MGU 69 | Pain Pleasure Paradox

 

Most people seek pleasure and avoid pain at all costs, not realizing that the two are essentially two sides of the same coin. Recognizing this pain-pleasure paradox and willingly putting yourself in painful situations actually helps you strengthen your nervous system and allows you to experience life at a whole new level. Joining Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen in the podcast is Taylor Eyewalker, a Kundalini and Tantra Yoga teacher and Kambo medicine practitioner. In a profound conversation, they talk about the pain-pleasure paradox, strengthening the nervous system, vulnerability in personal relationships, and more. Taylor wraps up the episode with an overview of Kambo medicine, what got her into it, and what it has to offer.

Listen to the podcast here:

A Conversation On The Pain-Pleasure Paradox, Intimate Relationships And Kambo Medicine With Taylor Eyewalker

When people think of great relationships or great connections in life, one thing that people probably don’t go to is the idea of rejection. Taylor, when we first met, you were working at the raw vegan cafe called Rawvolution in Santa Monica. I remember the first time seeing you there, I was like, “She’s hot, she’s got great tattoos and she’s working at a raw vegan restaurant. I need to say hi. I need a line for this woman.” Being the goofball and buffoon that I am, the only line that I could think of was, “Where did you get your tattoos?” You look down on me and you’re like, “Atlanta,” and you walked away. I want to say, as a friend, confidant and collaborator in this world, our relationship started with an element of rejection.

It was such a good story. I love you so much, Jason. I’m glad you were able to stick around for so long to be here with me. I appreciate you.

It’s been a wonderful thing. When you have friends in your lives for so long, around a decade or more, you have many stories and many iterations and see a person through many evolutions. One of the reasons that we’re excited to have you here, Taylor, is that Whitney and I have known you for many years in many versions, iterations and permutations of who you have become and who you are as a being. I’m excited to dig into all aspects of life and what you’re doing. I had the great pleasure of experiencing for the first time a Kambo ceremony.

One of the things that Whitney and I love to dig into here on the podcast is the element of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness, and the intersection of all of those modalities. For about two years, it was this idea of exploring plant medicines and having discussions about it. We have a couple of episodes about ayahuasca and we touched on the healing benefits of plant medicines here. For me, I wasn’t ready for it. It’s almost this conversation. Whitney will have some ideas on this. You’re ready for things when you’re ready for things. The ceremony I had with you, I don’t think I was ready for it. It was a good lesson. Before we get into the details of what you’re up to in the world and this healing medicine, it’s a good thing to start with not forcing yourself to think you’re ready for something before you are. That’s a nuanced subject, but that’s what came up for me organically.

I’ve been exploring this medicine for quite a long time. My plant medicine journey began in 2006. It was funny because I was invited to the Amazon jungle and I was told that I needed to go to the Amazon jungle and work with plant medicine by this mutual friend that we both have named Troy Casey. I and Troy Casey went down to the Amazon together early on and that was my original journey. Kambo came to a lot later and it’s fascinating. It’s a little bit different, the readiness. If you are being called at any point to sit, if you are even feeling inspired in any way to sit, if you are even pushing yourself to sit, you’re in the perfect place at the perfect time. That’s my belief. What do you think about that, Jason? What was your experience like?

It’s this thing of readiness in general. It’s such a fascinating thing because are we ever “ready for anything?” I think of that in terms of facing a challenger or crisis in life or something I don’t have any direct experience with but have a fear of, which is parenthood. We have an interesting episode about parenthood with our mutual friend, Adam Yasmin. This idea of readiness, it’s this weird thing because we can hold ourselves back in one sense of convincing ourselves through fear that we’re not ready for something but then going for it. It’s this fine line of like, “Am I ready for this or should I go for it and jump off the cliff?” Whitney, what are your thoughts on this idea of, “I’m not ready yet,” versus going for it?

There’s this cliché answer, we’re never ready for anything. You hear this a lot with parenthood. A lot of the human challenges are based on wanting to prepare and having expectations. This desire to feel ready is often centered around wanting to control things so we think that if we can prepare for something. This came up in a recording as well. I had read that quote about how research is another word for postpone. Research is a lot of preparation. If I have enough information, then I will feel emotionally and mentally prepared for something. Sometimes we use that preparation as an excuse for procrastination or resistance. I have seen this come up a lot for myself.

I completely agree with you, Whitney, because I know that there’s never any moment where we have everything that we think we finally need, and then we’re going to be ready, then we can step into it. Maybe if we do, if we think we have all the right information or we’ve read someone’s info packet or we’ve done enough practice or whatever the case may be, then we can step into something and feel safe but it all has to do with the fact that safety is an illusion. Safety exists from moment to moment. All we can understand how to cultivate is the feeling of safety in our own body, no matter what’s happening. We do that by strengthening our nervous system. That’s how we feel readiness for what life continues to throw at us or invite us to participate at the moment to moment.

Strengthening the nervous system, you hit on that and that jumped out to me, Taylor. What are some ways that we can do that, either through nutritional ways, medicinal ways or spiritual ways? When you talk about strengthening that nervous system, I assume you’re talking about obviously when we’re having a “good time” in life or life is going well. We’re not thinking about the strength of our nervous system. It’s probably times of crisis or things we deem are labeled as such or times of uncertainty or times of dealing with the unknowns of life. What are some ways that you have found beneficial to strengthen one’s nervous system?

We call this work of strengthening the nervous system as walking on the razor’s edge. I want us to begin to consider that if we walk on the razor’s edge, we’re constantly prepared to have what we need to manage the situation. We can do breathe work. We can do yogic practices but to be perfectly honest, it’s our ability to deal with a crisis, swift change, heartbreak, the loss of a loved one, death, or sickness. When we have those moments in our lives and we’re faced with dealing with them, we have the choice to show up, deal with them, to manage them, and to find out how to gather the most energy without crumbling or we crumble. How we manage that at the moment can strengthen our nervous system.

 

MGU 69 | Pain Pleasure Paradox

Pain Pleasure Paradox: Life makes us stronger if we choose to have an outlook of our experiences that creates a collective strengthening within us.

 

I know all of us have been through some form of death, loss, challenge, tragedy, heartbreak, and struggle and we’ve all gotten through them. Life itself makes us stronger if we choose to have an outlook of our experiences creating a collective strengthening within us rather than our experience in life weakening ourselves. The ways that we can impose grit are, of course, doing Kundalini yoga practices or any form of yogic practices, breathwork practices, anything that’s going to work with the prana in the body. The prana in the body determines how much capacity we can handle.

When I talk about prana, I’m talking about life force. When I’m talking about life force, life force comes from breath. We can look at the way that we breathe and the way that we manage our breath moment to moment through all of these life experiences that determine how we build the capacity for our nervous system. In particular, I talk about working with Kambo. The Kambo medicine that I serve, as a profound way to shift the nervous system and expand the nervous system.

I’m curious about both of you. It’s a question for Taylor and Whitney. On the one hand, it seems that the experience of being alive, opening our hearts, taking risks and living a human life or we’re going for it, so to speak, has the ability to build endurance or build grit or build resolve. The interesting thing that I find, and I’m curious if either of you have experienced this, is I feel like sometimes when I’ve gone through a heartbreak, perceived loss, or a major challenge in my life, there’s almost a little bit of amnesia if you will. I start to freak out. I start to feel my state of being disintegrating. I start to feel myself falling into anxiety and stress. It’s almost as if I forget temporarily or have amnesia about what I’ve been through in the past and what I’ve survived. It’s almost like this weird thing that I have forgetfulness in a way of like, “Remember all the stuff you’ve lived through and survived and healed through? Why are you forgetting all that? Why are you freaking out right now?” Do either of you have experienced, I don’t know if it’s an amnesia, forgetting what we’ve healed from and grown from?

It reminds me of what I hear from mothers who have given birth and how they forget how painful it was. It’s almost as if the human brain has this coping mechanism that forgets extreme experiences and what that’s like. When we’re experiencing a lot of pain, we forget what it’s like to not be in pain. When we’re feeling no pain, we can’t remember what pain feels like.

I used to experience that, Jason. I used to be like, “I’ve never had a heartbreak like this before. I’ve never been hurt by the thing that you said to me before.” At this point in my life and as we grow in our practice, whatever our practice might be, we have to start communicating to ourselves and reminding ourselves that this pain, uncomfortability and space belongs. Everything that’s happening here at this moment belongs just as much as my joy belongs. If I didn’t have the capacity to experience the depth in this way that I’m experiencing myself, then I wouldn’t be able to experience the joy that I’m able to experience in myself.

At this point in my life, I’m able to pull myself up and out of whatever I may be experiencing quickly. I’m reminded that it’s not bad. Maybe it’s because my work with this particular medicine is a somatic experience. It’s all in the somatic body. I am constantly taking myself through ordeals and pleasure. I find that the pain-pleasure paradox has become a thin line. It’s supported me in having enough levity to remind myself that whatever I’m feeling belongs. That’s ultimately the state of the neutral mind that we want to be able to cultivate through a diligent practice anyway.

That’s incredibly important for people to hear. Since a big theme of our bar podcast is getting uncomfortable, one of our aims and something that we noticed a lot through our work is that a lot of people are trying to avoid pain and they’re looking for more pleasure. It’s interesting how a lot of us live our lives feeling the pain is bad, but it might be neutral. Maybe pain and pleasure are equally important in our lives. We have much to learn through our pain just as much as we have to gain from our pleasure. It’s important what you’re saying here about that. The roles that breath plays in all of it and how it can not only help you reduce stress but it keeps you present and grounded and less judgmental about your experiences.

For me, the cultural imperative of pleasure spins into many areas of life that the media and culture glamorize. We have alcohol, drugs, pornography, and fancy cars. I love fancy cars but that’s a whole another thing that I’ve had to decode for myself of like, “Why is that important?” The materialism and the consumptive nature of our societal imperatives that are constantly telling us more, different and better. That mantra of more different and better, we’re bombarded by that messaging all of the time. It’s interesting when you have a presence practice or as, Whitney and Taylor, you both alluded to this idea that we’re not making pleasure greater than our pain. We’re not pushing away uncomfortable situations. We’re not trying to get out of pain as quickly as possible.

For me, on the spiritual side of this, that practice has been very much going against what I’ve been taught my entire life by society and culture to avoid pain and seek pleasure all of the time. The compartmentalization that I’ve experienced, especially with my mental health, especially in childhood and teenage years of experiencing specific traumas in my life and because of that cultural imperative to not feel pain or look at pain, mentally compartmentalizing. In my adult life, digging into that through therapy and through plant medicine, which I want to dig into that. Looking at things I was like, “I did not know I buried this. This painful thing, this traumatic thing, I didn’t know it was buried that deep in my consciousness,” and that’s been a fascinating cave to explore for me.

I feel you. It’s funny because we are on different sides of the coin a little bit, Jason. I remember at age fifteen I was convinced that I needed to get a tattoo. I got my first tattoo when I was fifteen. I started being heavily tattooed by the time I was eighteen years old. I didn’t understand it conceptually or why I was drawn to it, but I knew that I needed to take myself continually through these rites of passage to feel myself on a deeper level. I kept taking myself through all of these various intensified journeys because it was not in the pleasure where I found my growth as a human or my wisdom. It was in the endurance of and the transformation of my pain.

Safety is ultimately an illusion. We can cultivate the feeling of safety by strengthening our nervous system. Click To Tweet

This might go back to my father having a stroke when I was fifteen and having my whole life flipped upside down and not ever feeling that pain until I processed it much later. It may well be because I knew that I needed to feel some former pain. It’s in the ordeals, it’s in the challenges, it’s in the metaphorical mountain tops that I’ve found myself on top of after climbing for hours where I have found my deepest growth. I have always known that my growth is in the place where I find the most resistance. I have never been a pleasure seeker and yet through the journey of the grit that I’ve endured, I have been able to experience more pleasure in this life because of what I’ve put myself through, which is an interesting paradox. I don’t know that many people have done that or even think about it that way.

The interesting thing and the reflection that it brings up for me, Taylor, is the decision to willfully and intentionally put ourselves into vastly uncomfortable situations or painful situations directly where we know there’s going to be discomfort, we know there’s going to be pain versus a person who waits for life to bring them those situations. Obviously, being human, we know that we’re not going to avoid discomfort as much as we try, as much as certain people try and avoid it. We’re not going to avoid pain. There’s a different level when someone is willfully and intentionally seeking those situations and walking into them with courage and curiosity. That’s interesting to me.

All three of us have a yoga practice and a breathwork practice here, the three of us, Whitney, Taylor and Jason. The deeper level of psychotherapy, plant medicine and taking a good, hard, deep look at ourselves is something that a lot of people are frightened to do. I’m always curious about that fear of, why are people so afraid to look at themselves? I’m curious if you both have experienced that in the past or at any point in those deeper layers of like, “We’re going deep, but here’s a layer that scares the shit out of me. Do I want to go to that cave?” How have you both pushed through those layers when you’ve experienced them?

That’s one of the big themes of this and one of the reasons, if not the reason, we titled the show, This Might Get Uncomfortable, is that it can feel incredibly uncomfortable to go in that proverbial cave and have to go through some hard situations to come out on the other side. A lot of people it seems are either afraid, hesitant, or avoidant entirely of those types of situations, even though they may I have heard that their lives or their state of being may improve as a result. A lot of people want to stay more comfortable. They’re not willing to get uncomfortable even temporarily to make these shifts. It’s an interesting thing.

A lot of it about the lessons that we learn through our lives and the people that encourage us and also hearing from people that go through these challenges and get through it and we can relate to them. That’s why the power of story and community are important. It’s also a great indicator of how the community shapes us so much. Some people are not exposed to people that can inspire them and motivate them and encourage them to get uncomfortable and what the benefits may be on the other side. That’s one of the big reasons that I feel compelled to do this show and bring on guests like Taylor to talk about it because it’s an opportunity to expose people. Even with the show, somebody has to be willing to learn. They might see the title of this and think, “I don’t know if I’m getting uncomfortable. I’d rather listen to something that’s going to entertain me the entire time. I’m not even willing to listen to a conversation about it.” People are at many different stages on their journeys.

I know that I’ve come a long way if I look back over my life, even over the past couple of years, how much I’ve evolved. It’s important not to judge one another too about where people are on their journeys. That’s something I’ve certainly learned. I’ve gone through phases where I was judgmental, like, “I can’t believe that person is not willing to get uncomfortable. What’s wrong with them?” Over time I’ve been more accepting of where people are at and they can only know what they know and know what they’ve been exposed to and this readiness idea to it. Sometimes it takes time for somebody to even feel comfortable enough to get uncomfortable if that makes sense.

It takes a strong nervous system to be willing to get uncomfortable. In many ways, as an individual, all of my life I’ve been courageous. I’ve been interested in exploring the world. I’ve been fantastical. I’ve been deep diving. You put me in a romantic relationship and that’s where all my avoidant tendencies go. My patterns are, how much can I serve you so I can serve you well that you don’t even a moment to flip back and serve me and then see my vulnerabilities? Over the years of looking at how have I, my brave experimental, outwardly wild self been completely and avoidant and in the delusion of getting uncomfortable in certain ways? It has to do in a relationship with an intimate partner.

As I’ve started to grow in that arena and allow myself to be seen and allow myself to be supported and allowed myself to be held, allowed myself to be completely and totally broken and exposed, over and over again, I realized like, “I’m allowing myself to be seen and now I’m allowing myself to get uncomfortable.” Because what came naturally to me was getting uncomfortable personally, diving to that razor’s edge or walking on that razor’s edge has been the largest growth in the relationship department. That’s where a lot of our patterns lie and intimacy and allowing ourselves to be truly seen by another and getting uncomfortable there is some of the biggest work that we can do.

That is such a wonderful share, Taylor. I want to acknowledge you for sharing those aspects of your journey. I relate in a few different ways to that because I feel like you opened a beautiful space for a deeper share. I also have an avoidant tendency in intimate relationships. We talked about that in an episode with our guest, Jason, when we were talking about how we show up in relationships. As soon as I learned what an avoidant tendency was, I was like, “That’s me.” To reflect on what you said in terms of being cracked open and being vulnerable with an intimate partner, one of the things I’ve observed, the foundation of my reticence to be vulnerable in certain ways, was being raised by a single mom and this idea that as a child, I had to be the man of the house. I couldn’t show weakness and I had to be strong for my mom because my dad wasn’t there and he left us.

It was this pattern in this way of being from a childhood of, show no vulnerability, don’t cry, even though I’ve always been an extremely sensitive person, cancer and a lot of water in my chart. We can dig into that if you want. My point is that I’ve also had a tendency in romantic relationships to not open up as fully as I wanted to because I didn’t want to be perceived as weak. I thought, “If I cry if I show how fragile I am if I have a breakdown in front of this woman, she’s not going to trust me because she’ll perceive me as weak.” I’ve had to undo a lot of that over the years of allowing myself to trust that I can be that vulnerable in front of a woman and she won’t abandon me. I wanted to piggyback on what you said because it was such a deep vulnerable share and it’s something that I have had to continually practice over and over again. I’ve had a lot of practice in relationships with that one.

MGU 69 | Pain Pleasure Paradox

Pain Pleasure Paradox: It takes a very strong nervous system to be willing to get uncomfortable.

 

Me too, Jason. A lot of us have. We want to love so badly and deeply. It’s human nature to connect, merge, and find someone that we can spend our time with. When we find someone that we can spend our time with and keep spending time with them, little things start coming up. The little things are invitations to either show what’s happening for us because we can’t hide there. In our intimate and romantic relationship dynamic, there is no hiding. If you think you can hide, you are incorrect. That person can most certainly feel you if they’re even remotely checked in. We could all honor ourselves and explore what it’s like to be all in. Even if all in is for 24 hours. We can give ourselves that opportunity to be uncomfortable even if it’s only meant to be 24 hours. That in of itself has been an incredible practice for me to say, “I’m not going to have one foot outside and one foot inside anymore. I’m going to put all feet in and see what happens,” while still having my feet on the ground but one toe will no longer be out of the water if you will.

We hear that a lot about anything in life. Are you fully committed to something? I’ve heard that from “relationship experts” or high-performance coaches or people in the mind-body space of like, “You’ve got to be all and be fully committed.” It’s an interesting line when you bring this up about having both feet in the pool, if you will because there are times that I’ve forced myself or tried to convince myself I was all in with, say something career-wise or something in an intimate relationship. I’m asking the question of when can you trust the authenticity of the feeling that you’re all-in versus forcing yourself or convincing yourself you should be all-in?

There are several types of people out there. I love answering these questions because there are people that truly have the uh-huh and uh-uh in their gut. I’m one of those people that have an uh-huh and uh-uh but I’m also a recovering people pleaser. I have five planets in Libra. It’s a whole thing to say yes to things that I’m not whole fully into. One of the practices that I’ve been practicing over the past six years and I’ve integrated into my work is the deep, profound ability to understand and agree to that which you are communicating to yourself and others.

If one can feel the uh-huh, uh-uh, start to tune into the body. My body feels uh-huh or uh-uh if there’s any uh-uh, I would not even go down that road or I would express that, “I’m having some resistance here.” Let’s say it’s in a relationship or a dynamic with a person and you feel that little uh-uh. It may even be helpful to vocalize it with yourself, say, “I’m having a little resistance here.” I would like to explore what that’s like. I’m going to jump ship. I want to get to know what this dynamic is and I want to get to know why I’m having that uh-uh. Rather than jumping ship because you’ve got an uh-uh or either convincing yourself that well this person is perfect on paper or this is the ideal person that I want someone to look like or it should feel right. Why doesn’t it feel right? I’m going to make it feel right.

Instead of going into that, investigating that with yourself and the most vulnerable and uncomfortable thing to do would be investigating that with another. See if they can handle your ability to say, “I’m not clear with myself now. I am doing my best to get clear with myself and with you and what it means to fully put myself all into this but there is something within me that is feeling a little hesitation.” Even communicating about that could even open up a pathway for certain people to dive deeper into intimacy and truly caring about one another.

I remember there was a time where I briefly dated someone. I’ll tell you this, I’m great at uncomfortable intimate stories. We had this incredible connection and it was natural. Everything felt right. He did not live in the same city that I lived in. He went back to the city that he was living in and I received a text communication that was basically like, “I can’t do this. You’re amazing. I’m not ready to love. I’m not available to get into this.” I took a deep breath and I read it and my heart dropped and I was thinking to myself, that in my experience I felt all-in and this is so right. I was like, “How can I put myself in this person’s shoes and recognize that they’re feeling anxiety and fear?” I simply wrote back, “Thank you for sharing this with me. I would love to speak to you on the phone if you have a moment of availability.”

We jumped on the phone later that night and I allowed him to tell me exactly how he was feeling. I received absolutely everything that he had to say and I said, “I need you to know I embrace you and accept you for everything that you’re going through. If this is what works for you and if this is what’s best for you, I honor that. I want you to know that I’m not going anywhere and I want to be your friend. I’m here to support you as your friend.” Communicating that way from a place of love, openness, receptivity and not closing my heart down, nothing changed with the relationship dynamic. That person needed to be able to express what was uncomfortable for them, what they were going through, their hesitancy with me, and almost as if they could trust that that was safe with me as well. Sometimes that’s a way that we can grow deeper with someone. Do you feel me?

What a great example to read to because it’s so interesting. As you both have been talking about relationships, it’s a little unclear because you can evolve over time but typically, I’ve been in an anxious attachment style and have been moving my way towards a secure attachment style. I’m always fascinated by relationship dynamics and anxious people tend to attract a lot of avoidant people. There have been so many times where I felt rejected by men or I’ve been with men that have struggled to communicate with me. I’ve often wanted a lot of communication from them but a lot of my anxious tendencies will get in my own way because I would start to feel I was always doing something wrong. I’d be timid and afraid to speak out. Listening to you share that story, Taylor, shows the power of communication.

What happens is we do tend to close our hearts when we assume that somebody is saying something and it’s all about interpretation. In your case, you could have easily gotten offended, called up your girlfriends, started to complain about it, and talk about all the bad things. We see so many examples of that. We see this on reality TV and social media. People are bashing their romantic partners often in the past, “This guy is such a jerk or this woman is,” whatever word you want to insert in there that’s offensive. We create this cultural narrative that people have either the opposite sex or whatever we’re attracted to are out to get us, going to hurt us or they’re all like this.

I feel like as a society we tend to view our romantic partners as somebody that we’re battling against versus somebody that we’re in a truly loving relationship with open communication and acceptance. Often our egos get in the way too and it’s so hard to communicate when two egos are at play and one person hasn’t learned the tools to step back and hold space for one person even when they feel hurt. I love the example that you gave because it’s so inspiring that sometimes there’s so much more behind somebody’s words. If we can try to not make assumptions based on our previous experiences, we can learn so much and it opens up the door for a much stronger relationship. Not only that, but it also sets a different precedent. Meaning that even if that relationship doesn’t work out with you, you might be helping them work through things that they need for their next relationship. That’s such an amazing gift to give another person.

It is often in our ordeals that we find our deepest growth. Click To Tweet

We all know that we are going to get hurt as much as we are going to experience joy, pleasure, and support. We are, at times, in our life, in a relationship, are going to be hurt. If we can remind ourselves that this person’s not doing anything to me. If I allow that person’s truth and their honesty, however honest they think that it is for themselves at the moment to wash through me, my relationship with myself is secure. I can allow it to wash through me and I can embrace whatever is happening for the person in front of me and nothing’s happening to me. This is happening as an opportunity for my growth in the place where I find my resistance. We can find relationships inspiring and even the little painful moments, the ouchies, and all of those little things can be embraced. We can use those little ouchy moments to remind ourselves where we need a little bit more love for who it is that we are and how amazing we are.

Our validation of self doesn’t come from someone else thinking that we are great. I’ve had the opportunity in the years to have, men or people tell me, how great it is to work with me, to be treated for me or how much they love me. I have to remind people that they are experiencing what is inside of them. I’m allowing them to experience the totality of who they are. It’s not to deflect a compliment but it is everything that we experience in ourselves is a reflection of exactly who it is that we are. That’s the work here. That’s where we can start to get uncomfortable, do the work, and realize our worth and values. The reason why we’re talking here is through medicine work and you’re interviewing me because of the work that I do. All of this culminates in this thing that I’m talking about now, which is the relationship to the self to recognize that love is an experience of oneself within oneself. While certain people may activate particular things inside of us, it lives inside of you, the experiencer, the receiver, and nobody can ever take that away from you.

I love that you’re talking about the journey inward. Going back to the cultural societal imperative that externalized everything. Externalizing love, fulfillment and things that we feel we need to have to complete us in life or this sense of incompletion. I want to tie it back to the medicine journey because certainly one of the things in addition to the breathwork, yoga, psychotherapy and the things that the three of us on this episode are so passionate about.

The other layer is something that you’ve been facilitating, studying, been a student of, and facilitator of has been Kambo. I had the great pleasure of receiving this from you and it was such a wonderful experience for me that I can certainly share some layers to that. I wanted to give you some space to educate our dear reader on what this ceremony is, why it’s so important, and what it’s all about. A lot of people haven’t heard of this medicine and you’re such a wonderful ambassador and facilitator for it so will you tell our reader about Kambo. Why were you drawn to it and what the whole thing is about?

I’ll talk a little bit about this medicine and where it comes from. Kambo medicine is from a frog called the Phyllomedusa Bicolor frog. It’s a beautiful green frog from the Amazon jungle. They live in many parts of the Amazon. You can find them in Brazil and Peru. The medicine in and of itself is the secretion off of the back of the frog. The secretion is produced for a mechanism for the frog in the wild as protection. It only protects the animal for instance, if they are put in the mouths of another animal. It makes them spit the frog out. It makes them not so tasty. The misnomer and the misunderstanding is that this medicine is a poison or a venom. It is not. People think that it’s a poison because of some of the body responses that occur, but I want to tell people they are not being poisoned when they are receiving Kambo.

This particular medicine has twenty different bioavailable peptides inside of the secretion. Peptides are short-chain amino acids, and these amino acids have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. The amino acids act as brain nutrition ultimately. They bind to receptor sites in the brain that are needed. There are many different peptides and I’ll talk about this one particular peptide. I’m talking about a lot now because we’re going through a pretty peculiar time on the planet where people are concerned about a virus. This will go down in history as a very interesting time on our planet.

This particular peptide that I’m referring to is called dermaseptin. The dermaseptin peptide has the capacity to break through encapsulated virus membrane walls and eradicate viruses, bacteria, pathogens, protozoa, yeast, parasites, and fungus. That’s one of the peptides. There are many types of septins. Dermaseptin is one of the peptides inside of the secretion. This medicine in and of itself can help a lot of people that have cancer, Alzheimer’s, chronic illness, AIDS, herpes and there are Lyme disease patients that I’m treating. There are many different people with major diseases and illnesses that can highlight benefits from Kambo because of the dermaseptin peptide.

These various peptides are being scientifically researched now and of course, science doing what they do are trying to isolate the various peptides with not nearly as much success as the naturally occurring peptide inside of the secretion. Nonetheless, they are having success in pharmacology by reproducing some of these peptides for pharmaceutical medication. There are many lists of pharmaceutical medications that have the synthetically derived peptides. We know that these peptides are super effective because they’re being utilized in pharmacology, but the interesting thing is if you take a frog out of its environment, it’s not going to be able to produce its secretion. Say you take the frog from the wild and put it into a cage in a lab, it will not produce secretion, because it doesn’t need to protect itself out in nature.

These frogs need to stay in the jungle in their environment to continue to produce their healing medicine. For hundreds of years, this medicine has been used in the jungle for what we call hunting magic or lifting panama. There have also been many secret women’s traditions with this medicine as well for fertility and infertility. Even birth and abortion process. The men and the women would often use this medicine to increase their agility, their speed, their response time prior to going hunting in the jungle for their food. It would make them undetectable to their prey. They would also use this in the tribes for behavior correction if any of the tribe’s members were going a little cuckoo and unsupportive for the rest of the tribe. They would use Kambo. Naturally, Kambo makes you have a more harmonious flow of spirit. It would help with behavioral corruption within the tribe’s members.

They would put it on little children and elderly people. It would keep them safe from malaria and various types of diseases that were contracted in the jungle. Flash forward to 2020, we’ve got Westerners using this medicine. This medicine should only be administered by someone who is highly trained and highly skilled because the physical body responses are unique. I have to preface by saying, please if you’re going to work with Kambo, work with someone that is a highly-trained professional. We, as Westerners, we’re all in LA so we’re in a toxic and environmentally overloaded reality. We’ve got electromagnetic frequencies bombarding in every direction, how many Wi-Fi signals do we all have in our Wi-Fi connections? It’s intense. On top of the pollution and psychological filament and the psychological garbage that’s happening here in the world. We have a lot to deal with.

MGU 69 | Pain Pleasure Paradox

Pain Pleasure Paradox: It is hard to communicate when one person has not learned the tools to step back and hold space for the other person even when they feel hurt.

 

We’re constantly overloaded by technology and so our health in many ways is, I don’t want to use the word decreasing but we’re finding the weaker and the stronger ones physiologically. Just because you may have a weaker constitution doesn’t mean that you are a weak human. It simply means that whatever’s happening and bombarding you from the outside, your system doesn’t have a strong enough nervous capacity to handle what’s going on. This is where medicines from the jungle can be utilized because this is a somatic medicine.

Not only is it clearing viruses, pathogens, protozoa, yeast and bacteria, but it also works heavily with the psychology of the person. I find that when I work with the protocol and when I serve people a protocol of Kambo medicine and when they consistently work with me, we can work through the physiological issues that a person may be having. We can continue to work deeper into the layers based on what’s happening with the emotional state based on what’s happening with the subconscious mind patterns.

If a person sticks with me long enough and works with this medicine, we can start to unravel major patterns of the subconscious mind and the experiences that they would otherwise have continued to repeat in their life that they find themselves no longer participating in. This includes drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, love addiction, or the need to fulfill something outside of oneself which is known as the hungry ghost. I find that working with Kambo can support a person in gaining what is called our sovereignty of self. We can understand what it feels to generate our energy from an internal place and thus our career, relationships, our relationship to ourselves improves, our prosperity shifts and so on and so forth. That’s my little download on that for the moment.

That was an amazing and incredible summary. I want to say quickly that I had the beautiful pleasure of finally saying yes to Taylor. Taylor had invited me to experience this medicine a few years ago when I had first learned she was facilitating it. We go back to this idea of readiness. I was doing my journeys with DMT, mushrooms and ayahuasca. As a result of having some of those healing journeys with psychedelic plant medicine, I finally felt this was the next step for me to experience the Kambo with Taylor so beautifully facilitating.

For me, my two biggest fears that I experienced and had the opportunity to overcome through doing this was number one, my tendency to want to control and know what’s happening. That’s been a consistent thing through any plant medicine that I’ve done or any psychedelic or spiritual medicine has been, “You’re trying to control things too much.” That’s been a theme over and over again so by doing Kambo that came up for me again. Before our ceremony, Taylor was like, “You’re trying to control this too much. You’re doing too much research. You’re asking her all these questions. This is you trying to control things.” The research thing we talked about at the beginning of this episode, you’re trying to somehow resist or control the situation by knowing as much as you can.

The second thing was, vomiting is one of the most uncomfortable experiences for me and I knew that that was likely going to happen and it did happen. The interesting thing was that once I fully surrendered to the experience with you and I allowed it to fully happen, the fear went away. It’s such a wonderful lesson that I keep getting with you through Kambo is to let go of control, surrender fully and say yes to whatever it is that you experience. The hesitancy, the fear, and whatever is coming up will dissolve when you let go. It was such a wonderful medicinal thing on a mental and spiritual level that I experienced with you.

It’s fascinating when people are sitting with medicine. You will experience the microcosm of your life as you need to see it at that moment in time because the most interesting journey with this is that this is not a psychedelic medicine. I’ve had some people think that they are going to leave their bodies and I invite them to remember that this is not a place of leaving your body but this is a place of inhabiting your body even more than you ever have before. The sensations that one experience is crying, shaking, laughing, sweating profusely, vomiting, and needing to go to the toilet. If you think about all of those responses, where do they come from? We know that when the nervous system is shaken up, we could experience some of that.

Let’s say you’re about to go on stage and you’re going to do a stand-up comedy show, Jason and you start to sweat under your arms. That’s the nervous system doing its best to recalibrate and re-attune itself to what you’re about to stretch yourself into. I believe that if we can self-impose these moments of stretching into a new expression of our body glove, then we’re able to stretch ourselves into a new version of who it is we are. It’s reminding ourselves that the sweating, laughing, shaking, vomiting, pooping, and all of this belongs. That’s why we can experience obvious and physiological changes immediately from working with this medicine. The deeper I go, the more the layers go into a person, but I feel you.

I’m curious about something. Whitney, I’ve never asked you this question. It’s interesting because I feel like I’ve asked you a lot of questions over the course of our friendship, but it came up naturally through this conversation with Taylor. Have you ever wanted to go and do ayahuasca, Kambo, DMT, or felt drawn to any of these plant medicines? Because we’re never like, “Whitney, do you want to go to Peru and do this stuff?” I’m curious what your feelings are on all of it because we’ve never gone into that from your perspective.

I feel like we have before. I imagine it came up in your episode and I feel like the two of us have certainly talked about it, but maybe I haven’t expressed it clearly. I’m certainly curious about it and I’m not opposed to it. I just haven’t felt like I needed it or wanted it that much. Usually, I feel like it happens organically or there’s a bigger push for it, I suppose. It hasn’t come up to the extent of somebody presenting it to me in a way that I couldn’t say no to if that makes sense. I certainly know all these are accessible and I’m grateful for that. I know many people that could offer me a lot of these different healing opportunities and the answer is I haven’t felt called to do it yet. It’s almost like a neutral feeling about it. It is best to describe it where I’m open to it. I don’t want to say the right time based on this whole conversation, but it’s hard to express it, I suppose. The easiest way to say it is I feel a little bit neutral and I don’t feel any sense of urgency or necessity in my life up to this point.

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I was curious because it’s something that seems to be becoming more in the mainstream conversation. The thing that I’m bolstered by is the inclusion of mainstream medical organizations. I was reading that in the last few years, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, has had an increasing amount of funding for their psychedelic research program. They have an entire program dedicated to MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics for treatments of PTSD, trauma, depression and MAPS and NDPS organization. I’m bolstered by how much more mainstream research is being done showing that plant medicine can be an effective treatment for all of these mental and emotional traumas. The curiosity I have, Taylor, and I’m not sure if I asked you this, they have a lot of things like ayahuasca or iboga or mushrooms on the schedule of illicit drugs in the US. They’re technically illegal. Where does Kambo fall into that category? Is it even recognized by the US government, the DEA at all? Is it even a discussion with them?

Kambo is 100% legal all over the world and the only place that there is restriction is in Brazil. You may not advertise yourself as a Kambo practitioner unless you are an indigenous person. The indigenous have rights in Brazil and you are not able to advertise, but everywhere else all over the world, Kambo is completely and totally legal.

If any of the readers are curious about exploring it with you or exploring the possibility of doing it, it’s good to know it’s legal because I feel like I’ve talked to friends sometimes that are like, “What if we get caught?” I’m like, “I’ve never heard of the DEA storming an ayahuasca ceremony.” I haven’t heard that story yet, but I do understand some people’s hesitancy or reticence around the legalities of it, so it’s incredible to know that it is fully legal here in the US and then other countries as well. Going back to seeing places like Boulder, Colorado and the Bay Area looking at making psilocybin mushrooms and other plant medicines fully legal, it’s such a wonderful time we’re living in from the rise of a lot of these medicines. Certainly, in Western culture around the ‘60s and ‘70s and now, here in the 2020s seeing more mainstream access.

It makes my heart feel good because I’ve experienced so much healing with all of the plant medicines I’ve done. I love that the stigma is being broken down around these things. For a long time, there’s been this idea of like, “You’re a drug user.” There’s a big leap between someone who is perhaps, addicted to heroin and someone who’s using plant medicines to explore their psyche, subconscious, and heal deep traumas within them. I love that that stigma is being broken of not lumping people in a category of being a “drug user” but using things mindfully and with an intention to heal themselves. I love that it’s happening.

This is why medicine carriers are important and wayshowers through because with deeper psychedelics like ayahuasca, LSD, and psilocybin, if you’re taking heavy doses of such, it’s important to have the support system that you need for proper integration. These medicines may show you something, whether you are “ready to see it” or not, ready to acknowledge it or not. Having some wayshower to support you through the journey of you’re seeing because you can’t unsee what you’ve seen through these types of journeys, is supportive. This is where something like micro-dosing can come into a great benefit for the individual wanting to explore the use of these medicines without needing a wayshower to guide them through a deeper, more transformative ceremony.

The brain does drastically shift and with my experience of micro-dosing psilocybin at various times over the years, I find that the brain does shift, stay, and truly repattern the neurotransmitters in the brain. There’s not this need to keep doing it. You will find that the intelligence of these medicines will start to communicate with you and you can have a co-creative relationship with them. It’s almost on a deeper intuitive level. It’ll communicate to you when it’s time to do it or slow down. I love the fact that the psilocybin mushroom told me that I needed to stop my Bulletproof coffee addiction. It told me once and I stopped and I never had the desire to do it again. When I have it, it tastes terrible.

Psilocybin has taught me immensely since we’re talking about these scheduled substances. It’s interesting psychology that we have had built over multiple decades that these substances have been illegal and the stories that we have created around them being, “This isn’t safe. Crazy people do them. This is what hippies do. You’re not a successful member of society or a true participant in civilization if you utilize these substances. You’re an outlier. You’re an outcast.” These are all concepts that have been placed on these substances with unfair judgments because it’s not about the substance, it is always about the user.

When we’re talking about drugs and we’re talking about substances, we have to understand how to become intelligent and a mature user of the things that we choose to participate in life. This includes coffee and exercise habits. As long as we become an intelligent user of such things that we participate in where we’re co-creating a relationship and when feeling ourselves on a deeper level. We can then access these higher intelligent beings that have been brought here on planet earth to raise the vibratory consciousness on this planet.

It reminds me of this conversation I remember having years ago with my mom in my twenties where we were talking about drugs in general. I was like, “Everything’s a drug.” When I have a cacao ceremony or having a matcha green tea or all the endorphins and testosterone from a hard workout, I’m changing the chemical state of my brain and what is flowing through my bloodstream. In that case, to piggyback what you were saying, most anything that is changing the chemistry in our body or our brain or our state of being could be considered a drug, in a general sense.

If we think that all of us have not been “addicted to something,” we don’t even need to put alcohol, drugs and substances in a category. We have all found ourselves needing to go for a fix to train our nervous system to feel a little better. We have to get our mind out of, “That’s bad and then that’s good.” As long as I go to that good thing, then I’m not going over there to do the bad thing. The truth is that we are still training our glandular system to secrete every time we reach for the thing, even if it’s healthy for us or supportive. If we reach for that thing and we make a plan or a schedule or if we enter into that thing, and we’ve told ourselves we’re doing that thing, then our glandular system is secreting and automatically starting to calm the nervous system. We’ve told ourselves and we’ve trained ourselves that we can feel a little bit more relaxed and a little bit more comfortable in ourselves because now we have this thing to look forward to. We’ve all been addicts in our own right, even if it’s for a moment in time. The invitation here is to start creating a highly intelligent relationship with ourselves, desires, and motivations.

MGU 69 | Pain Pleasure Paradox

Pain Pleasure Paradox: Kambo medicine naturally makes you have a more harmonious flow of spirit.

 

As I’m looking at the gluten-free cookies in my cabinet staring me down that I’ve been thinking about after this episode, my brain has been going, “Cool.” Then you talked about addiction and I realized that I’m still unraveling my sugar addiction a bit, especially when it comes to the emotional side of things, but I’m going to glad that you brought that up. It allows us all to have more compassion for each other and the fact that on some level perhaps most of us have been addicted to one thing or multiple things at different times in our lives. Taylor, are there any key resources or books or things that you could point our reader to, that might come up around Kambo or plant medicine or key books or key things that you’ve read that have been assistive in your journey through this?

Sapo In My Soul and Ayahuasca in My Blood by Peter Gorman. Additionally, while I do support people in reading and exploring Kambo because I’m a Kambo practitioner, having the self-experience of this medicine is the most profound thing that we can do. We’re in the Aquarian Age, which is the age of self-experience and self-initiation. We are stepping into this time where conventional learning is no longer relevant. We are already seeing it. In this closed down society, conventional learning is no longer relevant. We are now given the opportunity to step into this profound form of experiential learning that we will have for hundreds of years in the Aquarian Age.

What I do recommend is that you find a mentor or someone you can trust. If you feel the calling to be guided through something like this, talk to that person, make time with that person to connect with them, and create a heart to heart and an authentic relationship to them. They can show you the way so you can explore yourself and have a profound self-experience. My writings and my documents are highly informative should someone want to go down exploring my rabbit hole.

That was the perfect segue. Your rabbit hole, Taylor, is TaylorEyewalker.com. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We have a new resource that we launched, a PDF eBook called From Chaos to Calm. It is holistic strategies for mind, body and spirit to deal with states of crisis and calm like the one we have been experiencing. We have given you this eBook and we have a new program that we’re going to be launching and giving you all the resources to deal with stress and anxiety, so you can manage your mental and emotional wellness in a holistic and complete way. Taylor, we’re grateful to have you here and sharing your wisdom sharing the Kambo medicine with our readers. It’s always a pleasure to dig deep with you.

Thanks, Jason. I love you and I’m grateful for you.

Thank you, Taylor. This has been wonderful.

Thank you, Whitney. Thanks for having me on.

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About Taylor Eyewalker

MGU 69 | Pain Pleasure ParadoxTaylor is a transformational doula of human consciousness, Kundalini and Tantra Yoga Teacher, Kambo Medicine practitioner and creator of The Uncoil Method.

Between blissful bouts of healing and leading, you can find the urban yogini traveling to connect with different communities and cultures, writing, creating spaces & puja and serving tea ceremony. Guided by the clear intention of feeling more vibrancy, joy and clarity in her every moment, Taylor’s ever unfolding 8 limbed path has led her to the very forefront of the wellness movement, guiding others toward self mastery by way of this inspiring new health paradigm.

 

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