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.