There are few things in this world that I know of that are as cleansing to the spirit and to the soul as a traditional sweat lodge and a day in the woods with friends and fire. Here's a picture of the lodge just before we entered and a pic of the fire just before we removed the bricks to heat the lodge.
The day is spent in preparation, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I like to get out to Sarah C's as early as I can to help bring water, gather wood, and bring all the necessities we need. I love to have my lungs filled with the air from her forest and I love to light the fire and watch the first set of coals appear. I love praying over the fire and asking that our spirits be lifted and our bodies be healed with the heat that it produces. There is something so holy about being present when the bricks we use are placed on the fire and being there as the coals build and the heat around the bricks build.
My sweat lodge sisters and I have decided to make an official door for our lodge, so this time I took out some fabric and we began creating what will someday be the collage of ourselves that we use as our gateway into the ancient world of the lodge. It excites me on so many levels to share in the creation of this bridge. The lodge has been an evolving process. This is the 3rd of 4th one we have built. Each time it gets better and we understand better what our needs
are and how to achieve them. The first time we had a lodge, we didn't have enough coverings and the heat escaped very fast with very little sweating. Now when we do it, we start feeling the toxins leave almost instantly, without it being overwhelmingly hot. I appreciate the growth that has come from building and learning to do this on our own and recognizing the need we all have for it. It was difficult to find anyone to give us guidance as everyone does their lodges differently. We read some information, but we really just went into it with no expectations and it just keeps getting better each time. (After we finish, we always say this was the best one ever - and I think they always are).
This lodge was a sacred time for me. I spent most of it in silence enjoying and appreciating my inner peace. Unknown to most of you, I have had a lot of internal anger going on this week directed at someone who is very poisonous to my spirit. It is difficult for me to come to this relationship with compassion as it is filled with a lot of hurt and grief on both sides. I have chosen to stop trying to fix things and just trust that distance put between us is the best medicine I can have for it. It is so simple, yet so difficult as my heart yearns to reach out and show compassion beyond what I am naturally capable of. Choosing distance is liberating, and I am filled with much peace over it as I think my spirit has been craving it for years. At our last lodge I prayed for the wisdom to know what to do and at this lodge, I was thankful that I now know, and feel at peace with it, so as I entered I was filled with love and compassion and was able to truly open my heart again and hear the woes and hurts of my sisters fully and just be with them in their time of need because I was not bogged down in my own. I feel free, my spirit feels free, and I can fully sit in peace as I am rid of the toxins that pollute my body not only just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I feel like I understand the medicine and I feel like I get why people having been using these lodges for 1000's of years.