Although ‘transformation’ has been a big part of my vocabulary these past few years, the word has been even more present with me lately and seems to be unfolding in new ways. Not just for me but also for the people around me.

Where this blogpost has ended is not where it began. Transformation and change are such big subjects and there are so many levels and roads to it. It is a never ending topic. I suppose this blogpost in itself has gone through many changes to get to this point, and if I was to keep on writing Im sure it would change and transform yet again. That is how it is. We constantly transform.

When transformation arrives

One of my clients who recenly experienced the plant medicine Ayahuasca for the first time is now going through a very big tranformation. He said to me: “I have waited for this transformation to take place for so long and for years I been preparing for it. Now when it is happening it is a lot to take in.” This brought us to a conversation about the many shapes and forms transformation can take and how it also sometimes show up in unexpected ways.

Are we ever really ready for change?

I am also personally moving through a new phase of my own transformation and it too feels like a lot to take in. One of the big themes in my life is “self love” and a big part of my own transformation has to do with exactly that. A week after I had the conversation with my client I suddenly started laughing as I realised that I was going through a very similar process. I could suddenly see how all the new things that seems to happen around me these days are in fact new colours of self love. Self love is showing up in completely new and unexpected ways – just like new petals unfolding from the same flower.

One step at a time

I was reminded of a very important lesson during a recent Plant Healing Ceremony: Change takes time and things need to unfold in their own way. Although change and transformation can seem to happen from one day to the other, it is likely to be a long process. Sometimes the process seems to be standing still and other times it might feel like someone placed their foot on the accelerator. nevertheless, everything is taking place step by step.

There are no quick-fixes

I was very ready and working hard to get down to the root cause of what my client carries. But it seemed I couldn’t get access for some reason. Although both she and I had the best intentions to “get to the bottom of this”, the plants had a very clear message: “Things need to unfold little by little and they are unfolding in the exact way they are supposed to. Things cannot be forced and there are no quick-fixes”. I had to laugh at the ‘quick-fix’ bit, because I KNOW this. There are no quick-fixes, but darn patience is a virtue. Sometimes we can get eager to get straight to where we’re headed but yes it is also about enjoying the journey.

Time for change

There can be so many reasons why change and transformation suddenly appear and make themselves known. Usually it happens when something in our lives is not working for us. Something needs to change. This can be everything from self destructive behaviour to unbeneficial repetitive patterns or looping thought patterns. What all these aspects have in common is that they are most likely defence mechanisms in one form or the other. They appeared at some point to protect us from something, and if we are ready to look at what this might be, then we are also ready for change.

This can be a very long phase, however. Accepting that something is not working and something needs to change is a big mountain to climb for most people (myself included). Deep down we don’t want to change. Our mind prefers to keep on doing whatever it is doing (even though it is unconstructive), because this is what we know. And what we know is safe. Change can be very scary and it takes courage to go there – even though change might be for the better.

Entering awareness

Once we have accepted that something is not working and that something needs to change, awareness enters the picture. I suppose you could say that this is the next step of the journey. By bringing awareness to whatever is not working for us we also slowly begin to bring our focus towards change. What can I do to change this or that?

It is time for a journey into our own self discovery. This can take many forms and because of that this phase can also be very long. And this brings us right back to the quick-fixes – they simply do not exist. We all have to individually try out different things to figure out “what works for me?”. This could be doing yoga, meditation, exercising more, eating healthier (notice how all of these are aspects of self love) or it could include educating ourselves through spiritual teachings, self help books or anything that helps to broarden our horizon.

What can make this phase frustrating is that it is all about try and error. Things simply do not change over night. We will have to visit and revisit our themes over and over again to get more pieces to the big puzzle. But the beautiful thing is that with every piece we move one step closer to discovering who we really are and to healing what needs to be healed deep down.

The pendulum

I was in my late twenties before I acknowledged and accepted that something needed to change. As I mentioned earlier my big theme is self love, and the lack thereof was manifesting through self destructive behaviour. This could be in very tangible forms such as eating unhealthy or drinking too much alcohol. But it could also be indirect in NOT doing things that were good for me – fx not going for a long walk, not meditating or not exercising. It could also present itself in more subtle ways as how I talked to myself etc.

I was subconcsiously sabotaging my own healing process

I enjoyed entering this journey towards self discovery and finding my self love, but after a while something became very clear to me: It seemed that every time I did something positive for myself I would soon thereafter do something equaly negative. It was like I was subconsciously sabotaging my own healing process. And of course I was. As we have already established – change is scary. This I did not realise in the beginning, however, but the more self loving I became the more self destructive I also seemed to get. It was like a pendulum swinging from one side to the other – slowly swinging higher and higher.

To be frank, this was very frustrating! Every time I felt like I was on the right track I realised that I had not at all gotten to the bottom of it. I realised that I was stubbornly sabotaging myself and was not at all willing to give up my self destructive behaviour. And I think this is a very common pattern. We will go through the same things again and again until we are finally able to say “ENOUGH!” – say it and mean it!

Hitting rock bottom

I knew deep down that I would somehow need to reach rock bottom before I would take myself seriously. We need to get pushed so deep into our own self loathing before we really act upon it. Not until then do we really understand the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in. To be honest I was waiting for it and longing for it. I was afraid in what way it might show up, but by the end of all that pendulum swinging I was ready for it to stop. My self sabotaging behaviour was ruining my life.

I had already planned my journey to the jungle with the Ayahuasca Foundation, when I reached this point. My trip got postponed due to outer circumstances and this seemed to make me reach a peak and a realisation that I could not wait any longer. Luckily the Universe came to my aid. I flew to the jungle and my 8 week Initiation Course began. This was the turning point I needed.

Intellectual vs. physical knowledge

I am forever grateful for the healing that took place in the jungle during those 2 months. What my Plant Diets and numerous Ayahuasca ceremonies helped me with (amongst countless other things) was to FEEL everything. I got to feel my pain, my negative thought patterns, my insecurity, the way I viewed myself and the trauma my body carried. By feeling it I understood it and this is when the deep transformation within took place.

I needed to feel everything in order to fully understand it.

I definitely do not think that plant medicine is for everyone, but there is something crucial about a mind to body experience. All the intellectual knowledge that we collect needs to also be felt by our bodies somehow for the messages to truly sink in. This could for example be through sound therapy, breathwork or winter/ice bathing. All these are powerful tools to getting into the body.

Inner and outer transformation

One thing I have learned throughout my own process and by watching others’ processes is the effect of manifesting inner transformation through outer transformation. As we enter the deep layers of our inner healing we might feel very drawn to manifesting this through outer tangible changes. On smaller scales this could be cleaning up and throwing away things that does not serve us anymore. On bigger scales it might be changing jobs or physically relocating.

It can also include changing the way we look. Our hair for example is very much tied up with our identity. I had for example wanted to get dreadlocks for many years but was very concerned and occupied about with people’s opinions. When I decided to get dreadlocks it became a very symbolic manifestation of self love – I was doing what felt right for me. The very opposite can be for someone to shave their head to free themselves from the old and make room for the new to blossom.

What’s in a name?

I used to never understand why someone would change their name. I thought it was strange how people would go to a numerologist and come out with some long strange name. But I get it now. It was probably my own insecurities that were tied up in judging others . But changing our name is another way to manifest change. This could be in the beginning of a transformation in order to help the process along. It could also be later on to symbolise the transformation someone has already gone through.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

– William Shakespeare

My name is Anne Marie. I worked many years in international environments and people started calling me Ann Mary. As I entered the plant medicine space it turned into Mary. For many years this was the name most people called me. One early and very foggy September morning during an Ayahuasca retreat I experienced a rebirth. This is when the name Elvira came to me. I knew instinctly that this was my name somehow.

I have had many chats with the plants about this name. Did this mean I was supposed to change my name to Elvira? What about Mary? And I also like Anne Marie! I was really puzzled about all of this. Then my biggest Teacher Plant came to me and said:

You can call yourself whatever you like. It will not change who you are. But embracing a name can help you become who you want to be.

Noya Rao

Accepting your transformation

No one ever said that change is easy. This goes not only to ourselves but also to our surroundings. As we begin a journey of inner healing, transformation in some form is inevitable. Although we might be ready for this change, our surroundings might not be. These are some of the more unexpected aspects to changing.

When we begin to change this will undoubtedly have an effect on our surroundings and the people in our lives. Change is difficult and although we have asked to change the people around us did not ask for it. And maybe they thought everything was fine just the way it was. By changing ourselves we force the people in our lives to relate to a new version of us and this might be very inconvenient for them. Perhaps we had a subconcious role to play in their life that suddenly doesn’t fit anymore.

For the people who truly care for us the change might be difficult, but they will accept it. They will accept it because they love us. They want us to be happy in whatever form that may be. If this is not the case we might have to reevaluate that relationship. We might have to accept that some relationships do not work for us anymore. We do not work for them and they do not work for us. This too is difficult, but learning to set boundaries is yet another important step towards inner healing.

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