We pay a price to be who we are. Negotiation. Compromise. Adjustment. Readjustment. Steady companions along the way. If we aren't going to be who we are, who are we going to be? We pay a price to not be who we are. "All we ever wanted was smooth and easy!" (An AA slogan) Smooth and easy aren't so smooth and easy. We bear the pain of being alive one way or another-- consciously, mindfully, deliberately, intentionally, courageously, or unconsciously, mindlessly, accidentally, unintentionally, symptomatically. It begins with taking the time to know who we are. Everything else falls into place around that. The Native American Vision Quest was not about envisioning a future, conjuring up a life-goal, imagining a destination (Understand this: There is no destination!). It was about seeing who we are. The most important relationship is our relationship with ourselves-- with our Self. With our Original Self. With The Face That Was Ours Before We Were Born. With The Self Who Is The Source And Guardian Of The Virtues, Values, Character that define us, guide us, illumine us, direct us and accompany us along The Way. We are never alone, but we live as though we are, because we do not take the time to know who we are. Marianne Moore said, "The cure for loneliness is solitude." In solitude we meet who we are, who we also are. Carl Jung said, "There is, in each of us, another, whom we do not know." The heart of every vision quest is the silence that transports us from aloneness to solitude. The silence is alive with moods and memories, feelings and thoughts, reflection, recognition, realization. How long has it been since you sat, still and quiet, watching and waiting for something to stir to life in the silence, something that has been waiting all this time for an audience with you? This is the vision the quest seeks. It is the vision of our own depth and potential-- the gifts, genius, daemon, qualities, virtues that comprise our identity and yearn to be incarnated, exhibited, expressed, made actual and brought to life in the life we are living. We carry within us the treasure of the gods as a blessing to humankind (That would be to one another, and all others) and is waiting to be born in the way we live our life. Even yet. Even still. Even now.