My friends and I landed in the jungles of Pucallpa, Peru. Everything was so green! We were greeted by some of the facilitators from the Nimea Kaya retreat along with some of our fellow retreat members. Once everyone was accounted for, we split up into groups of two and hopped on little motorcycles with carriages where our drivers rode us on the bumpy dirt roads to get to our destination. The ride was super fun. It was just a rural area filled with locals and kids in the streets yelling “Hola!” If you’re familiar with the Netflix series Narcos, just imagine that scenery.
About 20-30minutes later, we arrived at the Nimea Kaya retreat. Once you open the front door, you have to walk over wooden planks to get you there. I was so excited to see what my home would look like for the next nine(9) days. My friends and I stayed in a large bungalow called “The Wito”. In front of our place were tiny bats just hanging on the ceiling of our patio. What a sight to see. I’ve never seen this before! After settling in, we then went to the kitchen for brunch. They served us eggs with spinach, potatoes, cauliflower, with a passion fruit juice. So delicious! (Take note: a healthy/clean/vegetarian diet is highly recommended to get the best results when you’re working with Ayahuasca. It is known that in the purging process, your body needs to be rid of all the toxins first before you can get deep with the medicine. So the cleaner your vessel is, the higher the frequency you can vibrate.)
After lunch we met in the maloca (community hut) for orientation and a meet and greet. We all shared our intentions for the retreat. I also shared how grateful I was to be where I am in life, but for some reason I felt like there has to be more! How can I share my many blessings and the amazing things that I have acquired with others? I knew that I was definitely not complete yet, because I feel true happiness and satisfaction when I make those around me happy.
Everyone in the retreat seemed to be in a very positive space. I felt very excited to feed off of their energies. The first day was truly awesome. From the retreat being located in the jungles of Peru, to the healthy/yummy foods, to all the activities they provide, and especially the amazing people with whom I was able to be surrounded with, I felt amazingly blessed to be able to have this experience! Tomorrow night will be our first Ayahuasca ceremony. I am so excited because I AM READY for the next step in my life, whatever that may be…
As I sit on the stoop of our front porch, I reminisce about the sounds I heard from the night before. I’m curious as to what the animals and insects look like that make these foreign sounds. It happened at about 4-5am. Tiffany, my friend/roommate for the retreat and I heard this strange noise of what sounded like a human exhaling, “Haaaaaaa.” At first I thought it was Tiffany just meditating and breathing but as I was awoken from this strange sound, I asked if it was her but she replied with a “no” and she said that she thought it was me. We both laughed about it but then I began to freak out and then, I just let it pass. Weird… Well last night was a Saturday night so the facilitators had warned us that it would be loud because the locals have their “fiesta” so sure enough they were partying alright. Drums and the chant of “Woo, Woo, Woo!” roared throughout the night. I wish I would’ve been able to hang out with them and to experience that. Seems like it would be so fun!! They partied until the sun came up.
This morning we had a yoga session and the heart chakra was the theme. Heart what? Chakra? Yea, that was my reaction too when I was first introduced to chakras as well. To explain briefly, we have 7 chakras that represent physical components of our body. There are three upper body chakras, three lower body chakras, and connecting all of them together in the center is the Heart Chakra. It is said that if your heart chakra is open and balanced, you are flowing with love and compassion, you are quick to forgive, and you accept others and yourself. Conversely, a closed heart chakra can give way to grief, anger, jealousy, and can cause hatred towards others and yourself. It was perfect that we were working on this because my intention for tonight’s ceremony will be about love. After that, we had a breakfast of oatmeal, a superfood shake, and eggs. Since it was ceremony day we were only supposed to have a very light meal.
Then we all met up to help with the brewing process for the Ayahuasca tea. It is comprised of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and boiled with Psychotria viridis also known as chacruna leaves. We were making this brew to drink at our 4th and final ceremony together. Some people were macerating the vines by soaking them in water to soften their texture. While others were cleaning the chacruna leaves.
Lately, I’ve been making an effort to practice being more mindful–to take more time, and put more love into the things I do. So that’s what I did with this process. When I was hitting the bark, I put my whole heart into it as I saw each piece fly off the vine. When I was cleaning the leaves, I took time to notice the dirt slowly rubbing off the surface. It was a very rewarding and humbling process.
After that, we took a stroll with Segundo, one of the gardeners, to learn more about the plants in our potion. At the end of our tour he thanked us and seemed so pleased that we were there. It warmed my heart to see his genuine emotions. I wish there was something more I could do for these people. I am so in love with this place!
Our meeting time was 8pm as we all gathered in the dim lit maloca. In the center of the room was a small table with a lit candle surrounded with crystals and spiritual symbols. As each person entered, we took our seats on the cushioned mats that were arranged in a circle on the floor. Beside each mat was a plastic bucket and a blanket. We waited in anticipation as the facilitators were last to come in followed by the shamans. My hands were sweating and my heart was beating out my chest but I knew that this is what I had longed for. One by one, we stood up as the facilitators used sage, a technique called smudging to cleanse our body of negative spirits. When the smudging ceremony was complete, we were then given our tea, in “shot” form. The elixir was dark, thick, and didn’t smell very good. I held the shot to my third eye (space between my eyebrows), focused my attention on my intention and gulped it down. Oh boyyy was that disgusting! It might have been the worst shot I have ever taken in my life, and trust me, I’ve had plenty in my time! It was difficult to keep it down but I made sure I did.
We all sat there in silence as we waited for our journey to begin, not knowing what to expect. What seemed like thirty minutes went by, the shamans began to sing and my body started to tingle. When the medicine first hit me, it was more of a body high. My neck started rolling back and forth, then all of a sudden, “Blahhhhhhh…” I reached for my bucket and vomited. It wasn’t just one session of vomiting, it was a continuous cycle as I heard others around me as well. It was as if we were battling on who could vomit the loudest and the longest! I was puking so hard I literally thought my guts were coming out. I know it sounds pretty revolting but that’s what went down.
This went on for quite some time but as things began to settle, that’s when I started to see all the beautiful visuals. It looked like I was staring into a kaleidoscope and whoever was spinning it kept moving in a continuous cycle. All of a sudden, I felt this surge of happiness and began to laugh hysterically. I was laughing so hard that I began to cry. While my body was having a laughing and crying battle (a form of purging), all I felt was happiness.
Things started to take a bit of a turn because some of the guys in the group started tripping really hard and seemed to become violent. Still for some reason, I found it funny and kept laughing. It went on for a while then I started to realize that I was laughing AT people. I had to bring myself back to that moment. Then it hit me, my lesson was that I needed to have more compassion for others. Some people were truly going through struggles and here I was in my blissful state. I realized that not everyone was fortunate as I was to have these great, positive emotions, so I had to quiet down and be empathetic towards their feelings. After I finally quieted, I felt true gratitude for my euphoria. I thanked Mother Ayahuasca and did my best to just pray for those who were struggling. I hoped that they would just get through it. I sat, I prayed, and gave thanks for quite some time. I also thought about my sister Tina and how I need to really let our differences of the past go. So when I get home, I’m definitely going to work on that.
What seemed to be the middle of my journey, I really needed to pee but my body was so heavy I couldn’t move. For the first time, I let myself feel like I NEEDED someone to help me. For me that was me letting go of my ego. I always felt like I could do everything on my own, but it was good to know that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to feel vulnerable.
At the same time it also taught me a very valuable lesson. Since I was young, I was always spoiled. I was the baby of the family with two older siblings, so I got a lot of attention. I grew up thinking that life was all about me, me, me! Could you really blame me?? (Side note: Your childhood is so crucial in shaping you into the person you become. So parents, pleasee raise your kids to be good humans.) In my visions, the word NEED kept floating in front of me and it slowly drifted away. I knew that I had to let that idea go and not be selfish anymore. I realized that I was just another being in this huge universe. Everybody needs as much attention as I do and that we are all ONE. It was a very humbling moment.
Looking around, it seemed like everyone in the room needed the facilitators’ help more than I did. I tried to become more selfless in that moment, so that others could get the help they needed. I was feeling so thankful that I wanted to help everyone who was going through a tough time. As Daniel (one of the facilitators) assisted me to the restroom, I expressed my desire to help. He explained that this current experience was for me. If I wanted to help, there will be plenty of time to do so AFTER I helped myself first. I realized he was right. That showed me that when I get back to my “normal” life, I truly want to help others in anyway I can. Whether it be big or small. I just want to be more helpful and more giving of myself.
(Take note that when working with Ayahuasca, you have these visions that come in waves. You’re in one moment and out the next. It’s a good thing though because trust me, you need these breaks. It’s really intense.)
I also spent some time sitting outside with Addie who was another participant. We sat next to each other holding hands, gazing up at the stars, while hanging out with Lady Bug, one of the dogs at Nimea Kaya. In that moment, I felt so connected with the female spirit. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before, but it was so empowering.
When I had a moment to myself, I brought my attention back to my intention which was about finding love and my life partner. What Mother Ayahuasca was “telling” me was that I need to go into every situation with no expectations. Just let it flow and happen organically. By doing so, I wouldn’t be let down. Also, it’s about true acceptance of people. When two people are in a relationship, sometimes one is always trying to mold the other person into someone they want to be with. What I learned is that you have to love the person for all that they are, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. It’s important that you love their character and what they stand for and if you want to be with this person, you must accept them with all their flaws; only then will you find and be in true love.
I went through so much more but those were the visions that stuck out the most. They say one Ayahuasca ceremony can be equivalent to a years worth of therapy. Crazy right? All in all it was such an amazing experience. It was full of pure BLISS, lessons of compassion, acceptance, love, gratitude, and I can’t forget the loads of vomiting.. 🙂 Thank you Mother Ayahuasca!
Join me next week as I dive into Ceremony 2, Finding My True Self.