On July 28th, in the pitch dark Amazon jungle I married myself.
A very simple ceremony with medicine music in the background and, most importantly, Ayahuasca in every cell as I walked down the aisle.
Context being of the essence, here it is.
Two months ago, my young and wise friend Miguel told me we should go together to an Ayahuasca retreat in Peru. A “Dieta” consisting of 10 days and 5 ceremonies. My first response was a full body YES. I had never done Ayahuasca and the jungle was calling.
My physical preparation was directed by the shamans, but I decided to go totally uninformed about Ayahuasca and therefore have no expectations.
I got to Pucallpa to embark on the most amazing soul ride.
I am not a “substances person,” or rather… I was not.
I love to control my mind, my body, and the environment.
On the first ceremony I took a small dose that resulted in a beautiful in-depth conversation with my mom. I saw her in a beautiful light and loved her with all my medicine-drenched cells. If the retreat had ended then, I would have been happy.
But we had four more ceremonies to go.
For the second ceremony I doubled the dose and the ride to hell, heaven and back lasted for 7 hours. It took me – the control freak – places I did not see the way in or out of. It was beautifully horrendous. Ayahuasca showed me the golden and dark pages of myself sincerely, lovingly, brutally, deeply. I saw the depth of my soul. The jungle medicine opened my heart to just feel, which, I’ll admit, I hadn’t done for years.
Going to the medicine with curiosity and drinking more was a great idea. The trip was super rough, deep and scary, but the learning felt profound. But just like in midlife, curiosity and the willingness to learn were the roads to wisdom.
Ayahuasca is, for sure, not a recreational substance.
Using these plants involves diving in and deep work. The way I see it, Ayahuasca helps you unfold the deep unconsciousness and throws wisdom in random packaging, not always easy to unpack. I was ready to leave after the loud wake-up call, but the shaman lovingly told me to stay and continue detoxing. I will be eternally grateful for his gentle advice.
Ceremonies 3 and 4 were deep and revealing. The bodily sensations were intense and they led me to an energetic review of the closest people in my life. My body felt cold as some of them appeared, while the thought of others was warm and cozy. The medicine confirmed my intuition about the need to filter my closest relationships and attachments.
Amazonic Rolodex purification.
The process of drinking Ayahuasca led to a new bright part of me being born.
My ego and the woman who speaks inside my head were told some harsh truths and we all decided to make things more conscious, loving and caring.
For months, I had been thinking of buying a ring to engrave it with a significant date and have it be a symbol of commitment to me for the rest of my life.
And because the medicine explores your thoughts, in the last ceremony I found myself in an aisle and in front of me were Antonio, Camila and Julia, my children, and my friend Miguel. I was getting married to myself.
The journey that began in November at MEA finding purpose ended, for now, walking down that aisle. I am happily married and vow to respect and love the “roommate in my head” as Michael Singer calls it.
I married “her.” This means from now on no more horrible self-talk. I want to cherish “my” age, being the best grandma on earth and continue doing all the things on the list with the best possible partner.
Midlife is a time of acceptance of self, respect for the processes and of commitment to whatever comes. The learnings from the Ayahuasca ceremonies will surely help me navigate this stage.
I am eternally grateful for the experience and intend to do it more…not when I am in pain but when I am doing good, so I can appreciate my ok-ness, make it deeper and be more grateful.
And of course, I would recommend it to my fellow mid-lifers who want to do the work diving in the beautiful and black parts of their souls.
Pilar Sanchez is an MEA alum, a happy mom and the Chief Culture and Happiness Manager at DYM, a company manufacturing items for the auto and electric industries in Mexico City.