June 19 – July 1 in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, BC
Over the years, I’ve heard people give many reasons for going a Wilderness Quest.
There are an unlimited number of perfectly acceptable reasons, including not really having a reason.
The following are statements I’ve heard from people about what prompted them to invest their time, energy, and financial resources in this type of spiritual growth:
- Retirement: I can finally do all the things I never had the chance to do before.
- I don’t really know why I want to go, I just feel intrigued by the challenge.
- I’ve been single for 25 years and want to figure out why.
- I’m recently divorced, the kids have moved out, and I’m not sure who I am or what my role is as a father anymore.
- This is my eighth Quest – I’m trying to do one every year.
- My mother died last year and I can’t seem to let her go.
- I’m sick of suffering from anxiety and depression and I want to face my fears.
- I’m struggling with how to handle my family’s response to my coming out and am considering whether my path is to build bridges or set boundaries and break off all relationship.
- I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ve been angry with my father all these years even though my mother’s the alcoholic who never makes me a priority.
- My best friend died and I can’t stop grieving but I feel like it’s time I should become my own person.
- I’ve reached a peak of success and am wondering if this is all there is; it feels to early to peak.
- I don’t know what my gifts are or what I want to do with my life; I want clarity.
- I feel uninitiated. I don’t have any mentors, elders, or conscious adults in my life to notice that I’m failing to “launch”.
- I think I might want to incorporate overnight Quests into my work with youth but I’ve actually never been on one myself so I thought I’d check it out.
- I’m on track to have the life I’ve been working so hard for all these years, but I kind of want to press “pause” and check in – is this what I really want?
- I have a well-established career but something inside me says it might be time to wrap it up and do something else, I just don’t know what. I need some time to reflect.
- I need to forgive my father.
- I had a near-death experience; I need some time and space to integrate what it all means.
- I’ve been estranged from my parents since I emigrated to America for high school. Now I’m in my forties, in the midst of a divorce, single parenting, and my parents are dying. I don’t recognize my life anymore. I have a lot of suppressed emotion I can’t deal with.
- I have been languishing in my parents’ basement since the end of high school and it’s time for me to “become a man”.
- I feel as though I’ve lost connection to my inner sense of power and want to tap into it again.
- I have an urge to lay myself at the foot of the universe and just give thanks and praise.
- I’m outraged at the insanity and injustice of the world and feel a need to reconnect more deeply with the planet in order to maintain my own sanity and ground myself.
- I’m preparing for a major life and career change and want to check in and make sure it’s the right move for me and my family.
- I like to go on Quest every couple of years as a way to re-centre myself and re-align my life with my values and evolving priorities.
- I’ve always wanted to go on a Quest just to see what it’s like and find out how I would handle myself alone in the wilderness.
- I feel lost in my life and hope to come to clarity about my next steps.
- I know I need to release some family shit but I need some alone time to think and work out my strategy.
- Modern life, especially career, feels pointless to me; in fact, everything except spiritual devotion seems pointless to me. But I know I’ve got to find some direction and livelihood.
- I feel ready to face the abyss within me, but I want extreme privacy when I do this and to just be left alone to my own process.
A lot of these sound like something I would say.
I think Quest is an appropriate response to pretty much every troubling situation – but there’s one very important exception.
Going on a Quest because someone else thinks “it would be good for you” is a terrible reason to embark on this work.
Anyone coerced or forced into going on Quest will probably have a suuuuuuuuper shitty time.
But if you feel the call to adventure, that’s reason enough to go.
I often say,
Sometimes only mountain is big enough to carry my pain.
Sometimes only ocean is deep enough to swallow my grief.
Sometimes only desert can give me the clarity I need.
Sometimes only darkness can take me where I need to go.