Hello everyone !
Disclaimer: this post has been written 15 days ago, before living Cusco. We are now in Pucallpa since 10 days, following a Shipibo 'dieta'. We'll be back soon with a fresher post ;-).
I hope you guys are all, in one way or another, decided to get out of your comfort zone and explore what life is about this year! Haein and I most certainly started the year like that, with two ceremonies the first week of January and again two ceremonies this week. It is most uncomfortable and we certainly do learn what life could be about.
So, what is going on in my world? I do live a life pretty much center around ceremonies at the moment. Each one bringing its releases, sometimes its purges, its teachings and its openings. Now, I see it as some kind of big summer cleaning (remember, down here we just celebrated the summer solstice ;-) ) for both the mind and the emotional body.
By cleaning, integrating blocked emotions and letting go of unnecessary energies, I am creating space for life to come in. I indeed do have more space for smiles and laughters, for new projects and dreams, for listening to someone else's stories too. More space also means less thoughts and more time to see the thoughts materializing in my mind, giving me the opportunity to choose what to do with said thoughts instead of being the victim of them. For example, if something comes to mind that I could say to Haein but could create potential problems, I do have more time to choose to go ahead and say it or not. On the other hand, because their are less thoughts popping up, the ones that comes, however small or insignificant, feels very loud and present. Making me want to speak them out so that they are, well, out. I also see myself asking my body, my heart, what I feel about something before taking a decision. It's really not easy on my mind, which is so quick about reacting to anything, to have to wait for the much slower process of actually feeling into the choice in front of me. More than that, I actually keep realizing (and forgetting) that I used to have a however small but constant unease around my head, a sort of very light headache. Now, this headache only comes up when I try hard to think about something, and as I see myself coming about trying hard, I can stop and enjoy a felt sense of spacious peace in and around my head instead !
I don't know if it is clear for you guys how awesome a change that is. Let me repeat: I have been living my life with a constant pain around my temples and now it is, mostly, gone. And when I do the things that contribute to revive this pain, I can recognize it and stop it!!!
I am now living virtually free of a pain I have been carrying for so long I can't even remember when it became part of my identity. A pain I've been carrying for so long I learned to consider it as a sort of 'unease' or 'very light headache' but that I consider now as unbearable before it's even fully present. Anyone of you who had/have the displeasure of knowing chronic pain can appreciate how awesome that might be. It literally is life changing. My head is now a spacious, peaceful place to live in, instead of this thing wearing a bit too small cast iron helmet to go through life in. I mean, you can change jobs, partner, friends, countries, faiths and still be very much living with the same freaking helmet around your head. I tried all those. None had the same 'life changing' feeling to it. And I went from living to Brussels to India and back again. I went from doing a doctora in consumer culture theory to entrepreneur coach to yoga teacher. I have been a complete laïc to agnostic to Buddhist to yogi. Believe me, I tried a couple of life changing experience.
As I am writing all this, I am very much aware that all those things are part of what I consider the yogic path. Most of it actual parts of what I've been trying to practice and invited my students to try out for themselves. Looking at and integrating our shadows, learning to live from the heart instead of the head, etc. So what is different to me now is not a 'new awakening', it is not a realization, it is really this 'summer cleaning', the space I am gaining to practice and how that space invite, as a reaction, the practice.
Those are no efforts I am doing to be better in the world, to create less conflicts within as without, those are the ways I am being at the moment. No thoughts, no teachings, no even the mere intention to do anything. Believe me I am way too tired for all that. It's just... I couldn't possibly be any other way. Any other ways feels too harsh, too violent for my heart, to difficult for my mind. Any other way would trigger this headache I am speaking about. It really is like I trew up my inner conflicts and now I am ... that.
That all sounds weird and wonderful at the same time. Wonderful because I see now what 'being the teachings' means, weird because I am still very much a child of a culture, a society that disconsider anything that does not comes from the mind. And here I am, amazed at how life is when mind is not in charge of it all anymore! I now link the fact of thinking about things to headache and prefer to live 'from the heart'. What the fuck? My mind used to love those teachings as things to think about, but, I realise it now, had never had the intention to actually give away it's position and trust my heart to be the captain. Scary uncomfortable time for mind indeed!
Maybe some of you read the article from The Guardian I posted on FB this week about Raoul Martinez's work on freedom and responsibility (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/dec/13/raoul-martinez-writing-creating-freedom-artist). I feel like plant medicine is an agent, a guide, a teacher, that 'de-shaped' me. As if those master teachers where there to unfold, burn, shake out all those things, educations, experiences, past lives, karma, what-have-you, and to leave me just ... me. Naked, born again, free to experience the world away from all the protections, habits, 'shields', lenses that I learned to create and hold around me (mostly unconsciously during early childhood or before that) to protect myself, to protect the life that I was, and that I kept on because I didn't knew any better. In this way, my sens is that those master plants are helping me to become responsible, to become free, truly free, to make choices.
If you're interested about those concepts, I strongly recommend to read, together with Raoul Martinez's book, the book from Arkansas Lushwala 'The time of the Black Jaguar' wich speaks, among other things, about the sickness of the white man who hold onto things and can't, won't let go. For indigenous people here, that is a sign of sickness. Now more than ever, I see what they mean. Life is a constant movement, a constant exchange of energy, within as without. How sick can I be to hold on to what I consider are 'my possessions'? Wether they are thoughts, habits, believes or material possessions, none of them belong to me and none of them are meant to stay with me forever. Quite the contrary, all things are looking to keep on moving, because that is the law of Life.
So that is what I think I am doing. Taking plant medicine again and again, hearing my mind and sometimes the ones of my parents and friends, being seriously concern for my health. Because it is one thing to celebrate the adventurous within ourselves daring to try one of the most powerful hallucinogenic on the other side of the world, but a totally different thing to comprehend why going on with it after one, two, tree, ten ceremonies. Especially as I keep experiencing pain, sorrow, anger, restlessness, greed, and sometimes physical pain during said ceremonies. And growing up. And drinking this fool drinks.
I am learning to let go of my head, not to become a vegetable, not aspiring to kill my ego, but to live more fully, to become more responsible of my choices, to create space for my desires and my dreams to really be present. To become so sensitive to my own alignment, my sense of being me, that when I do half a step away from it, it hurts, quite literally, my head or my lower back. Because I start to be able to dream of a way of being where I would be totally back pain and head pain free ! Because I start to see a possibility of being where I would feel empowered and happy, where I would truly own my life and trust myself, my love ones and the world. I am here for the whole deal, I ain't no adventurer, I am a dancing warrior and I am ready to take all the risks dancing this dance involve. Because what else could I possibly do now?
With deep gratitude for all my teachers and friends on the path,