My First Experience with Plant Medicine called Ayahuasca.

When I was twenty, I had a near death experience in the hospital while undergoing a minor (so I thought) surgery.

I didn't know the term “a near death experience” - NDE, but eventually found the book describing this phenomenon written by Dr. Raymond Moody, “Life After Life”

The book was translated into Russian by an underground publishing agency “Samizdat” in 1975.  I was a second year college student studying engineering, and firmly planted in a hard science, with a total lack of any spiritual or religious education. This is when my interest in an altered state of consciousness began. 

It was twenty five years later here in Stamford, I had multiple “Out-of -Body” experiences - OBEs. They were absolutely awesome, but unfortunately spontaneous.  I could not repeat them, as I so wished. 

Eventually I became familiar with the work of  Robert A. Monroe. I devoured his book, “Journeys Out of the Body”.  He had phenomenal OBEs. Bob’s interest in altered state of consciousness was the driving force in the foundation of The Monroe Institute in Virginia. The Monroe institute popularized his “Hemi-Sync” patented audio technology. It was claimed to facilitate “Out of the Body” experiences - OBEs.  From 2008 through 2011 I participated in many programs at The Monroe Institute (

If you are interested in experiencing the Hemi-Sync effect during your next Reflexology/Reiki session, please let me know. I have accumulated a good collection of Hemi-Sync CDs, and it can be easily included into your hands-on session. 

My interest in altered states or I would rather call it, expanded states of consciousness, brought me to the teachings of Gregg Braden. Check out his books.  In 2007 we traveled with him to Peru on a journey called “Unlocking the Incan Code of Time”. While there, I have heard about the powerful medicinal plants ceremonies, that were led by native shamans using Ayahuasca. It was not on our itinerary then.

I started to read and hear from a few trusted friends about the effects of psychedelics on the expansion of consciousness. Even though I wanted a direct experience, I also had an enormous fears. The saying goes, once you drink Ayahuasca, which is a brew from two Amazonian plants, - you SEE, once you SEE, you cannot UNSEE.

A powerful film “Neurons to Nirvana” by Oliver Hockenhull helped me to learn more about the nature of different psychedelic molecules and its impact on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the human being.  

I watched the documentary “The Reality of Truth”.  The story of Rythmia - Life Advancement Center in Costa Rica was mentioned in the film. The book “ Sh*T the Moon said” by Gerard Powell, the founder of of Rythmia was very intriguing and inviting for a first hand experience .

My good friend Lisa Wilson, the founder of The Raw Food Institute, talked about going to in Costa Rica this summer. 

It was the last straw, that broke my fear.  I was ready to become a psychonaut and experience the power of psychedelics in a safe environment guided by a powerful shaman Taita Juanito.

The week of October 14th I went there with my daughter. We had four powerful ceremonies with unique and dramatic experiences  and breakthroughs. 

We also learned how to practice Transformational Breathwork, that helped to process the revelations of the Mother Aya, as this powerful plant medicine is lovingly called. 

The main lesson I got: “We are all ONE”. Mother Aya helped me to shake off “the reality of separation” for good. My other very personal revelation was aptly written on the T-shirt I wear now: “Relax, nothing is under control”

I am still processing on a deep emotional level discoveries and lessons of Rythmia. The Medicine works on your mindbody for three or more weeks after the last drink.

This March my husband Nicholas agreed to go with me to Rythmia. First time for him.

There are plenty of video testimonials on the Rythmia “Youtube” channel - you can get lost in them. 

Check out a brand new documentary “From Shock to Awe”.  It explores the healing effect of Ayahuasca on two American veterans and their families dealing with PTSD. Their transformations after Ayahuasca ceremonies are powerful.  

Also, I would love to mention the serendipities during our travel to Rythmia. The first person we met, when we arrived to Costa Rica airport was from a small town in Florida, where my daughter lives.  The person who greeted us from the big TV monitor at Rythmia entrance hall - our beloved Gregg Braden (remember our trip with him to Peru and recently Israel), and a young lady I met there shortly after, was from Taiwan, born precisely in a small town of Taitung, where my Reflexology Master and Life Mentor Father Josef lives for the past thirty years. Serendipities.

If you want to know more, please do ask me, I am open to share with you face to face.

I need to mention, that the visions I had at Rythmia were of extraordinary beauty, reminded me of my NDE some forty years ago.