In that first ceremony, I heard, felt, and experienced the sensation "You are going to be here for a while." I had no idea what that entailed. A few days later, when the the retreat began and there was an option to do a plant diet, I found myself saying yes. I was totally unprepared, but something about the place, the people, and the plants all felt right.
The curandero gave me bobinsana, and I was told it would help me get out of my head, and into my emotions. I drank it 3 times/day. The flavor was unlike anything I'd had before - like drinking the jungle herself - rich, bitter, but filled with vibrancy, aliveness, and a sort of magic.
After the first few days, I started to notice what felt like an infusion of water in my body. My awareness was on the fluidity of energies moving in my tissues, and in between my cells. I became more buoyant, and felt less dense. My emotional state shifted into a deep melancholy and grief. I felt like I was being held under water, like I couldn't quite come up for a proper gasp of air, but I had just enough to keep on digging deeper. It was a complex experience, one that I'd never had - emotions, energy, and awareness shifting on many levels throughout the day. The nighttime dreams were vibrant, palpable and had a loving, care-taking quality. I felt the energy of the bobinsana was looking after me, guiding me on a journey into a place I didn't know.
With my mental habitual patterns that many of us Westerners have, I thankfully had an adventurous spirit and a deep curiosity leading the way. I surrendered and let go, I felt the ocean of emotions that were arising on the surface of my consciousness - mostly those that had been buried since childhood or were connected to things beyond my reach. Not always knowing the specifics, the emotional imprints were ready to be felt and released. I also released showing up the way I "should" in front of other people - no more composure for the sake of composure. I entered a world that was tender and necessary - it felt like it had been waiting for me. I finally returned to parts of myself that I'd forgotten. All the while, feeling the infinite love and mysterious presence of a plant.
I remember lying on a huge rock in the middle of the river under the jungle canopy in the afternoon of day 5. Everything turned into the flowing river - my awareness was like water, it WAS the water - my mind, my body, all became one with the rushing water beneath me. It felt deeply cleansing, and the question arose - where did "I" go? Was I going to disappear and never return? With the question, also came the awareness of the comfort and perfection - whatever was happening, it felt amazing and right on time.
In the days leading up to the close of the diet, I noticed my heart. It wasn't a place I normally focused attention, but it was pulsating, expanding, and very much alive. The grief was turning into a deep love for everything - not only that which I'd experienced here and in life, but the pure joy of being alive, the intelligence of the jungle, the wonders of the universe. Love just was a state of being. (This was a sweet augmentation to an experience in the 3rd ayahuasca ceremony I ever had, where I'd been floating in a pool of water, of love, and a deep knowing I was completely held.) I was returning home, again.
Closing the diet, this emotional state in my heart only continued to radiate and continue growing. Reconnecting with others who were also in the diet afterwards, was like being reborn. New ways of interacting were fresh and deeply nourishing.
The integration process that followed brought more healing, learning and connection in ways beyond what I thought was possible. I ended up staying for a couple of months, returning to San Francisco and packing up my apartment, to return again. I'd fallen in love with the plants and my heart needed to follow the journey with them. Whatever was in store, my adventurous soul was ready.
If you feel called to meet bobinsana, I have a small intimate group starting next week (read more here). You are also welcome to request privately guided support with this and other plants at any time.