Destinations: South America

My Ayahuasca Journey – Surrendering to the plant medicine

December 31, 2018


What is my purpose? Am I on the right path? What makes me happy? What do I need to do to prepare for the changes coming in the next chapter of my life? Am I listening to my heart enough? These questions have danced through my mind with increasing frequency as of late. Presumably a result of the significant life changes I’ve had over the last year. From moving 2900 miles across the country to a city where I feel a lack of deep seeded friendships to thriving in a new role at work that has expanded my career opportunities. From finding out that the embryos my partner and I have frozen may no longer be viable due to a malfunction of the storage tanks they were in to getting engaged to the love of my life. Life has thrown me up and down, left and right and completely discombobulated me. That’s when these questions started recurring incessantly.  And for no apparent reason, I awoke one day and felt a sudden pull from Mother Ayahuasca. I decided I would end the year with a 5-day retreat to Peru where I’d meet with Mother Ayahuasca herself to find answers.

What is Ayahuasca
In the simplest terms, Ayahuasca is a sacred Amazonian plant medicine used in ceremonies by Indigenous tribes. The brew is made from a vine called Ayahuasca and a leaf called Chacruna that contains DMT.

Why are people using Ayahuasca?
Indigenous tribes have been using Ayahuasca for thousands of years in ceremonial settings for healing at every level–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

There has been an increasing amount of interest in Ayahuasca from both the Western societies and the scientific communities. Studies have shown that Ayahuasca may potentially clear the body of parasites, reduce depression, cure drug addiction, and be used as a cancer therapeutic. For many though, Ayahuasca is a source of answers, used on one’s journey for self-healing and spiritual awakening.

What I discovered about Ayahuasca

  1. Ayahuasca gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want. We often jump straight to what we want and forget the foundational things that we need first. Mother Ayahuasca will work on what you need first. Whether it’s healing your physical ailments or helping you to discover things in your unconscious mind that you need to address before working on anything else. It might be painful, it might not be something you want to face, but it’ll be what you need. The plant knows you better than you know yourself.
  2. Ayahuasca is like a coach that guides you to finding the truths you already know. While we all might believe that our decisions and emotions are a conscious decision, we actually have an unconscious mind that is really the controlling force in our lives. It leads us to the decisions we make, emotions we feel, and actions we take. It’s where our inner soul and truths live. Unfortunately, for many, the unconscious mind is completely inaccessible. Ayahuasca enables your conscious and unconscious minds to connect. It drags the contents of your unconscious and holds a mirror up so you can access the truths that are already within you to begin self-healing.
  3. The REAL work begins after your Ayahuasca ceremony is over. It’s important to understand that Ayahuasca is not a “magic pill”. It won’t solve your problems in just one night (or even two or three nights). Despite all the vomiting, pain and suffering, happiness and joy, and physical pains you might have endured during the ceremony, the real work begins after your Ayahuasca ceremony ends. Ayahuasca merely serves as an amplifier to your healing and spiritual journey. You’ll gain insights, visions, understanding, and an awakening to deep inner joys and pains. What you do next determines the extent to which you will turn this experience into something that will serve you for the rest of your life. Ayahuasca shows you the door, but you have to walk through it.

What I discovered about myself

  1. I have never really been in control. Despite the fact that I have always held onto control for dear life. I try to plan, predict, and prevent things that I cannot really plan, predict, or prevent. Whether it’s the weather on a trip, the punctuality of a friend for dinner, or the availability of a product when I go to a store. Control is rooted in fear. It is the expectation that a specific outcome is best and the deep-seeded drive to do anything to make that outcome a reality. Ayahuasca taught me that I don’t really have control. During the ceremony, the more I tried to control my actions and reactions, thoughts and feelings and the idea that I knew myself the more I struggled with all of it. It wasn’t until I surrendered and welcomed what is with open arms that I fell into a deep sense of peace and calm. I put my ego away and opened up to the possibilities and found more joy, insights and freedom. I let go of control.
  2. Willingness to show weakness is actually a strength. Ayahuasca humbled me. She beat me down physically, mentally and emotionally. She showed me that I am fragile and weak and that’s ok. In fact, I realized that it is harder to be open to vulnerability, to show weakness, and to ask others for help than to hide in solitude of what I’ve always believed is “strength”. True strength is actually the awareness that strength and weakness are one. There can’t be one without the other. My willingness to be vulnerable means that I am merely human. My openness to relying on others creates the connections, bonds and relationships that are truly meaningful and filled with depth.
  3. Love triumphs all. No matter what problems you’re facing, what traumas you’ve endured, what pains you’re feeling there’s one thing that triumphs all: Love. Every human being in the world has a story. And that story is filled with both pain and happiness. Every human being in the world needs and wants the same things. And the core of what we need and want is love. We are all more similar than we might believe. We are all interconnected and love is the glue that sticks us together. But it all must start first with self-love.

As this year comes to a close I am ready to embrace what is and let go of control. I am ready to be strong by embracing my weaknesses and relying on others for help. And I am ready to love every living being on this planet with kindness and compassion. Will I fail? Probably. That’s why I am also ready to fill myself with love and forgiveness.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
– Buddha

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