I thought my heart was open, but it wasn’t.
This was my fourth ayahuasca journey.
This type of ayahuasca, Paloma Blanca, works on opening the heart.
The first three journeys showed me where I had been blocked in showing unconditional love to others and to myself. This one showed me that when it came to receiving, my heart was completely shut.
I didn’t know how to receive.
I realized that I knew in my head that people loved me, but I didn’t feel it in my heart. I lay back as patterns of every type and color entered my heart. I saw this was the love from other people that I hadn’t allowed myself to feel.
I felt complete bliss and joy as I allowed myself to take all of this in. There was nothing I had to do to earn people’s love. I was worthy, just as I was.
And then, I cried.
There was so much love. So much just for me. It felt so powerful. I also felt all the things that the earth and this Universe gives to me every day. I saw how everything needed to be an equal balance of giving and receiving.
I saw how I watered the plants, and they, in turn, gave me food and beauty. I saw how the sunlight touched my skin every day, and I let myself really receive that light. I felt this in a way I had never felt it before. I just let everything in my world touch me to the core—things that I hadn’t allowed myself to accept, much less feel.
I felt gratitude well up in me like never before.
I watched as the ayahuasca medicine coursed through my heart and removed the layers of defense I had created to keep myself from receiving. It was emotional heart surgery. I had kept a lot of joy out of my life by refusing the gifts this life had for me.
I let myself be completely vulnerable. I felt my heart touched in a way it had never been touched before, and realized that built these barriers because I was afraid of that vulnerability. When I was receiving, I had to let down my guard, put down my defenses, and let whoever was giving inside. That means they were going to see everything. My weaknesses, what I considered my dark parts—everything.
I had to let go of my thoughts of owing someone for the gifts they chose to give me.
I think the most vulnerable thing was admitting that I, too, longed to be nurtured. I needed to let other people’s care in, and not always be the one who nurtured and gave to others.
I was once told that I was a strong horse who tended to carry others. The thing is you never see a horse carrying another horse. I needed to sometimes let myself be the rider and allow others to carry me.
I realized that while I had hoped to make everyone in my life feel loved, that what people want most of all is for their love to be received.
Think about it. Think about the last time your love wasn’t received by someone. What did that feel like? I think that giving and receiving are equally important.
After all, we want someone to receive our words in conversation. When we don’t receive another’s words and are stuck in our own thoughts, we miss the opportunity to really know the person in front of us. When we don’t receive the gifts they are offering us, the relationship becomes unbalanced.
I had attracted a lot of takers in my life. I realized these takers were nothing but a mirror. I didn’t know how to receive, so, of course, I was attracting people who could. They felt my energy and thought something like, “Here is someone who is giving, and who doesn’t want anything in return. I am going to feed off that.”
My unconscious desire not to want to receive was being fulfilled.
I also realized that the act of receiving is a more feminine attribute, and like many other aspects of the feminine, is often portrayed in our society as somehow less than.
No wonder our entire society tends to downplay receiving compared to giving. I increase my feminine energy when I allow myself to receive.
It’s so easy to get so caught up in doing that we forget we can just be, and allow ourselves to receive the moment exactly as it is.
In opening my heart to receiving, I get to experience gratitude, which I believe completes the cycle of giving and receiving.
I am grateful for all that I am learning every day.
Author: Valen Dawson
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Tony Gladvin George/ Flickr