Swallowed By The Jungle, My Ayahuasca Experience
My 'Why' and The Discovery Of Ayahuasca
I get a sneaky suspicion that you are a bit like me. That just like me you have been running all your life, franticly trying to be the best. To be more. Perhaps at times, you felt a sense of achievement, but it flashed so quickly like a shooting star in the dark dome of the night that you failed to enjoy it and of you went running again, feeling a sense of emptiness and failure. Feeling guilty for not being enough. Feeling angry for life being so hard on you. Just like I did, you tried to be as perfect as you can, living by the rules but just like me breaking those rules which sparked endless internal conflict.
Why can’t I be just like everyone else? Why things come so easy to everyone else yet I have to push so hard to be loved, to be respected, to be successful? You were drowning in the ocean of self-pity, and although you tried to keep the tree of resentment in check, it grew, and it grew casting a permanent shadow upon your soul.
The darker it grew, the harder you burned the candled at both ends, praying that the debt you were racking up at the bank of life would not swallow you up. Swallow it did and after 30 years of running and borrowing life’s energy, I was gloriously declared bankrupt!
I suffered from clinical depression pretty much all my life, but that pain was somewhat bearable and at times, even productive. How? I am an artist and being born into a family of artists I grew up surrounded by people whose stood on a thin line continually trying to balance their mental state between the abys of Madness and so-called ‘Normal’. In fact all the conversations that took place in the bohemian circles stressed that such mental and emotional instability was a secret ingredient to their success. Madness was the new Norm, celebrated and sought after.
In the deepest darkness of my own depression, I made some badass art and wrote some brilliant poetry. Poetry so deep, so dark and so moving that it won me a first prize nomination at the Yong Philologist Poetry contest in Lithuania. It also landed me a trip to a shrink straight after they have given me my prize. I was 14 years old, and I was confused, and so was my psychologist. They thought I was on the brink of suicide, they could not understand how a 14-year-old could have such a deep insight into the human shadow. This was the first time I realised that ‘normal’ people did not visit that world often, that it scared them and that I was not supposed to play with the shadows lurking deep in my soul. Because I did not know that what I was feeling was uncommon at my age, I was used to my own darkness and the existential suffering.
I knew I was different, I liked being different. I knew from a young age that my ability to be authentic was a great power and a curse. I held this hand-grenade in my pocket, knowing that when pressed it would erupt in such a powerful explosion that it would rip the very fabric of this reality, people called ‘the norm’. Teachers knew it, kids knew it, and so I had a sort of indemnity status at school; basically, no one wanted to ‘fuck with me’ because I activated that grenade one too many times. I was scared to release my finger of the trigger, but I would do it anyway pulled by some force greater than me to test the ‘norm’, to take a sneak peek to the other side. It was terrifying to my teachers, as I stripped them all of their power, status and emotional stability. I sat at school holding up a hand grenade, waiting for a moment to strike and expose the lies we were being fed by the Soviet Regime and then later by the newly baked free Lithuania. Is this my purpose in life, to challenge the status quo? I don’t know, but I secretly enjoy it, and I am rather good at it. #LOL
However, being different was not the same as being crazy. This new label stuck in my head and caused me great pain as I grew up. The issue was that my authentic self was also labelled as a symptom of my mental illness, and I spent many years trying to tear it out of my being. The witch-hunt has begun, and under my own command, I attempted to burn myself at the stake. I drew spikes through my heart, I stopped art and even bought a house (don’t ever buy a house or get married or have a baby because you are told it’s TIME! Just don’t, full stop).
My whole life became like a desert, void of any happiness, meaning or purpose. The society at large celebrated my attempt at growing up and conforming to the norm. Soon, they said, soon you will be OK. The pain will go away, the darkness will go away, and you will be ‘normal’ and happy. #Boolshit
#Thankfuck the force in me that I thought I have murdered found a crack in the cement lid I have poured over it. It did not bloom into a beautiful flower, it did not grow slow or send me a warning message that it was coming out. Oh, no! It blew the lid wide open, it tore through the fake life I have built for myself. The effect of the bomb I use to activate to tear down my teachers or mothers reality this time was turned against me. It was ugly, and it was painful, and it was super confusing. I felt that I have failed and so I decided to die.
Perhaps this part is a story on its own, and I will leave this for later exploration. I can only tell you this, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Standing on that bridge contemplating death at 1PM in January wearing only a pyjama, cold wind busting my ass was the BEST THING EVER! It resulted in me finding love and healing from depression. It was a hard trip to take, but it was worth it.
However, life is not a fairy tale, and it has no ‘happy ever after’. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but we all die at the end of this film. You see, while I was basking in my own light of victory and enjoying eating my cake of newly found love, new job and beautiful home I failed to take in consideration that I was mortal and that stress left a HUGE gaping hole in my energy balance account. No one told me to take it easy, and so I went full throttle forward with my newly found zest for life. Back onto the life’s treadmill trying to win the rat race. 6 months down the line I crashed and was declared physically bankrupt. In medical terms, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
Drifting between despair and panic, I started to look for ways to heal myself one more time. I had to fight the medical institution with my nails and teeth. The label of depression was brought out once more, they tried to wailed it onto me permanently. I kicked and screamed and spend tons of money to prove that I was not depressed, I did not have asthma or issues with my thyroid that this was something else. I knew something big hit me and that I have never met it before. I knew my depression very well, l sat with it through many nights calming it, fighting with it, creating from it and finally making peace with it. This was not mental, it was physical, and it was about to swallow me up.
Once more, I was too quick to celebrate the victory of my wit and ability to research. I thought that it will all end as soon as I knew what it was. Alas, I was wrong! Western medicine is far from understanding the human body and treating it successfully. It is too hard for us to admit that we are wrong and that we have made a grave mistake about how we see and treat the human body and mind. There is no known cure for Chronic Fatigue. The condition is debilitating, I experienced chronic insomnia, brain fog, migraine, multi-joint and muscle pain, sore throat/ flu-like symptoms, acne, allergies to all chemicals, gluten, alcohol; severe sensitivity to light and sound to name a few. If I went to work, I had to run on multiple coffee shots, painkillers and then take a taxi home because I was too tired to manage the 10 minute walk home from the station.
I was told CFS hits perfectionists, workaholics, people with deep childhood trauma, and non-stop exposure to stress and unhealthy lifestyle. I was guilty as charged. My body had enough of the abuse and now was shutting down. Like a spaceship under attack trying to avoid a foreign invasion, it has set itself into a self-destruct mode, and I had 5 seconds to overwrite the instruction or perish.
When you have spent a few years in a continuous mental and physical pain when all your life plans shatter, and you start losing hope to ever getting better you try everything to snap out of that existential crisis. I had to fix me, and I was ready to do whatever it took, and I mean WHATEVER.
Nothing could have prepared me for the inner journey I am about to describe. Ayahuasca experience is so intimate and so unique to the individual that to describe it is close to impossible. Our Western vocabulary is too narrow to describe something that spans beyond this reality and is older than the creation of time. #Whaaaaat!
We have been hard at work to categorise and simplify everything in our world. Continually striving to stabilise the universe, predict everything and save ourselves from the unknown. And so a mass installation of ‘street lights’ took place to minimise the darkness of our personal and collective human shadow. We thought that if we could no longer see it, it was no longer present. Oh, but it is present, and just like that grenade in my childhood pocket, it does not play by the rules, and it will not warn us about the upcoming nuclear explosion. It will rip us open, and it has the potential to destroy our entire civilisation as we know it.
The main culprit in creating this atomic bomb and the shrinking of our vocabulary to describe mysticism, spirituality is science and religion. While science stripped our world of magic and randomness, religion left a bitter taste in our mouth when the word God is uttered. However, it is impossible for me to write about Ayahuasca not using words such as God, the Divine, spirit or spiritual awakening. #Dealwithit
So take note of what you feel when reading my story. Sit with the weirdness of it all. Ask yourself: Why you are rejecting all this? Why you can’t believe in magic? Why can’t you embrace the unknown and the unexplainable? After all, there is a reason why you are reading my story. There is a reason why now and not years back, you are pulled to know what Ayahuasca is. The shaman told me that Ayahuasca is in all of us, we are the medicine and that we discover that voice at the right time and place in our lives. Scientists have also confirmed that DMT is stored in all living things, including us humans. Why and for what purpose no one knows. The jungle knows, and the tribes of indigenous people in countries like Columbia and Peru knows. They have been brewing the concoction for thousands of years to help them solve internal conflicts, explore their shadow side and stay grounded.
Having gone through therapy to help me understand my depression better, I knew that to create a new life narrative, I had to achieve a permanent shift in my perspective. The work I did do to undo myself in therapy was not over. Yes, I understood the origin of my shadow, I was not afraid of it, and I got to accept it and love it. However, my identity was still built on the old software wireframe, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was a residue of the virus that was deeply embedded into my DNA. I had to change the composition of my DNA and challenge my belief structure at its core.
I franticly searched the newest research on CFS condition and unconventional ways one could reset one’s brain. To address the trauma stored in my DNA I inherited from my mum and my family + my own childhood traumas. I was sceptical of all the new things I read about, but I had no choice but to believe that they had the potential to help me. It was a life or death situation. Remember, I had 5 seconds to restart my operating system before my body self-destructed. I can’t remember how I found Ayahuasca, I think it found me. I became obsessed reading about it and watching documentaries and looking for a legal way to take part in a ceremony. I have decided to heal just as that time on the bridge I have decided to live.
Within a few months of searching, I found myself booked to attend an 8 day Yoga & Ayahuasca retreat in Portugal. Peru was out of the question, as it was too far and too physically challenging. That and it was crawling with snakes and bugs that I would have had to share my bed with, and I was not too keen to go all Tarzan on myself. Feeling safe is a crucial element when doing Ayahuasca. Trust me you don’t want to rock the boat too much, you will be scared shitless as it is taking it and so the last thing you want to have on your mind is a worry of you being arrested, raped, bitten by a snake or waking up next to a tarantula.
The jungle is the best place to have the ceremony, as it is the natural setting for it and the shamans there were born into this tradition. However, let’s be honest with ourselves, we have gone too far down the line from our tribal heritage, and this type of prehistoric setting has the potential to trigger anxiety and feelings of a total loss of control before we even lose the control. And you will lose EVERYTHING! The ground you walk on, the ego you are so proud off and your body which you can’t imagine being away from.
Before taking Ayahuasca, you may have entertained the idea that the world is static, waiting for you to make a move, waiting for you to manipulate it and shape it according to your needs. I strongly recommend that as you book your retreat, you admit to yourself the following:
- You have been a rather arrogant fool and a spoiled little shirt.
- No one owns you anything, all the misfortune in your life is all your doing. Everything is your fault!
- You know nothing about yourself or the world at large.
You can choose between the Red or Blue Pill. The Red Pill that reveals an unpleasant truth, or the “Blue Pill” to remain in blissful ignorance.
Remember that while you don’t always get what you want from an Ayahuasca ceremony, you do get what you need. Medicine knows your true intentions. How? I don’t know, and I don’t need to know because everything in this universe does not need to be reduced to knowing. We ought to leave some room to mystery and randomness!
First Night – A Walk In The Park
I Did not know what to expect from the ceremony or the people I was about to meet. I was petrified and filled with social anxiety. The thought of being locked up in a villa with total strangers for 8 days with no Wi-Fi, diet food, yoga and drinking somewhat legal substance was terrifying and challenging. I paid so much that cancelling it all was not an option, turning back was not an option either as I literarily ran out of options 6 months ago. The gut feeling was telling me to do it, my brain was screaming: Are you fucking crazy!
Fast forward all the dramatic internal monologue and the somewhat awkward first day of meeting everyone and sharing my life story I found myself in a depths of the dark somewhere in Portuguese mountains. The stars were bright, the wind was strong, the ceremonial space was lit with candles.
The air smelled of tobacco (Mapacho Tobacco), floral scent from Agua De Florida and Ayahuasca brew that was cooked on the premises all day. The smell was thick; you could taste it in your mouth, I did not like it, and it made me anxious. The puke bucket and toilet roll also made me anxious.
Everyone was worried, slightly shaky and unsure if they have made the right decision to be here. I sat looking at people’s faces, and it dawned on me how scared we are of the truth. We all knew that we were little cheats, professional con artists with elaborate masks to hide our true nature from the world and ourselves. We knew that the show was over, the masks were about to dissolve. We were advised not to try to hold on to them, we were told over and over to surrender and give up control. You think you can do it, trust me it is virtually impossible to surrender and give up all the control even when knowing that not doing so might kill you or drive you mad. I knew it, everyone knew it, and the shaman could only hope that our constipated Western egos would not put up too much of a fight.
The tea bar was open, and we all took turns to walk up and drink it. I was shaking, my legs felt like ropes. I sat in the total darkness, waiting for a horror show to start. I knew my darkness, and I had no hope that I would be given a smooth ride. The shaman began to sing Icaro songs and waving dried herb fans. Nothing was happening, I started to panicky that I can’t be healed but then managed to calm down and focus on my intention, asking (more like begging) for the spirit of the jungle to be gentle on me. I still felt nothing but a slight discomfort in my stomach, I was a bit nauseous. My body started to heat up rather rapidly, and I reached for my face to wipe the sweat of it, but alas, to my surprise it was not sweat running down my face, it was tears. All this time sitting thinking nothing was happening to me I was actually crying. My body was eliminating blocked energy through my eyes, but there was no pain attached to my tears; instead, it was soothing.
My body temperature switched from fire mode to freeze mode within a few minutes, and I scrambled to the floor to find the scattered clothes I have peeled off myself a few moments back. Most of us cocooned into our blankets, shivering, praying/ begging for mercy… Suddenly the Icaro turned into a sound of running water and then the light show started. Geometrical patterns started swirling, changing, inter-twining and flowing. It was like looking through a kaleidoscope. Beautiful neon colours and patterns took over my reality. I was not just observing them, I was part of them. The world was 5D there were no edges or solid ground. In between those geometrical shapes, little eyes would blink at me. I was pulled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. One eye would turn into another eye and stare at me, really stare at me. I was observed and by my own surprise by me. I was staring into my own eyes, as an outsider, it was well weird.
Random fragments of things would flash such as yellow rubber ducks, Bart Simpson flashing me his naked bum, Freda Charlo and a cat DJ spinning decks. Pieces of social media and everything that I have ever seen. Nothing ever leaves your brain, all that you consume becomes a part of your unconscious and your reality.
The show was tiresome, intense, and I was glad when it was over. Most of us did not feel or saw much more than this. We did not die, we did not go mad, and we all enjoyed the light show. Feeling victorious, we soon were brought back to Earth when the shaman told us that this was not it. He said now that we were less afraid and know the physical aspect of Aya coming and moving through our bodies we were ready to actually meet her. Now the real work will begin. He smiled, we swallowed a lump of anxiety and started to panic about our next trip.
I Met My Enemy, And He Is Me
I was back on my matt, clutching my water bottle, petrified. I have never done drugs before, and all of this was very alien, and I felt out of my depth. We were offered some Rapé (Pronounced “ha-peh” or “rapay”) to ease our nerves and open up the blocked energy pathways. I took it because it was the last night of Aya and I could not go back to my old life, not as my old self.
It helped to relax me and calm my jittery nerves. I crawled at the pace of an ancient turtle to drink my cup. I could not recall the taste of the tea from my first night, I think I was too nervous to register it. This time I was fully present, Rapé has the tendency to ground you and place you right in the present moment, the tea was bittersweet taste with a subtle hint of tobacco. The shaman held the cup and whispered something into the black brew, I then held it to my heart and repeated my intention, followed by a plea for mercy.
The brew felt heavy on my stomach, it was nothing like the night before. People started to puke all around me. The shaman sat singing Icaro song and chanting, I felt light-headed but not feeling sick. The thoughts of ‘oh my god, nothing is happening’ kept on swirling in my head. I got tired of waiting and decided to go to the toilet, upon exiting the bathroom they called for the 2nd cup, and since I was right by the altar, I decided to take it. As I kneeled by the shaman, the floor shifted, and the painting on the wall came to life. The effect of the first cup was kicking in as I was pouring down the second one. I don’t know how I made it back to my matt through the floor that was slowly caving in. I knew one thing, whatever I swallowed was alive, it was moving inside of me like a giant snake.
Life is physical and spiritual and to heal, you need to bring yourself to the point of perfect balance, and nothing better does it than the Ayahuasca purge. The tea exploded inside my stomach, and I started to be violently sick. The Icaro song turned into the sound of running water, and I felt I was in a jungle. I clutched the bucket for my dear life, vomiting my guts out. White thick foam was pouring from inside of me, the bucket was small, and I was worried it would overspill. Before this turns you off Ayahuasca, let me comfort you that this is nothing like the vomit session you have after too many shots at the bar. Due to the diet and fasting the puke has no smell or taste. Although it is violent and intense, a great relief follows it. It’s as if you were granted a green light to release all anger and resentment, all the negative emotion with no strings attached. No judgment, no guilt attached. #Freedom
After a period of sickness, I was given a few seconds to relax, I rested against the cold wall, I felt the emptiness where anger use to occupy, and I felt light and calm. Nothing would have prepared me for what happened next.
Suddenly my body was set on fire, I threw my blanket off me as if it was dipped in hot melting lava. I franticly tore my hoody and socks off. I didn’t have the time to complete my undressing mission as the medicine shifted again inside of me. It crawled through me and around me, setting all my joints on fire. Like the ivy on the long-forgotten castle towers, it consumed me, It became me, or maybe I was it all along. It weaved a net of tiny gem-like eyes, it was in 5D, and it did not matter if I had my eyes closed or open it was there and I was in it and part of it.
Suddenly the calming sound of running water turned into a strong and loud mechanical noise. Like a fast steam train, it was fast approaching me as I lay strapped to the floor. I was holding onto my blanket for dear life as my sense of reality was being blown up into other dimensions. At this point, I was not scared, the feeling was so alien that no label could be assigned to it, I felt unbalanced, and so naturally, the instinct was to grab the floor. #hollyshit the floor was not there! My leg slipped off my blanket and was suspended in air, there was no solid ground under me, it was as if I was perched on a concrete platform that was floating in darkness.
There was no time to panic, everything was moving so fast and with such intensity that my brain could not grasp or stabilise the moment. The hammering sound on my right was deafening! I saw huge mechanical cogs grinding and spinning closer and close to my head. I wanted to run, escape the noise and the machine that was about to consume me but a voice, that was not mine, gently assured me that I was being healed. As soon as I have surrendered and accepted my faith to be minced into this giant machine, my left side of the brain caught fire and off I went melting. I tried to move away and get myself to a lying down position and cover myself with my blanket before the nuclear explosion took place, but my blanket was transformed into something living. It felt strangely familiar and at the same time not. It was a cross of a coarse animal fur ( a carpet I touched as a child that was made from a wild boar’s fur) and a cat’s tongue. It was alive, breathing. I was freaking out, but in this void of nothingness that was all I had, and so I wrapped myself into this beast to wait out the emotional shirt storm that was approaching me.
Suddenly the fire took over every part of my body that I had issues with. My brain was on fire melting, my joints and my stomach was also filled with melting lava. It was so intense one could easily confuse it with pain, but it was not pain, it was something else. Every acne spot on my face felt on fire and being squeezed, I could feel every single one of them, and it was crazy.
As the intensity subsided, I discovered myself laying on a black and white checked floor, there were gold pillars and a stage with heavy, lush red curtains draped across an invisible frame. On a gold stage sat a woman, dressed in a beautiful dress, made of living flowers and diamond bugs. She looked like Freda Kahlo. She emitted bright light and held immense power. On each side of her stood giant gold insects with diamond-encrusted wings. Nothing was said. I noticed a trail of blood on the sparkling floor, and I knew I was operated on.
All this moved really fast, the scenes changed rapidly, and the whole thing seemed to last only a split second. The gem-encrusted world disappeared, the sound of the running water came back, and I saw the shaman slowly move across the room rattling his fans and singing. I had so many questions unanswered and again driven by my despair I went for another cup and then another one and another one… the shaman will never force you to drink more than you feel you need. He will also not stop you if you set yourself off on a path of total self-destruction. He is only an intermediator and whatever fun drinking game you and Aya decide to play he will simply observe.
After a fourth or fifth cup, it all blurred and time ceased to exist, I crashed into a dimension that was dark and mossy. It was very Dali like a vast barren landscape. Everything muted, void of colour, filled with breathing fur and bugs. It crawled all over me, I was not afraid because I was not there. I was there, and I was not there. #totalmindfuck
It took me some time to inspect my new surroundings and absorb that I was not afraid of the creatures or the landscape. I noticed that I was observing it all from the above. I looked down and saw my body, thrown apart as if I crashed to the floor. Eyes and mouth wide open, limbs in strange composition. I tried to close my mouth, I thought I looked totally ridiculous, but I had no mouth, the I that was watching had no control over the body below. And then it hit me, I was DEAD! For some reason I did not panic, I have always been a curious sort. The curiosity to see more and to understand the invisible has always fascinated me, that force I felt as a child was here with me, and I realised it to be a gift. I found the whole death affair rather comical and thought to myself how silly we all are to fear it so much. The body is a vessel and death has nothing to do with the I that never dies. Who is I, where I was I can’t tell you? I was neither happy nor unhappy, I think we call this stage PEACE.
The Shock Of Rebirth
Time stopped in this dull place. I don’t know what would have followed next as suddenly something grabbed me, and I was pulled by this huge force from under my breathing blanket. The extraction was so brutal and shocking it resembled the scene from Matrix film when they wake up Neo from the pod and unplug his body from all the cables. The re-entry to this reality was far more confusing than I have anticipated. I became conscious in a split second and realised that what pulled me up was our shaman and that he was ending the ceremony or maybe he was saving me from the no return, I don’t know I have never asked him. He blew smoke onto my head, and my chest but the smell and the taste of it made me sick, and I almost vomited, I felt like an animal. The expressions on my face felt non-human, more like one of a wild cat. I was convinced I was a jungle cat and passed out back into my blanket off moss and the underworld.
The shaman came back again, and this time he was more persistent. He dozed me with smoke and Florida Water, he washed my face, and I drowned in total love and ecstasy. Tears of joy poured down my face, I fell into my blanket, clutching my heart, feeling immense gratitude. I thought how lovely it was of him to care so much, to give me love and not ask for anything in return. It took me longer than everyone else to reconnect to my reality. My husband picked me off the floor, and I felt dizzy and weak, but it helped me to sober up. I looked around the room with my new eyes, and I was overcome with feelings of love and a huge pull to hug everyone.
On my way to my room, I was passing my yoga teacher, she looked so peaceful, and I was pulled to hug her. The feeling was so strong that I could no longer fight it and I surrender to love falling into he stretched arms. She felts endless, her embrace was pure light. I felt unconditional love, tears streamed down my face. For that brief moment, she was the mother I missed and needed so much. She reminded me what it feels like to be truly loved, and I realised that an endless ocean of love surrounds us all. It is not an interpersonal love but real pure love, motherly love that can move the moon and the stars. This is the central teaching of mother Ayahuasca and the secret of her great healing power.
I could not sleep, and so I went outside. There was no wind, the night was still, the stars big and bright. The full moon was huge, and so close I could almost touch it. The air was still and warm. A girl next to me looked at me confused, she told me the next day that it was cold and the wind was strong she could not bear to leave her blanket. In my world, not a single leaf moved, I was at peace, and my outer world reflected that. The power of being grounded and cantered!!!!
Learning, Healing, Transforming
Terence McKenna said, “It is no great accomplishment to hear a voice in the head. The achievement is to make sure it is telling you the truth. McKenna focused on the central question — Is the information helpful, useful, and true in everyday life?
The process of healing thought plant medicine is not about learning and analysing the content of your visions. It’s not about what you saw and all about what you felt when you saw it and what that feeling represents. I took great detail to describe what I saw, but I would like to stress that it is not that important. It is, however, helpful to have an idea of what you may encounter on your trip so you can let go of your control wheel and receive more profound healing. This is the only reason why I shared so much of the visual aspects of the trip.
Ayahuasca did not cure me of my illness completely (though some symptoms ultimately left my body), and it did not erase the trauma.
What it gave me was an insight into the meaning of my suffering and my illness, and it gave me tools to cope with it. The Ayahuasca in my system gave me the neurological flexibility to see the error of my beliefs structure. From a therapeutic point of view, this is called a corrective experience. In terms of neuroplasticity, it’s called reprogramming.
I learned that reality is much greater and complex that our ‘normal’ state, that Divine exists and it is accessible to us on a day to day basis. No magic tea needed. I now know that the universe is connected to us through consciousness, that we are all one and interconnected through a complex web of energy. As never before, I felt connected to Earth and nature. That there was something of me in all, and something of all in me.
Since all this I’ve been living lighter and happier, the world has become dream-like with endless possibilities. The philosophical implications of experiencing an awareness not fixated on solid forms are mind-breaking, and I am slowly opening up to what the shamans and mystics of all ages have been saying since the dawn of language. I am no longer running my life, I am walking my life. The connection to nature has not left me, I now constantly feel connected to it, and it is this connection to all living things that gives me an immense sense of stability and peace. I now see the full picture and can genuinely enjoy my authentic self. I no longer feel that I need to apologise for being too much or not being enough. I no longer feel guilty for just sitting and doing nothing, for making art or not making art.
It is easier than ever for me to see people for what they are, the masks their wear and the stories they tell themselves. I feel empathy and compassion towards them but no longer feel the need to sacrifice myself for the sake of them feeling better. It is no longer my duty to support their belief structures or take responsibility for their lack of emotional maturity. I am one with it all, but at the same time, I can clearly see where I start and end. I know myself, and so I can no longer bullshit myself. Yes, I still take the wrong turns, and I will do so until the day I die because life is not static, and one never stops growing and expanding or changing. This knowledge helps me stay grounded, it prevents me from throwing self-pity parties and reverting to a victim state. I know all is my doing, my thoughts have the power to manifest itself into solid form in my reality, and so now I am learning how to keep count of my thoughts and my actions.
To the outside world, I may seem like an irresponsible adult. A child who has failed to grow up. A woman who is fast approaching 40 who plays too much and changes her mind too often. But if you came closer to observe me, you would find that I am damn serious about building a lasting legacy and there is a formula to my madness. You would see that despite breaking all the rules and living outside the ‘norm’, I take great responsibility for my actions. The only thing that has changed in me is that I honestly stopped giving a fuck about what anyone else think of me and that is what unhinges most people when they meet me, and this is why they fail to see me for what I am.
Like a child, I love with all my heart, and if you look at me long enough, you will realise that you are not that much different from me. I know you want to see the truth, I know you can handle the truth, and I know you too have the balls and the internal wisdom to reach your highest potential. I also know that you love to play, and you miss the feeling of childhood freedom. We are all a bit like cats. We are playful, curious, a bit self-centred, empathetic and enigmatic, lazy but also able to hunt and defend ourselves, and those we love.
Ayahuasca is not a one night stand but an ongoing relationship that grows you and supports you. There is no magic pill that can fix you in one night, you have to be willing to put it the work required. This experience is hard, and you should take some time to prepare for the physical and mental rigour it requires. I’d also insist that you participate under the supervision of an experienced shaman and support team. Make sure your retreat has a support network and a good integration program. P.S Facebook or WhatsApp groups are not sufficient, nor is a few days of yoga. How to chose a right retreat?
Don’t rush, don’t price hunt and check and double check the retreat credentials. Ayahuasca is available in the USA, Canada and Europe and if you have not managed to locate one close to your home it is because it is not the right time or place for you. Give some time, work on your intention and when you stop trying to control and stop pushing so hard it will come to you. It might sound a bit woo woo but it is exactly how it happened to me and the world will never be the same again.
I would like to also note that I sat to write all this after 2 years of my first trip. This was not written a few days after the ceremony when the heart is open, and you are emitting rainbows. When you are drunk on love and surrounded by strangers who have now become your family. I agree with Terence McKenna, the experience and the information is only useful if it is true and if you can apply it to your day to day life. To know if something is your own truth, you need time. You need time to reflect and digest your feelings, review your environment and decide what you will keep and what you will lose from your old self.
You will be torn between the old and the new perspectives. You will have internal and external conflicts as you renegotiate your place in the game of life. There will be a time when you will feel scared, lost and alone and this is why it is so vital to pick the right people to do the ceremony with and to have a solid integration program. Connect to like-minded people and be kind to yourself. It took you years to break your mind and your body, it did not happen overnight. Anyone who is telling you that Ayahuasca will cure all your mental and physical illness in one night, make you wealthy and successful is simply lying. The real work begins after the ceremony; however, the invisible jungle force never leaves your side, I can’t explain what that is, but I feel guided on a day to day basis. The journey I have started in the darkness of the Portuguese mountains have taken me places and connected me to people who have profoundly changed my life. Life now is an adventure!
You will find your path. You can do it, and you will be OK 😊 #bearhugs