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I left the temple with a determination unlike anything I had experienced before. Moving with haste, I pushed the door to my room open and gathered my things. It was here, now, that I’d make my mark. No longer would I follow anyone else’s lead.

I would leave this life behind. I would carve my own path. I would flee this existence I felt I had already exhausted. They would worry, sure, but it had to be now. Pages and pages of text wouldn’t describe how I felt in this moment, so with nothing more than a smiley face quickly drawn on a piece of paper and left on my brother’s bed, I left and disappeared into the darkness. Maybe he would understand, maybe not. But it had to be now. I’d mail them more smiley faces so they knew I was alive, but I’d leave it at that. They would never see me again.

Where would I go? Where would I stay? I had no idea, but isn’t that what life is all about anyway? No safety nets. No plans. I would wander. I would live. I’d find the restaurant to become a regular at. I’d find the stranger who would become a best friend. I’d create familiarity in the unknown. I’d explore. I’d discover.

Quick flashes of this new alternate life invaded my mind. The timeline fractured, allowing me to see alternate stories within this path. Trials and obstacles, laughter and friendship, heartache and love played out before me.

A flash.

I found myself in a back alley, fighting for my life against a Peruvian assailant. Pure rage and an instinct to stay alive pulsed through me, during my first Tyler durden-esque test. This is where I learn survivability. This is where I learn my limits, and how far I will go to stay alive. Scarf over my mouth, two carved blades pulled from their forearm sheaths.  I took my stance and with a burning glare, stared down my opponent. The mugger had more to lose than I did. I won’t die here…

The moment froze and dissolved

Another flash. I saw myself climbing a mountain, wrapped in dark furs and layers to protect me from the falling snow. It was me as I am now, yet despite the bulk of the clothing, the physical form was clearly a bit taller, a bit older, and a bit stronger. Time had obviously passed. The snow crunched under my feet as I moved toward a house the loomed in the distance…

Dissolve

On a dusty mountain path he stood at the end of a pistol. All of his scrapping and fighting, his experiences and friendships meant nothing. His blades were as useless as his will to survive. He would die here. The bullet would hit him in the belly and a second would shatter his skull.  The body was left in a shallow grave on the side of the road. No identification on his person, he would be left unknown. A family would never know what happened to their son. Just another missing person in a sea of missing persons around the world. I saw my mother sobbing and my brother left in ever searching tears….

Dissolve

Penniless, and struggling to survive. My clothes were torn and aged, as was my body. I had fully de-evolved into a fractured and broken human. A beggar who once had a life but had spent so much time in isolation, his previous life seemed so far away. So distant, that he wasn’t sure if it was an illusion created by a tired mind or if there was actually a family far off somewhere wondering where he was. Turned away time and time again from businesses and outlets that would let him reach out to a world he once knew. He resolved himself to the streets…

Dissolve

Locked in a prison, stripped of any type of human rights. He desperately tried to contact the family that was painfully searching for their son. Time passed and he continued in vain. He would be filled with regret and a yearning for the embrace of his family. Knowing there were people looking for him, yet the inability to reach that connection would haunt him in his cell…

Dissolve

Their meeting seemed superficial at first. She happened to speak to him after an ayahuasca ceremony they had joined independent of one another. Neither knew that in that fleeting moment within the temple, that a partnership would take root. She would join his path and be by his side as he ventured forth. From stranger to friend, friend to companion, companion to lover. Her dark features complimented his in every beautiful way. She only had eyes for him, eyes that flickered in the candlelight and mimicked the flame with her desire…

Dissolve

It was then, at the end that I saw myself, standing strong. This pinnacle of masculinity, this hardened man. Coated in dirt and scars, a runic scarab tattoo masterfully etched into the entire span of my back and entwined down each arm with solid black bars running parallel to one another. Glowing purple letters of an ancient script nestled between the bars of black ink. The already wild hair had gone full mane and was upheld by a purple Peruvian scarf, not unlike the one I wear now, but the cloth evolved along with the body. Double the length, thick, and was wrapped around my being like a serpent writhing in the wind. The body was strong and the mind was silent. An obelisk that had fully lived; a person that had a story. I looked at myself, as if looking into a mirror, and smirked.

I opened my eyes.

The moment could be perfectly summed up by the quote that found itself repeating in my head “To wake up from that after, after years, after decades… after we’d become old souls thrown back into youth like that”

I just lived an entire story. I witnessed a full life and a violent death, possibilities and alternate paths, and yet here I sat, still the temple. I hadn’t moved more than an inch.

I couldn’t grasp what just happened. This was my 5th ayahuasca ceremony and I had never experienced anything so profound.

Despite the fear, the death, the courage it would take to make such a life a possibility, in that moment, returning to the world I already knew scared me more. How does one return to NJ when you’ve realized you have zero responsibilities to return to? I was deprogrammed. I was removed from the linear route and in its absence, shown unlimited possibilities.

I didn’t have to abandon my family, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing but imaginary constructs to turn me away.

It took me hours to piece myself back together. But even now I’m left with the question…

…What if…?

Have a core shaking ayahuasca experience

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