In 2017 in the midst of what I would later come to know as my repatterning journey, I did ten ayahuasca ceremonies in the space of five months.
The shaman facilitating knew I was a singer and had asked me to sing during that first weekend, and I’d agreed. I even practiced the song in the shower the week beforehand. (It was Of Verona’s “We Are Not Alone Here,” if you’re curious, and I still maintain that it’s a great ayahuasca song, especially a cappella.) During the ceremony however, I noticed that most of my practice went out the window when it was time to sing – I simply connected to some spark within me that I was incapable of describing at the time, and let the song flow out perfectly exactly as it wanted to.
What surprised me even more was that the next morning, driving home from the ceremony, as I got in my car and put on a familiar song to sing along to, I noticed an ease and flow in my voice that hadn’t been there the week before – or possibly ever. It seemed like there was more nuance between my registers – like going from a staircase of large, steep steps to a staircase of more, smaller steps – and my ability to belt had soared off the charts. I put on Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch My Breath” to test it out and, for possibly the first time in my life, made it all the way through the song perfectly. I followed it up with Halestorm’s “I Am the Fire” to the same result. I was shocked.
I’m not the only person to experience the effect of an improved singing voice after an ayahuasca ceremony, but what surprised me even more was the continued effect of my repatterning journey on my singing abilities even after I stopped regularly attending ceremony. Having learned and integrated just about everything I needed to know about the principles of repatterning during that year in 2017, I left my ayahuasca community (also for some other reasons I won’t get into in this post), and I continued working on myself, undoing my trauma imprints and replacing them with habits and behaviors that supported my wellbeing. And then every once in a while I would start singing again and notice that, once again, my voice had improved noticeably from wherever it had been a few months earlier. Ayahuasca allowed me to measurably improve my voice overnight, but repatterning continued in aiding my vocal abilities afterwards, just more incrementally.
The ability to focus in on performing physical, mental, or creative tasks to standards of near-perfection has often been referred to as the flow state. The way that Neo dodges bullets in the final battle scene of The Matrix is a good metaphor for how we do this in real life – you can imagine a tennis player hitting every serve over the net, a math genius churning out perfect answers at superhuman speed, a freestyle rapper dishing out rhymes without missing a beat, or you can imagine me, nailing every note naturally in the artificially comped/autotuned intro and outro of CHVRCHES’ “The Mother We Share,” which I also did in a subsequent ceremony that same year, which is also a great ayahuasca song as it turns out.
The more I healed my trauma imprints, the more easily I noticed I was able to access the flow state. What ayahuasca had done for me overnight, I was able to continue on my own, albeit more gradually.
Some of my clients have reported the same changes in access to the flow state after taking their repatterning journey and integrating what they learned. One of my clients is a longtime tango dancer, and she noted an increased ability to access the flow state of intuiting and responding to her dance partners’ movements in her practice. I think this is especially remarkable considering I’ve never even met this woman in person, and that the work we’ve done together helping the mind to learn new information to shift what it focuses on and how it learns and stores information and memory is purely information-based and not a somatic practice (though it clearly has somatic effects). It astounds me how learning new information that aids us in shifting our thinking and understanding can wind up having enormously positive effects on things like our ability to sing or dance, provided we integrate and apply what we’re learning.
Here’s something else I’ve learned about accessing the flow state: Joe Dispenza writes in Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon that different emotions in our bodies produce different frequencies that create a measurable electromagnetic field around our bodies (his work with the HeartMath Institute shows the correlation). The electrical part of the charge comes from our brains, literally our thoughts, measured in brain wave coherence, and the magnetic part of the charge comes from our hearts, measured in our heart rate variability. Happy, loving thoughts and elevated emotions such as gratitude, love, joy, bliss, peace, and happiness create greater heart/brain coherence and therefore a stronger, more coherent electromagnetic field.
And greater heart/brain coherence creates easier access to the flow state. Which explains why setting myself up for behaviors and practices that supported my emotional wellbeing helped me improve my singing.
When I was stuck in the mire of my trauma imprints years ago still living in NYC, I was caught in the midst of patterns that were contributing to my bodily desensitization and overall emotional misery. For example, not knowing how to create or enforce boundaries nor practice discernment meant I ended up in a lot of situations where things were happening to my body that my body did not enjoy, and my go-to unconscious trauma response was to dissociate so as not to cause a fuss. This meant that over time, I lost the ability to feel my body, and I even started losing my hearing, so naturally my singing was impaired. When I moved out to Los Angeles with the intention of healing and resensitizing, I had no idea the amount of sensitivity and bodily awareness I’d be able to get back merely by listening to how my body actually felt in different situations, and choosing to implement behaviors and choices that supported my body feeling comfortable and relaxed enough to actually allow itself to safely feel again. From there, it became easier to continue choosing the people, places, and environments that allowed my body to feel relaxed and happy, and with time both my hearing and sensitivity improved, and with them, naturally, my singing abilities.
The main psychoactive component in ayahuasca is DMT, which has been shown to promote the growth of new neural connections in the brain. For my part, I absolutely believe this helped me integrate on a bodily level what I was learning in my research about trauma and addiction during that year in 2017 that helped me understand the principles of repatterning, and I believe it also allows us to help ourselves “learn” the state of perfect love and unity that ayahuasca helps us access, which also supports our heart/brain coherence with its elevated emotion as Joe Dispenza’s work shows.
But we can also learn these new ways of being without ayahuasca, simply by learning to make the choices in our lives that best support our experiences of positive emotions. These ways of being include learning healthy boundaries, paying attention to our bodies, repatterning our ineffective short-term coping mechanisms into sustainable long-term solutions, reducing factors that create stress, forming healthy friendships that support and nurture us, making time for activities that inspire us, and making more and more room for the things that support our feeling more and more elevated emotions.
Then, over time, we may notice that our creative, mental, and physical abilities improve, along with our bodily sensitivity and our access to the flow state.
Happiness is a deeply worthwhile goal in and of itself, but I also know many artists who are far more driven by the desire to improve their performance skills than by the desire for their own happiness. So if it helps motivate you, just know that your personal growth and emotional wellbeing have a pretty outstanding impact on your artistic skills as well. So much for that tortured artist trope!
(And if you don’t believe me, just listen to my first EP!)
The Re-Patterning Project: Winter 2023 begins January 22nd, and is now open for enrollment! If you’d like to take the journey that exponentially speeds up your path to agency, sovereignty, trauma healing, emotional wellbeing, and creative freedom by giving you the manual to your human operating system and putting you back in the driver’s seat of your programming, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect.
And if you’re also looking to try ayahuasca, I can think of no better mental preparation than The Re-Patterning Project, so that your history doesn’t come up to bite you unexpectedly in the vulnerable state of ceremony. In fact, one of our graduates says it should be a prerequisite to all psychedelic journeys, for that reason and more!