodge, start there, bare all, shed all . . . then the story becomes all new, all you

nobody else

just you

I'd follow that story, I'd buy that book


Jordan said...

Thank you for showing me your blog today. I especially enjoyed this story.