Some things I learned from ayahuasca.
I don’t identify with having c-ptsd anymore. I didn’t think I would ever feel this way but I do. It isn’t that I feel totally healed and resolved, or that I have shaken off all my unhelpful patterns and defenses. It’s that I have way more capacity for seeing my patterns and way more flexibility in choosing how I want to respond to them. My agency has grown and my ability to be with hard feelings that come up without becoming overwhelmed by them has grown. Now I see that the story of my trauma is not the story of my life. It’s a part of my life, but I am not defined by it.
Choosing to take part in ayahuasca ceremony changed me. I am still processing and integrating the changes. I know that creating lasting shifts in my behaviours and responses will take time. I already see the stickiness of certain patterns and how I want to return to them. But something is fundamentally different. And that difference is, in part, a recognition of how much I had already healed and changed, before the ceremony. How much capacity had grown within me. How much power and resolve. But also how much joy, how much love. Before the ceremonies I had a harder time seeing the changes, and I had a tendency to blame anything I didn’t like on my trauma, feeling broken and stuck, when often I was just looking at things the wrong way.
Part of my trauma perhaps was the impossible standards I held for myself and my tendency to see myself as broken and damaged when I didn’t live up to those expectations. Ayahuasca showed me how fucking beautiful the life that I have is. It showed me what is really important and slowed things down enough for me to see that there is nothing to prove. I saw myself. For the first time in my life, I really saw myself. And the vision of who I am and what I have done was staggering. Any absurd idea about ‘not being enough’ was revealed to be laughable.
I did process trauma in the ceremonies but I was surprised that there was a lot less to process than I expected. A lot of that work had already been done I just couldn’t see it. And the processing that did happen was efficient and visceral. What needed to be purged was purged. What needed to be felt was felt. What needed to be witnessed was witnessed.
The most profound revelation was my return to the world of living souls that I inhabit. I saw my spirit and I saw how fundamentally I am just like everyone else. I am precious, irreplaceable, and unique: just like everyone else. I saw the stories of our pain, our mistakes, our losses, the unthinkable things that we live, and I saw how we are all connected through that. None of us are alone.
I decided through the medicine to end the estrangement with my family of origin, and I saw how to do it without betraying or abandoning myself. It is possible to hold it all. It is possible to be in reality without cutting off my roots. It is possible to offer compassion, to repair relationship, while maintaining my boundaries. The answer is in going as my adult self: this powerful and capable person I have become.
It is me who protects the children inside of me. They don’t ask for anything from my parents because they get what they need from me, and it is my job to protect them.
I saw that the most important thing in life is to show people that I see them. Every person wants to be seen and every person does what they can given the context and the story they enter into. We do fail. We do hurt each other. We do make mistakes which cause damage. And this is not all we are. None of us are only that. All of us are irreplaceable souls. And that has to be seen, no matter what.
I saw all of this but it wasn’t a mental exercise. It affirmed so many of my deeply held convictions, but it showed me how to feel these truths in my body. Something that wasn’t always possible before.
I know that change is possible, healing is possible, growth is possible. I know that I am capable of love, connection, kindness, forgiveness. I know that I am strong enough to stay in reality, to not turn my back on the unthinkable things. I know that I can know these things and still love. In fact, a big part of why I’m here is to show people this work. We can love without turning away.
I know that I am powerful and strong and capable. And I love myself in a way that gives me so much pleasure and so much joy.
There’s a lot to process and so much of it I don’t know how to put into works. But I know I’ve crossed a threshold and I no longer need the old stories. I have something new.
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Here are some new(ish) things:
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Fuck the Police Means We Don’t Act Like Cops to Each Other #3