My Healing Journey
My healing journey began with depression early in my childhood. By the time I was 14 I was labeled with two psychological diagnoses and was taking the maximum adult dosage of two different anti-depressants. When I was 16, I woke up one day and realized that I felt like a zombie: I was so heavily medicated that I was unable to feel anything. I decided to stop taking all of the medications, and what followed has been a 20 year journey of exploration, healing and re-empowerment, as I slowly untangled trauma & the resulting mental unwellness, and learned how to extract the many potential gifts that it offers.
What I’ve discovered is that healing is not a simple journey, nor is it linear. It is layered. Holographic. Complex. Surprisingly intuitive. Endless and ever-unfolding.
In June of 2003, I had what I now refer to as a spontaneous awakening. I was working at the time as a bartender on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and had no previous exposure to spirituality. But one day, I experienced an immense shift in perception, and for the next 2 months Life spoke to me.
God was real, and It was everywhere, communicating with me through the world. Everything was poetry. Everything was connected. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel alone. I could perceive an undercurrent of wisdom and magic, and while something within me felt a magnetic pull to connect with that mystery in the physical form, it was elusive.
In my internal world, however, I was having constant visions and “downloads” of the deep inner workings of this multidimensional
reality. Eventually, I returned to a somewhat normal experience of life.
In January 2008 my life changed. What started as a two-week trip to Costa Rica turned into a cancelled plane ticket and a job bartending on a Caribbean island. For the first time in my life, I knew how it feels to be free. And then in February of that year I experienced another spontaneous awakening.
It was profound in a different way, as if something was beckoning me into life from beyond the veils of this physical reality. It was something that felt more real than anything I had ever experienced, and yet it completely lacked context or reflection in this mundane “reality.” It hinted of magic, and the power of creation that we carry inside of ourselves. It hinted of a loving consciousness pervading everything, like a magnetic field pulling us onward.
While I understood very little of what was happening, I knew that this was a thread I had to follow.
A few months later I embarked on a sort of quest, following mystical breadcrumbs of wisdom all over the world, finding small tastes and new clues as I was initiated into the practices of Tantra, Yoga, Meditation, Mysticism, Sacred Sound, and Energy Healing. But despite the gift of contact with these teachings and practices, I found myself feeling more lost and overwhelmed as the days passed.
I was studying at a yoga school in Thailand in May 2010 when the third awakening hit. There were hints of it for a few weeks. Then I did my first retreat with the man who would become my meditation teacher, and something within me blasted open. The next three weeks were colored with the presence of the mystical. And then, on June 1, 2010 I met the teacher that I had been looking for all along: Ayahuasca.
I won’t cheapen with words what I experienced during that week-long Ayahuasca retreat, but I ended it with a shaved head and a clear decision that I would move to Peru to continue working with this magical healing plant.
In the fall of 2010 I arrived in Peru and began a 7 year journey into the powerful teachings and deep healing processes of Ayahuasca. It was an intensely deconstructing journey which excavated an immense amount of pain and trauma from within my being. But instead of simply removing these patterns and energetic residues, it somehow magnified them. This gave me a frustrating and painful, but incredibly fruitful opportunity to learn how to engage, navigate, and begin to integrate what had been suppressed and
What I discovered was that my nervous system was in an almost constant state of stress and panic, and had been for most of my life. I had internalized the abusive voices of my childhood environment, and had been almost constantly attacking myself as I walked through life. And the truth is, most of us do this in some way, as we unconsciously abandon and abuse ourselves. There was a huge part of me that I had no idea how embrace. I was fragmented, and it was literally making me sick. Life was calling for a homecoming of the highest order, an initiation into the practices of Radical Self-Love that I now share.
rejected within me.
Ayahuasca taught me how to love myself by highlighting the parts of me that I had deemed unlovable.
It was through this confrontation that I truly began the process of personal reclamation and healing.
During the majority of those 7 years, I suffered from waves of chronic symptoms like extreme fatigue, brain fog, and random physical aches and pains. Often I would wake up feeling as if I had drank a bottle of cheap tequila the night before. I had blood tests and saw specialists, and nobody could tell me what was wrong. It was clear that my body was screaming for something, and so I began to learn to listen.
I have realized that the peace I seek can only be found, created and cultivated within me, as I consciously embrace the complex totality of my humanity with full acceptance, presence and unconditional love. I have learned that the mystical presence that touched me during those experiences of spontaneous awakening is actually always available inside of me. Inside of all of us: a potent whisper obscured by the abandoned, rejected and unintegrated aspects of our own humanity.
In fact, this mystical presence is the abandoned parts of our being. It is all of life, not just the shiny and pleasant aspects. I have learned that the more I embrace all expressions of life as they arise within me, the more I have access to the subtle presence of Love. I have realized that while the experiences of transcendence, expansion and Light are important, I was unconsciously using spirituality as a way to avoid a more painful human reality. I was spiritually bypassing. When our system is clogged with unhealed wounds, unexpressed emotional charge and residue from traumatic experiences, it becomes nearly impossible to stay present and inhabit our human
vessel. It is just too painful. And so there is a dissociation, a sort of self-abandonment that happens, like a divorced couple that continue to co-habitate but avoid each other at all costs. I had abandoned myself, and my road to healing was paved with personal reclamation and reconciliation.
While this was oftentimes a confusing and painful initiation, it created the foundation upon which my work now stands. It provided me with incredible insight into the complex inner workings of my psyche: a sort of holographic map for navigating the dynamic domain of light and shadow, and an abundance of tools for creating internal space so that our natural radiance can effortlessly emerge.
It brings me incredible joy to be able to share the fruits of this journey with you, and to support you along your own journey home.