Here’s the tag. Eight people. Thirty Days. One Journey.To find life, they had to face death.
Spoiler alert. Not everybody lives, but 5 out of 8 are able to reverse diseases like prostate cancer, Type II Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Depression, Alcoholism, and chronic Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
I found this documentary fascinating. It takes 8 people from developed nations and places them into the Amazonian Rain Forest complete with it’s thousands of medicinal plants and modern day shaman types. These shaman do not don rattles and skirts made of alligator teeth, but rather pull up to the isolated huts on motorcycles wearing baseball caps. Just setting that stereotype straight was worth the viewing. These men–and they were all men though there must be some powerful sha-women out there somewhere, right?–were guided by the indigenous plants and had learned how to use them either by living with native tribes or by mentoring under the tutelage of a shaman before them. One young boy was on his three year term learning how to use the medicines of the forest to heal people from his mentor. Listening to him describe why he has made this choice and the slack he has to put up with back at the school yard is telling. A fascinating choice in 2014.
Indeed, one that is alluring. You watch these eight people brought back to the most basic level of being. The healers live the lives of hunter/gatherers to a large degree, perusing the forest for the exact correct medicine during the day, and grinding them into teas and tinctures by night (under headlamps because there is no light.) You watch the eight individuals either thrive or unravel, depending on their emotional constitution and whether or not they can live at peace with the wildlife of the Rain Forest. No judgment. I’m the first to admit as soon as I saw those half inch long red ants crawl into my hammock, I’d be on the first plane home just like Diabetes guy.
However, if you can withstand that part of it, you get down to what’s really ailing you, located in the space between your ears. You see how the life you’ve set up for yourself can either cause you to thrive or implode. You see how the eyes with which you view the world, and the thoughts that you seed into your brain based on those perceptions, determine what happens in your body and can be your ticket to freedom or imprisonment. Your choice.
The part that really resonated was the getting back to basics part. We lose so much in the face of a Star Trekkian progress that never gives what it promises. Bigger, better, faster technology costs us more than we realize, but it tricks us into thinking it’s helping.
Now I like the Newsfeed as much as the next gal, but I step back and I ask, “What is it I really want? What are the most important things to me in this life?”
Here’s what I want. I want to wake up every day excited about life, all my parts working better and stronger than the day before. I want to learn something new everyday. I want to be connected to the people I love, and I want to love the people who lift me up and make me laugh so hard my stomach hurts. I want to hike to beautiful waterfalls and drink the clearest water. I want to lean over and pinch off the arugula and kale leaves straight out of my garden and eat them right there, not eat food that has a year-long shelf life. I want to be outside with nature and know that I am connected with the finch that eats from the feeder as well as the acorn that falls from the tree and my husband who snuggles next to me in my bed.
When I watched this film, I wondered if we lived like this most of the time if we’d ever need to go to the Rain Forest to cure chronic disease. My sense is that we wouldn’t.