How To Not Reject Yourself

John Wood, Founder of Rageheart

by John Wood

Daily Growler David asks:

No food or water for the first five days? That’s crazy. Is that legitimate? A cursory search on Google said that the brain starts to shut down if you don’t have water for that long.

I know it sounds crazy but I didn’t explain it correctly (my bad 🤦‍♂️).

For the sake of simplicity, I say “no food or water for the first 5 days” but in reality, it’s a little more complicated than that.

The first 3 days of the dieta, we meet at the ceremony house at 4pm each day to “drink our plants”.

Think of a 600ml (20oz) bottle of water with plant leaves marinating in it 🤤

That’s what we drink.

1/3 a day for the first 3 days – 200ml (6oz) a day.

Then day 4 and 5 are completely dry.

No food, no water and no plants.


We can end the fast any time after the first 3 days 🥳

If my lips are blue… if I’m passing out… if there are any emergency danger signs… I eat or drink (or both).

The first 2 diets, I did the full 5 days (the maximum).

This time around, I drank on the night of the 4th day and ate around noon on the 5th day.

That’s 4.5 days without food and strictly speaking, only 1 day without a drop of water.

See what I mean about complicated?

It’s much easier to simply say “no food or water for 5 days”.

I wrote more about this in my February dieta emails here.

What about the insights? What’s the point of this dieta thing? 🤔

Like most things in life (and especially anything to do with psychedelics), it’s very difficult to put into words what it’s all about… but I’ll tell you about something from last night / this morning.

I’ve been having lots of dreams where a certain family member shows up. Last night, they were cooking in the kitchen. Later on, I had a huge argument with them. In my February dieta, I kept dreaming of them driving a car with me in the back seat.

For the longest time, I thought that this person showing up was a bad sign. That I’d picked up something from them that I needed to get rid of. That I had some block or whatever related to this person.

But this morning, I remembered what my teacher Felix said a few days ago.

“Everything in the dream is YOU…”

It’s all you.

In other words…

Even if I see other people, I’m actually only seeing myself.

With that in mind, I began to wonder if this person in my dreams was actually just a part of myself that I’d rejected.

Why would I reject a part of myself?

Because it reminded me of this person in real life.

As that landed, I realized I could finally accept this part of myself. That’s when I felt my whole body relax. Everything opened up. The mind got real quiet. My eyes even got wet as if I was about to cry.

What happens when we reject a part of ourselves?

We might think it’s gone but often (or always?) it hides in the shadows, controlling and driving us without us realizing it.

This is where shadow work gets its name. We learn to work with the parts of ourselves that hide in the shadows.

This is the magic of dieta.

Fascinating insights and realizations that come through our dreams (and so much more).

Shadow work is simply one aspect of the process.

Interesting, right?

While I never use the term “shadow work” to describe the nervous system work I do in The Rageheart Academy, it’s actually quite similar.

For example, when people unconsciously push their anger into the shadow (via the freeze response in the nervous system), they might have no anger at all (“I’m just not an angry person”) or they might explode at random moments since their anger is desperate to come “out of the dark”.

But learn to embrace your anger and aggression in a healthy way (bringing it out of the shadow and “into the light”) and you unlock incredible amounts of drive, motivation, strength and power (since aggression energy is what fights AND what motivates).

In a word, you become “unfuckwithable” 💪

Learning about the fight response in my nervous system changed everything for me.

I finally realized that it’s ok to be mad, furious, pissed off and enraged. I also realized that impulses to attack and destroy and annihilate and even KILL were signs of a healthy nervous system (not a sign that I was broken). That allowed me to stop pushing my anger away and become friends with it without hurting the people around me.

And that has changed everything – as I’ve written about elsewhere.

To finish, I’d like to leave you with a quote from the Gnostic Gospels (as quoted by Peter Levine in one of his excellent books on nervous system work):

If you bring forth that which is within you, Then that which is within you Will be your salvation. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, Then that which is within you Will destroy you.


John Wood

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