For almost a month now, I have been wandering the scapes of Peru and Ecuador.
I have been meaning to write this blog post but just haven't had the space to sit down and let the juices flow!
It's a hard one trying to do anything computer wise when you are in and out of transportation, wifi and power outlets.
I'm so grateful for this time away from technology though... I have to admit I kind of have a glorified desk job sometimes with all the editing I do for my photographic work.
I recently went on a 2 week pilgrimage through the Sacred Valley of Peru with a group of wonderful people I had never met before, and what I experienced was nothing short of serendipitous heart mending realness.
On this tour besides visiting the most epically beautiful areas off the beaten track, we were also given the opportunity to work with the plant medicine Wachuma (San Pedro Cactus).
I had a lot of anticipation about that even before the tour, as I had strong feelings against any psychedelics or ingesting strong altering substances.
Around 7-9 years ago I was a very insecure young woman, already heavily addicted to marijuana since I was 16, and when I moved to Melbourne I ended up falling in with the wrong crowd of people.
This resulted in me ingesting a lot of random street drugs, psychedelics and pharmaceuticals, and due to already being a hyper sensitive person and not having the right support around me while I was in these altered states, I actually ended up creating mass amounts of trauma in my body and mind!
I know this doesn't necessarily happen to everybody who decides to experiment with drugs, but unfortunately I was still too naive and not prepared for the toll it would take on me personally.
I have slowly been reworking myself over the last 7 years, through different types of self development that I have naturally gravitated towards studying.
Transpersonal Art Therapy
Qi Gong and Shamanic Energy Training
Sexual Embodiment Courses
So of course after my previous experiences, my mind was saying NO NO NO NO I DON'T WANT TO GO ON THIS TOUR!!!
My heart kept saying YES.
I challenged my mind around it for almost a year... and every step of the way all signals pointed to a YES, so I booked.
Now I know why my mind was so reluctant for me to go.
I had huge anticipation on the first day I was given the opportunity to work with wachuma, and it ended up being one of the most challenging days physically, emotionally and mentally I have had in many many years.
I have built my mind to be very strong, and very very good at talking me in or out of any given situation, but honestly... letting the intelligence of the mind rule your existence can be a poisonous thing.
Wachuma really brought me into my body, into my inner workings and how I have trapped myself inside with a barrier around my heart, for fear of attracting the types of toxic humans I had bathed in the soup of life with for such a long time.
I fought the medicine every step of the way, and Wachuma kept breaking me down physically, to the point where I could no longer analyze or talk myself out of anything I was being shown, because I had no energy left... I just had to surrender.
I wouldn't let myself surrender, I wouldn't let myself forgive myself, and I wouldn't stop the self psychologist talk.
I was pissed off because my first time with Wachuma was like Kali was ripping me to shreds, and I was looking around at the other people in my group seeming like they were blissing out on life!!!
But everything is as perfect as it was made to be.
- That day I was shown how I was holding onto deep rage in my body, rage against the injustice against all women in the past and now. Particularly the afflictions of body hate, rape and physical abuse.
I was falling deeper and deeper into a pit, and one of the Q'ero who was watching over us as we sat with the medicine came to me... he began smudging me with a condor feather and smoke and I immediately started feeling like I was choking, until I burst out screaming like I was in pure agony, yet it was the expression of the rage that I had been suppressing in my body for so long.
I never fully acknowledged that it is my story too, that I have always tried to suck down all the pain from my own experiences, instead of transmuting it into an activist fire to stand up and fight for change!
- That day I was shown how much I isolate myself in order to keep my heart safe.
I have a deep desire to love and be loved, but my cage has to break open in order to do that.
- That day I had the eternal mother and father energy come to me in the form of two people from the group. They held me and stayed by my side while I struggled to stay coherent, and I felt the deep love from them. It was as if my inner child was being nurtured the way she always wanted, by two humans as surrogates of mother and father..... and it took me a long time to allow the love to penetrate my body and to relax into receiving, as I have always preferred to give.
- That day I was shown how my mind traps me in, how I constantly analyze myself and how I don't forgive myself.
- That day I recognized how much I desire to receive attention and love, and that I have often tried to manifest it through sickness, anxiety, depression and pretending to be helpless.
If I dim my radiance enough, to the point of being a sick person or anxiety ridden, then people would love me and care about me... right?!
I mean.... who wants to be near someone who shines super brightly? TALL POPPY SYNDROME.
This in turn has ended up as me having resentment against people who I feel are shining their light, and hating myself because I don't think I'm good enough to be that big.
Also, because the love is not clean, and it's coming from a place of lack... it has always felt off and inauthentic... so I have never allowed myself to receive it anyway!!
Totally twisted I know... and in the depths of a wachuma experience, it's like your entire body truly feels these things and lets you know how it's serving you.
There were many more things that I learned, but these were some of the most potent.
The journey was 2 days into the beginning of the tour, and from that point onward I spent the rest of my time really unpacking what I had learned (and still unpacking), and instead of policing myself at every point since then, I am more easily able to just recognize what is happening and let it go.
We were given 2 more opportunities to work with the medicine during our journey, but I really felt like I needed to just move slowly through everything, and I know I will come back and work with this teacher plant again.
By sharing my experience, I in no way want to discourage you from working with this medicine if you feel called to, I just feel it is important to share myself and my experiences, to be transparent and to honor my path as a sovereign, creative being who is interested in many more truths than just having a love affair with photography :)