Having spent 18 years living in a remote part of the Amazon rainforest, swimming (literally and even sometimes naked) with the alligators and piranhas, I got to see many shamanic practices used extensively in dangerous, negative and harmful ways – as well as in very positive ways.
Thus I find it fasinating how many Western thinking people often view shamanic practices as the holy grail, as if it were a perfect solution without flaws. Actually, like the tools in all spiritual and religious traditions, they can be used for bad or good.
One of these is Ayahuasca a hallucinogenic drug that some believe speeds up evolution through bringing conscious awareness to parts of one’s unconscious mind. The belief is that ritual use of Ayahuasca speeds healing and personal growth.
Whatever your opinion of the use of Ayahuasca, it makes many people barf their brains out. Lengthy spells of bad diarrhea can also be part of the experience. (Not to mention that it’s also illegal in most of the US.)
Personally, I would prefer to save the violent stomach heaves for times of real sickness. Having lived and travelled in more than 20 countries I’ve had plenty of close encounters with food poisoning and “Delhi Belly.” I am not keen on choosing to invite more of that into my body.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a time and place for some to step into an initiatory experience that may be difficult or even traumatic to overcome. I don’t suggest anyone do anything illegal, and I also respect acts of conscience.
What I see lurking in the deeper motivation of many who do this, however, is that people put themselves through punishing experiences hoping that somehow intense self-torment will lead to better lives, and better relationships.
It’s as if there is a deeply held idea they have to pay dearly for the good things they want before these things will come into their life.
If you look around and pay careful attention you’ll see many people do crazy things and go to great lengths in hopes of improving intimacy. These things range from punishing diets, staying in a career path you hate, excessive, punishing workouts, unsafe sex, wearing more makeup than 5 Hollywood stars combined even to check the mail – or barfing from Ayahuasca.
I have some good news to share with you.
To go from where you are now to having a life you love spent with people you love – there are much easier ways.
You don’t have to torment yourself doing crazy things to improve intimacy.
In fact such efforts can push it away.
The path to what you seek can be gentle.
Yes, it’s true that like a bike ride through gently rolling hills there may be some challenging pedaling along the way.
But, it need not be punishing or traumatic. You can take that bike ride instead of making a massive and dangerous effort to climb Mount Everest.
In other words, you don’t have to barf your brains out to get there.
To get there gently yet powerfully, the place to start is with self-compassion. Forgive yourself for not knowing how to get what you want. Forgive yourself for judging yourself for not being there already. Forgive yourself for _____.
Breathe deeply and forgive yourself 27 times a day, or every 10 minutes, if you need to.
Then, instead of focusing on the unanswerable questions and what you don’t have, or know how to do, start asking yourself empowering questions.
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For example, “What is the one most important, small and manageable step I can take today?” and “What will it feel like to live a life I love with the love(s) of my life?”
You could also benefit from making the Tantric inquiry, “Where can I find pleasure and joy, however small, in this moment … right now?”
The practice of asking oneself empowering questions is one of the many tools I teach my one on one coaching clients to support them in creating the lives and relationships that will best fulfill and nourish them.
Have you been barfing your brains out or otherwise trying hard and tormenting yourself hoping it will make things better?
Are you ready for a more gentle path to creating a life you love surrounded by people you love?
If so, then be more compassionate with yourself and start asking yourself more empowering questions. Examine your thinking and choose to believe there really is an easier way to get what you want. Seek help and support from others to help you skip the barfing and self-torment.