Everything started in my mind
when I created the need to escape.

I could say that my job does not satisfy me
but, do I seek satisfaction in my job?

I could say that he loves me – not – the way I want him to love me
but is that love?

I could say that I lack of motivation
That I lack of passion for life
I could say that I have not found the music inside of me
I could say that I’m looking for my purpose in life
I could say that I’m bored, that life has no meaning
I could say that I am suspended in the moment my mother left and never knew why
I only knew she left – I remained suspended there without knowing what I wanted
without knowing what happened to me
Afraid of asking my father, because I didn’t want him to leave as well
I am not happy here, and I am always looking to be there, but when I there becomes here, I don’t want to be here anymore.

That’s how I planned my travel there, to the jungle to drink Ayahuasca
because that’s where my answers were to be found. My barriers would vanish.
I was going to find my purpose, my passion, my reason.
I was going to be able to find inspiration and be capable of creating things.

Without thinking about it I booked my flight tickets, contacted Joel Johuanchi Marca, running director of the Wanamey Spiritual Growth Center, located in the Manu Biosphere, located at 1 mile from Pillccopata (Kosñipata District, Paucartampo Province). In less than a month I set everything up and made it to Cusco. I travelled 9 hours by bus, through the dirt and bumps of an unpaved road to get to the Wanamamey Spiritual Growth Center. I was sure of what I was doing, because there I would be better off than here, and I was not there yet, so the illusion of being there was real to me.

When I got to the Wanamey Spiritual Growth Center, I began to realize that I really was not prepared, that the place was more rustic than what I thought, of Joel –the guide-. I wanted him to open the doors for me so my obstacles could vanish forever, and I kept asking myself over and over again “what is it I’m looking in Ayahuasca?” I could not answer this.

I used to tell Joel that I wanted to get to know myself; that I look to get rid of my obstacles, and he said: “Ayuahuasca is not going to give you anything, for all the answers you seek are already within you”. “Nor Ayahuasca or I can give you the right answers”, “What is it you came here for?”-I don’t know… Curiosity- I answered. “You don’t drink Ayahuasca for curiosity” he said. “What do you want? What is it you are looking for?” Joel kept asking –I don’t know- I kept saying. It was then when I felt alone, helpless and far away from home. There is no electricity in the Wanamey Spiritual Growth Center; you sleep in a hut that has no windows or doors.

So I was there and “there” was here, and I didn’t like it.  Joel is a strong man, he is not judging me, he’s not making promises, and he has cleared out that Ayahuasca will not give you anything, that without inner strength, without spirituality, without faith, self-love, that without real intentions and no courage you will not find anything. I slept that night, still curious about this matter, but a little bit discouraged, for I did not feel connected to Joel, I did not know him, I did not trust him; in fact, the more I questioned myself about what I was doing there the more I distrusted him. I thought he was mad with me, that he was mad with everyone. I thought that he wanted to give me a hard time for having drunk Ayahuasca just because I was curious, for drinking it for a second time, even though I did not like it the first time, even after swearing not to drink it again because I did not like the feeling of dizziness. Plus, I had not labeled Ayahuasca as a drug used to hallucinate only. But Joel does not do that. Joel Johuanchi takes his job seriously. Joel is not interested in making you feel good. He is not interested in a business; he is not interested in making money. Joel knows Ayahuasca. Joel is not a liar.

The next morning Joel prepared tea made of herbs and told me to drink it. This was the beginning of my cleanse process. After drinking it Joel told me to lie down. Some minutes passed by and Joel came back to ask how I felt; my stomach was aching a little bit, but no dizziness or vomits were to be seen. He left me alone again and came back later to blow tobacco powder into my nostrils. I felt the tobacco in my head, in all my body; it ran through my veins and all over me. I was shaking on the inside. I was told to lie down and not to hold the vomit in case I wanted to vomit, I did not feel like it at all, I did use the toilet though.

He left me alone again and I felt better when he came back. I was asked to sit down and blew the tobacco powder again. This time it was stronger and my body was shaking and needed to use the toilet. I went back to the room and Joel gave me tea, I did not feel like drinking anything, so I took sips until finishing it, used the toilet again. When I came back I kept drinking this tea and sat down. I needed to do something to distract my mind, and thought of cleaning the hut, but the purpose of the retreat is to be focused in myself, nothing can distract me.

Joel came back and asked me to take a shower and lie down again after that. Lunch time arrived then and I had a banana soup that was not of my liking and after being so sick earlier I did not want to eat anything, but I ate anyways. Joel’s sister, who comes to the center every morning left us, so there was me and Joel, alone, and he asked me to meet him in the main hut, where the Ayahuasca ceremonies are carried out. Joel had bottles in a corner of the hut and they contained Ayahuasca and other beverages. There were some mattresses and pillows too. Next to me, there was Joel’s Staff, made of Ayahuasca Vines. I feared that Staff and those bottles. Joel would still ask me what I was doing there, why I wanted to drink Ayahuasca again if I did not like it the first time. I felt Joel wanted to mock me, and then I remembered that the last time I had Ayahuasca some people lost themselves, they did not know what they were doing and I was so afraid of losing myself and feel vulnerable, afraid of giving myself to Joel.

Joel had been showing a strong side of himself all the time and I didn’t know if I could let him take the control. I didn’t know him; he was tough and looked angry. Anyways, he told me that Ayahuasca does not grant any answers. It was just me and Joel, in the jungle where the nearest town is at one mile, the sun was about to hide, there was no power and it would be completely dark; no, I could not give myself to Joel Johuanchi. And who was Joel Johuanchi Marca? I did not know. The only thing I was certain of is that he is tough and looked angry to me and the world. I felt afraid and told him that I was scared and that I didn’t want to drink Ayahuasca; I wanted to leave. I want to be there again, because “there” looked much more promising than “here”. Joel, even more confused, since I had travelled to do something I had done before, something I had tried and did not like, spending a lot of money and travelling a long distance, all for giving up, but that is how it was.

The next morning, at 6 I came back to Cusco City, I thanked Joel and apologized to him. The Joel I met that day was softer, and I felt the peacefulness of the place. But I was already thinking of being there and was not going to stay here.

Joel and I talked again 4 days after that; he came to Cusco, to my hotel and asked me again why I wanted to drink Ayahuasca. I said: “I believe I understand your questions, but I don’t have an answer”.

I understand that the answer is not in Joel Johuanchi or in Ayahuasca.

I understand that the answer is in being in the present with our hearts fully open.

I understand that being grateful is really important

It is important to thank life for the air we breathe, the sun, the moon, the day, the night, the sound and the silence.

I understand that it is important for us to be in the present, to have discipline and use our minds; we cannot allow our minds to use us.

I understand that whatever we feel must be felt with our hearts and there is absolutely no way of explaining it with words. There is no way the other feel the exact same thing I do.

I understand that Ayahuasca can only teach you when you are actually present and if you really want to see. When you are willing to see what you need and not what you want to see.

I understand that all of us have different experiences and no one or nothing can calm you, give answers or remove obstacles for you.

Only you, with God In your heart (united with the Universe), are able to see, and in this moment, in this very moment you can see that you know nothing and Ayahuasca has done nothing, you are just there, and if you really are there, you might listen the wind, nature and life, but the things you hear do not tell you anything, because there is nothing you can do, you can only be present and flow like the water in the river, no questions asked. Just flow thankful for life, thankful for existing, without the need to know or ask. It is about flowing timelessly, without a beginning or an end

Thank You Wanamey Group