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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Ayahuasca: Transformative Beyond Words

May 30, 2020 12:58AM ● By by Tavi Meketon
Those reading this article have likely already had their minds opened to alternative paths that may lead to a higher level of spiritual, physical and mental connection. The ancient plant medicine ayahuasca is that path for many, and those that are familiar with its power can attest to significant changes in mind and body, heightened states of awareness, mystical journeys and answers to questions that some have carried for a lifetime.
   
Evidence of this plant mixture and ceremonies surrounding it is said to date back to at least 1000 A.D., when it was discovered with other various shamanic substances in a cave in Bolivia. To make the ayahuasca brew, sections of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine are macerated and boiled, along with leaves from any number of other indigenous plants. The resulting brew should contain the powerful psychoactive compound DMT and MAOI harmala alkaloids. This mixture is typically determined, crafted and administered by the Maestra or Maestro during a several-hour ceremony that allows participants to enter the world of the Mother Spirit Ayahuasca.
   
Among other endeavors, Alexcis Spencer Lopez is a life coach, ordained minister and best-selling author who facilitates ayahuasca retreats through her organization Sanctuary of our Lady Ayahuasca, or SOLA. She herself heard the calling many years ago and has followed a path that focuses on helping others to heal through various modalities including ayahuasca.
   
Lopez advises those who are on a journey to be a better person or let go of negative thoughts and issues to “allow curiosity and intuition to be your guide”. Most are “called” to this ceremony in order to work on a part of themselves or their life they wish to improve. Her consistent message is to keep an open mind. Insightfully stated by Lopez, “There are many doorways to the same room.”
   
The integration between science and spirit appear to be seamless. According to Lopez, the hallucinogenic works to create new pathways in the brain by restricting or enhancing various blood vessels and allowing neurons and serotonin receptors to communicate with each other, ultimately supporting the brain to be a sort of super-powered version of itself. This connection
will naturally open windows to other
spiritual and energetic realms.
   
Ayahuasca is illegal in the U.S. and is considered a Schedule 1 drug, however it is currently being studied for its healing effects relating to PTSD, Parkinson’s, addiction and other neurological diseases and impairments. Additionally, a recent study conducted by the Beckley/Sant Pau Research Programme and published in the journal Scientific Report, reveals that certain compounds present in the typical Amazonian brew can stimulate the birth of new neurons after they are damaged or die.
   
A collaborative research project at the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Services is currently investigating the capacity of ayahuasca
to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and grief. These studies showed that ayahuasca use leads to an increase in several key traits associated with mindfulness, such as “decentering”, which refers to the ability to observe one’s thoughts and feelings in an objective, non-judgmental way.
   
It has been reported that one of the most beautiful effects from this kind of connection are the words and feelings shared from the Divine Source or Mother Spirit. She is there to partner with you on your journey in an unconditional way, as a supportive guide who will help you to identify and address your spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical needs. Many have reported a feeling of weight being lifted as well as a strong energy of self-love, peace and calm that will last well into the future as one continues practicing what was learned from her.
   
Lopez is concerned about the future of ayahuasca for a few reasons. As we study its effect and try to change or dictate the manner in which it is given, she says, “the spirit of plant medicine will change”. She is also troubled that the ancient “practice” will be overrun by inexperienced people getting involved for all the wrong reasons. She advises everyone that is interested to find the best and most experienced retreat available. “Know what you should expect, who you are working with and make sure that you are doing this is an environment that is mentally, emotionally and physically safe,” she says. The setting must be ideal to have the best experience possible.
   
“If you are feeling drawn, invite it into your life, open your mind and your heart and don’t be afraid,” advises Lopez. “What you will experience in ceremony is often beyond words and will transform your perspective and open you to greater compassion, spiritual understanding and self-worth.”

For more information, visit AyaHealingRetreat.com. See ad, page 18.

Tavi Meketon, MBA, SPHR is a local author and business executive who focuses on supporting individuals and organizations through proactive strategies and comprehensive solutions. Connect at [email protected].
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