How has the Vision Quest Affected Your Path?

By Debbie Tremel

As I’ve pondered this question, I realized just how significant the Vision Quest has been in my life and how, at this point, it is the driving force for all major decisions.


As I reflect, my early Quests did a great deal to help me delve into the depths of who I really am and to discover the personal wounds that were holding me back from truly living my vision. They provided a vehicle to work toward healing and there hasn’t been  a Quest that hasn’t created great shifts within me. They created within me a much stronger relationship with Earth Mother and a kinship with all the beings of nature. They allowed me to push myself; to test my limits, my commitment, my passion. And they provided inspiration and direction. Tom did some teaching at the last 100 Person Quest and one thing he said really struck me. He said a common mistakes in early Quests is that we think the direction we’re given in a Vision Quest is something to implement immediately instead of being something that we begin to work toward, to train for. I know I made this mistake, acting too soon on what I received, but pray my actions, though premature, still had positive impacts.


Then there came a point when I was tested and had to either trust in the guidance received in a Vision Quest or deny it. I had the opportunity to apply for my dream job. It was literally a job I was hoping would open up for a number of years. It was running a camp where I could implement the skills and bring Grandfather’s teachings even more into my everyday work and life. This should have been an easy decision, but something didn’t feel quite right, so I decided to take it into a Quest. That Quest was wrought with messages, not only did I repeatedly get a “no” on applying for the job, but many messages about not being able to see where the path leads- and all the anxiety and discomfort this causes. I walked away from that knowing the answer in my heart, but still having my head stunned by the answer. During the coming days, as the deadline to apply approached, I had to search my soul and see how much faith I had that I understood correctly, that it was the right choice, that I wasn’t just deluding myself. If not this job, what? In the end, the deadline came and passed and I put my trust in the Creator’s hands, that there was something else I was supposed to be doing. And time passed, then nine months later I just happened to see a tiny listing on the Tracker website for the position working with the non-profits.


So here then was another step in trusting the direction I was given in the Quest. When I saw this very short paragraph with very little information, my head said “can’t be”, but my heart already knew. I had only lived on the west coast, my family was all there, my friends, my very stable career and everything I’d known. I had to go through a process here again until I finally discovered the only things holding me back were security and comfort. So I took the next step and submitted my application and had the job within a week of applying. A month later I was moving across the country and I must tell you, it was not easy. In fact, I likened it to dying, when everything changes so completely that you’re left feeling you started a whole different life. But I knew this was the path laid out for me through the Quest and though it was really hard, I still took the step. I realized, that to truly be committed to my Vision I would have to be willing to change, to sacrifice and to take action, otherwise vision was just a pretty little concept.


And since then I have continued to Quest, receiving further guidance, healing and direction. Over the past several years a pull toward something new had been building. There was more than one Quest when the concept of the Living Museum kept coming up. This time, at least, I didn’t make the mistake of quitting what I was doing to run right off and try and start one. It wasn’t until my last Quest that I had huge epiphanies about the Living Museum, it’s potential to make a very positive difference and how my gifts meld with this Vision. It became something so powerful within me that I became consumed by it and the need to create it. When I was laid off in November, it seemed the perfect chance. I had unemployment to help sustain me while I poured my energy into developing the organization and seek the land needed to start this. I guess my time of testing was not quite done however. Things came together in really beautiful ways, it was just all slower than I’d hoped. I felt an urgency to get this started, but it seemed to move at its own pace. Through this I just held the faith that this would all come together. I did not plan for alternatives for my life, to find a job or make plans to move. It just felt like it would come together. There was potential for land that we pursued and while we were waiting to hear from the land owner I got unexpected bad news about my unemployment extension. I now had no income. I at first went into a panic mode of, I have to put this aside and get a job. Hopefully, being able to resume our plans once I got financially stable. I looked at jobs but doing so actually made me feel ill; not because I don’t like or want to work, but because none of them were doing what I absolutely know in my heart I’m supposed to be doing. So I got hammered again to wait, just get by and have faith. I started selling my things to try and pay bills and there came a morning when I had to give up about the last of my money to avoid having my power shut off. This too was a tough moment. I thought, how much lower can I go? How can I trust that this is going to come through? Am I being totally stupid and naive? But when I checked inside, I still got, “just wait”.  That evening, I finally got the response from the land owner and we couldn’t have asked for a more generous lease. The Living Museum now has a home and we can actually get started! So now, even though I thought we’d be starting on the west coast, I’ll be moving to Indiana. Another place I would have never conceived to do another thing I had never planned.


So I look back at all of this and I see not only the transformation of myself through the Quest, but I see the transformation of the Quests role in my life as it’s grown and changed over the years. It’s gone from a place of growth and enlightenment, to a place so driving it won’t be denied. Although this path has not been easy, I do not begrudge it in the least. The Vision Quest has provided me with a direction so powerful even the thought of denying it is painful. But the other side of that is that, if I walk the path of my Vision I am filled with tremendous joy and passion. The commitment to it is not a chain, it is a gift.