During my morning meditation, an intention for the spiritual medicine I’m about to take later today rise to the surface. It’s very simple and clear: free my heart. Despite the fact I’m about to undergo one of the most extreme things I’ve ever done in my life, I feel calm, centered. It feels like someone is saying a prayer for me, or that the universe is taking care of me, or both. I’m driving over 89A to Sedona. A magical landscape unfolds before my eyes: red rock formations, everywhere I look. The pull of this place is enormous. The energy in Sedona is strong and clearly noticeable. It says to amplify the state of every mood you’re in.
The Sedona vortex pulls you in
I arrive at Simon’s place 1 hr too early. Apparently I still live on Mountain Standard, instead of Pacific Standard Time. It’s all good though, I’m happy to relax on his porch, sipping on Tulsi tea, watching him prepare our ceremony. He jokes that I’m one of the chosen who is privileged to have this little sneak peak. I notice that I’m still calm, and trust that I’m in the right place, on the exact right time. A little while later I meet my fellow Kambô traveller, Evelyn, a frail, amicable young woman from Boston, struggling with the same issues as your writer. We learn that we have so many synchronicities, and I believe it’s definitely not a coincidence we both end up here at the same time.
We are invited into Simon’s garden, where he has created a circle for the ceremony . Before we begin with the Kambô, we’re first going to work with Sananga eyedrops, a spiritual medicine which helps to sharpen perception and can help to release any stuck energy or sickness. Evelyn is the first to take them. I watch carefully how Simon puts one drop into each of her eyes. Once I see she squeezes them tightly from pain, I feel fear creeping up on me. I start shaking and my teeth begin to chatter, while it’s about 100F outside. Simon asks if I’m ready. I stumble that I’m not sure. He’s being very compassionate and patient for where I am. I, on the other hand, am not. I’m forcing myself to get ready. I feel weak that I’m not. I have the urge to literally hit myself (but I refrain from doing so). I say “Fuck!”, angry with myself. Simon sits next to me, he is present with me, holding space for me. “Let the big wave go by”, he says. This allows me to take my time. Breathing through it. I’m aware how hard I am for myself, it’s so clear that I beat myself up, not only here, I do it fucking every single day. It’s breaking my heart. Acknowledging the emotions to be there, all of them. Whatever their nature. Just let them pass. That’s what I’m learning to do right here, right now.
The wave passes.”I’m ready”, I say. And really feel ready. Simon asks me to hold my eyes wide open. One drop per eye. He works fast. I squeeze my eyes immediately. It’s so painful, I cannot even keep them open. I’m trembling all over, teeth chattering, crying.
Working with Sananga eye medicine
After a few minutes, the pain dissolves. I open my eyes and sit up. I’m electrically charged. My senses are heightened. Grounded, calm. It’s like I have a magnetic field underneath me that is pulling me towards the earth. I see more clear. The colors are more intense. I start drinking 2L of water.
Simon burns 3 points on the inside of my right ankle with a stick. Then I sit on my peruvian rug with my hands folded in prayer. Internally, I repeat this morning’s intention. Simon applies one globule of the medicine on the open skin. I feel very emotional, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. I try to focus on my breathing, while being very aware of what’s happening in my body. Very soon, within a minute, I feel a weird heavy pressure on both sides of my head, heavy arms and hands, burning leg, and start to feel nauseous. My heart is beating faster and I’m burning up, just like having a fever. Simon asks me how I feel. “I feel like I’m about to pass out”, I say. And then I’m gone. What happens next I learn later. Simon and Evelyn tell me that I said that I’m in so much pain and a second later I left my body for about 3 minutes.
When I regain consciousness, Simon tells me to lie down. I cry again, waves of emotions need to be released. I allow myself to feel anything that comes up and through me. For the first time in my life, I fully acknowledge that terrible things happened to me when I was a little girl and that this trauma is still very much rooted in the body. Suppressed. Every. Single. Emotion. My feelings never had a right to see the light of day. I didn’t had a right to see the light of day. I denied myself completely. Every single day. I’m heartbroken realizing this. What a huge wake up call. Kambô came in my life just for that reason. To finally wake me up.
The second day arrives. We sit around Simon’s kitchen table sipping Tulsi. We talk about our parents. Simon says he fully accepts them for who they are, so that he can accept himself fully for who he is. It sounds so easy. And so challenging at the same time. It feels good, to sit and talk. I feel very safe here with Simon and Evelyn. Today, I feel more ready for the eye medicine, but this time it hurts even more than yesterday. How is that even possible?! I lie down on my back, eyes closed, cringing from pain, crying again. Then the medicine goes straight down to my spine, and it causes strong energy currents, the body spasming accordingly. I welcome the medicine. The pain dissolves.
It’s my turn to slug down 2l of water.
Drinking 2l of water before the application of the poison
I’m very scared for what’s about to happen. Simon burns another 3 points in my skin. I break down and cry. Letting my emotions flow. “What would you need from us?” Simon asks patiently. I feel reluctant to ask for what I need. Hesitation. I look at the ground. “Can you hold my hand?”, I ask Evelyn.
“Can you hold my hand?”
Simon applies one globule of Kambô medicine on my skin. It works its way fast. A burning sensation, spreads out through the entire body. My throat is blocking immediately. I need to gasp for air, tilting my head back. This is a familiar feeling, I often experience pressure in my throat, unable to speak my very truth. Then my head is about to implode, although that is how it feels like. My heart. Oh my heart. It’s pounding so loudly now. Despite all the uncomfortable sensations, I feel comfortable enough to ask Simon for more medicine. My request matches his intuition. The effects deepening. A very old, emotional pain swells up from deep within: “I feel so alone”, I cry out. And I leave my body again. This time around, for about 15 seconds. When I regain consciousness I start to laugh, almost hysterically. Then I heave, face down, hands firmly grasping the bucket. I purge. Clear, transparent fluid with black solid pieces in it. I purge more. And more. Hands covered in saliva. I lie down and energy waves are moving rapidly through my spine. I laugh and laugh and laugh. If feels so good to ride the wave of Kambô medicine. Simon mentions that people can experience full body orgasms on Kambô. I feel very light. It’s like a layer that’s been peeled off. My chest and heart are more open, like there is a little bit more space. I can breathe. I laugh.
The night after the 2nd journey is a restless one. I toss and turn. Thoughts swirling around my head. Creative ideas are being downloaded into my mind. Feeling high, energetic, rather than sleepy. When I wake up in the morning, I feel there is something different. But what is it? I blink my eyes a few times. I look around. Then I notice that the ever present anxiety, that is always there, especially in the morning, is gone. No heaviness in my chest. An unusual sensation of peace. I lie on my left side. Very scared to move, because I don’t want to lose this peace! I can’t believe this.
Anxiety especially comes up for me in intimate relationships. I get triggered very easily, childhood traumas will then rise to the surface, and I feel like the 5-year old girl again, trapped, hiding from fear, but in the mean time wanting to reach out, craving for love.
And so that’s why I much rather hide in the forest, where I feel safe, run over mountaintops and share the valleys with grizzlies. Only, this time, the universe decided differently for me. It stopped me in my tracks, after only 3 days on trail. To be and connect with myself.
I slowly start to recognize the signs. Getting more conscious every day but it feels like I’m taking 3 steps forward and 3 steps back all the time. I fall down, head first into a pile of dirt. There is something terribly wrong with me why else am I alone?
I feel so alone, I don’t want this. I feel so ashamed about it. Ashamed for who I am. I’m angry with myself for having these severe anxiety attacks. It makes me so sad to realize that I’m so far away from loving myself fully with all my dark sides and flaws.
I feel that I have no right for the feelings I’m feeling. I have no right to be in love, have feelings, be emotional.
A week later, I feel like my heart is more solid in a way I’ve never experienced it before. My body feels lighter. The heaviness around my heart is gone. I still experience emotions, I still get anxious, sometimes big waves comes crashing in on me. But now, the difference is that I just sit with every emotion that comes up, and be fully present with it. And after a few minutes, it passes. Just like that. And I feel light again. Free. Being able to breathe.
On my headphones: