It’s been about two years since I’ve heard about ayahuasca for the first time.
I made a friend in Vancouver. His name is Valtteri. He owns and runs the sauna business. We met in late cold October, at the beach. He invited me over to his sauna. Instantly we found a common language. Deep conversation with him and two other friends of his. Very interesting and spiritual people – my tribe.
Valtteri shared that he had some challenges running his business, so I offered help. I consulted him over the course of several weeks. I gave him my perspective, offered solutions and just helped to clear his mind. I connected him with my digital marketing person.
During that conversation in the sauna, he mentioned his psychedelic experience with ayahuasca. That caught my attention and I asked if he could put me in touch with the people who run those ceremonies. This is not something that you could easily find on Google. Ideally is to be referred by someone you trust. Typically such circles are closed to the general public and very private. The only way for new people to join is only by referrals. I’ve got mine.
If you are not familiar with Ayahuasca, there is a great documentary called “The Jungle Prescription” with Mr. Gabo Matte. I suggest you start there.
I was getting exponentially nervous the closer it was getting to the ceremony. The night before, I had a bad dream with my mom in it. I couldn’t hide my anxiousness so that people could tell. My friend Cailan said that I looked tense.
The “D-day” has come. On my drive to the place, I wasn’t listening to the podcast or audiobooks as I always do. I couldn’t focus. I was scrolling through my playlist, hitting the next button over and over. I was trying to relax, searching for the right tune to play.
I was nervous but my body was relaxed. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. My muscles were relaxed and the shoulders soft. I was tired of resisting the tension. I did not want to be in control anymore. I didn’t want to fight my feelings.
Halfway I made a stop in Vernon. To catch some air and regroup, I went for a walk. I could not resist the smell of fresh pastry coming from the bakery. Trying to comfort myself, I got a bunch of junk. Sugar for my brain. Of course… back to my addiction… This is how I cope with stress… I felt guilty afterwards.
To cut a long story short – the ceremony took palce at the farm, in the middle of nowhere.
20 people: 6 women. and 14 men.
I parked my truck and went upstairs to the porch. Two guys and a girl were having a conversation while smoking cigarettes. “Is this it?”, I asked. “Yes, you are at the right place”, one of them answered.
Shawn – the shaman, ran the show. He had two helpers, who helped during the ceremony and even cooked for him.
People inside seemed nervous.
The ceremony took place in the large room, on the back of the two-story building. The room was covered in mats that people set up on the floor in the circle. Very close to one another – half a meter or so.
We all gathered together. The ceremony had started and one of Shawn’s helpers came up to me. She said that I should come to the center and talk to the shaman.
“Is this your first time? Do you have any addictions or problems that you come with?” Face to face. Eyes to eyes. I was ashamed to admit that I didn’t have anything in particular. No drug addictions or anything like that. That made me feel out of place, like a tourist. He shook my hand and said that he was happy to have me there. I went back and sat on my mat.
I was the only person who’s never done it before. I was also the youngest one in the room. Other folks were about 35 years old and up. All kinds of people – very diverse public. Different by age and looks. My neighbor on the right – Jessica gave me her flashlight. She put the red duck tape over the beam, so it’s not so bright in the dark. She said that I’ll need it. My neighbor on the left – the old man named Ed, said that this is the best thing that I’ve ever done for myself. He said that this is a life-changing experience. Certainly, it was.
The air in the room was very heavy. Candles were burning… and people were smoking cigarettes. I was very nervous. My throat got dry and my stomach was boiling. “I hope I won’t shit myself”, I thought to myself.
The lights went off. Shawn sat in the center of the room with a little candle. He had two white bottles and a little transparent shot glass beside him. He opened the bottles and whispered something into each. Clockwise, people would come up to him and he would pour the black sticky liquid into the glass.
My turn had come, so I came up and sat in front of the candle. Shawn filled the shot and looked at me with a slight, barely noticeable wink. I lift the shot in front of the candle to see the colour. Pitch black. I swallowed my dose and went back.
The “medicine” was inside of me.
3 AM – Six Hours Later
Exhausted, but I can’t sleep. I need to write this down.
I have to document at least something because I am afraid to forget.
So I had a shot of that black sticky liquid. With no facial expression, I swallowed it quietly. Very specific taste… I remember the look on Shane’s face – curious, with a barely noticeable sneaky smile. The aftertaste was as of a wine leaf. I sat back on my mat and observed other people.
One by one, clockwise – a human shadow whould walk up to the candle and tilt the head with the shot of “medicine”. The “12-hour mark-person” took the poison and disappeared into the darkness. Shawn blew on the candle sharply – the light went off… The room got endlessly dark and silent. It was so quiet that I could almost hear my elevated heartbeat. Silence.
We sat motionless for about 10-20 minutes. I transitioned from a cross-legged position to a laying. I felt tired… “You paid so much money and now you are going to sleep?”, I thought to myself. Whatever! I was too tired… “Ayahuasca will wake me up if it really works”, was my rational. I laid on my side and slowly fell asleep, but only a half-way.
Hearing someone puke pricked my ears. Then, another person… “It must be starting”, I thought to myself.
Shawn sparked the lighter to lit up his tube. Inhaled several times. The red light disappeared… More people started puking, then silence. He then lit up the lighter and inhaled several times more. The light dissapeared into the darkness. Silence…
I was completely sober, observing from the sidelines.
“I wonder when will it hit me if ever. I don’t even feel like puking yet. Maybe I had too little?” Watching other people drink, it seemed like Shawn poured a bit less for others. I was sitting right at the angle, where I could see the shot glass, about five meters away. Why did he give me almost a full shot? Other people had half – at most. A few drank even less – only a quarter.
Shawn stood up and went clockwise around the room.He came up to the each person and exhaled the smoke down on every “patient”. Once he complete the circle, he went back to his spot and began singing… “What language is it? Sounded like chanting. Very melodic and pleasant to the ear. I laid flat on my back and enjoyed listening to his voice.
My airways opened wide and I began breathing deeper. Tears had bursted from my eyes. I didn’t notice them until they rolled down to my cheeks, all the way to the ears. I thought that was very odd because I didn’t feel high and my mind was clear. However I felt that something in my body was changing.
“Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!”, I whisper…
“What a beautiful singing!” I could listen to him all night long – “Please don’t stop”.
Abstract shapes and figures started popping up in front of my eyes. Eyes? They were closed. In front of my mind? Can I look around? I didn’t want to move, because I was afraid to scare away this … I didn’t want to ruin the moment. I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful visuals. Things got more intense and my eyes began pumping out the tears. This was it. No doubts, ayahuasca was working on me.
I would open then close my eyes several times, just to see if that would change anything. Amazing! The visuals didn’t change at all. I didn’t see it with my eyes – but with my mind. I flipped onto my stomach. My body felt so strong! I forgot the fatigue I’ve had a moment ago – “I have to move! I can’t…” In the beginning, they said: no talking, no walking and no touching anyone. So I laid face down on my stomach while flexing my leg muscles, just to get some energy out. I could hear my joints pop – that strong my muscles were. “Holy shit this is intense!”. I got slightly concerned about losing control.
“Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!”, I heard myself whisper. I felt so happy. “Is it all for me? For free? How did I deserve it? Yes, you deserve and this show, this genius performance is all for you.” I pulled the blanket over my head and started giggling like a maniac. I felt like a little child who found a large bag of chocolate candies. “This is my treasure and this is all mine.” The feelings were so beautiful and profound that I cried with happiness. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. “I am so grateful! I am blessed. Pure happiness!”. The feelings were so powerful that it’s hard to describe. “Enjoy! Catch the moment because it won’t last forever. It is too good to last too long. This is an illegal amount of happiness and it’s all mine. I don’t have to share. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. Nobody sees me – I am safe under my blanket.
Beautiful! This is UNBELIEVABLE!”
3:45 am – I am so tired… falling asleep. I need to keep writing, otherwise, I’ll forget everything.
Beautiful! This is UNBELIEVABLE!”
THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO ME THAT IOWASKA HAVEN’T DONE
The little kid in me was playing. What if I hold my breath? Holly shit – all the visuals freeze. Inhale and everything gets back to motion. What if I slightly change my body’s position? What if I move?
That works too! I now see different things. I am an engineer of my experiences. I am the scientist. I need to document this! Where is my notebook? No, it’s too dark.
What is I record my voice on my phone? I wish, but I can’t talk. The only thing that I can do right now is try to remember as much as I could. This is unbelievable… I don’t know how else to describe this. I don’t know how to comprehend what I experience.
I have never felt this way before. Not to this extent. Unbelievable. So grateful.
Wait, was it on me? Someone is watching me? I must be too high and attract the attention. Freeze, don’t move. Try to seem normal. I pause for a moment and I don’t even breathe.
I open my eyes to see if the light is still on. It’s not. Huuuuh… False alarm. For a moment I felt like a criminal who was almost caught.
Shawn’s voice is amazing. What a great singer he is! Several other humming voices come and go into the song, also beautiful and clear. What a labour this is! Must be hard to sign all night long. I don’t know how he does it, but please don’t stop.
Things change. Everything seems to speed up. The new sound pops up in the room. It sounds like someone’s having sex. I’ve heard before that people are being taken advantage of during such ceremonies. Is someone being raped? Am I being a part of it? What if something horrible is happening right now?
I don’t feel my body.
I don’t control myself. Am I having sex?
I am not sure…
The feeling of bliss changed with horror. I am not in control of myself. I am vulnerable. People can take advantage of me right now. I need to obtain back the control. This is not funny anymore. What do I do? I don’t feel my body. I don’t feel the floor.
!I need something to fixate on. I need an anchor to reality. I try to listen to the singing, but it only puts me deeper into whatever I am in. I lose the sense of time and space. How do I stop this?
Water! I need to drink some water. There is my water bottle somewhere. It’s hard to move, but I extend my right arm over my head and poke behind the pillow in search for metal flask. Found it, not what? You should flip over on your back and sit down – seemed as something impossible to do. I continued laying face down, hoping that things will get better. They didn’t. I got scared. The intensity of the experience was so strong that it seemed that I will lose my mind. I could not process it all – it was too fucking much. Too much! I want to scream for help, but I can’t. There is seem to be no end to this and I am on my own. I can not do this. I can’t! I want everything to stop!
This is it…
I am going crazy. I will never be the same again. This is irreversible. I begin praying. God, please, please, please…. If I make it through this… If I don’t lose my mind… I promise to go home right after this. Let me go! Make it stop. I was desperate. Well…. this might be it. I kept asking: What’s the message? What do you try to teach me? Stop!
I didn’t stop looking for a way. Is there is something constant in this experience? Is there is something that does not change? Yes – the breath. Watch your breath.
I sat up straight, crossed my legs and put my arms on my knees. In a typical meditation pose I tried to focus on the movement of my chest. Up and down. Inhale, exhale. Ok, this helps a bit. I felt proud of myself for finding strength in myself to endure whatever was happening around. I am the warrior. I can make it through!
Watch the breath
Craziness did not stop, but now I had something to rely on – my breath.
I felt proud of myself. I found a strength inside of me. I did not ask for help, but figured things on my own. I am standing (sitting) here – facing the experience and enduring the overwhelm. I lose my shit now and then, but I always come back to my breath.
I am the warrior!
I am strong!
I am strong on my own.
I can do this. This night will end. Endure!
A sense of pride filled my heart.
6:46 AM – I am still awake
Hey, did you hear that? Someone scratched into the window. Am I imagining these? No – again. What’s that? Some wild animal from the outside? We’re in the middle of nowhere, so that’s possible. I turn on the flashlight and see two flashing eyes looking at me.
My heart is drumming the beat as I come up closer – that’s a dog… He definitely wants to get in. Should I open the door? No, ignore. I need to sleep…
DAY 2 – I open my eyes
It’s bright and quiet. I look at my watch – 10 AM. Only ten in the morning?! I’ve slept for three hours. Excruciating headache. I get up and hold my head – it’s about the explode. No one is in the room, except for me. I hear people talk in the kitchen – they are having breakfast.
I should resume writing, while the memory lasts. Where have I left off? On the hard part… Yeah – it was hard.
So many times I promised myself that if I make it out without losing my mind – I will pack my bags and leave. Enough! “The second its over – I am out!”, I promised myself last night. Why am I still here? Why am I hesitant to leave? I don’t care about the money… Curiosity keeps me hostage.
I remember that last night I’ve been yawning a lot. Apparently, that’s a common thing for people to do under “medicine”. Shaman Shawn told me that this is how the body releases fatigue. I also remember shaking a lot, like a dog. On the outside, it probably looked like epileptic seizures. I was shaking my head like a wet dog after the bath. This is what Blake does all the time. I read somewhere that by doing so dogs “shake off the stress”.
The second day was a very long day. Bright and sunny. I spent a few hours laying on the couch, on the porch. Beautiful scenery from that porch. We spoke with one another for hours… These were the only people who could ever comprehend what I went through. We spent the entire day talking. Very open and genuine conversations. I didn’t shy away from sharing some very personal things. No one seemed to judge. What is a unique group of people! They each came from all over the country. One guy flew in from Peru.
The sun was going down and felt the anxiety creeping on me… Everyone looked nervous. I was nervous too. It still wasn’t too late to leave. “Abort the mission – I am not ready”. I slept for three hours in the past 14 hours and I was too exhausted beyond the limit… Curiosity made me stay. “Ok, I’ll do it again. I am afraid, but I will do it. This is why I am here. Isn’t it?” This guy kept staring at me. He was one of the shaman “helpers”. They all seem a bit suspicious. Relax, that’s all in your head. You can not go into the second ceremony not trusting the people you are with. If you do – it will eat you alive.
Wait, don’t leave
I STAYED the SECOND NIGHT
As the sun was setting down, anxiety crept in. I spent the entire day deciding on whether stay or leave. Do I need this? I was convinced that I can cause damage to my brain. I can hurt myself.
It was already dark outside when I made a decision to stay. I made a commitment to do it again. This was the last time, after which I gave myself the permission to leave without guilt.
I can do it! I am not weak.
Once again, at twenty-one o’clock, we gathered in the same room.
Everyone in the circle seemed nervous – waiting for the start. Shaman welcomed everyone and gave a speech. He whispered into the two white bottles, then folded a white napkin and put it on the floor. The shot glass landed right on top of it. The lights went off. Only the candlelight. The first person came up and flipped the black shot. Three more people until my turn. Not gonna lie – I was afraid. I could feel the fear in my legs and arms.
“Your gut is trying to tell you not to do it, but you don’t listen. You are getting yourself in big trouble. There is no way out. You made the decision to stay. Stop this monologue!”
I stood up, came in the middle of the room and went down on my knees. Someone told me that day that the more you drink ayahuasca, the worse it tastes. I flipped the glass. Disgusting!
After the last person had the shot, Shaman put down the candlelight. Just as the night before – the opening of the ceremony was a very special – magical moment. The room got pitch dark and quiet. Silence. Everyone waited. It takes somewhere about twenty to thirty minutes for ayahuasca to kick in. After this time, people start to feel the effects.
I hear the sound of liquid hitting the bottom of the plastic bucket.
For more than an hour, I laid there staring into the darkness. One after another people started puking, however, I did not feel anything. I felt relieved and I thought: “Maybe it won’t get me this time. I didn’t puke the first time, so maybe my body developed immunity to it.”
Shaman Shawn began singing and the entire room lit up. HOLLY SHIT! It hit me like a brick wall. The entire ceiling of the room got covered in bright blue LED web of lights. It was incredibly beautiful. I was hoping that it will stay that way for the rest of the night. I was hoping that this night, it will be more enjoyable. Quick and fun. How wrong I was…
Ed – the owner of the farm, was laying on his back to the left of me. Not sure, but I would say that he was around 65-70 years old. He has been doing psychedelics most of his life. He was the Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings” in the world of psychedelics.
Ed began puking… Harder and harder. Almost crying, he squeezed out: “I need help”. I got worried about him. It was clear that he was struggling. One of the helpers came up and tried to comfort him by saying that everything is all right. This helped for a bit. A few minutes later he yelled: “Oh my God…. Oh my God…. Oh my God….”, then the vomit came out gazing through his mouth. Ayahuasca hit him so hard that he couldn’t move and I heard him choking on his own vomit. “Thank you… thank you… thank you… oh my God”, he kept repeating and vomiting on his own face.
I was still doing all right, but hearing what Ed was going through, made me scared. I imagined the worst-case scenario: We all end up with a dead body and I am a part of it. I saw cop cars surrounding the farm… Blue-red, blue-red, blue-red. A hard knock on the entrance door. We’re all in trouble. “I need help” – Ed whispered again. I tried to turn towards him, but I realized that I can’t move my body. Holly shit, I am in trouble.
Visual. The most complex abstract shapes and patterns were moving in the front of my… mind. It didn’t matter if I kept my eyes open or closed – things were crazy. I could not close my eyes and stop seeing as if the visual signal was going straight to my brain, bypassing the eyes. It felt as drinking through the fire hose. To say it was too much is a very strong understatement.
“Please, be gentle with me this time”
Someone told me that I can talk to Ayahuasca, so I did.
“If shit hits the fan – I will try talking to it. I will retreat to my breath. Focusing on my breath grounded me last night. Yes, the breath is what gave me the strength to endure the beating of the plant. Perhaps I could also use it in my day-to-day life.“
If it helped me endure the Ayahuasca experience – it can help me go through so many trivial things. Whenever things get tough – follow the breath. Deep inhale through the nose into the back of the lugs – pause – slowly exhale. Watch your chest expand. Your bodily sensations is your anchor to reality. Whatever happens – watch your breath. This is the only thing you have. If you get lost – it will bring you back to this world. At least I hoped so…
The first ceremony has taught me that creation is good. I mean – creating something, building. It doesn’t matter how it looks. Last night I was creating something and the process of it gave me an enormous amount of joy. I am usually very critical of myself, however, I realized that night that the act of creating is beautiful on its own. It doesn’t matter how ugly you think your drawing is – it is beautiful by default because you created something out of nothing. Talking is the act of creation. Tell someone that she is beautiful and you’ve created a wave of positive emotions inside of that person. As easily as positive, you can also create negative feelings. By writing this – I create. It doesn’t matter how many orthographical mistakes I made – it’s beautiful just because it never existed before and I gave it birth. Good or bad – is just someone else’s opinions. That’s it -just opinions. Even your own judgement of your work is only the opinion. Every creation is beautiful by default.
The logical question to ask is: If everything’s great by default, why improve? Great question.
All my body’s senses were extremely sharp last night. I could hear and smell so much better. I remember that clicking sound that was coming out from the right side of the room. What was that? The noise was consistent and I haven’t heard it before the medicine kicked in. It was bothering me.
Later I discovered that it was sparkling water. About 5 meters away from me was a bottle of sparkling water. The clicking noise was the sound of the water bubbles popping on the surface.
I could hear every little squick in that large house.
I remember only the fraction of the second night. Things went too crazy too fast.
The emotional knob switch was flipped to the max, then ripped off entirely. Tears splashed out my eyes. It was too much to take. My head was about to burst like an air balloon. The more Shaman sang the more intense my experience got.
“Please stop singing”, I would’ve said if I could talk. “I need help. Something’s wrong. This is too much. I can’t take it.”, went through my mind. “I need to ask for help. This is too much. I can’t handle it….”. I would’ve had asked for help if I could, but my entire body was paralyzed.
I felt really cold. My body temperature had dropped. “Just keep breathing”, I thought to myself. “Wait, am I still breathing? I am not sure.” I could not feel my body. I could not feel my chest expand. “I am really cold…” My heart rate must be really low. I am dying. “This is it… and I can’t even ask for help.” An animal fear went through my body like electroshock. “You are dying! For real!” Hearing other people scream and puke made things worse.
“We all got poisoned. Something went wrong. I got overdosed. Well, that’s what you deserve for not listening to your guts. You are going to die on the floor of some farm in the middle of nowhere.”
“Keep breathing. Just keep breathing!” I caught my breath for a second.
“There is no way that you get out of this without some sort of permanent damage to your brain and body. This is too strong.” I needed help, but it was unreachable. I couldn’t feel my body and I didn’t even know if I was laying, sitting or freaking flying. I didn’t know if I was on my back or laying with my face down. I was 100% sure that I was going to shit myself and lay there helpless. I was legitimately scared. I was not going to die from ayahuasca that night, I was certainly dying from shame the next morning. Shame for shitting myself.
There are paralyzed people who could not even move their eyeballs?. That was me and I was confident that it was permanent. I was certain that I did some serious damage to my body and that will become my life from then on. “I need to drink water”. I remembered that during my college years I got seriously stunned and drinking water helped, so I thought this would stop things. I could not move. This was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I began praying to God… It didn’t help, but it won me a few minutes of time. It distracted me from my thoughts about death for a bit.
It was hell. A never-ending nightmare.
You have probably seen those ancient drawings of hell, where everyone’s burning and crying. This was something similar. People all around were crying on loud… Sounds of excruciating pain were coming out of every corner of the room. Someone was giggling like a crazy maniac. I think it was Ed. Others were vomiting like crazy. Those were not human voices. Those were animal sounds. Shaman kept singing and things were moving.
Absolute insanity and there was no end to this!
I could not close my eyes and stop seeing crazy things. I could not close my ears and stop hearing. I tried. I lost any concept of time and that night had no end. I was ready to do anything to stop this. “Keep breathing… just don’t stop breathing…” That night I was fighting for my life. It might sound crazy, but I really was.
Several times that night I was convinced that my heart stopped beating. I died again and again. It was horrible. It was absolutely the worst experience I have ever had in my life. It was absolutely the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life.
I could not believe that I even paid money for it. What an idiot! I totally lost it… There are no English, Russian or Ukrainian words to describe things that I’ve seen and experienced that night.
Somehow, I managed to sit up and had a few gulps of water. “Don’t drink too much”, I thought to myself.
Sharp pain raised in my chest. “Small gulps. Don’t drink too much too fast.” I then went on my fourth and stood up. My head was about to crack in halves from pain. I navigated through the darkroom into the washroom. The colour of my urine shocked me. It was black. Because the lights were dim, I wasn’t sure if I was peeing blood. No matter, dark yellow, black or red – I realized that I was severely dehydrated. The only person who was able to help me – was myself. “You need to eat something and hydrate.” I went to the kitchen and started searching for salt. I found the apple – the most delicious fruit I’ve ever eaten. I poured the salt on it and kept biting. A gulp of water… Then stomach cramps. I went pacing in circles around the kitchen. It was five or six in the morning – nine hours since I’ve drunk the poison. “When is it going to end?” This nightmare had no end. “It shouldn’t last this long. Something must be terribly wrong.” No matter what I did – things were not getting better.
I went to lay on the couch in the living room. I could still hear horrible noises coming out from the large bedroom, but at least, it was quieter here. I put my head down and tried to deepen my breath. Neither – asking Ayahuasca to be gentle, breathing deeply or praying helped. Later in the day, Shaman told me that in past, people were using ayahuasca to “prepare themselves for death”. This was how I would’ve felt if I were dying.
I wish I remembered at least a quarter of the things I experienced on that trip.
Pictures of my father started popping into my mind. I got worried about him… In my mind, his wife sent me a message that… he was dead. This was too much. “C’mon Sasha. This is too much. You are getting paranoid.” I tried to get myself out of this thinking loop, but the horrible thoughts kept coming back. I started thinking – what if?…
Ayahuasca kept me in its claws for about nineteen hours, until three in the afternoon of the next day. Nineteen hours of hell. It took me that long to return my body’s basic functions like walking and talking. Even then, I was nowhere near to my 100% self, but at least it was manageable. It was too much and too hard. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life and I would never suggest ayahuasca to anyone. The literature says that it is the strongest psychoactive compound on Earth for a reason. Holly shit, I could not believe that I made it alive… Forever grateful.
I caught Shawn in the kitchen and I said that I wanted to talk.
– I am not sure if I want to drink it tonight. I don’t think that my nervous system can handle it.
– Not even a little? he asked.
– I don’t think so…
– That’s all right. You know, for the first several ceremonies I drank only once. It was enough for me. I was stoned for hours.
– Yeah, I think I’ll pass tonight.
– If you ever change your mind – you can always have just a little bit. Shaman said…
People were encouraging me to stay and have the last shot. They said that typically the third night is the best night. It’s like a culmination. A happy end where everyone gets enlightened and happy.
“F*ck that! I don’t believe you guys. I almost died last night and I am still not feeling 100% alive. I promised to myself and to every God up there that if I make it out alive – I will run away from this farm as fast as I can the second I can drive. There is no way I do it again. Enough is enough.”
I decided I’ll stick around for a few hours until I feel better, so I can drive. I was walking around like a zombie, thinking about what happened last night. I wasn’t very talkative, just listening. I laid on the couch the entire day, listening and observing other people. I didn’t move at all. Oh man… that headache was excruciating.
Later in the evening, when the sun went down, I went to sit in my truck. “I need to go out for a spin to clear my head.” I started the engine and went driving to Vernon – about thirty minutes drive. Driving on the farm road was okay, however, the second I made the right turn on the highway, I realized that I was nowhere near the safe condition to operate that three-ton monster. I kept driving (idiot).
I was probably going below the speed limit because I saw a bunch of headlights line up behind my truck. “What if one of them is a cop car? What if they pull me over? I am clearly stoned – that’s a DUI.” I got paranoid, however, still, I word not turn around. (double idiot).
I got to Vernon and went to the pharmacy. A bottle of Diet Coke and electrolyte drink. Then went to Safeway and got some cherries. All the way back to the evil farm I drove with my windows down (-20 Celsius). The logic behind it was to get my body cold so I clear up my mind faster. I ate all my snacks by the time the farm lights appeared in front of me. All the way back I was singing my “restaurant song” (Alysa, you know it). Singing helped me stay focused on the road and keep the truck inside the line.
One hour before the final ceremony starts again… As the night before – anxiety. I decided to stay simply because I did not feel safe driving back home. “I will stay and observe. No more ayahuasca for me! Enough.” I didn’t even want to think about that damn poison.
The ceremony began and I ended up on the same spot – on the floor of that large room, on my mat. I turned to the left and quietly told Ed that he shouldn’t wait on me to drink. I said that I won’t drink. He nodded.
Everyone had their shots and the room went dark and silent. While laying there I realized that I did not feel that I was missing out on something. I didn’t feel like a loser: “Haha scared of ayahuasca”. None of that. Moreover, I wasn’t sure that it won’t get me. “What if Shaman starts singing and it comes back on me?” Sounds crazy, but it shows how scared I was of it. I wasn’t kidding what I said that I thought I was dying.
People started puking and Shaman singing. Noises got ugly and loud. They seemed to be so close to me, so I got worried that my neighbors would puke on me. I stood up and went on my couch in the other room. I pulled my blanked over my head and passed out. It was strange because I didn’t feel tired, but felt asleep immediately.
6:30 AM – It’s OVER
Something’s in my mouth… Systems check – that’s the pillow.
I lay facedown motionless. My eyeballs were the only things that I could move. I opened my eyes and just laid there. I didn’t look at anything – just stared into my pillow. Funny picture.
I had the craziest dreams that night. I could not remember exactly what I’ve seen, but I remember waking up and thinking to myself: “What the hell just happened?”.
Everyone else was still dead asleep, so I used the privilege to get into the shower. What a blessing!!!
I wanted to feel clean – inside out. I didn’t want to lie. Not that I did, but I wanted to live without illusions. Impossible… I thought that I wanted things to be simple.
“My mind is so complex. It is extraordinarily difficult and twisted in all kinds of ways. It can truly be a prison – the worst prison on Earth. A pitch dark mezzanine with no way out. It can cause so much suffering. But it can also be a Heaven…”
I felt such a RELIEF that morning. It all was over and I was okay. Unimaginable! Honest to God, I did not think I would make it through alive. But I did.
I had my coffee. Then another one. Then one more… while writing this.
My new buddy came out of the room. He owns the Chevrolet dealership in Vancouver and has his own plane. I don’t remember his name, but we had a very deep conversation the night before. He was the first after me to wake up.
He stood an inch away from my face, grabbed me by the shoulders and looked straight into my eyes. Bright blue eyes. They seemed like two flashlights in the dark. He stared for about a minute.
– You ok, brother?
– Yes. I am.
– I have to leave, but please do me a favour. Tell everyone: “Thank you. I love you and God bless…” Thank you. I love you. God bless. Remember?
– Yes, I will…
– …and stop thinking so much! Don’t overthink. I will see you… whenever that time comes.
– Drive safe
What a freaking experience! I wish I remember at least half of the things that happened to me over the course of three nights. I wish my vocabulary is wide enough to better express my thoughts and feelings. But why? No matter what I say, you won’t live it through. You won’t feel what I felt. This is my life and only my experience. I will still publish it because I believe that my experience can bring value to people. Maybe someone is wondering if it worth the money. Maybe someone simply wants to know other people’s opinions.
I will end this long story by saying that
I already said it hundred times, but I’ll say again that this was the hardest thing that I ever did in my twenty-nine years of life.
I believe that it can be harmful to your mind and health. (only my opinion) If you ever get the opportunity and decide to take the shot – only under the supervision! Only under the supervision of a reputable Shaman! Don’t be an idiot – this thing is no joke. I warned you.
I am grateful for my body. I learned that I can rely on it. It has its own intelligence. It won’t die so easily. It wants to live. I have a lot of respect for it. What a great gift to have – a healthy body.
I saw the self-doubt. That ugly-looking sucker has a shape and even a face. He helped me a lot, but we can not co-live together.
This is the hardest thing I ever did in my life. How hard is it to die?
Holly smokes this truck is huge! When stoned, singing helps stay focused.
Things change. No matter how much it sucks today, it won’t suck forever. The worse it gets, the better it will be once it’s over. The universe will equalize everything. It’s against the law of nature to suck forever. You feel bad, but then everything is fine again. Things suck today, but tomorrow evening is ok. It can not suck forever.
I now look at death differently. I believe that I know what it feels like to die.
These are not all the insights. It will take a while to unpack everything and make sense of it, but I am not in a hurry.