When I came out about my Ayahuasca experiences it felt like such a dramatic step, probably because it was. I had not been on Facebook socially for years and had been so isolated that it was a shock to the senses to even contemplate this kind of personal exposure to the masses in general let alone coming out with such a wild story. But this was only the beginning for me.
First I had to get over my own misgivings about talking openly about my experiences – sorting through them and understanding them. Did my misgivings have to do with the stigma around ‘drugs’? Or was it the stigma of others’ preconceived notions about spirits? Talking plants? Inner voices? There were many things I had to consider myself before coming out in a way that didn’t reflect my own inner barriers.
I had to sort out how I felt about it and I did that initially through writing about it and exploring my thoughts and attitudes about all of it as I went. This was a valuable process in and of itself as it taught me a lot about myself and helped bring to the surface some unhealthy attitudes that had to change – not just to help facilitate my ‘coming out’ but to help support this new, more healthy person I was becoming.
Once I had worked through a lot of my own ideas about it, I wanted to focus on the outcome of these experiences – the inspirational stuff – the stuff that all human beings can connect with and are looking for: peace, insight, connectedness, wholeness, healing, wellness & meaning. These were the most important pieces of the story and talking honestly (for me) about where I was at before I had plant medicine experiences. These were the aspects of the experience that others could identify with and there were elements of this story that held so much promise for what others wanted in their lives and what they could achieve. It was the same with me when I heard others speak about these experiences. I knew there was something there for me but I didn’t realize the full extent to which this experience would change me and continue to change me in ways that were not always comfortable to say the least.
Another thing I had to consider was my own motivations for telling my story (other than the fact that Ayahuasca was urging me to do so ;-). I have heard others speak about things (especially spiritual or even ‘cures’ or natural remedies) where their attachment to outcome came through so strongly, it turned me off. I felt their agenda and rejected what they had to say not because of the content but because of this control factor. It was uncomfortable. So, I had to figure this out about myself. Did I have an agenda? What was my purpose in telling my story? Did it come from an attachment to a desired outcome or was it because I had a more authentic motivation? Did it matter whether or not people believed me? That was a big one. For me, at the beginning, I was so moved by what had happened to me that I felt a deep and natural desire to express it. In the heart of my experience with plant medicines, there was a truth that was so profound it deserved to be expressed. That was all. However, I had to take the journey of exploring all of the other things to get to the point where I could do this and I grew through that explorative journey. It was an integrative process. I confronted my inner barriers and discovered the reasons behind my concerns about what people might think. I explored my own ideas about plants, spirituality etc before and after plant medicines and made that part of my coming out story. That part was authentically me – a person who thrives on exploration of these matters. It’s not necessarily everyone else. If it wasn’t part of who I was, it may have come off more like I was defending some uncontested story.
So, coming out is a journey and for some of us, it may require some prep. If we search ourselves for any agendas or fears, this prep can be an opportunity for some personal growth and healing. What I have discovered is that there’s very little, if anything in life that doesn’t present this opportunity.