A blaze of heat rose from the red-hot rocks sizzling in the pit of the sweat lodge. My throat choked on the thick, fiery air that licked the tepee walls. My nostrils burned. My blood thickened.
“Seek the other side of you,” Lakota Tom told us.
Steamy drops of sweat streamed down my bare chest and back. What does he mean, I wondered. Seek the other side of me?
My mind—and my heart—raced as the heat intensified. Am I going to have a heart attack?
I took a deep, cleansing breath. “Stop it. Pray,” I muttered under my breath, trying to calm myself. “God be with me,” I repeated, closing my damp-soaked eyes. “God be with me.”
The words from Michael W. Smith’s song The Other Side of Me, softly vibrated in my heart:
If I were the ocean
You would be the shore
And one without the other one
Would be needing something more
We are the shadow and the light
Always love me
never leave me now
now you are the other side of me.
The song soothed my soul. Sitting in the darkness of the sweat lodge, I connected with something far beyond me. Yet, it was also within me and around me. The velvet skin of the tepee walls cradled me. I rested in the soft womb of God, comforted by the other side of me.
Seek the other side of you, Lakota Tom and Michael W. Smith remind us, because when we do, we touch the Divine—the One who is the other side of ourselves. When we pray, our human hearts seek the Divine Heart. We connect with that part of us that trusts, loves, and knows deeply. We remember we are whole—our human and Divine Self are One.
When life gets challenging, when anxiety, confusion, or fear chokes us with thick, fiery air, remember Lakota Tom words and Michael W. Smith’s song: “Seek the other side of you.”
—brian j plachta
Practice: Take a few moments for yourself. Breathe in and out several slow cleansing breaths. Then click on this link and listen to the song, The Other Side of Me. Close your eyes. Let the words speak softly to your heart, as you rest in them. What words or images rise up in you? Savor them like a rich cup of tea.