This is part 3 (and conclusion) of this series describing my Ayahuasca journey in Peru.
This post is describing my third ceremony, which was the third of three over a five day period.
If you haven’t already, read the following posts first to get caught up on the story:
- I Was Bored, Frustrated, and Lonely… and I Freaked Out
- All About Ayahuasca
- My Ayahuasca Journey – Part 1, Night 1
- My Ayahuasca Journey – Part 2, Night 2
Don’t worry, this one is only half as long as last week’s instalment!
Recovering from the Most Intense Night of My Life…
I slept maybe ten minutes the whole night.
When the ayahuasca finally finally wore off (from night 2), I was so completely exhausted and battered. And very scared and anxious.
What will the third night be like?? Will I have to go through that again??
The message was loud and clear from the first two nights. I knew what I needed to do.
Accept. Trust. Let go. And stop being such a damn control freak.
It seemed so daunting and overwhelming. And so came the anxiety. Heart racing. Not being able to eat. Heavy knot in my stomach all day.
I was very emotionally frazzled, but luckily we had a day off now… a one day break to recharge before the next ceremony.
I spent the next two days unloading my personal insights about my night on anyone who would listen as a way to process everything. The shamans, the helpers, the other participants, my new roommate, and I cried in Luke’s lap.
I also tried to work a lot with my lessons. I spent a good chunk of the day meditating, sitting with the emotions and anxiety, breathing into them. If a scary thought came, I just observed it, let it go, and brought my awareness back to my centre.
One of the helpers also gave me a rose quartz stone which symbolizes self love, to help me be gentle with myself in this process. This really helped … I clutched onto that stone for dear life for the rest of the retreat. I still have it under my pillow now back at home.
Anyway, the meditation did really help and I felt like I was making progress with sitting in the emotion instead of distracting myself from it.
Of course, this is all a lot easier when you don’t feel quite as bad (ie. not on ayahuasca anymore).
Getting Ready for Night Three…
Luckily, the next morning after a good sleep, I felt like a new woman!
I felt refreshed and the edge off the memory of the night before meant most of the anxiety was gone and I felt much more brave and positive about going through another ceremony that night. But thank goodness it was the last one!
I decided that the third night’s intention was to be “show me what spirit (or higher self, source energy, God, the universe, whatever you want to call it) is; and how to trust and surrender to it”.
Of course I hoped it would be an easier night but I also knew that I couldn’t try to control it. If I was destined to have another rough night, then that’s what I need, and I have to trust that.
As night time rolled around, I was getting nervous but overall I was feeling really good and positive, like this was finally the night I’d have the breakthrough.
After drinking the brew (I asked for less this time), I sat back and was totally still. Breathing deeply. Keeping in my centre.
And when it kicked in, the ayahuasca didn’t feel nearly as strong. So it all felt a lot more manageable.
Oh Yeah. I’m Killing It.
So, basically, the first half of the evening… I totally nailed it.
I didn’t even purge. I just lied there perfectly still and sat with the feelings, and just breathed into it whenever I felt a little sick or urge to fidget. I felt really positive and non-resistant, unlike the nights before.
Difficult, scary thoughts came in and the painful emotion sat there, I felt it, and then I breathed into it and it dissipated. Then a happier thought would come and I’d feel that and then let it go and go back to my centre.
I mean, don’t get me wrong… it was still very difficult overall. And it took an immense amount of concentration. But it was just so much gentler and more manageable than the nights before.
My Scary Thoughts Were More Focused Tonight…
Tonight, the negative dark thoughts that I was dealing with were that of the question … what if Luke got MS? (multiple sclerosis)
Earlier in the day, Luke and I had been talking about his uncle Reinhard. Reinhard contracted MS when he was only 21 years old and spent the next 20 years of his life in a wheelchair not being able to move, or really even speak.
A completely horrifying thing to happen to you or someone you love? Oh yes.
So while during night two, my fears were all over the map, flying at me in the form of about a million different possible tragic scenarios that could happen… tonight I was able to focus on what it would be like to accept and surrender to this one particularly terrifying situation.
So… obviously, that was a really awful, difficult thing to think about… but hey… at least focusing on trying to accept only one awful situation is slightly easier than trying to all at once accept every horrible situation that could ever potentially happen to you.
So yeah! I felt like I was finally doing what I was supposed to be doing! Hooray!
Pulling a Fast One on Me… You Tricky, Tricky Beast
After quite a long time, it started to feel like the ayahuasca was wearing off a little bit, so I was like… alright… sweet!
Now I just have to sit and be present with the possible boredom and restlessness that might come while waiting for the ceremony to end… and then just head off for a good night’s sleep…. oh boy… can’t wait…
Oh poor little me. I thought I was on easy street.
At that point, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, so I got up and did that, and finally ended up purging.
After vomiting, I headed back into the hut and lied down.
And that’s when shit hit the fan.
Despite the fact that the ceremony was nearly over, I suddenly started getting REALLY high. Like WAY higher than I had been all night.
Except by that time, I had already gotten very attached to the idea that it was going to be an easier night and that I was nearly on the brink of it all being over…
So when I started to feel myself get really high again… I was like…. … what!? No … oh no no… god, please no…. don’t do this….
Aaand Here We Go Again…
The resistance kicked in and that’s when everything got really friggin’ hard again. The dark unshakeable cloud of negativity and darkness ascended onto me.
And once I was feeling absolutely unbearably awful again, out went the acceptance.
HOW could I accept and trust something that was making me feel THIS BAD!!?! How could I possibly feel gratitude when I feel like THIS!? AAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I’M GOING CRAAAZYYYY!!!
How could I possibly accept the utter heartbreak of seeing Luke deteriorate with MS and commit my entire life to the overwhelming care aid that he’d need? How?
So on came the extreme fidgeting and puking to distract myself from the feelings. The awful, terrible feelings.
Then the ceremony ended and of course I wasn’t ready to go because I was so friggin’ high… but soon I learned that having the lights on and things going on around me was a distraction from thinking about the pain, so I welcomed it.
Oh Sweet Distraction, Give It To Me
When I was finally forced to go to my room, all I wanted to do was sit by the heater and talk with my roommate, Erika and the lovely helper lady, Jennica…
Because talking about what happened was so SO much easier for me than going to bed and just sitting with it. Anything to prolong before I had to go lie in bed for hours by myself trying to accept these horrible feelings…. but of course, I had to…
Thing was, at this point, it was far far too easy to fall into the trap of saying … screw it… I don’t really have to try that hard to accept it because I know I’m on the home stretch…. I know that in just a few hours this will all be over and I can get back to feeling good again….
But I knew that wasn’t the point! The point being… how am I going to deal when something happens that isn’t just going to be over in a few hours? What’s going to happen when Luke wakes up with an MS diagnosis and it isn’t going away??
You’re going to want to run away from it all, that’s what. But you can’t. That’s not unconditional love. So stick with it, baby.
So, I tried. Again, without too much success. And I got up every 20 minutes or so to violently shit and vomit until I finally fell asleep from utter exhaustion.
My poor, poor roommate, having to listen to that.
Congrats: A Hat Trick on the Awful Ayahuasca Nights
So yeah. Three out of three for me on the terrible nights. But I did get a taste of success for the first part of the night there.
It didn’t last, and obviously the more intense the feelings, the harder it is to do. But I do understand the process now…
So when something bad does happen, I’m sure there will still be plenty of resistance but I will at least know the process that I need to work through now.
I will also recognize sooner when I find myself wanting to use distraction or avoidance strategies to get away from feelings of boredom or discomfort.
I also hope that I will be able to recognize quickly from now on when I am trying to control or manipulate situations to my liking, and instead just accept imperfection and let it go.
Overall this has been a completely crazy experience… although now that it’s over and it feels more like a dream, it almost seems a little dramatic to say… but this really was the most intense, difficult, most confronting, and insanely traumatizing experience of my life ….
But I also simply can’t believe how much I’ve learned. And I do truly hope these insights will benefit me forever.
Tracy’s Lessons Summary:
*this is spoken in the you tense, but I’m speaking to myself here… although these life lessons are definitely universal, especially if you are going through a skin crisis at the moment!
Let It Go and Accept Imperfection
With the little things (and the big things too) that annoy or upset you, just let them go. They don’t matter. Things are imperfect and they are allowed to be.
After all, in a minute, day, week, or month from now… is this really going to matter? Are you even going to remember this?
Check Your Attachments
When something upsets you, scares you, makes you angry, or produces fear, check which attachment to your privilege is producing it. Accept that you feel scared about losing that attachment, and then let it go.
Keep Working on Getting to Know and Trust Spirit
Continue creating a relationship with your spirit… if you learn to truly trust it, you know there is nothing to worry about, because everything happens for a reason (the tough stuff happens so that you can learn and grow from it).
Remember that Hard Times = Growth
You don’t grow when stuff is easy. The personal growth happens when times are tough. Remember this positive perspective when you are going through something difficult.
Stop Thinking About Yourself All the Time
In any given situation, don’t always think about yourself first. Remember that making the world a better place and giving unconditional love doesn’t always feel good or convenient, but sometimes putting others above your own comfort will make you happier in the long run.
Don’t Run from Uncomfortable Feelings
Notice when you are feeling bored or otherwise uncomfortable, and just sit with it, instead of trying to run away, change your environment, or distract yourself from it.
Accept that feeling uncomfortable is a part of life, and you aren’t entitled to a life free of it. The more you resist the reality of it, the harder things will be.
Be Genuinely Grateful
You’ve always found it easy to be grateful for your privilege, but every day, be grateful for the little things too. Be grateful that your body is functioning, that you have a warm bed, food on the table, and people who love you.
Go Easy on Yourself!
Facing this ugly, scary stuff inside yourself is hard. Admitting it to the whole world is even harder. You are imperfect and it’s okay. You’re an imperfect human. We all are. You’re still awesome. I love you.
If You Made It Through All That, Give Yourself A Pat on the Back
Seriously. That was a pretty epic experience and some pretty epic blog posts to go with it, so thanks for reading.
This was all basically a copy of what I wrote in my journal after the experience, but in future blog posts I will probably get a bit more in depth with some of these lessons. There is certainly a lot of food for thought here!