I have to tell you, friends, I feel pretty darn fantastic! Perhaps it's because, after nearly 2 months in the jungle, I got what is arguably the best pedicure of my life yesterday for less than $10 including tip!! OR Perhaps it's because of all of the amazing plant medicines I have been working with ;) As it turns out, Ayahuasca was just the starting point for me; an appetizer of sorts. As it turns out, I came to Peru for SO much more. But, I will start at the beginning......
Chapter 1: Ayahuasca
It didn't take long for me to meet fellow travelers on the road to Ayahuasca. The plane ride from Panama City to Iquitos was buzzing with talk of the magical, bitter brew. Just about everyone on the plane was heading into the Amazon Jungle to drink Ayahuasca for the first-or fiftieth-time. I knew that I was coming for (what I felt were) the "right" reasons but I quickly found that many people had very different intentions that me. They were chasing the next new psychodelic "drug" (which Ayahuasca is not....in my opinion) so they could (pardon my french) trip their balls off. And, of course, there were plenty of snake oil salesmen (both literally and figuratively) willing to sell these gringos an experience they would never forget. Oh my goodness! What have I gone and gotten myself into now?! Breathe. Trust. Repeat.
I said a little prayer and the obnoxious guy sitting on the plane next to me was soon replaced by a gentle, yet troubled soul looking for healing and answers. He was going to the Temple of the Way of Light as well and would be in the 12 day program. We had a very nice conversation and he was the first of many amazing souls that I met and now call friends. Most of us Temple goers were staying at the same hotel so we easily met and bonded.
The next month while at the temple (why they call it that, I will never know....) was an amazing journey of growth, discovery, friendships, conversations, laughter, tears, and unforgetable experiences. I was 1 of 21 brave souls that came as strangers and left as family. The experiences are far too numerous to list so I will give a brief outline of what life was like for me this month. We were split into two groups for the Ayahuasca ceremonies. I was in group A with 9 others. The ceremonies started on day 2 and happened every 3rd day (so A,B,break,A,B,break). They took place in the evening after dark at 8pm. There was an optional yin yoga class prior to the ceremony which I enjoyed. When we were not in ceremony, our days looked like this: Morning yoga, breakfast, a morning class of some kind, 12pm flower baths, lunch, afternoon class, dinner (if you weren't in ceremony), meditation. Everything was optional and the classes had topics like self-inquiry, dance, singng, writing, orient yourself, the mother, the father, group share, and mantras. They were there to help us process the things that Ayahuasca was bringing to the surface and also to help us to expand our horizons and thought processes. I found them to be very helpful and I learned many skills and tools to work through things like triggers and to process and release patterns and thoughts that are no longer serving me but seem to be "stuck". Everything about the temple was exactly what I needed and was looking for...from the facilities and the food to the amazing shamans who guided us through our experiences with Ayahuasca. I am more than happy to speak about my personal experiences in more detail for those who are interested :) I am super grateful to everyone who supported me in the process to make this healing month happen for me at the temple. My life is forever changed for the better.