(To read the first Part of the story click here)
What followed after that first illuminating ceremony, was years of me becoming an acolyte. A disciple. A follower. To me the medicine was everything. She took me by the hand and showed me all the ways of the universe, which society/ the world had failed to do.
It was like coming home and having direct and very real experiences of what all the sages throughout time had been always talking about:
We are one. We are love.
It was deeply healing and transformational. I cried many tears, allowing the grief for the connection with life that we have lost to surface and purge me. I cried for all my misconceptions of life, I cried for my parents and brother, whose pain I suddenly felt like my own, I cried for all the people suffering pointlessly.
And I learned.
I learned how to stay in my center. I learned how not to get hooked into the projections of others. I learned how to use my energy wisely as to stay in the light. I learned to love myself and to take responsibility for my reality by feeling fully what was happening to me.
I can say that those three years of regularly going to ceremony were the most beautiful years of my life so far. I felt connected to love continuously and I experienced a deep, deep trust in the universe and its guidance. Life became a miracle and a game, simultaneously.
And then it all changed.
The dark side of Ayahuasca
I got trapped in my Ego’s pursuit of enlightenment. I had seen the light and the light was the truth. I had seen it through the medicine so therefore whenever I felt ‘down’ or disconnected from the ‘light’, which inevitably happened time after time, I naturally concluded: I need more medicine.
Off I went to yet another ceremony.
I had stopped listening to my body. Stopped paying attention to its subtle cues that I needed to be gentler with myself. Those sensations of discomfort I disregarded as resistance to deeper expansion and therefore needed more will power to push through. Which is exactly what I did: I pushed and pushed and pushed. I was starved for those moments of lightness and love from my first experiences. And with the devotions of a suicide bomber, I was determined to be delivered back to the kingdom of heaven.
I just needed to release more.
In hindsight, I am amazed at how ignorant I was. How little I understood about the body and the nervous system and how very little respect I had for both.
In hindsight, I am also amazed that in my whole Ayahuasca community there was no one to point this out. No one to see the imbalances that were happening. We were all disciples and disciples don’t question their guru. We were relating to each other through the context of our shared experiences of the medicine and lacked a language to connect us beyond it.
Aya was THE way and we couldn’t see further than that. We couldn’t see that Ayahuasca, as beautiful and valid in its role as it was, was only a part of an even much greater picture: the evolution of consciousness and the heart awakening of the human family.
So the most stupid thing I ever did in my life was to attend two ceremonies in a very short period of time (which happened to be the most expansive and awakening experiences of my life) and then to go traveling around the world. Literally a few days after.
The importance of integration
You might, like me back then, read this and think, so what?, not grasping how crucial it is to give ourselves time to integrate, whatever the work is that we do. Integration, in fact, is where the REAL work happens.
Imagine cleaning a room full of stuff. Imagine going through all the corners, taking everything out of the cupboards, chucking it all in the middle to sort out later as you plan to put everything back in its place. Usually, it’s a mess.
Integration happens when we give ourselves the time, after having spring-cleaned all the dark and dusty bits, to go through each item and find its new place.
What I had done, and what I see many people do, is chucking everything in the middle as they are going through the process of cleaning and at the end of it, being too tired or running out of time, taking the whole discombobulated mess and shoving it back in a closet somewhere. So without having given it a new place, instead of feeling at ease with the changes and expansion that happened to us, we feel overwhelmed and oftentimes confused.
And if you add to the equation substances that drastically alter your brain chemistry, like ayahuasca or other entheogens, substances that splatter your brain all over the universe, as my friend used to say, then you can end up in quite a pickle.
I had, instead of giving myself gentle time for integration, subjected myself to traveling with my dad in a van (a person who can be challenging if not unbearable at the best of times) before going on to flying to Bali, Rwanda, Poland, Ibiza, and Canada. All in the span of six months.
I put myself in a position where I was constantly triggered into Fight and Flight while trying desperately to hold onto my newfound insights. It was a recipe for disaster.
By the time I was in Canada, I was in psychosis. This is self-diagnosed, so I’m not sure if a doctor would agree with me, because I still had enough of a thread to consensus reality to not end up in a mental hospital. However, the next two years that followed were a long dark night of the soul.
I remember lying in bed most of the nights in complete darkness, literally feeling how my being was scattered into pieces. I couldn’t hold onto one single coherent thought. I couldn’t calm my system down. My body was locked in a perpetual state of terror and panic. My psyche was wide open and I was perceiving energies and entities that scared the living shit out of me. At the same time, I felt totally vulnerable and subjected to it. I felt invaded by dark forces. It felt like dying, but a hundred times worse, because there was no connection to self. Let alone to the divine or anyone around me. I couldn’t access faith nor trust or love.
I was utterly alone, frozen and cold.
In this state, I had to navigate my way around airports and other people’s living spaces. Dealing constantly with new environments. My system was in complete overload.
There was no language to communicate what I was experiencing. (Who would understand?) I was oscillating from judging others, how ignorant they were (as they didn’t see all the things I saw!), in an attempt to justify my reality and hold onto some bits of sanity, and deep moments of shame for the fact that I was losing it.
It was excruciating.
continue in Part 3.
Kasia Patzelt works as an Embodiment Coach, helping individuals to let go of trauma and co-create an authentic human reality. She lives with her cat Miss Smokey in Ibiza, Spain, where she also organizes one-on-one retreats.