A few years ago on one of my trips to Peru I packed my schedule full with hosting a luxury retreat to Machu Picchu, then an intensive with the Andean shaman I regularly work with and finally a handful of days in the humid jungle where I have been helping a village become self-sustaining. I’ve pushed my edges many times slipping through mostly unscathed. Yet, this time I was in for a surprise.
The retreat I held went smoothly. The curveballs that inevitably come up on a retreat in Peru actually worked to our group’s advantage. It was as though the Universe conspired to assure a perfect retreat for myself and my students… what a gift!
I continued with my bi-annual week with the Andean Shaman. It is assured to be intense, cleansing and expansive. This week was certainly no different. I was initiated into new rites of the lineage at the base of a very special glacier and was invited into deeper levels of healing work. I left the mountains rejuvenated, open and alive. Yet, I was unprepared for what was to come.
The third Sunday of my trip I landed in Pucallpa, Peru where the Sun blistered my skin as I traversed from that tarmac to the luggage carousel. Soon after, I was greeted by the elder medicine man and his grandson of the village I had come to see. We embraced and I noticed the hope and anticipation in the eyes of my jungle friends.
The words that seemed to be etched in the air, “Jason I hope you can see how much we need your help. Can you please help me with my work, my family, food, going to school…”
The list of needs from my native friends was long which became extensively longer once I reached the village four hours down river.
Most of us imagine the jungle plush with trees, plants and flowers sprinkled with birds, butterflies, monkeys and all kinds of insects. I always idealized the jungle as the perfect blend of sultry heat with pristine-lush nature. Certainly there are all of these elements, yet they do not quite play out like our fantasies.
The sun is punishing, often over 100 degress. The humidity uncomfortably sticks to your lungs, to your skin, to your clothes. The plush jungle has become patches of green alongside stark fields. It has lost its continuity due to much of the land being cut or burnt down for logging, corporate farming or oil mining.
The jungle community is filled with dilapidated grass huts, dirt roads and mango trees. The sweetness of the kids innocently chasing the the butterflies around the village is mired by the not so subtle stench of alcohol and untreated sewage. This is all complimented by crafty mosquitoes who devour your hands and ankles from dusk to dawn.
This fourth trip to the village was more difficult than ever for me. It seemed like all the aid I had offered the people was not helping. There were many people suffering or dying of malnutrition and other illnesses. People were hungry and tired of living so impoverished with little hope for change.
The heads of the community came to me with pages and pages of needs. The four days that I was in the village were dedicated to emergency tactics to assure their next year of survival. By the final day we budgeted and arranged how we were going to get seeds for the men to farm the coming season. The rest of the funds were allotted to sewing machines and materials for the women to make more handicraft to sell.
Hours before I was to leave I saw splinters of hope and appreciation from some of the community. The majority remained despondent and distrusting. This was disheartening for me to put in so much effort over several years to still be met with so much resistance and disdain. My heart hurt for these people. I felt the weight and burden of their eternal despair.
Then a wiry man stumbled over towards me and laid his daughter out in front of me. He repeatedly asked me to help her, to save her. She was dying and he needed my help. I laid my hands on his fragile child with love and tenderness. She was not responding. I knew she needed much more than what I could give to her that morning, yet I offered energy and guidance that could support in her recovery.
Soon after I was tapped on the shoulder and reminded that I must catch this next boat or I would miss my flight out. I exited the jungle with a turmoil of emotions. I was angry at the system for disregarding humanity. I was disappointed in how many people had given up in this village. I also felt helpless as if I was watching a ship being torn to shreds by the elements with no hope for repair, soon to be swallowed by the formidable sea.
As I returned home to Los Angeles, I noticed that the customary strength, vitality and bounce in my step was not there. I felt tired, haggard and unbalanced. This too was reflected in the greetings I received from my beloved and other friends. The hugs and hellos were of concern and question.
What had happened? After some reflection, I realized that i took an energetic hit in the community in the jungle and it was showing up physically. I had low energy, bloodshot eyes and a deadness in my step.
But how did this happen, I asked? Most often my physical and energetic boundaries are vibrant and strong. And just off the heels of my work in the Andes, I imagined my Atomic Field (the invisible protective field that surrounds our body) was impenetrable. And of course, I was proven wrong again in this life.
At the time I didn’t have the answers, but more recently after sitting with the shamans and the Spirits they work with, I discovered more about how energy can pass between people and how much awareness is required to maintain our field.
As I’ve traced back to my time in the jungle I realize I opened up a door for the hoocha (dense energy) of the community to thread into me. This happened when I felt sadness for the jungle community and the little girl who was laid at my feet, pity for the alcoholic men and anger toward the system who so severely takes advantage of the weak.
In the midst of my emotions I began to create a story about my emotions that actually linked me into their field. In turn, my field began to assimilate to theirs without me being aware of it. This can be quite dangerous. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of support to address these issues. Though, this specific issue took me a few months to fully transmute and return to my regular bounce in my step.
Since this experience, I’ve recognized many times how I have unconsciously opened my field to another and attracted in some of their “stuff”. Sometimes, there are little to no symptoms to notice. Other times, I have taken on the same flu as the other person. Other times a friend may suddenly feel dizzy and off balanced (due to losing some of the hoocha they have become accustom to) and I pick up some sort of pain in the body or short-term illness at the same time.
So then the question is, how do we create a dynamic where we minimize these “hits”?
A few guiding points:
1. Be aware! When you are projecting your life story onto another ~ i.e. if you have not addressed the wounds you carry from your relationship with your father, you may project the story you have with your father onto your boss, your lover or a friend to continue to play out the story that you never healed with your father.
2. Bring consciousness to when you are triggered by another person or an event that is unfolding. Are you intertwining yourself into the person or event? Are you linking into feelings of guilt, judgement, rage, pity etc. and replaying these feelings again and again. It is one thing to feel anger about something in the moment it occurs, but to replay it again and again creates a groove of problems for you.
3. Create clear physical and energetic boundaries with others and honor these boundaries.
4. Notice if you are interacting with others when you are out of balance and off center.
5. Notice if you are trying to get something from someone else or manipulate them. You may get more than you bargain for.
6. The less time we spend in nature and/or in meditation, the less connected we are to our natural rhythm. When we are out of center, we are more prone to attracting negative energy into our field.
7. Be aware when you use prescription or recreational drugs, alcohol, etc. you weaken your atomic field which makes it easier for crud to stick to you.
8. The closer you are emotionally to a person, the more likely you will mirror their “stuff”.
9. Many yogis and saints are very cautious to touch others for they know that karma can easily pass through physical touch.
10. Consider taking a few moments to reset several times a day. Take a few conscious breaths, meditate for a minute or become present with a flower and drop all other preoccupations.
11. Clean your day off… leave your shoes at the door, take a shower, energetically clear with florida water (clearing water made of alcohol and herbs) and smudge with sage or palo santo (use the smoke of the clearing stick to clear your field).
12. Get your sleep and keep your immune system boosted!
This sharing is not to create paranoia in you. This is an invitation to become more aware of how you interact with others, how you may link into other’s stories and how you may take steps to move more consciously and cleanly. Many blessings to you and your life walk.
You can reach out to Jason with specific questions or additional support at jasoncfrahm.com