Hello Family. Welcome to the shiny new home of We Are Standing on the Edge. If you’ve been with me a while, you know that over the last decade, I’ve used this platform to share my life experiences in finding sobriety from alcohol, my deep love of music as therapy, my romantic escapades, losing a parent tragically, and sharing my true life stories where I often fail like a boss and learn so much in the process. And just being here having fun and making people laugh through connection and vulnerability. I have just returned from a 12 day retreat at the magical Gaia Sagrada, a plant medicine center in the Ecuadorean Andes, just outside Cuenca, where I was fortunate enough to experience a healing transformational journey with Mother Ayahuasca. This is my story.
In the last decade, I have self-healed from alcohol abuse, obesity, abusive relationships, and low self esteem. I have walked away from self harm and thoughts of suicide. I have chosen life. I have overcome trauma and being a victim, and blossomed into a happy, positive, healthy, vibrant, lotus flower human. I have become fully, authentically myself in every epic way possible. I have never been happier. I have done this without meds, without AA, without organized religion, without diets, and without living in a daily hell of fighting demons and hoping I can live another day. There is no quick fix. There is no miracle cure for being human. As Christine Breese, the owner of Gaia Sagrada says, “This is not a vacation planet. This is a construction zone.” In fact, I tried all of those things over and over, and every time ended up in a worse place than I was before. Each “cure” or solution created more pain, more suffering, and more disconnect between myself and my body. I climbed mountains and fell right off of them and had to start over, again and again and again. For years, I was a diehard atheist, convinced that there was nothing for me in the spirit world, but Gaia continued to reach out to me through the ocean and mountains and desert. She called me, and I finally listened.
And I just kept going.
There was a hole inside me that no amount of drugs, sex, food, alcohol, shopping, or anything could ever fill. I didn’t love myself because of deep trauma I had been carrying from childhood, from my relationship with my father, and from every failed experience with a man that piled up on my scarred heart. I continued to attract masculine energy that damaged me. I finally realized that the only cure was giving everything I need to myself by loving myself fully and unconditionally. That I needed to transform empathy into compassion and stop holding other people’s emotional garbage. It was a long road, but I made it.
It was only when I started shedding everything that did not serve me that the real healing began. Two years ago, I went to Burning Man, came home and quit my life. I sold my stuff, left my job, and cleared the space to grow a new forest for myself. I was lonely and isolated and used art to make it through the hard parts. I moved in with my family for almost a year at 39. I got dumped on a mountain by someone I was ready to move my whole life for. I took my last drink at Burning Man in 2017, and surrendered myself to the temple fire, truly broken. Crawling, I kept going. As I healed my physical and spiritual body, I truly learned how to use yoga, movement, meditation, food, art, friendship, and sleep as medicine. Two months ago, I started traveling full time and working remotely from wherever I am.
In the last month, I have gotten off all medications, including allergy meds, sleeping pills, and benzos, and have stopped eating meat and am phasing out all chemical products from my life. I have become hyper aware of my connection to the planet and how each day, I make choices of what to put in and on my body, of how I use and interact with water, and how I get to choose happiness, joy, and love as my default setting. Now, my focus has shifted to exploring the manifestation of all that work and healing I have gone through, and sharing everything I have learned here with you.
It is possible to find the light within yourself, and through practice, self love, and perseverance, you can be the person you are meant to be. You can be yourself, fully, with no apology. You can overcome your addictions, fears, and things that have kept you from fulfilling your own potential. You can walk into your own power and authenticity. If I can do it, so can you. So can anyone.
Welcome to the dream.
Ayahuasca is a sacred Amazonian plant containing DMT, a substance made naturally in the human body (and many other species) when we dream, and that has also been called The Spirit Molecule. Ayahuasca and DMT containing plant medicines have been used for thousands of years in indigenous cultures, shared by rigorously trained shamans who bridge the connection between our world and the ether, and spend their lives awakening within the ancestral knowledge that has been lost. These shamans are true divine connected beings, spending much of their lives in communion with these plants so that the world may find its way to healing, one person at a time. All my love to Salvador, Amalia, Paulina, and Sofia. These people are shaman goals, y’all. I will get more into the magic of these healers later, but wow. Make friends with shamans, they have the ancestral instructions, and they will inspire you to laugh, cry, sing, dance, and live in a new way you only dreamed of. They make it safe for us to be with the medicine and explore our inner worlds. Panache dude.
These plants are used in sacred ceremonies by human explorers seeking mystical connection to the spirit realm. Mama Aya offers physical, mental, and emotional healing of past traumas, abuse, anxiety, fear, mental illness, and has been purported to cure everything from MS to Alzheimers to cancer. Aya is a vision quest. She is a teacher. She is a mother. She is a healer. But most of all, she is a mirror into your own intuition and self knowledge. She is pure mystery, but holds the key to all the knowledge of the universe. She is all the religions in one. She is God and so you are God, and so I am God. I’m in you and you’re in me.
Language is inadequate, but I will do my best.
Imagine a world made purely of trees. Alive. A green, lush, soft blanket of grass, plants, leaves, and moss enveloping the surface of the land as far as the eye can see. Purple and blue mountain ranges in the distance, capped in pristine white snow, seen from a tropical, dense cloud forest mixed with jungle. Flora and fauna of every shape, color, and sound. Nests of colorful, wise birds making their homes in the trees. Bears and wolves and monkeys and weird little fuzzy spiders making webs across the mouths of bulging, fragrant lotus flowers. Apple eating white foxes and sleek mountain cats living as neighbors. Listen to the gurgle of the streams, the bubbling and splashing that turns into a roar as a massive river turns into a waterfall, and the placid silence of a totally still and serene lake. Picture an ocean full of life and color and movement. A deep, cobalt sea deeper than the sky is high. Envision a dark, living jungle that holds the ancient secrets to life on this planet. Imagine a 150-year-old vine who has listened and sat still and learned for all her life. For all the lives written in her DNA. Imagine countless nights of being in the forest and jungle and mountains. Imagine seeing the invention of fire, and feeling the power that bestows upon the fire keeper. Imagine living on this world in harmony with the water, in gratitude for the abundance, and in pure action and conservation of nature. Look up and see a galaxy of stars, the rising of infinity before you, and know that we – you and me and everyone – we are all one. This is my tribe, the tree people. Beings who have lived in peace with the planet in like an Avatar level way. I saw my life amongst them. As a green goddess earth mama, walking around barefoot on the earth, feeling her breathe into me and giving me life. Imagine earth songs guiding you through your home world, showing you how to live with honor and integrity on the land.
This is not a fantasy. This is Earth. This is our planet. Where we live, right now. Today. Welcome to Earth. This is your home. And she is calling you to pay attention and take action to save her, protect her, and claim your heritage in the lineage of the human race. Aya showed me a lot on our first evening together. My intention with her was this: show me how to love myself so that I can truly love others. As Salvador and Amalia, our amazing shamans, began the first round of medicine, and I was snuggled up in my bed in the maloka, I stopped being afraid and just decided to trust her.
Surrender, Trust, Accept, Receive. STAR. That’s the acronym my bestie gave me after her Aya journey a couple months earlier in Peru. It served me well as I traversed the unknown sensations of ayahuasca in my body.
“Breathe, Family.” Salvador’s voice always the touchstone to connecting us all together. The power of going through this experience with a group of human mind astronauts binds you together for life. Thank you Gaia fam. I’m so grateful to you.
Aya bends you. She twists you, like the vine she is, digging through your physical body while hammering your mind with total chaos. She pulls back the curtain into another world made of infinity, where there is no you anymore. She will dissolve you. The come up for me was quick, about 20 minutes, and from there I was slammed with nausea, and almost a terror of like “What the actual fuck have I just done and how am I going to survive this?” I asked her to let me stay in my body for now, as my work in healing is in this physical realm. She agreed, but showed me a small sliver of what’s in store for me when I am ready. My first vision was one of an infinite vertical, cylindrical stack of rooms, a hive, a matrix, stretching out in every direction, each one a scene from my own life. I didn’t know if it was all this life or other lives, because in some of them I looked very different. Some rooms had people from my life in them, memories from my whole life, and some things I didn’t recognize. As I stared up at this infinite realm over and over and over, I felt totally exhausted. Each second felt like a day. I would go into one room and see my father, I relived a memory of him spanking me in anger when I was three and I knew I had been carrying that fear and pain my whole life. She would make me keep seeing the same thing until I agreed to follow her through and face the root of the pain in this memory. I went into prison with my father. I felt his suffering and sickness and fear. I was afraid I would have to feel his death, alone in a prison hospital room. I asked her if I had to feel that, and she allowed me to choose if I wanted to or not. It was a crucial moment because I decided I had suffered enough and that his pain wasn’t mine. His life choices weren’t mine. And his end would not be mine. This is when she showed me the difference between empathy and compassion. And how holding other people’s damage and passing that on, carrying it, is a misuse of my empathetic abilities.
She told me I had a choice to break the generational trauma of alcoholism in my family, that I would be able to be free forever if I chose to be. She showed me how we choose our death by the way we live. I spent a lot of time feeling all of human suffering. Disease, poverty, violence, anger. I saw how Western society created a fake world of violence and oppression that keeps people down. I saw how plastic, chemicals, and concrete have blocked us from experiencing the true, natural gifts of the abundance of this planet. I agreed I was ready to hear the answers for how I could live a life of true abundance within myself. And just like that, she told me how to cure the aches and pains of my body. I have had symptoms of IBS, arthritis, kidney issues, menstrual problems, anemia, insomnia, anxiety, skin issues, all kinds of little chronic things we attribute to getting older or think are just part of life. She showed me that all my issues are related to diet. She showed me how meat creates inflammation because of the pain the animals are in. She showed me how my body prefers to eat plant based foods, and gave me a glimpse of myself at an older age having been a vegetarian for years. No arthritis, less pain during periods, more restful sleep. She told me exactly how to structure my days so that I feel most productive and healthy (meditation, breakfast ritual, keep work confined to work hours, spend time making art and having intimate connection with my human family, and travel slowly so I can enjoy where I am and find the work balance I need.) She told me to stop worrying about money, that doing what I love will be lucrative and support me. Write. Build websites. Help people find themselves. This is your work and this is how you will thrive financially. Work with your family.
She did all of this in my own voice, so it felt like I was connected to my highest self and the information was presented in a very practical, bulleted list kind of way, because that’s how I needed to hear it. She thanked me for doing so much work and for being prepared to hear what she had to give me, and she told me she knew I was ready to level up and BE the change I wanted to see.
Then, she gave me self love.
This happened in a few different ways, but mainly it was a pure ecstatic joy of being in my own body. I squeezed my belly, rubbed it, snuggled it, and shot love into it. I felt so much joy and gratitude for my chubby body of the past, and was able to thank myself for living through all that trauma and pain, all the overeating and over-drinking, all the drugs and useless sex, and means of escape I went through. I stopped feeling shame toward my stretch marks and fat rolls. She made me a goddess, I felt the divine light and energy of the universal life force, and I became it. She showed me my kingdoms in the heavens, the gates to worlds I have lived in before, and she delivered me into the reality of the beauty of my human body. She showed me that I was a woman of the wolves, a medicine woman, a healer, a true magic dealing wild witch of the moon. I spent hours just thanking my soft, feminine flesh for bringing life into this earth. Although it is not my role to become a mother, I get to be a healer and hold space for people to find what I have found myself. Freedom from self doubt, pure self acceptance, body love, and a wholeness that I have searched for my entire life. It was like a decade of therapy in one night, and unlike endless talking, this actually worked. Every day since my first journey, I have felt nothing but pure joy toward my gorgeous goddess body. I became the queen, La Reina. And I have remained awash in gratitude for my own life. For the water and food I eat and drink, for the ability to bathe and clean myself, for the ability to feel comfort and relief and exist in a life that is full of love, creation, and family. I felt myself ascend into a higher vibration, and I get to choose every day to remain here and look up, knowing that the highest levels of being are awaiting me as I evolve to a new plane.
This feeling of joy and bliss remains, and I will share my subsequent journeys with Aya, San Pedro, and the sweat lodge over the coming weeks. I will share about the ceremonial music, the Icaros Ayahuasca songs and how music brings us through the chaos together into pure ecstatic joy, love, and connection to a human family. I will share what it feels like to wake up to membership in a tribe of ancient wisdom. I know that my relationship with plant medicine is just beginning, and that I have so much to learn and to share. If you are interested in learning more, or having a personal conversation with me about the medicine or my experience, feel free to get in touch.
I am returning to Gaia Sagrada for several months (Oct 31 – Mar 9) to do work exchange and help facilitate the healing retreats as a staff member. I would love for you to visit while I am there and experience the plant medicine for yourself. Feel free to ask if you need more information.
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