Breaking Down the Wall

The past week has been an absolute blur. Packing for our trip to Pine Ridge at 6:30 Monday morning, I still had no idea what to expect. Even now I am still processing what I experienced. I am not actively spiritual and have always seen religion in an anthropological sense. I was expecting to observe the spirituality at Pine Ridge in the same respectful but removed way that I had experienced church growing up. I think that my objectivity was first shaken when the car I was driving spun out. I had a weird feeling for most of the drive, but had let down my guard as I knew we were approaching our destination. Despite the initial shock of losing control of the car, I felt a strange sense of calm at the fulfillment of my premonition. As we came to rest, unscathed, on the side of the road I realized that I had know all along that we would be ok. After such an eventful start I began to understand that the trip would be more involved then I had imagined.
Though my experiences in the sweats and ceremonies were not dramatic, I could not help but notice that they got under my skin. I often felt like I was undeserving of the honor of participating in ceremony because I could not seem to focus  my thoughts. It was hard for me to let my skepticism go and I felt like I was constantly fighting with my thoughts. Toward the end of the trip I began to let go of my doubts and realize that spirituality takes many forms. I could see it both in the beauty of the South Dakota landscape and the joy of the kids we played with. It has only been after my return to CC that I have realized how much this trip has affected me. I can only hope that my experiences at Pine Ridge have helped me to open my heart and mind to more spiritual opportunities.
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