The Longest Backstory Ever.
Let me start from the beginning. Have you heard of Ayahuasca? I hadn't, not until after sobriety at least. Surprisingly (or possibly not), I heard about it in Kundalini training. A friend from training had done it some near 20 times. He came to my home one day after a weekend ceremony. I'd just had sex with Justin, they'd passed each other on the elevator. He was so lit, and I was so lit, it was as if we were stealing each other's experiences. We were porous. I could feel his drugs, felt like I was on his drugs. I guessed he could feel my sex. We went to a café and sat in the San Francisco sun, and we ran into people we knew. I remember thinking so clearly, They must think I'm on drugs.
This did not make me want to try it. This made me NOT want to try it. My highs were safer and more expansive than whatever it was I picked up on that day.
The second time I heard about Ayahuasca was again in Kundalini training. A different training, a different man. This guy, too, had tried it some 20 times, was training to become a Shaman. I noticed he had the same ease and kindness and lightness as my other friend, which I wondered about. I asked him what his experiences had done for him one night as we thumbed through racks of second-hand clothing on Haight, and he told me it had saved his life. Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts - all of them erased from these experiences he'd had.
This was January 2015, and I was depressed. I couldn't write. I couldn't get out of bed most days. Smiling made my face hurt and being around people just made me feel raw. Most days I woke up asking God to split me open down the back, let that part of me that was just using this body fly out. I had done everything I knew to do to move depression. I meditated and did yoga for hours on end, I had a psychic, I'd had past life regressions and energy clearings, I took Epsom salt baths most nights, I regularly got massages, I read good books, I'd finished two fucking yoga trainings for Christ's sake. And still the darkness in the pit of my stomach remained. Desperate, I asked Shaman-in-training if he could help me find a ceremony.
As these things go, the second he said yes I wanted to take it back. No, I can't, I thought. But I smiled through my depression and nodded my head, Yes. Over the next week, he texted me a few times. Has she called you yet? She being the woman who, for $500, would give me drugs in a circle of other desperate broken souls, and hold the space through an evening where I would - supposedly, hopefully - vomit that black knot out into a ceremonial puke bucket. I could see it in my mind's eye. A yellow plastic container, a pool of bile, a dead black leech of a snake, fangs out, eyes wide open. But my phone hadn't rung. I told him so. She will, he said.
And she did. Eventually. A day before the ceremony, but I had already written it off with a sigh of relief. By the time we connected, my God was saying No, and so I said No. What I think I meant, though, was Not yet. Read More