Discombobulating, disorienting; walking on shaky ground…all very common experiences when the time of change is also a time of spiritual emergence.

I had just moved my family (two children, husband and a dog) to the mountains of New Mexico leaving behind my provincial, privileged, comfortable and safe lifestyle in the South. I knew in my gut that big shifts were afoot. I had no idea that I would be the one to run head first into not only doing something I had never done before but experiencing ‘other’ realities.

During times of spiritual emergence our human nature is on ‘high’ alert. Life is about to shift big time and every belief about our self, our reality and our life is about to be challenged.

The first thing I wanted to experience in New Mexico was a vision quest.

Do not ask me where this idea came from…vision quests were not in everyday conversation back in the south – but as the Universe works, within 48 hours of unpacking the car and settling into our rental I walked into a book store and there on the counter was a flyer about a 10 day women’s vision quest. I spent the next 30 days borrowing the necessary equipment of which I had none: tent, backpack, hat, clothes, shoes, cooking utensils etc.

As I met new people I would casually say, “Oh, I’m going on a vision quest.” And they would respond, “Cool. Would you like to borrow my …?” It’s as if the Universe was not only pushing me to do this, but leaving me no way out.

In early July I found myself in a circle of 20 women listening to our two capable guides explain our opening ritual and realized I had never backpacked for 10 days, put up my own tent, taken care of all my personal needs without porta potties and spent 3 days and nights alone in the wilderness with only water to drink. My instant panic attack must have been plastered all over my face because in that moment, one of the guides looked at me with knowing eyes and gently asked: “Are you OK?”

For a minute I wasn’t sure how to answer. Yes, no, maybe???

Then, I remembered that one of the most supportive choices you can make for yourself when the spiritual emergence process has you way out of your comfort zone is to have a good guide. Someone who knows that all is well even though everything is falling apart; a wise hand to steady the surges of panic, fear, and fantasies of ‘ruin’; and wise words that can teach you how to begin listening to parts of yourself that are quietly nudging you into an entire new identity…and a new reality.

Looking at this stranger and seeing the concern on their face, I knew I would be ok.

And, all that stuff is exactly what came forward over the next 10 days – a part of me that had been hidden behind years of coiffed appropriate women’s roles and silenced from speaking from a wise and strong voice of truth emerged. I came off that mountain and down from that inauthentic princess-tower reality lighter, brighter, and in touch with a new fire of clarity, and purposeful loving.

I had been transformed from the inside out. But what I didn’t know then was my journey was just beginning. Now, years later, I still think of those 10 days and the world they opened for me. I’m beyond grateful for what it has allowed me to do for others and sometimes, when I lose focus, I think about that time to help recenter myself and refocus on my purpose.

If you’re looking for some help in centering, focusing, and opening up to what is possible, I invite you to download my free gift, Centering In the Light Meditation.