Integration, I am you and you are me

Everyone has a different reason for coming to Peru to experience Ayahuasca, San Pedro and other sacred plant medicines. Some of us need to overcome trauma, free ourselves from bad habits, go deeper spiritually, heal diseases and ailments or find new inspiration. Our practice is in using the plants mother nature intended for our use to heal mind, body and spirit.

Participants want to know how to integrate the medicines, because what it is the point in coming all the way and such a huge undertaking if you go return to your old ways?

This is a common question we receive from our retreat goers here at Shamanic Vida. With Ayahuasca, any imbalances conscious or unconscious rest assured will be brought up for examination by the medicine. This tends to confront our ego and leave it feeling uncomfortable sometimes, no matter how life-changing the experience was.

Here is where the San Pedro comes in. It highlights and restores our truths for us, brings a halo of gratefulness into our lives. We remember to be with our friends and families, the ancestors and parents from which we were created, be grateful for the meals we easily eat, the house we live in and more. The teachings of San Pedro integrate themselves naturally over a long period of time. By doing San Pedro with your ayahuasca retreat in Cusco, the ayahuasca teachings become more concreted into your consciousness. 

These two plants together lock-in your ability to carry the momentum forward and make the changes you were encouraged to make.

Transmit the understanding the you in Peru and the you in your home country, are the same person. Respect yourself and your body throughout the process, just like we do here at our retreat center, this helps keep the glow and makes integration far easier.

Trust the unknown, discover, be humble, forgive, celebrate, and love. The medicine shows us the universe and we are all one, so treat life this way.

“Lak’ech Ala K’in” – Mayan: I am you and you are me.

Unburdening: a late onset of the grieving process…

I asked one of our brave participants and friends if I could share part of her miscarriage story with the internet. This is for anyone who still needs to go through the grieving process they have been putting off so long.

When this heartbreaking moment occurred in her life she picked up everything she had and moved to a new city. She cried a little, but stopped herself. Never dealing with the range of emotions she felt at the time, too busy packing, too busy looking for a new place and just keeping herself busy. Until she crashed into a common ground, many people who come to take ayahuasca go through.

You cannot ignore the natural grieving process, sweep it under the rug or keep it under wraps. Or any emotional process for that matter.

Everything being new and different in her new place and was enough to distract her for some time. Some time being seven months after her miscarriage, then emotions began popping up it started with little outbursts. She got in a verbal argument with a co-worker over something miniscule. She became anxious and avoided leaving her house or answering the phone at times. Until in one fail swoop it all came crashing down. Her alarm went off in the morning to tell her to go to work to continue on with the distractions and when she went to get out of bed, she fell to the floor. She dropped to her knees and began crying, could not move and cried for an entire week.

After she got back up she knew it was time to deal with the whole range of emotions she had been keeping secret, drinking down, zoning out and stashing away. She found, unfortunately in our modern world compassion and empathy seemed to be dwindling all around her and yet she was still in pain. Being hit with such grief late down the road was met with judgements, doubt, avoidance and rejections. With the trust of her intuition she decided to look deeper into herself to heal instead of outward.

Ayahuasca called her and she answered the call. Upon her return home she told me the most beautiful thing and I knew the mother spirit was working within her and she had healed the deep wounds from her miscarriage. She said about returning, everyone is still here, but they have moved on and changed. Everyone moves on, because at its most simple the life force all around us continues moving on and on and that is beautiful.

Taking ayahuasca with us in Peru helped her understand there is deep love in grief and it is meant to be felt, even through the hurt there is help. Anyone can change their story to make a new ending with the right inner guidance.

It is important to feel the hurt in life and only from there can we begin to heal ourselves.

Can we really heal ourselves?

In modern day societies we have been programed at the first sign of sickness to run to a doctor and from there to a pharmacy. What if we told you, you are your own very best doctor, shaman or healer?

Mother Earth has provided humans with everything needed from the beginning of time to eat, evolve and heal. When you take ayahuasca as a cure you are taking part in healing yourself. This grand undertaking is the first step in a lifelong understanding of your own innate powers. You understand the factors and multiples involved in your sickness better than any Doctors. From everyday nutrition to psychological factors and spiritual vacancies, our understanding is that any of these can greatly affect your wellbeing. It is a balance only you know how to fix, by letting go of relationships that no longer serve you, eating clean energy foods, exercising your body and partaking in ceremonies, as an example of the actions taken.

Modern day society has left behind spirituality and it has caused an imbalance. Spirituality is an essential part of being human, without spirituality we have a house with an empty room, while the other rooms are overfilled with unnecessary items. Your house is your body, your mind and your spirit. Only you can tell where you are inadequate and restore balance to your house.

Once you understand balance you may begin to understand how to heal yourself and maybe move on to healing others, such as the people you love and care about. Eat your way to health and if you run into extreme disequilibrium there are plants to aid your recovery and restore the natural harmony of your system.

I need more ayahuasca sessions…

Needing to continue your therapy is the basis of needing more sessions. If it was physical therapy or emotional therapy it would not be such a surprise to hear, but when it comes to ayahuasca it feels disheartening. Even though ayahuasca is an emotional, physical and mental therapy. In these cases it is important to remember to work patiently with the ayahuasca and know it is still working in your spirit, only in a different way than you expected.

Coming from the hustle and bustle of western societies it is easy to generate an expectation of wanting the medicine to work in one session. Some centers make grandiose promises; in one session you can cure all your problems. This is not always the case and certainly not the safest manner to go about an ayahuasca therapy. The spirit of the medicine is strong, but sometimes it needs to break down emotional and mental barriers built up over years. Then it can begin the work you think you need. As well, sometimes there is pertinent work you were unaware you needed.

It is a process of trusting in the medicine and gratitude for any experience you have. It is not a common occurrence, but sometimes it may be because of a calcified pineal gland, different psychological medicines taken over a long period of time have long term effects on our neurological systems and the ways they are triggered, or the ayahuasca could be doing purely physical and emotional work. Do not give up hope, we will guide you in how to continue preparing yourself to take ayahuasca again.

People have come to us from other centers because the ayahuasca medicine did not work for them there and with careful planning before their trip to our center, including many in depth conversations about their lifestyle and stricter diet, we have been able to help them have the breakthrough ceremony they were looking to have.

Sometimes the lesson may be as simple as patience.

How does your life change after ayahuasca?

Each participant has an experience as unique as the life they have lived before taking ayahuasca. In the many ceremonies you will take part in, it is difficult to say which one will be your “breakthrough” ceremony. What we can tell you are a couple of positive possibilities, which in the moment are entirely introspective.

Ayahuasca unlike other entheogens is an inward encounter with yourself, the positive and the negative. Seeing the negative allows you to understand and liberate yourself. Imagine you had been carrying a heavy metal backpack with guilt, sadness, anger, etc and it was suddenly lifted off your shoulders. Many who take ayahuasca find a deep level of understanding and forgiveness, sometimes for others, sometimes for themselves. Liberation is a common experience among participants.

Once you have the opportunity to see yourself, you will feel empowered. You may find the courage to change. This could mean, for example, moving past relationships which no longer serve you. Depression is often lifted away in an ayahuasca ceremony and you may find yourself evolved and balanced. Trusting your natural intuition and operating from inner guidance may come without a second thought. You may acquire the knowledge your body is a temple for your spirit, the medicine may show you to begin to care for it as such. It may interest you to try new methods in order to continue heightening your spiritual connection after your ceremonies. There are a myriad of positive benefits which may occur after taking ayahuasca.

While these prospects are alluring it is important to remember ayahuasca is a strong, sometimes difficult process that takes inner courage and extraordinary effort to work on yourself before you can arrive at a grand life change. It may be your first ceremony or your 7th, but it is essential to have patience and work with the spirit of the plant. If you are ready to meet your spirit and connect with mother ayahuasca, you will in time. It has been said once you decide to take ayahuasca, it begins working on you. When you feel called, you can begin a new chapter in a new direction with your intention fueling your spiritual and personal development.