Amanda's Photos

A Guitar For My Mom

March 30, 2021

I bought myself a guitar. I am learning how to make music with it.

The guitar was inspired through a ten-day healing journey with ayahuasca, another Amazonian plant medicine teacher, Noya Rao, a powerful Shipibo healer from Peru named Manuela Mahua, and the group of individuals that went on their own journeys in this same time and space.

I’ve been on a more conscious healing journey that was triggered through my mom’s passing in 2018. This has involved releasing old patterns and conditionings that have kept me from connecting with my true self and being able to live in alignment with my true essence and purpose. It’s involved becoming more aware of my intuition and trusting what my intuition tells me is the next best step for my continued healing and development.

This intuition has led me to ayahuasca and the lessons and healing it is able to offer me.

Going into this 10-day dieta with five nights of ayahuasca, I had intentions to release in areas that have felt blocked, but I had no fathomable idea of how that would transpire. That, I find, is the mystery of ayahuasca in that you must trust she will give you what is needed and not necessarily in the form you would like to receive it.

This process required surrender to believe that I could make it through to the other side, as there were multiple moments of feeling weak and like I had been cracked open, exposed, and unsure how to put the pieces back together.

Night two

My first experiences with ayahuasca were back in November. They allowed for impactful shifts in my life at the time, but looking back, they were just beginning to scratch the surface.

Similarly, the first night of these most recent five ceremonies was impactful, but it too was relatively superficial to where I was headed.

On the second night of ayahuasca, I soon realized this would be a different experience than my previous experiences. It’s like in the previous three ayahuasca experiences, my mind had still been “on” acting as a guard and “protecting” me from going into the depths of where healing needed to happen. 

This 10-day process was not simply about ayahuasca. It involved incorporating a dieta, which means consuming an extremely simplified diet with specific guidelines, fasting for certain periods of time, and consuming another master plant teacher called Noya Rao, or tree of light. 

By the second night of ayahuasca ceremonies or the third night of the 10-day process, my egoic mind had lost the ability to run the show. It was time to surrender.

My mom paid me a visit that night

During each night of ceremony, Manuela makes her way around to all the participants and sings her powerful icaros. They are shamanic songs that speak to the medicine, and from my perspective, elicit a healing activation.

While I sat cross-legged in front of her, I felt mild sensations of wanting to purge (vomit). I had yet to vomit during a ceremony. My purging had come in many other forms, such as tears, my breath, moving my arms and body, and singing. I look back now and see that I had a resistance to purging in the bucket. 

I did not allow myself to vomit. However, that did not mean that I did not purge that night. I spent the remainder of the ceremony sobbing.

Throughout the first ceremony and the second ceremony up until that point, the topics of ancestors, elders, and mothering had been recurring themes. 

Something that I’ve come to understand in the last couple of years is that I’m here in this lifetime to heal my lineage. I’m here to break the patterns that have persisted and prevented those in my lineage from actualizing into their greatest potential here on Earth. I am here to do this so my children are released from this inheritance.

What came in that ceremony was a process of liberation for my mom. It was a journey that felt like it lasted many hours. It involved me seeing and feeling the pain that she lived with. I was able to feel all the trauma she internalized within her body.

This allowed me to see her in a completely new light because despite all the pain, she tried so incredibly hard to love. Despite all the hardship, she wanted to give her children and grandchildren the world. She did that all at the expense of herself. 

I spent much of my life unconsciously feeling my mom’s pain and suffering. I was so empathic of her struggle. I wanted to help her. I’ve understood for a bit of time now that my desire to become a doctor came from this wish to “save” my mom. Realizing that I couldn’t “save” her as a doctor was a difficult one for me.

As I saw and felt all of these realizations, the tears and sobbing continued. I tried my best to not be too loud as my body convulsed and released this stored trauma.

Back to the guitar

My sobbing still continued as the ceremony began to wrap up. Each ceremony is finalized by songs that are shared by whomever in the group wishes to express their musical gifts.

Humming and singing along helped me calm my tears. That is until a participant named Jeremy, who happened to be on the next mat over began with his songs. 

He began by playing a drone flute, which was the most potent sound healing experience I’ve yet to have. I could feel and see the sound waves move over and penetrate my body. It was healing and energizing.

However, the flood gates opened again when he began playing the guitar and singing. I don’t recall how the song went, but it was so masterful and also triggered my emotions. 

As I cried, a light bulb went off. I must get a guitar AND learn to play it. That would be something that would rewrite the patterns my mom had struggled to overcome. 

My mom had many wishes in her life about who she wanted to be and what she wanted to do. She passed on with many dreams still left unfulfilled.

She had purchased many quilt patterns and fabrics with the desire of one day learning to sew and create a quilt. Those bags were still in her closet at the end of her life.

Music had always been a love of hers. She had purchased a guitar with dreams of learning to play it. Sadly, she never learned. She gifted that guitar to my older brother, who has always been musically-inclined and has learned to play multiple instruments throughout his life. 

I, too, have always loved music. Although, I’ve only dabbled in playing any instruments. I made the decision in that instant that a guitar would be a part of my creative force moving forward.

During my first experiences with ayahuasca back in November, my voice had been activated. It was something I had suppressed through much of my life, as I held the belief that I did not sing well. I began humming along with the icaros, and it helped release the belief that had previously prevented me from expressing through my voice. 

Last month, I attended a retreat that involved nightly singing circles. I, for the first time in probably my life, sang by myself in the presence of a group of people.

This guitar is the next step in changing a pattern and belief system that kept my mom limited in her life and has also been present in my own life. To believe that I can go from someone that does not know a chord or how to strum a guitar to someone that can create sounds through her hands and her voice creates a new paradigm for my children to witness. 

For me to believe in myself enough to put in the time to learn this ability honors my mom, as I’m creating that which she wished to have created, but did not fully believe that she could. 

After my mom passed when I realized how few photos I had taken, I was inspired to learn photography and capture special moments. That creative ability was born from the life-impacting experience of her passing. My photography gifts have grown, and I was just recently reminded of the life time when the seed for this gift was planted. 

Similarly, as my musical creations grow, I can remember that the seed for these creations was born from my mom’s life and how the patterns that held her back have since been rewritten. And hopefully, she will hear the songs I sing and know that the creations of her life have outlived her physical time here on this Earth.

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