I had this fantasy before heading to the jungle that when I returned from working with plant medicines my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game would improve. For example, the calmness of mind I might obtain would increase the chances of me entering a flow state during rolls; I would no longer overthink to the point of slowing down reaction time. Another example of what I hoped would greatly diminish once returning to the mat was self-sabotaging behavior and performance anxiety. But while going through the process of integration – with all of its ups and downs (mostly downs) – when I returned to the real world, something I never thought about or expected happened instead: I found that my addiction toward grappling had completely vanished.
I stopped wanting to absorb new submissions or counters via Jiu-Jitsu books, seminars, podcasts, DVDs, online blogs, social media pages or even YouTube videos. And it became a struggle to muster up the desire to return to class five days a week, which strikes me as odd considering I was originally working toward attending class twice a day, as well as signing up for private instruction to fine tune basic moves.
I didn’t know what was going on or why this was happening, but I continued to go to class in the hopes that this was merely part of integration, and that my love for the gentle art would return again as long as I kept showing up. So I did just that for a few months. As miserable and confused as I was, I kept things to myself and stayed the course.
It took an accidental kick to the face during practice that caused a mild concussion, followed by a knee injury when training on a night I was especially not feeling it, for me to realize that I needed to back off a bit. Within a couple weeks my knee pain improved, but after re-injury I decided to listen to my body (since I obviously wasn’t listening to my heart). A MRI scan showed a strain – thankfully no tear – so I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory and physical therapy.
I was repeating an old pattern of pushing beyond my limits to do something that no longer meant anything to me. And I was able to get away with it until my heart said “No more!”
So how do you tell the dozens of friends you’ve made on the mat, “Hey, yeah…I don’t want to come anymore” without sounding like a quitter, or handle being bombarded with questions as to why? And how exactly do you answer in a way that would make sense to someone who’s never walked my [Awakening] journey?
My body and mind now long for peace and a connection to Source. And my focus has turned inward and upward with the aid of meditation, yoga and writing. After watching the video below, I’ve made plans to visit a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat, and I’m looking into the Siddha Yoga path to see if it’s the right fit.
Before I sign off I wanted to say that I very much doubt that everyone will return from their time with Mother Ayahuasca with less love for Jiu-Jitsu or any other martial art. But don’t be surprised if you no longer crave the life you once knew. You just might be ready to wake up to something better.