Driving from the USA to Costa Rica

Chapter I – Texas, USA

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This journey from the USA to Costa Rica was first inspired by my friend Brad, who had already completed it with his whole family just before the Covid “plandemic” hit. The second reason was the need for a second vehicle within the Thélème community. Currently, Costa Rica faces a scarcity of cars, with monthly rentals costing more than breathtaking properties. Acquiring a used car in Costa Rica demands nearly double the price one would pay in the USA. Two years ago, I had imported our current car by driving it from Salt Lake City, UT to Houston, TX, and then shipping it by boat from the port of Houston to Limon, Costa Rica. At that time, the cost of a container was approximately $1,600. Shipping overseas was the only option due to the closure of borders during Covid times.

Drawing inspiration from friends like Brad and Pierre, who had already driven their cars from the USA to Costa Rica, I became convinced that this endeavor was feasible and not as daunting or perilous as it initially appeared. By adhering to simple safety guidelines, we could navigate this adventure smoothly. Given the escalating container prices and the current openness of borders, purchasing a car in the USA and driving it back to Costa Rica emerged as the most cost-effective approach. Additionally, it provided an exciting pretext for a cross-country odyssey spanning seven countries. Moreover, this journey presented an opportunity for me to explore Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua—countries I had not yet experienced, thereby increasing the total number of countries I had visited in my life to 65.

Returning to Costa Rica on May 10th, 2023, after a long layover in Houston, TX, I seized the chance to purchase a used car. Opting for AutoNation USA, one of the largest dealerships for pre-owned cars near Houston International Airport, I selected a 2012 Honda CRV. This model offered ease of repair in Costa Rica. Without hesitation, I finalized the purchase and swiftly returned to the airport via Uber, ensuring I wouldn’t miss my flight. Originating from Houston, my friend Joseph connected me with his good friend Linda, who graciously agreed to receive packages and goods for us and our friends. Meanwhile, my friend Niek, who had spent seven months at Thélème the previous year, expressed his eagerness to join me on this remarkable journey.

Six weeks later, Linda received the DMV car title, along with car plates and registration two weeks before our arrival on July 2nd. Throughout this period, the dealership stored the car at their lot. Linda picked it up just five days prior to our arrival to ensure it was in proper working condition. There was only a minor battery issue, which was anticipated after the car had been idle at the lot for a few months. With all the necessary preparations in place, we were ready to embark on our adventure.

Our flight was scheduled to depart from San Jose, Costa Rica to Houston, TX at 5:30 AM on July 2nd. Rising at 1 AM, two community members, Laurie and Christofer, volunteered to drop us off at the airport. Luckily, there was no traffic, and the drive took only an hour. However, our journey to Houston, perhaps influenced by the full moon, presented a few unexpected challenges. Initially, our community truck began to make strange noises, possibly due to a loose bar in the frame. While driving, Niek mentioned to Laurie that this was his first trip to the USA. She inquired if he had filled out an ESTA application, to which he looked perplexed. Niek had relied on a simple Google search, assuming he did not require a visa to visit the USA as a Belgian citizen, instead of consulting reliable information from the embassy website. Panic set in as he frantically began applying for his ESTA from the passenger side. The website warned that the application process could take up to 72 hours for approval, far from reassuring. We arrived at the airport around 3 AM, with the car making increasingly concerning noises. We found ourselves waiting anxiously for acceptance of his application. Finally, at 4 AM, after speaking with the helpful personnel from United Airlines, I made the decision to proceed to Houston with my original flight, while Niek would catch the next flight once he obtained his ESTA. At 4:30 AM, I received a text from him confirming he had finally received his ESTA, prompting him to rush through security and sprint across the small SJO airport to catch his flight at the last minute. We were united once again.

Following a pleasant flight, we arrived in Houston. At the customs entry lines, I approached an airport employee to inquire whether I could accompany Niek to assist him through the customs process. Gracefully, she allowed us to proceed together through the US citizens lane. After waiting 20 minutes in the queue, we passed through customs seamlessly after Niek gave his fingerprints. We then took an Uber to Linda’s place, where she warmly welcomed us. Over the past month, Linda had accumulated around 20 packages for us, and as a token of appreciation, I had brought some delectable chocolates from my friend Cedric at Casa del Cacao in San Jose. Knowing Niek’s love for meat, we decided to treat Linda to Truth BBQ, renowned for its mouthwatering Texan barbecued meats, including perfectly marinated brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. Although we had to wait for an hour, the culinary experience was well worth it.

Later that day, Linda invited us to a Blues fund-raising event, providing us with a quintessentially Texan cultural experience. Seated beside a vibrant and colorful 75-year-old lady named Lee, who defied her age, we engaged in conversation. Upon learning about our origins, she shared a picture of her younger self with a tall, muscular Belgian man, recounting fond memories of a sensual weekend they spent together at a Blues festival. Lee went on to express her political views, characterizing Biden as a senile puppet and Trump as an egocentric clown. She expressed her preference for Texas to separate from Washington DC and revealed herself as one of the many Texans who refused the Covid vaccination. I felt a sense of familiarity with her rebellious spirit. Despite her advanced age, Lee maintained her free-spirited nature, sharing an amusing anecdote about going dancing recently and discovering phone numbers from men finding her attractive, tucked into the back of her pants upon returning home a bit drunk. Texans possess a remarkable level of comfort with themselves, often exhibiting joy and cheerfulness independently of societal stereotypes and external appearances. Couples took to the floor, enchanting us with their dancing skills. To complete our day, we visited the sprawling Walmart Supercenter, the largest supermarket Niek had ever encountered, to make some last-minute purchases such as a first aid kit, snacks, and yoga mats for the road. Exhausted from the day’s adventures, we retired for the night, eagerly anticipating the journey ahead.

The Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club – Life Celebration for Eugene Moody

The next day, we woke up early to head to Mexico, with Niek taking charge of the driving. The journey took us around five hours to cover over 500 kilometers (350 miles). Before crossing into Mexico, Niek insisted on another BBQ experience, this time at Reyna’s Bar-B-Q in Harlingen, near the border. Interestingly, he couldn’t finish the meal, which signaled a positive shift towards a healthier diet as we prepared to explore Mexico. Equipped with online research and advice from friends, I felt well-prepared for the border crossing. While in Brownsville, TX, we made color copies of the vehicle title, insurance, registration, driver licenses, and passports. It was Niek’s first time in the United States, and he couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness leaving so quickly, promising himself a return to explore the country more extensively.

Around 2 PM, we entered Mexico via the B & M International Bridge. As we approached the bridge, a sense of awe enveloped us, realizing we were about to venture into unexplored territory. While traffic was heavy on the Mexican side heading towards the USA, it flowed smoothly on our side. Thanks to designated border zones established by the Mexican government, driving freely in the Mexico border close to the USA is possible. These zones, often referred to as “free zones” or “border zones,” allow for relaxed travel regulations and simplified customs procedures within a certain distance from the border. However, it’s important to note that while travel within the border zone is relatively unrestricted, crossing deeper into Mexico or the USA requires proper documentation, such as passports, visas, or other travel permits. Additionally, security measures and customs inspections may still be in place at checkpoints located further inland.

To ensure compliance, we stopped at the B & M International Bridge customs office. It became apparent that we had left the efficiency of the Anglo-Saxon world behind and returned to the bureaucracy and inefficiencies of Latin America, which we had grown accustomed to in Costa Rica. Fortunately, this particular border crossing was not too arduous, as few people were entering at that time due to July 4th US celebrations. Once we had our passports stamped, we proceeded to obtain a permit for our vehicle. Surprisingly, only copies of the car registration, the passport of the car owner, and the entry papers we had just filled out were required. Car insurance, the vehicle title, and bill of sale did not seem to be necessary. The customs office had a small area where copies could be made at $1 per page. This stood in stark contrast to our previous experience at the FedEx office, where we could handle everything ourselves with minimal human interaction. Here, we found ourselves in front of a person whose sole purpose was making paper copies for people. It exemplified the two extremes, and somewhere, a balance must exist. The entire process of obtaining the vehicle permit, known as “Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehículos,” took just over an hour. As we prepared to exit the customs area, we encountered a traffic cone blocking our passage. We waited there for a few minutes, but with no one attending to us, I decided to leave the car and seek assistance. Eventually, I encountered armed personnel, and one of them returned with me. After inspecting the contents of our luggage and verifying our paperwork, they finally allowed us into Mexico. The real adventure was about to begin.

Niek’s ponderings

When Vaillant called me to accompany him on a car trip from Texas back to Costa Rica, it took me only 5 minutes to decide to go. If there is one person I would feel safe with on this journey, it would be Vaillant.

During his 2-month trip to Europe last year, Vaillant left the community with his car, which lacked number plates and had expired insurance. On top of that, my visa had expired 5 months prior. Remarkably, nothing happened during those 2 months, until we needed to pick up Vaillant from the airport in San Jose.

After 4 minutes of waiting, Thomas and I were pulled over by a cop. Discovering the numerous violations we had, the cop looked at me with a disapproving frown and remarked, “You know, I could throw you in jail for this.” As I began to lose my composure, I saw a blond, angry angel approaching with a red suitcase. I asked Thomas, “Is that… Is that Vaillant?” Vaillant began shouting at the cop, who quickly grew smaller and left us with a fine that I have no intention of paying since I am not a resident. By the time that ticket reaches Belgium, I’ll likely be long gone due to old age. That’s how beautifully inefficient a country like Costa Rica can be.

So yes, I feel safe with Vaillant. But more importantly, I feel safe within myself. Finding security in the unknown is what this experience will bring us. Before I left, many people asked if I was nervous or excited. All I could say was that I was living in the present moment, without any expectations. I didn’t even expect to catch my plane when I encountered trouble with my registration. But from the moment I accepted my fate and the possibility of taking a different plane than Vaillant, the universe seemed to conspire in my favor.

As I sat in the bathroom at the San Jose airport, I received an email notifying me that my ESTA was approved which interrupted important business 🙂 With just a few minutes remaining before our plane would depart, I spotted a stunning woman wearing rainbow crocs. Could this be Vaillant’s soulmate, I pondered while trying to release tension from my body? One day, I will write a book titled “Why Do Millionaires Wear Crocs?”

After an anxious sprint, I managed to board the same plane as my blonde companion. Upon landing in Texas, Vaillant decided to assist me, as I am a nonresident while he is an American. The Asian woman performing the checkups asked us if we were related. Vaillant replied, “We are best friends!” I knew it! I exclaimed as we walked out of the airport.

One thing I noticed in Texas is how efficiently everything operates. There is an abundance of everything: larger roads, bigger cars, and larger-than-life people. Everything is super-sized. So, being in America, the first thing I wanted to do was indulge in supersized food and have a brief American experience. However, I realized that I would become supersized myself if I stayed too long. Their food is delicious but incredibly unhealthy.

From Vaillant, I have learned that I don’t need to resist such desires. Instead, I should fully experience them, allowing myself to detach from them. Because what we suppress only grows stronger.

While Vaillant conducted a business deal, I sorted through the packages we received from Linda. When my best friend returned, I presented him with his birthday gift—a chessboard. We have always had a friendly competition between us. Our chess matches follow a certain pattern where I initially gain the upper hand, only to have him defeat me in the end. It means I am an amazing chess player, and he doesn’t have enough self-confidence to lose 🙂

Life doesn’t distinguish between good and bad; it simply gives us what we believe we deserve. The more I observe this, the more I see how our thoughts shape our reality.

When Linda invited us to a jazz bar, I was probably the youngest person there. I witnessed these individuals reliving their youth through the music of talented artists. A thrilling chill ran down my spine—I am in America, and I have made it.

After savoring a few Belgian beers, we decided to do some final shopping before calling it a night. I had never seen such a massive store in my life, and I began to wonder what they didn’t sell. I felt a deep desire to explore more of this fascinating culture.

However, it was time to move on to our next country. As I am more of a morning person, we agreed that I would take the wheel. Cruising along the smooth, spacious roads of America, with old music playing in the background, I felt euphoric about my trip. It was at that moment that the realization of what I was undertaking truly sank in.

As we crossed the Mexican border, Vaillant explained how Americans had mastered the material world. Simultaneously, it also felt like an artificial world. Nevertheless, I found myself attracted to America, knowing that I was shaped by its shows and music through the years. While the French dub their movies, they never had the opportunity to learn English as well as countries that didn’t. Sometimes, I can’t help but laugh at Vaillant’s accent, but people often assume we are from the same country and struggle to understand us. The joke is on me—I don’t speak French.

Once we entered Mexico, we quickly realized that our first border crossing had been inefficient. After spending over an hour there, it became evident that we would encounter many more crossings. Being in a Latin American country like Costa Rica has taught me to detach from my expectations. The more I embrace this mindset, the better I can ground myself in moments where certain outcomes are anticipated.

I strive to have a mind that remains open to everything and attached to nothing. Mexico, here we come.

Jump to Chapter II – Mexico

Version en Français: voyage en voiture du Texas au Costa Rica

Ce voyage des États-Unis au Costa Rica a d’abord été inspiré par mon ami Brad, qui l’avait déjà réalisé avec toute sa famille juste avant que la “plandémie” de Covid ne frappe. Le second prétexte était le besoin d’un deuxième véhicule au sein de la communauté Thélème. Actuellement, le Costa Rica souffre d’une pénurie de voitures, avec des locations mensuelles qui coûtent plus cher que des propriétés magnifiques. Acquérir une voiture d’occasion au Costa Rica demande près du double du prix que l’on paierait aux États-Unis. Il y a deux ans, j’avais importé notre voiture actuelle en la conduisant de Salt Lake City, UT à Houston, TX, puis en la faisant expédier par bateau depuis le port de Houston jusqu’à Limon, au Costa Rica. À l’époque, le coût d’un conteneur était d’environ 1600 $. L’expédition à l’étranger était la seule option en raison de la fermeture des frontières pendant la pandémie de Covid.
En m’inspirant d’amis comme Brad et Pierre, qui avaient déjà conduit leurs voitures des États-Unis au Costa Rica, j’ai été convaincu que cette entreprise était réalisable et pas aussi intimidante ou périlleuse qu’elle n’y paraissait au départ. En respectant simplement des consignes de sécurité élémentaires, nous pourrions mener cette aventure sans encombre. Étant donné l’augmentation des prix des conteneurs et l’ouverture actuelle des frontières, l’achat d’une voiture aux États-Unis et son retour au Costa Rica est apparu comme l’approche la plus rentable. De plus, cela offrait une belle occasion pour une odyssée à travers sept pays et ce voyage me donne l’occasion d’explorer le Guatemala, le Salvador, l’Honduras et le Nicaragua – des pays que je n’avais pas encore explorés, ce qui portait le nombre total de pays visités dans ma vie à 65.
De retour au Costa Rica le 10 mai 2023, avec une longue escale à Houston, TX, j’ai saisi l’opportunité d’acheter une voiture d’occasion. Optant pour AutoNation USA, l’un des plus grands concessionnaires de voitures d’occasion près de l’aéroport international de Houston, j’ai choisi une Honda CRV 2012. Ce modèle offre une facilité de réparation au Costa Rica. Sans hésitation, j’ai finalisé l’achat et je suis rapidement retourné à l’aéroport en Uber, veillant à ne pas manquer mon vol. Originaire de Houston, mon ami Joseph m’a mis en contact avec son amie Linda, qui a gentiment accepté de recevoir des colis et des marchandises pour nous et nos amis. Pendant ce temps, mon ami Niek, qui avait passé sept mois à Thélème l’année précédente, a exprimé son enthousiasme à me rejoindre pour ce voyage extraordinaire.
Six semaines plus tard, Linda a reçu le titre de propriété du véhicule du DMV, ainsi que les plaques d’immatriculation deux semaines avant notre arrivée. Pendant cette période, le concessionnaire a stocké la voiture sur leur parking. Linda l’a récupérée juste cinq jours avant notre arrivée pour s’assurer qu’elle était en bon état de fonctionnement. Il n’y avait qu’un léger problème de batterie, ce qui était prévisible après que la voiture ait été immobilisée sur le parking pendant quelques mois. Avec toutes les préparations nécessaires en place, nous étions prêts à nous embarquer dans notre aventure.
Notre vol était prévu pour partir de San José, au Costa Rica, à destination de Houston, TX à 5h30 du matin le 2 juillet. Nous nous sommes levés à 1 heure du matin, et deux membres de la communauté, Laurie et Christofer, se sont proposés pour nous conduire à l’aéroport. Heureusement, il n’y avait pas de trafic et le trajet n’a pris qu’une heure. Cependant, notre voyage vers Houston, peut-être influencé par la pleine lune, a présenté quelques défis inattendus. Au départ, notre pick-up communautaire a commencé à faire des bruits étranges, probablement à cause d’une barre lâche dans le châssis. Pendant que nous conduisions, Niek a mentionné à Laurie que c’était son premier voyage aux États-Unis. Elle lui a demandé s’il avait rempli une demande ESTA, ce à quoi il semblait perplexe. Niek s’était fié à une simple recherche Google, pensant qu’il n’avait pas besoin de visa pour visiter les États-Unis en tant que citoyen belge, au lieu de consulter des informations fiables sur le site de l’ambassade. La panique s’est installée alors qu’il a commencé frénétiquement à faire sa demande d’ESTA depuis le siège passager. Le site web indique que le processus de demande pouvait prendre jusqu’à 72 heures pour être approuvé, ce qui était loin d’être rassurant. Nous sommes arrivés à l’aéroport vers 3 heures du matin, avec la voiture qui faisait des bruits de plus en plus inquiétants. Nous nous sommes retrouvés à attendre anxieusement l’approbation de sa demande. Enfin, à 4 heures du matin, après avoir parlé au personnel serviable d’United Airlines, j’ai pris la décision de continuer vers Houston avec mon vol original, pendant que Niek prendrait le prochain vol une fois qu’il aurait obtenu son ESTA. À 4h30 du matin, j’ai reçu un message de sa part confirmant qu’il avait finalement reçu son ESTA, le poussant à se précipiter à travers le contrôle de sécurité et à courir à travers le petit aéroport de SJO pour attraper son vol à la dernière minute. Nous étions à nouveau réunis.
Après un vol agréable, nous sommes arrivés à Houston. Aux files d’attente de la douane, j’ai abordé un employé de l’aéroport pour demander s’il était possible de l’accompagner afin de l’aider dans les formalités douanières. Gracieusement, elle nous a permis de passer ensemble par la file réservée aux citoyens américains. Après une attente de 20 minutes dans la file, nous avons passé les douanes sans encombre après que Niek ait donné ses empreintes digitales. Nous avons ensuite pris un Uber pour nous rendre chez Linda, où elle nous a chaleureusement accueillis. Au cours du dernier mois, Linda avait accumulé une vingtaine de colis pour nous, et en guise de remerciement, j’avais apporté de délicieux chocolats de mon ami Cédric de la Casa del Cacao à San José. Sachant que Niek aime la viande, nous avons décidé de faire plaisir à Linda en l’invitant au Truth BBQ, réputé pour ses viandes barbecue texanes savoureuses, notamment le brisket parfaitement mariné, le porc effiloché et les côtes de porc. Bien que nous ayons dû attendre une heure, l’expérience culinaire en valait la peine. Plus tard dans la journée, Linda nous a invités à une soirée de blues, nous offrant une expérience culturelle typiquement texane. Assis à côté d’une dame vive et colorée de 75 ans du nom de Lee, qui défiait son âge, nous avons engagé la conversation. Après avoir appris nos origines, elle a partagé une photo d’elle-même plus jeune avec un Belge grand et musclé, racontant de tendres souvenirs d’un week-end qu’ils avaient passé ensemble lors d’un festival de blues. Lee a ensuite exprimé ses opinions politiques, qualifiant Biden de marionnette sénile et Trump de clown égocentrique. Elle a exprimé sa préférence pour que le Texas se sépare de Washington DC et s’est révélée être l’une des nombreux Texans qui refusaient la vaccination contre le Covid. J’ai ressenti une certaine admiration pour son esprit rebelle. Malgré son âge avancé, Lee conservait sa nature libre, partageant une anecdote amusante sur sa récente sortie en boîte de nuit et la découverte de numéros de téléphone d’hommes qui la trouvaient attirante, glissés dans l’arrière de son pantalon en rentrant chez elle un peu ivre. Les Texans possèdent un niveau de confort remarquable avec eux-mêmes, faisant souvent preuve de joie et de gaieté malgré les stéréotypes sociaux. Des couples se sont dirigés vers la piste de danse, nous enchantant par leurs talents de danseurs. Pour terminer notre journée, nous avons visité le gigantesque supermarché Walmart Supercenter, le plus grand supermarché que Niek ait jamais vu, pour faire quelques achats de dernière minute tels qu’une trousse de premiers soins, des snacks et des tapis de yoga pour la route. Épuisés par les aventures de la journée, nous nous sommes retirés pour la nuit, en attendant avec impatience le voyage à venir.
Le lendemain, nous nous sommes réveillés tôt pour nous rendre au Mexique, avec Niek prenant le volant. Le trajet nous a pris environ cinq heures pour parcourir plus de 500 kilomètres (350 miles). Avant de traverser la frontière mexicaine, Niek a insisté pour vivre une autre expérience barbecue, cette fois chez Reyna’s Bar-B-Q à Harlingen, près de la frontière. Curieusement, il n’a pas pu finir son repas, ce qui annonçait un changement positif vers une alimentation plus saine alors que nous nous apprêtions à explorer le Mexique. Grâce à des recherches Internet ainsi que des conseils d’amis, je me sentais bien préparé pour le passage à la frontière. Nous avons fait des copies en couleur du titre de la voiture, de l’assurance, de l’immatriculation, des permis de conduire et des passeports. C’était la première fois que Niek venait aux États-Unis, et il ne pouvait s’empêcher de ressentir une pointe de tristesse à partir si rapidement, se promettant de revenir pour explorer plus en profondeur ce pays.
Vers 14 heures, nous sommes entrés au Mexique par le pont international B & M. Alors que nous approchions du pont, un sentiment de fascination nous enveloppait, réalisant que nous nous apprêtions à nous aventurer en territoire inexploré. Tandis que la circulation était dense du côté mexicain en direction des États-Unis, elle était fluide de notre côté probablement du fait que la fête nationale des USA était le lendemain. Grâce aux zones frontalières désignées établies par le gouvernement mexicain, il est possible de circuler librement dans la zone frontalière du Mexique près des États-Unis. Ces zones, souvent appelées “zones franches” ou “zones frontalières”, permettent des réglementations de voyage détendues et des procédures douanières simplifiées dans une certaine distance de la frontière. Cependant, il est important de noter que bien que les déplacements à l’intérieur de la zone frontalière soient relativement sans restriction, traverser plus profondément au Mexique ou aux États-Unis nécessite une documentation adéquate, tels que des passeports, des visas ou d’autres permis de voyage. De plus, des mesures de sécurité et des contrôles douaniers peuvent toujours être en place aux points de contrôle situés plus à l’intérieur des terres.
Pour assurer notre conformité, nous nous sommes arrêtés au bureau des douanes du pont international B & M (Brownsville & Matamoros). Il est rapidement devenu évident que nous avions quitté l’efficacité du monde anglo-saxon pour retourner à la bureaucratie et à l’inefficacité de l’Amérique latine, à laquelle nous nous étions habitués au Costa Rica. Heureusement, ce passage frontalier en particulier n’était pas trop ardu, car peu de personnes entraient à ce moment-là. Une fois nos passeports tamponnés, nous avons procédé à l’obtention d’un permis pour notre véhicule. Les frais étant de $41/personne et de $468 pour la voiture mais ce montant est remboursable en sortant du territoire. Étonnamment, seules des copies de l’immatriculation de la voiture, du passeport du propriétaire de la voiture et des papiers d’entrée que nous venions de remplir étaient nécessaires. L’assurance automobile, le titre du véhicule et le contrat de vente ne semblaient pas être nécessaires. Le bureau des douanes disposait d’un petit espace où des copies pouvaient être réalisées pour 1 dollar par page. Cela contrastait fortement avec notre expérience précédente au bureau de FedEx, où nous pouvions tout gérer nous-mêmes avec un minimum d’interaction humaine. Ici, nous nous sommes retrouvés devant une personne dont le seul but était de faire des copies de documents pour les gens. Cela illustrait les deux extrêmes, et quelque part entre les deux, un équilibre doit exister. Tout le processus d’obtention du permis de véhicule, appelé “Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehículos”, a duré un peu plus d’une heure. Alors que nous nous apprêtions à sortir de la zone des douanes, nous avons rencontré un cône de signalisation bloquant notre passage. Nous avons attendu quelques minutes, mais personne ne s’est occupé de nous, alors j’ai décidé de laisser la voiture et de chercher de l’aide. Finalement, j’ai rencontré du personnel armé, et l’un d’entre eux est revenu avec moi. Après avoir inspecté le contenu de nos bagages et vérifié nos documents, ils nous ont enfin autorisés à entrer au Mexique. La véritable aventure allait commencer.

Versión en español a continuación

Nuestro viaje desde Estados Unidos a Costa Rica fue inspirado inicialmente por mi amigo Brad, quien ya lo había completado con toda su familia justo antes de que golpeara la pandemia de Covid en 2020. Esto despertó la necesidad de un segundo vehículo dentro de la comunidad Thélème. Actualmente, Costa Rica enfrenta una escasez de automóviles, con alquileres mensuales que cuestan más que grandes propiedades. Adquirir un automóvil usado en Costa Rica demanda casi el doble del precio que se pagaría en Estados Unidos. Hace dos años, importé nuestro automóvil actual conduciéndolo desde Salt Lake City, UT, hasta Houston, TX, y luego enviándolo en barco desde el puerto de Houston a Limón, Costa Rica. En ese momento, el costo de un contenedor era de aproximadamente $1600. El envío por mar era la única opción debido al cierre de fronteras durante la pandemia de Covid.

Tomando inspiración de amigos como Brad y Pierre, quienes ya habían conducido sus autos desde Estados Unidos hasta Costa Rica, me convencí de que esta idea era factible y no tan desalentadora o peligrosa como parecía al principio. Siguiendo sencillas pautas de seguridad, podríamos navegar esta aventura sin contratiempos. Dado el aumento en los precios de los contenedores y la actual apertura de las fronteras, la compra de un automóvil en Estados Unidos y conducirlo de regreso a Costa Rica surgió como el enfoque más rentable. Además, proporcionó un pretexto emocionante para una odisea transcontinental que abarcaba siete países. Además, este viaje me brindó la oportunidad de explorar Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras y Nicaragua, países que aún no había visitado, lo que aumentó el número total de países que había visitado en mi vida a 65.

Regresando a Costa Rica el 10 de mayo de 2023, después de una larga escala en Houston, TX, aproveché la oportunidad para comprar un automóvil usado. Opté por AutoNation USA, uno de los concesionarios más grandes de automóviles de segunda mano cerca del Aeropuerto Internacional de Houston, y seleccioné un Honda CRV 2012. Este modelo ofrecía facilidad de reparación en Costa Rica. Sin dudarlo, finalicé la compra y regresé rápidamente al aeropuerto en Uber, asegurándome de no perder mi vuelo. Originario de Houston, mi amigo Joseph me puso en contacto con su buena amiga Linda, quien amablemente aceptó recibir paquetes y mercancías para nosotros y nuestros amigos. Mientras tanto, mi amigo Niek, quien había pasado siete meses en Thélème el año anterior, expresó su entusiasmo por unirse a mí en este viaje excepcional.

Seis semanas después, Linda recibió el título del automóvil del DMV, junto con las placas del automóvil, dos semanas antes de nuestra llegada. Durante este período, el concesionario almacenó el automóvil en su lote. Linda lo recogió solo cinco días antes de nuestra llegada para asegurarse de que estuviera en condiciones de funcionamiento adecuadas. Solo hubo un pequeño problema de batería, como era de esperar después de que el automóvil estuvo inactivo en el cochera durante unos meses. Con todas las preparaciones necesarias en su lugar, estábamos listos para embarcarnos en nuestra aventura.

Nuestro vuelo estaba programado para salir de San José, Costa Rica, hacia Houston, TX, a las 5:30 AM del 2 de julio. Levantándonos a la 1 AM, dos miembros de la comunidad, Laurie y Christofer, se ofrecieron como voluntarios para llevarnos al aeropuerto. Afortunadamente, no había tráfico y el trayecto duró solo una hora. Sin embargo, nuestro viaje a Houston, tal vez influenciado por la luna llena, presentó algunos desafíos inesperados. Inicialmente, nuestro camión comunitario comenzó a hacer ruidos extraños, posiblemente debido a una barra suelta en el chasis. Mientras conducíamos, Niek mencionó a Laurie que este era su primer viaje a Estados Unidos. Ella preguntó si había completado una solicitud ESTA, a lo que él pareció perplejo. Niek se había basado en una simple búsqueda en Google, asumiendo que no necesitaba una visa para visitar Estados Unidos como ciudadano belga, en lugar de consultar información confiable del sitio web de la embajada. El pánico se apoderó de él mientras comenzaba frenéticamente a solicitar su ESTA desde el asiento del pasajero. El sitio web advirtió que el proceso de solicitud podría tardar hasta 72 horas en ser aprobado, muy lejos de ser tranquilizador fue más preocupante. Llegamos al aeropuerto alrededor de las 3 AM, con el automóvil haciendo ruidos cada vez más preocupantes. Nos encontramos esperando ansiosamente la aprobación de su solicitud. Finalmente, a las 4 AM, después de hablar con el personal servicial de United Airlines, tomé la decisión de continuar hacia Houston con mi vuelo original, mientras Niek tomaría el próximo vuelo una vez que obtuviera su ESTA. A las 4:30 AM, recibí un mensaje de texto suyo confirmando que finalmente había recibido su ESTA, lo que lo instó a apresurarse a través de la seguridad y correr por el pequeño aeropuerto de SJO para alcanzar su vuelo en el último minuto. Nos reunimos nuevamente.

Después de un agradable vuelo, llegamos a Houston. En las filas de entrada de aduanas, me acerqué a un empleado del aeropuerto para preguntar si podía acompañar a Niek para ayudarlo en el proceso de aduanas. Amablemente, nos permitió avanzar juntos por el carril de ciudadanos estadounidenses. Después de esperar 20 minutos en la fila, pasamos por aduanas sin problemas después de que Niek diera sus huellas dactilares. Luego tomamos un Uber hasta el lugar de Linda, donde nos dio una cálida bienvenida. Durante el último mes, Linda había acumulado alrededor de 20 paquetes para nosotros, y como muestra de agradecimiento, había traído unos deliciosos chocolates de mi amigo Cedric en Casa del Cacao en San José. Sabiendo del amor de Niek por la carne, decidimos agasajar a Linda con Truth BBQ, famoso por su suculenta carne a la barbacoa texana, que incluye un braseado de beefsteak, cerdo desmenuzado y costillas perfectamente marinadas. Aunque tuvimos que esperar una hora, la experiencia culinaria valió la pena. Más tarde ese día, Linda nos invitó a un evento benéfico de blues, brindándonos una experiencia cultural típicamente texana. Sentados junto a una animada y colorida mujer de 75 años llamada Lee, quien desafiaba su edad, entablamos una conversación. Al enterarse de nuestras procedencias, compartió una foto de sí misma cuando era más joven junto a un alto y musculoso hombre Belga, recordando con cariño un fin de semana que pasaron juntos en un festival de blues. Lee continuó expresando sus puntos de vista políticos, caracterizando a Biden como una marioneta senil y a Trump como un payaso egocéntrico. Expresó su preferencia por que Texas se separe de Washington DC y reveló que era una de las muchas texanas que se negaban a vacunarse contra el Covid. Sentí una sensación de familiaridad con su espíritu rebelde. A pesar de su avanzada edad, Lee mantenía su naturaleza libre y compartió una anécdota divertida sobre salir a bailar recientemente y descubrir números de teléfono de hombres que la encontraban atractiva, escondidos en la parte trasera de sus pantalones cuando regresaba a casa un poco borracha. Los texanos poseen un nivel notable de comodidad consigo mismos, mostrando alegría y jovialidad a pesar de los estereotipos sociales. Parejas se levantaron y nos deleitaron con sus habilidades de baile. Para completar nuestro día, visitamos el enorme Walmart Supercenter, el supermercado más grande que Niek había visto en su vida, para hacer algunas compras de último minuto, como un botiquín de primeros auxilios, refrigerios y tapetes de yoga para el viaje. Exhaustos por las aventuras del día, nos retiramos a descansar, anticipando con entusiasmo la jornada que nos esperaba.

Al día siguiente, nos levantamos temprano para dirigirnos a México, con Niek a cargo de la conducción. El viaje nos llevó alrededor de cinco horas para recorrer más de 500 kilómetros (350 millas). Antes de cruzar a México, Niek insistió en tener otra experiencia de barbacoa, esta vez en Reyna’s Bar-B-Q en Harlingen, cerca de la frontera. Curiosamente, no pudo terminar la comida, lo que señalaba un cambio positivo hacia una dieta más saludable mientras nos preparábamos para explorar México. Equipados con investigaciones en línea y consejos de amigos, me sentía bastante preparado para el cruce de fronteras. Hicimos copias a color del título del vehículo, el seguro, el registro, las licencias de conducir y los pasaportes. Era la primera vez de Niek en Estados Unidos, y no pudo evitar sentir una pizca de tristeza por tener que partir tan rápidamente, prometiéndose a sí mismo regresar para explorar el país de manera más extensa.

Alrededor de las 2 PM, ingresamos a México a través del Puente Internacional B & M. A medida que nos acercábamos al puente, una sensación de asombro nos envolvió al darnos cuenta de que nos adentrábamos en territorio inexplorado. Mientras el tráfico era intenso en el lado mexicano que se dirigía hacia Estados Unidos, fluía sin problemas en nuestro lado. Gracias a las zonas fronterizas designadas establecidas por el gobierno mexicano, es posible conducir libremente en la zona fronteriza de México cerca de Estados Unidos. Estas zonas, a menudo conocidas como “zonas libres” o “zonas fronterizas”, permiten regulaciones de viaje relajadas y procedimientos aduaneros simplificados dentro de una cierta distancia de la frontera. Sin embargo, es importante tener en cuenta que si se desea cruzar más profundamente en México o en Estados Unidos, se requiere la documentación adecuada, como pasaportes, visas u otros permisos de viaje. Además, es posible que se apliquen medidas de seguridad e inspecciones aduaneras en los puntos de control ubicados más tierra adentro.

Para asegurarnos de cumplir con los requisitos, nos detuvimos en la oficina de aduanas del Puente Internacional B & M. Quedó claro que habíamos dejado atrás la eficiencia del mundo anglosajón y habíamos vuelto a la burocracia e ineficiencias de América Latina, a las que nos habíamos acostumbrado en Costa Rica. Afortunadamente, este cruce de frontera en particular no fue demasiado arduo, ya que pocas personas estaban ingresando en ese momento. Una vez que tuvimos nuestros pasaportes sellados, procedimos a obtener un permiso para nuestro vehículo. Sorprendentemente, solo se requerían copias del registro del automóvil, el pasaporte del propietario del automóvil y los papeles de entrada que acabábamos de llenar. El seguro del automóvil, el título del vehículo y el contrato de venta parecían no ser necesarios. La oficina de aduanas tenía un pequeño espacio donde se podían hacer copias a $1 por página. Esto contrastaba fuertemente con nuestra experiencia anterior en la oficina de FedEx, donde podíamos manejar todo nosotros mismos con una interacción humana mínima. Aquí, nos encontramos frente a una persona cuyo único propósito era hacer copias de papel para la gente. Ejemplificaba los dos extremos y en algún lugar, debe existir un equilibrio. Todo el proceso de obtener el permiso del vehículo, conocido como “Permiso de Importación Temporal de Vehículos”, llevó un poco más de una hora. Mientras nos preparábamos para salir del área de aduanas, encontramos un cono de tráfico bloqueando nuestro paso. Esperamos allí durante unos minutos, pero al no recibir atención, decidí dejar el auto y buscar ayuda. Finalmente, me encontré con personal armado, y uno de ellos regresó conmigo. Después de inspeccionar el contenido de nuestro equipaje y verificar nuestra documentación, finalmente nos permitieron ingresar a México. La verdadera aventura estaba a punto de comenzar.

A Conversation With “Grandmother”

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I went back to “grandmother” last week. I am not talking about my grandmother who just turned 101-year-old, but the plant medicine administered by the shamans more commonly called Ayahuasca. Some centers in Costa Rica can actually administer it in a completely legal way. It always amazes me that some of the most toxic and addictive pharmaceutical drugs are administered completely legally in the US while the most healing and non addictive drugs such as Ayahuasca are banned. Though it was beneficial in so many ways, my last Ayahuasca journey 3 month ago had been painful however I knew I had to come back. When I went last time, I was stuck and quite desperate. This time however, I felt pretty good, having a sense of direction and making good progress on my life current challenges. But just like we should not wait for a health collapse to start exercising or eat healthy good, it is also wise to go to “grandmother” before we hit bottom.

This time, I did not have any particular intention besides coming closer to living my life with an open heart in a state of spontaneity. This has been a conscious goal of mine for at least 20 years. I feel I have made so much progress towards that goal however the destination still seems so far. I felt both anxious and in a state of acceptance before meeting “grandmother”. As we grow wiser, the fear does not disappear. Instead, we learn to speak with it so that it does not freeze us into inaction. There were just 3 of us for this ceremony, one community member and a Yoga teacher from Drake Bay, Costa Rica. We were brought to a new beautiful location with a river and abundant fruit trees. We had a couple of hours to chill out before darkness. After exploring the property, I used this opportunity to take a nap. This is when I realized I was under more pressure that I was willing to accept. After I woke up, I chatted with the shaman who shared with me his own journey in finding God. He does not see himself anymore as a separate individuality who has to control his life to make things happen. He sees himself as one of the arms of the divine, and in this new perspective and identity, synchronicity is abundant as a more universal and larger “he” is working towards the fulfillment of his mission. As we were talking after dark, I noticed the beautiful fireflies or lightning bugs that were flying around us. The shaman asked if I wanted to see one closer. He made a few steps, took one in his hands and showed it to me. The firefly was completely at peace and seemed to enjoy for me to look at it so closely. There was instinctive trust between it and the shaman, and with me vicariously. After about 2 minutes after I had all the time to contemplate the two light dots on its dots, it went back to its business flying away into the dark.

It was now time. The shaman called me to take in the magical drink. The taste is quite awful. Despite this, I declined his offer of getting honey to sweeten the bitter potion. It never takes me very much to start on my shamanic journey. The fact that I always choose to fast for at least 2 days before the medicine could be a factor. Within 5 minutes, my heartbeat had accelerated and my body felt the need to dance, sing and move. The shaman gave me a maracas to beat with the music. It felt good to be able to express the energy this way, as I know that when the energy gets stuck, confusion and purging are next. I felt the need to be active with my body for about 30 minutes until “grandmother” called me back to my inner world as I was entering the psychedelic part of the journey.

This was only my third time doing Ayahuasca. I had done it for the first time 5 years ago. During this first journey, I was first called to a high definition, high-tech fractal space. The sharp and very colorful beings that appeared were frightening as I felt I could not trust them. They initially appears as predators to me. It was so scary that I became afraid of death and leaving my body. During my second journey, I saw them again. I was not as afraid however still chose to ignore them. In this last journey, we were able to establish a more trusting connection as I started to accept that they might be benevolent beings from a higher dimension. They felt like doctors from the future. They took me in what seemed like a spaceship for treatment and were quite busy. Their physical appearance seemed like high technology, very colorful, robotic flamingos. As I warmed up to them, I even entertained the fact that I could be one of them on a visit to Earth. They recommended to me to keep coming every 3 month for a check-up as it is critical that I keep working on my heart connection, as I will inevitably gather heart blocks and hindrances during the normal course of my life at this stage of my evolution on Earth. My heart is the receptor that makes it possible to listen to the truth from higher dimensions, and live in harmony with the laws of this universe. During this journey, I identify this truth as Christ Consciousness. They went on explaining to me that the Lord left his Kingdom to our care, and only by staying connected to our heart, can we administer his territory (Earth) according his Loving and Conscious Will.

I was then brought in the current state of the world. I was sent in the immense heartless gearing of a production factory. It felt like animal farming but for humans. It was all about production, power, control, profit with no consideration for human feelings and happiness. Facing the actual reality of the matrix and new world order was incredibly brutal for my conscience under Ayahuasca. As Teal’s husband, I became interested to better understand SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) and the abominable treatments she went through in her childhood in order to become a more supportive husband. Before I knew her, I was aware of conspiracy theories like most of us but I felt powerless to do anything about it. The information on the Internet seemed sensational, contradictory in nature and not very scientific. I felt I could not verify the veracity of one perspective against the other, so I let go and just went after my own business dealing with things I was actually in control of, which was my work, my relationship and diverse activities that increased my quality of life. A turn around of my thinking happened when I read Breaking the Chain from Svali, a former Illuminati trainer. It was so similar in many ways to what I heard from Teal direct cult experience that I knew she was telling the truth. Two other books from former president models Cathy O’Brien and Brice Taylor Trance:Formation of America and Thanks for the memories confirmed to me the corruption and moral depravity of our world leaders, and that the situation is much worse that I had initially envisioned. Most of what we are taught or hold for true are sadly just lies and manipulation. History is teaching us that we defeated the Nazis. They have actually won as their most lethal weapon Mind Control has infiltrated all parts of society that has money and power: politics, large corporations, media networks, music & sports industry all over the world. Actually, the top German experts in mind control such as Josef Mengele were placed in top US universities in complete secrecy to continue their research. The new world order is already in place as the elite realized it was much easier to control the masses when they are ignorant to what is exactly going on. The creation of superhuman slaves through trauma based mind control and dissociation is the covert tool for the elite to lead society in any way they chose to. Presidential elections are decided in advance or when they are not, they make sure to control both candidates that are presented to the people. This was the case in the USA with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and it was again the case in France with Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. National elections are nothing but a puppet show designed to distract the masses to what is really going on. The actual world leaders are not the ones that are fed to us by the media. These leaders are just corrupt puppets that have already sold their soul to the devil through criminal activities, sex deviance and various addictions. The world as we know it is actually governed by black lodges that act in complete secrecy to feed demonic or low astral entities that have cut themselves from the Source. As a result, their only way to sustain themselves is through manipulation and stealing energy from beings who are still connected with their heart with the divinity, basically people like us. “Grandmother” showed me more clearly the covert ways of how we all get corrupted. I am going to give you some examples. Being vegan is quite inconvenient in our society, so we develop the taste and the craving for unethical food that require the systematic murder of our animal friends. These foods are heavily advertised through the mainstream media. By buying and eating this food, we become the partner in crime of the elite so now we have to defend them to cover our own shame. Let’s look at another form of insidious corruption. We work hard to develop skills and abilities to get us ahead and create a better world together. During our progression, we reach a spot where we get closer to a leader that we used to admire. As we get to know him personally, we realize then his level of moral depravity and we feel disillusioned and helpless. We exchange then our sincere desire to do good for the world and our longing for a merciful God for the vanity of belonging with the “big boys”. There is then no turning back as our thirst for power and security make us then commit some actions that if revealed would make us lose everything. As we get corrupted, we become easily controlled and manipulated. This is one of the reasons why the leading politicians are such sex addicts. They had to corrupt themselves to such an extent to get to the top that sexual deviance is used to sedate them as their conscience that is tormenting them. At least this is true for the ones that are not completely disconnected and dead inside. Many facets of society are conducive to traumas that promote disconnection and selfishness so that, we, the masses are more easily manipulated. There is only one escape from this somber reality. It is the connection to our own heart. Purity, personal integrity and self-discipline, the antithesis of corruption, is what keeps this heart link alive. At that phase on my shamanic journey, I see the voice of the Lord (Christ Consciousness) on the other end of my heart. This is the inner guidance and connection we desperately need not to give in the manipulation and venality of our leadership. In their gloomy reality, everything is transactional. People’s value is judged according a hierarchy, as they hold no value in themselves. It is a predatory environment based on exploiting rather than taking care. It is a world full of backstabbing, lies, manipulation, betrayal, selfishness and apathy. To realize the split in oneself between the two realities of our heart and disconnected mind is the first step towards healing, and loosening the grip with our own demons. How we spend our time, what we buy, who we connect with will strengthen or weaken the parts of this polarity. Become a vegetarian, avoid watching TV and mainstream media, develop authentic heart-based relationships, maintain a healthy balance in your life between work, family & friends, be kind with all living beings, buy an electric car with solar panels on your roof, honor the word you gave, be congruent with your value system in all of your relationships, and build a trusting connection with the divinity. These are some practical steps we can take to do our part in this confusing world to slowly develop an internal frame of reference when faced with the brutality of the truth regarding the world elite.

During that night with “grandmother”, I was brought many times to my wife. I felt so much love towards her that the words are lacking to express this ecstatic feeling. As a species, I saw how our need to attach is so critically important. Our society and even the spiritual field is so much about developing independence however it is unnatural. This is why understanding attachment theory is such an important key in one’s personal healing and in explaining most personality disorders. Attaching to someone we love is so critical and healthy to our personal development. This is another reason why I am excited to facilitate our next singles retreat in July, and catalyze people in finding new love. Relationships are hard but there is nothing else in life that can bring the same level of contentment and fulfillment. I could see at a deeper level my absolute terror for aloneness, and accept it as something healthy. We have been shamed for wanting intimate connection as it makes us look needy, weak and dependent while this is our birthright. It is also natural to be frightened to attach as it is so painful to lose the connection once the relationship breaks. This is why I want to educate people to recognize a match when they find one and then to empower them with tools to help grow the relationship and avoid rupture. There is something truly sacred when two people commit to each other. Only a life with love is worth living. I was shown how when a woman marries a man, she gives herself to him and to that extent, he becomes her owner. However, this is ownership in the sense of nurturing and taking care in the same way Teal & I feel responsible for the land we own at Philia with all the trees, plants, animals and bugs. We will not kill even a snake or a scorpion on our property. We are not speaking here of ownership the way that the corrupt elite think of, as their understanding of ownership is nothing but exploitation. The millions of mind controlled slaves today in the world can attest to this fact.

During this new experience with Ayahuasca, I developed a new relationship with purging. Purging is used by Ayahuasca as a purification mechanism. Let’s agree to call demon, a repressed and unhealthy attachment, belief, negative emotion or fear that is here to repress a sense of lack we have within ourselves. As we experience resistance to let go of our inner demons, Ayahuasca would sometimes attach them to our own fluid to purge both at the same time. This process is painful but salutary. 3 months ago, I did so much purging that I was really not looking forward to it again. Fortunately, this time, purging was only required on two occasions. The first one was related to the culpability around my children. Interestingly enough, I thought I was exempt of culpability as I hold consciously the belief that I always do my best so if it could have been better, it would have been. Actually, Ayahuasca made me realize that I was deeply repressing the culpability of losing my children. It was difficult to accept so “grandmother” had to get me to expel it physically. It felt such a relief once this energy was out of me. The second one was related to an action that I had taken that I knew was not in the interest of a loved one while it made financially sense. The mind had fortunately won and I was full of remorse. I had to suffer the potential consequence of damaging a very important connection for a monetary gain and realized deeply that it was not worth it. I made the decision to come clean to the person, take full responsibility for my decision and openly communicate about the shadow that had taken a hold of me. I ended up doing this a couple of days later and the person, while dissatisfied, did not hold a grudge as he felt I was sincere with my regrets. “Grandmother” challenged me throughout the night with some of my beliefs and actions. She would tell me “we can do this the easy way or the hard way”. This time, she only had to do it twice the hard way, which is something I am very thankful for. I developed a new understand regarding our relationships with demons. Demons are not able to have a hold on us unless we repress feelings or emotions. Denial is a necessary condition for demons. I got to understand better why Teal is so open with her emotions when sometimes it does not show her in the best light. By being authentic on how she truly feels, even if it can be frown upon as a spiritual teacher, she makes herself less vulnerable to these demonic entities. I am also trying to be more open about my own struggles so that many will follow, and together we can be more authentic and accelerate our path of healing and learning. The most deviant men today are often the ones that are looked with the highest regards: our presidents, heads of religious institutions or non-profit organizations, artists or sports idols. The books I mentioned above will make you realize this fact. They appear saintly for the media but participate in the worst perversions behind closed doors. Many people have become experts in projecting an appearance they give that have nothing to do with reality. As we come closer to seeing reality, the level of manipulation is such that we can feel lost in believing in anything or anyone anymore. In fact, when an action is made and tries to solicit positive attention, it is already suspicious. Productive narcissism as defined by Ross Rosenberg in the Human Magnet Syndrome is still narcissism. It is enough for our intentions, thoughts and deeds to be known by the divinity. Ultimately, as we need to cross over death, this is the only authority we will have to respond anyway.

I am currently counseling a business executive in developing a truly connecting and intimate relationship with his new partner. Despite his best intention, he is unable to feel into her, see her and understand her, which activate many insecurities in her and lead to conflict. He sees her as emotionally unstable and acting out for no valid reason. He thought I would help him to fix her so he became surprised when I confronted him that most of the work would have to get him to reconnect to his heart. When I talked to him, I felt true compassion, as I understand the struggle and suffering to go through to bring back to life our inner child. Unfortunately, in the business world, we are often rewarded to develop a sociopathic behavior. 10 years ago, I remember telling a new older executive I hired for my company that I was proud that I had never fired anyone in my company. He made fun of me and told me that he is going to get me tougher. Two years later, I had to go through a downturn and had to fire almost half of the company. He congratulated me for my “progress” and expediency. As a business executive, we need to make many decisions that impact people life and families. With the goal to succeed in a highly competitive environment, we do not give ourselves the time to feel and evaluate the consequence of our decisions on our employees’ emotional life. As a consequence, we learn to feel less & less. After 20 or 30 years in a position with responsibility, we have develop the capacity to disconnect so much that we have become incapable to develop a truly intimate and connecting relationship. We start treating our significant other like an employee as we start optimizing the home life in the same way as our office life. The irony is that most of our professional success is driven by the desire to be loved, admired and respected by our loved ones. It often leads us to a place where we are wealthier but actually alone. I am spending now a lot of my time undoing what I thought was useful to my career. I want to tell the younger generation that it was not worth it. Money & power is never worth selling your soul to the devil and disconnecting with your inner child. Do not compromise your personal integrity for short-term financial gains. It is however easier said than done and the temptations are plenty.

“Grandmother” brought to me a new understanding about people suffering with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This disorder comes often hand in hand with people who went through very severe abuse or have complex PTSD. These people do not have the means to cope with life. Borderline individuals are the psychological equivalent of third-degree burn patient. They simply have, so to speak, no emotional skin. For this reason, the slightest touch or movement can create immense suffering for the borderline. Yet, on the other hand, life is movement so they find themselves in permanent pain and crisis. I was shown that if everyone would lose their capacity to cope just like the borderline, then the world would rapidly become a better place. By coping, the rest of us are actually enabling and feeding the dysfunctionality of this world. Every day, we keep accepting the unacceptable: killing our animal friends for food when it is absolutely unnecessary, keeping our corrupt leaders unaccountable for their crimes, exploiting and polluting our earth for profit, ignoring the abuse of minorities as long as we are not part of it. What would happen if we were to become physically incapable to participate to all of this wrongdoing? A similar analogy can be made of autistic children who from a spiritual perspective are refusing to engage in our 3D reality as a wake-up call.

During the night, “grandmother” kept revisiting with me all these various topics, going deeper every time. At dawn however I shed my first tears as I felt fully the pain of separation with my two children, my little ones that will always be my babies. They are the flesh of my flesh (“la chair de ma chair” in French). It is so hard to feel alienated by them as I have not had contact for about a year. I am then shown the suffering of cows that are separated from their calves at birth for the dairy industry. The cows are then made to produce milk in an industrial way as they are in distress wondering what happened to their babies. The male baby calves are actually brought to a horrible death by the meat industry. The agony of the mother crying for her babies goes in the milk and the cheese that you eat everyday. As I relate to this suffering, I decide to let go of dairy products. It is not an easy for a French man as we are so attached to our cheese. I decide to use the natural cultural temptation of my body preferences and associate it with the future reconnection with my children. Every time I say no to dairy products, I connect with the suffering of these poor cows longing for their babies, which I connect with my own loss. This loss though uncomfortable is a way I can connect today with my children and send them my love on the inner planes. It does not matter how much it hurts, I make the commitment that I would rather be connected and be in pain rather than disconnected. I do not want to contribute more to the world misery. I still hold so much grief for losing my children. I realize however that I will be their caretaker for the rest of my life whether they accept it or not in this dimension. They live in me just as I live in them whether they are denying this reality presently. This is why it feels so ridiculous that they are currently made to believe they have no father or being assigned substitute fathers. Fortunately or unfortunately, the connection between biological parents and children can never be erased. I experience then compassion for my own parents and while I have diverging views with them, I promise to give an honest shot at loving them. I do not have to make what they have done OK to love them. I can love them even though I disapprove of many of their actions. The fact is they need peace and appreciation like anyone of us. If our children keep evolving and raise their standards for parenting, they will probably find that many of our behaviors were abusive. It is not always easy to love our parents especially if one of our parents keeps hurting us. However by being at war with them, we only are getting at war with ourselves. It is a difficult balance to achieve and only within the deepest places of our heart, can we know if it is best for us to maintain distance or develop a closer connection with them at a given time. Suddenly, I start breaking down as I relive the double abandonment from my mother and father when I was 11 year old. I am disappointed as I thought I had already worked through this trauma 5 years ago. Obviously, there was still much more to release as I now sob uncontrollably. “Grandmother” then shows me that my subconscious mind used my own children to re-experience the pain of this double abandonment. My daughter was the first one to disconnect with me. This feels like my mother who left me behind to live a new life as she is in too much pain. Then 6 months later, my son decides to stop all communication with me. This is a remembrance of my father who gives up on me, as he feels overwhelmed by the pressure he is under. I am called to apologize on this blog to my own children that I used them subconsciously to heal traumas from my own childhood. I want to tell them that the horrible experiences they had to go through are not their fault. This is not their pain. It is their mum and dad’s pains that were replayed subconsciously. It is unfair and cruel to them. This is why it is so important we do everything we can to heal emotionally before we have children. I have failed in this instance as I could not prevent the ordeal and tragedy my children had to go through. After I was able to fully relive this trauma, I hope they will feel more invited to reconnect with me as they could see I come more from a place to add to their lives instead of repeating the hurt from my past. In the meantime, I want them to know that they have teaching me unconditional love like no one before as I patiently wait for our reconnection. Papa thinks of you everyday and has never abandoned you.

And you “Grandmother”, I thank you for revealing to me so many insights that help me to become a better and more connected man. Your wisdom is grounded in simplicity, truth and heart connection. Thank you for guiding my steps. I will finish this blog with some humor from our friend JP Sears’ video “If Trump drank Ayahuasca”


Earth, the shame planet

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This morning when I woke up, I felt some intense and dark heavy energy. For the last 6 years, meditation has been my refuge when I was faced with challenging emotions. For this reason, I put on my favorite meditation music, sat and started to listen to my internal world. I have verified what Teal teaches, which is that strong emotional triggers can be used as a rope to get deep within yourself and to get unique insights about the healing that needs to be brought forth. Often the strong energy of the trigger will bring on an altered state of consciousness. In this altered state of consciousness, you can see yourself from a higher perspective.

The first energy I felt was connected to the loss of my two children that I have not been able to talk with for almost a year now. A wave of shame ensued. How bad do you have to be if your own children aged 11 and 13 refuse to have any contact with you? At a conscious level, I can understand the psychological dynamics at play. I intellectually understand that because of the many complex aspects involved in this situation I should not be so hard on myself. However I find that my inner child is unable to separate from the deep shame created by this separation.

In my coaching role over the years, I have worked with many people that have daddy issues. Some of them had the most horrible fathers but the children were still trying to have a relationship with their father. They were doing this despite an obvious lack of reciprocity. I am not saying I was the perfect father as I can see that I have made many mistakes along the way as a father. I did what I could with what I knew at the time. Losing all contact with both of my children (like I never existed for them in the first place) feels utterly unfair and cruel. It feels so painful.

At this time during my meditation, I remembered my talk with my friend Avtar in Atenas, Costa Rica. He was telling me that I was making the pain worse by creating a story about the situation that would make me feel worse and solicit other people’s support. I challenged him. I told him that there is a part of us that requires validation, care and concern when we are confronting pain and suffering. Dismissing and discounting the part of us that is suffering is even more damaging. I shared my personal experience with him that I had become an expert at coping. Earlier in my life, I developed the ability to perform & function no matter what the circumstance. I had created a spiritual personality that could always see the silver lining in everything and even convince myself that situations that are traumatic are “all perfect”. While this is true from a higher dimensional perspective, it was only after being with Teal that I realized that I was bypassing and that I had repressed a lot of traumas this way. As a result, they kept manifesting externally. This is exactly what happened with the loss of my children.

My spiritual personality had shut down my inner child and left me disconnected. I had lost my spontaneity and my aliveness. Avtar and I agreed that it is important to avoid the two extremes of identifying with the story around the pain and repressing it. There is always a higher alternative which is to fully experience the energy around the trigger without a story and let this energy runs its course without resistance within ourselves.

As I reflected back on our conversation, I let myself fully experience the pain without identification or without the need to create a story around my pain. I went to a higher perspective and saw that I was continuously creating and emitting the energy of loss in my life. I dove into the energy of loss and I saw my life from this perspective. I re-experienced the loss of intimate partners that I was so close to. I felt their betrayal. I felt the pain of losing my stepson. I felt the pain of losing most of my friends who cut all contact with me after I made the decision to leave the cult I was a member of when I was 23. I felt the pain of losing my own children after a horrendous court battle. I felt the pain of suffering the betrayal of colleagues and employees that I worked with so closely for a long time. I have a self-concept that I am a good guy however all these events seem to show a different story. They show a herd of people angry with me, seeing me as an awful person. I acknowledged this fact and sank into the deep shame underneath all these events.

In the meditation, I was brought back to my parents and I was shown their shame. Shamanism teaches us that we inherit all of the unresolved issues of our parents through our genes. My mother lost her own mother when she was 3 years old after a neighbor had reported the abuse of the new stepfather. She became a foster child raised by an old lady. She was taught to shower in the dark because her own nudity was considered shameful. She was forbidden to turn on the light to do her homework so as to not waste the money of her caretaker. She was instructed to use worn ugly clothes in order to not attract the envy and the negative attention of people that were paying for her upbringing through subsidies with their tax money. My mother’s first love died in his early twenties from terminal illness.

My father’s story is also built upon shame. Unbeknownst to him (until he was in his sixties), his mother became pregnant with him after a love affair with a Nazi officer during the Second World War. She moved away and managed to hide the truth of the situation. However in order to avoid a possible punishment, she gave her son away to an old lady in the countryside. She would send her money, and rarely would visit. Though she loved him, she was incapable of hiding her own feelings of shame about this liaison from her son. It was only after getting more stable in her life and marrying the man that I thought was my grandfather that she took her son back. He was 10 years old. At that time, he hardly knew any French and was acting more like a wild animal than a boy of his age. Considering their background, my parents did relatively well. However, all of the shame they were not able to transform was passed to my sister and to myself.

For this incarnation, I chose to be the son of two parents who were struggling with huge shame issues. During this meditation, I saw my soul contract with shame. 4 years ago, during a spiritual experience, I saw how earth was a prison planet. I saw a vision that we were all souls that had deviated from the divine plan. I saw that from our own freewill, we started to hurt other beings in the universe and as a result, were brought to earth to re-learn the consequences of our actions to become benevolent again. From this perspective, we are like fallen angels using earth as our purgatory. Our sense of guilt has brought us to our human experience.

For a couple of years, I volunteered in jail as a chaplain to provide spiritual guidance to inmates. I realized that most convicts carry an immense amount of guilt and this is how they become a match to the experience of jail. There are a lot of people that have committed much worse actions that walk freely in the world today. If they experience no guilt, they would not end up in jail. This is why someone like Doc (Teal’s abuser) is still walking freely today. In this new meditation I saw how shame, even more than guilt, was the energy that was attaching us to earth. It is acting just like the force of gravity.

In the spiritual community, people see Love as being the opposite of Fear. From this new perspective, I could see how all fears stem from shame. When I am jealous, I feel ashamed about not being good enough for my partner. When I am afraid to do public speaking, I am ashamed to look like a fool. When I am afraid to lose my job, I am ashamed that I cannot support myself or ashamed of the disapproval of my supervisor. Most conflicts in relationship emerge from shame as well. We are desperately trying to make each other wrong so that we can be good. This is a deep realization I had with Teal a couple of weeks ago and now, we decided to practice owning our shame consciously rather than deflecting it in order to avoid conflict escalation.

I recently read the excellent book of Ross Rosenberg called ‘The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us’. He describes the codependent, narcissistic and borderline personality disorders and how they play out in relationship dynamics. As a result of reading this book, I realized that all personality disorders live within us in various degrees because they are the direct result of emotional abuse or neglect that took place in our childhood. From that perspective, there is no mental illness but only traumas that have not been released or integrated. When I realized this true cause of personality disorders, I began to see that these personality disorders all come from the shame we acquired in the face of trauma.

As a child, if something bad happens to us, we need to create meaning to deal with the suffering and most of time the meaning we create is that we are bad and this is why we deserve to get into painful experiences. The personality disorder we will develop will depend upon our degree of powerlessness in face of trauma and our own predisposition for coping. Of the three types, the codependent is the least powerless. While still raised in an environment where their emotional needs cannot be met, they are able to somehow affect the response of their caretakers. For example, a child like myself could have felt powerless with his mom’s mood swings, emotional unavailability and dark suicidal thoughts however he may have been able to get his mom’s attention by crying to evoke her pity at the very least. Codependents learn to control other people through various emotional manipulation strategies because they are not able to meet their emotional needs directly.

The codependent has a desperate need to appear to be the good guy to cover up his own inner shame. The two other disorders (Narcissists and Borderlines) develop from complete and utter powerlessness to create any needed emotional reactions from their early caretakers and they will split into 2 groups. The first group develops the ability to shut down their feelings as a coping mechanism to cover their own shame. These people can end up being narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths. They become unable to feel. They replay their own inner drama externally, often by creating great pain around them. More often than not, men will adopt this coping mechanism because they are head centered. When the individual is unable to stop feeling as a coping mechanism, they will most likely develop borderline personality disorder. This often translates into self-injury, self-hate, suicidal tendencies and emotional deregulation. Women who are more heart centered are most likely to develop this personality disorder. This personality type creates a lot of turmoil around them however they are creating a living hell for themselves more so than for anyone else.

Some of the descriptions of these personality types may appear extreme, however we should consider that each one of us demonstrates some of these traits depending on the amount of unresolved trauma we experienced. And you will always find shame at the core of each dysfunction. Skilled therapists are reluctant to use these labels (narcissist or borderline) because they know their clients will automatically feel shame as a result of being put into that box, which would make the therapy unproductive. These terms are only useful when used from the point of view of self-observation and accessing the wealth of knowledge and tools available around them. They are not useful as a shaming mechanism.

Today, I did an exercise where I listed all the things I am ashamed of. To my surprise, there was over one hundred items in this list! It felt like I was finally being authentic and it helped me release a very heavy emotional burden that I felt I have been carrying for a very long time. I am only sharing with you a few of them because I am too ashamed of the rest 😉

  • I am ashamed that I have been such a terrible father that my children have chosen not to have a relationship with me
  • I am ashamed that I am so unattuned that people sometimes see me as dangerous
  • I feel ashamed of my heavy French accent after 20 years in the US
  • I am ashamed that I trigger my significant other often
  • I feel ashamed that I am not valuable enough to my father that he decided not to go to my wedding with Teal

This exercise helped me so much that I would like to invite you to share your own shame list with all of us in the comments below. We should consider that most institutionalized religions and most social organizations are anchored in shame. I am finding that one of the fastest ways to advance on the path of liberation is to become consciously aware of your shame.


Inducing altered states of consciousness to speed up evolution

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I never took drugs or spiritual medicine outside of a safe shamanic container. A good friend and roommate of mine first introduced me to medicine work when I was 26. At the time, I took LSD and it completely shattered my reality. It short cut my mind and gave me an insight into the truth of spiritual reality, love, consciousness, my own life and my ultimate purpose. What I especially loved about it is that it gave me a direct access to reality, what people call God or Source and the truth of who I am. Because of this experience, I developed a lot of respect for medicinal plants and would commonly recommend to seekers who feel stuck or who have minds that get on the way on their heart. Because many of these substances are illegal in the US, I found in my early thirties a completely safe and legal way to bring altered states of consciousness using holotropic breathwork. As a psychotherapist, Grof was involved in earlier tests on the therapeutic potential of LSD. When psychedelics were peremptorily banned in the 1960s, Grof developed holotropic breathing as a means of simulating the psychedelic experience of LSD without the drug itself. I found an excellent facilitator where I lived in San Francisco at the time: Todd Zimmerman. Todd taught one of our best workshop to date at Philia from March 11th to 18th 2017. While breathwork does not provide the psychedelic elements that you may found with substances, it does bring altered states of consciousness, visions into the subconscious, deep emotional release and inner journeying. Another benefit is that one is able to bring much more memory from the journey as this is a body centered experience.

After I started dating Teal, I decided not to do medicine work. First, she was not that comfortable with shamanic medicine because it is bringing very high intensity emotions and could prevent people from feeling fully day-to-day reality that now become dependent of substances to get a high. The cult that abused her used breathwork as a way to program her as well so she was not open to try it at the time. However, after she had a private breathwork session with Todd at Philia, she changed her mind completely on this practice and stated this was the single best healing modality I had introduced to her. From my perspective, the states of consciousness brought by these shamanic processes are just guides to show your potential and bring you back into alignment with your higher purpose. They give you a window into the actual emotional truth of where you stand in order for you to take adjustments or changes to live your life at a higher level. They are a sacred tool that should not be used for recreational purpose. And many who have not treated them with respect have been burned. I was comfortable stopping medicine work at the time too because I felt that Teal was acting as my medicine as she continued to shake my reality, not letting me believe my own lies and challenge my perception while our love story provided so much movement that any increased stimulation felt unnecessary.

After we decided the move to Costa Rica, I become very busy with all the logistics and ensuring that Philia would be a success from the get go. As a problem solver, I threw myself in this endeavor fully while I started to pay less attention to my relationship with Teal. Teal started to feel more and more uneasy. She started to express a lot of discontent that I could not understand. From my perspective, we were living on a magical property in beautiful Costa Rica, with our family and friends, starting a retreat center to heal people, a common dream we shared. Our relationship continued to deteriorate to a point that Teal & I started to feel hopeless. After almost two years, I felt I needed to go on a shamanic journey to get out of the dead end I found myself. We had received an application through Philia of a local Ayahuasca shaman so I invited him and his wife to meet with Teal & I. Teal instantly connected with him and felt guided to take this journey too but the shaman recommended that we do it on different days as some of our struggles related to our relationship. She had decided to go one day before. When she came back, she had difficulty walking, crashed with the intensity of everything she saw but relieved in many ways. We only had one hour together before I had to leave to my own journey. I remember her eyes full of love as she saw through her third eye what Ayahuasca would teach me by crashing me too. However, she was not allowed to share anything yet about her own experience and what would unfold for me.

Four other friends decided to join me for this Ayahuasca journey. For three of them, it was the first time taking it. It was only my second time. I had taken it previously 6 years ago with a Hispanic group and it had been a hard but very important learning experience. While I was the last one to take a cup of the sacred mixture early evening, I was the first to feel the effect of the sacred mixture and started to vomit only after a couple of minutes while it was only the first round even though I had fasted the last two days. The rest of the group took three turns and a friend even had four rounds and hardly felt anything. There is a saying that Ayahuasca always gives you what you need. Every person experience of Ayahuasca is unique. I started to purge heavily and hallucinate. My head was buzzing in an uncomfortable way. The surrounding shamanic music and the Costa Rica constant background of secators were being amplified to a state of discomfort. I was able not to go into panic, simply allowing the various fears to run their course while enduring the physical, emotional and mental pain of the experience. Teal had recommended me not to resist the place where Ayahuasca wanted to bring me. It took me two hours of torment & confusion to finally get to that place while the Shaman and his friend were attentive to all my needs while I was expressing distress as continued to purged. But when Ayahuasca came to finally take me, it hit me hard. An immense grief took possession of every cell of my body and I started sobbing uncontrollably. I saw my children. At that time, I had not seen them for a year (and it was at the court) and I have not talked to them for nine months as they refused to have any connection with me. Losing one’s children is probably one of most brutal experience one could ever experience. All this time, I had blocked the grief and the pain of this loss. I stayed in this grief space for about 14 hours simply feeling and sobbing. It was emotional painful however the release felt good too. I had told Teal & Mark (Teal’s ex husband) a week before that collapsing emotionally served no purpose. I realized that I was completely wrong as the crashing I was experiencing was healing me. I had so much grief accumulated in my body that I had become fully toxic to my extra sensory wife and I was more often than not choosing to dismiss her instead of acknowledging her distress or worse deflect my pain back to her. During the journey, I realized that at the same time I was grieving my children, my inner child was also grieving the fact that he did not have parents that were emotionally present to him. I was also grieving the fact that my personality had abandoned my inner child at a very early age that I had to be strong and to deal with childhood trauma on my own as I became a parentified child. I remembered myself not crying at all after the divorce of my parents when I was eleven, or my mother telling me that only me was capable of taking myself of the anxiety attacks I was susceptible as a young teenager. I remember learning to deal with my emotional pain alone because no one could be present with me during these times. I realized I had been abusing my inner child for over 40 years too. As is the case for development trauma, I gave myself the right to adopt new parents that could be fully present to my emotional needs. I saw clearly my coping mechanism to disconnect under pressure in order to do what I have to do. This state of disconnection had only increased Teal’s torment about our relationship. As this happened, the intentional community became more weary which increased the pressure on me and consequently on Teal which created a vicious circle. This vicious cycle was exacerbated as Teal’s outburst would make me shut down even further. I realized I needed more support from the team through a reliable management layer so that I could be the nurturing and attentive husband that my wife deserves. I saw my tendency to assume that something is wrong with her or try to fix her instead of acknowledging my responsibility in her distressed state. Regrets came through. I felt my lack of compassion towards her while holding her to very high personal behavioral standards that are not aligned to the extreme childhood traumas she endured. I also remember how Teal had shared with me so many words of wisdom or accurate explanation of what she and I were going through that I had completely dismissed. I saw clearly my resistance to her. As I suffered in the hands of a megalomaniac guru between 20 and 23 year old, I have used my logical mind as my safeguard and I have refused to take anyone on faith since. I have a need to understand to an extreme, and assume a position that other people are wrong unless they can prove me otherwise, which is a stress on relationships. I also saw my tendency to discount and dismiss other people. From four in the morning to noon, I continued to sob and experience my irrepressible grief. During that time, neither the shaman nor any of my friends came to support me. Because I was in an altered state of consciousness, I was as incapable as an infant to express the emotional need that I needed someone to hold my hand and to be present emotionally with me in this process. I had finally realized my need to feel supported and cherished by others instead of making it on my own, which I had done all my life. This time spent alone in my own torment seemed to feel like an eternity. I knew that I needed to have someone next to me and care for me to heal my development trauma to always do it on my own. Before that time, I did not really understand Teal’s words that the only way to heal from a development trauma is to meet the need that was not met in the first place. I had involuntarily inflicted a lot of pain on her through the trips to California I had to take from professional obligations last year not fully understanding her separation anxiety and not realizing that these separations were re-traumatizing to her as I thought she would simply get used to them as I felt I was doing the right and responsible thing. During these eight excruciable hours, I had to taste my own medicine and I had to deal with grief and isolation combined, and undergo the same ordeal that I had prescribed Teal a year ago. I stayed there for hours that seemed like months waiting to be liberated. While this was pure torture, I felt intuitively that this experience was brought to me so that I could feel her pain, which was one of the intentions I had set for this journey. All of my friends were done with their journey by early morning. They chatted, exchanged jokes and went for a nearby hike to a waterfall while I stayed suspended in limbo waiting, not knowing when I would be freed. Finally, around noon, the shaman came to me. I found the strength to make him understand that I need to feel his love and care as I finally get him to hold my hand. He gave me his unconditional presence but then start sharing with me some positive spiritual principles such as “there is only light and love”. This hurt me as I felt he did not see me or wanted to be with me in my pain. I start talking to him painfully to explain my need not to receive spiritual bypassing and I only wanted him to stay with me in my grief without trying to change or fix anything. I wanted to be loved unconditionally by him through his full presence, I wanted my deep sadness acknowledged, I wanted his empathy and compassion on how cruel the situation with my children had been. He got it. According the law of attraction, the painful reflection I am getting in my life is perfect but it is heartless and not conducive to healing when people reflect that high level abstract truth. Only a human perspective that is full of empathy, concern and compassion with all its raw emotions may bring healing. I only managed to start walking around 2 PM, about 20 hours after the start of the ceremony. The shaman brought me to walk into the river close to the property. He looked at me in the eyes and thanked me for the words I had shared with him. It really felt he brought a new understanding to support people even more deeply into their shamanic journeys. We looked at each other in the eyes and connected with profound love & respect. It is ironic that I managed to teach a Shaman a truth that I have been resisting so much to learn from Teal as my spiritual journey before her had been mostly about positive focus, spiritual bypassing and avoiding pain through filters and manipulating reality through my mind.

When I came back home, it felt good to be back and reconnecting with my beloved wife and share our mutual realizations from the journey. As I was now more aware that I have been disconnected, we decided that I should open to the community and ask for their help to provide their candid feedback if they find me insensitive so that I can be more aware of some of my coping mechanism to build a sincere desire for change. Unfortunately, it did not go as well as I expected. Eric shared his frustration that he is not yet in the place to help me because of accumulated resentment. The next morning, when we stopped by Graciela’s house, she announced that she is done with me that she is tired of getting hurt and does not want to support our relationship anymore without explaining what it meant in actual terms. Graciela’s face was marked with shock, anger and pain as she expressed her feelings. I was in disbelief not understanding how she could have built so much resentment and not even noticing it. This situation became unbearable for Teal as she was now put in the position to choose between her husband and best friend. Five members of the community spent the full day working on my difficult personality. I felt humiliated. This felt so unfair that everyone seemed to see that I was the only guilty one, but fault of another alternative I had to swallow to a full day of painful feedback, horrified by the picture held about me.

While I was hopeful that the Ayahuasca would heal Teal & I relationship, the opposite seemed to be happening. All the accumulated resentment built by the custody court case and my company transition that had translated into Teal’s worst possible nightmare were now all in the open and put considerable stress into our relationship. Over the next following days, some difficult arguments took place that made me feel more and more powerless, not really understanding the animosity towards me while I felt I did the best I could do every step of the way, always convinced I was doing the right thing.

Graciela had to withdraw for a couple of days from Teal & I to deal with the intensity of her emotions towards me. Graciela is a very conscious young woman fully committed to her personal development. Though it was clear my insensitivities and disconnection was a big part of the blow-up, she was able to acknowledge her own shadow and childhood traumas that I reflected back to her. She came to me with a pure and beautiful spirit of resolution. She had decided to come to me with an offering that will help me open my heart. Graciela is a woman working with Kambo and suggested she could help me through this modality to open my heart and let go of my protective narcissistic bubble. While my ego had resistance as I had to admit my own flaws, I know her ability and gift as a facilitator and decided to accept her present, especially that I was feeling again at a loss to create a beautiful relationship with the woman of my dreams. It would be a series a three sessions. Because of my schedule, we spread it out over a period of weeks.

The day before the first Kambo ceremony that I scheduled with Graciela, Teal was quite busy during the day and I was looking forward to reconnect with her in the evening. Unfortunately, when she came, Teal was very irritated towards me and I became the target of her anger and resentment. Our discussion went quickly downhill from there, so much that I asked her to practice silence together until we were able to express words that were conducive to resolution. Ten minutes of painful silence followed. Teal felt very resentful of two traumatic events that happened to us in 2016 when I had to make some difficult decisions that made her suffer though I stayed convinced this was the right decision. I started to explain to her the conundrum that I faced by using a simple example as the two other situations were too painful for a construction discussion. We brought a beautiful chime from Park City and Teal had hung it outside below our bedroom at Philia as it looked great there. Unfortunately, Costa Rica can have very windy nights and the chime would wake me up at night. I asked her if we could hang it somewhere else but she felt rightly so that was the best place for it. She suggested to tie it at night with a ribbon but I told it was unnecessary as I did not want to impose on her to do this every night as I felt she has way more important things to do. This example illustrated perfectly my coping strategy. I lived all my life as there is only two ways to deal with an unpleasant situation: you either cope by making the thing you do not like OK, or I change externally. Overtime, I managed to educate my willpower and endurance to such a degree that coping is typically my favorite option as I take the burden upon myself and do not need to create a conflict, however often at the expense of parts of myself. Also, to compensate for the fact that I can be more flexible on many small things, I developed a very strong core that is unmovable. Therefore, I would take sometimes a very strong stand and be extremely stubborn about it no matter what is the consequence to keep some form of identity. All of my life, I basically only gave myself two options. Either I cope by repressing my own needs and wants, or bulldoze my needs over others, which then forces me to cope to not care about the resentment of others. It never occurred to me before that there could be a third solution where I could consider a solution where both my needs and the other person needs would be addressed at the same time! It seemed obvious however it never occurred to me until that discussion with Teal. I suddenly realized how much damage this limited belief had done to my life and people close to me. That night, Teal actually put a ribbon around the chime and both of our needs were met easily. We practiced a role-play where we went back to the events where I imposed my needs over her, with this time the desire to consider both of us at the same time. To my surprise, this was actually possible but now it stopped building resentment and built trust instead as I actually showed genuine concern for her best interests. When a need conflict happens, the partners would need to express both of their needs and wants in a vulnerable way and start exploring out a solution together that could work for both. This may seem simple but I had never done this before. It was only either suppressing my needs or discounting the ones of others. It was always a lose-lose. Also, I realized that I used my spiritual practice all of my life to cope. I had become a master at filtering and altering reality, creating positive meaning to painful situations in order to feel better. This pattern runs in my family. My grandmother who is soon 101 year old is the happiest in her nursery home. She is surrounded by people who are dying, miserable and in pain most of the time and she only sees the positive. My father has no real relationship with his children, and a difficult marriage with heavy resentment but thinks his wife is too perfect. By being in denial, and making a painful and unacceptable situation OK, we actually make change impossible. Our filters will stop making reality painful, however unfortunately we then become enablers of very dysfunctional patterns and the repressed negative emotions find their reflection in the immediate environment. If a wife copes with the abuse of her husband, she accepts it and do not then try to change an ugly reality. By coping, adapting to our circumstances and to our world, we actually make things worse instead of better as we allow the dysfunction to continue. This intense realization had come just before the first Kambo ceremony just as the frog had started working on me.

I am now in front of Graciela before we start the Kambo ceremony. She asks me if I have an intention. Kambo is a hard process as the frog poison you absorb makes you vomit and purge in the most unpleasant ways. I call Kambo a mini Ayahuasca as it makes you purge in the same way but the journey lasts only one hour instead of a full night. These are medicines that are hard to get addicted to, as the purging is so unpleasant. I really did not feel at that moment to go through this experience again. I then looked at my present life and I realized the horror of my situation. The 3 people I love the most in this world resent me also the most also: my wife Teal and my 2 children from my previous marriage. I have had a disgruntled wife telling me she is not happy. I had the same situation in my previous marriage. I can feel the love nevertheless of Teal and my two children. I realize in this moment that I could not have dreamt of a more perfect wife. Even in my wildest dreams, I could not have wished for someone like Teal who is so spiritual, smart, beautiful, creative with a grand purpose. My children are also great kids: smart, gifted in so many ways with a big heart. At that moment, I decide to dedicate my Kambo session with Graciela to Love. I am doing this to bring back the flow of Love in my life for these 3 people. In this space, I can finally let go of my fear, take a leap of faith, as I have known for a long time that a life without Love is not worth living. Graciela now asks me to drink 1.5 liters of water. This is not easy and I feel bloated by the water. She then proceeds to burn my skin with a small wooden skin on my heart shakra where she decided to apply the Kambo. While unpleasant, this pain is nothing in comparison to the emotional pain I have just contemplated. She now spread the frog poison on my burns. After less than a minute, my heart starts beating intensely. I see the fear in some of my thoughts that my heart would stop beating. I let go of the resistance. I start vomiting, mostly water, as I fasted in the morning. It feels awful and deeply humbling as I keep purging. Fortunately, after only a couple of minutes, I vomit a core belief from my childhood called “Personne ne n’aime” which means “no one loves me”. It is hard to explain but it feels like this French sentence was physical and I actually spit out from my body at that time. I reflect and see the truth of this statement. I do not mean to put my parents under the bus as they did what they could with what they had. My father did not have parents until he was 10 year old and my mother lost her mum when she was 3 and she does not even remember any contact with her father. Because of their own family traumas, they simply could not give me what I was longing so much for, because they never received it in the first place: love, closeness and nurturing. The belief that “no one loves me” crystallized the harsh reality of how I was feeling as a child and stayed with me for almost the next 40 years. Core beliefs are so strong that your whole reality will actually get organized around them and create misery when it is a limited belief like this one. Following Teal’s core teaching, I stayed with the feeling, became fully present to my inner child holding this belief and validated him. I realized that even my external and worldly success was simply a coping mechanism for the fact I did not think I could be loved for who I was, and only performance could give me love. When I was six, my father gave me money as I brought back straight As from school. Therefore, I thought that if I were a good enough student, I would have love. At age 20, I passed the exam of one of the best school of France but crashed a couple of months after the admission when I realized that this accomplishment would not give me what I was so desperately looking without knowing: love. As a result, I joined a spiritual group, which ended up being a cult a couple of months later as I was desperately trying to find a way out of my emotional torment. I thought this spiritual group was everything I had always looked for. However, I left disillusioned 3 years later after realizing all the corruption and abuse orchestrated from the leader. I had been used and not loved. At 26, I entered a 15-year relationship & marriage, which brought two wonderful children in a course for status, success and money in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, when we mutually decided to part, I was ostracized by my ex wife and her parents and lost my children as a result. At that moment, I saw that my marriage had been more a contract based on mutual benefits than a relationship based on real love. In order for me to heal the child that believes that no one loves him, I need to give him what he truly wants: Love & Appreciation. Even at Philia, I had created a situation where team members would resent me because of my domineering attitudes that were focused on execution rather than connection. I also made it OK for people to resent me as long as they do their job. I have watched Teal do the opposite, something spending up to a full day to solve a problem with a person. I thought initially it was a complete waste of time not realizing she was working on alignment, and once people are fully aligned they will go the extra mile, be proactive and amaze you with the quality of their work. I made a commitment at that moment that it was not OK for me to be resented anymore. I had to stop this especially that our retreat center is based on connection. I felt I understood authenticity for the first time. I cannot be authentic by coping or imposing my needs above others. Instead, I need to focus on a third alternative that can only come through when I interiorize the other person needs. I saw the community too. I saw clearly in my medicine journey that one of our team members with responsibilities had been resentful towards me. To heal my inner child, I became apparent to me I had to stop making it OK for me to be resented. I put my life savings in this property and enormous efforts both for the move and property. I have not done that to get people to resent me. It felt very unfair. While I understood I created this situation to prove the belief “no one loves me”, I had to put a clear stop to this to start healing this destructive belief. I decided to meet with this person the same day. It did not matter anymore how long it would take to solve our difference and I made the commitment to live an environment where I am liked instead of feared. I can still be true to my own needs and their needs at the same time. I committed to do what it takes for people to like me. I have had the attitude that I do not care what people think about it as long as things get done.

Ten days have passed and it is now the time for the second Kambo with Graciela. The positions of the burns are typically intuitively felt by the shaman just before the ceremony. But the night before, I had woken up Teal by talking in my sleep saying very clearly “6 points in the palindrome”. While I did not this before, a palindrome is a word that reads the same backward and forward such as “madam”. While at breakfast, we felt intuitively that it is a message for the Kambo ceremony as “points” are another word for the burn marks used to absorb the frog medicine. Graciela does a Google and tells us that “eye” is the only body part that is a palindrome. This discovery triggers me. After I started dating Teal, I had told her I did not need to take Kambo because she was my medicine. While this is true, the other reason I did not want to do Kambo because it makes marks on the body and all my life, I have been uncomfortable with anything that alters the original nature of the body. Now, they are talking about a burning stick in the eye! Teal asked me to think what it would really mean. I feel intuitively that it must be the third eye however I am thinking that the last thing I want to do is to have burn marks on my forehead especially that I am an important upcoming business meeting in the US. I start to complaint, revolt and state clearly that I do not want to do it. Teal looks at it and she starts experiencing genuine sadness and she shed a couple of tears. She said “How ironic” as, in the same token, I would rather look good than love her. Over the last previous days, we had a couple of arguments where I deflected my shame into her and made her feel like the one with problems while I was actually the one creating the trigger in the first place. During these times, I had chosen to defend my self-concept and look good instead of seeing the truth. I started to feel her pain, disappointment and sadness about me. At that moment, I remember the time where I would have given everything just for the opportunity to have a date with her. I reminded myself of my commitment to remove any wall that stands between me and her, and my promise to her that as long as I can breath, I will always choose to love her. Her Love had defeated me and I accepted reluctantly to get Kambo from my forehead as I reminded myself that my relationship with her is to me so much more important than looking good. I started thinking about wearing a hat, or put my hair in front of the marks to get more comfortable about the idea and get into acceptance with this higher guidance. She re-assures me that she can make them look good. An hour later, I am laying down ready for the application of Kambo, I remind myself of my intention “I want to see” focusing on my 3rd eye chakra. Six burns are applied on my forehead. Shortly after, I experience a faster heartbeat, and I start to emit some tones to clear energy in my throat chakra that is between my heart and third eye. The medicine takes much more time to work on me than the previous session. It took at least ten minutes before the need to purge. Teal is in the room typing on her computer writing her next Ask Teal episode. I reach out to her in a vulnerable to stop doing it, as I really need her undivided attention. This is ironic too as I am typically the one absorbed on my computer tuning other people out. A vision starts coming through. My consciousness becomes Teal as a child on a table. I am in the process of being tortured by Doc. He shows absolutely no empathy like he is working on a robot. I experience unbearable pain. On the other side of Doc comes the spirit of Teal’s mother. She does not see Teal’s pain and push it back onto her not understanding why her daughter is acting so uncontrollably and wondering what is wrong with her. She gets angry with her. Back on the table, I feel like I am made to swallow my own vomit. I am in pain as I purge but I realize suddenly that I am so lucky that I am able to scream or vomit. It feels like such a good release and I receive the loving attention of both Teal and Graciela in the room. When Teal was tortured, she did not have the luxury of any form of release. Doc would put something in her mouth to prevent her from screaming. The torture experienced felt so much more horrific when there is not even a possibility to release and to witness the complete emotional disconnection from Doc. I am now transported into a different mindscape that I see is connected to a vision I had 5 years previously during a breathwork facilitated by Todd Zimmerman (Todd came to Philia from March 11th to 18th 2017). At that time, five years ago, one of the women breathing in the room was reliving a rape she had experienced as a teenager. She yelled from such a profound part of her being that it started to affect me and I relived intuitively a sensation of a past life where I was a father where my father got raped and I made it worse through my own behavior. Now, under Kambo, what was an alluring feeling 5 years ago during that breathwork session appears as a very clear past life in high definition. We are back in time and I am a spiritual teacher in India with an important following. I am a scholar, I hold an impressive spiritual knowledge of the scriptures. I think I know everything, and I have always a response to any of my followers’ questions. My ego is huge and I am full of myself. I am respected and feared, and some of my domineering and inflexible attitudes create antagonism too. Through unfortunate circumstances, my only daughter gets raped by some of my enemies as they try to hurt me through her. I see myself being furious at my daughter telling her how she brought ridicule and dishonor onto our family and my reputation. I shun her and punish her. I make it all her fault. Because of my hardness, cold and cruel behavior, she commits suicide and dies. When my followers inquiry about this tragic event, I tell them with utter certainty as someone believing his own lies, that a life had come where she would awaken so she decided to take the opportunity and exit her body. Deep down, I know I am the one responsible for the death of my only daughter because I kept spreading shame on her open wound. During that life, I never let myself experience consciously the responsibility for her death. From that point on, I went downhill and created a lot of damage among my followers. I see how my cult experience in this life was a direct consequence of this karma. I see clearly who is the reincarnation of my daughter in this life. I experience sincere regrets towards this person and I got to better understand her antagonistic behavior towards me that never seemed to make sense. I experience a desire to make it better, and can now more easily let go of her behavior that I judged as unfair. I understand that lack of empathy is the most dangerous thing of the world. If every one of us could feel each other pain, the world would be so different. Family quarrels, work oppression, crime, wars would end immediately. I decide to make a total commitment to allow myself to feel. I realize that I used the tools of self-development and spirituality to make myself comfortable and avoid pain no matter what are the circumstances and I became a “master coper” as a result. I now consciously choose to feel in full awareness even if it involves pain in order to become fully alive.