Have you experienced skepticism or misconceptions about working with plant medicines?
In conversation with the larger world of healing, there are a lot of ideas about what it means to work with plant medicines. I often feel misunderstood.
People are concerned about choosing mind-altering medicines “to get high” or “have a trip.” Others are concerned it’s not the “real” way to do healing work. I understand these concerns and address them best I can. There is a wide range of experiences and people from varying backgrounds out there working with plant medicines. The key is to make sure we are alignment with ourselves and our healing paths, and to take responsibility for our own paths.
I see these medicines as sacred tools and teachers, that can open up infinite possibilities in consciousness. If we hold them with respect and truly integrate the lessons back into our lives, into our bodies, into our thoughts, actions, energies, we can be in an incredibly beautiful and profound healing relationship with them.
In the recent interviews I have been conducting, a few common concerns people experience are :
Concern #1: Over-use or becoming addicted to plant medicines
Choosing to work with a plant is opening up to a very deep intimate relationship. And like any other relationship (such as those with humans) - they can be unhealthy and turn addictive or abusive. And on the other side, they can be based on love, respect, reverence - a healthy nourishing relationship. Those who find themselves in unhealthy situations with plant medicines, and other relationships in life, could benefit from support and guidance to uncover the unhealthy patterns. We all need reflections from those we trust to help us see where we are out of alignment. The plants do just this as well, but when we are deep in the healing process, we need many angles from which to work. If someone has a history of unhealthy relationships, addictions, and trauma, working with plant medicines is advised only in conjunction with other healing and therapeutic modalities to truly get to the core of the healing.
Concern #2: Ceremony circles are conducting business out of alignment from the original intention of healing and awakening.
There can be a variety of issues with this. One is being over focused on the plant(s) as the healers, while the human counterparts are not fully trained to properly hold the healing container, and are behaving in ways not in service of others. Another issue is that circles can get stuck into a loop of more medicine is better, which plays easily into the consumerist conditioning in Western cultures where we are always assuming more and harder is better - that’s the way you “make” it in the world. Even the facilitators themselves can slide into this place, getting caught in the financial benefits and status/popularity/entertainer cycles that can be common in the plant medicine world. This can quickly begin to resemble the predominant power structure here in society that most of us are trying to move away from.
It is a matter of preference, and I personally prefer the healing containers from those I trust and are competently trained, often in a variety of healing modalities for many years, if not decades. I look for facilitators that are supportive of the learning process of all participant- they help hold, guide, and empower the individuals in their own healing, awakening and connection with the plants.
Of course, there are many circles where this is not at play, but this dynamic is what can give plant medicine a negative reputation. We can do our part by seeking out those circles who are in alignment with our own values for healing and humanity, not that are siphoning energy in an unhealthy way to feed the shadows of those "in charge."
Concern #3: People working with plant medicines are not in touch with reality or not doing their spiritual work.
The plants medicines are powerful teachers and awakeners. People who choose to work with plants must have their own energetic and spiritual practices to be able to support and sustain the rapid pacing of the work that gets uncovered by the plants. The plants open up consciousness, so that reality can be drastically shifted and altered immediately, and there is an immense responsibility on care-taking for that process. Esoteric, Eastern and indigenous traditions all have frameworks for which to hold this deep level of work. This includes the support of community that holds this transformation as a real part of human development. Western society does not have these frameworks and community level support. Yet, it is beginning to form, as those working with the plant medicine are realizing the importance of developing spiritual and energetic practices, integration work, and reaching out for supportive community.
Everything is malleable. Our power lies in our perception. Be curious, flexible and open to the unimaginable. We are in the midst of great change.
If we are truly committed to our transformation, we must dive into the unexplored territories of the heart and be wiling to learn from the wisdom sitting patiently waiting to be discovered.
This requires a skill that we can’t develop until we have the courage to go there. Let everything we think we know, drop aside. We dance in curiosity, like an explorer in a faraway land.
In our world, we shy away from feeling the intensity of the emotions in this exploration. But traveling in, where we experience them deeply, we get to know them, their teachings, their wisdom, and their guidance.
Lean into support, for the journey in can be dark and uncomfortable. We need others who can reflect our own truth and essence back to us, no matter what it is. Sometimes these are in the form of other people, other times it can be consciousness, plants, animals, or Mother Earth herself.
Let yourself feel fully, reach out for support and offer love to all expressions you discover along the journey.
I’m currently available for private support sessions where we bring in the wisdom of the plants, the Earth, and consciousness to guide you deeper. Email me at email@example.com
In this transformative container quarantine has gifted us, I’ve plunged into themes of power, privilege, discrimination, giving, receiving, caring and respect.
The deep wells of this conditioning weave though the collective all over the world and through time and lifetimes. I recognize the immense amount of privilege I grew up into compared to most of the world. And I am no expert on these topics of power, privilege and discrimination that so many have dedicated their lives to. Yet, we all have our piece of the puzzle to unravel.
As a white woman, growing up in a middle-class American life, I was subjected to my own unique conditioning. On a fundamental personal level, I learned that power was “bad” and caused harm to others. I learned to submit and back down, to quiet my voice to keep the peace, in fear of being overpowered, shamed, hurt and even killed. At the same time, I also learned empathy, about how to truly care for others, and how to offer and be of service in the name of love. And I learned to do this without embodying my power, in some ways, I was trained at “giving it away.”
I remember a workshop many years in San Francisco, where the author of the book “Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change” (Adam Kahane) opened my eyes to these core issues as they play out in the inequality of the world. At the time, I was deeply involved in environmental issues, and had begun to see how the out of balance dynamics of the 3rd and 4th chakras were playing out in the environmental world.
"The two methods most frequently employed to solve our toughest social problems—either relying on violence and aggression or submitting to endless negotiation and compromise—are fundamentally flawed. This ias because the seemingly contradictory drives behind these approaches—power, the desire to achieve one’s purpose, and love, the urge to unite with others—are actually complementary.”
I’ve descended deeper into seeing how this separation still lives within myself, in my interactions in the world, my relationships, my business…everywhere. I feel the uncomfortable truth of how not embodying and integrating power and love actually lives within me and in the issues plaguing our world (we have an excellent example now). I have had an unconsciousness belief that in order to receive something, I have to give, over give and give again, until I’m exhausted. I care about others, the world, the Earth, and yet, opening too much without boundaries and direction, doesn’t serve anyone or anything involved. The Laws of the Universe do not work like that. Giving also from a place of simply loving so much all of life, yet forgetting that love also extends to taking care of personal power.
Integration of power and love is also integration of the human and spirit. How can we restore this balance internally, so we can act from that alignment? We bring care and respect for all beings - including ourselves, the Earth, our humanity. We stay open to learning in our interactions, receiving and giving feedback, and a willingness to see our shadows.
Praying for those who’ve struggled deeply in this realm - those in marginalized populations, other parts of the world, ethnicities, classes, sexual orientations, genders, disabilities, ages, the have and have nots, all who’ve been subjected to these conditionings living in our collective consciousness.
"When the Condor of the South comes together with the Eagle of the North, the spirit of Mother Earth - Pacha Mama - will awake, then She will awake millions of her children, this will be the Resurrection of the Dead.” (Incan Elder Willaru Huayta)
Reunion. The condor and the eagle. The heart and the mind. The feminine and the masculine. Intuition and intellect. We are not awake until these are alive and in harmony.
What’s arising now is a frustration and deep concern. Many have been in the depths of fear, death, and restriction and have discovered new joys, the infinite space to feel, and our long-lost appreciation for the Earth.
The time is coming to reemerge. Everyone is restless, with the late spring energy, warm sunshine, aliveness of life beckoning us all out into the world.
But our work is not done. I feel despair that we won’t integrate, that we won’t reap the harvest of all that has unfolded. That we won’t use what we’ve transformed to change our ways and relationship to the world. Perhaps it’s my own angst I’m feeling.
In truth, I don’t know what will happen. Today, tomorrow, next week, next month. Everything is uncertain…still. The mind does not like not knowing. We’ve been for many months collectively unknowing. Refocusing on intuition is the only way to reassure my angst. Listening to my heart, my body, my indirect knowing…those parts know it’s OK. Everything is ok. Life is ok. The world is ok.
The forces at work here are much bigger than any one or collective mind can comprehend. My intuition says I’m on the path I’m meant to be, and we are all on the path we are meant to be, however those unfold. We have in our beings the transformation on deep and subtle levels, that will now radiate out into the world in new, unexpected ways.
The question now is can we keep our hearts open as these shifts happen. Can we welcome whatever arises with an open heart, not returning to the old patterns of the mind?
Feeling a strong desire and steadfast care for the world, as we reemerge. Holding my heart open as best I can, with the intention of harmony, reunion, and integration.
Slowly transitioning from this place of deep introspection, we see, feel, experience the foundation of our being has been re-organized. Metanoia, rooted in the ancient Greek word “meta", meaning beyond or after and “noeo", meaning perception or understanding. The word often is used for describing a profound transmutation of consciousness or change of heart.
“Carl Jung developed the usage to indicate a spontaneous attempt of the psyche to heal itself of unbearable conflict by melting down and then being reborn in a more adaptive form – a form of self healing often associated with the mid-life crisis and psychotic breakdown, which can be viewed as a potentially productive process.” (1).
Feeling this corona virus as one of the instigators, throwing the whole world into a necessary breakdown. This time has forced us all into deeper exploration, through many cycles of emotions, realizations, hard truths, facing our buried fears, healing with people in new ways, connecting to Mother Earth, and shifting our priorities.
Our rebirth process is slowly and mysteriously underway. The universal energies have profoundly reorganized themselves, in ways that we will see play out in our psyches, our lives, and the world around us. But it will take time to see the greater unfolding.
Slowly reemerging into the world, in this process of metanoia, I feel an internal integrity and alignment that is unwavering. Maintaining this new internal re-organization is a fine line of integrating with the rest of the world and holding reverence and devotion to the unique changes within.
Hopefully, we can watch the unfolding, with a true shift in our hearts, and a virtuous awareness that brings us into greater harmony amidst our brothers and sisters and the Earth.
Holding prayers and intentions for the highest outcome.
(1) R. Arp. 1001 Ideas That Changed the Way We Think
..the space in between...
4 years ago, I serendipitously arrived on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi. When I walked down to the ghats for the first time, I was flooded with deja vu. Death and that time-space between death and birth was immediately very tangible, present and serious. The smell of burning flesh, the never-ending flames, the bathers…it was another dimension that demanded my entire awareness. Dead bodies were being cremated on the banks of the river, and the ashes were released into the holiest river in India. To end life in this way, is believed to end the cycle of death and rebirth, a final liberation, moksha, returning back to the Divine.
In this place, everything became more alive, more potent, more precious. Life was rich and overflowing with infinite energy. And at the same time, a crystal clear stillness echoed through everything. Every moment, every breath, every sensation, every sound, every color, every person was truly exquisite.
With the recent collective shift of energy, as busy-ness has slowed, and awareness of our mortality is heightened, these moments of potency have become more accessible. I’ve been mostly hermiting for the past 6 years, on a solo exploration following my curiosity and my adventurous soul to places where time and space cease to exist as we know it. It’s not been an easy practice to return to the States, where busy-ness as usual is prevalent. But something else is happening. We are opening to something new, and many are discovering depths of creativity, peace, emotion, stillness, beauty, inquiry. We get to explore another dimension, one that’s precious and hard to describe, yet we feel it’s exactly what we needed all along.
When I was in the jungle, I was dancing with the energy of surrender vs. giving up. Over the winter, I’d been feeling like I’d given up on many things - sustainable fulfilling work, motivation for creating my home, a stable supportive partnership, nourishing community, and even my physical appearance. Giving these things up, which were so tenderly held in my heart, was cutting off my life force. I had been working so hard it seemed, and deep down I was very tired. Giving up was giving into hopelessness, that nothing I did mattered.
The feeling of surrender is different. With surrender, there is a letting go - of letting go of the attachments to the way I expect life to work out. Surrender still honors the things in my heart and soul, yet dropping into complete trust in the intelligent flow of life to unfold for my highest evolution. Surrender is a place to rest deeply, to accept fully the present experience. Holding in surrender, inspiration and clarity still streams through. Here I feel the call to step back into the stream with my words, thoughts, actions and energy.
Many of us have been moving through so many emotions about what is happening. On all levels - personally, collectively, globally. Surrendering into the changes has not been an easy journey. But it’s not a time to give up our path, yet a time to refine, get clear on our truth of where we are. We drop into trust of the greater intelligence and our ability to move through life with it.
In the midst of a rapidly shifting world, we all have our work to do. Some of us are deep in our inner work, cleaning out the crevasses of our consciousness, uprooting old fears, seeing places where are are living in limited capacity, and gaining clarity on what’s truly important. We are stripping away what’s not necessary for our evolution individually and collectively. Some of us are feeling called in new ways, offering a helping hand to a neighbor, reaching out to estranged family members, supporting those who are financially stressed, and stepping into new alignment as leaders. The beauty of the crisis moving through, is we get to step into the truth of who we are.
We need all of us here, now, contributing in our unique ways to this evolution. Everything, no matter how seemingly small or large, is part of the grand puzzle. The most important path is following what you know is true in your heart - for your well-being, the well-being of your loved ones, humanity and the Earth.
We are going through an initiation, an up-leveling of consciousness. We are being guided to open to new realities, discover deep truths, release old emotions, and move in the direction of our hearts and purpose. It’s precious, intimate work and takes courage to see into places that have been long hidden.
I’m offering private sessions to those who are transitioning into new thresholds. While I normally work more long-term with clients, I’m now offering single sessions by donation. I’m feeling one session of support for some can make the world of difference.
We work with the mind-body-spirit, guiding the transformation of consciousness to make room for what truly wants and needs to be here. We work in the energy field, and come up with practical day-to-day practices to keep you flowing and connected to higher consciousness.
If this resonates, please send me an email or DM. Sessions are by Zoom or phone, and generally take 60-75 minutes. Suggested donation is $75-125, but I will honor and support those who feel they could really use this and pay what they can. I believe in your path, however it unfolds in this time. Trust the process. Sending many blessings for our evolution as a planet.
My heart followed the call back to the jungle. It couldn’t not follow it to a place where I feel safe and free to explore deep corners and temples of consciousness, to open to Mother Earth for her healing, and to call my soul home to this present moment. I was held in every way possible, nourished and rejuvenated with the plants, the animals, the jungle and dear friends. I return with clarity, purpose, direction, compassion, strength, softness and wonder. My heart is full.
With our reality in crisis now, it was a pure gift of the divine, to travel safely, be protected for this deep work. Now more than ever, going within, turning off the media, discovering our own truths, not getting caught in the stories, is vital for our well-being and the well-being of humanity and the Earth. When we know the truth in our hearts, the answers appear. It may not be what we want them to be, but our lives are meant for greater purpose. Reverence, respect and devotion to the divine intelligence, we surrender into perfect unfolding. We listen, we choose, and we go on our soul’s path home.
Protectress of Mother Earth, Energy Healing, Plant Medicine Integration, Coach, Writer