Peruvian Cocaine Pt. 2
People are quite curious to know what happens on Ayahuasca and other hallucinogenic experiences.
“Was it crazy? What did you see? Are you okay now?”
You’ll hear a different story from everyone who tells it. Sitting at the breakfast table after a ceremony I often found myself deeming other people’s stories to be exaggerated and false.
In fact, talking about it all can be dangerous because it’s very easy to convince yourself that everything meant anything, and the essence of the experience can get packaged into a cute little belief.
I was going to start this post with the idea of generational evolution and how it requires you to let go of your grievances against your parents. Which is true. But I don’t want to start throwing jabs at people for not being… perfect… I guess. I’ve done that enough.
Anyways, letting go is the name of the game here.
More interesting to me than the infinite possibilities of what I could see during a hallucinogenic journey was the internal stance I could take on it. I wasn’t trying to understand the meaning of things because I felt there was something deeper to be examined – like the ability to embrace my fears. The power to warm my heart. The presence to clear my mind.
Jedi things you know?
I mean people ask me what I want now that I’m back, and the main thing I want, is just to be comfortable in my own skin.
Everything else like… I dunno, being successful, falling in love, perhaps getting famous…. those might come, but only after I’m comfortable in my body.
And if I got those things and I wasn’t comfortable in myself, they would only make me more uncomfortable.
And being famous is a lot of responsibility. Most people who do so wish they’d thought about it more before kicking so much butt.
Getting back to it though, a similar climax of my hallucinogenic experience happened a few different times.
As the hours sitting in the dark went by, sights, sounds and feelings all started to meld into one experience. I was aware of what was going on around me, but it became less important as something much bigger was happening inside me. Without a chattering mind to distinguish what was what, reality became a maze. It seemed that what I had thought to be reality was just an illusion, one that I was silly enough to get so caught up in. I was laughing at myself for taking myself so seriously, but it wasn’t the chatterbox mind doing the giggling.
I’m reading this back to myself right now like, “ahh fuck, this sounds cliche.” It’s hard to convey the feeling of it. It’s very not of this… plane.
And the climax of that was pure nothingness.
And that was cool for a bit, like I could ride it, but at a certain point I’d be like, “okay, I’m good. Let’s get out of here.”
And then I couldn’t.
And the more I struggled, the more I got afraid. And then I’d be like, “yep, there it is, brewing in my belly again. We’ve been here before Gabe.”
Then I’d embrace it and settle down a bit.
Then I’d be like “okay, now let’s actually get the fuck out of here.” And I couldn’t. And it would kick in again and I’d be like, “this time… this time we went too far. There’s no coming back from this. We’re never going to get out of here.”
And I’d start to believe it…. and I was lost in a state of everything and nothing for the rest of eternity.
….It’s just me and myself….
Then I’d really start getting scared.
Eventually I’d puke my brains out and lay back on the ground, panting with relief.
To get from the exotic Caribbean island of San Andres to the smaller and more exotic island of Providencia, I needed to take a 3 hour boat ride.
Many people choose the more expensive option, a short plane ride, because the boat ride is known as the ‘pukers express,’ or something like that, because most people get sea sick.
If a lake has waves that are sharp and choppy, like the bark of a chihuahua, the ocean has waves that are a deep roll, like the purr of a lion.
The realization of how much power the ocean has, and how easily it can destroy you is humbling. To choose to surrender and join forces with the ocean is… immense. To resist the ocean’s unstoppable presence is to be in constant agony, which was the rather comical state of most of boat.
And it’s funny because we were literally ‘all in the same boat.’
This cute spanish girl sitting beside me was being persistently hit on by the spanish boy beside her. He seemed to have taken this boat ride many times because he was playing the role of the adventure guide who was going to keep her safe.
He had his arms around her, rubbing her back and holding her close, but the ocean got a hold of him, and before long he was curled up with a puke bag, letting it all hang out.
During his intermissions he would lay on this girl’s lap.
And this wasn’t odd.
Like, we were all in the same boat. We were in this together. And this ocean was fuckin relentless. Couples were caressing each other, husbands were telling wives that it would all be over soon.
We were all being lulled into a rhythmic trance. And there was no where to be but with each other.
Anyways this cute girl beside me, with this boy laying on her lap, put her head on my shoulder.
At first I was like, wow, this is kind of intimate. We don’t even know each other. But I eased into it. And fuck. It was kinda nice. It was kinda really nice.
I relaxed my shoulder blades and took things a step further, resting my head on top of her head, locking her in position.
You see, this boat had seat belts, because amidst the rhythmic trance of the ocean waves, there was sometimes a particularly big wave that would cause us to fly up off the seats. It was like going over the top of a rollercoaster every 10 seconds, and every now and then the cart would lose touch with the track.
So with my head firmly holding her head in place, she didn’t have to worry about repeatedly slamming her head on my shoulder.
And I thought that was quite thoughtful.
I felt quite good about it. To be able to provide this girl with a sense of safety. To be there for her to lean on. I didn’t have to do much. I just had to be there… and be okay with her leaning on me. Which I was. At that time. And it felt good. It felt manly.
Then I looked over at the couple across from us – they seemed like newly weds on their honeymoon.
You might say they were a bit nerdy.
The girl was sitting there looking disgusted, and the guy was standing overtop of her fanning her face with his hand.
It was clear that this man/boy in his late twenties wanted to give his new bride some sort of support, but he was unsure in his ability to do so, and after much internal debate, he opted to wave his hand frantically in front of her face.
She was sitting there in physical discomfort and emotional disgust because all she wanted in that moment was her man’s shoulder to lean on, and it wasn’t there.
By the look on her face it was clear that his half humorous, half functional attempt at looking out for her well-being had accomplished neither, and the next few hours that they’d spend in their exotic villa would be in resentment.
No doubt this guy know’s that he can just sit there and let his wife lean on him. It’s not a question of cunning here on how he should comfort her. Just be there dude. Sit with her. But something inside him doubted his ability to do so. His ability to sit there, and be comfortable being the man for his woman.
What is that thing? What is that itch of discontent that can’t be scratched? That he knows is there, but hasn’t figured out what it is, and while it lingers, he doesn’t feel confident in being there for his newly wed wife.
This guy was smart, you could tell. Probably very good with logistical things and financial matters. But in this moment, all his wife wanted was for him to give her love. And all he wanted was to love his wife.
But he wasn’t sure how.
…….And here I was sitting in total relaxation with a cute stranger on my shoulder, passively watching this scene take place.
Did I feel better than this man?
No. In fact I felt more connected with him. I’ve been in his shoes many times – wanting to give love but insecure in how best to do so.
It just so happened that at that time, in my world, I was feeling secure in myself and my ability to be here for this girl. I was sure of myself. I felt like a man.
He wasn’t being the man. The man that he could be. And his wife was silently rolling along the surface of the ocean, likely thinking of all the other lovers she passed up to settle with this one.
My dad and I once walked on a Canadian highway for 3 days to get to a Catholic shrine. It was like a father/son pilgrimage. Afterward I wrote a short paper on it and sold it to a friend for his university english assignment. (I am a professional)
But when my dad read it he said, “well Gabe, you sure are good at bullshitting!”
“I was there,” he said. “None of that happened.”
What didn’t happen? My experience of the things that happened? That happened. That happened inside me. They might not have happened inside you.
If you talked to all the people on that boat, they all could give you a different story of what happened, their experience. Would any of them be wrong? No. Which story would be the true story? I dunno. That’s a silly question.
In fact, that’s what makes people interesting. Not the what’s and when’s of things, but the experience we had, as individuals. No two people will have the same one. To deny ourselves our own experience is…
I thought for a long time about what word to put there. I’m not sure. I’m going to leave it.
But I experienced that journey. I was paying attention. I wasn’t worrying about how to be on that boat or what I should do when I got off that boat, when it would arrive or what the fuck was going on on that boat. I was paying attention to what was going on inside myself. And around me. All together. And I was able to take in the experience. And there was no right way to take it in. I just thought this couple was interesting and took note of their behaviour. I felt that the ocean was powerful and I let it have an affect on me. In fact I joined forces with it’s power.
Maybe that’s why I had such a rich experience.
There we all were, on the surface of the ocean, sailing to some exotic island to splash in the water and have sex in the sunshine, and the extent of that couple’s experience probably amounted to worrying about what the other was thinking.
Well… for the guy. For the girl she was just pissed.
Now, I’ve been there. I been there long time. I had that for a short period when the girl first put her head on my shoulder – “Holy shit a strange woman is touching me!” “What the fuck do I do?”
There ain’t much going on there. On the surface. Mostly anxiety. But when you drop in… there’s something else going on. Same as the Ayahuasca trip. Same as life in general.
Feel the chair under your butt, the girl on your shoulder. See the ocean roll. Hear the waves crash and in the middle of all that there’s something going on. Something big.
That was just a fuckin boat ride to get to the destination. Something I typically might try to avoid – staying as asleep as possible so as not to be there for it.
I was fuckin there for it. And fuck. That ride was just as good as getting there.
There was a new dimension of depth.
I was like hmm…. something’s going on here.
(To be continued)