This blog so far has been pretty positive. However, in the midst of the positivity are depths of pain and sadness I never knew one could feel. Generally I would describe my thoughts, emotions and feelings the last eight months as being ‘positively sad’. I have been sad, but had hope that the dark night I am enduring will inevitably end with a beautiful dawning. Here’s an insight into one way I have tried breaking through these waves of pain.
So, on New Years day, we arrive at a table of four regular looking people unsure who was going to be the shaman to offer us Ayahuasca; a hallucinogenic drug widely known and used in South America’s Amazon for it’s healing properties. Which one offers this ceremony of deep cleansing? He doesn’t look like a shaman. She doesn’t look like a shaman. Weird. I guess, having never met a shaman, i’m not exactly sure of what I was looking for. But, this guy did not meet the image in my head. We started talking. Me and Adam become engrossed in him. We wanted to know about him, about the ceremony, about the medicine. Simultaneously, the shaman was focused on delving deep into the heart, mind and soul of myself and Adam.
Being fairly sceptical about fluffy’ness (although this scepticism is slowly fading), he started losing me when he was talking about a multiple number of dimensions and realms and demons and erm….
Yeah… my mind had wandered elsewhere. Somewhere. I don’t know.
Then, something turned. I let on briefly about the motivations behind me beginning this spiritual path I was undertaking and, once I had done that, he seemed to know my emotions, specifically the pain and hurt, inside and out. I began by describing my story, strangely unable to hold back the tears, the energy was different and the tears flowed, the breathing turned heavy, Adam held my hand but assertively told to let go, instead the shaman held it and squeezed it, the harder he squeezed the more intense the infection ran from my gut, through my veins, into my heart and out in floods of sadness. My breathing was heavy. My pain was intense. My hurt was real.
I regained control. I regained strength.
Little did I know the next thing he was going to say to me was going to bring my pain and hurt back in an instant. This time with intensity a million times stronger.
He called out my spoon. A tiny wooden spoon I wore around my neck.
The shaman’s words were, “Now, you can take off that thing from around you’re neck and we will burn it at the ceremony”. Hearing these words, knowing there was a possibility of losing my spoon broke me into pieces and I instantly clasped the spoon in my hand and held it tight. Raw emotion resonated through my body. I could feel the pain grip my heart and gut.
The pain held tight. The pain held strong. I was infected with sadness.
I was in an inner world of pure pain. My eyes gripped shut. My hand clasping the spoon. My breathing stopped. I would only breathe as he shouted at me. I stopped again, unable to complete a breath without being told. I could not feel the air, the seat I was sitting on. The restaurant had gone. The world around me disintegrated into nothingness. Time and space had faded.
I knew this all made sense. I had to begin to let go. I had to break free from this bound.
As I once again regained control and strength, he started on Adam. During this time, I was in my own world and not paying one tiny bit of attention to them. I reached around my neck and began untying my spoon. I looked at it. I ran the smooth spoon through my fingers. I kissed it. Then, then placed it in my pocket. Why? I’m not sure. Did I want to burn it? I don’t know. After the spoon was in my bag, I had two bracelets with strong associations bound to my wrists. A bracelet from Cambodia and a string from Doi Suthep temple that I got given on 25th October 2011. I couldn’t untie them. I struggled. I was frustrated. But somehow, this was making sense and I wanted. Seeing me struggle, the shaman offered me a knife. Once I agreed, he requested me to place my armon the table where he cuts one, he cuts two. My wrist was bare
I had surrendered.
I had committed to this ceremony that had begun before my eyes in this little tea shop. To ensure this was my commitment, he placed the spoon and bracelets into a bag and bound them with elastic bands. It was my responsibility. I was not to open it, touch it, or look at it. Not until the night of the Ayahuasca ceremony a few sleeps later.
Intense! And I haven’t even had any Ayahuasca yet.
The motivation behind this blog was how one women inspired me. It seems only right that I mention other people that have inspired me in similar ways
Life can hand out some crazy shit to us all and quite often, there are one or two connections that come into our life just at the very perfect moment. This was unexpected as my years in Chiang Mai has seen me make many friends, but very few I had a real connection, a real bond with. Up until now, I accepted that it was rare to come across a friendship like this while travelling. But but but, back in November, a stocky, bearded guy from California arrived in Chiang Mai.
He arrived as a stranger. He left with me calling him a brother.
If you stood us side my side you probably wouldn’t think we had too much in common. This is simply because, on some level, we didn’t. He is highly motivated and driven. I however, lack motivation if there is no instant reward. He drinks shots of wheatgrass. I drink shots of Jim Beam. He practices yoga, fitness and meditation. I am lazy, love to sleep and, up until lately, have been a part-time meditator. He wakes up at the crack of dawn. I press the snooze button several times before I wake up momentarily hating the world and it’s early morning singing birds.
Despite all these differences; we shared a connection. A connection I can only relate to having with my own brother or sister. I was at a point in my life where I was in desperate need of family, but had chosen to return to Chiang Mai. I naively returned, in an attempt to chase my previous life, not knowing how desperately I would need unconditional acceptance of my emotions and behaviours. This is what family is for right? Well, he come along and very early on gave me the green light that I could be myself, no matter what mood I was in. Every aspect of me, it seemed, was accepted; my sadness, my lost’ness, my British’ness, my sense of humour and, to some extent, my decision to buy Nong-B.
But, like all things in this chaotic and swirly life of ours, things inevitably change and last week, he left. His purpose of being here in Chiang Mai was fulfilled. It was time for him to hug the ocean in Bali, touch base with his family and live out his dream of beginning a life in Southern California, or ‘So Caaal’. Innit?
The day he left I posted a note on his Facebook wall for all to see. I had this urge to let his friends and family know how much he had supported and inspired me during his time in Thailand. Due to my laziness and the efficiency, these days, of copy and paste, here is the post::
Normally i’d keep this more personal, but I want people that know you to know this.
You came into my life back in November2011 and for me, it was perfect timing. I was going through a dark time in my life, lost in an ocean of sadness with very little direction. I reached out to you and you gave me a much needed hand, filled with compassion, respect and brutal honesty. You were not afraid of my darkness and accepted the dark night I was, and still am, enduring. This hand showed me light and prevented me drowning in my sadness. Something I will be forever grateful for.
I respect and admire your drive and motivation in this life and it will always inspire me. You have been on a journey for the last five years and I feel you have reached a point in this life while being out here in Asia. I’m proud of you man.
I know and understand we are different on a certain level (fitness and health, hmm and EGO), but the level of consciousness, outlook on life and love we are on the same page man. We have the ability to love, the ability to connect and the ability to feel. We feel pain to an inexpressible amount, but we also feel love in the exact same way. Through this, we have shared a connection that I can now call you a brother.
Take it easy bro. Enjoy Bali. Enjoy life.
I’ll see ya on the other side
“Never try, never know”
Now, he has gone. However, in the last few months we have knotted, not only a friendship, but a brotherly bond that equals only to that of my own brother and sister.
P’Adam, brother, I am forever grateful.
PS Gonna miss ya on the other side of this world, but i’ll catch ya in ‘So Cal’.