While in one of the darkest hours of life, never did I imagine that I’d one day be grateful for what I’d later realize was a conspiracy for my greatest good. But that’s exactly where I stand today. And I have Rythmia & the plant medicine, Ayahuasca, to thank for that.
When I started 2020, many of my life structures were not doing so hot. From the professional to the personal, my life was in disarray.
And so, in an act of desperation, I booked Rythmia, which is an upscale Ayahuasca resort in Costa Rica. Rythmia claimed they could deliver miracles, which was incredibly convenient as a miracle is what I needed. Lucky for me, a miracle is precisely what I got.
I returned to NYC on March 15, 2020 (hello, pandemic) with no job. But I did have a new lease on life.
Two years later, I’m returning from my 3rd trip to Rythmia. I’ve now done 12 Ayahuasca ceremonies in total. I have a stable job. And I’m here to document the ahas that I had on this trip. A trip that brought me close to the divine and brought me back to myself.
And I have the implosion of my life to thank for this deeply rooted sense of peace.
About Ayahuasca & Rythmia
Before I go into the ahas I had, let me briefly explain Ayahuasca & Rythmia.
(And if this post guides you toward booking at Rythmia, please let them know Becky Brooks referred you! Thank you so much!)
Indigenous people have used the plant medicine Ayahuasca for thousands of years in the Amazon. Ayahuasca is a psychedelic that allows DMT to metabolize in your gut, and drinking it provides a few hours of insights, purging, and visions.
The purging is critical as what is coming is also going. That means that what you purge is leaving your system. Repressed memories. Shame. Guilt. And a lot of other stuff that can weigh you down in life. And yes, purging involves things like vomiting, shitting, crying, and more. That might gross some people out. But for me, holding onto the energy that I later purged was more challenging than the actual purge itself. Plus, Rythmia has six bathrooms in the maloka (ceremony space). They also have cozy mattresses, shamans, and even live musicians to guide you during the journey.
Now, about the medicine itself: Ayahuasca is a feminine, maternal spirit. She is Mother Ayahuasca. And like a mother, her love is unconditional. But her love is also tough love. She holds a mirror to who you are. She is the most potent form of Mother Nature’s wisdom and love. Pretty legit credentials, if you ask me.
Rythmia provides a safe container to explore yourself through this medicine in an upscale resort setting. 4 nights of ceremonies led by trustworthy shamans. (Note: Most Ayahuasca retreats offer only 2 or *maybe* 3 ceremonies.) Classes during the day prepare you, help you process your feelings, and integrate this entire experience. And also, Rythmia provides food that mixes well with the plant medicine.
In addition, you get incredible breathwork classes, which is a practice that I keep up while at home; it helps me stay connected to my soul & heart. Oh, and there is a pool, a couple adorable dogs, a spa, and yoga classes.
Rythmia even gives you three intentions to work through to get your miracle. Here they are…
Intention #1: Show Me Who I’ve Become
This intention requires courage and honesty. Spiritual bypassing need not apply. To move forward and evolve, you must first accept who you have become. The first time I came to Rythmia, this intention took me almost three full nights of ceremony to work through. It can be tough to see yourself in a way that isn’t protected by the ego-mind. But it’s necessary.
Intention #2: Merge My Soul At All Costs
Yes, you need to surrender “at all costs” for this intention to work, which might sound scary. But I’ve found the “at all costs” tend to be more around things like “forgive yourself” and less “leave your husband and move to the jungle.”
Intention #3: Heal My Heart
This intention, quite frankly, feels incredible to achieve.
Ayahuasca takes you on the longest journey of your life, which is oddly only 18 inches. The journey from your mind to your heart.
I was able to feel things that I had pushed away – the shadow parts of my personality. So when repressed memories and emotions came up, I felt them in a way that I didn’t know was possible. Because to heal it, I had to first feel it.
Ayahuasca is the opposite of a numbing agent. You feel everything. The good, the ugly, the divine, and even the funny. (Mother Aya has a great sense of humor.)
So, with that 411 info out of the way, I’ll move onto the insights that I received during this 3rd trip at Rythmia. (Which will not be my last!) And I sprinkled in some photos for you to get a feel for Rythmia.
Ayahuasca Night #1 (of My 3rd Trip to Rythmia)
Ostensibly, I booked this trip because I was thinking about death a lot. I lost my two beloved cats to incurable diseases, an Uncle, and some more distant relatives over the pandemic. So mortality was top of mind for me, and I wanted answers about death.
Yet what emerged on this first night was around this theme: my gifts in life. Specifically, Mother Aya showed me that I’m not utilizing my gifts as best as I can. And if I continue to not use my gifts, that will be their death.
It became clear that the theme of death overpowering my mind had a lot more to do with me acting as if my gifts aren’t alive or present in my life than death in a literal sense.
Still, while communing with the medicine around death, I asked her what the point of death is. Why must we die?
She said that we humans are an expression of the Universe. And when our human form dies, we’re still the Universe.
“What is the Universe, then, if we are a part of it?” I asked. And that’s when she got sassy. “If certain things weren’t mysteries, then the word ‘mystery’ would have no meaning. So trust that everything you need to know is on a need-to-know basis. And you don’t need to know what the Universe is just yet.” Roger that, Mother Aya.
She also showed me a bit about my childhood. For example, the sadness I felt when my mom got sick with a serious illness when I was 12 years old. But also the joy I felt when she and I would laugh together during those late nights we spent together while she was sick.
I also saw myself as a friendless child sitting at home in front of the TV. Having a phallic last name is hard for a 6-year-old girl to come to terms with. (I was born Rebecca Weiner, which was ripe for ridicule.) I saw that child for who she was – innocent and perfect – and I told her she was worthy.
Worthiness was a huge theme that I worked through that first night. And the word “enough” came up. I never feel I have enough. Or that I am enough. Nothing is ever good enough. Because I don’t feel good enough.
And then, she highlighted how I act like someone who doesn’t have valuable gifts to share with the world. I quite literally discount them by acting like they don’t exist.
These insights were interesting as I’m in a chanting group that is currently working with the allies Ganesha and Lakshmi. My intention during my chants is financial abundance. Well, I finally realized that I must feel worthy for true abundance to happen. I must know that I’m enough. And I must work on the valuable gifts that I have, which can make the world a better and brighter place.
I finished this first night out on a hammock looking at the stars with this tranquil thought: “We’re all like stars because we can still touch people’s hearts long after we die.”
Ayahuasca Night #2 (of My 3rd Trip to Rythmia)
I felt ready to move past the intention of “Show Me Who I’ve Become” and move on to “Merge Me With My Soul At All Costs.” But Mother Aya wasn’t so sure I had gotten the message and had some more healing in store for me.
My Mom & Friendships
I connected to my mom directly this night. She died 11 years ago. I apologized for being a brat when I was a teenager while she was sick. She forgave me fully and even told me that all she ever had for me was love. I cried so much. It felt so good to connect with her again. We talked just like old times. She was always my absolute best friend, and I miss her so much. But I now know that no one ever really dies. And I’m so grateful that I now know that.
Speaking of friends, I had lost a lot of friendships over the pandemic. And the medicine told me that I was blocking new friendships from forming by fixating on the old ones that ended.
She also told me that I don’t fully commit to things I’m passionate about. She showed me vividly how I always have two perspectives around my endeavors; one that is enthusiastic and has faith in my pursuits, and another one that writes off my passions as a waste of time. I have this split outlook because (you guessed it) I do not feel worthy. And I go back and forth between these two outlooks depending on my mood, which is not a great way to manifest my soul’s purpose.
I had gotten Mother Aya’s message about who I’ve become: a non-committal person who doesn’t feel worthy and fixates on the past. I felt ready to move past that. I walked up for my second cup and reiterated my intention: “Merge Me With My Soul At All Costs.” I felt ready for this.
Merging My Soul
I drank my second cup and returned to my mattress. And almost immediately, I caught a bizarrely simple realization that I felt to my core: I am worthy. That was the cost for merging me back with my soul — knowing and feeling my inherent worthiness. It was truly that simple. I just had to feel it and know it fully.
I kid you not that the exact second that I embodied this new outlook, the band started playing for the first time that night — like the Universe was celebrating my aha moment. I marinated in their sounds and knew I was worthy of that moment. I laid there in deep satisfaction of my worthiness as they played.
I also realized that I am a hero because the hero’s journey is this: returning to yourself more whole than when you split from yourself. I returned to myself and felt a deep trust in the Universe.
I ended the night wishing every single person I ever came across healing. Especially those who have hurt me. Because I know they need healing the most. I now wish for others only what I would wish for myself. Healing.
Ayahuasca Night #3 (of My 3rd Trip to Rythmia)
Night #3 at Rythmia is Divine Feminine Night.
I had merged with my soul and had been shown who I had become. I now wanted to move on to healing my heart. But again, Mother Aya had more to say. The shamans at Rythmia say this medicine path is the path of patience. And so, I relented and surrendered to her wisdom.
The Feminine, Feeling Way
Because it was divine feminine night, I connected to a deep sense of appreciation for all the women in my life who showed me the way – the feminine feeling way. I thanked the Universe for providing me with my mom, who was the first person to show me the path of feelings. I thanked the Universe for my mom’s love, my sister, and all the female friends I’ve held close in my heart.
I was shown how the thinking mind is mainly the ego. And the heart is where life is truly vibrant and beautiful. I knew that I wanted to reconnect with this feminine, feeling way. I had lost my way courtesy of my ego-mind. So during this night, I tapped into my heart, which is the drumbeat of our lives. And I realized that I mustn’t ignore the call to feel my feelings.
I’m an Eternal Soul
I also saw my soul as an eternal soul. It’s been here long before Becky Brooks was ever here. And it will remain long after I leave this human form. Our souls are eternal because love never ends. And we are love. This medicine helped me purge what makes me not see that truth.
Shame & Judgment
I had some intense purging on this night in the bathroom. Ayahuasca ceremony etiquette calls for people not to make the bathroom their private sanctuary. AKA: Other people need to use the bathroom, so get in and then out! But I legitimately kept going. I was in the bathroom for 20-30 minutes and I started to feel guilty about it.
While feeling guilty sitting on the toilet, I realized that the word “should” is dangerous. I felt guilty because I felt that I shouldn’t be in there for so long (even though I was legitimately using the bathroom the whole time). And that shame comes from the word “should.” As does judgment.
I walked out of that 20-minute bathroom session with a new perspective on judgment. And ever since, when I start to judge others or myself, I think: “That’s interesting. What ‘should’ am I holding onto about this situation? Because THAT leads me to judgment and away from love.”
I can now watch these feelings more as a curious observer.
When I returned from the bathroom and went to my mattress, I felt like I was in a womb. So safe and secure and filled with trust. And then it dawned on me: I was in a womb. And I still am in one.
Stay with me here as I get esoteric: we only know trust when we’re gestating in our mom’s womb. As unborn babies, we trust our needs will be met.
Now, this statement may sound bizarre to most, but I know this to be true: the Universe is a literal womb. And we live in it. That’s why what happens to me affects you and vice versa. We all live in the same womb. And like a baby trusting their mother’s womb, I trust the ultimate mother of all, the Universe.
Divine feminine night, indeed.
Ayahuasca Night #4 (of My 3rd Trip to Rythmia)
This is the all-nighter ceremony. The rest get out at around 1am; this night ends at about 9am.
I was exhausted and didn’t even want to go. But this night was just what I needed.
And to be honest, there are not a lot of ahas I can even write about. It was all feelings. I healed my heart. I listened to this woman sing and the band play, and I felt my heart expand so big that I thought it would literally explode.
Heart = Alive & Well
This 12+-hour ceremony ends as the rest of the ceremonies do: with a sharing circle. I had shared every other night. But on this night, I just listened. I cried as other people shared their healings, their ahas, and their journeys. I had to close my eyes to take in what I heard with my full heart. I had never been so emotionally moved in my life.
I just felt so deeply. And ever since then, I have been allowing my heart to guide the way.
Ayahuasca & Rythmia Parting Thoughts:
If you feel called to the medicine, answer that call. But do so wisely. You can’t be on certain medications and drink the medicine. And you also want to make sure you’re in a completely safe place that you trust while drinking the medicine.
That’s why I am grateful for Rythmia. They’re medically licensed and hold your hand the whole way. Everyone who works there has the best intentions for you. And the classes helped me. ESPECIALLY the first time I sat with the medicine.
There are tons of helpers and a couple of shamans working each ceremony. And the classes during the day prepare you for ceremony and help you process the experience. I highly recommend this place!
If you end up booking, please say Becky Brooks sent you. And hit me up if you have any additional questions.