Preparations so far for the Ayahuasca workshop

The weeks have flown by, as is their custom, since my last post. So I need to check in and take stock of how my “preparations” are going for the next ayahuasca adventure. When I think of preparations I would like to do, a few things spring to mind:

  • define your goals – what exactly is it you want to work out
  • formulate specific questions you would like answers to
  • begin changing your diet – less meat, dairy and junk food, more healthy, fresh options
  • read your old posts to remember what it was like and read more about ayahuasca to be as well prepared as possible

Honestly, so far, I’ve only really managed the fourth point. I’ve read snippets of my earlier posts on the ayahuasca workshop and they are fantastic reminders of the visual and emotional experiences I had. Reading and watching videos about other people’s experiences are also helpful, so a couple of Facebook groups I am a member of help in terms of finding interesting content. One thing remains pretty certain though, it will be nothing like what I expect it to be! No amount of research can really prepare you for the actual experience, and it will be different every time. I remember expecting a wild, jungle-like environment, surrounded by writhing snakes and thick, lush vegetation. Instead I experienced an almost sterile, technological environment with clear definitions and boundaries. It could be totally different this time around. The setting will be different, the group will be different, my circumstances are very different. Who knows what lies in store. That thought is both frightening and exciting! The intention should be to retain a sense of privilege at having the opportunity to experience this state, and remember to serve the experience instead of expecting it to serve me, i.e. focus on the work to be done instead of just going along for the ride.

It’s now around four months since my break-up with the girl I was supposed to marry. The wedding was planned for next weekend. This is the last major milestone I need to pass before I can truly start moving past the whole dreadful experience. I have friends and family visiting for the week, which in one way is a great distraction, while paradoxically being a constant reminder of what should’ve been. I genuinely feel in a much better place now though than I was in February when the anxiety and existentialist fear was at its peak. Whether that means I have done the right thing or not is as yet unclear to me. I wonder if I will ever know for sure what went wrong. I guess deep down in a way I’m hoping Mama Ayahuasca will project the facts in a clear, uncompromising, unambiguous fashion – this is what happened, this is why you felt the way you did, you have/have not done the right thing. I’m more hopeful that expectant. Life is never this simple or black-and-white. However, the truth is within me somewhere so I’m hopeful the yagé can be the help I need to wrench it from the depths and present it in a new light.

I have had a busy couple of months, pushing myself through different situations and scenarios in the hope of surviving and etching out my path to recovery. A half marathon and three triathlons within a month. A weekend camping at a music festival. An all-nighter in Stockholm at a gig knowing I wouldn’t be in bed until 9 o’clock the following morning. I had varying levels of anxiety before each of these events, obviously for different reasons! The question in my mind before each was “Can I actually do this?”. The emphatic answer each time was “Yes”, not in my mind, but as a result of doing it. Each time it took all my effort and energy to get myself through and emerge the other side unscathed. In terms of the athletic effort the after-effects were very positive and long-lasting. In terms of the social events, the fear was powerful of how I would cope with the “comedown” and the hangover. Luckily I didn’t suffer in that sense either and had thoroughly positive experiences. So now I feel on a different playing field altogether, I have new-found confidence in myself, the future is open and brighter, I have a pep in my step! All because of getting out there and doing something, anything.

I have even met other girls, which quells the fear of being alone forever, which has been and still can be quite an over-powering feeling of despair on what I call “the dark nights of the soul”. Those nights where sleep is out of the question and the mind is twisting and turning, flinging accusations and doomsday scenarios at me. The morning comes, the sun rises and the thoughts pass. The progress is very slow, but at least there is progress.

So in terms of my preparations, maybe this blog post has thrown up a few points:

What are my goals?

  • Find out what went wrong before my wedding. Find out where the problem lay and how I can avoid a repeat in the future.
  • To become more aware of my own emotions and to be better able to explore them without shutting them off or ignoring them.
  • To be able to recognise the difference between my intuition and that “little voice in my head”. I want to be able to clearly see what it is that I really want.
  • Become more honest emotionally with other people too, not just myself.

Specific questions

  • Was the problem with my relationship to my girlfriend or was it solely with me?
  • Am I capable of loving someone unconditionally?
  • Can I become less shallow and see the real beauty in people?
  • Will I be happier at home in Ireland?
  • Was I really disguising and ignoring my homesickness all along?

That’s a good start at least. This all flowed without me really having a purpose with this blog post. It just proves that I need to do it a little more often for my own sake! Now there’s a month left to the workshop in Holland. I feel like I am somewhat on my way now, a little less anxious about flinging myself off the deep-end again. I am better prepared already and infinitely less naive than I was the first time round!