A year ago, I was living back at home with my family, fresh back from surviving the hardest experience of my life – getting sober from alcohol in the middle of Burning Man. I had finally transcended my Dark Night of the Soul out on the playa, looking deep into that giant dusty mirror and making a deep commitment to myself to release, shed, and rise like a phoenix from the ashes of the temple fire where I burned my alcohol demon to nothing. I am truly free. I have one year and 38 days free from alcohol.
That one courageous act was the key to unlocking the door to the prison I created for myself, where I spent so many years coping, surviving, numbing – but not feeling or living or growing. When you’re in a prison, it still feels like home. The pain was comfortable, familiar, and it was a problem I knew how to solve until I crashed and started over again. I was trapped in a reboot loop of rage, repent, repeat. I stayed in the addiction cycle with alcohol for so long, when I finally broke out, I was totally lost. Getting out of prison felt more scary than anything. What do I do now? How do I rebuild my temple to myself? Where do I even start? I had the space, but I didn’t know what to build yet.
Transformation isn’t changing. It’s uncovering and remembering our true divine nature. And that starts with shedding and letting go of the things that harm us. In order to truly find your ultimate expression of self, you have to make space. This means using your sword of discernment to cut the ties that bind you, one by one. And then, sitting in the silence with yourself and learning to listen to your intuitive consciousness. For me, this silence manifested itself into creating art. It was a year ago that I started making fancy ass hats, and Fire Lotus Studio was born. I made art. I wrote. I worked on websites. And day by day, I nurtured my human connections, and I healed. My burn and medicine families continue to grow, to solidify, to offer love and abundance, and to merge into one massive joy fest that I am so grateful to be a part of.
Allowing myself to find expression and joy through making art and becoming a yoga teacher was my version of taking a machete through the jungle to cut a path for myself. When you are out in the front blazing a path, you have to be fearless, because there will be people coming up behind you. This year has been all about building my own temple, strong in foundation, and lighting it up as a beacon for anyone I meet who is looking for their own tools to care for themselves. This is how I became a teacher. This is how I Rainbow Lotus every day.
Creating this silence and space in myself led me to find travel and plant medicine, my ultimate wisdom teachers. When I arrived at Gaia Sagrada last spring, I still needed healing, but I was ready to receive the messages from ayahuasca and San Pedro. My first few ceremonies led me to the root of my trauma, showed me my deep wound around the masculine, and allowed me to nurture and forgive myself. I met my inner child and wrapped her in a blanket of security and light. I let go of my pain and suffering and anger toward the masculine and began to integrate that delicious energy into my core being. I saw my own death and it was beautiful and I was happy. We are all the circle. We all have both feminine and masculine divinity. And when we learn to merge those pieces into one whole, we ascend into a higher understanding of what it means to be human in this life, in this time.
My relationship with San Pedro went from one of fear and jittery anxiety to a warm, shining oneness with the deep cosmic forces of the Earth. Because I allowed the Grandfather to heal me, now I have the ability to truly listen to the messages of this medicine. San Pedro showed me that empathy is a primitive tool for healing, and that the true master of holding space is able to walk in love. In our ceremonies, each participant shares their stories and struggles, and it can be easy for empaths to take on other people’s pain and suffering as if it were their own. What I am learning each time I go on this journey is how to walk with gentle power in these dimensions. I am now working as the Gatekeeper, a role where I get to be myself and help others through the ceremony by being in service to the medicine. I learn so much in these ceremonies, and in my daily work with our clients. When you respond to the pain of others by listening, as a channel, but always keeping your own temple protected and safe in a ball of light, nothing can hurt you. You can give fully without attachment to the outcome. When you love yourself fully, no matter what life throws at you, you are safe. You are whole. You are listening. You are growing. And as you grow, you share. Share what you know.
From this space, you can give compassion, wisdom, love, and understanding. I know now that my work is to teach others the magical healing power of self love and self care, and I can only do that well by practicing it myself, for myself. I am not perfect at taking time for myself, and still have to remind myself each day to move my body in yoga practice, to meditate, to listen to music I love, to make art, to laugh, to have fun, and to say no when I need to. When I veer off the path by doing too much or not taking alone time that I need, I can feel it in my body and my heart. For me, dis-ease manifests as anxiety, worry, and chronic physical pain in my joints and muscles. These are not things to ignore, these are messages that something needs to change.
Self care and self love is a practice, like everything in life. We get tools, we learn by failing, and we use intuition to guide us. San Pedro in particular has allowed me to really hear myself. And to adjust and regroup when I need to. Psychedelic integration is not an event. It is a lifelong process. Take each nugget without expectations, and plant those seeds. Water them. Nurture them. And see your life unfold into abundance.
There will be times when you feel stuck or lost. But the magic of the spiritual path is that no matter if you stray from it from time to time, you’re only one step away from finding it again. Meditate. Drink water. Eat healthy food. Sleep. Love. And especially, love yourself. Be yourself. That’s all you have to do.
If you are interested in experiencing the healing power of ayahuasca and San Pedro, and joining the family of these ancient medicines, come visit us at Gaia Sagrada in Ecuador. It is truly my honor to be a part of the family here, and I would love to see you!