Shifting My Suicidal Mindset With Ayahuasca, Rapé and Sananga – Embracing Death With Plant Medicine

Now when I have suicidal thoughts, I try my best to shift the focus on accepting an INTERNAL death, rather than feeling like I need to take some drastic action to end my physical existence.”

There is currently a lot of positive movement in my life, a lot of meaningful connections and realizations being made, and I’m overall just feeling so grateful to have made the decision to do Ayahuasca in December 2018. Now, two years later, my experience at Dreamglade has helped me quit my job to work on my mental health, start my own business (that’s currently on hiatus), become a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, and join a social change organization, all of which has been teaching me the healing powers and importance of community (way better than any traditional therapy I’ve ever done). I’m feeling more fulfilled and stable than ever before, largely in part to learning how to repeatedly surrender to the unknown and change my relationship with pain through cultivating deeper connections with the Earth and my own natural cycles. Plant medicine helps a lot with that, and this new perception I’ve developed since the Ayahuasca retreat has no joke gotten me through the pandemic and this crazy time in history. Not to mention make peace with my dad’s death and build resilience and patience to feel capable of mentally handling life’s difficulties. As I do more and more healing work to untangle the programming that got me to where I am today, I see how Western culture and the polarities of my upbringing contributed SO MUCH to my bipolar tendencies. Now that I finally have a break to get to know myself, I’m finding that for me, it’s all about learning how to manage my energy and shift mindsets and patterns to rewire my brain.

A huge pattern for me is suicidal thoughts and ideation, which is so common for bipolar minds since we feel so deeply, and the pain to keep living can become unbearable. There’s no ceiling to the mental pain we can inflict on ourselves, whereas if you break an arm for instance you generally know that the physical pain is temporary and it’s gonna heal. Around the time I got diagnosed, I was feeling constant pressure from wedding planning, work, and life in general that these thoughts became so overwhelming I was actually making plans to do the deed. It’s a huge part of why I took the plunge and bought tickets to Peru. For me, I was ready to die and I was terrified I wasn’t long for this world if I didn’t make a drastic change. I was about to get married, and I knew I had to learn to manage these thoughts because I couldn’t do that to my husband, dog, and any potential future children. Ayahuasca was a last resort, and I’m SO GLAD IT WORKED. My internal landscape has been permanently transformed in a way I never thought possible. Integration has taken a while, but I’m starting to notice profound positive changes in how I show up in the world.

Ayahuasca is also called the vine of “small death,” and I owe my intensely life changing ego death experience at Dreamglade to the decision of opening myself up to doing kambo, rapé and sananga. I won’t go into what these medicines all are, but you can click on their names to read about them. You can also check out our kambo experience here. All of these plant medicines have vastly shifted my perception of pain and increased my resilience to my bipolar episodes, helping me stay grounded, empty my mind, and create space for the universe to step in. They not only remind me that life is a miracle, but also that death is an important part of the cycle of nature, and it’s to be embraced. Even though it’s super hard to do (at least for me because I’ve had a TON of resistance). But thankfully, after a couple years, now when I have suicidal thoughts, I try my best to shift the focus on accepting an INTERNAL death, rather than feeling like I need to take some drastic action to end my physical existence. I ask “What part of me has to die? To be reborn? What is lashing out that I still can’t let go of?” I guess this is process.

One of the reasons I’m most grateful for the internet is because I feel like the healing and integration happening with me, right now, is SO supported by having access to rapé and sananga. Our brains get so wired with bullshit throughout our lives that repetition is necessary to break all these bonds to suffering that become our comfort zone over time. It’s an absolute DREAM to be able to do them on a consistent basis. This is my little kit! I named my kuripe Raul after the shaman at Dreamglade ;_; You can hear one of his icaros here…so glad someone posted this on Soundcloud.

Got the rapé at Rainbowbridge.love (Promo Code RAINBOWHEALING for 10% OFF)

I see now that the weed actually made my bipolar worse, offering a temporary numbing solution but messing with my energy to contribute to rapid cycling patterns. As my awareness has increased, I notice how quickly I reach for my pipe when I’m feeling uncomfortable energy in my body.”

I used to smoke a lot of weed, but last month I developed a sore throat with occasional earaches. I took this as a sign that I probably needed to stop smoking. I’ve been doing a lot of embodiment exercises, yoga, meditation and the rapé daily (sometimes morning and night), but I was still giving in to the weed habit. As my awareness has increased, I’ve noticed how quickly I would reach for my pipe when I’m feeling uncomfortable energy in my body, either to soothe the mania or depression. I see now that the weed actually made it worse, offering a temporary numbing solution but messing with my energy to contribute to rapid cycling patterns. It works for some people, but I’ve definitely read it’s not great for bipolar minds… something I never wanted to admit to myself until now.

I’m grateful for this neverending sore throat because I keep getting messages of “you need to stop smoking weed.” I tried my best to, but the other day ended up doing it again… and ended up going to the doctor yesterday since my throat and ears were so bad. After the exam, he said I looked perfect. Just as I thought…energetic. Of course I could do edibles but… what this whole thing is making me realize is that I had actually gotten addicted to weed which I never thought would happen. I really don’t want to live like that anymore. My body is done with that, and I’d rather come into my personal power than rely on getting “high.” My mania is already a natural drug anyway. What now feels more productive for me is shifting that relationship to pain and discomfort and learn to stay grounded and connected to the Earth to not get swept up in whatever energy is coursing through me from my moods.

“Imagine if we forced the trees to not shed their leaves in the winter, what would happen? They would be stuck with a bunch of leaves they don’t need and be unable to adapt for the next season.”

– Kai Njeri

Growing up in America, I feel like I was taught to create unrealistic expectations for myself, and because those expectations would never be met, I’d just wallow in self pity, hating myself for not being able to make shit happen. We have also been taught to fear death and the natural cycles of life which are honored in other cultures. Just like the seasons, the moon, and everything else in nature… we have to die eventually, along with certain parts of ourselves. Otherwise, we’d have no space for anything new! One of my friends from Shakti Rising said the other day, “Imagine if we forced the trees to not shed their leaves in the winter, what would happen? They would be stuck with a bunch of leaves they don’t need and be unable to adapt for the next season.” Seriously. From everything I’ve experienced and have committed myself to experiencing… embracing death is the best way to peace.

Which is why I am SO grateful for the plant medicine! Rapé is like jungle snuff that you inhale through the nose, an herbal blend made by various indigenous cultures in South America. You can read all about it here, what it is, benefits, all that. The one I have is an Ayahuasca blend, which has been MONUMENTAL in continuing the healing work with Mama Aya that was started in 2018. When my friend told me she found a site where you could get this, I actually cried. If interested, you can order it here from Rainbow Bridge. Proceeds support the indigenous cultures they work with, their customer service is incredible and rapé blends top notch… I’d highly highly recommend ordering from them. If you’re feeling called, please use the promo code RAINBOWHEALING for 10% off!! 😀

I’m dying because I just saw that they now have these HUMMINGBIRD KURIPES!!! Even though I absolutely love my lil shaman… hummingbirds are my spirit animal so I couldn’t resist ordering a new one, especially because they have a new Ayahuasca blend! So excited to try it!! 😀 I’ve been doing the rapé pretty consistently since December, and it’s enhanced my dreams and really helps me feel connected to Mother Ayahuasca. And talk about embracing death…When this stuff is taken with intention, I can attest — It’s absolutely life changing. Every day when I inhale through the left nostril, I meditate on what I need to let go from my life, and on the right, I meditate on what needs to be reborn… the newness that will take up the space of that death.

To me, life is now a ceremony. Because why not? This shit is magical.”

Amy also recently gave me a vial of sananga, which we did together in Peru at the retreat. I told her that I had been using it whenever I had a weed craving, which helped so much. These cleansing eye drops make your eyes sting for about 5 min, but they leave you with clearer vision, an empty mind, and often soothing messages. Here’s a conversation we had the other day that I don’t want to forget. She has such a beautiful way of condensing information, whereas I word vomit all the time. I love how she recognized that I was working on “not being afraid myself anymore” which is exactly it… pretty messed up how easy it is to get caught up in that type of self hatred.

The exact part of that Little Witch Academia episode unfortunately isn’t on Youtube, but this wonderful analysis of it is!!! 😀 I was blown away by how beautifully Trigger handled an exploration of the inner psyche. Definitely worth watching…one of my absolute favorite LWA episodes. (This show changed my life btw, highly recommended especially if you’re into that magic vs technology kinda thing)

Anyway, I remember taking that sananga at the retreat two years ago before the ceremony that changed me forever. It made me feel deeply in my soul that pain is temporary, and that learning how to move through it with grace was the answer to regaining my power. Now, continuing these plant medicine rituals, I find that to be absolutely true. I’ve even got Eddy starting to see the point of them when previously he thought I was insane. He’s been having a ton of physical aches and pains from working at the computer, and taking the sananga and rapé was able to shift his focus on his physical pain to the pain of the plant medicine… but in a good way. If only more people were more open to this! Mother Earth really does have all the answers we need…

When we went to do Ayahuasca, we were told that she always gives you what you need, but not always what you want. They said it was important to not have any expectations and to PAY ATTENTION to what she was trying to tell us. I remember back then thinking “HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE EXPECTATIONS?!” And I see now that the way to do it is to listen. Listen deeply for what the universe is trying to tell you…what each MOMENT is trying to tell you. It’s all there, it’s all within us, because we ARE the universe. Everything is so deeply, unfathomably connected, and the more I repeatedly feel this IN MY SOUL, the more I find that it’s absolute truth.

To me, LIFE ITSELF is a ceremony. The more I am able to deeply listen, the more I find that every moment truly is a teacher, and the more meaningful and profound this adventure becomes. I think… maybe I’m starting to get it 😉

The Pattern App

It’s funny when I was writing out the last post on my phone, this popped up from an app called “The Pattern” that a friend just told me about. Needless to say, it was like a sign from the universe that I’m ok, and I started bawling my eyes out haha.

It uses your astrological birth chart and you can run “bonds” with your friends to see how compatible you are. Eddy hates it, but of course I love it. We ended up getting into an argument about putting too much stock in these things. He always seems to think that it’s so general that everyone will relate, but I disagree. Apparently his mind takes these things too literally, whereas I use the information like a tool to help me feel better about myself and what I’m going through in the moment. He comes very much from his head, and I from the heart. The popup is the beginning of a longer post, and when you click on it you can “go deeper.” Reading it this morning really helped me… so much that I’ll post it here because I think it’s a fantastic reminder for my future self who is bound to be in this emotional mess again sometime soon…

This is all from The Pattern app. Feel free to add me as a friend if you download it! I think just searching “Elora Lyda” would work 🙂

Free Spirited and Exciting

You’re a born explorer and want to follow your intuition – you’re not likely to get stuck in one idea, place, or philosophy for long.

You’re a true individual – uniquely yourself. Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, you’re different. You may have always felt this way, like you have an imprint on your personality. Or there may have been something unconventional about your home life that made you feel like an outsider.

You want to trust yourself above anyone else and find your own direction in life. Freedom is a top priority for you and your values aren’t mainstream. But at the same time, your life is often full of changing circumstances, and you may find that your adventures are a moving target. You may often change your mind. Or you could find that erratic events disrupt what you were trying to experience or understand. (ALWAYS)

Possibly, in your early years, there were periods of unexpected change and instability. (This one) Or you may have had a perfectly ordinary childhood but still felt like you didn’t fit in.

You probably have an ingrained way of approaching life or certain instincts that you rely on under stress. You’re tuned into your intuition and don’t want to overanalyze or second-guess yourself. (BUT I DOOOO UGH)

But when plans or circumstances get altered and you try to lean on these qualities, it may feel like you can’t. A part of you is always seeking to understand. It’s not always clear what you’re looking for; it’s more a feeling that you can’t shake – a restless urge to know and experience more.

It feels like you want to climb the highest mountain, so you do. When you get to the top, you discover another mountain that’s even higher, which inspires you to keep climbing. But if could be difficult to maintain your focus on just that one objective – because of disruptions, changes, or a unique new opportunity that comes in. (UGH ALWAYS)

You may believe that others expect you to have an unwavering sense of direction, which could make you feel guilty when you change your mind – you could feel like others may not take you seriously. (Totally)

At times, this has made it difficult to feel a sense of security. Just when your objective seems within reach, an abrupt change redirects your path and forces you to adjust – or you change your own mind. (HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO EVER FIND STABILITY THIS WAY?!)

This might have created an underlying feeling of anxiety: Life can seem out of your control. (Isn’t it for everyone?) In response, you might have the urge to blend in, be more “normal,” and not stand out so much. Or, you may thrive in moments of change and enjoy what sets you apart and makes you different. You might be comfortable with being a provocateur (I WANT TO BE! Goals.)

Either way, you probably see things differently than most and find it hard to conform. (It’s painful) Depending on your environment, your unique perspective may or may not have been valued.

For some, you’re an exciting person to be around – but others might be unnerved around your unconventional and enthusiastic temperament, finding you too unpredictable and changeable. (Reminds me of one of the ladies at the women’s retreat I went to told me I was “overwhelming”)

You’re probably restless and hard to pin down. You have more energy than most, and the capacity to withstand – or even seek out – the wildest, most extreme experiences, which for you is only natural. (Oh great so I’ll never feel like anything is enough?)

Instead of owning your divergent nature, you could feel self-conscious and out of place. In this case, while growing up you may have repressed how different or weird you felt inside and might still struggle with it (100%)

You often look for what hasn’t been done before and crave unusual experiences. You may resist situations that feel confining or anyone trying to control you.

When something unexpected happens, people may think you’re the cause and accuse you of being hard to control or disruptive. Don’t let that noise affect you.

You’re genuinely your own person and can’t help but act the way you do – your eccentricity isn’t about trying to prove something or grab attention just because you can.

Trust that it’s ok to be different. Frustration and pain come when you resist being your authentic self and attempt to follow others and act “normal.” You can’t predict what’s going to happen in your life, so avoid trying to control the current – it often makes things worse. (It would be great to learn how to do this lol)

You don’t have to act out in extreme ways to acknowledge this part of your personality, but pretending you’re just like everyone else only makes you feel more alone and alienated. It’s natural for you to want to have exciting experiences and live a unique life – the more unconventional, the better.

Even if you feel pressure to put down roots and focus on material things, it’s important to carve out time to go on your own adventures and seek your own truth and meaning.

These are authentic impulses that are important for you to explore. And if you’re unable to do this on your own, life will intervene by bringing radical changes to you (Yeah wtf this happens all the time…)

You might find that unusual things happen, despite your efforts to stick to the ordinary road. This is especially likely if you conform based on other people’s opinions or judgments.

These unforseen external events and circumstances are trying to release the inner eccentric in you. They’re making your inner “uniqueness” obvious to everyone – and impossible for you to hide. (I wonder when I’ll be comfortable enough to truly come out of hiding?)

Know that change is good. It’s a process you need in order to evolve – in fact, it’s absolutely necessary for you.

It could feel like without a defined direction, you may struggle to know who you are. But while it’s ok to embrace your search for truth and meaning, you don’t need to be stubborn about it or insist that your way is the only way. Your life works better if you let go of your attachment to just one pursuit or philosophy and permit yourself to change your mind. (How am I supposed to get anything done?)

This dynamic is affecting you for a reason. It may seem unfair at times, but this pattern is intentionally designed to break your attachment to your ego and shake loose your foundation and means of control.

It’s your instinct to trust your intuition and earnestly seek your truth – and believe that whatever path you’re on is the right one. You may be so invested in your idealism and countercultural ways that you don’t consider others’ viewpoints – or are averse to switching course.

But sometimes the world doesn’t operate like you expect, forcing you to adapt and grow, opening you up to new and unexpected ways of living and being. What’s happening isn’t personal and you haven’t done anything wrong.

You’re being guided to embrace other parts of yourself that are key to your growth and happiness.

You may feel pressure from family or culture to do and become what they want instead of what you want to do. You don’t have to act out in extreme ways to acknowledge this part of your personality, but pretending you’re just like everyone else only makes you feel more alone and alienated. It’s natural for you to want to have exciting experiences and live a unique, provocative life.

Your life will evolve in unforseen ways, so stay open to the changes as they come. You’re being taken to places you couldn’t have imagined or planned.

When Will I Be Ok With Who I Am?

Wolves are always ok with who they are”

– Amanda Beer, Wolf Connection

My cycles are starting to become unbearable and the more I try to figure them out, the more shitty I feel. It’s like the more awareness I have of myself, the more I hate myself for being this way…

Yesterday I started this awesome program called “Women and Wolves” at Wolf Connection, a ranch that offers wolf therapy here in Southern California. I was way too excited to start and it totally triggered my mania and I ended up making a horrible first impression on the group, speaking my story from my head and not my heart, taking up all this time and rattling on and on about things that didn’t matter. I could tell they probably thought I was insane because I was talking so fast and I know I came off so self absorbed… It’s like I was swept up in a current that kept pulling me further and further from shore… I’m super bummed because I was so excited to start this journey and ended up making a fool of myself and don’t even feel comfortable going back next week.

Something that gives me hope though is how they mentioned we’d be returning to our story during the final week to see if we’re seeing it a little differently…they talked about one of their wolves Annie, and how she lost one of her legs and that they used to introduce her to groups with that story. “Here’s Annie she’s such a symbol of resilience for losing one of her legs,” but that Annie would howl over them speaking. This made them realize that maybe this wasn’t her story…that she was more of a warrior who didn’t let what we’d consider a “disability” bother her. So they started telling a different story… they didn’t talk about her accident anymore, they focused more on her being a warrior. And they told us how they wanted us to start viewing our stories that way too… hopefully by the end of this, I can finally let go of this story I’ve been clinging to for far too long, that I’m really starting to feel as a hindrance to my wellbeing. Why is letting go so fucking hard?!

When they brought out my favorite wolf Willow I felt like breathing into her presence completely calmed my weird energy down and I was able to feel grounded in my body again. I hadn’t even realized how nervous I had been and how that made me vomit out words I didn’t even realize…I suddenly felt flooded with shame for just HOW MUCH I TALK when I need to just LEARN HOW TO BE.

Willow came out with her tail between her legs, which they said shows both a nervousness but also a sign of peace. They explained how her behavior would probably be described as “anxiety” in humans, but that she just accepts that it takes her a while to get used to a new environment and new people, and that’s ok. They called it “attuning to her environment.” She allows herself the time to get used to something before taking action, and it’s TOTALLY NORMAL. Whereas we humans like to diagnose different types of energy in favor of what the culture seems “normal.” I realized that what I’ve been experiencing lately (especially because I’m off my meds and had to stop smoking weed for a variety of reasons) is this new awareness of how unconsciously I act due to way too much manic energy in my body.

They said that wolves are always ok with who they are…and I’m wondering when I’ll finally be ok with who I am. The shame I felt in that meeting yesterday made me feel INCREDIBLY far away from accepting myself, and immediately afterward my mind jumped to suicide because I felt so hopeless about who I am. I started looking up stories about drowning, because lately that’s been my method of choice. But then I felt a ton of shame for how little mental discomfort I’m able to handle…just because I feel like I came off as a crazy weirdo to a bunch of strangers? God I seriously spiral way too quick and it’s so easy for me to forget all the good I have in my life. I really need to be more like a wolf.

Here’s a photo of Willow from an in person visit I took to the ranch last month. She has a really strong presence, and they were surprised when she came over to sniff me. It felt like a blessing. Seeing her again yesterday even over zoom I felt that same presence, and without all the people around it was awesome to watch her open up, get comfortable and not be so on edge. They call her a symbol of “balance” because by this point (she’s 11) she knows who she is so well that she’s very conscious of her needs, and that inner strength is immediately felt when witnessing her. I could feel her nervous apprehension when she was brought into the space, but they explained how she takes time to “attune” to down regulate that energy and calm herself down. I hope I can get there someday…With as much healing work as I’ve done on myself, I’m still unable to regulate. I try to not let it bother me, but I’m really sick of it…seeing Willow gives me hope and reassurance that maybe I’ll get it someday.

Lately my mania has been OUT OF CONTROL and Eddy keeps telling me I need to be silent, because my throat has been hurting for over a month. It’s like the awareness I’m building is making me so uncomfortable that being alone with myself makes me feel this bubbling up energy that needs to explode in a flurry of speech…but at this point in my life I’m honestly so fucking exhausted. I’m literally on a roller coaster I can’t get off of…like a horror movie one that wants to kill me. And now it’s beyond mental, it’s in my body and I just keep getting sicker and sicker to where I’m starting to have to cancel all my client meetings…

I’m so tired and I want off…

Sorry Not Sorry

When will I be done escaping 

Escaping to the jungle

Escaping to the ends of the earth

Escaping my husband

Escaping into other people

Escaping me

Am I just looking for places

To vomit my story?

No grace 

No love

Just release

Shame

Guilt

It should be ok 

But it’s not

When will it be ok?

I can choose for it to be ok

Yet I don’t

So tired so sick

Feeling it in my body and mind

Everything spinning 

It’s ok

It’s ok

It’s ok

This is normal

Stop hiding

Recognize mistakes 

It’s not a mistake

You are your own teacher

Your energy is like a wild animal

Do you choose to contain it or not?

I’m not quite sure yet

Why do you keep feeling shame?

This is just who you are

I’m so sorry 

I need to stop apologizing

But I’m not quite there yet…

So Sick Of The Noise

“Nothing that goes on in anyone else’s mind can hurt you”

– Marcus Aurelius

There’s too much noise
Energy draining out of me
The urge to speak
But most don’t listen
Pulled every which way
By those who are stronger
At pretending to know
The cause of the imbalance
Unable to separate
Wanting to help everyone
Wanting to make a difference
A fruitless labor
They don’t want to be changed
Wallowing in pain is instinct
You can only change yourself
Take responsibility
I am too small to change the world
Too large to be brought down by them
Done with allowing myself
To be lost within the lost
I’m taking ME back
My SELF, my VOICE, my ENERGY
And I don’t care what anyone thinks
Turn it off
Shut it down
You don’t have to be anything for them
Just be
You
Now
It is enough
Always
Do you trust me?
Yes.
It’s time to move forward
Together.