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Can We Learn From the Native American Spirit Walk?

Updated on September 20, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.

Dream Catcher


Life Choices

At various times in the lives of many people they tend to evaluate where they are headed and what they want to accomplish in the future. This often occurs at a time when they are having problems or when they are just not fully satisfied with their lives. Another time this may occur is at the end of a relationship or perhaps when they are nearing the end of their life. Some people might call this a spiritual awakening. Others may simply call it “time for a change”.

A friend of mine recently took a short trip to see a trusted old friend. During the visit this friend realized it was just time for a few changes in his life. Talking to a trusted friend or relative can sometimes help you sort out your feelings about the quality of your life.

In my first marriage after having 3 boys, I realized I still wanted to fulfill my dream of finishing college and becoming a registered nurse. I made that change not just because it was my calling, but I also knew I might have to end up supporting those boys. I knew the end of my marriage was near.

I often took long walks and I sat by the river behind my house, praying and trying to make some good decisions. In addition, I started attending church again. It helped me be in a much better spiritual place. I trusted God, and I knew I was making better choices then I had in the past, not perfect, but better.

I have found a very calming type of reassurance when I am out in nature, enjoying the scenery and listening to the birds sing. I think this might be similar to what the American Indians call the Spirit Walk, and maybe even somewhat like the Australian Aborigines refer to as the “walkabout”.

Life Is A Walking - Native American Wisdom

American Indians Spirit Walks

American Indians have taken Spirit Walks for many generations, which they believe is a pilgrimage taking them from one state of being to another. American Indians tend to be very religious, and they strive to be spiritually centered. They believe that everyone is accountable for their actions, and there are consequences to those actions, so the Spirit Walk is actually a right of passage where they listen to the call of their spirit. They believe you walk through life down many different roads but in the end you will come full circle, as the truth is always inside of you.

“A Spirit Walk is living not from ego, but from complete being. It requires that you be totally present and totally accepting, so that old habits and ideas do not continue to foster the illusions that have lead you away from your true path.”

The American Indian’s journey will lead them anywhere their spirit leads, which is an experience meant to help them realize their reason for being here at this particular time and place. If an Indian has strayed in some way, the Spirit Walk will help them journey back to a place of harmony for their mind, body and spirit. Indians believe the Spirit Walk is the only path to reawaken the power they had when they were born.

Wonderful Nature


Australian Aborigine’s Walkabout

The Auatralian Aboriginal society Walkabout is also a rite of passage where men undergo a journey during adolescence and go live in the wilderness for up to 6 months. This typically occurs between ages 10-16 years. The goal is a “spiritual and traditional transition into manhood.” The aborigines have an oral tradition with spiritual reverence for the land on a Dreamtime belief. The Dreamtime belief remains from ancient times, and it is a present-day reality of Dreaming.

Hyllus Noel Maris may explain the Aboriginie’s belief better than most:

Spiritual Song Of The Aborigine

I am a child of the Dreamtime People

Part of this land, like the gnarled gumtree

I am the river, softly singing

Chanting our songs on my way to the sea

My spirit is the dust-devils

Mirages, that dance on the plain

I'm the snow, the wind and the falling rain

I'm part of the rocks and the red desert earth

Red as the blood that flows in my veins

I am eagle, crow and snake that glides

Through the rainforest that clings to the mountainside

I awakened here when the earth was new

There was emu, wombat, kangaroo

No other man of a different hue

I am this land

And this land is me

I am Australia.

Australian Aborigines

Final Thoughts

Life can seem complicated sometimes, but ultimately we must make our own decisions and live our life based on our beliefs. Each person must decide what works for them as there are many ways to make decisions. We can do a knee-jerk reaction to various elements in our life, or we can evaluate things more carefully.

I have found that I need to take time to consider various aspects of my life and the impact of my decisions. It usually does not take long for us to see the impact of our every day decisions, so it is important to consider various aspects of our decisions. Maybe taking a “Spirit Walk” of sorts is the best way to make especially big decisions that impact your life and the lives of those we love.

Lao Tzu

Life Altering Decisions

Have you had a time in your life where you made life altering decisions?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    2 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Alyssa, I thank you for the enthusiasm about nature in your remarks. I feel the same way as nature calms me. Waves can certainly be hypnotic. Thank you so much for your generous comments.

  • Alyssa Nichol profile image


    2 weeks ago from Ohio

    Spending time in nature is one of the best activities. I love going outside, especially when I'm stressed. There's something about fresh air and sunshine that calms and grounds me. My spirit is happiest near water, and my favorite place is up at East Harbor, just relaxing by the Lake. The waves are hypnotic and watching the horizon always gives me a new perspective on life, much like standing outside and looking up at a night sky full of stars. There are tremendous benefits to being in nature. I love this article!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ms. Dora, Your view is exactly what I thought about as we can learn from other cultures. There are many good ideas or customs to not be overlooked. I appreciate your comments.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for introducing the Indian Spirit Walk and the Australian Walkabout. Usually we do not spend nearly as time as we should reflecting and searching for the next best move. We can learn from other cultures beside our own.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Vivian, I imagine you enjoyed having a Native American pen pal was very nice.

    I believe that getting away from the TV, other people and the cell phone while in nature so that you can pray without interruption can be helpful, and you may hear the answer the Lord gives you. I don't think I am worshiping the creation, I will always put God first. I appreciate your generous comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Maria, I think a walk to at least clear your head is good, and a longer walk in nature does even more. I very much appreciate your comments Maria Hugs, Pa

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Linda, Sometimes it is sadness that brings us to that point where we know we need some type of change, so ultimately it is good most of the time. Thanks for your comments

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a lovely article. Pamela. Although there is some sadness in it, it also contains hope. I often find walking in nature inspiring. I love the idea of a Spirit Walk.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    3 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Pam,

    Like so many others, a walk gives me clarity, peace and a renewed sense of hope.

    This post is filled with wisdom and perspective.

    Love it and you too, Maria

  • Noelle7 profile image

    Vivian Coblentz 

    3 weeks ago

    This article reminds me of a Native American pen pal I used to have. When I was in the 7th grade, we were studying poetry, and our teacher matched us up with poets with whom to correspond. Mine was Louis Littlecoon Oliver. We wrote for several years before he passed away. He always talked about the Great Spirit too. As a Christian, I believe that not all paths lead to God--only one, and that's through Jesus. When I'm in a difficult spot, I don't seek nature or my own spirit--I seek the Lord. The Bible warns of a time when people will worship the creation rather than the Creator; however, when God made Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden. Nature is His design, so it's understandable that we can find peace as we sort through our thoughts in the tranquility of it.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Ruby, I am glad this message may help you make that difficult decision. I wish you the best. Thank you for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Shauna, Yes, I was thinking of our mutual friend, which resulted in this article. I have been in that place in my life more than once. Then, I just happen to see something about the Spirit Walk and I wrote this article. I thought it was such a good analogy.

    I believe as we age we tend to transition to another phase of our life, and taking some quiet time in nature or whatever works for us is the best way to make good decisions.

    I very much appreciate your generous comments, and I can tell understood my intended message. I do hope some younger people will take this message to heart.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    4 weeks ago from Central Florida

    Pamela, my thoughts immediately went to our mutual friend when I read the first sentence of this article. I think those of us who know him are also reassessing our lives and the direction in which we want to go, moving forward, because of his openness in sharing what he's going through.

    I think the Spirit Walk is something all humans need to do from time to time, especially when they see themselves either moving backwards or stagnating. Whether it's in the form of actually putting our physical presence in Nature and letting her into our hearts and minds, or simply going inside and doing some honest reflecting, it is something all humans need to do. I liken it to picking myself up by the bootstraps, dusting myself off, and taking that first step forward.

    This is a very important and reflective message, Pamela. Thank you for posting it. Your timing is perfect, especially for those of us who are nearing our twilight years. I hope the younger readers take this message to heart as well. It's a guiding force.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    4 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

    I have one decision to make and it's difficult. Thank you for writing this article, it was helpful Thank you.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Bill, Your visit to see your friend is one of the things that triggered this article. I do appreciate your comments.

    Of course, I don't like upheaval either. You will make it to the other side as I am sure you have been through worse Bill. Loved ones do make a huge difference, including Maggie and Tobias. LOL

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

    Wonderful words of wisdom at a time when I need them. I am beginning a journey of upheaval, and I don't like upheaval. Who does, right? But I will make it through because of loved ones and words of wisdom like these.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Lorna, I agree with you about being at one with nature. I like that spiritual song also. Thank you so much for commenting.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Flourish, I am glad you like the walkabout idea. I do too. I think it is easy to get distracted sometimes when maybe family tries to pull you in a direction you don't really want to go, so taking some alone time in any fashion is probably good. I appreciate you comments.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    4 weeks ago from USA

    I love the idea. I’ve always pretty much known what I wanted but there have been times when I have been deeply dissatisfied because I knew I was not living it. Nature always plays a role in figuring out how to get back on my. Intended path. I love the idea of walkabout.

  • Lorna Lamon profile image

    Lorna Lamon 

    4 weeks ago

    I have taken quite a few 'Spirit Walks' Pamela and have always found that being at one with nature cleared my mind, enabling my thoughts to fall into place. Perhaps it is the peace and calmness of nature that affects us so positively. I enjoyed reading this article and I loved the 'Spiritual Song of the Aborigine' - just beautiful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Liz, I like your view on life with ot regretting your past decisions or dwelling on them. We all make mistakes and that is just life. We do the best that we can and learn from our mistakes.

    I think we all do have the ability to chose good or evil. I like to chose a positive outlook and to be happy. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Eric, I know how important the outdoors is to you. I know love leads us in a path that is positive and good for us. I am glad your day was brightened, and I absolutely always appreciate your comments.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 

    4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Count me in on this. A week without a nature walkabout is death to at least a part of my heart. My Navajo and Hopi friends keep me humble to mother earth. This is good. I do not believe in a "spirit guide" I believe in many and know it is not contrary to Christ's teaching - it is different and wonderful and can even lead us closer to the cry of love.

    Thank you so much for this. You brighten my day.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 

    4 weeks ago from Oakley, CA

    Interesting. I, too find peace and quiet in nature; some of my best poems have come out of time spent amongst the trees and streams.

    I don't believe in either dieties or demons; I simply believe that the capacity for good or bad resides within all of us, and is a conscious choice we make. Crediting an outside agency for good denies us our own power, and blaming such an entity for bad is a cop-out, IMO.

    I've made decisions I regretted later in life (nothing bad or evil), and I've also made decisions I am happy with. As far as regrets go, I have learned not to dwell on them, reminding myself it was what I wanted at the time.


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