At the age of 12, I was placed in a back brace and asked to try and live like a normal teenager, which was next to impossible. To me, this brace represented my suppressed childhood, where everything had to be shoved in – all of the secrets, lies and abuse of my family being shoved into my tiny little body, eventually twisting me so far inside of myself that I had to have a brace to hold me up. “Sit up straight and hold in your stomach’ was the mantra of my Grandmother. What she didn’t understand was that, for me, that was not even a physical option. How could this fragile child possibly hold herself up with all of the undigested baggage she was carrying around? I knew after that first ceremony that the story of this girl was about to change. I was in for something big. It was not in my control anymore.

After I drank down my first cup of this red bitter juice, that is exactly what started to happen. When you are immersed in nature with no electricity or phone service something starts to happen. I could feel the medicine working on my brain, helping to release the toxic energy of being connected to my phone and computer more days than not. I had to really sink into Mother Nature.  Now, in my mind I thought I was good with this. I spent so many hours in meditation and connection with nature throughout my life that I thought I would have this down. This was not the case. Panic and anxiety started to unravel because I had nothing to do. Nothing to read or no one to talk to. It would be this way for 10 days. Mama Bobinsana was cleaning me out. I would drink her in solitude for 2 days and then we would go into our Ayahuasca ceremony in the evening.

This is how Bobinsana works her magic… During the day the sun brings her flowers to the surface, but as night falls and moon appears with her ancient wisdom the spirit of the plant goes deep inside. When I say “deep,” I mean to the end of the root. The exact place where Mother Earth begins to replenish the newly plucked untangled lineage of pain and suffering. One night I woke up to find myself crying. Sobbing and finding forgiveness for the people who had hurt me. Finding love and compassion for beings I had viewed as monsters. Understanding how broken their souls were. As this love emerged from my being the nerves in my shoulder and neck started to turn back on. The vertebrae started to shift and this chronic pain I had carried my whole life vanished. I couldn’t believe it. I was flying so high over the stars. My tears of forgiveness turned into joy and I knew I was coming home to myself in the biggest way possible.

I had no idea what to expect from the ceremony. Fear was my guide as I walked through the door and my usual methods of protection seemed to hold no value as the river ran along beside me with no instructions of her current. My golden dragon and ancient Egyptian jewelry, normally so protective of a force on any Ayahuasca quest, now felt puny and ridiculous as I was about to be swallowed up by this deep rich jungle. I got my space ready with my plush cushion and some pillows propped behind me. The ceremony began and I will just say that it was intense.  Ayahuasca was on her home turf, in her old stomping grounds in the Amazon. She was different and I could feel the communication between the plants as they teamed up to help this woman recover her power.

The next ceremony would be in 2 more days and this time it would be held in the morning sun. I welcomed this news with a hearty “YES,” figuring the journey wouldn’t be as scary because the sun was out and you could see. Wrong… The sun brings a completely different energy. Everything that is hiding in the unconscious can now be brought into the light of day. This is officially where, to put it bluntly, I lost my shit. Everything I did not want to see, I had to see. I had to feel it. The thing that kept me going through this ordeal was knowing my freedom was on the other side.

Ayahuasca responds to music. The shamans sing Icaros which is a language that encourages the indigenous plants, to help the body purge. This is surgery, the shaman as the surgeon and the plants as the tools. As they sing, the words go into your being and bring the key to unlock the door. When that door is unlocked, that energy moves and the deepest level of relaxation appears. You get to settle back into yourself. You get to have your body back. While not everyone has experienced this disjointedness, for those of us who have struggled with uniting the soul with the body, it is a beautiful thing. To feel the thing that has been tormenting you release into the abyss is the deepest sense of liberation.

Over the next few days, there were X more ceremonies. Through these journeys, I felt I had come to reach the full spectrum of human emotion: moments where I thought I would die, times I cried for the terrified child inside of me, times I was strong as a warrior and offered protection to some little teary eyed girl. It was all there. The suppressions along with the revelations. And after 10 days it was time to leave. I was ready.

Could I have stayed and drank more of this plant? Yes. Will I go back and try another plant? Probably. But I think it is important to let the body integrate. Giving it time to settle into the new you. Healing takes time and it is a path that will only continue to unfold. Use all of the tools that you have to fully harmonize with the magic of being alive. We are like flowers coming from the wisest tree.  From the beginning of homosapiens we have roamed the earth having a deep contact with the animal and plant kingdom. We know this wisdom at level of DNA. To cut ourselves off from this inner knowing creates a split between the spirit and the body. These plants are here to repair this connection by allowing us the chance to come back into our bodies without all of the neurosis of the mind creating disorder. We are here to create a life of love and this is one option that is here for us when and if we feel ready.

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