I wrote the following article on June 18th, 2022, four days after I returned home from my trip to the Temple of the Way of Light in Peru…
I’m coming to understand why it was necessary for our extraordinary facilitators to take the time and energy to prepare us for what they call the “integration process,” upon returning home after our 12-day Ayahuasca retreat.
As I understand it, explained by our shaman at the Temple, the healing power of “the medicine” (Ayahuasca) is activated during the ceremonies (we had six of these over 11 nights), and then continues to work over the weeks and months to follow in various ways.
In addition to following certain guidelines, like avoiding alcohol, cannabis, psilocybin, spicy and ice-cold foods, it’s vital that we take time, and give ourselves space to process the inner-knowledge and discover information that will continue to unfold.
My overall intention for my trip was to recover from burn-out and my addiction to “doing,” release the blockages that were fueling my depression and restlessness, and embody inner-peace and freedom.
Part of my “doing” addiction included being in a constant state of learning from people I idolize as top thought leaders, changemakers, and solutionaries, through books, talks/lectures, and podcasts. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking knowledge from gurus who have devoted their lives to attaining, embodying, and sharing their truth in ways that positively impact the world!
The problem was that I hadn’t given myself the time and space to embody what I was learning.
Determined to break my destructive patterns, during the 12 days at the Temple of the Way of Light, I devoted myself to giving top priority to simply BEING. No phone. No laptop. No internet. No messages. No media. No contact with the outside world. No digital anything.
We had ceremonies. We had group meetings. We had individual check-ins. We shared. We were silent. We spent time reflecting. We ate food void of salt, oil, sugar, and spices. We read. We wrote. We sat with ourselves. We sat with nature. And that was it.
Today I decided to go to a group movement session at my Budokon sensei’s backyard studio, which was to be followed by a potluck.
I realized about halfway through that I wasn’t ready to be surrounded by people, much less share my experiences.
So when the movement portion ended, and the potluck began, I quietly excused myself.
On the scooter ride home I felt a wave of emotion take over me. Tears started streaming down my face, and the thought, “What is wrong with me?” came into my mind.
It’s a thought I’ve had a lot throughout my life, only this time, it was immediately countered with my true Self saying,
There’s nothing wrong with you!
I then took a mental step back with my conscious mind, to explore the thoughts continuing to stream from my subconscious programming…
Why can’t you just relax and have a good time like everyone else? You’re insecure. You have so much to work on still! You made such a huge investment in time, energy, and money to go on that trip and now you’re back and haven’t changed a bit! What the hell?!
My conscious mind stepped right back in, and this time, with total confidence she declared…
You are who you are, and who you are is perfect. You are enough. So what if you don’t want to hang out with a group of people. YOU DO YOU! Let peace be your north star. You make decisions about what you choose to DO based on what aligns with you BEING PEACE. Fuck the “shoulds”. Fuck the thoughts that judge what you need to do to be at peace. Remember when you found peace during that 2nd ceremony? It was when you finally let go of what you thought you SHOULD be experiencing… when you let go of needing to be in control. LET GO. LET GO. LET GO!
And with that, I let go, and I smiled from my soul. I found peace at that very moment… The peace that I am, that got buried under the “shoulds”.
I love spending time alone with animals and in nature. I love connecting with my spirituality through movement, music, books, and talks. I value spending time with one, or a few close friends. And I often get great pleasure being out, in settings where there’s great energy and many people involved, especially when we’re all focused on energy-based practices such as yoga, meditation, and dancing.
I don’t need rules or restrictions. I simply need to connect with, and follow, my heart. I need to value myself and love the human being that I am, unconditionally, and make the choices that allow me to access my inner peace.
It WILL get easier though.
Learning to let go is a practice, and practice I shall.
And now, for a letter to myself, and introverts everywhere…
There is nothing wrong with you.
Who you are is perfect.
You are enough, exactly as you are.
We live in a society that venerates extroverts, and programs us to believe that introverts are less lovable, less valuable, and have less to offer the world.
Let go. Let go. Let go.
You are lovable.
You are valuable.
You are powerful.
The world needs you.
With Compassion for All Living Beings,