On this day last year, I boarded a plane traveling to Peru for the adventure of a lifetime after recognizing a series of synchronistic events that were very obviously guiding me in that direction. The only plan I made was to spend one month at an ayahuasca healing center deep in the Amazon rainforest, since my intuition was telling me not to make plans for afterwards. I felt called to let go of my need for certainty, to let go of my desire to have a plan, to trust that there was a divine plan that the universe was orchestrating on my behalf.
I ended up spending nearly 6 months in the jungle, living without running water or electricity but in sync with the rhythms of nature-- waking up with the sun and falling asleep to the sounds of crickets chirping. During this time, I learned and healed so much that even a year later, it's still hard to find the words to really say what happened for me there.. I had never felt more connected to Spirit and to my most authentic self as I did during my time away from friends, family, and social media. I experienced lots of light, a ton of darkness, and was witness to a sort of magic that's simply out of this world.
22 ayahuasca ceremonies and 3 plant dietas later, I was called back to the US. I was told that I had work to do here that couldn't be done if I was tucked away in one of the most remote parts of the world. It broke my heart to have to leave.. But I understood.
Now, it was time to share my experiences and the wisdom I'd gained with the world.
In the 6 months since I left Peru, I've gone through pretty much every possible emotion I could imagine. Spreading my light, taming the ego, falling in love, integrating the ego.. Excitement, passion, fear, anger, connection, disconnection, loneliness, depression, love, light.. It has been a whole new adventure learning to navigate my "old world" with the new perspective I have about what life is really all about and my role within it.
Not a day has gone by that I don't think about my time in the jungle and long to return to the only place I've ever felt was "home."
One of the hardest things I've found about being spiritually opened is that I've become even more sensitive to other people's pain, and to the pain of the collective. I've found that to expand my consciousness didn't just mean bringing in more light, but to fully experience the reality of what is in every moment without distortion or dissociation. There have been many nights where I've cried myself to sleep, wanting to run away from the mess we've collectively created in the world, back to the safety and security I've only ever fully experienced with the plants.
But, when I'm centered and connected, deep in my heart I know that the reason the world is experiencing so much pain right now is because we are ready to make a massive shift. We're approaching a critical point in time where we have to choose, do we want to stay where we are-- stuck in our old belief systems, sitting back and watching as we destroy our planet and bringing our species to extinction-- or do we want to make a new choice?
Here's the new choice: to wake up to who we really are on an individual level.
When I say "wake up," I'm not suggesting that we all conform to one new way of thinking and being in the world. That's the old paradigm that organized religion has so obviously failed at. To wake up, amongst many other things, is to question what you've been told, to go within to find answers for yourself, to trust your intuition, to forgive, and ultimately, to love and accept all that is without judgement.
The process of awakening will look different to each of us. We are all on our own path, and each of us will realize this new way of being in our own time. The core component of awakening that I've found, is trust. Trust that there is something outside of your conscious mind helping you, guiding you each step of the way.
Opening your eyes for the first time is not an easy experience. It can be painful to let go of people, places, and beliefs that you've held dearly for so long, but the freedom you'll feel from letting go of anything that is not in alignment with your most authentic self is invaluable to your journey and to humanity.
One of my favorite quotes is by Adyashanti:
“Enlightenment is a destructive process.
It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth.
It's seeing through the facade of pretense.
It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”
You are a co-creator in your personal life experience, and with that comes the responsibility to be an active participant in the process of awakening. When we step back from mainstream and social media, when we slow down and take a moment to reflect, we can see the subtle shifts that are happening within humanity. When we give gratitude for what we have in each moment, we tune into the magic that is just waiting for us to join in and play.
As I was told repeatedly in my last ayahuasca ceremony: What do you want to experience? Seek and you shall find.