It seemed like a good idea at the time to travel to Peru and Bolivia with the Peru Spiritual Retreats. This trip was led by Carey Stokes of Miami Florida who has been there at least 12 times. I spoke with Carey and he assured me this trip was without any herb enhanced experiences. The practices were led by Traditional Peruvian Shaman. My intentions included to get clear guidance into close personal relationships in life. It was time for a new adventure into spiritual healing. I was excited to go.
I arrived in Cuzco, Peru, elevation 12,000 ft, on Sat Aug 6th in the early afternoon. I had a slight shore throat, ate a couple of coca leaves, met David our Guide and Shaman Leader and boarded the bus for UraBamba and our first hotel. I got to know the 9 other travelers in our group on the bus ride. We enjoyed the sights of Peru, an obvious third world country with dogs and trash and an occasional roasted guinea pig on a stick for sale. We had dinner that evening and then had the first of our Shamanic Ceremonies with Shaman Francisco and his wife. This was a sacred, attentive, and revealing ceremony in which we all participated with our own “mesas” or collections of special objects. I retired for the evening having taken the B12, the minerals, the O2 liquid and the other recommended potions and pills for the trip. But my sore throat persisted. When I awoke the next morning I went for a 2 mile run around the countryside. I investigated the quarry and cemetery on the hill, checked out the many farms, ranches and friendly unleashed dogs in the area. Upon returning I felt very, very tired so I napped briefly. What I had not taken into account was the altitude and the decrease in available oxygen. By running I had depleted my internal supply of O2 and every difficulty in my body multiplied. By that evening my throat had erupted in swelling and congestion, difficulty breathing, coughing incessantly. When I awoke early in the evening I was in a pool of cold sweat, shivering. I moved to the other side of the bed, dry side and awake an hour later in another pool of sweat. I got a large towel from the bathroom, put it into the middle of the bed and attempted to sleep. By this time I was delirious and dreaming lucidly. The most striking part of the dream was a moving picture of my childhood and life. I saw myself at age 4, 8,10, 14, 20 and adult being lonely and sad and never before having seen it or used these words, “lonely and sad” to describe myself. I saw how I had been bringing “lonely and sad” to every relationship or job or situation in my life and had been making it come true. I had been doing it myself all this time and had never before seen it. There was an undistinguished lonely and sad 6 year old governing my personal relationships. His way of dealing with this was to “cut and run”. Only this time I was too sick to run anywhere.
The next day they brought in the Doctor. The Doc discovered bacterial tonsillitis and laryngitis with altitude sickness. For two days I could not get across the room without stopping to catch my breath and endured a fever and achey muscles. The Doc prescribed antibiotics, mucus inhibitor and electrolyte replacement. I stayed in bed for two days. The Shaman said it was a healing and a good thing. The Healing had worked.
On the third day I arose, Glory Be!!!! and rejoined the group which had shrunk to 6 people. 3 others got sick and wanted better hotels so they left. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the trip and reverence and appreciation of The Shaman Francisco, David and Juan in taking such good care of us. The extra knowledge and attention every step of the way left me feeling healed in more ways than one.
My “lonely and sad” had been avoided for 70 years through drinking, dating, adventuring, running….anything and everything to avoid those feelings that I could not put into words. Eventually the anger and rage was uncovered behind the lonely and sad and I wrote and talked. I called my counselor back home about all this. What a great experience. And spiritual and emotional Healing. Being in the presence of the Shaman and Inca temples helped the experience be safe for me. Gradually my cough disappeared.
The Doc in Cuzco also took me off all milk, coffee, tea, chocolate and coca leaves with my medication. I managed to do that for 14 days.
Yesterday, back home I had my first coffee with milk and survived. Today I ran three miles.
Peruvian Mission Accomplished.
On my return to the US, my first visit was with Daniel, my 16 year old that I mentor from El Salvador. The best I can do is share my experience, strength and hope in a way that he can become a bit wiser himself. We get to grow up together.
And discover where some of our behaviors are unconsciously child-like.
There is always more to be revealed for all of us at any age.
I brought him a self-stick and lenses for his telephone camera. He loved the wide angle, panorama and telephoto lenses.
Sometimes it’s important to be able to see ourselves.
Dr Jim Dohn Hellerwork, DC