Releasing the healer within.
It has been more than a month since my journey to Enfold, and I would say that the learning is still unfolding for me at an incredible pace. My life, outwardly, hasn’t changed at all. And yet I have transformed within it. Two of my happiest, most joyful memories, in this lifetime, have transpired in the last month. They were the most commonplace, everyday occurrences, and yet my experience, inwardly, was one of being unified in time, as if back in the journey room at Enfold, filled with the same sense of bliss and all-encompassing love, and a kind of comedic perfection. As if, at any moment, I could simply burst into laughing tears at the beauty and completeness of it all.
My name is Samantha and I am a Functional Medicine certified health coach, a host and holistic chef, a filmmaker and storyteller, and a mother. I began exploring therapeutic psychedelics in my twenties, over fifteen years ago — before plant medicine had re-entered the zeitgeist, as it has now. Although the ayahuasca ceremonies I attended were “traditional” (and, therefore, legitimate — or so I thought), they were also deeply problematic. The shaman, trained in Peru, was a white male in his thirties, as were all of his assistants. The ceremonies were held in a large group space, on a property set in the forest — full of strangers. How was I, as a young woman, supposed to trust and ultimately let go of my physical body, in such a setting? The truth was I couldn’t, and didn’t — there was a part of me that always had to be vigilant. The setting simply didn’t feel balanced, or safe.
Conversely, everything about my experience at Enfold was the epitome of safety and nurturance. Every detail has been masterfully considered and curated, such that one feels loved and supported.
Bravely, silently, freshly showered and dressed in white, I made my way down to the journey room, and sat at a table on the western-most edge of the deck, looking out over the expanse of ocean. Both of the big farm dogs followed me, and sat as sentinels on either side of my chair. Soon, Austin invited me to enter the sunlit room, and I was smudged with sage, misted with scents and the gracious smiles of my guides.
Being administered to, by Austin and Steve, was unlike anything I have ever experienced; their care full of so much compassion and skill. During the second dose, I was transported to the birth of my daughter, and the trauma of my own life-threatening haemorrhage. As I lay in the emergency room, following her birth, I remember feeling like a burden to my inexperienced midwife, whose care I had been left in. My own doula had gone home, and I was forced to ask for sips of water, to request — as though it was a terrible inconvenience — to be brought some food.
No one held me. My husband and daughter had been moved to our recovery room, and I was alone. It had never occurred to me, until I lay in the journey room, how much I had needed to be held and comforted. It was the second phase of the ceremony, with Austin as the loving, supportive doula I’d never had, that allowed me to heal that trauma, in an instant. This is what it’s meant to feel like, I remember thinking to myself again. As if my nervous system was rewiring its understanding, in real time — learning new expectations and abilities to receive.
After what felt like hours, I sat up, and was immediately fixated on the trees just beyond the room. They were swaying in a now-violent wind, and I was filled with an extraordinary feeling of awe — for them, and their strength — as well as an incredible, indelible feeling of my own power. I felt as if I could do anything, create anything, heal from anything, almost spontaneously.
The coaching the following day was enormously helpful, and allowed me to fully integrate what I had begun to intuitively understand: that the work was what came after I regained consciousness, and felt such profound release.
And it is that ‘work’ that has continued for the past month, freeing me, incrementally, from my relationship to failure, and priming me, slowly, gently, for a new level of lovingkindness. The retreat ended that afternoon with all four participants huddled together on the sofa, united by our transcendent experience and witness of one another’s courageous vulnerability. We were honoured by the level of service provided by our guides, and the unique offering of their gifts, as a couple. And as I drove away from that beautiful property, with trees framing the path before me, I was filled with one lasting thought: how I wish and want for everyone to experience this healing.