Into the Jungle

I just returned from a healing journey to the Peruvian Amazon. I’ll share more soon about that, but here is something I posted to Facebook mid-trip about the reasons for my trip:

I try to keep it real here, so here’s what’s real for me in this moment: I am in the middle of a week of medicine ceremonies here in the Peruvian Amazon, working with some Ayahuasca curanderos that a close friend has been highly recommending for years now. I am here in search of healing, specifically for some very old childhood trauma I took in my belly as an eight year old kid, a strange wound that I have never understood or resolved, or really found much insight to at all. This wound is in the core of my body—opposite my long-herniated L4/L5 disc and source of some of the worst of my semi-debilitating lifelong chronic pain—and seems mysteriously yet centrally related in some fashion to my most personal challenges in intimacy and vulnerability in my relations with my fellow beings, especially regarding lovers and life partners.

I have been on a healing journey in this belly area since I was a teenager—but I have never really made much progress in healing it, or even understanding it past a certain point. For years, based partly on the truly miraculous stories I have heard from others, I have sensed that this ayahuasca shamanism work might hold a key for me—or somehow be stronger than my self-protections and resistances, at least, and therefore able to help me crack the code on this piece of my healing work.

I’ve never been drawn to the various analogues or ayahuasca ceremonies offered sometimes in the US, though I’m sure many can find healing and transformation there—I have always known that I wanted to come here, to the Amazon jungle, to the place where these plants grow and plant spirits live, where these native shamans live and have practiced this healing work all their lives, to the source of this transcendent work.

So far, halfway through the work this week, there have been no miracles and few real insights—I feel like I am knocking on the door, and receiving little or no response. There has been some solid purging each night, though, and hope springs eternal that healing and resolution are within reach. On the other hand, perhaps in the end this strange unknown wound at the core of my being will remain unresolved through my whole life, and a deeper understanding must wait for another day. Either way, I’m glad I came and have been willing to face the fear and darkness and shadow within, well beyond my comfort zone.

One bright side of this mysterious dynamic has been how it has for years sensitized me to the hidden struggles and challenges that everyone carries deep within. Any of us may look all shiny and healthy, perfect and integrated from the outside—and the world encourages us to show this side of ourselves publically, especially on social media—but the truth is, many of us are carrying deep loss, hidden wounds or profoundly difficult shadow work inside of us, and the world doesn’t often encourage us to share that in a real way. Knowing what I have been carrying every single day of my life since age eight, it helps me to feel compassion and offer a gentle love to others, not often knowing what their wound or suffering might be, but knowing almost all of us have something, deep inside, that humbles us and keeps it all very, very real along our journeys through life.

May we all find the healing we need, and may all beings be truly happy and able to bask in the communion of true love and connection with life and love.

Living Alone

The Self Purifying Fire

The Self Purifying Fire

27 December 2014

There are some days when it hits me, hard:

No matter the quality of our work, or the lovers or children or partnerships we may enjoy; no matter the sense of connection and communion we can sometimes access in our best moments, there is an aspect in me which is utterly, ruthlessly, incontrovertibly alone in this world. There’s a certain depth of connection achievable in our community and interpersonal relations; that depth can be sublime and transcendent, and I rejoice in that! Beyond that depth though, we are on our own. Nobody can empathize their way fully into my own heart or self, nobody can truly know me 100%, all the way—it is entirely up to me to know myself, to find my own way, to evolve or stumble as only I can manage.

I actually do believe that there is an aspect of my eternal soul nature which is in truth always entirely bathing in the cosmic amniotic fluid of my pure oneness with all creation, with Sat-Chit-Ananda, the entire truth-consciousness-bliss radiant Love Soup that is the dynamic eternal silent still pulsing core of Life.

Yet at the same moment that my oneness with life is real and ultimately truer than anything else, there’s a shadow side that I live with here in the world of four dimensions: it may or may not be ultimately as true, but it sure feels true sometimes that at an excruciatingly deep level, I feel entirely alone. Starkly, harshly, bone-crushingly bereft of companionship or communion or cosmic succor just when I need that feeling of connection the most. Instead, here I am: twisting in the galactic breeze, just me and my thoughts and my broken heart, pleading for love, for healing, for communion. Jesus, sometimes it gets so lonely that I’d even settle, almost happily, simply for a little kind company, for God’s sake. This feeling in it alone part hurts, bad.

Maybe it’s rooted in something as basic as my all too human need for understanding, for acceptance of my whole being–not just the parts that are strong, or competent, or taking care of the people and the world around me. I love doing all that, and more—I love giving generously to people where I can, and throwing a great party, helping build and offer lovely environments where good things happen. I feel nourished in convening gatherings of depth and nourishment, embodying a strong container within which people can explore and access important healing spaces. I love singing devotional chant with people, and feeling the holy communion that lies in wait for us all in that sacred space. I love all this and more, basking in the radiance of this amazing natural world and creation.

But when I go home, I go home alone.

I’m not certain that there is a cure for this. As I age, I come closer to accepting my own self and nature, warts and all. This allows me to hide less, and self-reveal more. Perhaps by continuing to cast myself into the fire of truth, I might burn down the subtle, crafty internal walls that in spite of my desire for connection I seem to construct to keep people away—or, just as functional, keep them focused on a shinier, better-looking, more successful or integrated looking version of me than the one I fear lies deep within. Perhaps a commitment to that level of self-examination and egoic-self annihilation might eventually free me into the full communion with life that I seek.

I’m not sure I’ve found a better strategy yet. So I guess for now, on this post-Christmas dawn redolent with high and low emotions, I’ll simply keep singing, and self-revealing, and walking alone among my companions along this crazy journey called life. Anyway, I still feel part of me wanting to build those walls, so I reckon it’s time to throw a few more logs onto that fire.

Christmas 2014

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Feeling lots this Christmas day since my mother’s death. I am missing my Mama.

I haven’t been real big on Christmas for a long time, and I’ve never done the tree thing on my own. But this season, after my sis and I found some of Mom’s family tree ornaments while in storage unit cleaning mode, I started vibing that maybe I’d do a tree this year, a sort of ritual in honor of Grenelle.

Yesterday I went out back in the rain and sacrificed a small white pine to be my charlie brown-style tree, and did the ritual dressing of the tree. For what felt like the first time in my life, I wanted to hear sweet carols–Silent Night, in particular, which I listened to over and over again. Tears poured from my heart like I hadn’t shed in months, feeling my Mom and missing her.

I am glad she is free, and I know she is with me inside in important, real ways. I don’t regret her death, as I believe it was the best passing she could hope for given her illnesses, and I am so grateful that it was a gentle transition, and the one she wanted and worked so hard for.

But still: sometimes I miss her being in body, able to speak together and feel each other’s warmth and soul and sweetness. I love you Mom. We are truly blessed through life, and death.