In a world filled with daily pressures and uncertainties, many of us often feel stuck in different areas of our lives. We find ourselves yearning for deeper meaning, inner peace, motivation and a sense of purpose. But how can we break free from the trauma that is holding us back and discover our true selves?
In today’s enlightening Ted Talk episode, we embark on a transformative journey with Ted as he shares his life-changing experience at Rythmia, a place where ancient indigenous psychiatry meets modern healing techniques. Ted delves into the profound impact this retreat had on his life, offering insights and wisdom that can inspire us all.
He will talk about the ancient wisdom and indigenous practices he encountered at Rythmia, revealing how drinking Ayahuasca can help us reconnect with our inner selves and find the clarity we seek. He will also share personal stories, including the challenges he faced and the breakthrough moments that reshaped his perspective.
You will find out how Rythmia’s unique blend of traditional healing methods and cutting-edge therapies can lead to personal growth, healing, and a renewed sense of purpose. Listen now to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation!
- The profound impact of ancient indigenous psychiatry on modern healing
- Ted’s firsthand account of his Ayahuasca ceremonies at Rythmia and the profound insights he gained
- The safety measures and guidance provided at Rythmia to ensure a safe Ayahuasca experience
- How traditional practices like plant medicine and meditation can unlock your inner potential
- A deep dive into the ancient traditions and rituals surrounding Ayahuasca
- The potential therapeutic benefits of Ayahuasca, including its impact on mental health and personal growth
- The one thing you should be going to in your life whenever things get stressful
- The key to getting through the toughest moments of your life
- The science and spirituality behind Rythmia’s transformative approach
- The role of community and support in the journey towards self-discovery and healing
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: Rythmia: How Drinking Ayahuasca Changed My Life (Again)
Ted Ryce: On August 20th, 2023, that's just a few weeks ago, if you're listening to this as it goes live, I went back to Rythmia. Rythmia is an all-inclusive, luxury, medically licensed plant medicine center located in beautiful Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
And in addition to other things, I drank Ayahuasca four nights in a row. So, if you're a person who's curious about all the talk about psychedelics, including ayahuasca, and more specifically, you want to hear about my experience and what I think being a person who's into health and fitness, who's into psychological health, mental health, social health, and who's also had a lot of traumatic experiences in my own life and in my family's lives.
And if you're curious about whether it might be right for you or what happens, well, this is the episode to listen to. So, what is up, my friend? Welcome to the Legendary Life podcast.
I'm your host, Ted Rice, health expert and coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and other high-performing professionals. And I put this show on for two reasons.
One is I've been in this business for 24 years, and I want to bring to you a different perspective than what the narrative currently is in our industry, where it's so focused on diets and it's so confused about what diets work and so focused on exercise; there's so much confusion.
I want to bring you principles that you can apply into your life and help you to see blind spots that other people in the health and fitness industry, they're just, they're not showing you these things. And of course, the second reason is, in addition to social media, this podcast is where I get a lot of clients. And so that's why we produce this podcast.
Now this episode, it's a bit different, and I want to tell you right away, Rythmia is not paying me to say anything that I'm going to say. I want to be straight with you.
And I also want to tell you that if you didn't listen to Ted Talk 193, it's called “The Journey Within, Seeking Clarity Through Ayahuasca at Rythmia”, I talked about my rationale for going back to Rythmia. So, if you want to hear that whole conversation, go to Ted Talk 193.
I'll briefly recap here and tell you, everything on paper was going well in my life. My business is getting better; it's better than it ever has been. My life, I travel the world, so many things to be grateful for, so many—I mean, if you told me 10 years ago what I would be doing, I would've told you, you're full of it.
I live a dream life in so many ways, and yet I felt stuck. Not just stuck, but I felt like I was walking around with this anxiety—specifically, with this anxiety—kind of blocking me in my relationships, blocking me just when I had so much anxiety, affecting me just walking around and being at coffee shops. It was getting in the way of my life and it was getting in the way of my romantic relationships. It was lacking a bit of clarity in what was going on with me in my romantic relationships. If you don't know, I'm single, and I don't want to be single. I want to be in a committed relationship, and I want that to move towards having children.
And the reasons, the two reasons I went to Rythmia—if you would have asked me, "Hey, why are you going?" It's two reasons. Number one, I want more clarity on why I feel a bit stuck with romantic relationships. When I get into a romantic relationship, I want to get out; I want to be single again. Then when I'm single, I don't want to be single; I want to be in a relationship. And it's just this back and forth.
And the other thing is, I want to—I really feel like I'm on the verge of making a bigger impact with people and their health, including my clients. But my vision isn't just to work with clients and to be a great professional and get great results. That's important to me, but I really want to help more people, truly. That's my calling. It's not even a job; it's a calling. I'm called to do it. But I was feeling a bit blocked there.
And an opportunity came up to go to Rythmia. My friend Sterling Hawkins, who's been on the show a few times (if you don't know him), he wrote the book "Hunting Discomfort" – a book that is a masterpiece of high performance, by the way. "Hunting Discomfort," you've got to check it out. He told me he was going to be the guest speaker at Rythmia.
And all of a sudden, I felt this pressure like, "I'm feeling stuck. I know the last time I went to Rythmia in 2018, it provided a huge breakthrough for me. It literally changed the trajectory of my life”. So many amazing things happened. I won't go into detail.
But if you're interested in listening to this – it was more of a during Rythmia podcast – check out Episode 334, "How Plant Medicine Can Change Your Life with Jerry Powell”. Jerry is the owner and founder of Rythmia, and I interviewed him. It is a raw interview.
So, I went back, but I was really going back and forth about it. I didn't want to go, except I wanted to go. Have you ever done that before? You really want to do something. You know it's the right thing for you to do, but you just know it's going to be so uncomfortable to go. That was me. And thankfully, oh my gosh, I can't believe I almost didn't go. Thankfully I went. So, you can probably tell I had a very positive experience. But I want to tell you a little bit about Rythmia.
I went there in 2018, had an incredible experience, but some people ask me, "Well, why are you, if you had such a breakthrough, life-changing experience in 2018, why are you afraid to go back?" Well, I ended up in 2020 doing another Ayahuasca experience somewhere else in Tulum, Mexico, and it wasn't a good experience. I mean, people will say, "Oh, but you know, there's always something you can learn."
Yeah, yeah, of course. Sure. But let me tell you something. I would never go back to that place. And really, the issue was I started having a hard time. The Ayahuasca was quite strong, and I had a hard time, and the guy who is running the retreat took me outside, said, "Hey, listen, just focus on your breathing and focus on learning what the Ayahuasca has to teach you," and just left me there.
And I was like, "Man, this sucks. So, I have to be on my own and just struggle through this," which I did, and I got through it. But it really sucked. And it left a feeling like, "Nah, I don't want to do that again."
Thankfully, though, I overcame it and went back to Rythmia. I'll tell you one thing about Rythmia. Rythmia has some criticism. People will say, "You know what, it's not that authentic. It's not a good place to go." And my argument is, "Look, I'm not going to go out into the Peruvian jungle or to the Brazilian Amazon, get bitten by mosquitoes, sleep on a sleeping mat on a hard floor with no AC.
It's not me, man. I don't like camping at all. Glamping maybe, but camping, no. I wanted a comfortable space. I wanted to feel like I was supported, cared for, and Rythmia did that.
They have a medical staff there. Again, it's a luxury experience. It's not the W, but compared to most other places where you would do Ayahuasca or some other plant medicine, it's very comfortable. And so, it was the place that I felt comfortable going back to. The bed was comfortable. I had AC, the food was good. And one thing about Rythmia that I really like is the types of people it attracts.
Look, it's not cheap, but it's not super expensive either, especially for life transformation. I mean, how much is transforming your life worth to you? People pay more to go to Mexico and get drunk for a week than they do to go to Rythmia.
So, it was the place for me. And I want to talk a little bit about the schedule there. So, when I first arrived there on Sunday, so excited to see my friend Sterling. And I ended up meeting him. We had the – they serve this organic buffet every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Except during the four days where you drink Ayahuasca, you don't have dinner, you fast from about 1 p.m. or so on. And at night on Sunday, we had dinner, and then we did breath-work.
And breath work, it just – I knew I was in the right place after that first session. The breath work, I cried a lot. That's what happens with breath work. Emotions come up. You may cry, you may not cry, but whatever you've been holding down, whatever you've been compartmentalizing, it comes up, and it came up for me. I don't remember my thoughts, what I was thinking about during breath work, but I cried quite a bit.
And I felt amazing afterward. And I knew it was going to be a great week. So, then Monday rolls around. And what's great about Rythmia too, compared to other places, is they have classes to help integrate the experience that you're going through. Ayahuasca, it's very...
Let's say it can be very difficult to make sense of your experience, to make sense of what you see, what you feel. And they have courses or classes during the day. And one of the classes was helping you to prepare for the next four days of drinking Ayahuasca. And then my friend Sterling also gave a talk on Monday where it was about breaking through and finding your calling and making sure you're living in alignment.
I mean, it was just amazing. And then that Monday night rolls around, and let me tell you, I was so nervous to drink Ayahuasca that first night, but I did. And it turned out to be a great night. Yes, it got a little intense when you drink Ayahuasca. What happens is you line up, or at Rythmia the way they do it. The ceremony, again, you fast from lunch.
Around one or maybe two, you stop eating, but you're supposed to drink water to get really hydrated, and they give you electrolytes because you might experience some nausea; you might throw up. And also, just in general, your mouth gets dry on Ayahuasca, you want to make sure that you have enough hydration. So, at 5:30, I'm... actually a few minutes before I met my friend Sterling; he was there with his sister, and also there was another business owner, another entrepreneur named Jamie, an amazing woman. Again, part of what is so special about Rythmia is the types of people that you meet there.
We all get huddled up, ready to go in, and we 5:30 rolls around, and we get into the Maloka, which is the place where the ceremony is held. It's a very nice, comfortable place with padded floors, and there are mattresses lined up everywhere. And this particular time there were about 30 people, 30ish people. So, you go choose a bed, and there's all these – well, it's a bed. You choose a mattress on the floor, and there's a blanket and a pillow and a bucket in case you happen to get nauseous and throw up.
That can be part of some people's experience. Some people it's not their experience. I didn't throw up at all. Just to share that right away. And there's also toilet paper in case you need to wipe your mouth or anything like that. And so. The first night it was quite intense.
We went up to drink. Here's what happens: So, you choose your mattress, and then you huddle around the shaman who's going to be leading the ceremony, and there were so many people there. Yeah. I felt so supported. There were maybe 10 people, 10 helpers. And then there were two shamans, one main one, and then one, I guess, not the main shaman, but like also high up there.
And they talk to you about what's going to happen. They talk to you about what you need to know.
And then we go back to our mattresses and wait for the first cup to be called. And during this, there is a spiritual vibe, a spiritual ceremony involved. So, the method or the tradition I should say, it's a Colombian tradition. It's been I guess evolving over thousands of years; they figured this out thousands of years, how to put these plants together. Ayahuasca, by the way, it's two plants mixed together. And you can't have one or the other; it needs to be both. How people figured this out before the advent of modern science, no idea. A lot of trial and error, I would imagine. And so, they are dressed in a specific way, and they have these tools.
I'll talk about a little bit, but they have these lotions, these sprays; they have these feathers that they use, and they have these leaves that they use to do blessings to help you whenever you may need it during the ceremony. And so, they all come up as we're laying in bed and we're waiting for the first cup of Ayahuasca to be called.
And they're doing their blessing, what they call the medicine, they're blessing the Ayahuasca, and they're chanting, they're blessing; they're doing things with it. And then they disperse and call for the first cup. And when you go up, it's kind of like they read you, meaning they get a sense of your vibe, how nervous you are, how open you are, and then also your size, I would think. They don't tell you, by the way, what they're doing.
They kind of size you up and then give you an amount of what they think is appropriate based on what they see. So right away, this is very subjective, right? So, who you're with matters a lot. Who you're with matters a lot. I did not have a good experience in Tulum, Mexico.
And I didn't feel comfortable with the people leading the ceremony. But here I felt very comfortable, very supportive, very safe.
So, I drank, I forget how much I drank that first night; I think it was just one cup, maybe one and a half. And I had a very intense experience. I started seeing visions, and when I say visions, I don't mean hallucinations, I don't mean I see something outside of myself, but as you drink the first cup, the second cup, or however many cups you have, you go back to your mattress and you lay down. And the idea is that you're going to lay down and stay on the mattress for the majority of the night.
Of course, you can go up and go to the bathroom. If you want to go outside, there's a fire that they have. If you want to check out the fire, if you want to see the stars, it's so beautiful where Rythmia is. You can do all that.
But the idea is most of the time you spend it on the mattress. You stay in there. You stay in the Maloka. Again, that's where the ceremony is being held. You stay on the mattress. That's where they say the healing happens. You don't run away, which is what I did the first ceremony, by the way, back in 2018; I left a lot, but this time I was determined to stay.
And so, it starts to come on, and it comes on strong. And for me, my particular experience, I feel my anxiety rising. I feel tightness in my body. I start to feel my injuries.
I start to have these strange sensations. And as it comes on, it is quite intense, the bodily sensation. Again, for me, other people have different experiences, by the way. For some people, it doesn't even work that well on them. Some people drink six cups or five cups, and they didn't even feel that much. So, depending on your, I mean, they felt something, but it wasn't five cups.
Like if you gave me five cups, I think I'd need to be in the hospital. I don't know, but that's my impression. I'm a cheap date when it comes to Ayahuasca and also psychoactive chemicals in general. I don't need a lot of coffee or a lot of alcohol. So, for me, I start to feel this intenseness come over my body. It feels a little anxiety-producing. It also feels a bit euphoric.
I start to see images in my mind. I start to think about my life, and in this particular instance, it was really interesting. Now if you don't know my story, if you're listening for the first time, well, this is a hell of an episode to tune into this podcast because I don't typically talk about these things. But this was such a profound experience. I want to share it with you. So, I started seeing my family. I started seeing my mother in particular.
And my mother was mentally ill. My parents got divorced when I was very young because of her mental illness. I went to go live with my dad, which in the late seventies was unheard of that children of a divorce would go live with the dad. That's how mentally ill my mother was. She couldn't work, and she was abusive emotionally and physically.
And so, I had a little bit of flashbacks from that. And really interesting. I saw her, and I saw the scariness because she was a scary woman. Very angry and intense. And I was just like, "Mom, you know what? It's okay. This isn't you. You had a tough life because she did have, she went through some abuse of her own.
She probably had PTSD that maybe that was the real mental illness she had and not any of the other things that the psychologist and psychiatrist thought she had. I said, "Mom, it's okay, you've been through a lot. Just relax, I love you. And I forgive you. And I'm the leader of the family now. I'm the man. I'm the leader, I'm the last one. So, I want you to know that I love you. I want you to know that I've got this and you can relax. You can forgive yourself."
It's a really beautiful moment. And it's the first time I ever reframed that experience because I even in 2018, I remember seeing her the first night too, and it scared me. I felt like the four-year-old, the three-year-old, that's when the abuse started, I think around three, three and a half, something like that. I remember being so scared when I saw her, and I was so frightened when I saw her, and this time I was just like, "It's okay. Everything's okay. It's over now, and you can let go. And I'm in charge and I'm doing well." And it was a really, really profound moment for me that first night.
However, I didn't want to go that deep, if you will. I didn't drink that much. I was very hesitant. I was very concerned about what I was going to see. So, I made it through that first night. It ended around maybe 3 a.m., something around there. Didn't have much sleep in the morning because yoga starts at 7. You don't have to go to yoga at 7 a.m. because I didn't even go to bed until 4 a.m.
So, I was like, "I'm not getting up at seven to do yoga," but I was up and I went and did the yoga anyway. I said, "you know what, I'm going to try to do it all." So, you don't get a lot of sleep, although you could, but it's very hard to sleep. And so, the second night, the second day rolls around, you have breakfast after yoga, and then there's some talks. I skipped some of them, but I went to the integration talk with Adam.
And there's an integration talk every single day as you're drinking Ayahuasca, and it's super helpful to just make sense of the experience. Now for me, I'm quite experienced with psychedelics, not to go off tangent too much, but in my teens, I experimented a lot with LSD with psilocybin. Of course, I didn't do it ceremonially or in a therapeutic context.
Which I think is crucial if you are like me and you have experience with psychedelics, but not in a therapeutic or ceremonial context, it's not the same thing. Going to your favorite music festival after drinking some shroom tea, isn't the same thing. That's not what we're talking about here. You know who you are.
So that second day rolls around after the integration class and have lunch. And again, you have some time to yourself, especially right before the ceremony that starts at 5:30. And then the same thing happens. Meet Sterling, Jamie, and Sterling's sister, Haviland. And we all roll into the Maloka and choose our spots. I ended up choosing the same mattress for most of the nights.
The second night was even more incredible, even though, let me tell you, I had a great night, but I was apprehensive because if you have a great night on Monday, then where do you go from having a great night? It feels like it's probably going to go the opposite direction. But I was surprised. It turned out to be, I don't know. I'll tell you, it was, let's say I've had five best nights of my life, it was one of them.
And what specifically happened? A few things. One, I started to feel different. I started to feel like I can communicate with people. I felt the trauma that I've been through in my life it had been blocking the way I've been communicating with people. And all of a sudden, I was just speaking. It was flowing more easily. I was being more spontaneous with what I was saying. I wasn't umming and awing, and I was just I was letting up flow spontaneous, effortless, free.
And I was like, "Wow, what I've been through, not just what I've been through by the way, but the stress of how I've been living my life recently.
I've been drinking too much coffee lately. Not now though, but before. I was really getting wired on coffee, and it was helping fuel my work, which is something I've changed. But anyway, I was living some of the trauma that I'd been through in my life, and some of my current behaviors were messing me up. And I kept doing them; I was stuck. Partly I wasn't really aware of how much some of my behaviors were getting in the way.
And I wasn't aware of...how much some of my unprocessed trauma was getting in my way. And I started to feel free. And one other thing I should mention is that the ceremonies are very interesting. When you first drink, when you drink the first cup, you go back and lay down, and they say, "we're going to be in silence for about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the energy in the room. What do they mean by that?
You'll have to ask them. But what I think they mean is that they're paying attention to the intensity of what people are experiencing. Are people yelling? Are people crying? Are people freaking out? Are people chill? And I happen to be with a very chill group, a very relaxed group. Everybody held it together.
Great group of people. I didn't get to connect with all 30 of them at a deep level. There's too many people, right? But I connected with, I don't know, maybe half a dozen, maybe 10. Some I hope to, some I know I'll have deeper relations with like Sterling, his sister, and Jamie. I met some other ones Stoyan, Alex, Jason, Mitch, few other people. And so anyway, after that silence of an hour or an hour and a half, then they start playing music.
So, there's a band there, a live band. And that's part of this ceremony. It's been part of this ceremony for many, many years, thousands of years maybe, but more recently they incorporate guitar music and some other percussion and singing. And they play what are referred to as medicine songs, medicine music.
So, it's not pop music, it's very much the lyrics, the energy of the music, it's about healing, it's about living life, it's about, it's about its positive messages. And it's mostly in Spanish. Not all, but mostly in Spanish. And so, they started playing this music and the music is incredible. Imagine going to, I mean, one other person, Doug, really cool guy as well. He's like, "What am I at, a rave?"
But here's the thing, here's, and one of the things that I took away from this was that's what people are searching for, when you're out in the club or you're out in the bar and you're drinking too much and you're drinking with who you think your friends are and you're all getting drunk and you're all sloppy and you're like, "I love you, man," or whatever and you're acting like fools. What you're really after, what people are really after is that connection, that sense of belonging, that feeling like, you know what, we're in this together and there's no walls up, there's no pretending, we're here for each other.
But that's not what happens at the club. That's not what happens at bars. When you sober up, you feel terrible and you feel like, you know what, those people are my party friends. If I need to move or if I need some real help, they're not going to be there for me.
But this is the opposite. It has moments that are not so fun, that are pretty intense and emotional, and you may cry or you may feel very anxious.
You may feel like, "oh my gosh, this is too much." But people are really truly there for you. And the next morning, you're having these conversations with people about your experience, and you just feel open.
You feel like you're really connecting with people. In our world that's so much focused on, "Hey, what can you do for me? I shouldn't talk to you. I don't see how you can make me any money or do anything for me. So yeah, I'm going to go, I'm going to leave now”. But you feel connected with these people that you're going through this trial and tribulation with.
And again, live music that is incredible. There was dancing, they put on a show as part of this ceremony because part of what healing is and part of what truly living life is, is that, is dancing, is singing, is having a good time. But not the way we do it in bars, clubs, going and getting trashed at football games and other sports events and acting like fools. Now hopefully you don't act like a fool, but even if you're not acting like a fool, you're not feeling like, oh man, that was, I really felt connected with those people. And if you do, and if I'm wrong, then that's great.
But this is what it's really about. That connection, that deep connection with others, feeling like you're a tribe. And maybe you think differently about politics or you have different sports teams, but you're all there, you're all connected, you're all going through this challenge together, through this rite of passage together. And I felt that deeply. And not only did I feel my ability to speak coming back, but I started, I was feeling a lot of joint pain, but my joint pain started feeling better and I got up, I started dancing to the music like crazy.
Like really, really moving. In fact, coming out of it, I feel like, I don't want to say 10 years younger, but I feel five years younger.
And a lot of maybe what age is, isn't just the physiological process, but it's all the baggage we accumulate as we go through life and we don't know how to get rid of it and we just drag it around with us and we don't even know that we're dragging it. We don't even know that we're loaded down until we finally get rid of it. Or at least get rid of some of it. I don't know if I've gotten rid of all of it. And that was my second night.
Then the third night comes around and you know what? It wasn't such a great night. I didn't experience that youthful feeling. I didn't experience the physical healing, I would even call it. The joint pain started to feel better that first night and then the second night, they got even better. But the third night, I didn't experience any of that. And I had a moment where I didn't trust. I was like, you know what, what am I doing here? This is some black magic voodoo nonsense.
And they said they give you the same version of Ayahuasca the first three nights on the fourth night it's different I'll talk about that in a second but they give you the same ayahuasca for Monday Tuesday and Wednesday and I was like you know what I don't think they gave me the right stuff I think they gave me something different because I'm having a very different experience I feel different and it's not good and I started getting this in my head I'm like I don't trust Jerry, I don't trust the guy who created this place, I don't trust Adam, the guy who's doing the integration talks.
I think he said it was the same medicine or the same Ayahuasca every night, but you know what? It's not, I'm not having the same experience. Then I had to check myself and say, you know what, but did you feel better from Monday night? Yes, you did. Did you feel amazing on Tuesday night or after Tuesday night? Yes, I did.
And it's like, maybe this is more of you, Ted. Maybe this is more of your issue. Maybe you have trust issues. Maybe you're a little fearful of trusting. And did you have a good experience in 2018? Yes, it changed my life. Then maybe the issue is with you, Ted. Maybe trust in that you have been getting better.
You have been feeling better. You felt better when you went in 2018. You felt better after Monday. You felt even better after Tuesday. Maybe this is just an off night. And when I started feeling pretty bad, I went and asked for help.
And this night I went in and asked for help. I went in and asked for help from one of the helpers. So not the shaman, I went in and did that later. But I asked for help from one of the helpers and what they do is they talk with you and I say, listen, I'm really hot because one thing that happens for me at least, I start heating up.
And they say, okay, they end up, they say, close your eyes. The guys told me, close your eyes. And he sprayed stuff on me that cooled me down and it smells like herbs and like in a good way. It smells like lemongrass or I'm not sure what herbs they use, but let's say it's like aromatherapy. And then he spread this lotion on my neck and shoulders.
And then he fanned me down with these leaves, this, I don't know what you would call it or what the name of it is, but it's all these leaves put together into a fan. And he's fanning me, but he's doing it in a very specific way. And he's also chanting a little bit. And then he's laying his hands on me.
And as he's doing it, I'm feeling more relaxed. I'm feeling like, you know what? I've got anxiety issues. And this is helping me to be relaxed is helping me also to trust other people that I don't need to be so on guard and you need to watch out in our world. You can't just trust anybody. But when people have proven themselves to you, maybe it's time to relax a little bit. especially if they've proven themselves over and over and over.
And then after that I went and laid down and I felt so much better. The thoughts were gone. The physical feelings were better. I did feel quite tired that night though. I tried to get up and dance and I just couldn't. I got up, moved a little bit, then went and laid back down. I had no energy that night for some reason. Was it the sleep? Was it the dancing the night before all crazy? Because I really danced my butt off. No idea, but that's how it felt. And later that night I went to the shaman and asked for a blessing.
And I started to again, feel myself, you know, kind of the, the night before I asked for the blessing, but I asked in a weird way. I kind of plopped down on the floor. I was like, can I have a blessing please? And they weren't sure what the hell I was doing. I was acting a little weird in my communication. And then I started to realize, I don't know what this is making sense or not, but I was I started realizing, you know, I get a little weird when I'm stressed. I get a little weird when I'm anxious.
And I started on that third night, I was starting to communicate more smoothly. I said, hey, listen, um, would it be possible to get a blessing from the shaman, please? Cause you think, oh, man, I can't speak. It's so heavy. But I was like, you know what? That's a story. I can just act normal.
It's a stressful experience a little bit. I feel the intensity of the ayahuasca, but I can just speak normal. I don't have to freak out so much because that shows up in my life. I get a little anxious sometimes and it freaks me out. And I start to let it affect my communication as I mentioned earlier. And it was becoming even more clear this third night.
So even though I remember not having a great night on that third night, as I'm reflecting on it now, there were a lot of lessons, a lot of cool things that happened. And then the fourth night came around. Again, I think I skipped the yoga that morning. I was like, there's no way I'm going. I need some sleep. You start feeling the sleep deprivation kick in.
And it's tough to sleep afterward. It's not like I stayed up afterward on purpose. It's just, you know, you still feel the effects and it's late at night.
So, the fourth day rolls around. Again, made it to breakfast. You better believe I made it to breakfast. And the banana nut muffins with the organic peanut butter and local honey, oh my gosh. If you end up going to Rythmia, make sure you have those, if they have them while you're there. Just delicious. And the fourth night, wow, it was the biggest night. Now on the fourth night, the...
Not the head shaman comes in, but one of the top shamans comes in. His name's Mitra and he's an Israeli dude. And very interestingly, Mitra talked about how he studied acupuncture and traveled around the world and sat with spiritual what do you call them? Spiritual mentors and did all these things, but he ended up finding the fastest, best way to help people through meeting the head head Shaman, Taita Wanito, who is a person, he's from the, I forget what tribe he's from, but his family, his dad was a medicine man.
His dad before him, his grandfather was a medicine man. So, he comes from a lineage of being trained in this technology and it really is a technology. I would call it ancient indigenous psychiatry.
So, the psychiatry of today, you know what it is. You talk about your problems, then maybe they do cognitive behavioral therapy, which is great. Maybe they give you psychoactive, and maybe they give you drugs like antidepressants. Personally, I don't think it's so great. I know it saves some lives and if that's you, more power to you. But in general, I think that stuff is poison. I really do. Not to say that poison can't save someone's life, but I believe that there's always an alternative to it. I'm willing to be proven wrong there, but I'll tell you, I think that stuff is poison and I've taken it.
What this psychiatry does, this ancient indigenous psychiatry is they use Ayahuasca. And Ayahuasca, you don't drink it every day like you would take an antidepressant pill. You go through an experience in a ceremony and it could be, could be four days in row, like I did. In some other places, they do three times spread out throughout a seven-day period.
And then you're done for a while. You're not supposed to do more. You're done for a while. And so going into that Thursday night, that was the plan. Mitra was the head Shaman and, man, it was a powerful night. I trusted in him so much. He just, you know, when an expert steps in and he's just got presence, but it's the type of presence where he's not asking for it.
He just walked his talk. You could just tell he was a guy walked his talk. He just had a good energy to him. He was actually there in 2018 on the fourth night, too. But I won't go into that. It was a very different experience for a few different reasons but this time I was like you know what I trust him, I'm going to go for it.
So, I had the first cup, you know, the same thing, this particular event on the, on Thursday at last, it starts a little bit later. And at seven 30, I believe, and it goes all night long. It's an all-night dance party. Although I didn't dance so much that night, but more than third, more than Wednesday night, but not as much as Tuesday.
So, the conversation at the beginning is much faster. We all go lay down, and then he calls for the first cup, and I go up, again, he reads your energy, and he gives me like three-fourths of a cup, maybe a half, in between half and three-fourths of a cup. And we're drinking not ayahuasca, which is a Peruvian or Brazilian brew, but this is Yahe. So, it's a bit different. It's Colombian style. No need to get into the details, but I think it's an important point to mention.
And this stuff seems a bit stronger. So, the first cup, it's happening, it's kicking in, it feels very intense, but I also start to feel my injuries healing, the tension in my body getting better.
And other things happen; people throw up. I forgot to mention that. I didn't throw up. Thankfully, didn't get to that, but of course, I'm open to whatever happens. Yeah, so I went through it, and then they call for the second cup, and Mitra was really funny. He says, "If you didn't feel the medicine," and that's what they refer to the ayahuasca as medicine.
"If you didn't feel the medicine, please come up for more. And if you did feel the medicine, please come up for more." Oh, I did not want to go up. I felt like I had made it three nights, and I had a tough night on Wednesday night, and Tuesday night was so great, and Monday night was pretty good too. I didn't want to, I didn't want to, I wanted it to all be great, but I said, "you know what, I got to trust in this process." So, I went up for more.
And I told him, "I was like, my neck is feeling better. I feel my injuries are more relaxed. There's less pain in my body. And I didn't throw up, but I did feel nauseous, especially with the Yahe; it's quite heavy. The Ayahuasca didn't really make me feel too nauseous, but Yahe, I started to feel the nauseousness. And so, after I had that second cup, again, it was quite small. It was maybe half a cup, and I went back and laid down.
And as it started to come on, this was more intense than any of the other nights because I really went for it. And one thing I'll tell you, your breath is key. One thing that you learn how to do in these ayahuasca sessions when it starts to come on and the physical sensations come on, and they're quite intense.
You learn how to breathe through it. You learn, "hey listen, anytime I'm feeling stressed, anytime I'm feeling anxious, I need to breathe through it. It's the number one thing you should be going to in your life whenever things get stressful, start taking deeper breaths.
Your breath is the key to getting through the toughest moments of your life. When you feel like, "you know what? I can't get through this. I can't get through this moment." One of the reasons you feel that way is because you don't know how to breathe properly through those moments.
You haven't trained yourself to breathe through those tough moments. So, there I was, I was breathing and let me tell you, even though I was breathing and doing my meditations and really relaxing, it was an intense experience.
I kept moving from one side to the other because actually, I had been feeling my joints, the joint pain get less, but for now, it started to get it started to hurt more. My neck was hurting; I can feel my elbows, and I started freaking out a little bit. I'm like, "oh my gosh, I think he gave me too much. I don't know, I think I might go crazy and never come back from this."
And again, I went for it, folks. And also keep in mind, I'm a cheap date, as I said earlier. Some people didn't have this experience. Some people had a beautiful light experience, but that wasn't mine. I had a very intense experience on that fourth night. And as I'm breathing through it, and as I'm shifting from my right side to my back, to my left side and back again, trying to make it through the night, I realized, you know what, let me go ask for help.
So, I went and asked for help. I got sprayed down. I got the blessing. I got the lotions rubbed on me. I got the fan from the leaves. I've got the other things that they did to help me calm down, and it did help. And something happened because that night they call you up for a healing circle. And the healing circle is incredible.
You all sit in a circle. Everyone gets to sit in a circle and there were two groups. There's one group than the second group. I was in group one, and when they call group one, I tried to get up and go, but I couldn't see anything. I was like, "Oh my gosh, I can't see because it affected my, I just couldn't see where to walk. And I felt like an old man. I was feeling a lot of the joint pains. Again, this is after that second cup kicked in. So, I was feeling my joint pains.
I was feeling like an old man physically in my body, and I was acting like an old man. I couldn't see, and I had to ask for help just to sit down. So, I didn't see where to go. And it kind of sucked, and it made me feel feeble. And I was quite anxious.
And as I was sitting there on the pillow, I was like, "you know what? I can't be here right now. My back is hurting. I feel like I'm all scrunched together with these people. I'm feeling the anxiety. I need to lay down, but I can't lay down. I need to go lay down."
And I got back up, and I couldn't, again, I was blind. I couldn't see. I had to ask for help again. And I felt like such an old man. Me, I'm a jiu-jitsu practitioner. I lift weights. I've trained hard today. I can do eight pull-ups. I can add weight and do pull-ups. I mean, I'm not weak at all. I'm not the strongest guy, of course, but I'm not weak at all. But here I am, barely walking and can't even see, and it got in my head.
I started to realize something because there's three intentions that they put up in Rythmia. One is show me who I've become. The second is merge me back with my soul at all costs. And the third is heal my heart. Again, that's some new agey spiritual language.
But that first one really hit me hard. Show me who I've become because I started to realize I'm becoming my father. What do I mean by that? I mean, I'm acting like him. My body is, I push my body too hard. I internalize a lot of this trauma that I've been through in my life. I haven't processed it enough, and it's been eating me from the inside out.
And it's not so big of a deal that I was in joint pain or that I couldn't see and needed to ask for help, but it was the way I did it. I realized I'm acting like my dad. He was awkward. I mean, he was a man who was in pain. I'm not trying to say, I'm not trying to judge him. He did the best he could, but I'm supposed to be, our children are supposed to be the better versions of us.
And I am certainly a better version than my dad in many ways, not as smart as him, not as high of an IQ as him, but certainly emotionally much better off. Higher EQ, not as high IQ.
I started to realize, and it kind of made me sad, but in a positive way, meaning, "well, you know what? I'm realizing what the issue is here. I need to be better with myself. I need to heal more. I need to process some of this stuff that I haven't processed, and I need to make a concerted effort to do it. I need to prioritize it."
And I started crying. And I started feeling like a loser. Because there I was on my mattress realizing all this stuff, and I saw everybody going in the healing circle. And basically, you know how I said, the helpers they would rub lotions and sprays on you and brush you with the feathers and the leaves and do all that stuff. Well, in the healing circle, Mitra does it for you.
And you have other people who are behind you and to the side of you, and you're just, it's like you feel supported by the tribe by the tribes' healers.
And there I was, I was, I wanted to get up and I wanted to go to the healing circle. I wanted to ask, I felt powerless after feeling so powerful on Tuesday night and you know, having a moment on Wednesday night. But now I felt so, I felt like a loser, but I managed to feel better. I got past the anxiety of that second cup and I went and sat down in the back of the healing circle.
And someone came up to me and said, "listen, sir, this is for the people who are in the healing circle. You're in the way. Can you please move?" I said, "I'm so sorry. I missed the first healing circle. I was supposed to be in group one. I really want to do it. Could you please see if they, if there's still room for me to do it?" And he, and he said, "you know what? I'll go check for you."
I said, "it's okay. If, if you don't have room, but I would really, I would really like to do it." And so, he came back and said, "listen, we have a spot for you. I was the last person in this healing circle. And as I was sitting there, they were playing music, the live bands playing while all this is going on, playing guitar, singing, this guy was singing his heart out.
The percussion was percussing his heart out and the drums and the other instruments. And I was started dancing again, finally. Just moving my body to the music, really proud of myself for having overcome that loser moment because it's okay to feel bad about yourself. It's okay to be in a tough moment, but man, I almost missed this beautiful experience.
And I was very pleased, I was not pleased with myself, but like I feel like I overcame something. I felt like I broke some of the pattern that I was falling into with my dad's behavior. And so, I'm sitting there dancing, moving my body, and I'm crying my eyes out. Not bawling, but crying. Just tears are streaming down my face, and I'm dancing. I'm just realizing like I had my dad internalized so many of the, and right, I mean, not rightfully so, but my dad had been through so much. His wife went crazy, my mom, as I told you. His son with his second wife, my stepmother, was kidnapped and murdered.
His daughter committed suicide; he put all of that in his body and never was able to get it out. And it destroyed him physically, made him not want to be alive. And while I was an improvement, I was falling into the same trap.
And I felt like I broke it a little bit. And then the healing started, they got to the last person, me, in the healing circle, very last person. And he's doing all these things, he's putting his hand on me and just, you could feel like it was strong, but it was also like, "hey, I've got you."
And there was someone from behind, and they were just making noises and rubbing the lotions and spraying the sprays and moving the feathers and moving the leaves around me.
And right then and there, I said, "what does it look like to heal from something? This is what it is. This is the experience of what healing is. It's a somatic experience. It's not about the feathers, by the way, don't get me wrong. But they figured out a technology to help calm down your nervous system, to help reset your nervous system. And let me tell you, it was even a tough moment the next day after Thursday. I was cracked wide open, my heart was open, and I was crying a lot, I was very emotional.
But that was Thursday, but by Friday, Friday came around and I did breath-work, and we got to eat dinner on Friday, it was nice. And then Saturday rolled around, it was my last night in Rythmia, and the breath work at night, something else happened. I said, you know, I had a breakthrough, I cried a lot on Saturday night. And I realized, you know what, I need to dedicate myself to processing what I've been through in my life.
Not saying I'm going to do it, not going through the motions, but being results-oriented and really looking for the methods that lead to a shift inside of myself, just like what I experienced in Rythmia. Now I don't want to, do I want to go back to Rythmia? Yeah, I'll do it once a year. Once a year, once every year and a half, sure. Would love to do it. It's a lot to ask. It's a lot of time away.
But it's a game changer. But in the meantime, I need to find other things. I can't just wait to go to Rythmia again. I need to be proactive about this because so often what we think is that I need more tactics. I need to figure out, I need to get better at relationships, and I need to learn how to communicate better, and I need to learn how to market better for my business. And in reality,
what's holding us back it's at the deepest level of who we are. And until you start to address that, and until you get the courage and take action to face what's truly going on and really go for it. Not just say that you're doing the work or hire some cheap psychologist or whatever it is, but really finding someone to help you create that breakthrough, you will always feel like something's off. No matter how much money you make, no matter how big your social media account becomes, no matter how many children you have or what schools they end up going to or how much of a hottie your wife is or how much of a stud your husband is, until you deal with the deeper issues, you'll always feel like something is off. That is the major takeaway from my experience.
And would I go back? Well, I already told you I'm planning to go back maybe once a year, maybe every year and a half. In fact, Sterling and his sister, Haviland, and their friend, Jamie, we're all planning to go back again.
And let me tell you one other thing. We spend money so easily. Now, forget exactly how much it is. It's maybe $7,500 for the week. And if that throws you off, let me tell you something right now. How much are you paying for your car? How much are you paying for your children's private school? How much are you paying to go out to the hot restaurants? And how much money did it cost to get that wardrobe of suits and purses or high heels or whatever you got in there? It makes them all of it maybe? Just kidding. We are not in a habit of not investing in ourselves.
We do the easy stuff, and we don't think twice about spending a bunch of money on clothes, on a watch, on a car. But what we really truly want is to feel better in our lives. To show up and be that person who your children need, who your spouse needs, who you are really destined to be. And it's because you're in a habit of buying stuff and not investing in yourself.
And you know what? I've fallen into it too. Oh yeah, I don't want to pay that psychologist his $200 an hour, but I'll spend 200 bucks like nothing on a shirt. Got a bunch of $200 shirts. And if that's you, hey listen, no judgments. Because as I'm telling you right now, I've done it.
But that is how you definitely know that you're stuck. You keep buying more clothes, more purses, more heels. Oh, but spending a few thousand to change my life, that's just too much money, you know? It just doesn't make sense right now. Gosh, that's such a bunch of BS. And I'm not saying that Rythmia is the place that you need to go, maybe it's not.
I told this story to my clients. They were really interested. Actually, I told way more on this episode than I have to my clients. They're interested in going. Maybe it's breath work. That's more appropriate for you, but damn it, take action or don't complain.
And I'm saying that to myself as much as I'm saying it to you. Take action, invest in what you need to do. Find a way to break through the emotional chains, the baggage that you're dragging around, or it's your problem. It's not the world's problem. It's not the problem with politics. It's not the world that's messed up. It's your unwillingness to truly make yourself better.
And if you want the world to be a better place, if you want your wife or husband to behave better, if you want your children to behave better. If you want people around you to behave better. The onus is on you. It is about you changing. And when you do that, I promise you, everyone else will change.
Because what we need now more than anything else is leadership. And let me tell you what leadership isn't. It's not saying, "Well, you need to change, and you need to change, and this is all wrong. What you're doing and you're doing and you're doing, it's all wrong. All you guys are wrong. All you guys need to get better. You need to really pull your act together."
But in reality, we're the ones that need to pull our act together. And until we do that, the shift's not going to happen. And being a leader in this day and age means taking that on. So, if you view yourself as a leader. Actually, go and lead. And the first person that you need to be able to lead well is yourself.
And that's it my friends. And listen, how do you know if Rythmia is right for you? Go to their website, Rythmia.com. Read the over 2,300 five-star reviews. Read them, and you'll know if you start getting curious and you know you're dying to see that - that's how I knew I had to go, the curiosity, I just couldn't get out of my head, I knew I wanted to feel better and I've been meditating and doing my zone 2 cardio and lifting weights and using progressive overload and eating nutrient-dense foods and a hypocaloric diet and taking my supplements but guess what? I still felt stuck.
And I got so curious that I had to go. And if Rythmia is not the place for you, find something else. And I want to recommend, go to a breathwork retreat. Not meditation, but breathwork. Meditation might be good too, but there's a lot of different types of meditation, and that's a whole nother story, but I'm talking about breathwork, and I'm not talking about Wim Hof, I'm talking about breathwork. Designed to elicit the unconscious emotions that are stuck within us, the embodied emotions that we start to build up over time, over the decades of our lives, but never get released.
So again, check out Rythmia, but if not, go to RetreatGuru.com. Google Breathwork Retreat. Find one that has great reviews. If you don't want to do psychedelics, then go for it. Go for the breathwork, but do something. Look up MDMA-assisted or psilocybin-assisted or psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Psychedelics, let me tell you, I'm super bullish on psychedelics right now. I don't think there's anything that can create a breakthrough as powerful as psychedelics in the right context. Super bullish on it.
Don't have any financial investment in that. But I'm going to get my clients to, for the ones that are open to it, I'm going to get them to do it. And for the ones who they're just not, you know, open to psychedelics, that's fine. Breathwork. Because short of, doing psychedelics, the thing that comes close is breathwork.
And again, you got to do it with the right person. How do you know if they're the right person? Well, did you have an emotional release when you did it with them? Or did you just feel like you breathe a lot? And you could do some pushups and hold your breath longer. That's not what we're after.
We're after processing those emotions because that is what's going to get rid of that nagging background anxiety or depressive feelings that you drag around with you everywhere. That's what's going to help you to show up to be a better husband, wife, mother, father, business owner, CEO. That's what's going to help you be better.
That's the thought I want to leave you with. I hope you enjoyed this episode because it came straight from my heart.
Love you lots and remember to take action on what you listened, on what you felt here today, what you heard here today, what spoke to you. Maybe it wasn't even something I said. Maybe it was a thought, "Oh, you know what? I've got to go do this." Go do that thing. That's a download. That's a message. Take action on it. Love you lots.
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