I was lying on the floor, staring up at the toilet. There was nothing but me, the porcelain, and silence. As I gazed upward at the massive monster of porcelain, I heard it whisper,
"You aren't even worthy of me."
This had to be the bottom, and I couldn't be further from the experience I had the night before.
It was a low moment, a moment I didn't realize was the moment that often occurs before finding our Pheonix.
This is a three-part story about my first Ayahuasca (plant medicine) experience. An experience that, at this point in my life, was the most powerful, impactful, spiritual, loving, and life-changing experience of my life.
For hours I was struggling to purge, I felt like something wanted to leave my body, but nothing would come. This, the second night of a three-night ceremony, felt like my dark night of the soul. Night two had been wrenchingly uncomfortable from the get-go. It was a wildly different experience from night perfection of night one, an experience of euphoria, love, spirit, and connection. And it would be the low that I needed to find, explore, and experience to make sense of the knowingness and peace I would feel on night three possible.
In the next moments, I would stare my deepest internal fears in the face, not to move through them as you might expect or run from them, but to discover a third way to be with fear.
While it might not sound like it, the entirety of this moment was one of the most memorable moments of my plant medicine journey. See, this night started off brutally terrifying. I came in afraid because night one was so perfect that I worried night two would be a letdown. I was so scared of what might show up on night two because who was I to have two euphoric experiences back to back while so many others were meeting, facing, and clearing demons, challenges, and traumas from their past through what from the outside seemed like ongoing suffering in purging.
The night started with me facing the worst anxiety attack of my life. I felt like I needed to peel myself out of my skin. My heart raced. I was cold and then hot. I was worried in a way I had never been before. When I closed my eyes and tried to focus on my breathing and self-soothe, I saw visions of sheer chaos and terror. If I opened my eyes, I would have a moment of peace, and I could see myself in a room with other humans and perfectly safe. Still, the medicine made me close them again and face something internal that I was avoiding. By the time I was facing the bully porcelain pulpit, the toilet, I had already tried so hard to tame the anxiety beast inside. I had paced, pretended a rolled-up hoodie I was hugging was Cali, my dog, in my arms, tried purging from both ends, did box breathing, and asked the support staff to hold me and tell me I was ok.
I don't know what changed at that moment. The medicine works like that. It's as if your spirit is guiding you, and your mind is quickly playing catch up. It's hard to explain how ayahuasca works in our bodies. It's like the key to a giant old mansion. Each room holds every aspect of our lives, all the memories, traumas, impactful moments, and everything we shut away. This key can open up all the doors, giving you access to all the spaces and rooms. Spirit, in partnership with these sacred plants, guides you around this metaphorical mansion to the areas that need healing, awareness, or exploration. Because time and space don't exist in this mental experience plane, you can explore, transform, and heal things at quantum speed. The healing that might take years in traditional therapy can happen in a moment.
I peeled myself off the ground, away from the toilet, and went face to face with a mirror. As I looked myself in the face, tears slowly rolled down my cheeks. I acknowledged that something was blocking me, preventing me from facing the horror stewing inside. As I did that, I also recognized that I was simply too afraid to face it. I wanted to face it, I wasn't running, but for some inexplicable reason, I couldn't be with it and go through the fear. And at that moment, I gave myself permission to be afraid. I acknowledged that it was ok to be too scared to face fear. While it wasn't ok to run from it, it was ok to acknowledge the fear, honor the fear, respect the fear, and give the fear approval to exist.
As I stood there asking for the medicine for support, the wisdom of the plants shared with me that I had done what I needed to do. That the lesson was a lesson in full approval. We cannot always conquer or change things we don't like, wish were different, or are afraid of. We cannot run from them, deny them, or ignore them. And life consistently gives us circumstances, people, and situations that we won't like and think should be different. Only sometimes will we be able to do something about the things we don't like or think should be different. Some of the greatest horrors on this planet have existed since the beginning of humans. We can drive ourselves insane and create misery, sadness, and suffering within ourselves if we cannot give approval to the darkness.
You can't truly respect the light if you don't equally respect the darkness.
But if we can accept the darkness just as we accept the light, giving approval for its right to exist and its unknown purpose, we can become free of it. In choosing and empowering full approval of something, regardless of the circumstances, we release the tension, the tug of war, and the energy we carry around it.
At that moment, all the fear dissipated, dissolved, and vanished like a marine layer met with a warm sun.
A lesson in full approval is a powerful lesson. Regardless of whether we agree with others or situations, the ability to accept things as they are is a pearl of wisdom spoken about by sages and enlightened people throughout history. From our human perspective, we live in a world that is not perfect by any means. Our constant need to disagree, change others and situations, and be righteous about how things should or shouldn't only add more tension, separation, and fear to our experience.
This three-day experience would forever change my life, my DNA, and the future generations of my family.
Part II is Coming Tomorrow...