Love in All Forms: Aya Part II

Since I've been back, I've been surprised by how open I've been about talking about my experiences with ayahuasca. It's hard, I think, to integrate the lessons you learn from such a profoundly spiritual adventure into your daily life. You begin to question the importance of trivial things in your life, how you don't need to stress about each and every "little thing," and consider this an opportunity to freshly liberate yourself from your past. Yet, at the same time, it's been important for me to be easy on myself and take each moment, each day, as they come; transitioning into a vegetarian lifestyle or being mindful of your ability to facilitate inner peace are not the simplest of tasks.

Last night, I was thinking about what I would say about the rest of my ayahuasca journey, as it is quite personal and self-revealing. Indeed, I don't have to say anything about it if I do not wish to do so, but what service to others would I be neglecting if I kept it all inside? The answer is that I can do both--I can reveal what I think is inspirational or important without betraying the intimate lessons learned through ayahuasca. And if I'm being even more honest, much of the second evening's ceremony took me on a mission to heal a lot of the residual pain between myself and the Unicorn (see my first blog). For this reason alone, it's difficult for me to get into specific details, as I want to respect my connection to him and our personal history.

In my last post about my aya experience, I spoke about how she took me to witness my past lives and the deaths that I endured in many, many of those lifetimes. Again, despite what you believe or not, the lesson was important.This was meant to show me the impermanence of bodily incarnation and the significance of the soul's journey through each embodiment. From there, I was asked to "rise up," like a phoenix from the ashes, and dance in the spirit of my fire energy self. You see, I'm quite a firey personality, and if you believe in astrological influence, I'm a Sagittarius with Aries moon and Aries ascendant--which means fire, fire fire! Lots of fire! Fire is the spark of creation and also quite a masculine energy, whereas water and earth are more feminine energies, for example. Ayahuasca showed me myself as a fire spirit, dancing wildly and passionately in the flames of the night. She explained further that I need not be ashamed of my fire self, that I can revel in the light of passion, of heat, of raw vitality, pure spontaneity, flamboyance and vivaciousness. She asked me to play through the dancing flames of the fire, to fling my limbs about wildly and without concern, to join in the music with each cell of my body and every aspect of my soul, to seek joy in the nakedness of flame-soaked ebullience. This moment, this lesson, was meant to show me the potent power inside of us when we acknowledge it, embrace it and live it. What joy we can experience when we do fling our arms about wildly and dance to the beat of our own drum! You see, one of the shadow aspects of myself is concern about what others think, which hinders the ability to create (and fire energy is passion and creation or eros). We all struggle with this aspect of being and belonging, I think, and for me to view my energetic self through fire showed me that there is nothing to fear, that standards of behavior are unstable and ever-changing just as coals which burn-out in the fire pit. What joy we can behold when we accept all aspects of ourselves and "play" with the world around us! What love we can experience when we realize that not everything is meant to be understood or categorized, as fire burns blissfully wild and without a proscribed rhyme or reason. Just as the saying "go with the flow" of the river, stream or ocean current suggests surrender, the fire begs our attention to dance with the spirited and untamed essence of light.

To reveal further detail, I'll also mention that, on the first evening, I was also shown many of my past lives as masculine (or male) embodiments. It became clear to me that it makes sense that I have a relatively "masculine" personality, which is reflected through self-confidence, leadership and ambition--as well as an occasional a lack of tact, foresight and defensiveness. I had asked ayahuasca to allow me to explore my spirit and my connectedness to the world around me, and so she did so by showing me the vast, uncharted landscape of my soul's progression in this lifetime and others. By the same vein, she also brought me to the connection that I share with the Unicorn. This is where things get a little personal.

I am humbled by the support that I received from my initial post regarding relationship trials and tribulations; it seems that many of us have struggled through similar experiences or at least appreciate the nature of such vulnerability depicted in a (public) blog post. To honor that appreciation, I'll offer some insight regarding what ayahuasca taught me about this (soul) connection.

I believe that each and every, single one of us have encountered a person who has changed our lives forever. It is almost as though this person was set in front of us to show us certain aspects of ourselves, teach us a valuable lesson, tease-out things that need to be addressed and healed, and to inspire us to meet our full potential. Imagine meeting that one person, and all of those things I just said happen from that singular connection. That is who the Unicorn is to me--a direct mirror, reflection and teacher of my soul. Ayahuasca brought in his spirit with me on both nights of ceremony, and on both occasions, my heart swelled with love in all forms: friendship, respect, passion and sexual intimacy, to name a few. Over the past, few months, I have often questioned the nature of our connection. From time to time, I wondered: Did I make it all up? Was it all a big joke? Was any of it real? Was he just saying shit to get into my pants? Aya answered me clearly: no. It was not a joke. It was not a lie. The love, intimacy or emotion you shared in those moments was real. I cried.

I cried in realization that the connection between us--no matter how long or short lived in physical form--is anything but a joke of fate. We were meant to come together. We were meant to find solace in one anothers' arms after a lifetime of surviving on one night stands. shallow acquaintances or relationships that didn't quite fit even though they made perfect, logical sense and were great in many ways.

This is where I take a moment to reflect on love and past loves, too. The relationship with my ex was wonderful and fulfilling in many ways. There is no way I'd have been able to accomplish so many things as a professional and as a person without my ex-husband by my side. He was my rock in the storm and the sound voice of reason in the chaos. I loved him very much and still have love in my heart for him, as I respect him and honor the memory of our togetherness. Even though we decided to divorce, I don't see it as a rejection of each other as partners. Instead, I see it as a conscious choice to go our separate ways and to discover life's joys in ways we hadn't envisioned for ourselves as a couple. I reflect on this because love can be experienced in infinite forms, and we often think that because a relationship ends, that love is lost forever. It's not! It lives-on, always, and I believe it should be regarded as a purposeful blessing, not as a failure of partnership.

As I lay there in ceremony, in the loving embrace of the medicine, I felt as though all was right in the world, that everything aligned to bring me to that moment. I wept in both the joy and the pain of that love, and I thanked the spirit of ayahuasca for allowing me to see the significance of that connection in my life. To be honest, I felt a lot of love but there was a slight tinge of pain that radiated around my heart, and I knew--intuitively--that something still needed to be healed. Thus, on the second night of ceremony, I asked to do just that--to go on a journey to heal the memory of the Unicorn.

Again, I'd like to be respectful of our history, so I can offer a bit about what I experienced that night and what aya taught me. I was brought back to a night we spent together, the Unicorn and I, when we sat and talked about all kinds of intimate subjects including marriage, children and personal struggles that we've encountered in our lives. Even though the Unicorn told me afterwards that much of the dialogue was due to being under the influence, it was still the most amazingly intimate night of my romantic life. It truly was. I had gone over that night in my mind so many times that I began to categorize it in a sequence of events, applying logical analysis to the words that were said or left unsaid. I forgot how to just feel into the moment and to relish the pure emotion that I experienced. And so aya allowed me to dive back into that night, each moment with stunningly accurate detail, right down to the most minute facial expression or intonation of voice. It is said that our cerebral cortex holds within it an unimaginable amount of information that we perceive with our senses, yet our brains are not "wired" to retrieve all of that information. That part of our brain has what we may term "photographic memory," and so it's not a matter of whether or not we remember things in detail, it's a matter of being able to access those memories. I was blown away by the accuracy of my memory of that night, and again, aya took me on an unexpected journey in my past--but in this lifetime.

I wasn't brought back to this memory for the sake of worshipping a moment in time or for being more attached to it. Instead, I was brought back to this evening so that I could see, hear and feel what was being said to me. You see, on this particular night, I mostly sat and listened as the Unicorn shared with me his thoughts on life, past relationships, future ambitions and personal challenges. There were many times that I wanted to say something, but I held back out of fear. I feared that if I said the wrong thing, he'd disappear on me again. What I didn't allow myself to see in this moment was that he was offering me his whole heart in the most vulnerable way possible--and I held back mine out of fear. Aya brought me to this moment so that I could, in my mind, finally say all of the things I wish I had said that night. It's true that I've articulated my feelings for him since then, but when someone unfolds their entire self in front of you, the worst thing you can do is not unfold yourself along with them. And I didn't. All because I was afraid.

What I'm about to say, I hope, isn't taken as a betrayal of our trust. He spoke to me about his desires to someday perhaps have a family, a wife, a house, things like a pool and some property around to be able to pee outside whenever you want (I'm still laughing at this included detail!). He asked me if I'd be his girlfriend--and maybe someday be his wife. My response? I think I said something like "you know I'm crazy about you," but in my heart I wanted to tell him that marriage isn't as important to me as having him in my life. However he wants to be with me is fine just as long as we're together. I wanted to tell him that, in my heart, I knew we were already together in spirit and so being together in this physical embodiment was a mere part of the greater whole. He shared with me his concerns about having children, and what I wanted to say was that "it doesn't matter to me if I have kids or not because I love you." Instead, I think I made a comment about being cool with the concept of trying to have children. He told me that he puts walls up around him to deflect emotion or deep connection at times, and I listened to him without telling him that "I know you do. And I see them. And I am not deterred by them; I see your struggle and I honor your ability to recognize this self-imposed challenge. Thank you for sharing this with me." He told me a story about a former student who came to visit him to tell him how much he changed this student's life, and I listened as he lamented not being able to recall how he could've made such an impact on a young man. I wanted to say "Yes! This is the most true, real essence of you! It doesn't matter what you remember--what matters is that you recognize your inner gifts. I see you. I see your gifts, too." He told me about his struggles with his father, that they clashed from time to time on seemingly trivial things. I wanted to tell him that the importance lies in the constancy of love, the undercurrent of a loving connection that I know they both shared. He told me about wanting to perhaps have his own business someday or--at least--not being happy in his current job and knowing that he has a greater, more contented purpose. I wanted to tell him that "no matter what you do, if you follow your heart, I will always support you. That's just what you do when you love someone, ya know? How much money you make or how you make it really doesn't matter to me. I just want to support your dreams, and I want your dreams to become a reality." Finally, he told me that he has "problems with commitment" (I'm smiling as I write this, by the way), almost as a way to protect himself from the vulnerability that he had just lain before me. To be honest, I was confused by this admission, but I wanted to say "it's not that you have a problem committing to things--you are very committed to your family, keeping up your household, your friends and your job." I wanted to acknowledge that the fear of committing to the "wrong" thing is a valid concern, but it should never hold us back from doing what we know is right in our hearts. No one will ever look at you as a failure if you let love take the lead. That I know for sure. Even through my "failed" marriage, I know that it was never a failure in the least. Perhaps divorce looks like a failure from an outside perspective, but for me, I have the privilege of knowing that we put the time, love and energy into a relationship that will always bear with it so much meaning to me. If you love and "lose" that love, you've never really lost at all because love is never truly lost. (I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again!) Each experience and each person have brought you to this very moment in your life, and therefore, you're never at a loss--there is always something to gain when you understand that the greatest force in nature is that which brings us together, not that which tears us apart.

In my mind's eye, under the stars and under the quiet care of ayahuasca, I healed this moment in time with my love, with all of my heart, with every ounce of my truth. I can't help but to get a bit teary-eyed just thinking about it now because I allowed myself to recognize how absolutely stunning, resplendent, dazzling and breath-taking the human spirit is when it's sitting next to you, in its most vulnerable form, sharing with you every hope, fear and aspiration of the soul. Hopes and dreams like these are fragile, as though they're made from the most delicate, sparkling glass you've ever seen or beheld with your bare hands. You can't handle them roughly; you have to hold them, cradle them, put them back where they belong with your most gentle touch. I failed to handle his spirit and dreams with such care so many months ago. But I was able to go back and heal the moment, marvel at the brilliance of the dreams we shared openly with one another, and hold them most carefully and deliberately against the warmth of my beating heart.

There were other things that I also worked on healing that evening, but I feel them better left unsaid--or, at least, in the pages of my journal. The overall message that I wanted to share through this experience is that my intention for the evening's ceremony was to explore love even further, as well as to explore and heal this connection. You know, there's always the possibility that I'm completely nuts and that I'm spending too much time considering a person who, at the end of the day, may have used me for sex. That's a possibility. But it's a fear, too. The challenge, then, is to go deep within the heart and listen to the heart's truth, the place where fear cannot exist. And the truth that whispers back is that of unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness for our formal selves and for the times when we let fear take over our hearts. To continue to heal, I have to surrender any shame or fear that my heart's perception or feelings are one-sided. It doesn't matter anymore. I have to surrender my attachment to this moment in time, too, because to remain bewitched by the past is to neglect the blessings of the present. I need to be grateful for that which I have, for the love I have in my life, for the love I am willing and able to give to others. It is all that matters.

I am grateful for love in each moment. I am grateful for love in all forms. I am grateful.

~Namaste































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