She signed up for the ten week class not knowing what to expect. In a way that didn’t matter. She loved Kelly, the facilitator, and the safe and honest space that Kelly created. She loved the long Monday night meetings in the nondescript room where an unpredictable group of thirty people gathered. It impressed and amazed her that these strangers, under Kelly’s guidance, would meld into a caring community able to laugh, cry, dance, and create together. It seemed so fluid and effortless, yet she realized that a huge amount of wisdom and planning were necessary to make it all work. Many times she had seen Kelly change direction in midstream picking up on the energy of the group or an individual’s discomfort. At the end of each session when they all lay in a circle in the dark passing the glowing talking stick it was fascinating to hear what the shy older woman had internalized or how angry the edgy young man had been when class began. That was why she kept taking Kelly’s classes. To feel good at the end of the three hours. To see the gradual shifts in people and in herself. There was something strangely addictive about this kind of work which was hard to articulate.
Vision Quest seemed straightforward as Kelly explained it the first night. Part of the hero’s journey. They each had to come up with a vision that was meaningful to them, then, in small groups on subsequent weeks they’d hold each other accountable for taking a step toward their vision. As they read about the hero’s journey in a packet of poetry, prose, and Tarot cards, her mind was blank. No vision came to mind but that was fine. She knew that if she trusted in the process she’d get there.
A week later she was uncomfortable as she entered class with no vision whatsoever. She had tried on a couple of ideas, but nothing had resonated. After the usual check-in they went around the circle briefly stating their visions. No explanation, justification, or questions allowed, just a simple bare-boned idea. One woman wanted to clean her kitchen. Another wanted to move her computer out of her bedroom. A young man wanted to go on a road trip. A couple wanted to reunite with a wayward daughter. Her mind was still blank but she was oddly serene. Her turn came and she said, “My vision is to go to Paris in October.” She exhaled and wondered where that idea had come from. But that was the magic of working with Kelly.
Over the next few weeks she continued to meet with her small group and made teeny steps towards her goal but she was phoning it in and she knew it. She was quite sure everyone else knew it too, but they were too kind to judge her when she reported that she had looked up the price of airline tickets or some other lame three minute task. When she actually thought about going to Paris in October she couldn’t get beyond the fact that there were no school holidays that month, and her boss who she could barely stand certainly wouldn’t be granting her any special favors.
For the final class everyone had to report to the group on their vision. Most people had finished their quests but a few, like her, had time sensitive visions that still lay in the future. They were asked to do their presentations as if their vision was complete. She put together a powerpoint presentation the Sunday before class surprising herself by how much pleasure she found in picking the slides and writing the narration. She structured it like a day showing where she’d wake up, where she’d get her cafe au lait, what park she’d sit in for lunch, what museum she might visit. She dressed for class in a boho fashion and when it was her turn to present she used her rusty French to address her classmates. By the end of her presentation the day in Paris was as real as any trip she had ever taken. It was as if.
She thought about it as she sat at a nondescript sidewalk cafe with a magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower enjoying her first long weekend. Days after Vision Quest ended she spontaneously resigned from the teaching position she held for ten unhappy years. She got a call from a recruitment firm a few days later and in August she moved to London to begin her new position.
She felt the October sun warm her shoulders as she sipped her wine and thought of Kelly and her magic.