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“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
August 2014: R.I.P. Ramon Orlando
May you encounter many blessings along your Universal journey and thank you for greeting me as I stepped onto this most unusual and spiritual path, see you out there!
I ask you Reader to keep an open mind as you digest this account. Pay heed to the fact that you are reading this, it is a clue that there is something here for you. I cannot recommend this experience, I can only share what I have learned and know that those ready will be called to it, for to partake is the greatest gift you will give to yourself and ultimately all of us collectively. If not for you, at least know enough to pay forward the opportunity to others that may be silently and desperately longing for a hand up. There are resources following this, my longest post ever, for your exploration.
Over the last 20 years I have participated in numerous personal growth seminars, workshops and processes to realize more possibility, potential and self-empowerment. While following the proverbial bread crumbs thrown down by my intuition and intentions over the years, I have met individuals that possess gifts and knowledge that transcend our most basic physical “laws”. I have had glimpses behind the curtain of our materialism and compared to this last encounter everything pales by comparison. My account remains an “understatement” at best and uniquely my own.
This past weekend I joined approximately 60 fellow souls in a powerful weekend gathering. We came from all directions to meet a traditional South American Shaman and his team. Far from his homeland, this modern-day Medicine Man that refers to himself as a “spiritual facilitator” represents seven thousand years of family lineage. (Can you imagine knowing your family tree that far back?!) On mission to introduce as many as he can to one of the most ancient and sacred rituals of truth, he brought with him the presence and the ancient Amazonian plant medicine that would introduce us to “that which we really Are“.
The decision to attend was far from last-minute or spontaneous. Unlike anything I have considered before and because of the nature of it, I stretched way outside my comfort zone to attend. Often I thought of the old cliché “when the student is ready the teacher will appear“, only this time my teacher was not of the human kind. Being there was the end result of almost 2 years of researching, watching documentaries and listening to personal accounts of those courageous enough to venture into the greatest unknown ever known. I long to know “truth”, but am I ready for it?
This was to be the ultimate spiritual experience and unlike any church I have attended, including that which I was brought up in, our facilitator this weekend didn’t just speak about God, he introduced us to Her directly. That may seem like a grandiose statement yet when in the presence of divinity one knows it beyond the capacity to doubt.
National Geographic’s documentary on this subject is tagged: “Be Brave Enough To Save Yourself“. I was constantly warned that this is not a recreational process, it wouldn’t all be fun and for most in attendance, that was clearly the case. One enters into this with nervous excitement, a sense of foreboding and does not arrive without being “called” into the space. (Remember the vision that Richard Dreyfuss was compelled to sculpture in the classic movie Close Encounters?) Well it’s like that. The idea continued to present itself over time until I could no longer ignore it.
This process is specific to each individual that takes it on, it is an inside job. My experience was different than anything I had heard described and although my companion and I sat side by side, his “trip” was very different from mine, in fact I’m not sure he could write about his experience, although he says there may be a book or two from what he learned. We’ll see.
I departed from the weekend with an amazing and unexpected gift of healing, the manifestation of an intention set some time ago and had forgotten. The fact that I am sharing this with you is an end result of that gift and hopefully my story is comprehensible given the limitation of my words. This is a gift that keeps on giving and I am compelled to document the journey so that others might be inspired to explore as well. I will return to this process to dive deeper into understanding all that I am and why I am here in this physical form. I have been given a mere taste of what’s available.
My companion and I came out of this together with a greater understanding of why we are paired and a knowing we are exactly where we’re supposed to be. We were introduced to a sense of communion we hadn’t yet known as a couple. There is a deeper connection and richer feelings as we look into each others eyes this week, most importantly, a lifting of spirits that had become dampened by life’s challenges.
Before I go into the account of my experience it might serve to share why I would want to enter into this unfamiliar territory in the first place. Born with a curious, adventurous and (perhaps?) rebellious nature, I have an unquenchable thirst for learning that others might define as obsessive.
The quest for “truth” is the path of the warrior, one that requires “right” action despite fear. Einstein said,
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
So how does one get to another level of thinking? I needed a quantum leap in mine.
I haven’t shared this before but the last several years I have been in a rather “stuck” place. Once confident and bold in sharing my unique perspective, after several cascading life events I had shrunk away from serving up my talents and over time was slowly shutting down, the end result – playing small in my life, feeling afraid to speak my truth as I knew it and finding myself at a place of being frustrated, sick and weary from not being able to express what I felt in my heart to be true. I was out of integrity and consequently unable to serve others in the same satisfying ways I had in the past. Unable to pull myself out of the nose-dive I had myself locked into, I had to do something to turn things around. My friend Abraham’s words often rang inside my head,
“when falling without a parachute, you might as well enjoy the ride because it will be over soon.”
Upon committing to attend this ceremony – about a month prior, conscious preparations for it began. We received a full page of dos and don’ts that would help us optimize our experience to receive the most we could from it. We tweaked our diet, habits and our thoughts by eliminating things that would impede our process and included those that would enhance it. We were instructed to arrive with open hearts and minds, clear positive intentions and leave ALL expectations behind – including those around our intentions. Most challenging of all, to place ourselves in a state of surrender and vulnerability, I could definitely do “vulnerable”, the surrender part was the tricky one.
The day finally arrived, we headed off to our destination nervous and excited, wondering if we were doing the right thing, questioning our sanity and yet certain we would get exactly what we needed from the adventure. About 6pm we arrived at the place we were told to park for the remainder of the weekend, we placed the call to be picked up at the car and a few kilometres later arrived at a beautiful lake-house in the woods that had been rented for the occasion. We gathered our gear and as we entered I felt a lot like Dorothy must have that moment she opened the door to Oz.
At first glance it looked like a 60’s love-in scene, instantly the feeling of having come home struck me. We saw mats, sleeping bags and blankets lined up around the rooms, burning candles and people of all ages, ethnicity and backgrounds. We were welcomed with hugs, knowing smiles and gratitude for coming out, everyone seemed “of like mind” and a little familiar. The place buzzed with delicious conversations, laughter, the strumming of a guitar and aromas of smouldering sage, candles and the kitchen as some prepared the foods that we all contributed. We noticed we were a couple of the eldest in attendance. I had discovered through my research that those undertaking this process went on to become highly functioning and contributing community members so I was inspired by the number of enlightened young ones – our next generation of leaders. Most had remained for the Saturday ceremonies after having been at it all Friday night, in retreat from society, we were here to meet the best of ourselves. The ceremony would not begin until almost 10pm, and would be a night long affair.
Once oriented, we changed from our travel clothes into our comfy cosies, found a place to lay our sleeping bags for the night and signed our waivers taking full responsibility for our actions and well-being. We had several hours to meet and mingle, to hear stories of others’ experiences and were encouraged to ask anything we wanted regarding what we were about to undergo. The tales were diverse, fascinating and stretched the boundaries of belief. As the time drew nearer to ceremony the energy mounted.
Finally we were all called into the kitchen where the Shaman was preparing the medicine in ritual fashion and lining up the carved wooden cups we would be drinking from. He asked us to join hands in a circle around the space. He spoke softly in his native Spanish tongue and through the translator we learned first hand the history of this rite and the purpose of this mission. He spoke of ancient things, of how we will change the world by entering into this new family and relationship with nature and above all, we were emphatically assured that if we gave ourselves up to this process, we would be cured of our ignorance, collectively the most destructive force on planet Earth today.
The talk and preparatory ritual was complete, it was time to line up to drink our cup of Ayahausca. I was surprised and pleased that it wasn’t at all foul smelling or tasting, contrary to what I had heard. We were instructed to go back to our spots, which at the foot had been placed the ominous vomit bucket for capturing the inevitable purge that would signal the beginning of the experience. We were told to patiently wait in silence with closed eyes for at least 45 minutes until the effects of the medicine began to show itself, the time passed quietly as I observed within and waited for my gut to respond.
Finally someone across from me started heaving, then another and another, some quietly, some loudly. The noise rose to a crescendo as the medicine began to do its good work and we were off! The experience would last about 4 to 5 hours.
I continued to wait for the familiar sensation of nausea, still nothing. As those around me filled their buckets, I noticed several of the care-giving team was clearing them away as each individual finished their purge, there was nothing to do but be with ourselves and our experience. I began to wonder if this was working for me and I reigned my focus back into my own space, it was then I began to notice I was feeling just slightly intoxicated, but not yet nauseous. Perhaps I’d get away without it? I hate puking and avoid it at all costs.
Just as I asked myself that I noticed a tightening in my throat. It began to tingle and intensify, I realized I could identify my thyroid gland in 3D, almost as if it was being held up for me to see, it began to swell and the pressure quickly mounted, it felt as if it was going to explode.
[A bit of history before I go further: About 25 years ago right after my son was born my thyroid went into hyperactive overdrive. It was a condition that snuck up on me at the time and almost took me out of life’s game. Over years of medications, alternative therapies and extreme lifestyle changes I was able to get to a place where it wasn’t life-threatening any more, although I would always have some residual effects from it, I set the intention to one day find a way to “fix” it for good. That was the forgotten intention. In preparation for this trip I hadn’t thought about it once.]
Instinctively I grabbed my bucket and sure enough, my gland started to spew, I was aware that I had none of the typical sensations of throwing up, from my perspective it was coming straight out of the back of the gland and as it did the gland relaxed and shrunk back to “normal”. When I was complete I heard a very clear voice that wasn’t mine say, “There. You have your voice back. Take it home and work with it.” I was stunned and grinning. The most obvious thing I could have hoped for I hadn’t even considered. I wiped my face, blew my sinuses out and with a tremendous feeling of relief I laid back and swam in intense feelings of gratitude and love. It was as if a Mother energy was cradling me in her arms, I felt again like I did when I was a baby. I knew something significant had just occurred, something had been “fixed”.
I waited to see the visions commonly reported by so many. They never came. I didn’t care, I remained grateful for what I had received because I knew it was significant and couldn’t wait to take it home. I was in a place of pure feeling good for the first time in a very long time.
I basked in the beautiful emotions for some time and then turned my attention to my partner beside me. He was off in his own world and grinning ear to ear. I can’t remember what was said and at this point the two of us were struck with the giggles. Out of respect for those around us we were trying not to laugh out loud until we heard laughter coming from the next room. Ron asked me in a witty way if I’d rather be in the “happy room” and we couldn’t contain ourselves any longer, absurdity and surrender took over, the next couple of hours we held a space of joy that infected several around us. We were labelled the “giggle-pusses” and laughed purely FOR others as they ushered out their negativity and darkness. I have never seen Ron laugh as hard and long as he did that night.
There was a lot going on in the room and as chaotic as it appeared, every single event seemed to fit perfectly in the space. Our new friend Michael who was stretched out behind our heads picked up his guitar and started to play, it was beautiful and soothing. I noticed I could hear every single note hyper-crisply, and oddly I could sense the frequencies radiating out from each pluck, it was a lullaby, he was playing just for me.
About 3:30 in the morning it was time to decide if we would like to “go again”, a second cup was being offered in the kitchen. I stood by and watched as many stepped up eager to go deeper into their experiences. I was tempted while clearly hearing an inner voice telling me I had what I needed for now and feeling certain I would be back for more on another date. I was eager to return home to integrate and process the gift I had received this night.
I sat energized by the fire burning outside, exchanging perspectives with others, emptied a bucket and fetched warm towels for a new friend still journeying while offering encouragement and support and generally waited for dawn to come. The ceremony would come to a close about 7am and the house needed to be put back in order and vacated by 10am. No one wanted to leave. There was a feeling of belonging to a new family – those that puke together stay together! As we packed and straightened, replacing furniture rugs and knick-knacks that had been temporarily stored in the basement, there was a buzz of exchanging of emails, making plans to reconnect with those we most resonated with, laughs, tears and heartfelt hugs. The first pot luck social is scheduled for December 7th and I can’t wait to see everyone, in the mean time we have our community on the Internet and all the rich resources it provides to hold us together until we meet heart to heart again.
I liken this to the task of giving birth, the discomfort endured was WAY worth the gifts received. Far more occurred that night than I am able to post here. I am left with immense gratitude, respect and reverence for a much grander picture of our entire existence than I had access to through my physical senses. Expanded and changed forever because I cannot unlearn or ignore what just happened, I am like a balloon once blown up, can never return to its original shape.
So we’ll see what happens going forward, I am acutely listening and watching for the signs that some things are different now, the evidence is already showing itself.
After 2 years of research I am left uttering, “I had no idea.” Mother Ayahuasca isn’t simply a serving psychotropic, She is an entity here for a specific purpose and needed more than ever before in the thousands of years of her presence. I am grateful to our indigenous people for paying forward their wisdom and knowledge, it is some of the purest on the planet and a tremendous gift to our collective thriving.
I have polled the opinions of others as I prepared for this, many of my friends have asked for information and are waiting to hear our accounts of the weekend. This posting is the best I can do in writing and to see us is to know something has shifted.
Like the canary sent into the mine to determine if it is safe to enter in, this little bird is back to say it is more than safe, it just may be your answer to everything.
Be brave enough to save yourself.
“There is no condition that you cannot modify into something more, any more than there is any painting that you can paint and not like and just paint over it again. There are many limiting thoughts in the human environment that make it feel like it is not so, as you have these incurable illnesses, or these unchangeable conditions. But we say, they are only “unchangeable” because you believe that they are.”