From April 16th to May 11th, I am travelling here in Peru for my annual personal retreat, vision quest, and deepening into my path as a healer. This year I am travelling with my wonderful ladyfriend Lisa, and we are journeying all the way from the Amazon jungle to the high Andes mountains.
The trip has been rich so far. We began our journey in the Amazon jungle, near the city of Iquitos, which happens to be the largest town in the world that is completely inaccessible by road. To get there, you must fly or take a 3 to 5 day boat journey on the Amazon. The first time I heard of this place, last year, I knew I had to go. The town is wild, hectic, rundown, and full of mototaxis, motorcycles, and vintage buses from the 1950s. Since everything must be shipped in via river, vehicles tend to be small and there are not many cars.
We quickly made our way out of the city and into the jungle, where we stayed one week with an incredible plant medicine woman and healer, Doña Otilia. Her jungle retreat is 50km from the city, and a half hour hike through thick forest. This small footpath, which winds past waterways, over bridges, past giant trees, and through thick undisturbed jungle growth, is the only access to her land. We arrived to find a small group of western women there, from Turkey, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S., who were in the midst of a ten-day healing journey. We settled in quickly, and began our own healing.
To stay on Doña Otilia´s land is take a journey deep into one´s self and into the heart of the jungle. Otilia prescribes plant medicines and a clean, healing diet for each of her guests, tailored specifically to that person´s healing needs. Some people come to heal physical conditions, and some for mental or spiritual healings. Inevitably, guests find that their healing takes place on multiple levels. With the help of medicinal plants, lots of rest, and occassional evening ayahuasca ceremonies to stimulate vision, insight, and rapid healing, shifts take place on every level of a person´s being. I and my companions found ourselves changed on a cellular level, cleaned of our burdens and with a restored connection to our true essence.
Walking out of the jungle and riding back to the city after such a deep and tranquil experience is always a shock. The pace of the modern world seems so fast, and the distractions rampant. It is a challenge to hold this light, this new healing, as we return to the flow of our travels. But such is life, and such is the path of the healer who desires to walk a path of purity, integrity, light, and service.
Lisa and I are now in the highlands of Peru, leaving Cuzco for the Sacred Valley to continue our adventure and join with an International Gathering of Shaman which is taking place this weekend near the town of Pisaq. We are called in this journey to honor the Earth with each step. For this rest of our journey, we will be engaged in ceremony to honor, celebrate, and remember the great gifts of this Earth and our connection with all things.
There is so much wisdom available to us in the natural world. It can be difficult to remember this, but the path of the shaman and the path of the healer is to do what we can each day to remember. Prayers help. Walking upon the wild earth helps. Looking around at the sky, the clouds, the sun, the grass, the animals and insects, and offering deep and sincere gratitude to all of it reconnects us in a way that books and nature programs on television never can. When we breathe deeply of the fresh air of the mountains, when we feel the sun shine upon our faces, when we smile and sing and thank the spirits of the wind, our hearts soften and open. In this softness, in this openness, in this connection, there is a wisdom that is beyond words. It is the profound wisdom of the heart. It is the wisdom that all earth-connected humans have always had access to. It is a wisdom that grounds us. It is a wisdom that makes us whole.
I welcome your comments, and I look forward to sharing more as this journey continues.