Sunday, July 24, 2011


Roughly 24 hours ago I began my first ayahuasca ceremony. And it was indeed a ceremony, much more than merely drinking some ayahuasca. It simply was the most amazing night of my life. I'm going to attempt some descriptions but make no promises of anything making sense.

Setting the stage: Eight people lying in a circle in a quiet secluded house in upstate NY. One-by-one the shaman talks to each of us in private, giving us a gemstone (mine was citrine, which blew my mind because I recently ordered a citrine necklace) and asking if there was anything we wanted healed, had expectations for etc. I was surprisingly not nervous at all and had no expectations. I was ready for whatever I needed to happen. I was told to focus on the oneness, let the plant come into me, think of love and gratitude. Sweet, I thought, I can do that.

Back in the main room, each person kneels before the shaman and drinks a small cup of ayahuasca, then we sat quietly in the dark till it took effect. I had heard so much about how awful it tasted that I actually thought it tasted kind of good as I was prepared to be gagging. It tasted very earthy and organic. Like dirt and ash in a liquid. Yeah, I know sounds gross but somehow it didn't hit me that way. Over the next 30 minutes or so most of the circle laid down. I wasn't feeling much at all, only very slight sensations through my head and seeing shadows spread over the room.  Some folks were almost immediately dry heaving and getting sick. At the 40 minute mark the shaman asked if anyone felt they needed to drink some more. I said yes, and that is when the fun kicked in.

I really have no sense of time from here on in, but pretty quickly laying down on my sleeping bag with my eyes closed I got sensations of vines or tentacles crawling down my throat and spreading throughout my body. It reminded me of a cheesy horror movie but it felt incredibly comforting and soothing. Then like a light switch was turned on I had images of tapestries/graphics, sort of a maze-like design, filling my head.

The ceremony had the shaman singing these amazing songs, icaros, that propelled me into other dimensions. I was sometimes aware of the room and other times on other planes of reality it seemed. And it was all with a tremendous amount of fun and joy. As the singing continued I could sometimes see streams of colors - the thoughts of the shaman - picking the next word to the song. I'd see the word come to vibrant life than leave a trail as others took it in. It was like emotional calligraphy in 3D. Then things turned into sort of a Technicolor, realer-than-3D version of the movie Avatar. The shaman's voice became the plants voice, the earth's voice, nature's voice. I was having spasms with my hands, shoulders, and feet. I was full of so much love and happiness I was going to burst and couldn't stay still.

You know the feeling after a Novocaine injection at the dentist, when for a few hours after the appointment half your mouth doesn't work?  My whole body was like that. Feeling my limbs flop and my hands shake as fast as they could was so much fun. I was laughing hysterically in my head and smiling all night long. Sometimes my laughter would come out but because my tongue and lips weren't working well it would be guttural grunts and snorts that would then send me into absolute hysterics. That went on for hours and hours. I soared all over the place. Sometimes I was aware of the room, then of being connected to the two dogs roaming around the room, and jumping out my skin what a cat brushed against me. But it was a rapturous never-ending moment of joy and love that I simply couldn't contain. I was smashing my hands together like a seal trying to clap when I really liked things I heard or saw. The most repetitive thought I had was, I can't believe how much joy I feel. Life is so fucking AWESOME!!

After what I'm told was three hours the shaman said the ceremony is now over. I thought, are you kidding me? I'm zooming through a couple dozen dimensions here and when I do open my eyes I see a red and blue grid work on everything. Like I'm seeing the wire-frame version of life or everything was covered in graph paper. I kept going in and out of the room, taking on the mind of the dog, feeling the absolute in the moment joy that dogs seem to have in everything they do. I could sometimes here people laughing at my laughing, which made me laugh more. In the morning they told me sometimes the timing of my laughs into their conversations was amazing. I flopped and spasmed and slammed my hands against my chest while having occasional outbursts of laughter for many more hours. I'd sometimes hear Lori's voice and connect with her and feel so much love, it was just amazing. I have no idea how much longer anything lasted but everyone else was drumming and singing so that every time I thought I was coming in for a landing - a drum beat would resonate to my core and just fill full of bliss again - launching more snorting and laughing and flopping around on the floor. Eventually everyone around my seemed to fall asleep as I continued my magic carpet ride. It didn't feel finished until dawn.

It honestly was the most amazing experience I've ever had. I felt more fun, joy, happiness and love than I ever knew was possible. I'm told each ayahuasca experience is different, so since this was so perfect I'm feeling pretty content to leave it at one.  Lori liked most parts of her experience, but did get sick initially.

Good times.

Update: 7/26/11Forgot to mention that one of the participants had a harmonium (which I'd never seen nor heard of before). She brought it out while everyone else was done but I was still zooming along so I didn't see it till the morning, (actually I wasn't even sure it was real or had only been music in my head). Cause, man, that music was as much of a drug as any substance. In my mind it was some giant circus calliope designed by Dr. Seuss. Then other times I was sure some Irish folk band was singing and dancing around me. I was positive people were looking down on me at one point, but the next day Lori said no such thing happened. The music and drumming resonated so deeply in my body and soul, it kept fueling me each time I thought the experience was winding down and I'd just drift off to sleep - the music kicked in, or perhaps I only noticed it again, and off I went into one of the dozens of dimensions I was bouncing around.

Some people have asked how I've felt since. Sunday I was spent. Barely there. Walking in the morning felt like walking on the moon. I was exhausted and dehydrated, somehow starving but not hungry enough to eat. Finally had a meal around 3pm.

I slept soundly and deeply Sunday night. Recall a few vivid flashes of what seemed like some ancient language from the night. I went for a five minute car ride and that was amazing. Every single sight and sound totally distracted me. I wanted to stop and meet every person I drove by. I don't know how Lori drove us home on Sunday, I couldn't have done it. Even today some sounds I hear stop me in my tracks because they seem to be coming from inside of me, not outside. Also some simple, automatic things like using the phone startle and confuse me, it is as if everything is brand new again. Even watching TV on Monday was wild - everything I watched was "the best show ever!"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ayahuasca Weekend

I love the synchronicities of the universe. When we visited Peru in 2006 our first flight to the Amazon was aborted due to bad weather. Lori and I found ourselves stranded at the airport in Lima with hundreds of other folks for many hours waiting for another flight. One young Peruvian man sitting next to Lori asked why we were visiting Peru and once he learned we were headed to the Amazon he said we had to try ayahuasca.  Neither of us had ever heard of it but he kept saying we had to try it.  It was some sort of hallucinogenic jungle juice made from some amazonian plants and vines that shaman brewed up and you went on some wild trip to find your animal spirit or some crazy shit. I asked how often he'd taken it. Never, he said and laughed. He'd never been out to the jungle but said if you are going you have to try it.

In our journeys we did meet a shaman and when I asked him about ayahuasca he produced a bottle of what looked like thick red wine. He let me hold it but our guide wouldn't let us try it. He said he would get in trouble letting tourists try it.

Years later I learned more about it and that it was part of a powerful ceremony of self exploration. There are vacations you can take to South America that are built around multiple days of drinking ayahuasca. I thought I'd only be able to try it if we returned to Peru, but about a year ago I met someone who was trained as a shaman in Peru and does ayahuasca ceremonies in the US. So this weekend Lori and I will finally be partaking of the ayahuasca experience. Until now the most amazing sort of self exploration trip I've had was with holotropic breathing, and I'm really looking forward to what goes down.  We've been doing a cleansing diet since Wednesday; no processed foods, meat, sugar, salt, fat... The blander your diet the better the experience.

I did a little searching of experiences but after reading a few paragraphs I decided not to read more so I could go into the weekend without any expectations.  I'm looking forward to whatever comes my way, and especially eating some good greasy, meaty food come Sunday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Facebook and Twitter have really cut down how often I feel compelled to do longer posts, but for the sake of the billions of people I'm not connected with in social media - here's what's been going on.

I've been more active with videos and posts over on my book and suicide prevention site: and actually had an interview on blog talk radio on Monday. You can check it out here.

Larry The Lizard continues to take the world by storm, Lori's been doing lots of readings of our book "The Globetrotting Adventures of Larry The Lizard: Larry in The Amazon" at area schools and libraries.  Larry even went skydiving last weekend.

My Enwaken coaching program continues and has been amazing. I've launched a new website for my Energy Coaching and it has been going very well.

Have seen a few movies this summer, my favorites were "Bridesmaids", "Super8" and the final Harry Potter.

Not many concerts on tap this year. I did see KISS again last week. They played in Manchester, NH as part of their "lost cities" tour. It was really cool to see them in a small place, they couldn't do the full show with Gene and Paul flying around the arena and I didn't miss that one bit. I've never liked when one band member was off on some private stage. I prefer having the whole band together on stage together. I was shocked how much noise the small arena made, I'm pretty sure the place holds less than 10,000 and the show wasn't sold out. I had good seats, straight back from the stage a few rows up off the floor - perfect dead on view of the stage for the KISS spectacle. I don't know if it says more about New Hampshire or KISS, but most of the people in my section were huge and they weren't about to stand up for the show. I don't know how many hundreds of concerts I've been to over the years, but I don't sit down at shows. I hate sitting down for live music. But since I've seen KISS so many times, I gave it a try and it made it a completely new experience. I paid far more attention to the lights, the show, the crowd, and actually listening to the music instead of belting out they lyrics myself. It was a really good time, even if it made me feel old.