Having a vision for one’s life is important. In my Yakama culture, we have always known this. We have old traditions of sending a child to find their power in the mountains, blessed under the watchful gaze of sacred Pátu (Mt. Adams), everyone secure in the knowledge that each child would have exactly the experience needed to help them walk the path of life meant just for them. Such traditions, of course, are special occasions. We also see daily affirmation of the power and importance of vision in everyday life. Have you noticed it?
The young person spending hours perfecting their jump shot or crossover–even in 100 degree heat–we hear the bounce, bounce, bounce sound of the basketball hitting the ground. “Practice your free throws!” Auntie wants to yell while driving by, on the way to Safeway to get iced coffee. But she doesn’t interrupt. She knows this is sacred time. Time when the child so clearly sees the gap between where they are and where they want to be, and they use their tremendous focus and strength to fill that gap. If you pay attention, you can see them walking the path of their vision. They are learning and growing and becoming more deeply themselves. We are blessed to witness their brilliance.
You don’t have to be an energetic young hoopster to engage with and work toward your vision, however. Thank goodness.
I witness Elders sitting quietly, engaging their visions as well. Maybe as youngsters they were taken up to the mountains to sit up all night and find their power and vision in isolation. In everyday life on our reservation I more commonly see them sitting on a favored rocking chair, recliner, or couch. In silence, they sort through the generous storage of memories their heads and hearts hold. They reflect, remember, and can bounce back and forth between times long ago and today. Just as the energy of a young person bouncing a basketball is full of determined hope and optimism to fulfill one’s vision, so too do Elders have a vision sacred and special for their own lives. If you sit with them, and bring a loving and open spirit, they’ll share a bit of wisdom to help you prepare to walk your own path.
That’s the thing about visions. They are uniquely ours. They help us be strong, self-determined individuals.
Can you imagine a community full of people like this? I can.
What’s your vision?