One week from tomorrow on August 30th I will be heading west with an entourage of 5 other women. I have mixed feelings about all this, but mostly excited. If you go to the April 2010 posting and scroll down to the post titled What's Bad is Good you will read about Stanford Addison, an Arapahoe medicine man who lives outside of Lander Wyoming on the Arapahoe reservation. I have contacted Stanford and shall be journeying to do a sweat lodge with him. How this came about is pretty amazing.
If you read the post, What's Bad is Good, you will read about the Eagles that circled Jim and I one morning and how I whispered into Jim's ear to send his prayers up with those Eagles. This is a quote of Stanford's that came out of the book Broken written by Lisa Jones. After this breath-stopping experience with these circling birds I wrote to Jones a few days later. She lives not far from the town in Colorado that Jim's sister, Donna, lives in. Somehow this made Lisa more human and approachable to me since, "hey, I know where you live!" To my surprise she responded to my email that inquired whether Stanford was still alive and gave her a little information on the fact that my husband was living with brain cancer. Her response to me was "Due to your circumstance I'm going to cut the normal rigamarole I give to people who write asking about Stanford. Here's Stan's direct number. I'm going to call him and tell him you'll be calling".
WOW!!!! The next morning she emailed me again and said she had spoken to Stanford and he was expecting my call whenever I was ready. I called him that afternoon asking him if a sweat lodge would be appropriate for Jim. He confirmed that it would be very appropriate and he had run sweats for many cancer victims. We agreed that the end of the summer might be good timing and that we would talk more in a couple months.
After Jim died in May I contacted Stanford in June and told him. I added that I was still interested in heading to Lander and doing a traditional sweat with him. I now believe that perhaps this is what the Eagles saw as being needed .... and that perhaps this sweat lodge is now happening for my own healing and purification.
So, I'm going. I have arranged to do this sweat with Stanford on September 2. Jones has been wonderful in sending me lots of information on how to be a "Helpful Honkie on the Rez" as well as maps to get to the reservation from Lander and other information that assists in making this whole trip a little easier .... because so much of this is just unknown! And I am traveling with 5 other amazing, wonderful women - one of them my 21 year old niece who, I believe, is a gift that Jim left me with when he passed. My niece has not been in my life to any great extent until the hospice experience and then she waltzed in and decided she needed to be a bigger presence in my life now. She is so very right about this. And I invited her to come on this huge adventure with me ... to my delight, she accepted. The other women are some of my dear friends who have been here through thick and thin ... mostly thick.
A little history ... I know that there was a lot of press regarding the sweat lodge gone amok recently where the leader of the sweat didn't allow any of the attendee's to leave the lodge and thus ended up killing many people. This is pure stupidity. This is someone who was conducting a sweat lodge who had no business doing so. Working with Stanford Addison is working with a Native American man who has conducted countless sweat lodges for over 25 years ... all safely!! Through Lisa's web site I read where Stanford was in disbelief that someone would run a sweat and not allow anyone to leave the lodge if they felt a desire to get out of it! I may have nervous feelings about how well I can handle the heat of a sweat lodge but I have NO fear that the expertise of this medicine man who will be running this knows what he's doing and will take good care of all of us involved in his sweat.
One more thing. I'm coming up on another big first .... Jim and my anniversary is this week. This might also explain why my weekend was so hard .... surf was up and the waves hitting me were pretty big ones. I think it's good I have this trip coming up to be focused on.
Loving you all back,