Iboga: One Year Later
Today is January 13, 2016, exactly ONE year since I boarded a flight to Costa Rica to embark on my iboga experience. WHOA. I still remember the very real sense of desperation that had come over me. I remember the pain that seemed endless and the dark thoughts of self loathing and depression that clouded my life every day. As I struggled to even board the plane at LAX my fingers were crossed iboga would help save my life. It seemed as if it was my only hope.
Looking back, 2015 was hands down the BEST year of my life. Even though the year seemed to fly by, so many of the memories I have from 2015 seem like they were forever ago, which I attribute to living a more present, mindful lifestyle. I am beyond proud of everything that I’ve accomplished physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I came home feeling ready to conquer the world. It felt as though my mind had become a sponge that was ready to absorb again, whereas pre-iboga, it felt like my sponge had dried out. Iboga was definitely the water that re-invigorated it. Since my mind was ready to absorb again I've been reading almost non-stop. (You can check out some of my recommended reads here!). I honestly believe reading has been one of the most powerful tools for me.
In addition to reading I started learning how to channel reiki and became a reiki master. I've also been working with a hypnotherapist to further conquer fears and build myself up. I meditate just about every day, have continued my clean eating and working out, started incorporating more yoga, and have spent tons of time cultivating a more spiritual existence. I’ve worked extremely hard to spread positive energy, build up those around me, eliminate judgment, and stay true to myself.
Over the last year I was fortunate enough to have my story featured on Reset.Me (a leading resource for medicinal psychedelics) and many other websites, Facebook pages and online outlets. Through that I’ve been contacted by people of all walks of life wanting to know more about my experience with iboga and how it changed my life. I have corresponded with people through Facebook, e-mail and phone who feel so aligned with the pain I went through, and want to know if iboga can help them. It fills my heart so much to connect with people who are suffering the way that I once did. I have even been able to connect with people AFTER their iboga experience to hear about how amazing it was. Over this last year I’ve been able to inspire others to try iboga, provide an ear that can relate, bring awareness to the powerfulness of the medicine, and provide as much information as I can regarding my experience. Doing this has been unbelievably rewarding and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to help others who suffered like I once did.
Now that time has passed, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is: "So, does iboga still work after all of this time?"
Yes and No.
No in the sense that the "iboga afterglow" has worn off. That only lasted about a month. I am back to "real" life. While I have changed, the world around me has not...in literal terms.
YES, in the sense that I CHOOSE my new lifestyle every day. While the world around remains the same it is also different because I have a new perspective. If iboga gave me anything it was a massive perspective shift. It taught me that I have everything within myself to overcome challenge. It taught me that I’m strong and I have the ability to handle anything that comes my way. One of the visions that I got through my second journey on iboga has helped me often. Here is a paraphrase:
Think of your brain as a garden. As we grow up, we learn about happiness, love, and all of the good things....these are flowers. We also become judgmental, fearful, and gossipy...these are weeds. My garden was full and overtaken by stubborn, thick, and ugly weeds. Enter iboga. Iboga was the power tool that, in two sessions, uprooted the majority of the weeds in my garden leaving me a few flowers, but plenty of room to plant more. It is now my job to work every day to maintain my garden. I choose to plant flowers (meditating, reading, reiki, eating healthy, yoga,) every day. It is also my job to pull the weeds as they sprout. Not taking things that others say or do personally is a form of pulling weeds. If we take something personally it’s just a weed that gets planted. Negative self-talk is a form of weeds. Most mainstream television, news and radio will plant weeds into your subconscious. You must be mindful of you garden for it will determine the quality of your life.
I’ll be honest, not every day is butterflies and roses. There have still been occasional breakdowns and tears. I have had moments of fear that I may be reverting to my "old self." I don't regress, and you know why? Because I choose not to. Every step back is an opportunity to learn, grow and take another leap forward. I remind myself that I am NOT going back to my old ways. There have been times where I've walked up to an elevator and thought, "That elevator looks sketchy, I'd rather take the stairs," but I remind myself, "Iboga showed me I have EVERYTHING I need within myself to conquer anything. Now get your ass in that elevator, you can do it!" And I do it! Sometimes things make me uncomfortable, but I do them anyways, because I know I can handle it, and it makes me stronger each time.
Before iboga, time and time again, I was told that I have a choice. I can choose to be happy, to be calm, to not have anxiety, to not be depressed. I understood that it is ultimately our choice how we react to the world around us, but the challenge was I just didn't know how! I didn't know HOW to choose to be happy and calm. Iboga taught me how to make that choice. With that lesson and perspective shift I now make that choice every day. No matter what happens, I know how to make the choice to get back on track when I get bumped off.
365 days later and it is infinitely harder to bump me off my track, and I have iboga to thank for being the catalyst of that.
Thank you again to the Iboga Wellness Center for everything you do!
***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!***