If you have not yet read part 1, you can find it here.
My second Ayahuasca ceremony was very different than my first. I mentioned in my previous post, how my first experience, working with the plant, was quite mild. The medicine came on much stronger this time. However, it still wasn’t the difficult experience that I was looking for. It was the opposite, actually. It was one of the funnest nights of my life.
I had a very strong visual experience. I continued to see different images and visions, throughout the night. The scenes in my mind kept changing. One thing that stayed consistent was that every few minutes, everything in my vision would transform into either snakes or vines, weaving in and out, in a specific pattern that I am unable to describe in words. I was mesmerized by what I was seeing and I sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the “show.”
As the shamans sang the Icaros, I could feel the medicine react to their songs. As their singing sped up, so would my visions. When an Icaros would come to a close, the visions in my mind would slow right down, almost as if they were taking a break until the next Icaros started.
I don’t know what my visions meant or if they meant anything at all. What was more impactful for me was what and how I felt during this time. For hours, I felt completely free and out of my head. I was in a place with no ego, no fears and no judgement. I did not care about what anyone else thought about me. I didn’t have a care in the world. I was completely surrendered and vulnerable. I fully accepted myself for exactly who I was in the moment.
I felt light as a feather, almost as if I was floating. I couldn’t even feel the ground beneath me. It almost felt like I was being held. I imagined I was being held in the gentle, loving embrace of Ayahuasca. During this time, I could physically feel that something was working on opening my heart. I took the lesson I learned during the first ceremony, and had a big smile on my face the entire time. I actually found myself fighting back laughter at times because I was feeling so good and having so much fun.
By the time the ceremony came to a close, I was sobered up, so I returned to my room. I thought that my Ayahuasca experience was over for the night, but once I got back to my room, the medicine hit me again, harder than ever before. I guess Mother Ayahuasca wasn’t done with me yet. Hence, I didn’t get much sleep that night.
This was a big night for me because Ayahuasca showed me what it feels like to live with complete social freedom; To live with no fears and no worries. It let me experience what it feels like when I stop caring about what anyone thinks about me. I saw what life can be like, when I let go of my ego and allow myself to be myself. I learned that when I live this way, all I feel is happiness and bliss.
When I woke up in the morning, this feeling slowly faded away. However, the important thing was that I experienced it and I remembered what it felt like. I now know what complete social freedom feels like and it is something that I am willing to fight for. It’s much easier to go through the pain of working towards a challenging goal, when we know exactly what it feels like to achieve it.
Again, there was no struggle and again, I did not purge. I remember thinking that the reason Ayahuasca was showing me a good time, was because it wanted me to stop focusing on facing my darkness and start embracing my light.
The day after the ceremony, we went to visit a local indigenous tribe. They shared their tribal dances and songs with us and then invited us to join in. At one point a little girl came, grabbed my hand and invited me to join the dance.
This was a chance for me to practice what I had been learning. Usually, when I dance I am very self consciousness and therefore, uncomfortable. That day, I was able to practice smiling and enjoying myself, without worrying about if other people were judging me.
A lot of my learning, came to me outside of the actual Ayahuasca ceremonies. After each ceremony, there was a sharing circle, where we all had a chance to share our experiences with the group. A lot of people really opened up at the second sharing circle. Listening to others share, I was able to not only understand my experience better, but I got several insights that didn’t even relate to anything I had gone through, while working with the medicine.
Watching other people be completely vulnerable, I realized that I trust people a lot more when they open up and are willing to be vulnerable. To take it further, I could even relate this to trusting myself. It wasn’t until I started to open up, that I started to trust myself. Growing up, I didn’t trust myself to keep my word or to make the right decisions.
Furthermore, because I never opened up to anyone, I didn’t know what it felt like to trust someone with something personal. Therefore, I didn’t respect when other people trusted me with secrets or private information. Which led to me to breaking other peoples trust and in doing so, breaking my trust in myself as well.
Listening to the personal stories of others and what some people had been through also helped me put my own life into perspective. I realized that my life, growing up, wasn’t so bad.
Yes, I was shy and uncomfortable in social situations. However, I had great friends and a wonderful family. I always had access to as much food and water as I wanted. I’ve never had to worry about money, for even a day in my life. I grew up in a nice home, in a safe neighbourhood. We took family vacations every year. I was provided with an education and I had the opportunity to play any sport I wanted. I have a lot to be grateful for.
And the struggles that I did go through, played a huge part in allowing me to grow and improve as a person, the way I have. I wrote a previous post called, Finding Gratitude In Our Flaws.
In the sharing circle, two of my new friends both shared that they had amazing experiences in the previous ceremony, both using the same simple intention. “To find unconditional self love.” This really resonated with me, so I decided to use the same intention, moving forward.
With my new intention, I entered the Maloca once again, for my third Ayahuasca ceremony. I was not given nearly as much medicine to drink this time, but I trusted that the Shaman’s knew what they were doing. I was very relaxed as I sat down to wait for the medicine to kick in.
This ceremony was much more mild than even my first one. I had some visuals, but nothing memorable. I seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. I think I stayed awake, but I was on the brink of falling asleep the entire time. I was quite bored throughout the ceremony, waiting for something to happen. For the last hour, I was quite sober and basically waiting for the ceremony to end, so I could get up and go to my room.
Although not a whole lot happened, I learned a lot from this experience. I woke up disappointed and a bit worried. There was only one ceremony left and I still had not had my “Big Ayahuasca experience.” I still had not experienced anything like what I expected working with Ayahuasca would be like.
Then I had a big ah-ha moment. I realized that my expectations were preventing me from enjoying myself fully and hindering my ability to learn from the medicine. If I had come into the retreat with no expectations, I’m sure I would have been having a great time. I was letting the external experiences of what happened during each ceremony affect my mood.
Again, everything is all a matter of perspective. I’m sure that many other people would have been thrilled to have had easy, fun ceremonies. There were actually people who shared similar experiences to mine, and whom saw them in a positive way. Every day I heard people talk about how they hoped that they didn’t have another difficult, dark experience.
The difference was that I was comparing my experiences to my expectations. I expected that I would have to confront my traumas. I thought the medicine would bring up the two events in my life that I wanted to come face to face with, to finally deal with and find closure with; My parents divorce and the passing of my step brothers. I had expected a deep, difficult, internal battle. However, everything so far had been easy.
Just as my expectations were hurting me, in taking full advantage of this retreat, my expectations have been hurting me in every area of my life, my entire life. I started to see how every time I have ever been hurt, disappointed, or unhappy, it’s been because of my own expectations.
The reason I was hurt as a child when my parents separated is because I expected them to stay together. I struggled to enjoy social situations in high school because I expected everyone to like me. I have been frustration way too often because I expected other people to see things the same way that I do.
The times that I can remember being upset with other people, it’s usually been because they did not live up to an expectation. Most importantly, I was never able to love and accept myself because of the unrealistic expectations I placed on myself and because of this I could never truly be myself.
After having this epiphany, I wrote in my journal, “Even if I don’t fix everything that I expected to work on this week, I am fine with that. I have a great life. I love my life and I am starting to love myself as well.”
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