For those with more to share!
The extended testimonials section.
Shoot That Poison Arrow (To My Heart)
Life doesn’t come naturally for me. It has been a survival run so far. My strong desire to live life instead of surviving it led me to the city of Sedona, Arizona. Here I met Simon Scott, a master practitioner of Kambô, a traditional spiritual medicine used by many tribes of the Amazon rainforest. It is a poison, collected from the Giant Monkey Tree Frog and it is said to be a heart’s medicine with the ability to heal on all levels of our being.
Kambô was discovered by a medicine man of an Amazon rainforest’ tribe. He dreamed to find a cure to heal his people and during an Ayahuasca ceremony, he received a vision of a green frog. He was told how to find this animal, how to collect its secretion and how to work with it to heal his people. The curing of “panema” – what we in the West could call “depression”- is often kambô’s primary use.
As far as I can remember, I wake up every morning with an intense sense of anxiety. It feels like a weight that presses heavily on my chest and heart. I think this is why I’m such a shallow breather. This feeling keeps my heart compressed, prohibited to grow and expand. The anxiety tells me that my heart should stay ‘small’. Over the years I’ve learned to take full and deep breaths, especially in the mornings, when the anxiety feels the strongest. Every morning I wake up, it is there, ubiquitous, omnipresent, lurking around in the dark corners of my soul. It tells me that I’m not good enough and that I ever won’t be. That I am unworthy of love. That I am an ugly, unlovable person, with too many feelings, who is just too intense and too overwhelming to be around.
When I first heard about this unconventional medicine, it resonated so much with me I didn’t hesitate. I knew it could help to alleviate the pain in my heart. I borrowed a friends car, drove two straight days and 1300 miles to Sedona, Arizona to undergo three journeys with the frog. The ride was nauseating. Before I left, I read testimonials describing the effects of Kambô, and the words circled inside my mind, “now I know how it feels like to die” and “a wave of electric nausea that takes over any control you have left in your body, some people black out, only to wake up for the next phase of fun.” While cruising through the vast, desolated landscape, I noticed my anxiety levels hitting an unfamiliar new high.
That night, I parked at a rest area on the Idaho/Utah border on I-84. Exposed and not feeling entirely safe in the dark parking lot, I folded myself up like a little ball, tucked inside my sleeping bag, in the back seat of the car. Just before sleep arrived, the last thought came to mind: ‘If some lunatic decides to rape and kill me tonight, at least I won’t have to experience frog poison in my body…’ Just sayin’. Of course, I didn’t get killed and the next day I continued onwards driving to my destination; my heart aching through my anxiety in eager anticipation for a remedy.
Journey #1: The Wake-Up Call
The following morning I arrived at Simon’s place an hour early. Simon, the kind soul he is, allowed me to relax on his porch, sipping on Tulsi tea, while he started preparing a sacred space for the Kambô ceremony right in his backyard. As I watch him moving effortlessly, I noticed myself becoming calmer. Is it the effect of his presence, that grounds me? A deep trust in me tells me that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now, this is the right place, this is the exact right time. But isn’t it always? A little while later, fellow Kambô traveler Evelyn enters the scene, a frail, amiable young woman from Boston. We quickly learn that we have many synchronicities, and both feel it’s definitely no coincidence we ended up in Simon’s backyard at the same time.
We are invited into Simon’s garden, where he attentively created a circle for our ceremony. But before we begin with Kambô, we’re going to work with Sananga eyedrops first, another spiritual medicine which helps to sharpen perception and helps to release any stuck energy or sickness. Evelyn is the first to take them. I watch Simon carefully. He puts one drop into each of her eyes. Once I see how she cringes from pain as the drops do their work, I feel fear creeping up. My body starts shaking and my teeth begin to chatter, even though it’s 100F outside. Simon asks if I’m ready. I stumble over my words, say that I’m not sure. I’m forcing myself to get ready and I feel weak that I’m not. I have the urge to literally hit myself (but refrain from doing so). “Fuck!”, I shout out, angry with myself. Simon sits next to me, is present, holds the space, being fully compassionate and patient with me. “Let the big wave go by”, he just says. He gives me the green light to take my time. I allow myself to breathe through this big wave of fear. It hits me hard to learn that in order to give myself a green light, I still need the green light from another human being. Why?! It’s clear that I beat myself up, day after fucking day, not just only here in Simon’s garden, but everywhere I go. It’s breaking my heart. In hindsight, this is a profound moment which teaches me everything I need to know: to acknowledge all emotions, of whatever nature. I’m learning. I’m learning. I’m finally learning. And I really get it now.
The lesson at last learned, waiting to be mastered.
The wave passes.”I’m ready”, I say. And I truly feel ready. Simon asks me to hold my eyes wide open. One drop per eye. He works fast. Once the transparent fluid contacts my eyes, I squeeze them shut immediately. It’s beyond painful. My body is trembling all over, teeth chattering, and I start to cry. I feel sorry for myself. Why do I have to put myself through all this pain? Didn’t I suffer enough already?
After a few minutes, the pain dissolves. I open my eyes and sit up. I’m electrically charged. My senses are heightened. Grounded, calm. It’s like I have a magnetic field underneath me that is pulling me towards the earth. I see more clearly. The colors are more intense. I start to drink the required 2 liters of water.
Simon burns away 3 points of skin on the inside of my right ankle with a piece of wood. Then I crawl back onto my Peruvian rug with my hands folded in prayer. Internally, I set my intention for this first journey: “Heal my heart”. Simon applies one globule of the medicine onto the open skin on my right leg. I feel very emotional, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. The fear is omnipresent. I try to focus on my breathing, meanwhile feeling whatever is happening in my body. Very soon, within a minute, I feel a weird heavy pressure on both sides of my head, my arms and hands are getting heavier, a leg that feels like a thousand needles are piercing the flesh, and I start to feel very nauseous. My heart is beating faster and I’m burning up, feverish. Simon asks me how I feel, as he moves toward me, ready to apply the second globule on my leg. “ I’m in so much pain” is what I manage to tell him. The pain I mention is not about the physical discomfort, but a reference to the emotional pain that crushes my heart into a million tiny pieces.
Seconds later I’m gone.
When I regain consciousness, Simon tells me that I left my body for three entire minutes. I cry, waves of emotions need to be released. I allow myself to feel anything that comes up and let it pass through me. I’m heartbroken realizing that for the first time in my life, I fully acknowledge that terrible things happened to me when I was a little girl and that this trauma is still very much rooted in the body. Up until today, I suppressed every single emotion. My feelings never had a right to see the light of day. I didn’t have a right to see the light of day. I denied myself completely, every single day, in order to survive. I cry in the exact way I cried when I was just a little girl, left alone after being physically abused. Waves and waves of repressed emotions are leaving the body, I’m shaking, crying tears of deep grief. What a release. What a huge wake-up call.
Kambô came in my life just for that reason. To finally wake me up.
Journey #2: Full Body Orgasms
The second day arrives. We sit around Simon’s kitchen table sipping Tulsi. We talk about our parents. Simon says he fully accepts them for who they are so that he can accept himself fully for who he is. It sounds so easy. And so challenging at the same time. It feels good to start the day like this, to sit and talk. I feel very safe here with Simon and Evelyn. Today, I feel more ready for the eye medicine, eyes fully open ready to welcome it, but this time it hurts even more than yesterday. How is that even possible?! I lie down on my back, cringing from pain, crying again.
Then the medicine goes straight down to my spine, and it causes strong energy currents, the body spasming accordingly. I welcome the medicine. The pain dissolves.
It’s my turn to slug down 2l of water.
I’m very scared of what’s about to happen. Simon burns another row of 3 points on my skin, next to the points he burnt yesterday. I break down and cry, letting my emotions flow freely. “What would you need from us?” Simon asks patiently. I feel reluctant to ask for what I need. I hesitate. I look at the ground.
“Can you please hold my hand?”, I ask Evelyn, as I feel her hand grasping mine.
Simon applies one globule of Kambô medicine on my skin. It works its way fast. A burning sensation spreads out through the entire body. My throat is blocking immediately. I need to gasp for air, tilting my head back. This is a familiar feeling. I often experience pressure in my throat, when I am unable to speak my very truth. Then I feel my head is about to implode. My heart! Oh, my heart. It’s pounding so loudly now. Despite all the uncomfortable sensations, I feel comfortable enough to ask Simon for more medicine. My request matches his intuition. The effects deepening. A very old, emotional pain swells up from deep within: “I feel so lonely”, I cry out. Oh, the pain is too much to bear. And I leave my body again. This time, for about 15 seconds. When I regain consciousness I start to laugh, almost hysterically. Then I heave, face down, hands firmly grasping the bucket. I purge. Clear, transparent fluid with black solid pieces in it. I purge more. And more. Hands and face covered in saliva. I lie down and energy waves are moving rapidly through my spine. I laugh and laugh and laugh. It feels so good to ride the wave of Kambô medicine. Simon mentions that people can experience full body orgasms on Kambô. I feel very light, like layers being peeled off of me. My chest and heart are open, a little bit more spacious than ever before. I can breathe again.
And I just can’t stop laughing.
Journey #3: Surrender To The Frog
The night after the 2nd journey I toss and turn. Thoughts swirl around my head. Creative ideas are being downloaded, one after the next into my mind. Feeling high, energetic, rather than sleepy. When I wake up in the morning, I feel there is something different. But what is it? I blink my eyes a few times. I look around the room. Then I notice that the ever-present anxiety, that is always there, especially in the morning, is gone. The heaviness in my chest has lifted. An unusual sensation of peace. I lie on my left side, very scared to move my body because I don’t want to lose this peace! I can’t believe this. There is peace. And only peace.
And it had always been there, waiting for me to find it.
For the third and final ride with Kambô, I feel super confident. All the fear I once felt, has gone. Although I know it’s going to be a totally different experience than the first two journeys, my intention for today is to be fully present with the medicine and welcome all of its unpleasant effects. I’ve never been more ready for anything than I am today. Simon applies three globules of medicine onto my burnt skin. My intention is to give up all resistance, to surrender to the frog, fully. So this time around, there are no blackouts, I don’t leave my body, I’m just present with what is. Taking it, breath after breath. The pressure in my head is there, the heart is racing, nausea, it’s all there. I purge. Waves of stuck energy are leaving the body. I feel lighter and lighter. Like an onion which skin has been peeled off. Only the core is left. My core, my heart is what is left after finishing three journeys with the frog. And all the layers (or the walls I’ve built around the heart) are being peeled off (or broken down) now. The lightness I’m left behind with, as I lay down on my colorful rug, is indescribable. I sigh and drift away to the sound of a bird that has been singing for me all along, and only for me. I can finally hear it now.
A few months later. My heart is more solid in a way I’ve never experienced before. My body feels lighter. The heaviness around my heart is gone. I still experience emotions, I still get anxious, sometimes big waves come crashing in on me. But now, the difference is that I just sit with every emotion that comes up, and I am fully present with it. After a few minutes, it passes. Just like that. And I feel light again. I’m free. Being able to breathe. Being able to feel peace. Within myself. I feel that my heart has been healed. That something heavy has been lifted. And I know this because, for the first time in my life, I feel true love and compassion for myself.
The frog has found its way to my heart and he will always have a place to stay.Viola Murgia