Before we embark on our plant medicine journeys, it is very important to prepare our body, mind and spirit. Plant medicines usually bring on intense experiences. Our preparation would help us to get the most out of them. It is like learning the basic language and reading a guidebook before we travel to a new country.
Getting the basic knowledge on the medicines. This includes the tradition and origin of the plants, the effect and the use of the plants, the nature and potency, what body sensation, visual and auditory experiences and psychological effects they may bring. Sometimes it helps to read about others’ experiences but do not get too caught up with them. Too much knowledge might sometimes hinder us from working with the medicines intuitively.
Understand our role and our own power in the healing journeys. Most plant medicines require us to be actively engaged in the process. The more we show up to the process, the deeper we can go in the healing. Plant medicine journeys are active, empowering and healing process for us. By doing that, we realized our own inner healer and innate confidence.
Prepare our physical body by following a diet if it’s required. A healthy, balance diet, good nutrition, gentle exercises and stretching are always good for medicine journeys. Also take time to rest and relax before the journeys.
Prepare our mind:
By doing a mental diet, avoid negative conversations and thoughts, be aware of what we let in our mind. It is good to avoid violent images on TV and movies.
By developing an observer mindset. Do not judge our thoughts, emotions and actions, just be aware of our responses and habitual patterns.
By setting our intentions. Intentions link to the results. When we know what we are looking for, what want to learn, discover, release or create, we then recognize the signs, feedback and insights in the process. Intentions give us purpose and direction, which is very important for intense journeys. Intentions can be our anchor throughout the whole experience. By setting our intentions, we acknowledge the role of personal responsibility and the role of a much greater intelligence that is always guiding us. Once we set our intention, we can deepen the conversation with our soul by contemplating on it.
By preparing to leave our comfort zone. That is the place where we build strength and inner stability. Welcome challenges and embrace hardships.
Spend time in silence and in nature. Try to raise our vibration by showing appreciation to the medicine, to life, and to all the challenges. Allow ourselves to speak to the plant spirit, pray and ask for guidance.
Tune into our own internal bearings to hold us through the intensity and expansiveness. Learn navigation skills such as breathing (shamatha meditation), witnessing body sensations, letting go of resistance.
Stay alert, lucid and mindful during the process.
When it's overwhelming, anchor ourselves with our breaths. Use the breath to work with fear.
Be open to whatever needs to be seen.
Surrender to the experience, let go of expectation.
Trust the process and do not jump to conclusions too fast.
Lean into challenges, slowly but surely.
At difficult moments, visualize something uplifting and comforting such as an image of Deity, mother's face, mountain top.
Bring a sacred object, such as crystal, mala, sage. They would help to anchor our spirit when the process becomes overwhelming or chaotic.
Know that everyone has their own experiences and they can be very different. Show up to whatever experience that is coming up for us, ready to have authentic conversation with our own souls. Ready to see the truth, ready to listen and receive the messages, ready to work things through, ready to roll with the waves, ready to open up for forgiveness, love and compassion.
Get our home environments ready for after the journeys:
Make sure there is enough nutritious food.
Keep the place uplifted and clean.
Get a good and nourishing book ready to stimulate our minds.
Get soothing music ready for relaxation, such as mantras.
If it's possible, take a few days off work and allow ourselves to integrate and to rest.
If we have a living partner or family, let them know that we may need space and quiet time after the experience. Let them know that when we are ready to talk and to evaluate, we will be there.
After the journeys, take time to stay inward, do not rush to interpret or make sense of the experience. Let ourselves sit with it. The processing phase can last for months. So, prepare a journal to write down inspirations and insights. A lot of understandings come clear a long time afterwards.