Updated: May 26
I've just gotten back from Rythmia in Costa Rica, which is the first medically licensed Ayahuasca facility in the world. They aren't limited to Ayahuasca, but all other healing modalities are really there to support the deep and immense work that ayahuasca provides our bodies, minds, psyches and souls.
One of the lessons I received this past week in the presence of incredible people and powerful medicine is that no one can claim this medicine is theirs or the rituals built around them are carved in stone. Shipibo traditions from the Amazon basin to Columbian Yagé celestial parties can't even say the medicine is "theirs". However, Rythmia holds fast to tradition because it is the longest standing tried and true container for Ayahuasca ceremonies that we know of.
A "container" is really just the way the ceremony is set up. From the dieta (diet) before hand and the classes to prepare people for the experience all the way to the ceremonies where you drink, the moments in between getting colonics, cold water immersion, movement practice and more and the sharing circles afterwards, the "container" is what makes it all focused on your healing and your miracle.
Rythmia kept stressing that word. Miracle! What does that mean? What constitutes a miracle I thought. Well, I have done this particular plant medicine many times and it always shows me how much of a child I am and how much I have to learn. I can't say that I have the definitive answer on what a "miracle" truly is. But, I can tell you a little story about my return trip home from Rythmia.
I left Costa Rica after filling out a form telling Rythmia whether or not I received my "miracle". I didn't realize it but I came with many expectations. I thought all my external circumstances would make more sense. I thought I would find a way through all the stressors and obstacles in my immediate future by the time I hopped on that plane. Actually I thought I would have all those answers by the third night of ceremony. Turns out, the lesson from the vine was that of patience and humility. I received none of my expectations and actually left feeling worse than when I showed up.
I was so angry at myself for not "doing it right". For making a fool out of myself in front of so many beautiful people. For being too honest and too vulnerable. For having told people I've done the medicine quite a bit in the past and leaving feeling like I've been coddled and babied my whole life. It was a strange feeling of self-judgement I sensed on that long trip back home.
By the way, both these images above are from Rythmia's facebook posts. This yin-yang post is very on point. And it actually makes the point of this blog post arrive at it's full potential. As a human, I was cared for by all the people in that ceremony. There was very little judgement from others and that little bit was more of concern and love than gossip. No one shamed me for being vulnerable the final night of ceremony. They just held themselves in a state of love and listening. Not even for me but for everyone and everything that could use healing and growth.
I left Rythmia with a big "NO" to the question of whether or not I received my miracle. Only to return home still in full process of the medicine. I wasn't having visions, but the emotions were turning, the thoughts were seething, the creativity was off and the awkwardness was at 11. Ceremony had not ended. It still hasn't.
BUT... I received my miracle. No, it's not a sales pitch or a promotion for Rythmia, although it should be. Rythmia held a space for me to witness people in love, even though all of them were in need of healing and growth. So when I returned home, I fell back in love with my family, my wife, daughter and twin boys, in a way I hadn't before. In a sobering, grounding, humble way.
The Netflix show BeatBugs came on playing "All you need is LOVE" and it hit me. The miracle is always there. The love is always under the veil and encrypted into the obstacle. A riddle waiting to be solved. A game awaiting your engagement. A partner awaiting the dance. When you find love, the miracle reveals itself and you'll say "I remember" rather than "I see". Because we all once felt this love unconditionally. Then came the conditions.
You don't need Rythmia. You don't need Ayahuasca. You don't need this blog to understand that LOVE is the only answer. But all three help ;)