Paranoid Delusional Panic Attacks, Self Love and Shamanism – My Week With a Healer of Healers.

During my Ayahuasca retreat a few months back, I bunked with a lovely young woman named Eliza.  She described herself as a Medicine Woman who ran a retreat in Colorado.   The entire weekend I stayed relatively close to her because I felt comforted by her presence, but I didn’t think much about her beyond that.

In the weeks that followed, as I integrated the Aya experience into my life, Eliza continued to visit me in my dreams.  I knew I needed to reach out.  Once we had the opportunity to chat about what she does “for a living”, I signed up for a week of one-on-one healing/training at her retreat in Nederland, Colorado.  As I understand it, she is a healer of healers, a plant medicine woman, a shaman, a psychic, and everything that falls in between.

Last week I spent a full week at her retreat, Rise & Shine, Love.  I am however, going to state that before I even left for Colorado, the energy around me was in chaos.  The day before leaving, someone swiped my favorite Ray Ban sunglasses while I was shopping and later that day, I was the object of some pretty bad road rage.   In my experience, this means that I had quite the resistance to whatever work was about to occur between myself and Eliza.

After spending my first night at a hostel downtown and roaming around the streets of Denver, I arrived on her property the following day.  I felt a little panic on the drive up, not being a huge fan of cliff-side driving as well as always being the driver of my family outings, but I shrugged this reaction off.   However, when I began to unpack my belongings and settle in, something came over me that I have never experienced  in my life.  My head and shoulders grew hot, my heart raced and my breathing increased.  I knew that something very very bad was about to happen, I was with someone who was trying to swindle money out of me and I needed to leave IMMEDIATELY.  This was the first genuine bout of delusional paranoid thinking, coupled with a panic attack, I have ever experienced.  I started texting my friends and my husband, seeking someone to rescue me and talk me off the ledge I was standing on.  I felt I needed to leave the property immediately or that I might die.  The whole event maybe happened in a window of 20 minutes.

Once I connected with my breath, spoke to my husband and slipped into a light meditation (and let’s face it, had a damn good cry), I realized that these thoughts were not real.  I was creating them to avoid the Work that I had come here to do.

This was only the first episode throughout the week – I had two more, but each one became less intense and easier to identify.  I have a new found curiosity and empathy for people who have these attacks regularly and hope that in the future it can be something I  help people work through.

Throughout the week, the theme was self-love.  This act of loving myself properly has forever changed my life.  Here are some things we worked with:

  • Rituals that I would practice before bed and upon waking.  This included things like breathing exercises, self massage, tongue scraping and herbal tea.
  • Eliza taught me how to move my body and encouraged dancing and play activities – a great way to connect to with my playful side or inner child, which I had long since repressed.
  • I spent several hours naked in the sun, hammock, pool and performing self massage.  I had shed a layer of shame that most of us harbor about our body and ourselves.   This work has since enhanced my sex life with the hubby – it’s unreal.
  • Eating only fresh organic foods and herbs.
  • Guided Meditation.
  • Energy Healing.
  • Watsu with Eliza and massage performed by Integrative Bodywork by Galadrial.    

Later in the week I experience my first mushroom ceremony.  I was so grateful to find that it was similar to a mild Ayahuasca journey, with a lot of emotional release and overwhelming sense of love and connected-ness.  I hope to work more professionally with this plant medicine in the future.

To wrap up the trip, I was given the opportunity to see Nahko and Medicine for the People for the first time in Vail, Colorado.  This show was absolutely amazing and exactly what I needed to conclude my trip.   I highly recommend going to see them if you haven’t already!

The biggest takeaway from this retreat for me was that, without doing the Work on myself, I will never be able to effectively help others or be the healer that I know I am to be.   I will have trouble moving forward on my life path.  Without clearing out the stuff you have inside you, it is hard to be open to what is right here and available to you.  It is hard to see situations and others clearly or at least to see them without looking through the shit-colored glasses of your own struggles.

I will continue to take this beautiful experience and apply it to my every day life.   I do also want to encourage others to let go of some of their fear and think about their own self-love state and practice.  Life is so much more full and joyous when you clear out the cobwebs for a better view.

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My journey with Ayahuasca – It was like being shown the secret handshake for a society I always knew I belonged with.

I recently had the pleasure of journeying with Ayahuasca.  My experience was so profound that I decided it was time to rekindle the blog and share my story with the world – or at least with the internet.

As I arrived at the retreat center, I was thrown in the mix with people from all over the country (and a few from Europe!).  And I am not exaggerating when I say that many of these folks were the nicest people I have ever met.  There were lawyers, massage therapists, medicine men and women, bartenders and a pastor.   I even had the distinct suspicion that some of them would become lifelong friends of mine.   After having the chance to mingle for a few hours and ask the many burning questions I held in my mind, we had introductions and a group prayer before laying down on our individual mats and consuming the medicine known as Ayahuasca.  Before I go further I would like to add that if you don’t know anything about Ayahusca, please take a moment to look it up.  You can even click the above link to the church I attended and read about it there.  If you are aware of this plant medicine, please, I encourage you to read on.

The first night was the hardest.   I journeyed to the deepest points of my soul and tore out parts of myself I no longer needed.  As the medicine began to kick in I saw colors and movement every time my eyes fell closed.  When it felt like too much,  I was able to open my eyes and ground myself momentarily before carrying on.  I first felt anger and then terror as I descended into the depths of my soul.   This journey was the scariest thing I have ever experienced in my life – I would liken it to be the terror one may experience before a brutally painful death.   All I could think was “I can’t do this.  Why did I sign up for this? I want to go home!”  As I began to purge, with the assistance of the most amazing ceremony facilitators, that terror and anger was released into the small white trashcan placed in front of me.   If I didn’t have that supportive touch and a beautiful woman’s voice telling me “you can do this, you are strong enough”, I am not sure I would have ever made it through that part of the night (Thank you Colleen!).  After only an hour of that fear and release, I was able to move to a spot next to the bonfire, where I silently communed with other participants.  We gazed into the fire and up at the stars for several hours as the music continued and others around us pursued their own journey.  I was glad mine was over – I felt mellow and raw.

The next morning I was done.   I felt like I had looked death in the face and been shit on by him.  I was not sure I could ever face such horrific fear and pain again!  I did call my husband, cried a little and he attempted to encourage me to stay.  After talking with many other group members and facilitators, I decided  to try again.  After all, people kept telling me that no two journeys were ever the same and I liked those odds.  Instead of attending the next night ceremony, I signed up for the day ceremony instead.  It was in the middle of the woods and during daylight hours.  There was less music and I was permitted to gaze up into the trees as I journeyed.   I knew this environment would be better for me and I was not wrong!

This journey was different.  My intention for the day was to be more “connected”..  to others, myself, animals and nature.   I am a budding massage therapist and I was having trouble feeling that connection, as well as love in general.  Ayahuasca ensured that I experienced that connection and took me through both the good and the bad.  First, I saw how synchronicity works… and the connection between people (energetically and via what we know as quantum physics).  I was taken through the universe, a different dimension and even witnessed a far off planet that was inhabited completely by trees.  I felt and watched them communicate with one another via an underground network of roots.   I saw our own energy/universal field, which resembles a giant grid.  There is no time or spacial distance between anything in (and out) of our awareness.  Then there was the love.  I felt so much love – which I continue to feel here 7 days later.  It is nearly equal to the amount of love I felt when seeing my children for the first time – multiply that by one million.  Then, I experienced the other end of “connection”.  I went through the pain of a man lying near to me, felt him purge and then felt his relief – continually for nearly 4 hours.  This happened with three other participants as well – we were literally connected.  At the end of this journey, I let go of grief and guilt surrounding decisions I have made in the past concerning my husband.  I saw a universal and karmic connection that I have with him and all that guilt was uprooted and discarded instantaneously.  There was so much relief in that moment and tears of joy just kept flowing!

So here we are, 7 days later, and I am still reeling from last weekend.  I was in a complete state of bliss and love on Monday and Tuesday, unable to shake the grin that was glued to my face.  I danced and I sang around the house as I bathed in that intense love.   I also had this uncanny ability to make decisions left and right – decisions I hadn’t known I was sitting on!  My depression and anxiety has disappeared entirely, along with OCD symptoms that have been popping up over the last year.  Food tastes differently, music sounds differently, my emotions are stable and my head feels clear and grounded.  On Wednesday, I decided that my massage therapy business needed to morph into a full blown intuitive healing service.  This would mean I was to begin offering massage, Reiki, Intuitive Life Coaching and various forms of energy and talk therapy.  I also hope to work with plant medicine and Ayahuasca integration in the very near future, but I am trying to take this one step at a time!   This was a big deal, accepting yourself to be a healer is a great responsibility and it can also mean making a bit of a sacrifice as well.  I have been fighting it for several years, but  I am officially ready to accept that calling!

Additionally, my daughters have been telling me that they have been hearing spirits and seeing figures in the kitchen for the last two nights.   It is safe to say that something is going on in my energy field and it is affecting everybody.

So, that’s it for now!  After seeing the incredible changes in my own life, I hope to return for another retreat in the coming months.  I look forward to sharing that experience with you as well.

 

The best artistic depiction of a piece of my journey on day 2.

Wait, I DID drive across the United States!

There has been no one life experience that compares to my drive from Connecticut to California… In the VW Golf… with my two 100 pound dogs.  I did not think it was possible, even for my crazy multi-personality self, to experience quite so many emotions in such a short period of time!

Realistically, it was not a good idea for me to plan on documenting that trip on a daily basis.  It was far too hectic between having to stop for a doggy pee break every two hours and scrambling to find safe hotels that allowed my fur children each night.  Plus seeing the sights along the way!  I crept in and out of different hotels late at night (usually through a back door) with my dogs, who barked at just about everyone lol.  It was both the most exhausting and the most exciting thing on earth.   I had never left Connecticut without the physical and emotional support of someone else and driving across the country was a huge deal for me.  So I will share a few things about it:

1.  New Mexico is the scariest place on earth.  The vibes were bad, the spontaneous storms were terrifying, I drove through what appeared to be the Manhattan Project,  and I am pretty sure I spent more than 90% of my time in that state on the phone with my best friend seeking comfort.

2.  I never want to see funnel clouds again.  Ever.

3.  Route 666 aka “the devils highway”  is no joke, just don’t drive it.   I witnessed a murder on the side of the road, blood everywhere, and get this- there was no car involved.  Holy. Crap.

4.  Don’t go to Vegas alone, it is a totally depressing experience.  I even stayed at the Bellagio and saw Kobe Bryant.  But.  I wished desperately to have someone to share it with.

5.  The same advice applies to Nevada heading to CA.  Just don’t drive it alone.  People were following me and asking odd and invasive questions every time I stopped off somewhere.  Nevada had similar dark vibes, just like NM.

6.  Death Valley is when things started getting shit-your-pants scary.  The dogs started snapping and snarling at each other, out of nowhere, and I had no cell service for nearly 4 hours.  The roads were similar to the “Heavenly Road to Hana”, but without the beauty or comfort of the jungle.  At least that is how I felt at 2 am when I drove through!

7.  Yosemite and the Sequoia National Park are probably the most beautiful places I have ever seen on the mainland.   When you think of giant redwood trees that you could drive a car through, you’re thinking of Sequoia.

8.  The grand canyon was breathtaking….  But it felt super creepy in every town that surrounded it.  I even drove through tribal lands that had cameras and gates everywhere- even though the road was a public highway.  I felt like I was being watched… think “The Hills Have Eyes” sort of watched.

9.  Graceland was not as glamorous as I thought it would be and I had no idea that it was quite inaccessible?

10.  I am totally ready to make that road trip again.

The total trip took about 10 days.  I went through 9 audio books, some of which I will have to share- because they were awesome.   George Orwell’s 1984; Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened; Tina Fey’s Bossypants; Michael Newton’s Destiny of Souls and Journey of Souls.  All were phenomenal books and Jenny Lawson was a perfect fit for my drive through Tennessee.

Putting my dogs on a plane was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.  I was a total wreck and wished for someone to tell me they would just be ok.  Well, in all fairness, the baggage claim guy hugged me several times and told me he would escort them to the plane himself.  He was really trying hard to comfort me and I was grateful for it.

Arriving in Honolulu was…well…an incredible mixture of relief, comfort, sadness, and grief.

When I walked out of the airport that day, it only conjured up thoughts of how we had spent the last summer in Hawaii and the happiness (and wholeness) that accompanied it.   I *knew* with a certainty that it was my home and I bawled upon arrival.

 

 

Sedona. Whoa!

Sedona. Whoa!

I do have my next blog drafted, believe it or not, and do intend to finally begin my tale about Hawaii lol and my period of temporary enlightenment.. However, my spontaneous trip to Sedona this weekend with my husband yielded many pics worth sharing. Here’s just one! I mean, wow!

Creation of “The Blog”

I had never thought myself to be a “blogger”.  In fact, I did not enjoy the stigma attached to such a person!  My reasons for initially creating this page were quite ironically not in line with the current nature of my thoughts.  However, the story happens to be an excellent foundation and back-story to my recent self realization.

It was Christmas of 2012 and my husband was taking our two children to Texas for the holiday, where his parents reside.  At this point in our marriage, we had two beautiful little girls and a marriage that I had already prepared to end.   The stresses of our home going into foreclosure, completing my college degree while working and volunteering full time, and still fresh decision to put down our recently adopted dog had sent me into a downward spiral of devastation.  During the ten days he was gone, a series of my own terrible decisions regarding alcohol consumption and several “unforeseeable events”, including the demise of our brand new oil furnace, had sent my emotional state to an ultimate low.  I swung violently from missing him to wanting to replace him immediately.  In this miserable and cynical state, I created this blog- with the original purpose of exposing my disgust with the US legal system and government (this will probably never make sense).

By mid January, I felt myself to be in an “unsafe” position, or rather I had a strong feeling that I would take my own life in the coming weeks.  I have been in this position previously, mostly in my adolescent years, but it was difficult for me to admit those thoughts and reach out.  I was ready to end this 15 year struggle with depression, borderline personality, addiction, and all other ailments I had been diagnosed with by some doctor or professional throughout my life.

My husband, being the compassionate and caring man that he is, urged me to call my best friend who could always manage to pull me out of my funk.  I was even urged to fly down to see him in Florida for a weekend off from my life.  After several hours on the phone, contemplating the next flight to Orlando, my best friend tells me, “Nadia, you have always been the type of person who can walk into a room and change the energy of everyone in it.  When you are low, you are bringing down the world around you.  When you are in a positive place, everyone knows it because they can feel it radiating from you”. Or something along those lines….

I am hesitant to share this turning point, but mostly because there is a lot you must understand in order to grasp the significance here.  My best friend and I are very close, despite the physical distance.  He has always told me “how it is” and he never sugar-coats anything.  This is the same type of communicator I am and it is something I respect and find very useful in life.  Also, this observation of his had struck me in an odd way because he was never the type of person to consider energy or “vibes” of a person.

Anyway, he soothed me some more and I decided I could stay at home and suck it up a little while longer.  I was in my last semester of undergrad and was eager to wrap it up and take myself on vacation to Hawaii in celebration of my graduation.   I sat at home that night with a bottle of wine and a family I felt a strong distaste for… Only now, I was starting to change the way I viewed myself.

And so it began.