It only took me a handful of times working with plant medicine to understand that the worst thing you can do in ceremony is resist. This means to resist an urge, a movement, a constriction, a message or an experience you have been presented with. If you fight the medicine and what it is there to show you, you will only cause yourself to suffer. This is not just a lesson in Ayauhasca, it is a lesson in life.
Earlier this year I had a good lesson in Surrender. The medicine came to me through a friend to say that it was time to sit in ceremony. In short, this friend expressed that she felt it was time for me to sit again and I was instantly triggered. For the two weeks leading up to that ceremony, I thought about how to back out of it because I was in full blown panic mode. The fear and anxiety that often preceded ceremony for me was eating me alive. To make it more perplexing, She (the Medicine) visited me every night leading up to that ceremony, preparing me with mini journeys and glimpses of what was to come. As I continued to struggle with the calling, She told me that I had to come in order to receive my gifts. At that point, She had my attention.
WHAT?! It’s time for gifts?! YES!
All of my hard work had finally paid off and I was going to receive gifts from the medicine. I had heard Maestro talk about gifts before, but I never knew what they were specifically. After psyching myself up a little and then working with Kambo to clear my anxiety, I was ready to go in. It was the first time I went into ceremony with excitement and determination. Looking back, I now know that was more ego than anything else LOL. I went willingly because I thought I was about to get something out of it. Doh!
As it turns out, this was the most difficult night of my life and it felt like an eternity. I spent the whole ceremony fighting the medicine, not understanding how to surrender or what to do with the piece of me I needed to let go of. The piece of me that needed the approval of others, the affection of strange men and the numbing bliss of alcohol. It was that deep and dirty core belief of “I am not enough”. I felt that everything I had been taught about working with the medicine was thrown out the window because I did not yet have the experience or context to understand it.
In the final minutes of the ceremony I found myself in child’s pose variation reverse prayer pose, offering myself to the medicine. I spoke aloud and said “I don’t have anything left to give, all I have is myself”. The voice that came to respond said, “You are enough.”
And that was it.
I wasn’t quite out of the medicine when ceremony ended and I went to bed upset and confused. The medicine had talked me in to taking way more than I wanted and into a place of suffering for so long. I was still feeling it and I wanted to be done. I didn’t receive any gifts. I kept trying to surrender and it brought me nothing but more heaviness and pain. I felt betrayed and pissed off.
Those feelings loosened the next day, but were still present. I saw a beauty in the people around me that I had never seen before and felt an absence of some of my “heaviness”. I facilitated for the group the following night and supported everyone in a mostly blissful and joyous time. There was dancing and singing, many saw God in one way or another. I was so happy for them, but I couldn’t help feeling this was the experience I wanted for myself and my feelings of frustration returned.
I am really feeling the child-mother dynamic right now as I rewrite this. Feeling mad that I didn’t get what I wanted and having to learn my lessons “the hard way”. I am sarcastically and nostalgically thinking “thanks mom” lol.
On the final day of integration, Maestro spoke about the gifts we receive in the medicine. There is only a handful, but they sure are profound. As I listen to him speak it dawns on me that I already have most of those gifts. I use them with myself and with my clients on a regular basis. I have most of those gifts and I have not spent one minute being grateful for them. *Facepalm moment*
As the weeks moved forward and I felt the difference the ceremony made in my life, I grew this tremendous amount of respect for the medicine. My “I am not enough” core belief held me back in ways I had not even realized. It held me back with my clients, my career, my self respect and my relationship. My life was one giant projection of how I felt I wasn’t enough. I was/am so grateful that the medicine helped me shift this core belief and forced me to look at my lack of gratitude for the things in my life as a result.
And so, as I began to feel grateful for my many gifts, they grew. (Surprise!)
My gratitude for the medicine turned to awe and reverence. I knew this medicine was something I needed to surrender to in all ways of my life. So when I got the message to move across the country and create a sanctuary space to work with her, I did.
To be continued…