Much like you and I, each of these plant teachers have unique personalities. They all offer different teachings, gifts, methods, physical and spiritual benefits, and levels of intensity. What's really beautiful about working with plants (the dieting process more specifically) is every experience is unique to you, the dietero(a). These master plant teachers are highly intelligent plants and they work with each individual in a very personal way. It’s an extremely intimate experience. And, mysteriously, they somehow know even better than we, what exactly it is we need to heal and how to deliver it so it is received.
The dieting process will look and feel different for everyone depending on many factors; the person, the plant, the intention, the physical and mental health conditions of the dietero(a), etc. It is simple yet complex. Easy, one moment swaying in the hammock looking through the jungle’s canopy, then extremely difficult in the next as something begins to move through you and surface whether that be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Sometimes healing can look and feel anything but graceful. Often times things can get much worse before they begin to get better. This is the process of total purification. Heart, mind, body, spirit, and soul.
Traditionally, the dietero(a) spends his/her days in solitude and silence, in a tambo or small open air casita surrounded by the dense and very much alive jungle. An important part of healing is removing ourselves from our usual environment and immersing ourselves in the healing frequency of Mother Nature. For many reasons, there are certain disciplines to be practiced during this time. It’s an energetic exchange from person to plant to cultivate a relationship with these highly intelligent plant teachers. These practiced disciplines create a one-pointed focus, eliminate distractions and stimulants, and communicates to the plant that the person is ready to receive healing and knowledge. Through abstaining from things like socializing, sexual activity with others as well as yourself, social media, television, the consumption of information, human interaction, salts, sugars, caffeine, red meat, pork, drugs, alcohol, etc; we support the body and mind for physical and spiritual healing and the veil between the realms becomes much, much thinner. Space for healing, insight, transformation, and magic becomes available.
You see, we sometimes tuck things away in our subconscious perhaps because we aren’t quite ready to deal with its reality. Life can throw us some seriously heart breaking challenges that are seemingly easier to avoid. So we distract ourselves through quick fixes like eating, shopping, socializing, drugs and alcohol to avoid feeling the pain or sadness that comes with reality. Unfortunately my friends, there is no way around. The only way is through. So, even if we’ve buried the trauma so far within we’ve forgotten of its existence, it will make itself known again with or without our permission. Usually these spiritual imbalances grab our attention by causing a disturbance in our mental or physical bodies. And that is where the healing begins, first by becoming aware that something isn’t right. But to heal, we must look at it, accept it, forgive it, and let it go or forever be it’s prisoner.
The dieting process is not easy, comfortable, glamorous, or for everyone. It is difficult, uncomfortable, rustic, dirty, and raw. Time stands still. One day seems like forever. During this time in silence and solitude, your “stuff” begins to come forward for purging of all kinds. And, It's just you and your mind. There is nothing to distract you from facing your fears, anger, regret, sorrow, guilt, shame, and trauma. Nothing to distract you from dealing with all the shit that keeps you from connecting with the highest version of yourSelf. It's about learning to trust in what has become very illogical in our power driven Western World. Putting faith and trust in the spirit of a plant to help heal you, empower you, teach you, and reconnect you with your most authentic Self.
But it's important to understand that the dieting process is so much more than those few weeks spent in the jungle. Really, that's only the very beginning and the process continues long after you take your final drink of medicine. It continues long after your shaman blows his mapacho through your hands sealing the dieta and long after the imigration officer stamps you out of Peru. The unfolding of the dieting process is similar to the growth of the plant itself (we are working with plants after all). Much like when a seed is planted in soil, it can take months before we even begin to see the sprouting of that seed but that doesn't discredit the importance of the process that is happening below the surface. In fact what happens below the surface very much determines the life of the plant.
This process has taught me many things. One very important lesson has been learning to trust in the organic process of healing, growth, and transformation. Even when seemingly nothing is happening and doubt begins to set in around all the steps taken to get me to a place of space or stillness. It has shown me what it feels like to surrender in times of uncertainty. Letting go of what I think should be or how it should look and feel, letting go of the expectation I hold in my mind. Allowing the mystery of the unknown, the magic of life itself to unfold through me. So, with the help of these magical and highly intelligent plant friends, the dieting process (La Dieta) is a healing journey. Through challenging the body and mind we are slowly, step by step, led back to the depth of the heart where the seat of the soul awaits the souls return. It’s a slow, organic shedding of the old and waking up to a new understanding of ourselves. So that we can live in better alignment with our most authentic selves.