Plant Medicine Part II - My Ayahuasca Journey
I was sprawled out, snow angel style, on a stage in the ceremony room.
I was smiling, happy, euphoric, and at peace. The approval of self and fear I had just acquired on the bathroom floor was a nuclear release of trapped energy. I was enjoying the come-up, feeling all the good and healing vibes around me as a sacred healing ceremony took place in the center of the room.
I felt good, free, like a child again.
Then suddenly, as the medicine does, it opened another door...
"Grandpa, we need to talk."
Well, that's what I heard myself say.
My Grandfather, a larger-than-life character in my eyes, was being summoned, and I wasn't clear why. I should mention he's been dead for about ten years.
"What do you need, Grandson?" He so simply and casually asked.
He was right there, right there in front of me, and while it felt natural, not only could I hear and see him, but I could feel his presence.
I miss this man so much, and I always think about him. That was the first thing I shared with him.
To which he said, "but I'm always right here."
As tears rolled down my cheeks, I told him we needed to talk. He seemed a bit confused. I went on to acknowledge him. To thank him for his love, his generosity, and his leadership. I thanked him because without him, his drive, commitment, and love of family, we would not live the privileged life we have enjoyed.
He created so much of our family's story, and his success carried us forward in various ways even after he had passed. I shared with him his impact, my gratitude, and my love. He received my acknowledgments. I could feel how good he felt to be seen and appreciated.
And then I said, "and it's time for some things to change."
I shared with him how his success, while incredible, was built on the back of fear and scarcity. I explained how I could see his success had been the product of his experience through the Great Depression and WWII. And his goal of being able to support and provide for a family at a level never to have them experience the challenges he had to experienced was incredible. However, in the process, his success was built on the backbone of fear and scarcity. He was driven so hard to succeed, but his driver was fear.
The Ayahuasca was opening caverns of repressed family stories, narratives, and ways of being about money, wealth, work, fear, and success.
It knows precisely where you need healing and shines a light on it.
My Grandfather was confused by my claim and told me to look at the world. He pointed to the violence, the chaos, and the economic turbulence. He then doubled down sternly, expressing that the world is scary, dangerous, and unsafe.
While he's not wrong, seeing the world like this, even if it supports you in achieving success, comes with some harsh realities and consequences.
Success through fear only emboldens the fear. Ultimately, that fear steals much of the joy that typically comes with success. Fear plagued much of his life, robbing him of much happiness and peace. His fear showed up as worry, anxiety, and always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Those stories, feelings, and truths about how "life is" were passed down, just as the rewards of success were.
I pleaded with him to see that while he had created so much from this mindset, he had also missed out on love, joy, and freedom.
But he couldn't see it; the fear was powerful. He was staunch that his methods and mindsets were accurate and that we should see the world as he did for our safety.
Pleading and trying to convince him wasn't working. Expressing the cost and toll fear, worry, anxiety, and scarcity were taking on the lives of our family members wasn't making a difference.
And then the medicine and my soul took me in another direction.
Suddenly, we warped our way back into the past. As if in an instant, we traveled roughly 100 years back in time.
I was sitting with him, my Grandfather, but the eight-year-old version. The small sweet boy in front of me was the eight-year-old whose family had lost everything in the Great Depression. This boy only graduated elementary school because he needed to work and make money for his family. This wasn't the man I was arguing with but a sad, scared, and brave little boy.
At that moment, I shifted. I expressed my heartbreak for him, for the experience of the trauma he lived through. And I held him and told him how much I loved him. I shared that I could never understand how horrifying it must have been to have experienced the Great Depression. To have been this tiny, vulnerable, and scared at a time when you were supposed to be having fun, feeling safe, and being a child. I praised his hustle, work ethic, and his finding his entrepreneurial path so early, something that would ultimately lead to his success in the future. My heart spoke to his, and his heart took over and let me in.
Suddenly, we jumped forward in time. I was still with him, but a roughly 20-year-old version. This handsome young man was ripe with life, brave and proud yet terrified. He was on the verge of being shipped to Europe to fight the Nazis in WWII. While he was proud and willing to fight for our country, I could feel the trauma this experience created inside him.