Many people ask me about my medicine name- Running Bear and how I came by it. Well, it came to me while participating in a three-day vision quest with the tribe in Joshua Tree National Park. Three nights- no food, no sleep, and no water. Build your medicine wheel, stay inside it, and stay awake. The lack of food, water, and sleep, and lots of prayer sends you into the “dream,” the spirit world where the visions and messages come to you. If you fall asleep, you have to get up and then sing and dance around the perimeter of your medicine wheel to build power. Anyway, late in the second night, when all was shape-shifting and changing, a brown bear appeared before me….. just outside my medicine wheel… and he was huge. He raised up on his rear legs and started to speak to me- which at that stage of the game was not surprising at all! As he talked, stars in his eyes began to spin ‘round. I could smell him. I could feel his breath on my face. His message rang loudly in my head and on my ears. Honestly, I could not tell if he was for “real” or not. Anyway, we had a long chat (as one tends to have when out in the desert in the middle of the night after a couple of days with no sleep) and he told me that the bear is the keeper of the sacred dream of the earth, and I must continually chase that dream to fulfill my purpose here on earth. My purpose and role here on earth was to learn how to blend Mother Earth and Father Sky and then teach others how to do the same- live in both worlds- spirit and earth- and dance between both effortlessly. Of course, the irony is that RunningBear must stay still and go inward to find that dream and not run around like a headless chicken, but that’s another story.
In 1989, after a painful divorce, and failed business and finances, I cut the cords to the US and moved to Thailand to begin a new adventure and chapter in my life, and what a 27-year adventure it turned out to be!