The invitation to travel to the Peruvian jungle, to do a thirteen-day diet with traditional master plants and silent retreat, came at a time when I was feeling stagnant, unfocused and unproductive.
This adventure began in the city of Cusco with a couple of Pacos, (high Andean teachers), who made a blossoming offering for me, which I would have to burn in the jungle and on which I would plant a tree. At noon the next day we set off by land from the city of Cusco with the group of participants to the Sacha Q’ente Amazonian Andean traditional medicine center in Koshnipata. We arrived at night. Pio Vucetich, who is the maestro who runs the center and offers the ceremonies, received us and after sharing relevant information, he took us to a place among the trees to do a cleanse that consisted of drinking a horrible plant concoction that made you vomit the hell out of yourself. The cleanse is not only physical but energetic and prepares one to better receive the plants to be taken the following days.
With the help of flashlights in the middle of mud and puddles that had to be passed carefully so as to not slip and fall, I was guided to the cabin in the middle of the jungle, where I would live for the duration of the retreat. A bed with a mosquito net, a table and a chair were all the furniture. Oh, and a candle.
I was very excited about what I would experience in those two weeks, amongst the sounds, smells and humidity of the jungle. The next two days prior to the diet consisted of interviews with the maestro and two Ayahuasca ceremonies.
I was looking for clarity and feeling more decisive in general. Already in my dreams, I had received signs that I needed to include artistic activity in my life which for years I had put aside, but I had hoped to obtain more “information” that would help me make good decisions.
The Ayahuasca ceremonies were four in total. It was in the second, that I got very emotional. I connected with a deep sadness that came from my baby self, who had not been breastfed at birth. (I had known for a long time that the obstetrician who attended my mother in her delivery had told her that formula was better than breast milk and why did she want to be tied to me when feeding me. Which seemed to me of great ignorance, but I had never given much weight to this fact.)
I cried that night and others. My baby self felt abandoned, which may be exaggerated, considering that I never lacked attention or food, but in these cases, logic does not help. As in the sessions, my clients begin by saying that they do not know why they feel so bad if they had a “normal” and even happy childhood, but that once in contact with their inner boy or girl, they reveal that no one was there for them, it was my turn to validate that emotion and offer love to my baby self and let her cry her sorrow while I held her. In the middle of this process, something unexpected happened: the image of Mother Maria came to me holding my baby me and telling me that she would take care of her. She offered my baby self her breast and nursed her. It was beautiful! I have not had the Virgin Mary present for many years and although I have recently started to pray, this came spontaneously in the ceremony and was healing. Such was the impact of this meeting that, during my diet in the cabin, I made two drawings of my baby self and another of my one or two-year-old child, breastfed in one and lovingly embraced by the Virgin in another. I made the two drawings charged with emotion. I looked at them every day of the retreat. I feel that they ended up healing this wound.
This is an example of how some events that are not apparently traumatic can leave traces of pain in people. Ayahuasca shed light on an event that my rational mind had overlooked.
Another of the revelations that I had during the diet was that I had to return to the path of art and use my artistic talents. Perhaps the Ayapana, which was the master plant that I was taking for a week with some fruit or sometimes just water throughout the day, indicated to combat fear, had its effects on that part of me, which was afraid of success and has pushed me to drop everything and start from scratch more than once. It is possible that this fear of receiving had its origin in not having felt that I “deserved” to get the primal sustenance and the intimate connection with my mother.
In any case, I am convinced that we need to validate our childhood experiences and never compare them with that of other people. There will always be someone who had it worse than us. Does this invalidate our pain? No. Minimizing them, “turning the page” does not solve anything, nor does staying in the victim role, hence the importance of approaching our wounds from the energy of our Healthy Adult. What does that mean? I recommend the meditation Connection with the Healthy Adult or Higher Self to become familiar with this energy. (link at the bottom of the page). We are in our Healthy Adult energy, when we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, without blaming ourselves, being open to investigate what happened without judgment; validating the emotions and recognizing that it was hard; attending to our pain with love and compassion, offering support as a loving father or mother would treat their little one. I also recommend the RAIN technique that Tara Brach postulates, which is a way of embracing and processing intense emotions from compassion.
Healing our past wounds can take years, perhaps a lifetime, but the reward, the sense of freedom and new possibilities that this brings us, far outweighs all the effort invested.
I have come back light, strong, more determined and enthusiastic from the retreat. I am very grateful to the entire Sacha Q’ente team, to Pio Vucetich, to my fellow retreatants for the work done, for the love I felt there, for the guidance and inspiration; to that magical place that not only heals hearts, but also has the mission of reforesting a large area of jungle that, as Pio says, was found to be a dump and is now a forest that grows and expands.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE MEDITATION: Connection with the Healthy Adult or Higher Self