There are countless interventions for emotional and mental distress and illness. Some are evidence-based and some are, shall we say, “interesting.” For instance, using ayahuasca. Let’s catch Patricia’s story.

Transformative experiences inevitably lead to uncomfortable, frightening places. They shift your paradigm but leave old patterns for you to address.

I’d been after longtime Chipur reader and associate, Patricia, to submit a guest article for some time.

Go figure, out of nowhere, I received an email from her a few days ago – article included.

A quick heads-up

Since Patricia’s story features ayahuasca, I need to mention a few things. As you may know, ayahuaska is a hallucinogenic tea (or occasionally, snuff) made by boiling a mixture of plants. Its main active chemical is dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

Ayahuasca is traditionally used by people in the Amazon River basin. Prepared by a shaman or curandero, it has spiritual and religious significance.

If you’re considering giving ayahuasca a go, there’s a wealth of information you need to be aware of. For the record, Chipur does not endorse or encourage its use.

The floor’s yours, Patricia…

“I am a badass.”

Every year on my birthday, I challenge myself to confront a fear. On my 60th birthday, I did something no one believed I would ever do: I jumped out of a plane.

Despite being harnessed to an experienced skydiver, every fiber of my being was certain I wouldn’t survive. I was leaping into oblivion, a testament to the depth of my fear of heights.

Three minutes later, back on solid ground, I was overwhelmed with joy, shouting to anyone who would listen, “I am a badass.” And indeed, I was.

Pushing boundaries with ayahuasca

I have endured loss – more than some, less than others – with grief and trauma as my constant, unwelcome companions. They linger like uninvited guests, consuming space that could be filled with Joy and Fulfillment, if only they would deign to visit.

Determined to reclaim my life, I began creating my own stories, pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. This resolve led me to my 61st birthday, where I embraced ayahuasca.

My interest in psychedelics was not a nod to my 70s upbringing; I had left recreational use behind. I was drawn by the promise of neuroplasticity and the hope of healing myself from within.

Guided by a seasoned counselor, I had made significant progress, yet I repeatedly hit the walls of depression and anxiety. I needed a tool to delve into these barriers, understand their origins, and dismantle them.

Psychedelics seemed the key, but legality and access were major hurdles. Then, a serendipitous invitation from a friend in another state opened the door. It felt like the medicine was calling me.

The ayahuasca experience

The ayahuaska experience

A ceremonial hut in Peru (notice the vomit pales)

My first experience was within a deeply experienced and generous medicine circle, led by a shaman from the Amazon. The cultural lineage and the support of the group provided a safe environment for this profound journey.

I can’t detail everything I experienced; it was a deeply personal odyssey, guided by an intelligence that gave me what I needed, not what I wanted. It was terrifying, uncomfortable, enlightening, and ultimately compassionate. I met spirit animals and felt the love that permeates the universe.

Ayahuasca revealed new channels within me, requiring coaching and counseling to integrate. Unlike the Amazonian cultures, where such integration is woven into daily life, I needed guidance to navigate this newfound awareness.

Thankfully, a facilitator supported me post-journey, helping me leverage the neuroplasticity gifted by Mother Aya.

Transformative experiences and advice

Transformative experiences inevitably lead to uncomfortable, frightening places. They shift your paradigm but leave old patterns for you to address. Embracing the medicine is a commitment to personal renovation, requiring careful consideration.

The effects on my life have been profound and ongoing. Though still processing my traumas and patterns, I am no longer seriously depressed or anxious. The shadows are now illuminated.

I felt called to the medicine and prepared my body and mind for the experience, taking it seriously. Until I feel the call again, I will not sit with ayahuasca.

My advice

This is my advice for anyone seeking the insights of this powerful plant mixture.

If you feel the call, approach it with utmost seriousness. You will gain from it what you invest in it. Consult your mental health facilitator and ensure a safe journey, both during and after the experience.

Strap yourself to an experienced facilitator and reputable medicine circle, and jump. You are a badass.

Stepping outside the box

Emotionally honest, informative, and well-written – thank you, Patricia.

Have you ever turned to an “interesting” intervention for your emotional or mental distress or illness? Would you?

I get it, sometimes we need to step outside the box to secure insight and comfort, But, like Patricia, let’s make sure we have an adequate fix on where we’re headed and safety. Right?


Plenty more Chipur info and inspiration articles where this came from. Pick one out.

Bill White is not a physician and provides this information for educational purposes only. Always contact your physician with questions and for advice and recommendations.

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