Inipi, by Juan Pablo Herdez

Yesterday, I had the honor of participating in a traditional Lakota Inipi.

My first time, and it was helpful having previous ceremony experience in other traditions. It came to me right before we began that these initiations mirror the greater life journey…contract, expand, breathe…then do it all over again.

I prayed for healing after a hard winter, and to fully step into the sunlight of spring. This past season was one of the toughest I’ve endured in a while. One of the only bright spots was a brief romantic exploration with a man I thought I’d fallen in love with, but even that soon came to its own abrupt (though timely, and necessary) end.

Mucking through the shadow realms for a few months revealed that compromising my values for anyone or anything–a man, a job, or even for my own illusory castles in the sky–is absolutely never worth it. I see now, clearly, the areas in my life which are brimming with abundance and possibility, because I didn’t compromise. And, the ones which are wilting, because I’ve compromised for far too long.

Deep gratitude to the Great Spirit, the Great Mother, for this hard winter. And for yesterday’s much needed cleansing.

I stumbled out of the sweat lodge dizzy and nauseous. After a particularly hot last round, the shock of the breezy, cool Colorado evening air took anything else that I was holding on to right out of me. Without a word, I laid down on a sleeping bag and let my breath and body settle. Looked up at the twilight sky and felt the power of the stars reach down and touch me with love, the earth below hold me with tenderness.

I am changed today. Reborn.



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