So I had a dream about a wing being laid on the bottom of my bed, a lunch with Gloria where she mentioned a vision quest, a full blood Native American that said I needed to go to Sun Dance. When I knocked on the door to see the home of John and Susan when they were married, John answered the door, not Susan. When I met the two of them three years earlier, they suggested a part of my grandparents’ home might be in the home they renovated. When I saw her in Oklahoma City, Susan reminded me to see the house soon because they were divorced six months earlier, and the house was for sale. During the home tour, John said that he had wanted to call me but was waiting to heal longer. As I was leaving, he asked me to stay. He wanted to talk to me about the spiritual experience he had just had at the Sun Dance. I was getting in the car. I was stunned. Since meeting that Indian that got in my car, I kept telling myself that I needed to research Sun Dance. I stayed to listen. John described his Sun Dance experience and shared that he committed to dance the following year after supporting his friend at the Bear Heals’ Sun Dance in South Dakota. I knew I would be going to Sun Dance the next summer with him, but I just kept listening and said nothing.
So that began our dating on July 2, 1989. You can look back at the “Dancing With Destiny” blog if you want to learn more. Anyway, next came Hawaii, my first sweat, a traditional vision quest for me in October. October was big. Not only was that my vision quest during the first weekend, but I also sold my house, had a surprise birthday party for John, moved into my apartment, and kept working. Our relationship seemed great. Some weekends brought more sweats. I went with John. Sometimes there was a vision quest and we would spend the entire weekend camping. Other weekends when he had Boston and Savannah, he invited me to join them. We had space from each other during the week while we each focused on work and our own lives, but weekends were fun. Once in a while, we grabbed a date during the week.
John and Gary and others kept giving me snippets about Sun Dance, saying what I could do as a supporter and what John and the dancers would do. They were delighted when I shared that John had asked me if I wanted to go with him and support him and others that were dancing. I certainly did want to do this. I was definitely looking forward to Sun Dance. I wanted to know why that Indian that climbed into my car told me I needed to go to a Sun Dance!
Now through all of this, I considered John and I “dating.” However, John would not say that. If he introduced me to someone, and they asked if I were his girlfriend, his reply always was, “No, we ride together.” It was obvious he considered us friends that totally loved being together on weekends. Many of my single friends would not have been happy with that response. I did not love it, but I did not get upset about it. I kept in mind that I had been single for three years when we began this adventure together, and he had been divorced for only six months. Sometimes when I was at his house, he received phone calls from a female friend that really liked him. I said nothing until a few months went by. Now this is important.
After studying myself, my patterns in my past, and my lessons, I made several adjustments about myself. I wanted to “understand” my reactions “in the relationship” and how to respond when I was frustrated. I looked at “What changes do I needed to make,” not “What do you need to do or I would just be happy if you would do?” This changed my whole way of being, not only with John but also with friends and people I worked with! If I became unhappy about something, I said “Let me look at this and get back to you,” I did not react until I had time to sit down to write out the situation that I was unhappy about out. Next, I wrote down when a similar situation took place in my life and when before that, until I got to the first time that I could remember. I wrote down how what took place affected my pride, hurt my ego, or affected my self-esteem?
Then I looked at the part I played in the situation. This helped me understand clues about what needed to be healed inside me, so I would stop drawing the repeated lesson to me and repeat my pattern. After I writing it out, I usually could tell John or a friend “thank you for what I learned about myself through our disagreement.” I also would shared how the situation affected me. I simply wanted them to know what I discovered about myself and my past. I did not ask them to change one thing about themselves. If I saw a change within me that I needed, I made a personal decision to work on it. I was healing the past to change my future and life was so much easier when I began doing this with John and other situations.
In the beginning of our friendship, courting, or riding together, John would come to Norman to pick me up to go with him and the children to a specific destination. One of them would generally be in the front passenger seat next to John. I would slip into the back seat. That front seat was their territory at present, and I did not want to move them into the back seat. Some of my single friends were aghast that John did not make them move into the back seat or that I did not ask them to move. Guess what! By staying aware that their Dad was now inviting another person into their space helped. The way I handled gently spending time with them paid off big time later. Savannah and Boston had no fear that I was trying to replace their Mom or their space with their Dad. Savannah began telephoning me herself and inviting me to come to see her basketball games. Her wish was my command. Boston had trouble with my showing up initially, but also slowly warmed up to me. I let them each decide when to put me in the front seat. As a result, I did not have the problems with the children that my friend did.
John began inviting me to family gatherings. That was great for me since Dawn and Johnny generally worked on holidays, and my father and Bonnie generally went to Durant, OK, during the day with her family to celebrate. Dawn, Johnny, and I generally went to a movie together in the evening. We invited John, Boston, and Savannah to join us. It was all fun. I even chaperoned a New Years’ Eve party for Savannah in Susan’s home in Pauls Valley. She wanted to have a date, so while John chaperoned Boston’s New Years’ Eve party here at this house, I chaperoned Savannah and her friends at Susan’s home. John and I telephoned each other and then after all guests left, we all four celebrated together.
My Dad, some of John’s family, and a few of my friends were very concerned that I was going too far with the activities and planned to spend more time doing so. I understood and have most likely felt the same way if it had been my daughter or a friend doing something so “out of character.” They wanted me to come to church with them, questioned me, and were afraid for me. In other words, they thought I was losing it or were concerned that I was not going to make it to Heaven. They had no idea what I was learning about prayer, about healing, lessons and truths, the pipe and its meaning, and what I was receiving and learning from every sweat and ceremony. It all goes back to prayer! It all goes back to God! I knew that what was happening within me and outside of me was improving me. I stayed true to Self and continued learning. The sweats and the ceremonies I attended taught me so much about “how to let go and allow God to work. I spent hours and hours making prayer ties rather than saying a quick prayer and going on my merry way. I was doing focused prayer, and those prayer ties helped me do that.
LESSON: Be true to Self. Be a truth seeker. Let go of control and allow!
GIFTS: I loved the peace I felt in the sweat lodge, learning the Lakota prayer songs, having Gary explain the meaning of each song when he was here from South Dakota, and the gifts that came to each supporter while supporting others on their vision quests. Listening to what a person said when they told what happened to them while doing their vision quests, what they were thinking about while they were praying, and what we were praying for them surprised me. Supporters discussed issues of someone questing around the fire when we were visiting during the day and evening. This was Spirit at work!
When Gary came to help with a vision quest, he many times stayed with me. I learned that he had read the entire Bible six times. They had no books growing up and only had the Bible. When he suddenly got an idea and wanted to teach me something, I listened. Gary never called himself a Medicine Man. Every person that met him felt he was and said so to others, but not to Gary.