Navigating Your Life After Iboga
***New Update 6/22/17! I just finished a book, "Healing With Iboga" about experience with iboga! It includes information about what iboga is, my experience, and my tips to make the most of your experience as well as how to integrate back into everyday life! Available in paperback or kindle!***
After battling extreme anxiety, depression, insecurity and self-loathing for years, I finally found resolution at the Iboga Wellness Center in Costa Rica. I searched for natural remedies for years, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon Amber Lyon and Aubrey Marcus, both of whom are spreading the word about plant medicines. After months of research I booked a trip to have an iboga experience, and the results were life changing. After two sessions my “panic attack” anxiety, depression, self-loathing, and the bulk of my insecurity was gone. Yes, gone. It was a miracle. Iboga did tell me that it was up to me maintain my new mindset when I got home. I had also heard this from many other people as well. The “iboga effects” lasted with me for about two month after I returned home, and I just felt like I was radiating with happiness and positivity. Like with other psychedelics, you eventually return the your normal, everyday self. I started to feel more like myself, yet still empowered. I started to notice some old mental patterns trying to creep back in, but I have been very proactive at choosing the path of positivity and happiness. I make a conscious choice every single day to let things go and pick the more productive route for my mind and it has made all the difference. My new mindset is growing and thriving because I choose that path. I felt inspired to write this post to remind others to hold on to the new lessons learned after a trip. The feelings of euphoria and ultra-clarity will diminish, but just remember, the lessons you learned are REAL, and you can further cultivate them if you work at it.
It is MASSIVELY important to remember that iboga is not a magic plant that will leave you immune to all challenges once you return home. It is an insanely beautiful and amazing tool that will help you re-program your mind, but it is up to you to take care of yourself when you return home. Keep in mind that while you have changed, the people and scenarios at home have not. The negative people in your life will still be negative, the challenges at work will still be there, but you will now have a stronger ability to cope and approach them with a new perspective.
One of the beautiful lessons that iboga showed me during my second journey was my mind as a garden. The root of my anxiety, depression, insecurity and self loathing stemmed from when I was nine years old. Through a timeline I saw that from birth to nine years old, my parents were “tilling the soil” of my “mind garden” every time they scolded me and showed me where I was lacking. Not sitting up straight while playing the piano, not earning good enough grades, not cleaning my room properly, etc. At nine years old it showed the poisonous seed being planted, and then from there, until I was 29, that seed was constantly being watered by myself and other people of not being good enough. Not getting a certain grade, not pleasing certain people, not acting how I “should” be, etc. It showed those roots spreading, thickening and growing stronger. I then learned that all of the work I had been doing over the previous 12 years was picking at these roots, but barely. Every time I was able to remove a little bit of root, it would just get watered and grow back stronger. Iboga then showed itself as an insane power tool that came through and uprooted it all. The spirit told me that I now had this blank garden. It is my choice as to what I plant there when I return to normal life. I can plant flowers or weeds. Weeds will of course sprout up as they do, and these weeds represent challenges. However, just like with real gardening, if you pull weeds as they pop up, it doesn’t require as much effort. When you let your garden become overrun by weeds, it becomes unmanageable, and it can take over your beautiful flowers. So the idea is this: maintain your garden constantly. Continue to plant flowers, fertilize them, water them, and pull weeds as they sprout. Maintaining a garden is much easier than reviving it. Planting flowers represent adding positive things to your life, while pulling weeds represent removing negative things from your life. Here are few ways to plant “flowers” and pull “weeds” that you can keep in mind.
Planting Flowers: (Positivity!)
· Create and write down a “self care” list for when you return to home.
· Reading (I am SUCH a sponge since I’ve returned home and have committed to reading one a book a month about awareness, anxiety, self healing, spirituality, etc.) There are a few books listed on the "Recommended Reading" tab!
· Yoga (especially kundalini yoga)
· Exercise (increases endorphins!)
· Therapy (I now go once a month to just talk things out to ensure I don’t bottle anything up)
· Maintaining a healthy, organic, non-GMO diet (this one is more important than you think!)
· Reiki (a type of energy healing)
· Art or Music
· Getting good, restful sleep
· There are many more than I’ve listed here, but these are just a few ideas to give you an idea! Write down your game plan and stick to it!
My plan looks a little something like this…
· Read 1 book a month
· Yoga once a week
· Exercise twice a week
· Therapy once a month
· Meditation three times a week
· Blogging once or twice a week
· Maintaining a healthy, organic, non-GMO clean diet
· Planning as best I can for good sleep
Pulling Weeds: (Negativity!)
· Do NOT give up. Remember, you will win some battles and lose some battles. When you lose a battle to your mind and act in a way that reminds you of your “pre-iboga” self, do NOT give in to the idea that you are relapsing. That is your subconscious trying to go down an old mental path. Remind yourself that you are now succumbing to your old patterns, and that you are stronger than you once were. Pick yourself up and keep going. Just by recognizing it, you are pulling weeds
· Spend a lot of time learning about what awareness is and how to develop it. This will be a huge tool in your arsenal when pulling weeds and correcting mental patterns.
· That brings me to mental patterns. A lot of the negative thoughts and reactions we have are patterns that we must break, and from there we can create new patterns. Just like any other "addiction," awareness and admission is the first step. It is so crazy to me how in tune I have become with my brain, and how easy it has become for me to recognize the patterns as they happen. I know one day, I won't have these negative thoughts at all...and there will be no reason for me to "recognize" these patterns. However, for the time being, I am able to recognize the "negative reactions." Once I recognize them, I stop, and no matter how hard it is, choose to react more positively. By choosing a positive reaction, I am creating a new mental pattern...the kind that I want! If you are unable to choose the positive reaction, it's ok...don't be hard on yourself. Even just being aware and recognizing a depressive thought, negative emotion or negative reaction is the first step. Be proud and commend yourself for just recognizing it. Trust me! Think of a worn path in a field. Every time you have a depressive thought, anxious moment, etc. you are walking down that path. Now, think of walking through that same field where the path is not worn. The grass is tall and thick, and it is tough to walk through. When you "recognize" a negative reaction, stop and choose to react positively, you are walking through the thick grass. It is tough. However, every time you walk down that same path, it will become worn down and easier to walk through until a new path is formed. AND! Every time you do NOT walk down the already worn path of negativity, the grass starts to grow back. In time, the path of "positive reaction" will become the easier path to walk through, and the path of "negative reaction" will become overgrown and difficult to navigate through, just as the positive path once was. Your brain will always pick the easiest path of reacting. Once the path of positivity becomes more easily traveled than the path of negativity, you are home free! So seriously, any time you are able to just be aware of your mental patterns, be proud of yourself! The more you become aware of it, the easier it will be one day to choose another path. The more times you choose the new path, the easier it will become. After no time, it will become second nature and you will be choosing the correct path subconsciously. Your only job is to NEVER GIVE UP. You must trust the process!!
Once your garden gets just where you want it to be, just know that
1. You garden can ALWAYS be better
2. Just because your garden is beautiful now, you cannot get lazy. You must maintain its beauty, or it will start to wilt.
No how matter great of a place you have arrived to, KEEP working at it. Don’t become complacent. NEVER stop working on yourself. NEVER.