Mateo Buki: Our guest today is Shaheer S., also known as “Sha.” His first encounter with plant medicine was in March 2021 at Casa Del Sol. He was deeply touched by the medicine and was inspired to transform his life.
Sha, please tell us about your life before attending Casa Del Sol, and what your expectations were for the retreat.
I was a very different person before plant medicine. I was focused on seeking out material things, which I thought would make me happy. I pursued a music career as a hip-hop producer as I thought it would bring me wealth and fame.
However, during the pandemic, being forced into isolation allowed me to spend a lot of time with myself, by myself. It was then I realized I had a lot of unhealthy thoughts and emotions, anger being the most prevalent. I thought I was going crazy. I could no longer escape the reality that I had been distracting myself all my life. I realized I needed help. I first tried talk therapy, which was helpful in identifying the reasons behind my strong emotions, but something was still missing.
Life is mysterious because a close friend of mine, who was also dealing with a lot of strong emotions, invited me to join him in doing a plant medicine retreat in another country, at a place called Casa Del Sol.
To be completely honest, I had no idea what plant medicine was, nor did I have any idea what I was signing up for. The only thing I knew was there was a possibility for me to heal, and that was enough for me to take a leap of faith in going to Casa Del Sol.
What happened during the retreat?
When I got to Casa Del Sol, I decided to be completely honest with myself, and give my best effort although I was stepping into the unknown. Very early on during the retreat, I admitted out loud in front of others that I struggled with anger, and that it had caused me much suffering in my life. When I said the words out loud, I felt the weight already coming off. What was magical was there was zero judgment from anyone there. I felt very safe. It was during this moment that I fully embraced the possibility of a meaningful change in my life.
And that change came during my first Ayahuasca experience. To summarize the experience, I felt and truly thought I was going to die. At that moment, in the face of death, I realized all the anger and negative emotions I had been carrying with me for so long didn’t matter anymore. At first, I was fighting the process. As you can imagine, it’s really hard to give up and let a part of what you think is your identity, die. At some point, I stopped resisting and surrendered. It was then I realized I had been living my life in ignorance. I clearly saw how I took my life, the people in my life, and the many simple joys of life for granted. At that moment, I begged for a second chance. I said “if you grant me a second chance, I will clean up my act and appreciate life.” I got that second chance, and then I woke up. I had the biggest smile on my face when I woke up because I knew at that very moment, that I would no longer be sleepwalking through life.
What happened after the retreat going back home?
When I came back home from Casa Del Sol, my relationship with myself dramatically improved, along with my relationships with my loved ones. I also stopped making music as I realized I had the wrong motivations. I stopped drinking alcohol completely, and also got off social media. I had this desire to now live more consciously.
I started living my life with a greater sense of ease, and freedom. I actually now enjoy spending time with myself, without distractions. I have a more appreciative attitude towards life. My eyes are open now. I’m also much more aware of the suffering of others, and that motivates me to cultivate compassion, both for myself and others.
What were the top three challenges you faced with “integration?”
- Being in a big city, where there’s a lot of pressure to achieve “success,” I felt alienated because my aspirations in life have completely changed.
- Change is not easy! I had some fear and difficulty accepting this new path that I was on.
- Other relationships in my life also changed. I don’t enjoy many of the things that I once did in the past such as drinking alcohol, and that had an effect on my relationships.
What would you advise a person that is seeking healing or transformation?
Dear brother, dear sister, give yourself an opportunity for change, even if it looks foreign. Step into the unknown! Listen to your intuition, and take a leap of faith. Deciding to do plant medicine could very well be the pivotal moment your life begins to truly change, heal, and transform.
And Casa Del Sol is the perfect place to embark on your plant medicine journey. I felt safe, I felt seen and heard, and I felt an enormous amount of love during my time there. I went to Casa Del Sol as a “stranger” from another country, but left knowing I was now part of a larger family! I sincerely hope you come join our family as well.