Born and raised in China, Xiaojuan writes and performs, and facilitates workshops of authentic movement and self-discovery. San Anselmo, CA
(The following is excerpted from a Blog)
Experience on the Vision Fast
I didn’t fully realize the powerful lasting impact of EOA on me until the 96-hour vision fast in the Mojave Desert. In my mind’s eye, I’m back to the Mojave Desert again, surrounded by rocks, junipers, and chollas, sitting on a big flat rock and watching birds, rabbits, chipmunks, and lizards running around. As I slept on the big rock under the stars during the night and rested under a juniper tree during the day, I felt accepted as a welcomed guest in a very safe place.… I felt home. No grand revelation, only gradual and gentle openness to true nature, mundane moments transformed, mind uncluttered, and heart filled with pure joy.
At dawn, I woke up to the dissipating morning mist and the rising sun moving across the sky. At dusk, I shook the rattle, while watching the sun burned sky giving way to twinkling stars.
On that big rock, I thought of this amazing life that I could live, connecting with communities and making noble friends, making healthy food to share, and holding space for storytelling and spoken words. I couldn’t see any possible reason for being unhappy and unsatisfied. There is so much in life that I could explore. And the lifelong pressure of trying to achieve and be somebody was gone as if a heavy rock were lifted from my chest. I don’t have to be anybody; I don’t have to achieve anything. I just need to live fully, tuning to that ever-unfolding life force. I knew that I would be a loving life force liberating and empowering prisoned souls.
Seeing Beyond Differences
During each trip, under the guidance and care of three generous-hearted guides, we witnessed and held each other's pain and joy in numerous talking circles, fire ceremonies, village dreams sharing, rituals, drumming, poetry reading, and singing in wilderness. Gradually, the thick wall of judgements safeguarding my old worldview began to crumble. I began to see the noble merits in each one and I was no different from others as a vulnerable and sensitive being. How wonderful to be vulnerable together! How little we were different, despite our various backgrounds, age, and gender. This piece of truth was reaffirmed again and again throughout this yearlong journey. The last night before we parted after two days of unpacking of our vision quest experience, we talked and talked, and embraced each other so openly and joyfully until late at night.
I never knew it was so liberating when we hold nothing against anyone, but only love, knowing I, too, would be seen in a true and deep way. That’s the real safety that I’ve been looking for. Until all my guards are down, I am not free.
Healing Power of Nature
Throughout the year, I realized how much my fear and ignorance had kept me from opening up to nature. Walking through nature guided by someone who is attuned to nature’s whisper is such a treasure! We drew attention to the small bird’s nest under the exposed tree root near the creek bank, the unknown droppings on a broken branch, the dried silk cocoon hidden in fallen leaves, the numerous grain-shells near the entrance of a busy ant farm, and the occasional startled birds’ calling. There were so many appealing stories in nature. In many ways, Nature never stops calling us, “Attention, please.” How much unknown we take for granted at each moment!
After the vision quest, our guides reminded us that doubt and fear would still visit us and the real journey would continue to unfold. Once in a while, when I'm dragged back down the abyss of darkness where I was once in before, that darkness no longer has as strong and lasting grip over me as before because I have experienced how real it was when I was liberated from fear and doubt and how happy I was when I was let free. On that big flat rock in Mojave Desert, I had a glimpse of my true potential in reaching something much larger than myself. Though sometimes I might still be sleepy and lazy, I cherish each awake moment and relish the magic of life. ...What impacted me the most are moments that couldn’t be put down in words. Yet, those moments will stay with me wordlessly and guide me for a very long time.