The Nature of Ayahuasca 2019 Documentary

Why has the world become so fascinated with Ayahuasca Very good question My name is Howard Lawler I grew up in the rural areas of Kentucky in North America My interest in Shamanism began very early in my life as a child My grandmother was a renowned healer and was know in those parts as a Kentucky Root Doctor of course when I was a child I had no knowledge of shamanism per se but my grandmother would tell me stories of how she learned about medicinal plants from her grandmother who was a full blood Cherokee Shawnee Native American So that inspired a keen interest in Native American culture The first sacred plant I came in contact with was Peyote in the Native American church tradition That's where I began my practice and my relationship with the sacred plants In the early ninties I had the opportunity to come to Peru and that opened the door to engage another modality of core Shamanism which is the Amazonian practices involving Ayahuasca My first mission in my connection with Ayahausca was actually for my own personal healing of acute cronic depression which I had fallen into a few years prior to that period of time which produced amazing results essentially healing my depression in the course of just a few ceremonies and through that I saw the huge potential of this to help a lot of people So in 1995 I established the Ayahuasca Spiritquest Healing and Higher Consciousness program here in the Amazon It was at that time one of only 3 organized opportunities for that type of connection available here The topic of Ayahuasca has unfolded dramatically exponentially indeed in the past 5 to 10 years Prior to that there was a very small base of interest in esoteric circle but generally it was unknown to the Western World Ayahuasca is a traditional plant medicine originating in the Amazon It is a holistic medicine that has many healing applications dealing with psychological, psychical, emotional and spiritual illnesses and conditions Ayahuasca certainly has healing properties that directly effect a rather wide range of conditions that are not effectively treated my Western medicine Ayahuasca is perhaps the most effective treatment for depression because it addresses that condition on both a biochemical, physiological and psychological level and in many cases people having suffered depression for long periods of time after working with Ayahuasca find that they do not go back to those feelings and they experience a permanent relief Same is true for anxiety issues phobias of various types irrational fears of things stress and trauma disorders post traumatic stress disorder and things of this nature There are many, many accounts of remissions of various types of cancer following work with Ayahuasca usually in a more extensive manor Probably the most profound improvements in physical conditions that that we've seen in our work are with people with Parkinsons Disease and Multiple Sclerosis neurophysiological in general seem to be improved rather quickly at least symptomatically through even short term medication with Ayahuasca What brought me here to Peru for Ayahuasca was was really just a short experience I had back in the States about a year and a half ago with DMT It was a very opening experience and it made me realise that the things that I struggle with aren't who I am and that they can be washed away with a little bit of work and I had a ferocious appetite of learning more about Ayahuasca and what it was after that I've been dealing with depression for most of my life ever since I was about 12 years old and I don't know, nothings worked I mean I've dealt with so many things and tried so many meds and different kinds of therapy and you know, and still very unhappy Ayahuasca seems to have a good track record at helping people deal with things like depression and post traumatic stress disorder things I've had to deal with so it seems like it was worth giving a try I first heard about Ayahuasca from my best friend who got a fair bit into spirituality discovering more about himself and in turn I was trying to discover a bit more about myself when he showed me a documentary on Ayahuasca I was very intrigued about how it helped so many people with so many issues and it led me here most people have a tendancy to think of pleasant experiences and good experiences and difficult, challenging or hard experiences as bad experiences when working Ayahausca those criteria are not really not really legitimate simply because the very nature of Ayahuasca is to bring up things that people would otherwise tend to avoid dealing with and this is one of the greatest attributes of Ayahausca from a standpoint of personal auto-psychoanalysis as it were enabling those issues to come up come to the surface so that they can be confronted, addressed and hopefully resolved in the conscious mind or at least that process initiated Very often these processes of confrontation are very unpleasant very difficult, very challenging In reality those experiences tend to be the most benificial in the long run providing the person is able to allow the process to run its course to allow those things to come up to engage in the hard work of processing those revelations or those confrontations Ayahausca is an opener Ayahuasca is a potentiator It brings things to the surface that are often otherwise deeply submerged in the subconcious Its hard, hard work People don't come out here to do this for fun Its been pretty grueling with some experiences you really get your butt kicked and you learn really quickly to fight you know, to resist to overanalyse, to overthink really does a disservice to you In my experience the more you can live in your heart and live through your soul live through your nature that's when you really start figure out what life is about This will actually be my second time doing Ayahausca This experience this year has been so much more rewarding and so much deeper, for me It's been a gift, really to come a long way and really know to let go and follow your heart Its sounds so cliché but its so true A lot of the ceremonies even at their hardest were just terrific becuse either you fly and you have just a very good experience that makes you feel good Perhaps you might have visions A lot of times it can be very difficult but even the hard ceremonies where you're suffering a lot of it when you become aware enough you realize the beauty in your plight and the beauty in the plight of all of us and that's not to say that we can't improve and make each others lives better No, I'm not saying that or suggesting that I'm just saying there's so much opportunity for growth and every hardship, every trouble that we have is really just a blessing in disguise and that's just the other dimension to life and I would not had that had I not been to Peru the first time and this time so its just been incredible Sometimes when you're in your rut whatever it is you think you're alone you think you've got it the worst you think no one will understand and in this process in these ceremonies and these talking circles afterwards you reallize that everybody is having a similar fight at a fundamental level and its just profound When one comes to work with Ayahuasca an appropriate amount of preparation training and guidance is extremely helpful, benificial, indeed for most people essential in order to be prepared for some of the surprises Ayahuasca often brings to help people diminish expectations that are unwarranted there's a tendancy often for people to expect or desire Ayahuasca to be what they want it to be rather than being capable of surrendering to it and allowing it to work as it naturally does The perparation must focus perhaps first and formost on intention that is to say the reason a person wants to undertake the process Its important to understand that work with Ayahausca is a process and not a singular event All of the benifits of Ayahuasca cannot be realized in a single session or in many cases even a single cycle of work I am actually hopeful that when I get back I'll be able to do what needs to be done to get to the next step, to be happy again She she made it very clear she's like, I can't take you there but I can show you the way and she did a very good job at that the other night and nice thing is she gave me several hours of what the finish line is So I know what I'm aiming for I know why it's worth it She just showed me infinitly love and that's the word that just came up over and over again in the experience of it I mean its beyond words obviously but just this space of infinite love and anything else is crap Everything else is just a distraction from that infinite space that we all live in that we just forgot about and any time I started to lose it a little bit she'd take me right back to it just to hammer it home this is what you're going for, this is what it's all about I mean I would never say that this work is for everyone It's not easy, it's not a fun experience and you definitely have to be prepared for it Like it took me 10 years to get to the piont where I felt comfortable with trying it because it can be terrifying it can be infinitely frustrating The first few attempts were every frustrating for me but I just kept with it and there was always an insight you would get and for me it was in the sharing circle the next day when I'd listen to other people talk and it wouldn't necessarily their experiences but something about being in that shared space I would start to process what I learned from the night before even if it felt like nothing at the time I would be able to go into the next ceremony with a new perspective and the next ceremony I'd get something more and I'd use that and then Boom the one night just out of no where it was all there As far as people who would think it's hippy dippy all roads lead to Rome so to speak, so as long as people are ready they'll find their way In ones work with Ayahuasca there are 2 principle phases of the work 3 if you consider the preliminary preparation The second phase of course is the intensive phase The intensive phase is the the cermonial experience the experience one has when one partakes of Ayahuasca So the third phase of ones relationship with Ayahuasca is actually the most important phase of the 3 and that's the phase we call integration and integration is the processing and the realization of what one has recieved in the intensive phase and integration is an open ended process often the benifits are not immediately evident and in many cases it will initiate a healing process that will unfold step by step and will eventuall lead one to resolution of those physical or psychological conditions or awaken one certain realities that perhaps they have not been aware of up to that point Pretty much all my life as long as I can pretty much consciously remember I've dealt with anxiety high, high anxiety and in a way it's forced me to become someone who I'm not its forced me to become emotionless I guess you could say I bottle up a lot of things because it was just too hard to face I wouldn't go to parties and stuff like that It really led me to to discovering more about myself I had always found excuses like work I used marijuana as a cruch and even in relationships I would use that as another excuse I was using their happiness to really fuel mine and I wasn't been true to myself I wasn't been true to them It's incredible what 10 days has done to that I mean an entire lifetime of dealing with it and you know the talking circles that we've had here have been a major part in that not just the Ayahuasca, not just the medicine This whole place has had an effect on me that I would never have imagined For me personally I mean it's helped me see my family and friends more so some family members who I've had a tough time appreciating It's really shone a light on that In one of my ceremonies I saw each member of my family all their faces, they came to me in a vision and it was just like I love you so much I have so much appreciation for everything you've done for me and I would never have felt that before I know I've got a lot more healing to do I know I need to open my heart a lot more and I'm not there yet but I have been shown the way and I'm looking forward to more progress I'll let all this sink in and when I go back home I'm going to give all my family the biggest hug There's a serious question about the future of Ayahausca availablility as consumption of Ayahausca increases here in the Peruvian Amazon its also exanding exponentially all over the world and many many many tons of Ayahuasca are exported every year from Peru from other South American countries source countries There are a number of organizations and individuals who are actively involved in the cultivation and propagation of Ayahuasca and Ayahausca companion plants such as Chacruna Yagé to try to offset this growing demand in consumption This is extremely good It must be encouraged Certainly anyone using Ayahausca on a regular basis should be doing something to propagate or sustain their own consumptive needs or use of the plants A common reference in the context of work with Ayahuasca is the purge The purge simply represents a cleasning or a purification process Purging can involve virtually any kind of clearing of elimination process that's either physical, emotional or energetic in nature The physcial aspects of purging with Ayahuasca usually involve vomitting, throwing up but many people in the course of an Ayahuasca ceremony engaging in a purging process experience that an elimination of negativity toxicity and harmful energy that is lodged in their being and so they have a feeling that all of that is coming up and coming out in the course of that physical purging Purging may occur as crying or some other emotional release sometimes it involves defication The purification process is really the essential first step in forming ones deeper connection with Ayahausca A person may come to Ayahuasca in a relatively impure state and have an exciting, entertaining or even highly visual experience that they might find personally gratifying or rewarding in the short term but the deeper long term benifits require that purification process and deeper connection that penetrates to the very core of ones soul if you will and if that penetration occurs sucessfully there is usually a transformation involved which changes the goal or motive of the person for their lives It creates a more profound, more thoughtful objective for their life The Amazonian Curanderos with whom I work are Don Rober Acho Jarama Doña Eliana is his wife Don Carlos is his son Don Carlos is the third generation curandero in his family lineage I've worked with Don Rober for almost 13 years now and Don Robers experience is very rich He began his work with Ayahausca when he was 11 years old He was trained by his uncle and his grandfather and he began to conduct ceremonies on his own when he was 18 years old after an apprenticeship of 7 years which is about average for most curanderos who come up within the culture and undergo a shamanic apprenticeship at some piont in their lives, not all start that early some a little later but the amount of time required to attain competence skill and sufficient knowledge to administer Ayahuasca is 6 to 8 years of training The reference to shamanism is a relatively newly introduced term that 20 to 30 years ago was rarely heard here in the Amazon that's been largely imported by western influences People here now recognise what they do is a form of shamanism but in their own minds they generally think of it in other terms In the end of the year 2010 I like to do yoga teacher training On the day when I was to transfer the money to the yoga training I went on the internet and I found a picture of a Jaguar behind a leaf and I clicked on that picture and then I came to the website of Howard and 4 weeks later I was here What brought me to Ayahuasca was to break the cycle of insanity donig the same thing and expecting different results Working through past traumas, I needed a way to release to cleanse myself, cleanse my soul and it suffered with my relationship at the time and with connection with people so that's why I needed to change What brought me to Ayahausca really I can't pin point it directly I was doing writing in my spare time A lot of things I wrote about led to consciousness and shamanism and I decided to explore these things in research and at the time I was going through a marriage breakup so I had a lot of time to myself to look inward and I didn't want to be that person that I was So that led me down the rabbit hole of finding out more There are really 2 kinds of people interested in Ayahausca in the broad category The primary category would be genuine seekers The other broad category is more centred in curiosity or thrill-seeking Increasingly I see more people coming to Iquitos without real intentions for their connection with Ayahausca What this has caused is a change in attitudes not only among with western people but also in the local culture as well 15 years ago the few people that came here interested in Ayahuasca tended to fit the former category of seeker, of healing or spiritual realization Now people here in the Amazon are increasingly aware that many people come for other reasons as well and this has changed their attitude and perspective on the nature of the western mentality I think they probably respect a little less in general but they also see opportunities for themselves economically and otherwise so there's a very mix response Well of course Ayahuasca is endemic to the Amazonian region of South America It has a very deep cultural history going back most likely thousands of years Western influence has a very poor track record in its discovery of indigenous practices particularly shamanic practices and the subsequent appropriation of the knowledge and the resources The important thing for people to bring to this work if one comes to the Amazon to engage the medicine and to engage the traditional practices surrounding it is to bring sensitivity to bring respect to understand that one is not coming into this culture from a position or stance of superiority to understand that people of western birth and heritage have as much to gain, as much to learn from people and culture and practices in this culture as this culture has to learn from them to understand that there is a reciprocity for everything that is recieved something should be given to realize that they are bring potential benifits but they are also bringing potentially harmful influences as well to be aware of that, to be sensitive to that and to try to help preserve the foundations of this culture and these cultural practices as purely as possible for as long as possible recognising that all forms of trans cultural contact inevitably produce change When I was here for my first time I had no idea what's coming up I had no expectations I I only knew that Ayahuasca is a great healer and a great medicine My first was very special, I will never forget that day the medicine put me on an inner journey and she showed me the things inside they are not clean they were like rooms and I opened the rooms and I saw a lot of trash in the rooms and over the years we cleaned all the rooms up It's now my 7th time here I drank Ayahuasca nearly 60 times When you take the medicine it's very important to have the right set and the right setting Medicines usually act local and the medicine here is a local medicine from the Amazon From my own experience it is very very important to have the jungle to have the environment of the plants around Ayahuasca to be in the jungle and not in a city or in a country where there is no rainforest You can do that, it work but it's not an optiimum Howard and Don Rober offer us the opportunity to get real traditional healing to learn real traditional medicine becuase like I experienced you can see where the plant is from who cut the plant, who grows the plant who cooked the plant, how it is cooked the whole process it's very transparent For me it's better to come here to support people like we do when we are here we watch different tribes and we support them We create connections through heart to the people here and they see, oh cool open hearted people also in the western world for me it's better than to bring the medicine to Europe For me the biggest that happened is an inner transformation it's about how do we deal with life how does life affect us different situations I learned to stay in the middle to take positions like an observer stay calm and discover inner peace In the first ceremonies I had a lot of healing about my past, my mistakes, about forgiveness about self love, how to love each other and after that there comes the learning It's about listening listening to the medicine, listening to yourself it's all inside us the medicine helps to reveal that to open yourself up because your teacher is inside of you These lessons I can learn every day at home and I can integrate that and when I integrate these lessons I will come back but not before Work with the sacred plants often brings people to a point of of questioning virtually everything that they assume to be absolute or true up to that point There's an opening to the possibility in their lives that they had not considered before You know this is a path for the true truth seeker revealing, helping us to understand where we've been where we're coming from in our lives and in our deeper spiritual journey, where we are now in the present and perhaps by understanding those 2 points having a sense of our destiny and where we go from here The medicine is good because sometimes you get lessons in way you never expect sometimes it seems too tough and too strong but I know the medicine only gives you what you can handle no more no less and if you think you can't handle it it's the ego talking that wants to protect you and and not allow the medicine to work Last year was my time, I came last January and my intention for coming was to open my heart and connect with my emotions again She showed me herself in this Native American form which was very very beautiful and powerful It brought me to this door of light and there was this big warrior half man, half beast just blocking the way and I didn't know at the time whether it was something I had to conquer in order to get through to the door and then as the ceremonies past my intention stayed the same so it was pretty much 5 nights of ceremonies all based off of one long story and it showed me a lot of love a lot of passion, a lot of happiness so at one point it brought me to this room where I was able to start seeing the intensity of my vision that were being shed and my emotions so it would be like this silhouette and around it is this black dark smoke just swirling around it and the emotion attached to it you could see was just stored up trauma and it would pull away and kind of dissipate and every time it would be almost a slight sense of relief as it dissipated That happened for a while and then it put me in this position of seeing another silhouette and just raw decayed meat just starts disintegrating off of it but in this symbol it was more powerful because it was like just this negative energy being stored in the body and how bad it is for you we dove into empathy I have always been mentally strong and been able to conquer and do things that I choose to do its a good attribute I have but on the same extent it doesn't allow me to experience empathy towards other people when it comes to the psychological effects from their minds so anxiety, restless leg syndrome I always thought were created by the mind to deflect you from something and when people would experience them I would just be like, Oh, its just your mind just tell it to go away and it will you know, I'm able to do it but it doesn't mean everybody is It wasn't until one ceremony where I felt extreme, severe case of anxiety restless leg syndrome and nausea all at the same time for a long period of time which pushed me to the point of giving in and not overanalysing and using my mind the way that I always do as soon as I gave in and gave up to the medicine to the lessons to my own emotions that's when I went even deeper into the medicine and it tied back all the way to the first ceremony where it showed me that that beast that was blocking the door was then slayed Perhaps the most prevailing myth about Ayahuasca is simply that the all one needs to do to become a better person is drink Ayahuasca That is a rather gross oversimplification which simply isn't true it has been demonstrated time and again in people who lack intention or desire to change themselves or change something about their lives who've taken Ayahausca and gone back into their lives and continued to do and act and live pretty much in the same way as they did before and there's a corresponding assumption that anyone who works with Ayahausca as a Curandero or as a facilitator is automatically trustworthy and competent simply because they work with Ayahuasca Unfortunately neither of the assumptions are true There are risks in working with the sacred plants The primary risk is in the qualities and characteristics the individual brings to the work itself The other risk is in determaning the intentions and authenticity and integrity of the person with whom one will do the work in terms of how trustworthy they are how much do they know are they capable of dealing with situations that might be potentially dangerous or risky to you When one works with sacred plants one intentionally and knowingly and willing becomes vunerable to influences beyond their own in fact Ayahuasca as other sacred plants induces a light state of hypnosis and so when one takes Ayahuasca one is entering a state of a lower threshold of suggestibility and this lower threshold of suggestibility may be used to the patients benifit by a Curandero a person of dubious intentions might use that same quaility of the plant to take advantage of a person in some way All of these things should be considered and this is not to overemphasis the risks or dangers but at the same time it's prudent not to ignore them either The horror stories are the direct result of the globalization and explosion of this whole process and the expanded involvement of people who are ill-prepared and unqualified to be doing it All that said if one undertakes this work guided by someone of expereince integrity, knowledge, skill and a geniune desire to be supportive and helpful then such people are genuinely trustworthy and are capable of guiding a person through this process with great success The new wave of dark and foreboding tales of danger and so forth while some of that is true overwhelmingly it is an exaggeration and doesn't characterize the situation as a whole I think for me I've had some really good experiences with the Ayahuasca Any expectations I had were pretty much blown out of the water but some that I did have were that I was going to go crazy or something because you hear all these horror stories of things going all wrong so it was just all in all the whole process of the way they do things On the first night it was just like a I don't know, a contents page or something like that but without really showing me anything it just made me feel comfortable and there's some sort of feminine aspect to it but once you take, it was a whole different world it just took me down into myself into the dark places I have and it was able to just sort of like shred things apart and made me take layers and layers and layers of armour off stuff like I didn't want to be hurt or in a sense I had become a little bit stone cold These are layers that I had stacked upon my heart and the way that I present feelings in certain situations it was able to show it to be with more clarity so I could see it again Over the last 10 days I think I've definitely opened up something and I think it's more my true feelings and how I mask that a lot For me it was like I was going through a process that I had almost become a wolf in a way and I was going through it in the first person but I was also seeing it in it was pictorial from a third person point of view as well and it was like I was seeing it but like I had already seen it and it was just replayed back to me in a weird sense so I'd understand from all facets I was able to not just see it from my side but see it from maybe someone else's point of view It leaves a fingerprint of that in your memory and you can't really forget it in fact it grows and you start to see all these different things that help you understand what you were let's say to what you could be The 2 principle areas of positive benefit one may realize through work with Ayahuasca are in the area of holistic healing and in the area of spiritual development and realization often these 2 processes go hand in hand and in the concept of holistic healing obviously that involves healing in all aspects of ones being and the spiritual realization dimension is not fully realized by everyone who works with Ayahuasca at least to the same degree People often experience a spiritual epiphany of sorts whether they were previously spiritually inclined or not The common response is an awakening at some level or one's spiritual consciousness if nutured the usualy result or common result is a positive transformation which leads to better things in peoples lives What led me to Ayahuasca about a year ago was that I was sort of the guy who had it all together on the surface and it was slowly dawning on me that I didn't have it all together that I was numb and unhappy and not on the right track for my life so I came to Ayahuasca looking for solutions to those problems My experience with Ayahuasca was that it was it was like a defibrillator it was like came in and zapped me back to life got my heart beating again It was like I was taken in a jet aeroplane straight past all the dancing mice and firework shows that people talk about to what I would call the great spirit I think religions have called it God but that's where it took me very very quickly no messing around and I got to experience what it was like to have that connnection That was a connnection I couldn't have possibly imagined and that's for me what this is all about developing a connection between you and something bigger than you The whole idea is that there doesn't need to be a hierarchy Shamanism in its best form just puts you and it right there and in its best moments you merge completely and then the dichotomy of you and it is gone and there's just the one thing that's something that you can only experience there are no words After having that experience I definitely struggled with taking that and putting it back into my day to day life and I'd say for me it took about a year before I had integrated that and I found that that was where the real work was and also where the real benifits came but that's an aspect that's sometimes overlooked Integrating that experience required a shift in lifestyle and a shift in the I was the way I was in the world that required me to to change me goals change my work change change a lot The other thing that Ayahuasca's being teaching me this time around is about choice and everything, everything is a choice and we get to every moment we get to choose between really I look at it as the light side and the dark side or however you want to conceptualize it but we can make the world whatever we want it to be with just our choice and Ayahuasca has helped me see both sides of this thing very clearly and I feel like I'm in a much more centred position to make the choices that are going to lead us in the direction thats going to be positive for myself and for everyone My only advice would be Ayahuasca is not for everyone and that if you have a calling to do it then I suggest you pick up the phone Many people are seeking alternatives to the western paradigm I think one of the reasons for that is simply the fact that the western world has been for some time dissatisfied with its own status quo and with the absence of a meaningful base of reference other than rampant materialism There's still a good many people whose primary perception of Ayahuasca is as a new and novel drug experience as opposed to a holistic medicine Helping people to form a healthy attitude that is in line with the actual nature of the plant the nature of the practice and which recognises its positive benefits I think is a very important thing This is Huambisa Huambisa The most powerful of the companion plants In many respects science is kind of catching up with traditional medicine in terms of providing the proof if you will based on scienctific method and evaluation to the saticfaction of the western mind that this plant and related plants associated with it do indeed have remarkable healing properties that have great potential in service to humanity and in dealing with things that modern conventional pharmaceutical medicine doesn't not address well if at all A very important cultural aspect of work with Ayahuasca is in bonding This has been an integral role of Ayahuasca in indigenous cultures for a long time that is the effectiveness it has in bringing people together and unifying people and helping people find common cause and common ground and reducing competitiveness increase cooperation What we see in our work with Ayahuasca with people coming together for the first time within 48 hours no one feels like anyone else is a stanger anymore going through the trails and tribulations and stripping away the barriers to communication When people leave here invariably they leave as brothers and sisters They leave with a sense of love and appreciation of each other As I tell everyone from the get go when you start here everyone is an apprentice and everyone is a maestro Everyone is a teacher and everyone has something to learn from everyone else And indeed that's the way it unfolds So it's that dynamic exchange in the spirit of giving, in the spirit of sharing in the spirit of compassion and tolerance of our differences All of this has a very benefitial positive influence on virtually everyone who does this work which ideally carries on over into everyone's personal life when they go back home Well you know I pretty much hit the ground running when I came back home with life here Like I had all these incredible experiences at Spiritquest You know I was all the things that were holding me back and some things I did see before and I guess we continue to do that right when we get home we start relfecting back on our experiences and they keep on at least for me just birthing new insights you know each ceremony that I go back on When I got home you see deeper into the day to day stuff that you usually just kind of took for granted even just simple stuff like work or maintaining friendships or acquaintances it just really helped me take everything to another level and I'm definitely happier You know we all have our stuff, we all have our issues it's part of being human and we get reflections everyday in life of the things that we stuggle with so I still have all that stuff but it doesn't penetrate as hard as it used to you know and Ayahuasca and my time at Spiritquest definitely contributed to that growth and I'm super grateful I did that Yeah when I got back there was a hangover for a while you know the Ayahuasca hangoever where you're just in love with everthing and Ayahuasca was in my head for a long time just kind of like I don't know I had this feeling that she had a ulterior motive you know like she was trying to get me to do things that weren't really me and it really affected how I was when I got back and my relationships and it made me much more clear with what I was willing to put up with so there was some friendships I just let slide you know I just wasn't willing to put up with that anymore I definitely still have a lot of work to do my depression is still there but it's definitely quieted down quite a bit I have a different relationship with it now it's much less antagonistic and you know I'm a lot more accpeting of that situation than I used to be Life has took a very different direction than I expected and I'm a very different much more confident person now but it hasn't been easy, it hasn't always been fun but I see now, I feel like the whole thing was leading to this point to basically get back to some sort of ground zero where I can relax for the first time in 20 years probably which wouldn't have been possible had I not you know, gone down to Peru When I arrived back home I felt I was in a really good place mentally and I think that made me realize that all the problems and the challenges that I faced before didn't bear as much weight as I had previously given them Integrating my experience certainly wasn't easy I went back to the same routine and it wasn't long before I found myself slipping back into old habits and unhealthy mindsets So to try and eliminate that from happening I had to change my lifestyle I changed my diet, I started watching less TV and just found things that were so much more fulfilling to me Two and a half years on I still find myself sometimes falling back into those old habits and mindsets but I'm by far in a much better place than where I was For me Ayahuasca has helped me gain so much more self love and more confidence within myself It's just helped me in so many ways So when I first got back from Peru Life here was challenging in the aspects of connections with my friends and people, life wasn't as deep as it was down there It was hard to find my place and it was a little challenging just trying to figure out how to belong back into the past before going to Peru Since going down when I met everbody in this documentary I've been down 3 more times and my growth has been amazing Life has been very happy my perceptions have shifted tremendously and Ayahuasca has helped me to let go of emotions that caused me to be depressed the reason I went down there Things unfolded for me in a way that I didn't really know You know some of the lesson I'm stlil learning from my first Ayahuasca journey Every time I'm learning more and it's still integrating now The way that I think, the way that I am how I hold myself Plant medicine it's challenging but it's also an absolute blessing Looking back on my Ayahuasca work now I would say I was quite naive about the integration process You know I hoped that drinking Ayahuasca would solve all my problems and I I quickly found out that was not the case I quickly found out that it would require work and dedication and sincerity and to meet it half way In doing so I realized significant benifits in my life I can say that I'm a much happier more well adjusted content person from my work and that's substantial, that's not going anywhere You know having a few years of perspective on it I would say that my work with Ayahuasca was without a doubt the biggest turning point in my life This requires work but it's work that's well worth doing and there's there's big benifits to this There's often no benifit in going back into ceremony too quickly following a good cycle for work until a sufficient amount of integration has occured and usually people know when it's time to do it again if they feel called to do it again because that integrative process can actually go on for years I got an email from a guy in Hawaii yesterday who was here with me 18 years ago telling me how much the medicine is still working in his life and expressing his gratitude for the treatment he received with it 18 years ago and he's not had Ayahuasca since That gives you an idea of the enduring benifits and qualities that one can realize from it