My Trip To Peru.
When Mama Ayahuasca calls, there is no hiding.
It is said that when mother Ayahuasca calls, you just know.
I had heard of this spiritual, healing plant that helps you communicate with nature, that allows you to see what is causing your illness on a spiritual level. A plant that induces altered states of consciousness and takes you on different adventures to discover your fears and get past them. A plant that purges the body through vomiting, and purifies the mind through meaningful psychological experiences or visions. As a human being that has gone through life and as a counsellor that sees a lot people in pain, I have been very curious and excited to experiment with Ayahuasca. That said I never planned for it. For some reason, I knew intuitively that when the time would be right I would know it - just like everything else in my life - I would know and would go for it.
A few years ago, as I was going through life, searching & learning, I read "The Celestine Prophecy" and I LOVED it. I really connected to it and I was very inspired to visit the location they where having all these amazing experiences! And then I forgot about it. In fact I couldn't even remember where in South America it was.
2017 has been good year but also a challenging one. Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and it was very difficult to see him get worse by the days and suffer so much. It was also very hard to see my sisters and my mom hurting for dad and for the situation. It brought a lot of the old family dynamics back and at times it wasn't easy to be as a family. My health paid for these challenges and it kept getting worse. My stomach pains were happening more frequently. I was hurting for Dad, for myself and for the family. I was ready for a break. I just wanted to be alone, process, accept, and make some sense of everything that was happening.
One afternoon in September, I was sitting on my bed, scrolling through instagram and I saw it. I knew this was for me and I had to do it! It was a one week retreat in Peru that included an Ayahuasca ceremony and an opportunity to hike sacred mountains including Macchu Pitchu. How perfect! My soul just knew, I had to book it. Nothing else mattered in that moment, money, time off work, responsibilities. I trusted that everything would work out and it did. Within a couple days everything was booked and I started living in my future. I didn't know what to expect but I knew that life as I knew it would never be the same.
Friday October 27th, I arrived at the airport at 5am with a gigantic smile on my face. I was a bit nervous about leaving dad but I knew he was in good care with mom and my sisters. From the minute I got on the plane I felt supported by the universe in so many ways. Everything was working, everything was flowing. It's almost like I kept being told I was on the right journey, making the right choice. Even when I was running late and almost missed my connection to my final destination, Cusco, the universe aligned with me and delayed my flight and I made it!
As we were flying over Cusco getting ready to land, I had an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude. I felt like I had been there, even though I had not, at least in this lifetime. It was almost a feeling of "being home". It felt safe and peaceful. We got into a bus and headed to our lovely resort, Sacha Munay, in the mountains of Calca. It was a beautiful warm day. We were surrounded by nature, birds singing, an abundance of trees and a beautiful waterfall. The meals were healthy, very tasty and made with ingredients from their backyard. I was truly wowed by everything there; the location itself, the food, the staff, the energy. All of it..
Each morning, was filled with beautiful practices: meditation, breath work, somatics and yoga. After lunch we would be headed for different adventures each day such as sacred hikes, beautiful spiritual ceremonies, community work and even some shopping, some resting and lots of journaling. We had the choice of participating in several relaxing and/or spiritual activities such as massages, healing baths, gong baths, coca leaf readings and my very favourite, the ayahuasca ceremony.
I wanted to take advantage of everything this beautiful, soulful culture had to offer. I wanted to experience it all and it was truly magical. They use plant medicine, energy, chanting, beautiful prayers & a ton of love to heal. How can life get any better? My energy was vibrating at a completely different level. I felt like I was floating. I was on a natural high and most importantly - at peace.
If you know me or if you have read some of my older posts you would know that I have had intense stomach pains and digestive issues for over 20 years. I had gone for many tests, specialists, treatments but they could never find anything and nothing really worked. When I worked on myself at an emotional, spiritual and energetic level is when I've had the best results. That said, last year it got really bad especially with Dad's illness. I was getting really tired and frustrated with this pain.
I didn't know what to expect from my Ayahuasca Journey, but here is what happened. We had to be on a strict diet a couple weeks prior to the ceremony. No red meat, no salt, no sugar, no medication including vitamins and no sex. Apparently the medicine doesn't work well with these in our bodies. I can't say I followed the diet 100% but I did my best. The day of the ceremony, we were asked to not eat. We arrived to the ceremony at 8pm. We were to asked to wear light coloured clothing. Mats were set up for each of us with a blanket and a bucket if we needed to purge (vomiting, which is considered good as we release blockages or things that no longer serve our bodies). I was excited and I was not nervous. I had a sense of faith. I knew I was meant to be there and I was ready for it.
The first round, they gave us a small portion to drink. I felt it right away. I felt very nauseous and I also felt my 3rd eye vibrating. I went to lie down while the Shamans were singing beautiful songs. I noticed my feet getting really warm and my legs started shaking. I remembered a trauma release technique I had learnt (TRE) about and I knew in that moment my body was releasing energy/trauma and I allowed it to. This continued for about an hour. Then, the Shaman asked us if we wanted more of the medicine. Most of us, including myself went for more.
When I took the second round, I felt the nausea and my 3rd eye vibrating even more intensely. This time I started having visions. I kept saying to myself "No Daniela, you are making these things up, you aren't actually seeing these things" and I kept resisting it until I finally surrendered and allowed myself to fully engage in the experience. One of the most special things I remember is my interaction with loved ones that passed. I saw my uncle on a bridge, high up in the mountains. The sky was pink and purple. My uncle Hussein was one of my favourite family members. We were closer to him than our own father when he lived. He and his 2 brothers passed from cancer a few years ago. And I saw him on the bridge! He had a big smile on his face, he looked good, very healthy and happy. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was doing good and he was very happy. I also saw my other uncles on the bridge, we hugged, we laughed, they were exactly like they used to, dressed the same, had the same sense of humour. It felt really nice to be with them in that moment. I asked him uncle Hussein "What are you doing here?" and he said "We're waiting for your Dad." My eyes filled with tears instantly. I knew what that meant and I wasn't ready for it. "What do you mean? I don't think he's ready!" I said, crying. "He is more ready than you think. He is really tired of life on earth. He is ready to go but he is holding on because of you girls. Don't worry we will take great care of him. He won't be alone." I could not believe what I was hearing. Dad is actually ready to go. I was heartbroken. I was so sad to hear he's ready to go. Yet, somewhere in me I knew I had to accept it and let him go. I knew I had to trust what my uncle said, and let go. It is Dad's choice. He would be ok.
Then I asked uncle Hussein to see God. He laughed and said "of course you want to see God." He walked me to the other side of the bridge and a big wooden door opened. I saw a bright light and then the creator. In my vision he looked like Santa, a caucasian, old, fat man. I was so upset and said "THAT's what you look like!" He laughed and said "Well that is how you picture me so that's how I show up for you." Then I remembered, as a little girl that is all I knew "God" to look like from movies, and books. I smiled and said "of course." I had beautiful conversations about life and its purpose.
As I was having these experiences, my legs started to convulse strongly and more frequently for hours. At about 1am, the ceremony ended. We thanked our amazing Shamans and I went in my room. Only one of my roommate was there. I felt weird, I am not sure how to explain it. I could not stop convulsing. I went straight to bed. By then my entire body started shaking and I panicked. I could not stop it and I was scared. I called for Sofia, my roommate. She sat with me, held my hand and helped me breathe through it. Once I was calm, the real healing started. I was shown vivid images of generations and generations of women in my family being hurt physically. I saw many of my ancestors being beaten, strangled, stabbed, kicked and raped. I saw their faces. The hopelessness and sadness in their eyes. My body shook to every hurt they felt. I felt every position they were abused in. I felt their pain and sobbed for hours. I cried and cried. Even though I was experiencing their physical and emotional pain, I knew consciously it wasn't mine. I wasn't scared. It wasn't about me, it was about them. These women were not heard and seen until this moment. I knew I was processing centuries of trauma that was not mine. I was shown the stomach pain I had been experiencing was never mine. It was my ancestors' and for the first time I had a chance to process it for myself and for all of them. I kept allowing the process with the support and love of my roommates by my side. At 4 am I saw God again. I saw a big field of beautiful, colourful tulips and a gold sky. Then I heard his voice saying "Child, it is all over now. You can rest" and my body just stopped. I smiled. I was so extremely exhausted, yet at peace.
My roommates were by my side, holding me, creating the space for me to process all this. There was so much energy and love in the room. We laughed in so much gratitude. I felt so much love. I can't even explain or describe it. My body continued shaking randomly for weeks after that but each time I knew my body was letting go of something and I smiled.
The next few days felt like a dream. Everything looked more beautiful and peaceful. I felt I was on a high and very connected for many weeks after this experience.
The second part of the journey was a beautiful and tiring 4 day hike. The first 3 days we hiked the Lares Trek which is so far off the beaten track that it has barely changed over the last 500 years and it is empty. The Lares Trek begins in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and passes through terraced fields and traditional villages as you climb into the Andes. The mountains are breathtaking and have all the natural beauty of the Inca Trail but without the busy tourist crowds. It was an amazing adventure!
We ended our incredible journey visiting and hiking the famous Machu Picchu. And that was a perfect way to end the trip!
It was amazing witnessing how connected Peruvians are to the mountains, the trees, and all of nature. They have so much love and respect for Mother Earth and they rely so much on their natural resources to create, build and heal. It was and extraordinary gift to have been able to get a glimpse of their world, their teachings and their culture.
It has now been 3 months since this trip and my stomach has never felt better. Yes, I still have indigestion once in a while but nothing like what I used to experience. Most importantly I was able to come back, share with my sisters what my uncles said so we could give my dad permission to go in peace. When I got home, I found that Dad's health was in fact getting much worse. It was not easy to accept but it did help that my uncles prepared me for it and let me know Dad would be ok.
I would recommend this experience to anyone no matter where you are in your journey or what you are searching for. Creating an experience like this is true self care. This journey was such a great success, Ariel and Alandra are doing it again this fall, check it out here. Your soul will thank you!