Life After Ayahuasca: The Ceremony Within

Humans, creatures of habit and comfort. Routine and familiarity. We often return to the places, the things, the patterns that create a sense of safety, understanding and grounding within ourselves. The out of ordinary experiences are less common than the ordinary, and the cycle of our days can be very repetitive in nature. The known realities are the comfortable ones, the ones we sink into and become stagnant in. Change becomes less frequent and more unknown. But as humans, we are adaptable, we are resilient and most importantly, we are evolving constantly. Within these comfort zones we condition ourselves into is something that cannot be boxed up, or locked away. Within this comfort zone is our spirit; the soul within.

What happens when we break this cycle of repetition and habit? In most cases, extreme change, and extreme growth. Breaking these cycles can bring up many emotions. When we shift ourselves out of old behaviour and patterns, our mental space has to adjust. After many years of living out the same actions and choices, it can be difficult to create new ones. Ayahuasca is an incredibly potent tool for creating massive shifts, letting go of patterns, and transforming into a better version of ourselves. Some may say that sitting in an ayahuasca ceremony can be like 10 years of therapy in one evening. It is a lot to integrate and can take many months, and maybe even years to fully understand things we go through under this medicine.

One of the questions I have been asked the most is, “what differences do you feel after ayahuasca?” I have heard from many people that they have beliefs that plant medicines, ceremonies and psychedelics are a magic bullet solution. A cure, you might say. But this belief is not true, yes deep ceremonies change you forever, but the work really happens every day after. The process of healing through ceremony is a commitment and dedication. Ayahuasca is a powerful and potent medicine that works herself all the way through your body and psyche, she reaches the depths of your being deeper than anything else can. Grandmother is the brightest light in your darkest spaces, she brings all things up from the subconscious and makes it all conscious. But in order for this process to continue to work, you must show up for yourself every single day.

So what differences have I experienced in my life since returning to my home in Canada after ayahuasca and deep ceremony work? Almost everything is different, where so many things are also still the same. I often reflect on my ceremony work, at least once a day to be honest. Any situation that comes up for me in my life I stop and ask, “What would grandmother tell me?” It brings me to a deep state of contemplation and reflection. I notice that there are many experiences that in the past would shake me up inside, but since returning home I find myself feeling more grounded and more secure in my emotional state. Often I would fall to pieces quickly, or become panicked in simple situations however, with the work I have done and continue to do, I am strong and have clarity. Boundaries were always something I deeply struggled with, but now I set them with firmness and confidence.

Routine of life is not something that brings me pain any longer, because I now see that the pain I was experiencing or the unfulfillment was caused from something deep inside me. A heavy sadness and burden I carried and conditioned myself into believing was a part of who I was. I realize that mental health is a difficult topic to discuss for some, so please remember all of this is strictly my own personal experience and journey and may not resonate with where you are at in yours, and that is okay. For me, I became addicted to my own mental health issues. I was fixated on them, I identified heavily with them and fully believed that they were who I was. This is not true, after sitting with plant medicines (not just ayahuasca) I started to see these addictive traits when it came to my mental illness, I was intertwined with them so deeply that I lost parts of myself to it. After doing ayahuasca I let that go, I chose to detach myself from them in the way of identification and saw them as things I needed to work on and dive deeper into.

A big part of this journey was ayahuasca for sure, but each day is still just as big of a part as those weekend retreats were. I choose to show up for myself each morning, I choose to do the difficult work, to dive deeper into my shadow and my pain because I have seen and felt what recognizing these things can do. When we shine light on the dark parts of ourselves we bring healing to them. The only way out of pain is through it, to overcome and grow. Each day is an opportunity to sit in ceremony, to integrate your life and experiences, to become whole again. Life is a constant movement, a spiral of life. Coming back to things and relearning is normal, do not shame your journey, rather celebrate the amount of growth you continue to do. Notice the little parts of your growth, and be patient with yourself. Because things in life that are important, take time. Cultivate your own healing.

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