Sunday, 18 June 2016, Sao Paulo, in bed, smelling of bonfire, ash and trees…
The day of my third encounter with ayahuasca started promising: I drew The Lady as my daily tarot card, a first timer: abundance, acceptance of gifts and sharing the wealth. However, it did not continue the same… around noon on the metro, on my way to meet Thiago from Pulsar, waiting for people to disembark, headphones on. I felt a hand briefly touching my breast and I just reacted in a split second, my right arm with clenched fist launching itself in the direction of the touch and hitting an arm, preparing for the next attack, ready to rip this person’s head off or to inflict the maximum damage. There’s a saying in Romanian, Decat sa planga mama, mai bine sa planga ma-ta (I’d rather have your mother cry instead of my mother). No thought, just instinct, forged by years of being a woman in a society of male harassment. The next moment, my rational brain took over and I saw it was a visually impaired person feeling his way around and trying to ask for directions. Of course I apologised. But I was shaking long after, feeling both a nerve wreck and tired to be apprehensive and instinctively react in defence to people around me. I don’t think there’s going to be any time soon when I’m going to need it, but I’m getting F. to teach me some self-defence basics / Krav-maga on Wednesday.
Then on our way to the van near metro Armenia (myself, F. and one of her partners), the Uber driver missed the exit 2 times, making my temper spike through the roof, F.’s hands on my face and her sweet laughter and uplifted spirit calming me down, soothing me. So I arrived already with my nerves stretched, further annoyed by the lack of sufficient space for the number of people that gathered there for the winter solstice ritual. These nights it has been particularly cold in the Sao Paulo area, so the prospects were less than encouraging. Luckily I had the common sense this time to bring my colchao inflavel, my sleeping bag and one of F.’s blankets, in addition to the three layers of clothes I was already wearing.
But I was lucky, the hosts removed a piece of furniture to make me some room behind the stove in the tiny common area, there were already people not really fitting in, and the ayahuasca is better taken lying down, not standing or sitting. Plus you need enough space for the freaking limpeza. Tough break, I was not willing to share my spot and had no problem to shush away a guy who inelegantly crawled on my mattress and sleeping bag while I was taking my second dose. No, no sharing, find your own spot. Yes, I am fucking selfish, as long as I exist in this body called Monica, my Ego, which is in charge with my survival, will always hold my own interest as my first and foremost priority. I actually took a moment and thanked my selfish Ego for keeping me alive, safe and healthy to the best of its knowledge for 34 years and counting.
Back to the ayahuasca, the first dose was already kicking in, together with the pervasive fear of its bodily effects, the numbness of core, throat, limbs, increased paralysis of hands, coupled this time with the fear of hypothermia – I was shaking of cold at 30 degrees last time, now it was approaching 7-9 degrees outside. So I just took half a dose more, so the effects were incomparably milder than the previous times.
I was still waiting for the scary effects, the vomiting, the suffocation, the uncontrollable shaking, nothing of this, just a mild unease and cold spreading through my body, and my sleeping bag and blanket were keeping me warm this time. Yeah, I basically chickened out. I just did not want to go through intense processes again without proper assistance and guidance (yeah, last time I am doing it in less than optimal conditions with lots of people). So I just felt a first wave of relief, of experiencing being OK in this very moment, not needing anything else, not looking for the next thing to react to (see Eckhart Tolle’s all though is judgment), just feeling appreciation for being alive.
Then the next thought was appreciating everything, just for the reason that it is. As Eckhart Tolle’s saying goes, every thought is judgment, so just accepting WHAT IS, without wishing it to be something else, something different, can lift an incredible amount of deadweight off our chests. I had been experiencing one moment like this a week ago walking around in my neighbourhood, just appreciating the sunlight, the sounds around me, even those of traffic, appreciating the material existence around me, even in the form of garbage on the pavement (Mooop! my Burner friends would instantly cry out), for the simple fact of being. So now I was next flowing into a state of gratitude, immense gratitude for the beauty around me, for the amazingly soothing songs, icaros xamanicos, but at the time a song in English was playing, Queen’s “Who wants to live forever“, and I was “me, me, let me live forever, I will appreciate it better from now on”. Oh well, let’s try.
The only time of purging, limpeza, that I did this time was crying off some last remains of sadness over P. – feeling again why the relationship with him was so special – he thought me to fuck in Portuguese, the gave me sweet names, the was nurturing and caring for the short time he was with me, made me feel taken care of (not being the responsible one all the time, and in charge of everything all the time is enormous relief for me) – all these things I yearn for in a partner. And then I finally let it all go, it’s OK not having this ideal partner in my life right now, I am getting so much beauty, affection, love and kindness in so many other forms – F.’s image – who was journeying outside in the cold wind by the fire – came to mind. I felt grateful for what I had, and grateful to P., for reminding me to always honour my needs and desires first.
After this, a feeling that a cycle has ended came over me – a first cycle of cleansing of past relationships – father, mother, romantic relationships, childhood and teenage traumas, feeling that it’s time to share my gifts with the world, feeling an immense surge of energy and confidence I can do everything I want to do, that I am indeed The Lady, of my morning daily tarot card, sharing her abundance with the world.
The things that were different this time – less gooey stuff – not so much love and light, more of a rationally sound appreciation and assessment of things, no connection with The Mother ayahuasca, I really felt myself as talking to myself, not some outside foreign entity (maybe also because I had a small dose this time), somewhat frustrated that I still need someone else to hold my hand through tough and scary times – even if that someone else is an imagined alter-ego.
The effects were starting to wear off and I was getting increasingly disturbed by the energy of people in different stages of the influence, la mariacion, so I took my mattress, my sleeping bag and extra blanket and moved outside by the fire, accompanied by the female black dog that curled up on the blanket next to my feet. In the morning, someone pointed out that I was lying under an avocado tree and some of the avocados had been falling off around me, dinosaur eggs, hard as rock (I took one home for evidence, see picture). So I have no idea if the universe is protecting me, working with me and responding to my frequency, I don’t even care about that as much, I just know I’m lucky. Lucky and grateful, for the experiences of this land I’ll certainly come back to, grateful to be alive and not lying under a tombstone that reads “Dead by avocado falling on her head”.