Navigating Trauma and Feeling Worthy & Respected in Relationships

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Everything bothers me.
Dramatic. Correction: Most things bother me.
I have an oversensitive nature that gets consistently agitated and a spirit that feels burnt out. Maybe you can relate? Aside from my closest friend relating, I’ve always felt a bit alone in this experience. When I have my own space I don’t feel it so much, but when others are around, things become accentuated.
 
A few years ago I was in therapy and a big part of my story that I was working through was “People treat me badly and the universe gives me just enough to get by.” So my work since then has been setting up healthy boundaries. People only treat you as badly as you let them, and some don’t even realize that they’re doing it, perhaps to give you the experience of speaking up for yourself. We need to take care of ourselves. As Aretha Franklin puts it, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what it means to me!”
 
When feeling disrespected by another may be unintended and therefore is subjective and open to interpretation, why am I so sensitive to feeling it? Why do I care? Why do I attach a meaning to something that makes me feel anything less than awesome? I am secure in myself; I know better than to take things personally; And to be honest, I feel sorry for someone that isn’t able to treat others respectfully. So then it must be that there is another part of me that’s running the show. An issue in a relationship is not the problem; it is a symptom of a deeper issue. We need to get to the root. 
 
When I travel into the murky waters of my subconscious, there’s a little girl that’s been convinced that she is not worthy of being treated any better. As children, we’re these radiant, confident beings, but when we consistently suffer any form of abuse or violation, we begin to question our own radiance. We start to believe the things that people say about us, the voices of our parents become our own, and we define ourselves by the way people treat us. We let others determine our worthiness and our lovability, and then we spend our entire lives playing out this story- believing all of it, and taking it on as our own. We take on illnesses, financial issues, unhealthy relationships all because of the way people led us to believe about ourselves.  
 
But she is worthy. YOU ARE WORTHY. As children, we are victims to our circumstances deemed powerless to change them. Spiritually, it can be seen as a benefit of working through the karmas of past lifetimes to gain the raw materials we’ll need to grow in this one. But when we don’t recognize the ability we have to regain our power once we reach maturity, then we carry our stories as victims with us. We unconsciously use them as excuses to explain why we’re not the radiant beings we started off as, and why we’re not worthy and deserving of everything we desire. Some people spend their entire lives doing this. 
 
To gain the self awareness to finally recognize how we’re sabotaging ourselves is one of the first signs of waking up. Waking up is the unlearning of all the programs from the past. It’s waking up from the lies. Adyashanti says, “[Enlightenment is] the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” To return to the old programming, the old stories, is to go back to sleep. 
 
I know that trauma is being activated when my reaction is a bit dramatic and isn’t logically warranted. Someone could say something without any ill intention at all, but I’ll still feel sad, hurt, want to cry or I’ll completely lose my shit. I will lose control over my emotions. I may feel it in my body as well, like getting punched in the gut, or I’ll get dizzy as I disassociate. I’ll create drama from my trauma. If I am in conflict with someone when this happens, I may be projecting a whole lot of unconscious emotions onto them. In these moments, I am NOT being respectful. 
 
Respect is a two way street– yes this is a bit cheese and we’ve all heard it a million times, but really absorb it. Two way street, the cars are going both ways- respect goes both ways. Whoops, was I doing this? I was so deeply involved in my own shit that I didn’t even have the awareness to realize how my actions were affecting others. Typical child completely obsessed with herself, right? 
 
What matters most is what I do differently now that I know. Know better, do better. The truth is we’re all on the same side. We all want the same things- love, peace, happiness. There is no need for us to go to war with each other because the irony is that in war there are no winners. You can’t fight someone for love or peace. If someone is intentionally out to get you, leave immediately. But when we love each other and we’re having a difference of opinion, it’s because we don’t understand where the other person is coming from. There can be love without respect because respect is subjective. We can only do our best to nurture each other’s boundaries, and then we need to keep the conversation open. 
 
Especially in an intimate relationship, your responsibility is to study your partner. Pay attention to what they like, love, want more of and want less of. When we first fall in love, we see the bright light of a soul that we can’t help but indulge ourselves into. And then we get to know them a little better and we see all of the areas of their ego that are still in development. We may become critical or worse use them as reasons not to be with the person. But how vicious to condemn a masterpiece before it’s completed. Could you imagine how La Pietà looked like before Michelangelo completed it? A big ‘ol hunk of rock that’s what. 
 
Remember the soul that you are in love with and treat each other like your church. Worship them. Study to understand them and then play the role that they need you to be. Forgive their blindspots and be patient. If this person is still the one you want to journey through this life with, not because of attachment but because you genuinely enrich each other’s lives, commitment is what will get you through the trauma drama and periods of healing and growing into healthier ways of being.
 
“Commitment is like a womb in which a new life can grow. It is hermetically sealed so that nothing extraneous can enter into the process. No projections can be made upon it, no introduced doubt or criticism can reach it during its critical formative stages. But it’s also sealed for our own good, so that we don’t have an easy out. This is what’s meant by ‘holding the tension.’ So in times of exhaustion and suffering, fear and frustration, we remain committed long enough for the process to complete itself…
 
So when we place limitations and boundaries around something we care about, it isn’t meant to be a prison which keeps us stuck or stagnant, but rather to create a paradoxical freedom which allows us, through restraint, to fully explore the relationship, the craft, or the experience in all its subtle dimensions. Commitment in these terms is not an obligation but a deep devotion to that which you love. In your devotion to it, the very thing you are committed to is set free.” (Toko-pa: Commitment: The of Creativity) 
 
When we are free to be ourselves and we get triggered by an unintended moment of disrespect, we don’t want to throw that disrespect back at our partners, but we also can’t suppress or dismiss our emotions. So what do we do? 
 
We need to emotionally take care of ourselves. We need to tend to the upset child. We need to give her what she needs. You can do this alone with yourself, or with your partner. 
 
When your partner does this with you, they need to be able to hold space for you and be able to shelve any ego reactions that come up for them. It’s not their time. They’ll get their turn once you feel heard, understood, and nourished. This becomes much more complicated when they’re also going into their own trauma. A therapist or a healer is helpful for navigating this. Or, you can do it for yourself and share your experience and insights with your partner once you’re done.
 
How do you emotionally care for yourself when you’re hurt by something someone’s done? Ask your inner child, “what do you need to feel worthy?” Listen to what she responds with. It will be something that an innocent child would say like, “I need a hug.” Give yourself a hug! Or let your partner hug you! Maybe you’ll feel into what she’s craving like a sense of love, belonging, being wanted. Talk to her like you would talk to any child. Use your voice to give it power. 
 
Say out loud three times, “you are worthy.” 
 
Keep talking and say everything that she needs to hear. You’ll feel it when something lands; Something inside of you will shift and the release will cause you to emote- cry, scream, or laugh. 
 
This was my list when I did it, but make your own. You may want to experiment with using “you” and using “I” to see which resonates best.
 
You are lovable.
You are deserving.
You are worthy of respect.
You are to be honoured.
You are to be worshipped.
You are Divine.
You are needed.
You belong here.
You are wanted here.
Mommy loves you. (This made me weep!)
Daddy loves you.
The whole planet loves you.
The entire universe loves you.
You are beautiful.
You’re special.
You’re unique.
You’re so cute.
I am so thankful to have you here.
How others treat you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Don’t take anything personally.
 
 
When you’re done you’ll know. You’ll feel a sense of peace wash over you; Your body will take a nice, deep breath and relax; And you’ll feel happier, calm, back to your regular self. You’ve filled up your cup and now you need to maintain this state by continually filling it up. You are responsible for your self care, your partner isn’t going to do it for you. Your knight isn’t coming. He got stuck at the border trying to smuggle over some shrooms for you both. As Mama Gena puts it, keep yourself “Turned on.” What your partner does is a bonus on top of all that you already do for you. Stop running on empty. Don’t wait for the car to break down. Nurture yourself so you can give from your overspill. Spa. Nails. Oranges. Whatever you need to feel spoiled. Ask your Inner Child what she wants as well- ice cream perhaps? Lactose intolerant? Get cashew ice cream- find a compromise. You absolutely deserve it ♥.  
 
When you’re taken care of/turned on/in your flow/radiating, those silly little things people do tend to fall away. They don’t stick. You’re flying high and whatever sticks and stones they throw can’t even reach you. From this state, honouring and respecting both yourself and your partner effortlessly becomes a part of your nature; You become partners in every sense of the word- joining forces on the same team; And You’re acting from your heart in a state of unconditional love. 

Falling in Love With Life Using Iboga & The Bwiti Teachings

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Everything is different.

The first Iboga ceremony I experienced back in August released me from the incessant pain of fibromyalgia and showed me where it was coming from. Despite believing that I had let go of the past, I was still holding on. I’d spent at least two years sitting around waiting for my old life to magically come back. It wasn’t logical, but I couldn’t let go. There was an attachment that was keeping me stuck and trapped, and my body was reflecting that. The fibro that had developed in those two years made me feel like a prisoner in my own body. It’s hard to even write that and believe that it was me when I’ve always been that person who absolutely LOVES her body! But I was holding onto this old version of myself that I wasn’t anymore, and it kept me from moving forward and growing into the version of myself that has an even closer relationship with her true self.

Coming Home By Leaving Home
Once Iboga cleared my attachments, I was standing in my apartment very aware that it was just an apartment, a place of residence. The things around me were just that- things; and they didn’t define me. My home is my body, wherever I go I will always be home and I can’t be defined by anything because I am always changing, learning and doing better when I know better. Yes I have strong morals and principals that I pride myself on but again I ‘have’ them, I am not them. Because sometimes, I fuck up, but this doesn’t change who I am or my value. To define myself creates this prison or matrix that I now have to live by- and you can imagine my aversion to this after just breaking free. It’s like fitting this incredibly huge organically unique soul full of potential and possibility into a square hole. It’s restrictive and controlling. It’s as though once you define yourself and attain everything you want, you let it all go and shed it away because you realize it’s not you at all. We’re all so immeasurably enormously complex that to define is a disservice because it limits us and takes away from all that we are and can be. But we define because it lets us feel more in control, and to be out of control feels dangerous when we don’t have a strong sense of self. Without security, the moment the tide turns, we get knocked over. So we create these prisons to keep ourselves safe. But it’s an illusion and when we finally want more from life than the four walls we put ourselves in, then we need to tear them down and be sure that we’re strong enough within ourselves to venture out into world. Archetypically, it’s the classic hero/heroin’s journey of leaving “home” to come home to ourselves.

Falling In Love with Myself
I fell in love with myself the moment I realized I was the one that’s been there from the very beginning, and every moment in between. I’m the one that always wants the best for me, that helps me to be better, the only one that I can trust without question, and the only one that will be there with me in the very end. Plus I am very agreeable and laugh at all my own jokes. If there’s anyone to attach to it’s myself. I’m the only one that will never leave and that gives me a sense of peace and certainty that I can count on. People drive me crazy because I can never understand their logic lol But with me it’s just so easy. I do my best to act the way I wish others did and that makes me genuinely enjoy my own company.

Life is A Gift To Do Whatever We Want With
Once Iboga opened my eyes to what I was doing, I knew it was time to change. Life is a gift and to enjoy it is the ultimate form of gratitude. I’d been unintentionally taking it for granted, wishing it away because I felt victim to it, powerless to do anything about it and no idea how to get back up after being knocked over so many times. I was done and there was no fight left in me. With the attachments gone, I was finally able to move. I took my power back. I could make choices now that were best for me, that were in alignment with my values and energized what I wanted to create for myself. More than ever before I am embodying my creator energy. I can literally have anything I want, all I need to do is make choices and take actions that get me there.

So I thought to myself, what do I want? What’s an awesome way to spend my life? And I realized I work remotely and don’t need to be in Toronto anymore and what I’d really love is to explore the world and live and work as a digital nomad. And then I met someone who had a place for me to stay where I can save a nice cushion to get me there and also have the space I need to finally transition into the next version of myself. And so here I am, living a strange new life in this strange new town.

Being in Flow Makes Life Eaaasssyyy
And it was all very easy. Falling in love with myself made me want to do what’s best for me. Making the decision to change for my highest good brought up opportunities and all I had to do was act.  We make it so difficult for ourselves when we question, doubt, worry and ‘think’ that we need to figure things out.We don’t have to figure anything out.There’s no way that we can ever come up with a better solution than the universe can. When we know what we want and energize it, the universe conspires to make it happen. This is what it means to be in flow. We surrender to the currents of life and let them take us along. We trust the flow, trust the process, trust ourselves and our ability to surf these waves (act on opportunities), and trust the universe. Trusting is what makes it easy. It’s what lets us relax, let go of the outcome. It’s what gives us patience.

Trusting the Flow of Others
Last week I was assisting at the Iboga Retreat and as I observed people I realized that the awakening process we go through and the problems we all have are all the exactly the same. Having gone through and learned so much on my own journey, I’ll so clearly see the struggle that someone is in, the matrix they’ve created for themselves that they are now trapped in, and I’ll so badly want to tell them exactly what they need to do to get out. But to learn and to grow is about being able to do it for yourself and the best help that I can offer is to lead by example. There is no saving anybody. I’m learning to trust the flow of others just as much as I trust my own, and to have patience that they’ll get it when they’re ready- just like I did. I’m practicing letting go of this need to control and to judge. I see now how often I would let people go because they weren’t at the level that I knew they were capable of being at. And while letting someone go that’s hurting you and violating your boundaries is healthy, judging them for their choices is pretty damn hurtful, even if it was with the best intentions. I take responsibility for that and going forward I’m choosing to do better. I’m focusing on myself now. What do I need to level up?

Prioritizing Myself- Go Big or Go Home
Letting go of taking care of everyone else is liberating. All I need to do is take care of and energize myself and I do believe that doing what’s best for ourselves is what’s best for others as well, even if that’s not always obvious. So often we focus on everyone else because we don’t want to look at ourselves. But when I do take a good hard look, there are areas that need some serious improvement and love. And how beautiful to finally give myself the attention that I’ve been craving for years. There are so many things that I want to do and I’m excited to say that I alas have the energy and focus I’ve been needing. I’ve actually always had it, I was just giving it away by fixating on everyone else. Now I’m fixating on myself, I’m taking my life back, making it mine, and falling in love with it. It feels rich and lush with possibility. I just feel like this is my LIFE, my most prized possession, and it goes by so quick and we don’t get it back- not this one at least, so I really want to make the most out of it. I want to make it as good as possible so then when I meet up with my alien buddies on the other side I’ll have the best stories to tell because I’ll have had the BEST time! I want to feel a sense of peace when I take my last breath that I came, I saw, and I LIVED!

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

Erika

To participate in an Iboga ceremony, contact Michael at

To learn more about Iboga:

My Life Changing Iboga Experience & Tips for Aftercare

life changing iboga experience

A couple weeks ago I participated in my first Iboga healing retreat. Iboga is an intensely powerful plant medicine from Africa. I heard about it from a friend who mentioned it casually in conversation. When I couldn’t stop thinking about it weeks post chat, I knew I was getting an intuitive hit that had to follow up with. So I contacted the healer, Michael DancingEagle, felt a strong sense that this was my right next step, and I signed up!

The Ceremony

The Iboga experience is personal, so I won’t go too much into what happened so not to set any expectations. Everyone in ceremony experienced something unique! It began outside on a warm summer’s night with each participant surrounded around a beautiful bonfire under a clear sky and a bed of twinkling stars. It’s a small group of 5 people, plus Michael, the nurse, and a helper. Michael shares the teachings of the Bwiti tradition, and once dark, comes around to give each person medicine based on their own personal needs. What I love about how Michael conduct’s ceremony is the way he continually nurtures each person with a gentle, supportive approach that by the end of the retreat had me feeling like a completely spoiled little baby!

The medicine, though tasting like absolute fucking hell, carries the same vibration of unconditional love. While people were dropping like flies needing to go inside to lay down, my pal and I felt like we drank a bottle of wine each! We felt amazing! So expansive, making jokes, feeling light and open, laughing, having the most incredible time!  Michael and our helper had to reluctantly drag us in to lay down!

Inside the retreat centre, each person is privy to their own air mattress, eye mask, and blanket. And for the first while I was still feeling great, laughing to myself and enjoying a nice body buzz. My body was uncomfortably cold because of the fibromyalgia I had been experiencing the past couple years, so the medicine was specifically working on my body.

Michael came around to guide me through a journey. First he guided me to my studio apartment where I found myself numbed out watching tv. Upon seeing this, I didn’t want to admit it because I was ashamed of this version of myself. So I immediately looked away, hoping to see another version of myself maybe in the kitchen preparing something healthy to eat or maybe doing some yoga! But Michael says, “no, go back, right there over by the bed.” And he was right, and I find it so cool that he knew that! So I went over to her, and said hello.

“Hey”
“What are you doing here?” She asks, full of sass and inconvenienced by my presence. I repeat what she says allowed for Michael to hear.
Repeating after Michael, I responded “oh I just came to ask you some questions! Is that okay?” 
“Alright” She responds, making sure I understood just how much I was troubling her.
Now Michael pulls out my journal with some questions I had prepared ahead of time.
He says, and I repeat, “Who am I?”
“Erika.” Duh. And as I tell Michael her responses I can’t help but laugh at her, our, sass.
Next, “What am I doing here?” 
Which as a question I was assuming a more existential approach, but to which she replied, “I don’t know, you showed up!” 
lol! And Michael and I laughed so much that he had to get a bit stern with me to get me to stop!

The conversation between us went on and when it ended, Michael shot me up into space where he asked me if there was anyone that had passed that I wanted to see. Immediately I replied, “Lucky!” My cat and best friend that had passed a couple years prior. Just as I thought it, I broke down into a hot mess of tears and sobs, that again I couldn’t get myself out of without Michael’s help.

After a visit with a few more late friends, Michael guides me to clean up my body. When I travel up to my heart, I visually saw this old vintage machine that was barely working and was held together with elastic bands and electrical tape. Michael instructs me to clean it up and once complete, it turns into this bright beautiful shining quartz crystal heart. Then I travel up to my brain where I find cobwebs and dust. Once cleaned up, it looks like a minimalist version of a computer room from Star Trek, like something that Apple would design.

As Michael leaves me to bask in my pristine new body, I felt the necessary release of everything that’s been cleared out. After a couple uses of my puke bin and a couple trips to the bathroom, I continued to lay, feeling somewhat uncomfortable and honestly tired of hearing my own thoughts, but surrendering to the intelligence of the medicine.

“The Break Through” or The Ego Death- When Creating The Journey Feels Fake

Some people who take Iboga receive visuals similar to those experienced in Ayahuasca. Michael says this may be a disservice if the person is distracted by the visuals, losing sight of why they’re really there. I did not have any Ayahuasca-type psychedelic visuals, nor did some of the other participants, and because of this, there was a common doubt and concern that they were making up their journeys.

The ego death is a complete loss of subjective self identity. Our ego is how we identify and navigate through our reality as a functioning human being. So the ego is not a bad thing at all, but who we are actually, our Self, is everything. There is no they or no other, it is all one. We’re not a fragment of the universe, we are the universe. And to get to this place, we need to experience the ego death. Psychedelics like Iboga make this possible.

There are four levels to an ego death:

  1. The breaking down of social barriers and conditions that are limiting and take our power away. We realize life isn’t what we thought it was and we aren’t who we thought we were. We’re lead down a path of self-inquiry and deep self examination. We realize we’re apart of something bigger than our body and our identity.
  2. The lines between the body and the environment become blurred. We are guided towards understanding the connectivity between all things. The Self begins to disassociate with the ego. Pettiness, judgements and individual differences fall away and our deepest values and how we are connected and similar to others surface. This brings us into an expansive, amazing feeling of freedom.
  3. The individual consciousness dematerializes into the dimensions of infinite possibilities and the dimensions of creation itself. This is the dimension of thought itself, the Astral Realm, or the plane of the collective consciousness where all things exist simultaneously. We can be whoever we want to be and go wherever we want to go. All possibilities exist here in all dimensions beyond time and space. This new state brings out the limitations and mirage of the old identity, and we can now explore the infinite possibilities that exist within us and our capacity of consciousness that we already have within us right now as a human being. This realm is the connected consciousness of the universe, the place where all knowledge and experience emerges.
  4. The ego death. We are now in a state of pure consciousness. We do not exist in reference to anything external. This is the identity of our Higher Self, our true identity. This is the state that exists beyond thought itself. It is a complete loss of the ego self, personality, and any subjective association. We are pure awareness, pure bliss.

    (Reference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDJIsscCoGE)

What scares many people about psychedelics is the loss of control. Given the description of the ego death, this is valid. However, we’re actually holding on so tightly to the bit of spare change that we can hold in the palm of our hands, when if we were to let go, we would be connected with the wealth of abundance that already exists all around us. We just can’t see it because we’re so afraid to look, to trust, to surrender and let go.

Prior to Iboga, I’ve experienced the ego death through connecting with the guidance of my Higher Self in meditation and visualization. Iboga provides that guidance system for us, it’s a bit like training wheels before we can do it on our own. So because of my experience and understanding that we are the universe, I understand that to visualize something in my mind, makes it true and real- whether I believe I am the one creating it or not. We are all one. We are creators, our mind is our canvas, and the world is how our art comes to life. Thoughts are things. Everything we create in our minds exists, and to manifest these visuals in this reality, it takes receptivity, surrendering, action, gratitude, and total trust in ourselves as creators. I know and trust in what I created and how I collaborated with the medicine. This is considered a breakthrough in an Iboga ceremony, or an ego death, and it’s what people who attend multiple ceremonies are seeking.

My advice to get to this point is to first, trust yourself and learn to play with your imagination. If we are all one, then it doesn’t matter whether we are creating the visuals or if the medicine is creating them for us. It is a collaboration and like life, we need to participate to generate any results. I remember in an ayahuasca ceremony, the visuals were so incredible and I asked myself, as an artist, am I doing this?? Is this what I’m capable of creating?? And the answer was yes, I am creating with the medicine’s influence. What each of us creates is as unique as our individual creative expressions. Trust that! Trust yourself.

Second, learn to let go, hold space for yourself, and listen. When I was asking sassy Erika questions, I held space and listened, paused, waited for a response. And it came. This was me connecting with the collective consciousness, allowing infinite ideas and possibilities to emerge. But if you doubt it, you discount it like a smack in the face. How rude. If you treat a friend or a child with this kind of scepticism, they’ll eventually stop sharing with you. And often, this is what happens- we shut ourselves down and need to repair the relationship. So learn to sit with yourself to just listen. Listen to the kinks in your body, how she wants to move, and the emotions held in all the many cavities.

Integration Day

In the morning we are one at a time assisted up to our beds. Walking was challenging for me as I felt weak, tired, and nauseous. I spent the day resting, taking mini naps, and journalling. While my friend was clearly full of energy, I found myself feeling rather depressed. When Michael checked up on me, he asked me how I am and I told him I couldn’t move. He said it was normal and I objected, “but Kate’s taking a shower! I want to take a shower! I want to brush my teeth!” But he assured me that each person processed differently, and my body had undergone some major healing.

For meals, Michael, challenging the traditional Western doctor-patient hierarchy by bringing us up fruit for breakfast and the most incredible vegan wrap for lunch!! I can’t remember the last time someone brought me breakfast and lunch in bed! I felt so wonderfully spoiled and loved!!!! I was important. I mattered. The days following, while the medicine was still in my body, I could see energetic tracers around the room and was still able to connect with my soul to get answers to every question that I had. I was still connected with the collective, and after my ego death, was integrating my ego and my Higher Self to be in service to each other.

For the Self to be in service to the ego, the ego needs to surrender to receive the universal insights and wisdom available from the collective consciousness. When the ego is in service to the Self, it uses this information to create a life that is in alignment with the true values, principals, and purpose of the Self. Because when ego and Self are aligned, then we are in flow and in a state of freedom and bliss. Celebrating life and playing on this beautifully lush earth becomes possible because through this connection we feel completely secure, supported, and abundant. We begin to appreciate the gift of life the way that a gift is meant to be enjoyed; and this is the ultimate form of gratitude.

The Benefits I Received 

I feel like someone hit the reset button on my entire being. After 4 days and one ceremony, I feel like I’ve taken a five year sabbatical.

Physically

The day after ceremony, I felt that the fibromyalgia in my body was gone, but I didn’t want to get too excited so I wanted to wait and see. Two weeks later, it’s still gone. My body is completely healed of any pain! I feel so free and so amazing in my body. I don’t know when it’s going to rain now! Aside from checking the weather network, but who can rely on that!

I realized that the fibro related to how I was tightly still holding onto my old life. Two years ago, my relationship with my partner ended and my best friend Lucky passed away and I never expected everything to be taken away. It devastated me. So I’ve been unconsciously waiting, numbing out in front of the tv, completely unaware of what I was doing, hoping for my old life to come back. I haven’t been able to move forward or make any changes because I was trapped, and my body was showing me that. Iboga helped me let it all go. Looking through old memories the other day, I saw photos of the family I had created and lost and I felt peaceful, grateful that I had experienced it, and excited and curious for what I was creating now. I felt free for the first time ever.

I received clarity on how I want to create my life going forward. I want to be a digital nomad, live and work all around the world! I want to spend each day celebrating this life that I’ve been gifted. How lucky I am to still be here, to have this most incredibly beautiful planet to play and create in. I feel an excitement for life that I haven’t felt since I was a kid.

Mentally
My mind doesn’t feel all messy, jumbled and noisy like it used to. It’s like the difference between hearing someone mumble, and hearing them speak articulately with precision and intention. Every word is thoughtful and counts. I have control over my thoughts, what I allow myself to think and the direction of my thoughts.

I’ve become aware of how I create my own suffering with the meanings that I attach to things and the perspectives that I wear. It’s my responsibility to choose how I want to see things to create the outcome that I desire.

I’m aware of the power games that people play and I find myself watching them like a science experiment. I’m not taking the bait and getting caught up in their dramas. I feel like an old chrone watching kids play. No judgement, just, “oh that’s where you’re at, you’re doing that again, yea, I know that place.”

I quit TV cold turkey. I noticed what a time waster it was and if I was really going to do things differently and change my life into one I wanted to live, I needed to quit this addiction.

How I Continue To Work With The Medicine & Keeping The Experience Alive

It’s easy to fall back into old patterns, and while Iboga cleared me out and showed me the way to connecting with consciousness, it’s up to me to create new habits and behaviours that will support me being the best version of myself. I am responsible for creating these new neural pathways in my brain. Nobody can do that for me, that’s my work as a free will being and as a creator. I can choose to create what I’ve always done and follow those same pathways that take me down the route that I don’t want to go, or I can stubbornly commit to creating the new pathways that take me in the direction that I do want to go. And it’s like I’m fighting with myself, “No! I will not do that same shit, I’m going this way! Get up! No feeling sorry for yourself! Step up! Let’s go!” Because sometimes we need tough love and tenacity to get through a treacherous phase of our journeys.

What has helped me the most is having a morning and evening routine with myself. This is only possible now that I’ve quit TV. During Iboga, we are hyper connected to our intuitions. To get quiet allows that space to get reacquainted and reconnected. I use a journal to write. I’ll start with clearing- writing everything that’s bothering me and bogging me down, and when that’s clear, there’s a natural elevation that happens. I’ll feel gratitude to bring me up to a higher vibration and then I’ll feel her presence right there waiting for me, and just like in ceremony, I can ask her anything and get a response and have clarity. I’m again entering into a state of integrating my body with full awareness.

One morning when I was journaling, I was inspired to make three posters: Who am I, What is Life, and my big WHY. Having these up offer an incredible vibe that is pulsating off the wall right now. When I started to doubt myself while at work, I look up for a reminder and it instantly pulls me back up. It’s made me productive, driven, inspired, motivated and excited for life! I cannot wait to see what I create!

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Erika

To participate in an Iboga ceremony, contact Michael at
[email protected]

To learn more about Iboga:
http://bwitihealing.com/

Choose A Side & Love Fiercely

We are at war with ourselves,
reflected by the world around us.
And the only way to win this war,
the only way to peace,
is to choose a side to fight for.
Choose peace. Choose happiness. Choose love.
And then fight fiercely.
Love fiercely.
In every moment,
with every thought, action, word spoken.
Because if we don’t take control of our world,
Then the world will take control of us.
We’ll be victim to our thoughts and emotions.
We’ll feel sad, angry, anxious
because we’re too stubborn, proud, stuck
to choose happiness.
Feel into anger
Tightness in your chest?
Feel into sadness
Pit in your stomach?
Feel into happiness
A lightness surrounding you?
It’s an emotion like the rest
at our disposal.
Easy.
But we need to get out of our own way.
Whatever we choose will impact our quality of life
and that of those around us.
Channel the anger we have with the state of the world towards this solution.
Warriors of the light
it starts with us.
The more we fight for this side,
the stronger it gets.
Miscommunication,
Love yourself.
Unhealthy situation,
Love yourself.
Respect
is a basic human right that doesn’t need to be earned.
Because we’re all in pain,
have compassion.
Our liberation is caught up in each other.
This is a remembering
that at our core we are Love.
A surrendering.
Be vulnerable.
Trust yourself.
This is our work.
No hippie shit here.
It’s the bravest souls that are able to love through the hate.
Love Yourself Photo

When The Future Isn’t Certain

The other day I became hyper aware of the duality that’s existing in my mind at all times. While most people see happy, optimistic Erika, there’s also my shadow side that’s incredibly self critical, doubtful, and careless. The majority of the time I feel pulled by both sides– both screaming at me, telling me what I should do, that I’ll amount to nothing, but also keep going you’re doing great and it’ll all work out! It’s overwhelming and nauseating. So I’ll numb myself out- shut it off so it’s finally quiet. But that’s not a solution, it’s an escape, and isn’t serving me at all.

According to Tantric philosophy, all pain, suffering and sickness comes from duality. The solution then is to pick a side. Henry Ford said: “‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’”

I can’t believe I’m about to make a sports reference- but by entertaining both my healthy and self defeating thoughts, I am playing for both teams. It’s confusing as hell because imagine watching a soccer match where the players suddenly switch teams to shoot on their own nets. It would be chaos! You’d probably get bored and leave. And I feel that way. It becomes so chaotic in my mind that I numb out and become careless out of survival- opposite of my natural, deeply empathic and considerate way of being.

We need to choose a side. It takes self awareness, to notice our thoughts, our self criticism, doubts, worries, fears and say no, I’m not playing for that team. Because if we don’t choose a side, we’ll never win. So when we wake up in the morning and we don’t want to move, or when we’re looking at the workout bag and soo lazy, and when our thoughts are screaming at us that none of this is worth the effort, remember to play for the team that you’ve committed to playing for. Over time, the strength of this team will grow and we’ll start to reach milestones of success that the other team always told us were not possible.

Choose a team soccer match photo

The Greatest Medicine Ever

On New Years Eve, excited for the new year, I felt inspired to paint my apartment! So I painted for over 15 hours and when I woke up the next day, I couldn’t move lol I especially hurt my hand- I could barely move it and was in so much pain I had to take pain killers- which I never do.

I sat with my hand and tuned into the pain. I gave her my full attention and listened. I had flashbacks to being in the hospital as a kid, having the IV in my wrist, morphine and medicine pumping into me. I could feel the intense itch of the morphine. The most pain was where I still have scars from needles and testing. The visions and sensations were as though it was happening now. I cried, processed, and held the space for this to be released. The memories of family coming to see me, crying, standing by my hospital bed, holding my hand while feeling upset. I released all of their pain that I’ve been holding onto for them. Then I had to reconnect with my hand, mend my relationship with it, hold it to my heart and do hoponopono with it.

This morning when I woke up, the pain was less, and now, evening, it’s practically gone. In one day it went from unbelievable pain unable to move, to sitting here- painless- typing this. Really incredible. So I want to share how I did it. It’s an incredibly intuitive process of giving your body, mind and spirit your full attention. It can be used for any issue- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual- anything that is bothering you. I believe without confirmation that this work is shamanic. It brings you deep into the darkness of the underworld to release and gain the wisdom you need for the next stage.

 

Attention and Holding Space for Yourself

Throughout the entire process you will be in a deep trance of giving your body, mind and spirit your full attention. Listen deeply as though you’re listening to a friend speak. Curiously, with love and care, listen to your body, your thoughts. Keeping your eyes closed helps you to connect.

When you hold the space for yourself, you are watching yourself, acutely paying attention.

Holding space is bringing awareness to something, and giving your body/mind/soul space and focus to transmute the energy. The alchemist.

There are two of you- your higher self is holding the space for your human self, like a mother caring for a child. It feels like there’s a spirit, energy, that is hovering above and around you. The human version of you is releasing, surrendering, doing the work, crying, screaming, moving- all while being guided by your higher self.

 

Movement and Intuition

Movement helps to distract your mind and keep your focus. It also helps to get the energy flowing in your body, unblocking anywhere it may be currently stuck. I use a series of simple kundalini movements that I’ve memorized that activate my spine to connect me with my higher self. The kundalini movements are also great with directing me on how to properly breathe deeply throughout the process. Use something you don’t have to think about that’s just running in the background.

Your intuition of when to move, how does your body need to move, when to speak, when to write, what needs to be said- is everything. Allow yourself to be guided, surrender to this fully. Honour yourself, your inner guidance, your wisdom.

Processing image
www.mikemonaghanphoto.com

First, notice how your body wants to express itself:

    Automatic writing: write without thinking

    Automatic speaking: Just speak, what needs to be said through you.

    Intuitive movement: Need to punch the shit out of the bed? Care for yourself throughout the process- the wall will break your hand.

 

Second, know that you’re not alone. Part of you is here in this body, having this very humane experience, and the other part of you is divinity- your higher self is pure love hovering above you, connected with you, guiding you.

    Feel the connection grow with your higher self.

   Connect with the love consciousness.

   Surrender yourself to your higher self.

   Allow your higher self to support you, nurture you, love you, take care of you.

   Surrender to that. Let go.

    Let the emotions, feelings grow.

Your higher Self is going to hold the space and coach your human self. Both versions of you will express itself. There will be times where your human self is upset, perhaps questioning things and your higher self is responding. It’s not about going into victim mode and focusing on the crap- like in therapy, it’s about focusing on the highest vibration of love and elevating yourself to this to release everything not in alignment with it. When you are connected, these are no longer solely your movements, your thoughts-  now you’re in this dance with your higher self.

 

Third, speak, move, and emote intuitively. Be honest. Even if it’s ugly. It might sound like therapy where your higher self is asking questions and challenging your human self. Be sure to stay in your heart and body, don’t go into your mind. The questions that come from your higher self don’t come from your thoughts- you’re not thinking, everything is on instinct. Be honest with everything you are feeling- everything is true and right.

Keep with the motions. Move intuitively. Hold certain poses if your body wishes. Contort yourself in unnatural positions if desired. The energy is moving.

When emotions come up, let them out, cry, scream, make unnatural noises- your throat is clearing, get it out. Don’t think about how weird it is, nobody is watching or listening. My landlord hasn’t complained yet.


Remember to continue to hold the space for yourself.

 

Fourth, pay attention to subtle changing energies. As the process deepens, you may feel activation at your crown chakra. A presence, connection with your higher self.

Notice when the energy shifts to drama/trauma, victim, poor me. You can be in this, perhaps reliving a past memory, while your higher self is holding the space for you to transmute this. You will feel both the trauma and the power of the transmutation simultaneously. The difference between drama and processing is you feel strong. Even though crying, you are in your strength, sitting straight up or in a position you intuitively came into. Remember how powerful you are, breathe and release what needs to come out while holding yourself in the highest esteem.

 

Fifth, ask for help. If and when the energy gets super intense, ask your higher self, guides, angels to help you clear. They’re literally sitting there waiting, but can’t act until you ask. They want you to ask, and when you do, the energy shifts and releases instantly. It’s incredible. You’ll think, whoa, why was I crying.

In these intense moments, ground yourself with deep breaths and by feeling the floor with your hands.

 

Remember to continue to move intuitively. Try not to do too much, keep the trance, keep your eyes closed. But listen to loud intuitive calls like to drink water, hug a bolster. Honour yourself. You may be called to do something for a release to happen. I had to hug a bolster once to feel supported, and that support helped me to process. But generally, stay in the same area. Moving around too much might be tactical and dramatic. Be honest with your antics.

 

When you’re nearing the end, you will feel a smile creep up on your lips. A sense of lightness, calmness, less to no intensity, relief, and peace.  You feel like you let something go. You’ve had realizations, epiphanies, a change in perspective. You’re not crying anymore, nor do you feel the need. You’re kinda smiling a little.

 

Sixth, lay down on the mat and rest for a moment. You may feel energized. Definitely hungry. Thank yourself. Thank your guides. Eat. Take a nap.

 

The Next Day You will be exhausted the next day. Hungry. Take care of yourself and be grateful for the incredible work you’ve done. Congratulations :)

 

This is the incredible process I use to intuitively heal myself- mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. I’ve successfully used it many times for a myriad of reasons. When you do it, listen to your intuition and alter it appropriately. You know what’s best for you. If you need extra guidance, send me a message- I’d love to help to guide you through it.

 

Feeling Safe To Be Our Authentic Selves

After being with my partner, Matias for four years, we split when he got a new job and moved to California. It was the most painful decision of my life. With him, I always felt safe in the world. Now I felt I was left to fend for myself. I still always have his support, but it’s different now. I’m here in Toronto alone. He is currently visiting, a few months after our split, and I can see the difference of how I am with him and how I am without him. When I’m with him, I feel safe. I am able to let my guard down, open up completely, relax, laugh, have fun, be my authentic self. When he’s not here, I tense up. As a way to protect myself, I unintentionally, close my heart, build a wall between myself and everyone else. In the process I become numb, depressed and cold. I check out, disassociate because it’s hard to be in the world when you don’t feel safe. I am still functional but I don’t feel like myself. I am not able to take chances and put myself out there, nor am I able to easily connect with others until I know them well enough that I feel safe again.

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Photo by: Laina Briedis

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5 Day Water Fast

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 9.52.23 PMPhoto by Alison Scarpulla

Day 0.5 Inspired Action

On a lovely rainy summers day, my pal Patrick and I decided to take a day trip up to Blue Mountain. After many hours of scenic driving, unique cafes, playful toy stores and inspiring conversation, we stumbled upon the topic of fasting. He’s been inspired for some time to do a water fast- meaning no food, just nourishing water! It wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be capable of, but he sold me on the list of potential benefits. More than that, my intuition was screaming at me, “do it do it do it do it DO IT!!!&@^#” On impulse I said alright, let’s do it, we’re starting right now! And we did.

It was around five p.m. when we committed and by nightfall my belly was already rumbling. As a child of Italian descent, I can admit I have an anxious attachment to food. The idea of not eating or not having food available makes me nervous. I eat when I’m not hungry. I need to constantly have a full belly to feel peaceful. You wouldn’t think it by looking at my thin frame but there’s a reason I’ve committed to a gluten-free veggie diet. Otherwise, I would gorge on pizza all day. But I like how I feel on a healthy diet and a healthy diet allows me to eat much more! nom nom nom.

Going to bed hungry, without dinner, was challenging. It felt like I was being punished. Anxiety was coming up but otherwise, I felt empowered. I was choosing to do this on my own terms as a form of self love; To step more into my power, releasing my victim archetype; To learn to trust myself; For clarity and peace of mind; And to kick all attachments and addictions. If I could let go of food, my number one attachment, I could let go of anything.

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Why to Avoid Calling Others Selfish

We’re in an age of individuation. Where in the past we would associate ourselves with our family systems or community, ‘I am my tribe’ now, we can be connected with our tribe, but we are an individual person learning to be an authentic creative expression of our souls. We are rebels! Lightworkers. Resisting conforming to the expectations and judgements of others. We have street fashion and Kickstarter campaigns fueling our individuation and creative expression.

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Photo by Robert Moses Joyce

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