The clouds hung low, mimicking the ones that circled my head.

It was a dreary day, as most days are, in Lima, Peru when I arrived. I was tired. Sleepy tired, yes, but mostly drained of life tired. The slums of Lima mirrored how I felt inside—run down, tattered, in disarray. I wasn’t in Peru for a vacation. I was there to save my life.

The next morning, I hopped a rickety plane to Iquitos, a town only accessible by air or river. After landing, several of us loaded onto a speedboat. The sun was setting, and the darkness ahead was the perfect backdrop for the lightning as it splintered through the sky ahead. We took off full speed towards the storm, a metaphor that was lost on me at the time. The thunder cracked loudly in the sky as the captain of the boat navigated the murky water, dodging massive tree trunks seen by the single beam of a spotlight in front. I closed my eyes and clung to the straps of my life vest as he sped through the darkness. The thunder cracked in the distance and the streaks of lightning burned through my eyelids as I thought over and over again, “OMG, WHAT AM I DOING!”

We arrived safely (though I’m not sure how), and I went straight to bed. Hiding under a mosquito net, I fell asleep listening to the exotic sounds of the dense jungle that surrounded me.


That night marked a turning point in my life. It was the first step towards finding the person I felt so disconnected from. I would awake the next morning to meet Mateo, the Shaman of the area. He was going to work with me and on me. I didn’t know it at the time, but he didn’t speak any English, only Quechuen and Spanish. He could communicate telepathically, though, and, unbeknownst to me, so could I. The things I was about to learn.

(to be continued)

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