Thursday, April 17, 2014

Out Of LLI And Onto Ayahuasca

I Hate Goodbye's...

On Tuesday, I wrapped up my month long stint at The Light and Leadership Initiative in Huaycan. I had a really busy last few days of working there because we had a Martial Arts and Ballet Workshop for the children on Saturday and Sunday, and I was asked to take the lead on the Martial Arts training by teaching the kids Boxing and Muay Thai.

It was such a huge success, the kids were *so* into it... It broke my heart when they asked if we could do it every weekend. I wanted to say *YES* and stay there forever... but I couldn't.

 :( It was a great feeling though, knowing they appreciated the workshop, and that they had fun.

On Monday and Tuesday, I taught my classes for the last time... Gave my little kids some galletas and gaseosas as a little farewell present, and they, in turn, gave me the biggest hugs and kisses! I toootally got the better end of the deal. :)

As I said goodbye to my friends when I left, I couldn't help but cry my ugly cry. Karen was a little surprised... she said I've had to say goodbye SO many times on this trip already, I should have been so used to it... And she was right. I SHOULD be used to it, and I SHOULD be a little numb to it by now... But I couldn't help it. Volunteering with The Light and Leadership was the best job I ever had this year... I got to be a teacher again! And I made a difference to kids who needed the gifts I could share! I felt like I rediscovered my old passion for teaching, and realized that it is always something I would and could do, with or without a classroom. And so I cried because I was grateful for everything I experienced... and because I was going to miss them. All of them. :)

On my last night, we had a little pizza party at the rooftop
under the full moon :)

The encounter with Sophie in Greece, the girl who recommended LLI to me wasn't chance or coincidence. I honestly and truthfully believe that it was meant to happen... that it was all part of a bigger plan for me. I don't believe in coincidences anymore... not when things like this keep happening. :)

Speaking of... 


Another BIG thing I'm about to do because of repeated "chance encounters" is the Ayahuasca Retreat.

I mentioned this briefly on my other post about a month ago. Just to give a brief review, here's what I wrote about it:

It's basically a psychedelic brew of the Amazon region, known for its hallucinogenic properties. People go on Ayahuasca Retreats (Shamanism) to drink the brew in the hopes of curing their drug addiction, alcoholism or depression. People like me who do not fall under any of those categories, go for a more Spiritual purpose. It has been said that when you take the Ayahuasca brew, you undergo some sort of mind-altering/spiritual experience. Some call it "seeing God", some encounter the divinity within themselves, and some say they just see things clearly... like everything just makes sense.

Ever since I got to South America, I kept randomly meeting people who bring it up in conversation. By the third time that it happened, I got *really* curious and did more research about it. I was intrigued, but I honestly didn't even consider doing it. The more people I spoke to however, the more I got convinced that it may be worth a shot since I was going to be in Peru anyway! Ayahuasca is most popular in a place called Iquitos near the Jungle here in Peru. 


I had a few concerns about it though. First of all - it's very expensive. There are a LOT of retreat centers and private Shamans that could perform the ritual for you, but I was told to be *very* careful because there have been horror stories about "private" shamans molesting their female clients while they were in the hallucinogenic state. They said the shaman will make all the difference in your experience... Well, I suppose the shaman, AND your attitude will make all the difference. I decided that because of those warnings, I was going to have to choose the location based on safety... and it had to be highly recommended by someone I know. 

It was really all down to the cost. 7 day retreats in Iquitos cost about 1000 USD, and I was already going to spend so much money flying to Iquitos, PLUS flying to Cusco for Machu Picchu too! I honestly didn't know if I was going to be able to afford it.

And then.... ENTER Daniella. An Italian Angel of Ayahuasca. I randomly met this girl at the rooftop of the hostel we were staying at in Lima while Karen and I were celebrating our birthdays. We were just chatting and having a drink, and she mentioned that she had just done the Ayahuasca retreat IN CUSCO a few weeks prior. She said she had such a positive experience, she felt completely safe, everyone was so nice and friendly, and the shaman was amazing... She *highly* recommended it.

Oh. My. God.

I took it as a sign. A 3 day Ayahuasca retreat in CUSCO... which meant I could do both Ayahuasca and Machu Picchu while I was there! Done and Done. 


Why am I doing this? I'm not sure. Maybe because I can? Maybe because I feel like I've been guided to do it? Because... why not?
I am at a really good place in my life right now, but nobody's perfect. I could do with a little clarity... a little more courage in certain aspects of my life. As I am ending this year of travel, maybe this will help me figure out my next move... Maybe provide some inspiration? Or a different perspective on things?

I don't really know what to expect from all this. The people I've spoken to, said that they felt pure love.. they felt connected to their god... some said they felt the energy and love of their departed loved ones, some "saw" things in their life that they needed to fix...

It all sounds like such a positive experience to me... and if I go into it with an open mind and an open heart, I'm sure I will have a similar experience too. (I hope) The way I see it, I have nothing to lose. I mean who wouldn't want to feel and experience "pure love"? To feel connected to the divine... to Mother Earth?
Worst case scenario, I come out of it exactly the same - and that ain't bad! 
To me, it seems like a perfect way to close out my year... to prepare me for the next adventure. 

So wish me luck, friends! The retreat is on Sunday for 3 days 2 nights at this place called ETNIKAS. I won't be bringing my laptop with me, so my next post - which will be all about the experience, will be on Sunday instead of the usual Thursdays. Send me a good thought when you get the chance, and I'll talk to you guys soon --- Hopefully with a new and improved zest and outlook on life!

Hasta luego!