The sideboard of avoidance

in ayahuasca •  7 months ago


My name is Sascha. I was born and raised in Germany but I have been living in several European countries for the past decade.
I created this account to write about my experience with ayahuasca and how it turned my life around.

Trying to describe the temple of the way of light to someone who has never been there is like talking about another planet. Time does not seem to exist there. After the retreat I couldn’t tell if I had been there for 5 days or 5 years.
The synchronicity and how all our experiences are interconnected were just mind-boggling (more about that in a later post).

Past, future, wealth, social status, all that stuff was completely irrelevant. It was pure and simple being and dealing with my own shit that I had avoided dealing with for the past 30 years.
By shit I mean the unfelt emotions and false beliefs about myself that I had bottled up all my life, because that’s just what we do. Everything we label as ‘bad’, we are trying to avoid and distract ourselves from it. Be it anger, sadness, grief or fear – it all goes in a box with a big label on it saying ‘UNWANTED’ and that box, so we don’t have to see it or deal with it, goes into a sideboard in the basement that is as neglected as the box itself.

There are two problems with that, however :

  1. The box only has a certain size and the more we stuff in it, the fuller it gets. Often beyond its actual capacity

  2. Just like with an actual box that we stuff somewhere, it keeps popping up from time to time. Usually when we are actually looking for something else in our ‘sideboard of avoidance ‘. But again we just look at it with disgust and are probably trying to hide it elsewhere. Maybe in the attic where it’ll stay for another few years until we go up there for another reason.

Now what happens with a cardboard box that has been filled with a lot of heavy stuff beyond its actual capacity and has been touched thousands of times and stuffed from one dark place into the next? Exactly, it’ll start tearing, holes will appear and at some point things will start falling through the holes and we have no other choice than to deal with them, because they’re spread all across the floor right in front of us. The more things that keep falling out, the bigger the holes will get and eventually there will be nothing left but a huge mess on the floor and the completely torn apart remains of what used to be a cardboard box.

At this stage one might have already been depressed for quite a few years like I was, but on top of that, this is usually when the panic attacks start kicking in, too.

The unwanted emotions from your childhood keep pouring out of the holes of your box until you have no other choice than to deal with them.

A bit more than a year ago, in February 2017, my box started unfolding. I had been depressed since moving to Ireland in 2013 and an eczema that I had suffered from during my early childhood came back breaking out 10-fold.
Needless to say that this made me even more depressed but, on the other hand, it also forced me to finally look at things from a different perspective.


I slowly started exploring alternative healing methods such as Acupuncture and Reiki with some initial success. Very soon, however, it became very clear to me that I had to change my life completely in order to regain my health and so I made it clear at work that I would be resigning by September to recharge my battery in Germany for a few months.

At some point I was offered to stay on for 3 more months until the end of 2017, with the added bonus of being able to work from home most of the week.

Weighing 3 additional salaries against unpaid credit card bills, I accepted without thinking much but little did I know at the time that my first day working from home would be the one that would change my life forever!

On said day in early September 2017, I was sitting in my kitchen, doing my job as usual, when I received a rather erotic message from my wife and the mere thought of having sex triggered a panic attack in me.

Running around in my living room, breathing heavily and scared to death about the missus wanting to be intimate, I finished my day.
That Thursday, the 7th of September 2017, after thinking for hours, I finally concluded that no amount of money I could earn until the end of the year would get me my physical and mental health back. I went to the doctor to get a sick note the next morning.

I then called a meeting at work and kindly informed my manager that the deal was off.
I had booked a flight to Germany on a short notice for the day after this meeting and the guilt, shame and fear of being judged and seen as not strong enough still kept haunting me for a while.

Those, in short, were the events leading up to me booking an ayahuasca retreat at the temple of the way of light in the Peruvian amazon jungle.

When one’s mind is as clouded as mine was back then, there are not many moments of clarity, but when they do arise, they have to be honoured with an action. Otherwise they are being wasted.

In one of those moments of clarity, I had the courage to take my credit card out and book the retreat. After doing a full research, of course!
When I received the acceptance email 2 days later, however, all the fear kept rushing back in and I kept thinking ‘What the hell did I do ‘?
I can’t say what scared me the most – seeing whatever madre ayahuasca would show me or the possible judgement from all my friends and family for doing something that out of the ordinary for western standards.

Maybe it was a bit of both as I remember telling people that I was going on a retreat to find a cure for my eczema, without going into any more detail.

So I had completely ignored the acceptance email for a whole week until I had another one of those glimpses of clarity when I finally had the guts to check out what would expect me.

To be continued

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