Recently our newsletter editor Renee Sweezey had the opportunity to interview Linda Sartor and Doug Paxton, who are preparing to lead a Vision Quest to Death Valley National Park beginning May 9, 2014.  I enjoyed learning about how they came to this work, and I found their insights to be of real value in understanding how the work of Rites of Passage can touch the world in unexpected ways.  I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

     Mike Bodkin, Executive Director


Linda you have been guiding for well over a decade and Doug for three years. You have both experienced a Vision Quest as a participant. What do you see as the value of undertaking a Vision Quest? 

Doug: For me, personally, I had reached a point in my life where I was so busy that the call for me to go sit in the desert for a few days by myself was an opportunity to get beyond the noise, the chatter of my life. I couldn’t find any other way to do that. I needed the noise and voices to fall away to see what was there. What emerged and is so powerful about the Vision Quest are the questions we ask of ourselves.

We need the stillness to be able to pay attention. I don’t think I realized how important this was until I sat out on the land with those questions and then came back to my life with those same questions. On quest was the only place I could find the stillness and I knew somewhere deep inside I needed that stillness, to stop moving and be. To me the Vision Quest is the ultimate form being instead of doing.

Linda: I find the Vision Quest experience to be deeper, more organic and more personal than other growth work that I, as an individual, have been involved in. Three days alone, fasting, removing all distractions from our lives is a profound experience. We, as guides, provide a structure that gives people an opportunity to be mirrored back, by human and nature, every step of the way on the Vision Quest. Every natural phenomenon you run into, the dreams that enter your psyche, it’s all so personal.

 I particularly like ROP’s approach to the quest. We give people tools to use as they feel is appropriate. Participants create their experience. They do their quest in the way that is genuine to them. I trust that whoever shows up and however they approach and go through the process is perfect for this time in their lives and what they have to learn right now. The process is so direct and so profound.  

Read more: Interview with Linda Sartor & Doug Paxton

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