Hi All, this is Zach,
This letter/blog post is to let people know that I am taking a sabbatical from running retreats at La Familia Medicina. This sabbatical will last between 8-9 months.
In my absence Roberto Laurens will be running the camp. Roberto came to La Familia Medicina for a retreat last fall and then returned soon after to help run the camp and facilitate ceremonies.
Roberto is an amazing guy. I have the utmost trust in him. Gumercindo, the Galindo family and myself all love him dearly. His energy and demeanor are gentle yet firm. He has proven himself to us in terms of his work with the medicine and his spiritual work.
When we met the first time I was impressed to find out that he was originally from Columbia (speaks spanish fluently), moved to the USA as a teenager (speaks english fluently), is a chef, and has experience running a bed and breakfast. To top it all off he and ayahuasca formed a strong relationship almost immediately during his retreat. In fact, during his second ceremony he had a vision from ayahuasca that he would be working in the jungle with the medicine, to which he was a bit skeptical…..truth is stranger than fiction….especially with ayahuasca. LOL. As it turns out, about mid-retreat I realized that Roberto would be a perfect addition to the La Familia Medicina team.
If you want to know more about Roberto, you can check out the video blog post we did with Roberto recently- it is the next post after this one.
Why am I taking a sabbatical? I moved to Peru almost 4 years ago and I started building La Familia Medicina with Gumercindo Galindo and the Galindo family almost 3 1/2 years ago. During that time I have been running full bore, non-stop. Sure I have taken 2-3 week vacations and returned home, but those vacations proved to be working vacations. It is time for a rest. During the last retreat I helped run, I hit an exhaustion point. This was short lived and had no impact on the retreat itself, and at the end of the retreat I came to the conclusion that it was time for an extended break.
We are blessed that we have Roberto to step in and keep things running. So blessed, as one of the key functions of La Familia Medicina is to make sure that the Galindo family has consistent employment. The area around La Familia Medicina is extremely poor and employment opportunities beyond “hand to mouth” subsistence living are extremely limited. With the help of Roberto and you, our guests, we can continue to provide much needed healing for our guests and much needed work for the Galindo family.
During this break I will not be lounging on a beach. LOL. As I write this I am taking some quiet time about an hour outside of Cusco in a great little town called Yucay. One of my friends Joey Greenstone is part of a small project that could be coined as a “spiritual bridge hostel”. This is a place for people who are transitioning from the modern world lifestyle to a more spiritual lifestyle, thus a “spiritual bridge hostel”. It is an amazing place as it is in the Sacred Valley, warmer than Cusco and has less rain that Cusco- a great place to acclimate to the mountains as it is only at 9k feet vs. Cusco at 11-11.5k feet. The name of this new project is “Casa de los Tres Osos” (House of the Three Bears). You can be sure that they will have an oatmeal bar for breakfasts. LOL.
I will be staying here til mid April. During this time I will be focused on non-plant medicine spiritual work/practices and I will be re-writing/updating my e-book “Journey Into Light” and starting on a new book that I hope to have in digital format as well as print format a.k.a “a real book”. In this new book I will be relaying my experiences in Peru as one who studied and continues to study the medicine, how spirituality/consciousness paths can work with ayahuasca, some pitfalls to watch for with shamanism/ayahuasca/spirituality and reveal some misunderstandings that some westerners have as it relates to ayahuasca shamanism…..and of course more.
Mid April I will be heading up to the USA and most likely landing in Portland or Bend, OR (leaning towards Bend). Once back in the USA I hope to do some medicine/spiritual work with the Brazilian ayahuasca church, Santo Daime. I have had some exposure to their work in the past and I would like to explore it more as we (La Familia Medicina) seem to have some significant similarities in perspective as it regards community, Love and Light (NO, La Familia Medicina is NOT going to become a Santo Daime center). Santo Daime’s work is very different from the shamanic work and I would like to explore it and understand it better.
There are also some meditation and retreat centers that I would like to check out during this sabbatical as I really want to dig deep into non-plant medicine spiritual work as well. I view this as extremely important as ayahuasca is a tool….a great, effective tool on the spiritual path, but not the only tool.
Finally I hope to return to La Familia Medicina late this year/early next to run retreats again and to give Roberto a rest.
This is the general plan for the foreseeable future, new things will definitely come up and I am excited to see what they are.
In terms of La Familia Medicina in Peru, I am very excited. We have done a lot of construction which means more lodging options and has allowed us to offer a new retreat- the 15 Day Retreat with a Shamanic Dieta. We are actively working on setting up/building a school at the camp for the kids and we hope to open this for the next Peruvian school year starting March 2015.
Again, we are soo blessed and a large part due to the help of you our guests. Thank you!!