This place holds a sacred energy, of that I am sure. From the moment my feet touched the grounds I felt at peace here, it was unexpected and quite welcome after a morning of nerves fed by absolute uncertainty.After an hour and a half on the bus through shantytowns and bustling streets, we arrived at the ferry port to hitch a ride for another seventy minutes, all the while surrounded by lush, tropical trees and plants. It was wonderful to see another part of the world as an observer, passing by colorful street-side restaurants serving food I cannot pronounce, seeing locals on bicycles and on foot traveling this way and that, and getting a sense that we are not in Texas anymore – the start to what I am sure will be a very deep, exciting, and perhaps quite difficult journey.On the ferry those heading for the same destination began to detail why each of us arrived on the same path. Most of the 17 retreat-goers are first-time Aya drinkers, so it helped chill the nerves a bit to understand at last that I will not be alone in the uncertainty as we sit for our first and subsequent ceremonies together.The staff is beyond welcoming, down to earth, and sure to put us as much at-ease as possible, knowing from their own journeys what it fills like to stand in our shoes. The environment here is first class, the accommodations are comfortable, clean, and even the water is delicious straight from the tap. A five minute walk takes us to the coast, yet the retreat center and our rooms are situated high up over the water, affording us a magnificent view of the surrounding lush mountains and the deep blue ocean. Our room has got the most amazing view, one of the prettiest I’ve been gifted on any of my vacations, ever, as mere feet from me, though it is now a dark night sky, I can hear the sound of the water, and the deck is surrounded by beautiful green trees where happy birds fly around constantly. I’ve seen what I think are wild parrots, colorful hues of green and red, and some exotic deep blue birds I cannot name whose wings reveal more colors underneath when they take flight. Even the food, though we are still restricted to Dieta, is better than anything I’ve conceived to prepare at home.Tomorrow, we wake up sharply before 7am to embark upon our first taste of purging, with a drink I cannot spell, a lemongrass tea whose sole intention is to get our bellies full so that we vomit wildly. This serves several purposes: To cleanse, get us accustomed to purging, and to bring light energy into our bodies. I am not quite sure what to think of it yet, but the staff seems to make it a delightful experience, where us strangers become fast friends as we all see who can projectile the furthest off of the “star deck”, surely growing quite close as we do a very intimate thing in front of each other, in broad daylight, on purpose. I am eager to see what it is all about, but also admittedly quite nervous. It is all part of the bigger picture, the experience as a whole, and though that one thing is optional, I came here to fully dive deep, so tea it is!After that, we do yoga together, breakfast at 830, then another orientation where we finally get introduced to our Shamans and learn a deep dive into the Shipibo Ayahuasca practice, spirit, and medicine. We eat our last meal at 1pm and then it is basically a fast until ceremony, which starts at 8pm. The first “dose” of the medicine is said to serve to show the healers what we each can handle, and then they tailor it individually each night after. It is our “light” introduction to the medicine, though for some whom are not here for the first time, they’ve said even that first drink, though supposedly less in quantity, did indeed send them straight into the cosmos, and they never needed more than that. Some feel it lightly, though, and will go on each following ceremony to drink more than what was given the first time. I am curious to see where I fall, but I am hopeful I can go as deep as they will let me, so I say bring it on. I might feel differently, after I actually do it for the first time, but right now – totally lucid, I know I came here to do the work and let the medicine do its work, so I think I will be inclined to drink the full cup.All in all, I am feeling quite peaceful. The jitters have subsided quite substantially, and I feel at ease with the company here. We all trekked from far and wide, all over the world, to experience this, and already though we just met today, there is a sense of comradery. We are in this together even though all our reasons for partaking are so vastly different. I do not feel alone, and I am tremendously grateful for that.I haven’t much more to say than this, but just wanted to give a brief description of this day, for those whom might be curious.I cannot wait to meet her, this mysterious and beautiful medicine spirit, and see what is waiting on the other side. I desperately seek something beyond everything I’ve known, felt, or experienced before now, and I am deeply thankful that I am here in a safe, gorgeous, and experienced retreat center to do just that. I know I will be met with challenges along the way, and I know it might not always be beautiful, but even in the pain that might come up, I am sure I came to the right place. And I am so, so ready to dive in deep.Hopefully I will write a lot while I am here, but it is time to sleep now. Much needed rest before the coming long nights and early mornings. Cheers, friends. May you all know peace and rest tonight, too, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. We are all in this together, truthfully, as people each living our different lives. Connected, by consciousness, by spirit, by God, and I cannot wait to experience that on a deeper level. The hours will pass quickly I am sure, and I cannot wait.