Life Is The Greatest Healer

John Wood, Founder of Rageheart

by John Wood

Life is the greatest healer and teacher

I drank Ayahuasca for the first time in Peru last year 🙂

It’s why I moved here.

Well, one reason anyway.

I’d already explored plant medicine and psychedelics elsewhere (including Ayahuasca).

I also knew that Ayahuasca came from South America, with various tribes in Brazil, Peru and other countries who’d worked with it for thousands of years.

So I signed up for an Ayahuasca retreat in April last year… and something happened on that retreat that showed me that life itself is the greatest healer.

The ceremonies themselves were fascinating and challenging in surprising ways (as always 🤣) but I don’t want to talk about the ceremonies today.

I want to talk about how Felix (the maestro) closed the ceremony.

At the end of the first ceremony, at around 10pm after he’d sung to everyone in the group, it was time to wrap things up:

“Ok beautiful people, the ceremony is now closed. Thank you to Ayahuasca… Thank you to…”, Felix said.

At the end of the second ceremony, he said it again:

“Ok beautiful people, the ceremony is now closed. Thank you to Ayahuasca… Thank you to…”

Then at the end of the third ceremony:

“Ok beautiful people, the ceremony is now closed. Thank you to Ayahuasca… Thank you to…”

Cool.

Nothing too out of the ordinary there.

Nothing particularly special or illuminating.

Nothing crazy.

Just a nice way to close the ceremony.

It’s what Felix said at the end of the final ceremony that stuck with me.

It didn’t click for me at the time.

Of course, I laughed nervously along with everyone else…

…but the full impact of what he said didn’t hit me until much later.

Here’s what Felix said after the fourth and last Ayahuasca ceremony on that retreat:

“Ok beautiful people, the ceremony is now beginning. Thank you to Ayahuasca… Thank you to…”

Did you catch that?

It’s almost identical to what he said for the other ceremonies – except for one word.

Here it is again, with the changed word in bold:

“Ok beautiful people, the ceremony is now beginning. Thank you to Ayahuasca… Thank you to…”

Like I said, I laughed nervously along with everyone else when he said it.

I thought I got it at the time… but I really didn’t.

It wasn’t until later that it hit me.

I can’t remember when that moment was or what was happening at the time.

I just remember finally getting it.

You might be the same.

If you’re reading this, obviously you understand what I’m saying (or you wouldn’t still be here).

What Felix said and what I wrote in the subject line is easy enough to wrap your head around.

However, that’s just an intellectual understanding.

It’s different when it lands experientially.

It’s different when it hits you in the middle of some challenging experience.

The point, as the subject line says, is that life itself is the greatest healer.

I know you want techniques and systems and methods.

I’m the same.

That’s why we hunt around for the best tools:

Meditation

Gratitude lists

Breath work

Journaling

Ice baths

Stoicism

Fasting

Affirmations

Psychedelics (like Ayahuasca)

Nervous system work (like what’s in Rageheart)

But while tools are great and all, like I said, life itself is the greatest healer 🌎

What do I mean by that?

Here’s another way to put it:

Life works for you… not against you.

I know it’s cheesy… but the more I do this work (with myself and others), the more I realise it to be true.

To be fair, it’s probably the last thing you want to hear when you’re going through something challenging or heartbreaking.

For example, one of my friends recovered memories of sexual abuse from her childhood a few years ago.

With the memories came emotions and sensations that threatened to break her apart.

It was probably the hardest thing she’s ever been through.

She ended up quitting her job because the pain was so severe.

She couldn’t eat properly.

Couldn’t sleep.

It was rough as fuck.

And yet, fast forward to now and she’ll tell you that going through that (recovering the memories and feeling all the feels) is one of the best things that ever happened to her.

Before it all came up, she was anxious, depressed, on antidepressants and suicidal.

But now?

She’s happier, stronger and healthier than I’ve ever seen her. Where before she was silent and shut down, now she smiles and laughs as she goes about her day. She started a business. She’s doing things she loves… instead of what she thinks she has to do (or what’s safe).

Burn Your Self-Help Books… Get Rageheart Instead

The tools and exercises inside Rageheart changed my life in huge ways. I used to have PTSD and panic attacks, and struggled to find my purpose in life. I tried all the typical tools: CBT, journaling, SSRIs, yoga, meditation, vitamins, exercise, diet changes – but these things only scratched the surface.

By using the tools in Rageheart, I was able to release the fight-or-flight energy from my nervous system and finally feel safe, relaxed, and go after what I wanted in life.

Rageheart is honestly a game-changer.

In my opinion it beats all the other tools out there, because it helps you get to the root of what you’re feeling so you can release it. 10/10 most effective program I’ve found in the mental health space by far!

– Emily, Massage Therapist

Life itself is the greatest healer 🌎

Think about it.

We all have “stuff” from our past that eats away at us.

We might know exactly what that “stuff” is… or we might believe we don’t have any trauma (despite being unhappy, anxious and depressed 🙄).

Either way, the “stuff” is there… eating away at us, stealing our happiness and joy and purpose from us.

Life has a seemingly magical ability to trigger that “stuff”.

A throwaway comment from a friend or partner… a mistake a work… getting cut off in traffic… not getting enough likes on that Facebook post… looking in the mirror each day…

Whatever our “stuff” actually is, life excels at stirring it up.

In that sense, there’s no escape from it.

It continually throws situations and experiences our way that press into our “stuff”, as if to say…

Are you ready yet? Are you ready to let this go? Are you ready to unleash the BEAST?

That’s what I mean when I say that life itself is the greatest healer.

Even without any techniques… without meditation and gratitude lists and journaling and therapy and Rageheart, life will still manage to stir your “stuff” up.

That’s why Felix said what he said at the end of the fourth Ayahuasca ceremony:

“Ok beautiful people, the ceremony is now beginning. Thank you to Ayahuasca… Thank you to…”

Because the Ayahuasca ceremony is really just the beginning (or the continuation) of the healing process.

The real work happens in the trenches of daily living 🤔

It’s happens when you get triggered and insecure and upset and whatever else… but instead of getting caught up in it, instead of running away or attacking, instead of going into people-pleasing mode, you let it go.

I say this as someone who has drunk Ayahuasca 35 times.

That probably sounds like a lot to some people (who live in the Western world) and barely anything to others (who’ve lived in Peru for much longer than me).

I’ve also worked quite a bit with San Pedro (a hallucinogenic cactus), Magic Mushrooms and DMT.

It’s all great.

It’s all wonderful.

I plan to continue working with these plants.

AND YET

Most of the work happens in the trenches of daily living.

Ceremonies are great.

They can open things up that wouldn’t otherwise open.

But more and more, I find myself looking at them as a sort of a sandbox. A training ground. A place to learn and develop certain skills.

Then you finish the ceremony or retreat or whatever and you go back into your daily life.

Your daily life with all its frustrations and disappointments and challenges.

That’s when the real work begins.

That’s when you take what you learned in ceremony and apply it to your life.

That’s when you start to discover that life itself is the greatest healer and teacher.

This doesn’t just apply to psychedelic or plant medicine retreats by the way.

It applies to any kind of retreat or class:

Meditation retreats and classes.

Breath work retreats and classes.

Inflatable butt plug retreats and classes 🍆

The real work happens in the trenches of daily living… not on retreat or in class.

But here’s the thing:

If life itself is the greatest healer and teacher, how do you work with it? How do you actually do the work in the trenches of daily living? 🤓

If you’re anything like most people, it’s not enough to simply get triggered and upset and frustrated.

If you’re not careful, you’ll either turn that on other people… or you’ll take it internal and hate yourself.

That’s why tools and frameworks are useful.

The trick is learning how to work with triggers and “stuff” that comes up.

It’s about learning to recognise when you’ve been triggered or “activated”… and then knowing how to engage with whatever arises (in a way that allows it to release and dissolve).

Now –

While you CAN do this with meditation and various other tools, the very best tool or approach in my experience is nervous system work.

By understanding the mechanics of survival stress and your fight-or-flight response, you know how to engage with whatever arises.

“Oh, look! I’m feeling more sympathetic today. Time to orient…”

OR

“Hmmm. Interesting. What she said really pissed me off… but before I respond, I’m going to bring myself down out of fight-or-flight and into parasympathetic rest-and-digest.”

As I’ve said before, I’ve meditated a bunch and done all kinds of other weird things to “feel better”… and nervous system work takes the cake in terms of effectiveness.

Not by a little bit.

By a long shot 😮

Maybe it’ll be the same for you?

With that in mind, remember:

This is your weekly reminder to “rage”.

If you’re a member of The Rageheart Academy and you’re feeling an impulse to rage, jump in and do another rage today.

If you’re not a member yet, take what you learned in today’s Weekly Growl and apply it to your life.

The next time you get triggered by something that happens or something someone said, simply pause and ask yourself:

What is life trying to show me in this moment? Instead of reacting to what’s happening, what would it be like to see this moment as a form of “medicine” or “wisdom”?

And then simply notice how that shift in perspective shifts your experience of what’s happening.

Alright.

That’s enough for today.

As I say to my good friend Nik when I wrap up a message…

Peace, love, sex, drugs and rock n’ roll 🤘

Cheers,

John Wood

Leave a Comment