Naturally going into my first time ever of doing Ayahuasca I was a bit nervous. The whole time leading up to my journey I was mostly excited with just a bit of nerves mixed in. I knew that I was in the right headspace to receive the medicine so that helped keep me grounded and calm.
If nerves do take over, then do 3 simple things:
- Breathe: follow your breath, let it guide you.
- Be clear on your Intention: Ayahuasca found you for a reason, you are doing this to heal and/or explore. Whatever your intention is, let it be your source of courage.
- Surrender: have faith in Mother Aya and let her be your mentor as you become the hero in your journey.
FIRST CHALLENGE: Facing my Fears
Rapé is tobacco that is blown into your nostril one at a time as a way of helping you get in touch with your body. I’ve always had issues breathing through my mouth, so I was terrified of receiving smoke through my nostrils as your only choice is to breathe through your mouth. It brought up memories of scuba diving and needing to come back up to the boat due to not being able to breathe as they instructed me to do so. Another memory of swallowing a bit of chewing tobacco from High School along with the nausea feeling that lasted a couple hours came to mind as I thought more about what Rapé might feel like. See when one of your Ayahuasca facilitators blows the Rapé in your nose, saliva and tobacco will build in your mouth and if you freak out for any reason you might accidentally swallow some tobacco instead of spitting it in the huge bowl conveniently placed between your hands in your lap.
This would be the first test. I was so caught up in worrying that all the hard work I’ve done to be in the right headspace would be for nothing if I let the Rapé get the best of me. So, with all my courage I took the Rapé and focused on my breath. What do you know… nothing bad happened. In fact, I actually loved the way the Rapé made my body feel. First checkpoint accomplished — faced my fears.
After Rapé we immediately went back to meditation despite just completing 30 non-stop minutes of meditation prior to Rapé. This was a good time to reflect on the Rapé experience and mentally prepare one last time before consuming ayahuasca.
There were 8 participants and 3 facilitators in our journey — we all sat in a sacred circle in the middle of a yurt in the Santa Cruz mountains. The time has come. One by one we went around the circle to vocalize our intention one final time before drinking.
When my name was called to drink this magical brew that is Ayahuasca I rose excitedly with a smile to embark on my journey. You know I have to say, Ayahuasca isn’t bad tasting. People call it everything from intolerable to horrendous and worst; yet I found it earthy and quite tolerable. To me, it tastes like the seeds from unsweetened acai. Or at least I told myself that anyway as I drank the glass like it was water.
This was the only “bad” part of the whole experience. After drinking the first glass, I laid on my mattress waiting for the medicine to kick in. The beautiful sounds of the music was something I tried to focus on yet it didn’t help me begin the journey. I laid there for what felt like at least 60 minutes impatiently as I dreamed of eating a steak or anything hearty after eating like a rabbit for a week. Finally, I started to feel some tingles in my upper body. Excitedly, I checked in with myself as if to ask if this is what I’ve been waiting for. My thoughts went back and forth, “yes this is it” to “no, this is nothing… keep waiting.’’ It was a similar feeling to when you eat an edible and have that internal debate within yourself if you’re high yet or not. AND as we all know, this is just the beginning.
THE PURGE: Phase 1
After my second glass of Ayahuasca I continued to lay uncomfortably as I still wasn’t feeling anything. Finally, out of nowhere I sat straight up, grabbed my huge bowl to the right of my mattress and let it all out. This isn’t a normal kind of puke. It is a deep cleansing, as you let it out you have a rush of old bad memories leaving your soul. Within minutes, you’re done and I just felt so thankful and ready for my journey to begin. To me this is known as the first phase of your journey.
CLEANSING: Phase 2
The purge was just the beginning of my detoxification. Next, as I lay on my back I felt that tingly sensation I felt earlier only this time was different … much different.
The tingles turned to vibrations similar to the vibrations I felt from my breath work. Only this time it was much more euphoric. Up and down my neck, along my shoulder blades down to my traps. Mother Aya gave me the best massage I’ve ever received.
It reminded me of being at the dentist (something I don’t enjoy) but the way she hovered over me and was working on cleaning my body. She knew exactly where to go and alleviated any pain to prepare me for the journey she was about to take me on. It was almost like in HBO’s West World series after the robots die — the way the surgeons worked on their bodies and brought the robots back to life. I felt like Mother Aya was continuing to give me this deep massage until she fully repaired me.
NOTE: When I say “she” and that I received a massage; I’m not actually talking about a masseuse or even any human being for that matter. I’m referring to the spirit of Mother Ayahuasca. I could not see her. I didn’t have visions like a lot of people might have. I felt a serpent like being in front of me and slithering back and forth. It wasn’t scary. To me, when I hear “serpent” or anything snake-like I associate that as a negative (maybe just a fear of snakes). Anyway, I’m just saying I felt a spirit presence and it was in the form of a serpent. Rather Mother Ayahuasca was in the form of a serpent. As for the massage — that was within my body. I didn’t feel like this serpent was giving me a massage. The serpent presence never actually touched my body. If you go back and read how I explained breath work and the vibrations — that is exactly how this “massage” felt but only better!
Although I saw nothing, I felt her.
Meanwhile, the music and the vibrations from the drums made the rest of my body feel like I was floating. I had this feeling and understanding of how whales communicate with each other underwater. I was in my journey and I wanted Mother Aya to show me everything. She continued to give me this massage as a meaning of a traumatic near death experience surfaced.
FACING A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
When I was 23 I thought it would be cool to Stand Up Paddle Board under the Golden Gate Bridge to get a cool picture. I got the pic, but that’s besides the point. By the time I paddled under the bridge the swell had gotten really intense. I had to get in a deep knee bent athletic position to just not fall of my board. Next thing you know I saw several dorsal fins. I immediately thought that they were great white sharks. Three of them circling me within inches of my board. I closed my eyes, bent my knees further and told myself they were dolphins. My exact memory after that is fuzzy, which is often the case from traumatic experiences. But, I do remember opening my eyes at some point and they were gone (and we eventually made it back to shore safely).
This memory came at the distinct time I was feeling a spiritual connection to whales and the ocean. I felt like it was Mother Aya telling me that they sharks felt my energy and my soul and let me be because they knew it wasn’t my time. A couple other near death experiences surfaced and all of this gave me more belief in my life’s calling to inspire others. AND THIS WAS JUST THE BEGINNING — all during my massage.
TRUTHS: Phase 3
The next phase was as painful as it was beautiful. Mother Aya helped me address so many hidden truths about why I’ve felt so empty. Some with friendships that have soured for petty reasons or otherwise unknown. Many having to do with my ex girlfriend and coming to the realization that we will need to completely start over to make it work.
Most of all what I finally understood is that everything happens for a reason exactly when it’s supposed to happen.
So many examples of timing that was too convenient to understand came rushing in. I started to understand that energy is everything and that we are all interconnected through our energy. The belief in just surrendering overcame me with not only surrendering to this journey Mother Aya was taking me on but surrendering to time. I realized that I am always trying to force situations and make things happen on my timeline. I am not in control. You are not in control.
None of us are in control. I finally understand that everything will align just when it’s supposed to and that the more I try to control and force anything to happen quicker than it’s supposed to, then the more pain I will be in. Just let it happen and don’t worry. Easy to say, hard to implement.
So, I continued to have this internal conversation with Mother Aya. On one hand I thought I discovered the meaning of life and on the other I had so many questions for Mother Aya. What I noticed is that the more I asked Mother Aya questions the more she disappeared. I was by myself. She was gone like she was never there to begin with. This is when I went back to my breath. I let my thoughts become nothing — my mind was clear. Like magic, Mother Aya’s serpent like presence came back. I felt it with all my being that this is what it means to surrender. Yes, this is my journey but Mother Aya is my guide. What did I just learn? I can’t control situations. I had to surrender.
When I surrendered that is when Mother Aya came back. She took me on a wild ride of memories and lessons. Every single time I tried to stop her to explore something deeper than what she wanted to show me then she’d disappear again. This is really when it all came flooding in. The meaning of life was so clear and time slowed down for me. The most beautiful feeling of energy through love went rushing through my body and soul. I understood in this very experience that happiness starts with acceptance. Acceptance that I am not in control.
Be present with your breath, be present in the moment, appreciate what you have and live in the present second. Not what you did earlier in the day, weeks ago, years ago, what you’re doing a few hours from the present, what you’ll be doing when you get back to the office, what your life will be like over the next several years etc. Be in the present moment and appreciate the breath you inhale and exhale without consciously thinking about doing. Just be present. This became my meaning of life. Everything is about your breath because this body is just a shell for this lifetime.
I wish I remembered everything that I experienced and that I could share this all with you. However, I was extremely present during my journey and some of what I discovered is just a feeling now and the specifics are filed away somewhere in my brain that I haven’t tapped back into quite yet. What I do understand is that I, like many others, have been living on the surface. I’ve been consumed with what I’m supposed to do and living a life that is what we’re supposed to do rather than being in touch with my soul and living a life that I truly want to live.
How will this shift in consciousness change my life for the better after journeying with Ayahuasca? Well, for that answer and more stay tuned for the final blog post in this 5 part series. The truth is, we all are searching for something and the sooner we let go and breathe in the present moment, the sooner we’ll find peace.
To Your Journey,
Sam AKA SwagSam