Category Archives: Colombia south america

Ayahuasca in Colombia – A story about my Spiritual Retreat and Enlightenment

I’m at cheshire coffee. I got here about forty minutes ago intending to finally write about my trip to Colombia. But instead of writing, I texted people. I read emails and surfed the net. I found an article about heart attacks in women (number one killer) that I HAD to read, I had no choice really – can’t mess with heart attacks. We all must be informed.

I’m still texting. I can’t stop. I have ADHD.

I wanted to write about my trip for the longest time, but found myself in a whirlwind of activity when I landed back in the states. Not all of it fun.

A huge reason why I chose to do drugs in Colombia was to get away from my thoughts and the people who let me down. But when I returned home from Colombia, I was forced to see these people and relive my old hurt feelings all over again. The repairs I made in Colombia started to unravel. My insights and understanding slowly diminished. Poor me, right? Eh, I’ll live.

I met a lot of new travel companions while I was away, had the time of my life and experienced excellent insights. I even reached enlightenment. I’m hoping this post will bring me back to that blissful state of mind and help repair the unraveled threads. Hopefully this post will bring me back to Colombia.

Now without further ado, let’s turn to the first page of my travel journal and dig in, shall we?

Day One

August 3, 2012

The journey to Colombia was an adventure all in itself. It started at 7 pm August 2nd when I found out my ride to the shuttle bus cancelled on me last minute.

Matt – “I’m sorry but I can’t bring you. I don’t want to take part in any of this trip. It’s a stupid idea and I don’t want you going. I’m not being responsible for bringing you because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life blaming myself if something happens to you.”

Me – “Okay, that’s fine.”

I was irritated.

I booked a shuttle to take me to LaGuardia airport through CT Limo. It was scheduled to pick me up in Southington – very close to home and easy enough for anyone to drop me. It was the first irritation to a relatively long journey.

I found another ride from a good friend, but my anxiety did not cease. I had to deal with an even bigger dilemma than Matt. I had to deal with an ex-friend who was fixated on telling my parents where I was going. She went and worried my poor older brother about the dangers I’ll be facing, and now she was off to tell my parents. I felt like a little kid getting ratted on. It was a huge anxiety trigger to say the least. She was ruining my trip before it began.

I spent about three or four hours (possibly more) texting, no, begging her to “please don’t do this” but it was no use. I was sweating at that point, completely exhausted and my body was so infested with anxiety that I couldn’t stop shaking. This is partly why I’m not friends with her anymore – she has no empathy or compassion towards me, but still reads my god-damned blog goddammit.

The friend who brought me to the shuttle bus had a few beers in his car – thankfully. I chugged one and smoked a cigarette before the shuttle came striding in at 2 am. I hugged my buddy goodbye, wondering if he’d be the last friend I’ll ever see again. And if he was, I made a good choice being it was him.

The beer settled my nerves somewhat, but what really gave me hope was the girl who shared the shuttle with me. It’s pure coincidence, sheer luck that my friend Kali shared that lonesome shuttle with me at 2 am. She was hitching a ride to JFK. What are the chances? I mean, seriously?

So there I was, deathly afraid for my life, sitting in the cold air-conditioned shuttle next to Kali. I was well on my way to the Amazon jungle to experience exotic drugs all by myself. It was the first trip I ever taken alone. My fears being reinforced by Matt’s judgments, compounded with my ex-friends threats, the thought of riding the death wave of ayahuasca. And to top it off, I had a weighted feeling in my chest that my parents were going to drop dead if they found out where their sheltered, naive daughter was.

Sheer exhaustion ensued. Every cell of my being honeycombed with adrenaline. But there was Kali. Sweet, sweet Kali smiling at me and being stoked for my journey. I wondered if God planned for her to be there. The odds of her being there are practically astronomical.

It was a long, dark 2 hour ride to the airport. I was texting my ex-friend back and forth. She couldn’t allow me peace of mind. All I wanted was peace of mind – for the knot in my brain to release.

It didn’t happen until I was out of the shuttle and standing outside the airport at my gate. I was standing outside the door to Spirit airlines letting the lights of Laguardia brighten me up. With my backpack nestled on my shoulders and a newly lit cigarette in hand, I looked around at the twinkling stars and cars coming and going, dropping off and picking up travelers, my heart lifted.

I saw myself as a brave girl – brave and willing to better herself against all odds. I was doing something that I dreamed of doing since I was a kid. I used to pretend I was an adventurer like Indiana Jones. I pictured myself wearing his hat, having mad skills with a whip, but I also imagined carrying around a backpack with a collage of patches sewed into it from all around the world. I was a weird kid, but there I was, outside Laguardia. I had the backpack with one patch already sewn in place. All I needed now was the hat and whip.

I filled my lungs one last time with the fresh night air and the smoke of my American Spirit and headed inside.

The first plane taken me to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was relatively uneventful. My seatmates were Colombian and told me if I needed anything when I got there, don’t hesitate to call. They were ridiculously nice people. My second plane ride, the one to Armenia, was less enjoyable. My flight from Laguardia was delayed, so I only had 10 minutes (not even) between flights to go to the bathroom, brush my teeth and call my parents to inform them I landed safely in Florida.

My parents believed that I was going to Florida to visit a friend. If I neglected to call them, they would’ve called my ex-friend, found out the truth of my destination and drop dead with the receiver still clutched in their old white hands. Well, I forgot to call them. It wasn’t so much as forgetting, but I was so tired, stressed, and rushing to my gate that it completely slipped my mind.

I finally remembered when I was seated in the plane. Everyone was seated and ready to take off – the flight attendant impatiently telling people to turn off their cells. That’s when I drenched my shirt with sweat and dialed home with shaky fingers. It was the one and only time I could call them – If I called them from Colombia, the number that would’ve shown up on the caller I.D, along with the phone charges, would’ve blown my cover.

My Dad answered and I told him I landed safely.

Dad – “Oh okay good. Thanks for calling.”

Me – “You’re welcome. I’ll probably email you the rest of the week. I want to keep my phone off.”

Dad – “Here, your mother wants to talk to you.”

I could feel the burn of eyes on me from the flight attendant – my face covered in oil and grime.

Me – “Okay quickly.”

Any minute the pilot would come on the speaker and blow my cover. Any minute the flight attendant was going to come over and confiscate my phone.

Mom – “Hi sweetie you made it there okay?”

Me – “Yes mom I’m here and I’m safe. I made it, it was fine. I really have to go cause they don’t like cell phone use at airports.”

Mom – “Okay call us later then.”

Me – “No mom I can’t. I already told Dad I want to leave my phone off. I’ll email you.”

Mom – “It’s hot there isn’t it? What are you going to do there? Where are you going? Why would you visit Florida in the summer?”

Me – “I’m in Fort Lauderdale, yes it’s hot. I really have to go I’m sorta in a rush.”

When I got off the phone with her, I was so relieved. I took in a big sigh and tried to relax.

Fatigue settled in and I couldn’t fall asleep on the plane due to anxiety and screaming children. All I could do was think. I thought for a long time about the actions, the steps that accumulated over time to get me there to that moment. I ruminated on the process that got me to go to Colombia. I was sitting on a plane taking me to only god-knows-where, how did I get here? How’d it come to this?

I started thinking about, in fine detail, the Nepal abandonment. I had five hours to kill, so why not? Deliberating about what happened in Nepal felt like gravity to my mind – it wanted to go there, it followed the current. After cogitating Nepal, I relived the events that conspired after when I returned home. I felt abandoned and shamed all over again. For the entire plane ride to Armenia, my eyes became bloodshot and filled with tears. My chin quivering, my heart physically doing weird things in my chest and breathing became difficult and felt like a chore – I had to tell myself to breathe or I’d forget.

I couldn’t move. I sat there ignoring everything around me. I sat with my head butted up against the seat in front of me and closed my eyes. I felt sorry for myself. I pitied myself. It was the lowest I felt in a long time. I literally wanted to cry, but held it in. Holding in an eyeful of tears brings with it no release. I was a mess, a complete destitute mess. And it lasted for five hours.

The plane landed, the people applauded. I got up, got my things and like a zombie, went through customs.

I slowly walked outside the airport gates and looked around at the brightness of the day and the new terrain. It was my first time in South America – the newness of the experience helped deaden my sadness and I was able to take in a deep, well-needed breath. That’s when I heard my name.

A pretty blonde girl was looking straight at me smiling.

“Yeah that’s me. Hi!” I forced a smile.

She gave me a hug and several others greeted me with hugs. And with that moment I was happy again. I was happy and relieved.

We all piled into a spacious bus and headed to Los Sauces, our new home for the next week. The self-pitying emotions I felt on the plane ride completely vanished. I stared out the window of the bus and snapped some photos. I was pleased to see very little trash on the ground and no ramshackle housing. Everything was quaint and colorful with a luminous mountain backdrop reflecting the sun in a picturesque design.

Okay so some of the houses were dilapidated wrecks…

I was finally there. And I felt safe and immediately cared for.

I met my two roommates who were also single women traveling alone. They’re seekers of change and adventure, real soul-searchers like me. I instantly loved them both.

We unloaded into our appointed bungalow and made ourselves at home.

The girls let me take the top room which was a single room with its’ very own patio. I was in heaven. I unpacked my things and let myself relax for the first time in 31 hours. I spread out my arms and legs, stretching and yawning like crazy on top of the mattress.

I opened up my journal and wrote:

I’ve been up for 31 hours. I’m finally here. I’m having trouble comprehending it, but I’m here in Colombia. I’m so tired. This feels surreal, like a dream. Like it’s not really happening. I’m in a single room upstairs in a simple bungalow. I have my own patio. I love my roommates. One of my roommates is outside my room sitting on the patio and writing in her journal. I can’t decide if I want to write or sleep – write, I must write.

Ralph, one of the trips organizers, said that; “Ayahuasca is like cave diving. With cave diving, you descend fast and swallow a lot of CO2. Some people panic because they can’t breathe. You have to surrender yourself to it. You have to trust you’ll be okay. If you surrender and trust ayahuasca, she will take care of you. The visions that come with it are a gift. It’s like the movie Avatar, being plugged into nature. There’s nothing else like it.”

A few minutes later I hear him say, “yeah, I shit my pants once. It happens.”

Nicole, my roommate, asks – “How much ayahuasca should I drink?”

Ralph – “The shaman knows how much you drink. He’s amazing when it comes to dosages. But if you have any questions or concerns, you can ask him. He’s very good at answering questions and honoring your concerns.”

They have goats here. They sound human, like zombies, or deaf people trying to get people’s attention. I hear them but can’t see them. I’ve never heard goats like these before.

The ayahuasca is the scariest thing right now. We are taking it tomorrow night at 9:30 and at 5 am, people get hungry so soup is made.

Day one was filled with introductions, a late lunch and delicious dinner. The dining area was nothing more than an outdoor kitchen with a roof overhead. It was decorated with antiques, and had a welcoming homey feel to it. I thought it was the best thing ever.

Day Two

August 4, 2012

It rained heavily the night before on my little tin roof. It rained and thundered like you couldn’t believe. The thunder cracked so loud that the trail of rumbling lasted for over a minute. I never heard a storm like that before. Constant rumblings. It felt like the rain would never end – the ground and everything (including me) will always be wet. The thunder kept waking me up intermittently throughout the night.

The first time I woke up from the thunder, I forgot where I was. When I remembered, I became scared and homesick. I fell back to sleep exhausted and dreamt about swallowing ayahuasca. In my ayahuasca dream, I felt the effects of aya. A pounding heart and ominous fear – a fear not directed at anything specific. It was more along the lines of terror – terror in its purest form. I woke up with my heart pounding, my eyes were open but couldn’t adjust to anything.

“So this is what it feels like. This is what I’m in store for. I can’t do it. I’m not going to do it.”

The fog lifted and the fear subsided. I fell back to sleep and dreamt about swallowing ayahuasca again, a second time. In that dream, the effects were subtle – slightly pleasant even. I woke up and decided to do it after all. Dreaming about ayahuasca felt like preparation. If I were to succumb to pure terror, I will laugh at it, grin in its face and call out, “Is that the best you can do!?”

I was lying in bed still exhausted from the flight, weakened from weird interrupted sleep. Outside was cold and damp, but I needed to peel the covers off and shower. I haven’t showered in two days. At 10 am, we were to meet at the Maloca (an ancestral long house used for ceremonies by natives of the Amazon) and have an introduction ceremony.

After my shower, I hung out with my roommate on the patio. We are on the same wavelength her and I. We could talk for hours and hours about the weirdest stuff that mostly anybody would not have a clue. We are both Monkeys in the Chinese zodiac and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better roommate. I garnered so much strength from her. She is no doubt a kindred spirit.

We headed down to the Maloca for our first introductory powwow. Ralph sat us all in a circle and one by one we went around and told a little bit about ourselves.

Me – “Hi I’m Melanie. This is the first time for me doing anything like this. My parents don’t know I’m here. They’re religious and kinda like rednecks. They don’t travel and would have a very hard time understanding all this. They think I’m in Florida. Originally I wanted to go to Arizona for a road trip, but somehow ended up here.”

This made everyone laugh. It was essentially the same remark I made in Nepal: “Originally I wanted to go to Thailand, but found myself here in the Himalayas instead.” It was the remark that marked me for dead. K was out to get me after I said that. But not these people. They cracked up.

I decided a while ago to surrender myself to the idea that I really don’t have a clue when it comes to others.

Me – “I typed in the google search engine “Ayahuasca retreat Arizona” and got the website for here. That same night I decided to do it. I contacted Peter and a month later, here I am. I’m very nervous about taking ayahuasca. I never did any kind of drug before besides pot, so this is new for me. Also I have a lot of weird things happen to me in my sleep like out of body experiences and my dead grandmother coming to visit me, so I’m sensitive to things like this. I’m curious to see what happens. Okay, that’s it.”

Them – “Wow, you’re really brave to be here.”

Me – “Well, we’re all here. We’re all brave.”

I started blushing and getting nervous. They kept saying how brave I was for being there, but I couldn’t understand why they were saying it. We were all there together – them being no different from me. I was the second youngest person there, maybe that’s why. A man, Simon, brought his 19-year-old daughter with him. Besides her, I was considered a youngin’.

Everyone, well, mostly everyone there were completely normal people. A few had their quirks, but they were sensitive, loving folks seeking answers and enlightenment.

This one woman in particular stood out. She lost her twin sister in a freak accident a few years ago and because of it, became extremely lonely and depressed. She sought out mediums to reconnect her with her sister – she ingested ayahuasca to connect to the spirit world so she can see her sister again. The woman is such a character. She can talk for hours at a time and none of its boring. She talked about her only friends being ducks and turtles – naming them and getting to know their personalities. Her voice changed into a little girls voice when talking about her “friends”. My heart went out to her.

She is such an interesting woman with an amazing story, that she is starring in her very own episode on the Biography channel. It’s going to air September 1st at 10 pm. A camera crew followed her around for weeks. The story she told was amazing, but I won’t get into it here, you’ll have to watch her on the Biography channel.

After the Maloca, a few of us headed outside Los Sauces to scope out the little town of Finlandia – population 7,000.

It was relatively early when we got there, but the natives were already sitting down on outside benches gossiping and drinking beer. It was my kind of place. I, however, wasn’t allowed alcohol, so I had to settle for a coffee. I was in Colombia after all, I had to take advantage of either coke or coffee – both being equally addictive.

Dave informed me that on a bad hallucinogen trip, you can counteract the effects by downing a sugar packet – I stuffed one in my bra for safe keeping.

Angela trying to get the local men to dance with her.

Gas is expensive in Colombia. Everyone drives motorcycles.

Moo.

When I pictured what Colombian men were like, I visualized a trim man with khaki pants, tasseled shoe’s, fancy silk shirt and a wide-brimmed hat. I wasn’t expecting to see them asleep on a bench during the day.

The time was nearing. It was almost ayahuasca time. My fear returned and I became a jittery nervous wreck no thanks to the coffee.

We were not given any dinner because it would come back up on us. Ayahuasca makes you puke, but they call it purging. The purge is meant to cleanse you of emotional and physical trauma. I felt that I would have much to purge.

Me and my roommates grabbed our headlamps, jackets, hats and whatever else we needed. Nicole, my roommate, gave Cheryl and I stones shaped like hearts she found in Los Sauces. I was to keep it as my totem – something to keep me grounded and feel safe. I know how silly it sounds for a rock to keep me safe, but it was my teddy bear away from home. It was all I had. I was frightened.

We tromped down to the Maloca to meet with everyone.

Mats were laid out with blankets and pillows on top of them. I situated myself next to my roommates. I didn’t want to stray away from them. They made me feel safe. I was in frightened little girl mode at that point.

It started getting dark. The ceremony was underway. After the initial introduction, the shaman started to make his blessings and do his chants. He blessed the ayahuasca – which looked to be a gross, thick brown liquid. One of the natives went around to each of us, smudging us with incense. Everyone was quiet. It started to rain and thunder. It was dark. The maloca was lit up by a few candles. I clutched my headlamp. One of my fears being the dark.

Then it was time. One by one we went up to drink. We went up and kneeled in front of the shaman. The shaman carefully measured out the amount of ayahuasca we were to drink – pouring some back in the container, pouring a tad more into the cup. We were all to drink from the same small cup.

It was then my turn. The shaman attentively measured out my dosage, blessed it one last time before handing it to me. I downed it all in one gulp. He had me drink some blessed water before I returned back to my mat.

Me – “Gracias.”

He gave me a genuine smile – the man was truly a loving individual. He radiated warmth.

I laid down and waited. I looked up to the center of the maloca and waited.

The drumming began. Drumming and more chanting. It seemed like an hour went by before I felt any different. My biggest concern was seeing visions – I didn’t want to see them. I felt I didn’t need to. I accepted the fact I was going to puke. I don’t mind puking, it doesn’t bother me, but some people shit instead. The shit can come on so strong and violently that some people go in their pants. Shitting her pants was my roommates biggest concern.

This one woman, Maggie, wore depends. It was her fourth time attending the spiritual retreat and every time she shits. She never pukes. She was hoping to puke this time around.

I became worried about purging right away – minutes after drinking. When I started to hear others running to the vomitorium or to the bathroom, I relaxed and felt better thinking that I’m a trooper and can hold my liquor (medicine). I didn’t feel sick at all actually, but my mind started going. I started thinking. During this thinking period, I was still coherent – I was myself, thinking the same thoughts as I normally do, only fragmented with very little remembrance. I was very spacey.

I went outside the maloca to sit by the fire with some others, and pulled out a cigarette. I let it dangle from my lips forgetting it was there. People ran past me to the edge of the cliff (the vomitorium) to puke, and I would get jealous of them. Purging meant the ayahuasca was working and cleansing them. After purging, they will experience a deeper level of the medicine.

Nobody was talking, it was all very quiet. Only the drums and chanting could be heard and the occasional retching or toilet escapade.

This is the vomitorium. It’s directly in back of the maloca – a few feet away from the back entrance and next to the fire pit which I gazed at for hours.

The Ayahuasca kicked in for many people. They were lying down, flapping their arms around, some sitting cross-legged with their eyes closed. People made sounds, not bad or good, just sounds. Some slowly walked around, circling inside the maloca with their blankets covering their heads. I sat outside by the fire and waited.

People started talking to each other. They were coherent, but not in the real world – I was envious. I wanted to be where they were. I stood up and walked toward the entrance of the maloca and peered inside. The shaman spotted me and whispered something into his translators’ ear. After listening to the shaman, she walked over to me.

Translator (Catalina) – “Can I get you anything?”

I was hesitant – “You mean more ayahuasca?”

Catalina – “If you’re wondering if you should have more, than you should have more.”

She’s such a warm, good spirit. I sensed a lot of love in her. She could talk me into anything,

Me – “Okay.”

And so I drank myself another cup.

I drank myself another cup and went back over to the fire to sit. I sat there for what seemed like thirty minutes. My thoughts became less scattered and more compact, less fragmented and more felt than before. It was not an unpleasant feeling, but not altogether wonderful either. I still hadn’t purged.

I was sitting by myself next to the fire. Now and then one of the natives would come over to throw another log on, and then smudge me with more incense. With each smudge of incense, I felt heat rising inside of me and felt myself going deeper – deeper into a place I never knew existed.

Once again I found myself thinking about what happened to me in Nepal – how I didn’t deserve to be treated badly – how my best friend, after returning home, told me I deserved it – that I frustrated and annoyed everyone and I needed to apologize. I needed to take responsibility for my actions and apologize. My eyes filled with tears as I stared dazed into the fire with my cigarette dangling. I didn’t deserve it. No, I didn’t deserve it.

That’s when I felt the vile contents rise in my throat – my self pity wanted out – wanted to purge and cleanse. I ran the few feet to the vomitorium and let it rip. I surrendered to it, I surrendered myself completely to ayahuasca and understood for the first time what that meant – it meant letting go. I cried and I retched violently for about 30 seconds. When I was done, I raised my head to look into the dark, foreboding jungle. My eyes saw bright flourescent green strands connecting the tree’s to each other. Like each branch had some kind of bioluminescent quality. I blinked, blinked again – mouth hanging open, chin dripping with bile.

Me – “Whoa. Is this….is this ayahuasca? Is she showing herself to me?”

I decided it was my eyes playing tricks on me and went back to sit by the fire. To this day, I still think it was my eyes playing tricks on me, but I don’t want that fact to downplay my ayahuasca experience. What happened to me next was profoundly spiritual and meaningful.

It was personal – extremely personal. And for me to write about it knowing that I’ll get ridiculed, judged and talked down to by others saying it was a crazy trip no different from acid, I can’t help but feel offended. It’s disrespectful to me, the shaman, the Lakota indian tribe and many others who benefitted from this medicine.

The people who never ingested ayahuasca, will never understand it. Its origins are unknown. It is said that nature told a shaman thousands of years ago what two plants to mix together and how to prepare it in a certain fashion. Out of the millions of plants, leaves, roots and petals to play around with infinite mixtures and possibilities, the shaman story seems more plausible compared to dumb luck. Some records talk about shamans being able to communicate with the plants. The plants tell the medicine men what cures what.

After taking ayahuasca, I’m a believer.

Granted, I never did acid so I can’t compare the two, but I truly did feel connected to the spirit world. That I had access to its infinite knowledge – that I was special and powerful. I felt in control and had complete power over everything in my life. I will try to describe what I felt as best I can.

Calmness soothed my nerves and pricked at my awareness taste buds. My mind became clear, and I was curious about everything. My thoughts slowed and became controlled. I went to sit back inside the maloca and listen to the drumming and write a little in my journal. I felt clarity – I felt light.

People under aya acquire the unusual ability to leave their bodies – to have astral travels to different worlds. I’m a natural when it comes to this. I experienced flight, wormholes and different dimensions all from the comfort of my very own bed, and please remember that I don’t do drugs – it was all natural.

People who leave their bodies often share their experiences with fellow travelers. The worlds are infinite, but people somehow end up in the same places. There’s a world with a giant pyramid, a world with eyes everywhere, a hell world which many people end up, a hall of records world…etc. Experienced travelers can meet up with one another for a shared journey.

I wondered how it’s possible to get outside my body, while at that moment, I was in my body and completely aware and coherent.

As soon as that thought flashed across my mind, I felt a pull from up above. Directly above my head were crackling sounds of electricity. It sounded like a mixture of crackling from a bug zapper mixed with the buzzing of a beehive. I felt my hair being lifted, like someone was rubbing a balloon to it. The maloca started getting hazy, dark and blurry – the drumming became farther away. I felt a string attach itself to the top of my head and started to yank.

Me – “Eh, okay, so that’s how it’s done. Okay, okay I gotcha. Think I’ll stay here for now, thanks anyway.”

The room came back into focus. I was in the maloca again, completely – I didn’t realize I was halfway out until I came all the way back in.

In that moment, I hit enlightenment. The buzzing and whirring, which I contrived as being the sound of rain hitting the roof (please remember that I was able to rationalize and think clearly about everything I was experiencing), diminished. I felt the weight of my body return. This experience alone was worth the trip to Colombia. That experience in itself, was worth double for what I paid, no, not double, priceless.

So there I was sitting cross-legged on my mat, my journal spread open resting on my lap, and I was in complete amazement of what just happened. I looked around at everybody.

“Nobody know’s. They don’t realize. There are so many possibilities….”

Then and there I understood everything. The meaning of life, what happens when we die, where we go after death – I understood evil and hell, religion, people, myself, god – EVERYTHING. I also felt that I was lucky. I was lucky to experience something that not a whole lot of people can experience. I couldn’t understand why me? Why am I so special? I said it in a humble, non-egotistical way. I really wanted to know. Why was I surrounded by holy white light when I was 18? Why did my grandmother take me out of my body on an astral visit when I was 9? Why does my soul want to leave my body most every night? And why this? Why was I brought here to Colombia? What am I supposed to do with this knowledge?

It was a lot to think about. Good thing I had 10 hours to do it in. I actually thought to myself, “No wonder why this stuff lasts all night – there’s so many questions to ask. I hope 10 hours gives me enough time.”

The second cup of ayahuasca sent me into the other world. It felt as if I walked through a doorway, and the purge was a necessary evil – a shedding of the physical and emotional attributes keeping me in the real world. Crossing over is not easy. It can be violent and scary. To purge yourself is surrendering. Purging is like death in a way. One last thing the body has to go through before crossing over into the spirit world.

I understood that not everyone understands this – even those who take ayahuasca, may not reach this understanding – they may not even reach enlightenment. Hence the question, why me?

I looked up with tearful, glassy eyes and said to myself out loud – “Because I know suffering.”

At least, that’s what Aya told me. But still, not enough to understand deeper. There are many layers.

Before drinking ayahuasca, some believe that you should have a question already formed in your mind. A question that aya can help you with. When the shaman passed the cup to me, I held it in my hands and raised it to my forehead. With my eyes closed, I asked the question “show me everything you know ayahuasca. I want to understand everything.” And then I drank. This may have contributed to my experience. Everyone’s experience is different, yet some connect – which is bizarre, and I’ll get into that later.

My eyes felt black with no pupils. The world looked and felt different – like I was in a small room with no sound, no doors or windows, but at the same time feeling the expanse of infinite universe. I knew I was standing just inside this doorway of all-knowing. I knew that I could go deeper. Walk the few yards to meet with souls unborn, worlds that aren’t materialized – I knew I could take that leap and meet my past and future selves. But I was too scared to go further. I could feel all the layers of consciousness. Each layer you walk through becomes a new wave of enlightenment – but then another layer stops you, blocking your path. Courage is the key to going deeper.

I was content with the first layer I found myself in. They call this the break-through layer – the layer of understanding. It all starts with this layer.

I had all the answers to all my questions. I saw the universe for what it really was. I reached enlightenment and couldn’t imagine what it could mean to go deeper. I never knew what it meant for someone to be enlightened. I never googled it, or read books that described what it is exactly. If I did, I either can’t remember them, or never understood them to begin with. I never knew what it meant to be enlightened until it happened to me.

To be enlightened is to have understanding of reality. Pure and simple.

Okay, so it’s a little hard to explain, but while I was experiencing it, it seemed so simple – too simple – like it was all common knowledge. My thinking brain switched off and I was getting answers from somewhere else. I was intuiting answers.

I’ve been staring at this screen for five minutes now. Sweating in my shorts while my laptop pumps out heat to scorch my thighs, and I cannot – no matter how hard I try – I cannot find the words to describe enlightenment.

It’s like understanding a place, a physical place that you can see and touch. And that place is the universe. It’s the ability to see and understand the universe completely. Enlightenment is the ability to see the facts of reality unencumbered with ego. Ego is fantasy – It’s illusion.

It’s as much a physical understanding as it is spiritual. Enlightenment is the connection between the physical and the non-physical. Enlightenment is free of all delusions. Free of physical form. As long as you’re in physical form, grounded in the world you live in, you can never be enlightened. Enlightenment is death. It’s understanding physical from spirit.

The best analogy I can come up with is with Magic Eye art.

You cross your eyes until the images on the left, match up with what’s on the right. You combine the two (spirit and physical) and what follows is a new dimension. But the dimension was there all along – you just had to combine two things to see it.

I wrote in my journal:

1 +1 = 3

It combines into another dimension. It becomes raised as in 3D.

I know it all sounds crazy, but I know no other way of putting it.

The spirit world of Ayahuasca felt more real to me than the world we all live in. I was outside looking in. I was no longer of the material world and so, was able to be a voyeur looking in at it.

I was spying the world with my black aya eyes. And what I saw was a fantasy. The world we live in, is a fantasy. It’s meant to create suffering – everyone must suffer in this world in order to evolve. We create our own problems, emotions are delusions meant to toughen us – they are not real. When stating an emotion, you start with saying “I feel.” In spirit form, there is no “I.” Where there is no “I”, there is no ego and where there is no ego, there is pure understanding of reality. And that reality is beautiful.

Losing the ego is a very hard thing to do without the help of Aya. But in order for us to evolve, the ego must exist. It’s essential for growth.

We are spirit in our natural form. Having a body is not our natural form. Outside this world, when we die, is the true reality. Having that knowledge is enlightenment.

Those living on the superficial fringe of understanding, buying name brands, watching reality tv – running from one quick fix to the next – those people are running from the suffering. They’re not strong enough for it. They want no part in anything that has meaning. Things that have meaning can bring about suffering. Work is suffering. Growth is suffering. You have to purge your old self each time you go through a new layer of awareness. Purging is suffering. Loss is suffering.

Somewhere down the line, someone figured out that one must suffer to gain awareness.

I understood buddhist meditation. Monks work towards enlightenment by suffering through self-discipline. They can spend many years in meditation, in solitude, suffering their bodies through fasting. All in the hopes of gaining one small glimpse at enlightenment. However, after listening to Aya, all that sitting around meditating is not necessary – that is also part of the ego illusion world. At its best, meditation can still the mind, but enlightenment is something totally different.

I intuited that all beliefs whether they be religious, buddhist, or scientific have nothing to do with reality. Organized religions, while I was in the enlightened state, were laughable. I don’t mean any disrespect by that, but they were laughable.

I understood why some religions practice self-flagellation or mortification of the flesh in hopes to cleanse themselves through suffering and become closer to God. Suffering does raise you closer to God as long as the ego is absent. Anything ego driven is based on illusion.

I perceived there to be no literal truth behind religious texts, but some of the symbolism is strong in the spirit world. There is light and there is darkness, there is a hell you can go to. Jesus may not have been a real man, but what he represents is real. People exist in the world today who die for others sins. They are the strong ones, the martyr’s, the teachers. People purge their hatred onto martyrs so that one day the people can see, learn and grow. The shared goal in the spirit world is to evolve. Why that is? I don’t know.

Religion was never meant to be taken so far and used inappropriately like it was. It has become an ego-based illusion.

There is a hell world you can go to – it’s a place, the easiest place to get to in the spirit realm. It has the most amount of gravitational pull than any other world. There is a hell, but there is no evil there. The evil that we learned about does not exist in the spirit world. But what does exist is fear. Fear is devoid of light. It’s a heavy darkness. It’s the opposite of understanding – opposite of enlightenment. The only evil in the universe is fear itself.

I’m very sensitive to people’s energy. When I feel a negative vibe from someone, I can feel my energy being sucked away from me. I feel miserable and don’t understand why. I get agitated and crabby.

When a strong, light spirit tries to help a dark, heavy spirit, there is a chance the dark gravitational pull will force the light spirit down with them. Especially if the dark spirit refuses help.

The way to stay strong, and keep out of the dark side, is for you to suffer. It’s a double-edged sword. Suffering is the only means to gain strength. But we have a choice. We can end our suffering as long as we let go. We have to find strength to let go. We find strength – hence gaining a deeper level of awareness from the bravery it takes to go deeper.

Here are the steps for acquiring awareness:

Suffering

Strength

Courage

And another layer of consciousness unfurls

Me – “But what’s the point? Why evolve?”

Aya – “To stay strong for others on their journeys. We can only evolve together. We can only survive by helping each other.”

Me – “But why? Why does it all exist?”

Aya – “Once you have that understanding, you’ll be seeing things through the eyes of God.”

I was still only at the first layer of understanding. I had no answer for why it all exists, because I’m not ready to understand it. I haven’t suffered enough. Therefore, not brave enough.

I looked around at the others in the room. Each person being a separate entity – each on their own personal journey. That’s when I reached another understanding about people.

Positive people, cup half full kind of people, they believe that we are all somehow connected. That there is some unforeseen force connecting us all, uniting all of us. And that we are never truly alone because we are together. Um, no. Not true. Ayahuasca tells me different. Ayahuasca tells me the complete opposite, actually.

Everyone is alone. We are all alone and separate from each other. What we do and say has very little to do with the people in our lives, but is a reflection of ourselves. We are all embarking on a singular journey through life to better our souls. We, ourselves, are not connected, but our actions and beliefs unite us. Helping each other connects us in a way, but still ultimately, we are separate entities.

However, when we die, we become one with the universe.

Never expect help from anyone – never need anyone. Try to remain self-sufficient and don’t take from others. I’ve gotten a very strong apprehension to never take from others. Never to demand too much of their time, or love. Demand nothing, want nothing. When you demand nothing, want nothing, the love has a much greater return. It has movement and flow. Ego and need are the greatest dividers.

Conceiving this notion led me to a new understanding of respect. Respect for others space, respect their choices. Honor them from a distance.

Kristie taken too much from me. She asked for too much, and in a way, showed disrespect for my time and my self. Kristie needed too much. Taken more than I could to give.

I perceived this so clearly. I also perceived that the people who don’t demand anything are the strong ones. Not only are they strong, but beautiful. Inner strength is beauty. Being able to be strong and empathetic towards others is beautiful. I also understood that these beautiful people had to suffer a great deal to become strong. They rid their ego along with all judgments upon others. They are light and clear, free from the delusions that emotions can play upon the soul. When others look at them, they feel safe.

Children can have this effect on people. When children are around, laughing and smiling, it brings strength and courage to others in the vicinity. Adults feel the need to be strong, if only for the sake of their little ones. The little ones bring their parents courage, the parents return the courage with love. Parents can learn and grow from their children.

Never offer help when it’s not wanted. Offering to help a person who doesn’t want it, is condescending and disrespectful on the part of the helper. They have no right to rule over anyone. They are no better, know no better. A true helper helps at the right moment of need. When a person is reaching out. They never give more than what is necessary – always respecting the person and honoring them – no judgment is ever made.

One who “helps” others, letting the ego drive them, is patronizing and can do more harm than good. These types of helpers are not self-aware. Doctors and other people in high positions, like police and leaders, can succumb to dictating what’s best for others. Ego is not spirit. It is an illusion of the physical world and can only exist there.

Many people offer help with the intension of receiving something back. These people want to feed their ego with love and admiration. The people who accept help from these people, feel pressured to respond back with insincere gratitude.

Matt judged me and tried to rule over my decision to go to Colombia. He felt he was the authority and tried to help when help was not warranted. He was ruling with his ego and fear, not honoring my choices.

Wow it’s really late. I’m so tired. I’m going to have to pack it up for the night and continue tomorrow. This post might be just as long, if not longer than the Nepal post.

Okay so where was I? I have no clue on how to continue. Shit….

Okay, so let’s say you’re one of the unfortunates who end up in hell. Sucks to be you, right? The trick is to get rid of your fear. You can get rid of fear with love. Love thy enemy and all that jazz. To be light, you have to rise. And to rise, you have to rid all the gravity of fear. From above you can see your enemies are fearful and weak, while you are strong. You are able to truly love them. Love hell and understand its purpose. It’s meant to give you strength and wings to fly.

I understood that Ayahuasca is illegal because it awakens people. Our journey in this world is to suffer and by being awakened, we’ll lose that. You can’t overdose on Ayahuasca. It’s not harmful to the body. In present day, shamans feed their newborn babies Ayahuasca as soon as they eject from the womb. Even before they exit the womb, the shamans rub Aya into the uterus.

Anyway, I think that’s all the information I gotten from my first ayahuasca experience. It was purely awesome.

At around 4 am, a man named Will, who is a spiritual bare-footed hippie and a regular denizen to the resort, started banging a steel drum and demanding I sing. So I sang, “Eye-A-wasca, Eye-A-wasca, aya aya aya want eye-A-wasca.” I sang that for about 10 or 15 minutes. People were zoned out on their mats, some were sleeping, others sitting up listening. A lot of people already left.

At about 7 am is when I went back to my bungalow. The aya was wearing off and I needed sleep desperately. I got back to my bed, laid down and closed my eyes. It was there when I saw my vision. It was eyes. Blinking eyes staring at me. I wasn’t frightened as I thought I would be. I told them to go away, I needed to sleep, and they vanished.

Day Three

August 5, 2012

I gotten no sleep. I only shut my eyes and rested them for a few hours before getting up again. I got up and went for breakfast and to talk with everyone about their experiences.

Nobody mentioned the word Enlightenment, which surprised me, but most of them had awesome experiences.

Laura, the woman who lost her sister, she wanted so desperately to reunite with her but Aya told her no.

Laura – “Aya told me to enjoy life now and let go. I have to enjoy the gifts of this world and be happy.”

During my enlightenment, I understood that when you want something badly enough, it will never happen. It can only happen when you let go. You have to find the strength and courage to let go. I thought about Laura when I was awakened and knew she will never find her sister so long as she’s still attached to her.

I told Laura about the answers I received, and she let out a wail saying, “But I miss my sister!”

If you know Laura, you would understand what I mean when I say wail.

Me – “Next time we do Ayahuasca, you should ask Aya how to let go. If you ask her how to let go, she’ll tell you.”

Laura – “That’s a good idea. I’m going to write that one down.”

And sure enough, Laura was able to let her go. Her seven day transformation was miraculous. By day seven she was beaming with happiness.

My roommate had an out of body experience, and this other guy, Bill, was able to create new souls. Bill was able to see cosmic geometry and patterns. Aya came to him and gave him geometric patterns for him to create new life in the spirit realm. It started with a hibiscus plant, then a dragonfly, and ended with a butterfly. Each pattern becoming more and more intricate.

The crazy part is, I totally believe him!

I was sitting there listening to everyone’s stories, being amazed all over again. I couldn’t eat breakfast because I had to do Kembo later. Kembo is another thing that makes you yack. It’s not for everyone, so it’s not required or frowned upon if you don’t do it.

But mostly everyone did it – that’s why I loved the group I was in, they’re just as crazy as I am.

At 12 o’clock we headed back down to the maloca.

We scattered around the room on our mats and waited turns to get mutilated.

Will – “Okay who’s first?”

Laura – “I’ll do it.”

Laura went up and sat on the chair next to Will. She was handed a two liter pitcher of water that she had to drink right then and there. She had to drink the entire thing while Will poked her arm with a seared wooden stick 9 times (it may have been more than 9, I forgot). The pokes hurt her because she let out a loud “Ow!”

After getting poked, Anna, a Hippie chick that also practically lives at the resort, swabbed frog slime onto a wooden stick and passed it to Will. Will filled each poke with the frog slime. Yes…..Frog slime.

Laura stood up and walked over to a row of chairs lined up specifically for this event. Each person, after being slimed, is to sit in one of these chairs with a bucket in their lap. The purpose of the bucket? You guessed it, puke.

Laura sat in her chair with her bucket and waited while the next brave soul sat next to Will drinking a large pitcher of water.

It taken about 40 second for Laura to start hurling. Laura is very loud in all that she does, so when she pukes, it’s the stereotypical loud “blah, huuwaaa, uuuuhhhh.” She was unbearably boisterous. We all let out gasps.

Then the second victim got slimed, sat next to Laura with their own bucket.

Everyone watched in anticipation. It taken about a minute for the second victim was on their hands and knee’s puking in a bucket.

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that? You don’t actually stay seated while puking in your bucket. It comes out so violently and weakens your entire body to the point where you can no longer stay seated, but hunched over a bucket on your hands and knee’s – like a dog hovering over his dish. Your face becomes puffed up like a frog.

Eventually all the chairs were filled and soon enough I witnessed a bunch of people on their hands and knee’s puking simultaneously. It was the weirdest experience of my life. Nothing can possibly get any weirder than that.

Laura was rolling around on her mat, no longer puking but wailing like a baby. She rolled up a blanket and stuffed it up her shirt – I burst out laughing. It was hysterical watching this. People going limp on the floor moaning next to their buckets and watching Laura do weird things with a blanket – I couldn’t help to laugh. I’m such a weirdo, but I wasn’t the only one who thought it was funny. The natives banged their drums and chanted. Laura during all the ruckus, taken off her pants.

I waited to do Kembo until later in the day. I knew I couldn’t drink all that water with everyone watching. And listening to people puke made me not want to touch any kind of food or beverage. So I waited for later. I was going to do it with this woman Kelly who was arriving later that day. It was just going to be me and her.

Until my mutilation ceremony, I went to the little town again, hung out with people eating lunch. I couldn’t eat lunch because I was doing Kembo, which means I didn’t eat since lunch the day before. Not only did I not eat, but I’ve puked the night before and was going to do it again for Kembo. Yes, I’m a trooper. I didn’t even complain once. I’m not the complaining type.

It came that time. I met Kelly and we walked down to the dark maloca together. It was late and no lights were on. Ralph joined us in the ceremony along with Angela and Simon – they were great helpers.

I sat next to Will with my big 2 liter jug of water and chugged. The thing with me is, I believe I can do anything that anyone else can do. I bypass my fear with humor – it’s the only way for me. When I’m scared, I laugh at myself and the situation and get everyone else to laugh as well. I love me….

Me – “I just need to pretend it’s beer.”

Getting all the water down is the hardest part of Kembo. Its mind over matter. Will pricked me, slimed me, and gave me a bucket. I had my period, so I was nervous if the onslaught would be too much for me, plus I have low blood pressure.

I got my period the day before during my enlightenment. I was prepared for it, I’m always prepared.

I sat in my chair and waited.

The purpose of Kembo is to heal the body. It rids the body of toxins and in return, you feel like a million bucks after. Anna, the hippie chick, was doing it for 40 days straight. One prick a day.

Me – “Nothings happening.”

Ralph – “It will, don’t worry.”

My face started getting hot after about 90 seconds.

Me – “Okay, now I feel it. Something is definitely happening now.”

My heart started racing. I HATE when my heart races. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it scares the shit out of me.

I started feeling sick, and just like everyone else, felt compelled to go on my hands and knee’s. I puked once for maybe five seconds.

Me – “Eh, this isn’t so bad.”

Everyone starts laughing. That’s my way of getting through things, to laugh at it.

Then I puked again and again. Onslaught.

The first splashes of water that came out of me was still cool. My stomach didn’t have time to warm it up yet.

Will – “I’m going to change your bucket.”

Buckets have to be switched before they fill up – they are huge buckets too. I think people are more worried about getting splashed in the face if the puke fills up too close to the brim. It’s projectile vomit we’re talking about.

I wondered what was going to come out of me once all the cool water eliminated. After the cool water, what then? My intestines?

And sure enough, it was hot bile – thick hot bile. Getting that stuff out of me taken one tremendous hurl. A hurl that lasted more than the rest. My body was convulsing – it was ejecting on its own without my help. I had no control.

Ralph – “Good job! That one was great! Good color in that one.”

Me – “Eh thanks. I’m not looking.”

I kept my eyes shut the entire time. Snot was dripping down everywhere, my eyes were crying, my face looked froggy.

I can’t believe I’m eating cottage cheese while typing this.

But it seemed not to have lasted as long as the others. My kembo lasted about 15 minutes, others had it worse.

I couldn’t move my body, I was so weak. Ralph helped me up and I almost passed out. Everything turned black. I was still standing just barely and knew the blackness would fade with a few breaths. My heart stopped racing as soon as I first started vomiting, so that wasn’t an issue.

I needed to be carried to the bathroom. Angela watched me with the door wide open.

After my Kembo ceremony, Simon held my hand and taken me to my bungalow. I laid down and wrote a little. My body was completely ravaged. Everyone was at dinner. I was so weak, I had no energy to walk the 100 yards to the little restaurant. But after 15 minutes of rest, I was ready to join everyone.

I wasn’t able to eat, but it was nice to be comforted by everyone who shared the same experience, and it was nice being looked at as a brave soul by the people who didn’t do it.

kembo scar

Day Four

August 6, 2012

My body felt tired and weak. I joined everyone for breakfast, but can’t remember much about it. I wanted to eat and then go back to bed and sleep all day, but it was Yopo day. The Yopo ceremony started at around noon. Nobody knew what to expect from this ceremony – we had no clue how long it lasted.

Me – “I’m going to do Yopo one time and go back to my bed. I’m not sticking around.”

Nicole – “You don’t know that yet. Don’t think that until you have some.”

The shaman told of a story about a boy wanting to dip into his fathers yopo stash. It was told in old-fashioned Indian style. If you can picture Indians sitting around in a circle with their elder telling a story, this would be it.

I sat and tried to listen to the interpreter, but it was hard. I was unbelievably exhausted.

Catalina – “You can have as much Yopo as you like. It doesn’t harm you. It’s very gentle and will give you a relaxing happy feeling.”

Finally something that doesn’t make me vomit.

Catalina – “But if you don’t spit out the mucus, you’ll get sick.”

Damn.

The ceremony was underway. The shaman started his blessings. It’s mesmerizing to listen to him chanting – he rhythmically speaks fast and then slow, all monotoned. I’m not sure if it’s a real language he’s speaking or what. He blessed potable water that we were to drink during the ceremony. We were told to only drink the blessed water, not our own. There was a pitcher of blessed water for us to drink, but only two drinking glasses – we were all to use the same glass again.

We needed to ingest three ingredients in order for the Yopo to work. First we went up one by one to drink some watered down ayahuasca juice – which tastes horrible by the way. After drinking, we are handed a couple pieces of tree bark that’s been softened in ayahuasca juice so you can easily chew and digest it. The bark is an MAO inhibitor – it stops the body from breaking down the DMT from the Yopo.

The bark tastes HORRIBLE! It was soaking in ayahuasca all day. Everyone grabbed their pieces of bark and sat back down to hear more of the Shaman’s story. It was hard for people to get it down – very hard.

I have a strong tolerance for things that taste gross. I don’t know where I got it from. But as long as I know what I’m eating won’t kill me, I can choke it down. I gobbled down my tree bark like it was nobody’s business.

We went to our mats and laid down.

Me – “I feel weird. Do you feel weird?”

Someone – “Yeah, I feel a little funky.”

A native went around and smudged us with incense, and as before, it effected me and taken me deeper into the weird feeling.

Me – “I feel like I don’t even need Yopo. Something is already happening. I feel so relaxed.”

One by one we went up for the Yopo. You ingest Yopo by snuffing it. Is that how you say it? Snuff? Sniff? Snarf? I don’t know, I never snuffed anything before. My roommate, Cheryl, also never snuffed anything. She was nervous and a little in freak-out mode.

Me – “You just have to do it. Don’t think about it. Thinking will ruin it. Just go up there and do it.”

She did it. She had a little trouble with it at first, but Catalina showed her how’s it’s done.

Then it was my turn.

I knelt in front of the shaman and taken the hollowed out monkey bone in my hand. It was two bones tied together in the shape of a V, so both nostrils got hit at the same time.

The shaman measured out the grey powdered yopo on a flat slate, and held it up to my face. I put the bones to my nose and bent down to inhale.

Just do it, don’t think. Just do.

I inhaled like a trooper. The shaman and Catalina both smiled at me.

Catalina – “Good job.”

I laid back down on my mat.

I don’t know how long it took to feel the effects, but wow. Wow wow Wow. It was kinda like ayahuasca, only without the gateway to enlightenment. It given me feelings of complete bliss. Bliss and amazement of everything. Yopo is Ayahuasca’s fun younger cousin.

I became amazed at everything and walked outside. Anna and Will were sitting down in the grass talking.

These two hippies.

Anna – “Do you want to join us?”

Me – “I would love to join you.”

And that’s where I sat for many hours. We were looking up into the clouds and being amazed by them.

Me – “Wow, it’s like a kaleidoscope.”

Anna – “Oh Wow! Do you see that?! Isn’t that amazing?!”

Me – “Holy crap yes!”

Anna – “Do you see it?”

Me – “I see it. That’s amazing. They’re up so high.”

There were honest to God, hundreds of birds in the sky rotating in a circle. They were up so high you could barely see them – you had to have good eyes to see them.

Anna – “What are they doing up there?”

Me – “Having fun.”

I would have been amazed with the birds without the help of Yopo.

Ralph came over and sat by us. He had a crystal in his hand.

Me – “I like your rock.”

Anna – “Would a crystal take offense if it was called a rock?”

Will – “No it would not. We are all from the stone people. The stone people are from rocks.”

Anna – “What is it made of?”

She pointed to the crystal.

Ralph had a dazed look on his face – “It’s my Joey stone.”

Anna – “But what is it?”

Will – “Silicon.”

Anna – “What’s silicon?”

Will – “It’s the fourteenth element of Gods creation.”

Anna – “Oh is that it?”

I burst out laughing so hard. Everyone started laughing. We laughed for about 10 or 40 minutes.

Will went on and on talking about silicon for a half an hour. Nothing he said made any sense to me.

I felt like I was reliving the 70’s. Peace, love, harmony – it was awesome.

Everyone was either passed out on their mat’s, or walking around aimlessly with a blanket over their head. It was a funny site to behold. Then there was Laura who taken off her shirt and started twirling around chanting madly. I didn’t see her, but I heard her. She chanted wildly for about 15 minutes.

I found out later that she transformed into a butterfly and it felt wonderful.

I went up for more yopo. “I snort yopo 2 time” is scribbled somewhere in my journal.

I started writing weird shit like, “I am not my name. I am not Melanie. This body is Melanie. I’m in the body of Melanie and I’m lucky to be in the body of Melanie. She is strong and healthy. She is beauty.”

I separated myself from my body and realized she’s just a rental and doesn’t belong to me.

Then I wrote, “The numbers 1, 2 and 3 are the only numbers in existence that can do what they do.”

Will was telling me about the importance of 1, 2 and 3 and I thought they deserved an honorable mention in my journal. I also drew a picture of Grandma Spider. Will kept going on and on about Grandmother Spider and how she is the earth and we are her children. I was certain he was out of his mind.

I’m at Cheshire Coffee again. I see one of my old friends from high school waiting for her coffee. She looks like a grown mature woman. Shit she’s with another one of my friends from high school. I don’t feel like saying Hi, we’re not exactly friends anyway. They look and act older than me. They’re in a different world than I am. I don’t understand them, and they don’t understand me. Ha, one of them spotted me and turned her head away. People are so weird. At least I tried to wave.

Everyone here has a MacBook. I scoff at their newly minted Macbooks as I wipe the dust off of my old HP. It taken me 30 minutes to get my laptop running today. Damn kids with their MacBooks….Pffff.

Okay, so anyway, I was in Colombia snorting Yopo with hippies and soul searchers. The feeling it gave me was that of pure bliss. It’s like Ayahuasca in the way that you can have as much of it as you want and it allows you the option of going deeper. You feel in control at all times.

I was in a magical, blissful place for approximately 9 hours. The musicians sang their songs and strummed their guitar for 9 hours, if not more. It felt so safe and magical – like Neverland. Inside the Maloca was smoke, incense and magic. The energy was palpable. You literaly felt a healing energy going into the maloca – it felt thick like moving through water.

I watched Angela get healing done by the Shaman. He gently beat her back with a brush of sage of something like sage, and chanting. Angela kept burping. Burping non-stop during the healing.

It was around 8 o’clock when people started to come around and realize they haven’t eaten anything since breakfast. I missed lunch completely because I was in bliss. I didn’t want it to end. Going to lunch meant going back to reality and I wanted to hang on to the bliss for as long as possible.

I could no longer ignore my stomach at 8 o’clock. I was sitting on my mat talking to Nicole and Cheryl about none other than Grandma Spider.

Me – “I think we should eat dinner.”

Them – “Hmmm that sounds like a good idea.”

20 minutes went by.

Me – “We still haven’t left for dinner yet.”

Them – “Ha ha, no we haven’t.”

We had no concept of time.

We finally left for dinner. We sat at the little table in the outdoor restaurant and laughed our heads off. We were being so silly. We talked about the most absurd things, but it all made sense to us.

Cheryl – “Nicole, I thought I saw you today out in the field by yourself without a shirt on and it looked like you were throwing stuff.”

Me – “What were you throwing? Were you ripping up clumps of dirt and grass and violently chucking them at nothing?”

Nicole – “Nope, wasn’t me. I was too busy having cosmic orgasm and giving birth to myself.”

We laughed and laughed for hours over this.

Someone – “Can you imagine if someone walked by and heard us? They’d think we were all nuts.”

Laura received a message from Grandmother Spider to tell Nicole to go to the birthing stones and wait there for Grandma Spider to come to her.

Laura – “Lay down here on these stones like you’re giving birth.”

Nicole – “Okay.”

Laura – “Are you wearing underwear?”

Nicole – “Why?”

Laura – “You need to take your pants off.”

Nicole – “Whoa there Laura, I’m not taking my pants off.”

Laura – “You should take them off. You’re going to give birth.”

Nicole left her pants on, but laid on the stones and waited for Grandmother Spider. She waited and waited until finally, the Spider appeared.

Nicole was to give birth to herself. She said it was the most amazing experience of her life. She was reborn.

It blows my mind that three people saw Grandma Spider – Will had no idea she came to Laura and Nicole, so his experience was separate. It was from the Yopo. Yopo makes you see crazy shit.

I didn’t see any spiders. I didn’t see anything unusual. But when I looked at an insect, like an ant crawling around on my arm, I stared at it wondering what it was doing and where it was going. He went around in circles on my arm. I put my eye right up to the ant and stared at its tiny little head.

And that was my day Four experience with Yopo.

Day Five

August 7, 2012

Nicole – “What day is it? How long have we been here?”

Me – “I have no idea. My journal knows. It has infinite knowledge.”

By day five, nobody was sure how long we were at the resort. We had no clue what the date was. All we knew was that it was another Ayahuasca day. Daytime Ayahuasca starting at 2:30 in the afternoon.

It was also another Kembo day. It’s supposed to be done three times during a moon cycle. I was all set with doing it again, once was enough for me.

I was journaling outside on the patio with Nicole when Bill tromped by us heading for the Maloca.

Me – “Hey Bill, you headed down to do Kembo?”

Bill – “No, I’m going down there to talk to a tree and see what my wife is doing. I think she’s singing to some flowers and drawing a picture.”

He was completely serious.

2:30 came and we went down to the Maloca to lie on our mats and wait for the ceremony to begin. My goal this time was to see sacred geometry. When under the influence of Aya, people are able to see sacred geometric patterns in all of nature. I wanted to see them. I wanted to see them bad. I wanted to see them so badly that Aya wouldn’t let me.

I taken one cup, then two. The day went by in fast forward, like watching the day in time lapse. I saw no patterns, but waited outside next to the vomitorium just in case they showed up.

The Aya was strong that second day. I purged once and sat on a fallen log.

It was that broken log facing the vomitorium. I sat there for a long time. I was too tired to do anything. I couldn’t focus, could barely walk. People started walking around and talking near me – we were all out of it. I felt I had no energy to ask Aya questions, I was too tired to drink more and I didn’t want to puke again. The log felt safe and secure, like it cradled me. I flopped my whole body on top of it and gave it a hug.

Me – “I love this log.”

Laura – “Ha ha, yes it looks like a good log. I like your log.”

Everyone was giggling over my love for the log. Then I rolled off of it and onto the dirt, where I remained for the next hour or two. I was awake, but couldn’t move. The ground felt heavy beneath me, like it was far and near, warm and alive. I heard people stepping over me to vomit over the edge. My body felt weighted down with thoughts. It got dark out. I was still lying in the same position face down in the dirt.

There was no negativity to what I was feeling. I felt drugged up. Simply put, I was drugged up and never felt that way before (not for Yopo or the first Aya journey). It was my first time feeling that kind of trip. During the first Aya experience, most everyone was laying down with their eyes closed – I didn’t want to do that during my first trip. I wanted to stay lucid and present. Closing my eyes meant visions, and I was scared to see visions.

This time around, I wasn’t scared to close my eyes and drift. So I let it happen, but couldn’t open them back up. I tried, but they were only slits. I laid on the ground with my hair in my face, my eyes open to slits and my mind trying to comprehend what it was seeing.

I heard people sitting by the fire a mere few feet away. They were talking and seemed coherent. I wondered how it was possible for them to do that, to talk.

‘Think clear Mel. Come on, you can do it. Think light and clear. Think awareness. Think enlightenment.’

And then as quickly as I had dropped from the log, I popped up back onto it.

Brian – “She’s back.”

Me – “I’m back.”

Cheryl – “Glad to have you back.”

Me – “Thanks, it’s good to be back.”

I had once again crossed the bridge into enlightenment. My thoughts slowed and became controlled, I was again one with the universe.

Simon – “You look really good. You look clear.”

Me – “Thanks, I feel really good. I feel clear.”

People sensed my awakening just by viewing me. But I still didn’t want to ask Aya anymore questions, I felt lazy and wanted to talk to people instead. I spent most of the night chatting with others. Cheryl told me that she wasn’t allowed to go any deeper into awareness because she hasn’t suffered enough.

Cheryl – “According to Aya, I still need more suffering to do.”

Me – “Wow, she told me the same exact thing! That’s amazing. This whole thing is amazing. It’s like looking into the Matrix. It’s just like the Matrix.”

Day 6

August 8, 2012

I didn’t write anything in my journal for this day, but I remember the day very vividly. It was the day of the Inipi, sweat lodge ceremony.

I wasn’t scared about the sweat lodge. I figured after doing Kembo and Ayahuasca, the sweat lodge would be a nice treat. Holy shit I was wrong. Oh Lord how I was wrong.

The men went in first. They all piled into a little round dome hut covered over with blankets, a hole in the center for the red hot stones to be placed.

Will oversaw this ceremony as he did with the Kembo. He has expert knowledge about many things. He told the story of rebirth. When you are scared, you cling to your mother – she’ll protect you. The inipi is your mother, she carries you inside her womb – you must trust her. He told us we had no choice but to trust that the heat won’t harm us. If we were frightened, the heat would literaly burn our flesh. If we didn’t fight the heat, it would absorb into our muscles and bones.

The men went first. For a half hour they sat in there chanting and singing together. Every five minutes or so, people waiting on the outside would listen for the call to open the flaps and let in air. I think the word was “Kayetay!” That word is seared in my memory as relief.

The men came out of the hut buck naked, drenched in sweat. They warned the women of the heat.

Brian – “That’s hot. The hottest I’ve ever experienced.”

That’s when I became a bit worried.

We got down on all fours and crawled in the small opening. It was a tight squeeze. Will and Catalina sat in the center to glide the hot stones one by one from outside into the pit using deer antlers for tongs. Will started telling the same story he told the men. Then the flap closed.

I’ve never experienced claustrophobia before. I never knew what it felt like, but now I do. As soon as the flaps shut, it was complete darkness. I couldn’t see the glow from the hot stones because Catalina was blocking my view. And it was hot, REALLY hot. The steam is what killed me. Will chanted and threw water over the stones every few seconds – the steam was baking my flesh.

‘Trust it Mel, trust. Trust trust trust – AHH oh shit AHHH it burns!’

I tried. I gave it my best effort to trust the heat, but it still burnt my skin. I wanted to cry. I felt the terror welling up and my mouth holding in a scream. ANY physical contact from the people sitting next to me, will burn me. Including hair. I couldn’t breathe. It was impossible for me to breathe. I put my face to the dirt and inhaled, which helped a lot. I also rubbed dirt all over my arms and legs to stop the steam from penetrating the skin.

The woman sitting next to me, Cheryl, started freaking out before I did. She was crying hysterically and I felt so bad for her – I wanted to tell Will to let her out.

“Kayetay!”

Cheryl hopped up as fast as she could and stormed out.

Cheryl – “I have to leave.”

Will – “No you don’t!”

But she was gone.

Will – “See, people get scared. They have not conquered their fight or flight response. The brain stem tells them to flee, so they flee.”

My brain stem….

My brain stem is boiling in my brain!

The flaps shut and it started again. Searing my flesh, “Ohh hothothothothot.” I was supposed to sing. I could barely breathe, but I tried to sing. I felt moisture dripping off me – droplets dangling at the end of my nose, sweat leaching into my eyes. I had my tank top bunched up in my hand, I tried wetting my tank top with my sweat, and then holding it up to my nose to breathe through – it helped immensely.

“Kayatay!”

Another woman wanted to leave.

Will – “No, I’m sorry, you can’t.”

Will was blocking her exit. He sat naked, cross-legged in front of the door flaps. She was still seated, unable to move until he did.

Angela – “No, I HAVE to leave. NOW!”

Will – “That’s not possible. You’re staying.”

This went back and forth for a while.

She’s an Italian from Brooklyn and is able to get her way without backing down – I envied her for that. Will didn’t budge, but she found a way around him.

Then my roommate, Nicole, shot up and left. She mostly left out of spite cause Will was being a dick, but she did get burned pretty bad. She was very close to the pit and didn’t even have room to put her head close to the dirt.

Will – “That always happens, once one leaves, they all want to leave.”

The flaps closed and we continued. I got an image of hell in my head. Devil with his horns and beating a drum, flames engulfing me. The image was powerful, but I still stayed.

“Kayatay!”

I had the best seat in the inipi. I sat next to the door flaps so I could be the first person the cold air hits when they opened. I hate to admit that it was on purpose. I hung back while everyone went in front of me. The first one in the hut would have to stand the heat a few seconds longer than the last, and the last one in can easily get out. I wanted an easy exit. I didn’t care about getting air from the door flaps, I just wanted an exit.

The only reason I stayed for the whole torture was because I could easily get out.

After the inipi, the girls became jaded about Will being mean to Cheryl. Angela was fine and can take care of herself, but poor Cheryl started crying when we were all out of the inipi.

Me – “Oh Cheryl don’t cry over him, really? Come on now, it’s not worth it.”

I felt so protective of her. And she really did get burnt – on her arms, her legs…I thought I was burning while I was in there, but when I came out, I didn’t have a mark on me. I was red, but it went away after a few minutes. In all honesty, I don’t regret doing it and I’m really glad I stuck it out. And who know’s, maybe there really is something to it.

And that was our last full day there. Sometime during the week, we did a traditional Lakoda Indian tribal dance. It was pretty cool. Other than that, I listed most of what happened. If it’s not listed, it’s not worth writing about. Either that or I’m sick of writing this stinkin’ post. It’s been going on for days already and I just want it done.

It did it’s purpose of taking me back to Colombia. I got to relive my enlightenment by writing about it.

Okay, now this is crazy, but last night I had an Ayahuasca flashback. I was sleeping and woke up in my bed, turned my head toward my wall and there I saw a huge slithering snake crawling on my wall inches from my head. I jumped up and snapped on the light – gone.

I went to the bathroom and crawled back in bed and started reading the Bhagavad-gita. Dave bought it for me a few years ago for $5. Some guy was selling them at a concert and this was the first time for me reading it.

My enlightenment is very similar, if not the same, to the Bhagavad-gita. What they say in the book, about unmaterialized worlds, layers of awakening, ultimate truth, ego, illusions, giving, strength, growth, earth is fantasy – a shadow of reality. It’s all there in the book, what I experienced.

I guess I’m a Hindu now. It’s strange because I wanted so badly to believe in Catholocism, or Christianity but found it impossible to do – have faith? Faith in what exactly? The Bhagavad-gita doesn’t tell you to have faith, but to see the facts. To see what’s plainly in front of you, but you’re not awake to see. There is no faith, only Kharma.

Anyway, I want to read this dammed thing. It’s about 1000 pages, so I better get cracking.

Even if I sustain my enlightenment, what the hell am I supposed to do with it? What’s the point of it? Nobody wants to hear about it, and I don’t see the point in thinking about it.

Elightenment is not the world we see. We accept the world we are given as truth. When we sleep, we adapt to that dream world however crazy it may be and accept it as truth. Of course if you have lucid dreams, you know you’re asleep and now possess the power of manipulating what you dream.

Maybe that’s the point in learning about enlightenment – to become lucid. If we’re lucid, we can control our lives more. We can choose to end our suffering. We can find the strength it takes in letting go.

I don’t know. I need to publish this stinkin’ post already, it’s way too long.

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Filed under Colombia south america, journal, Self help, Strange & Unusual, Travel

I made a video :)

I’m being lazy. Well no, not lazy, just busy with too much stuff to do. I want to play video games, I want to draw and paint, I want to massage the 20 clients that bought massage vouchers from me and I want to go out and drink with my friends I left behind while I went on the most amazing, insane adventure of my life.

I want to do all that, so writing about my trip at the moment is a no go. I did however make a music video while I was waiting for my plane at the airport. I don’t want to watch it. When I watch it I get unbelievably sad that it’s over and I’ll probably never see these people again. I fell in love with all of them. I fell in love with these people and fell in love with Ayahuasca.

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Filed under Colombia south america, Travel, video's