Lindsay Lohan drank ayahuasca. Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun. Is this the End Times?
Lindsay Lohan, the actress-turned-public-train-wreck recently revealed that in order to cope with a miscarriage, she drank ayahuasca, the South American tea known for its highly psychoactive effects.
The potent plant mixture is a no-joke concoction high in N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which is a controlled substance here in the U.S. But in countries including Brazil, Peru and Colombia, it’s a revered shamanic medicine used to heal physical and emotional wounds and deliver spiritual insight.
In the last decade, ayahuasca has catapulted itself to Burning Man status—an indispensable rite of the “conscious community.” Ayahuasca users frequently fit the same stereotype: wide-eyed, lots of hugging, feather earrings, dreadlocks and goatees. But beyond the stereotypes, the medicine has irrefutable effects that when reduced by mainstream media, feels like an insult to the entire rainforest and the millions of healing plants (known and unknown) held within her canopy.
Today Health ran this sensational headline: “What is ayahuasca? Lindsay Lohan’s ‘cleanse’ is probably illegal, causes vomiting.” And it’s true. Sort of. Ayahuasca is illegal (but religious exemptions do allow some use in the U.S.). In my experience, it caused lots of vomiting. But I wouldn’t call it a cleanse—at least not in the sense of a lose-weight-fast gimmick. It is, for lack of a better term, a serious, hardcore spiritual experience. You don’t drink ayahuasca to lose a little weight before heading out to Coachella. And you certainly don’t drink it there to “enhance” your experience. It’s not the Master Cleanse. And it’s not a joint.
Many people think there’s not much to Lindsay Lohan these days besides the spectacle (and “Mean Girls”). But she may just be onto something with ayahausca. If it can belay her self-destructive behavior and heal some of her wounds (celebs cry too, you know), maybe it can also help other people. (That’s not to say you should hop on the next flight to the rainforest.) And now, if we’re not able to stop the impact melting glaciers is sure to have on our planet, perhaps we can at least experience a deeper clarity with the world around us (even if it’s only for a fleeting second before we’re all washed away). Of course, that doesn’t have to come by way of ayahuasca. But for many, it does.
Similar to LiLo’s reports, I also experienced what I can only compare to death while in an ayahuasca ceremony. I had to consciously say goodbye to everyone I loved. I had to let go. I had to accept the end of everything I knew and slip into everything I did not know. It was dark, confusing, and much bigger than the vocabulary describing my human experiences is limited to. It wasn’t scary as much as it was truly new. But that’s not where the real “healing” came from for me—at least, not the healing I can understand.
Shortly before my death-like experience, I saw something that is with me every day still. There, deep in the Colombian rainforest, I could see the forest as if it were inside of a X-ray machine that made everything neon rainbow striped. Colorful lines of energy connected each and every inch of the forest. From the earth up to the tree trunks to the tree leaves to the medicine men who stood guard over our sacred circle, I could see the inter-connectivity of all things. It radiated and pulsed and connected me to it all too. Perhaps this is what Lindsay experienced. Perhaps not. But it is that important reminder now as the media judges and mocks Lindsay, and as we struggle to make sense of what “irreversible collapse” to the Antarctic really means. Because we are connected to these things—in whichever way we choose to see this.
“Researchers had previously estimated that the cluster in the Amundsen Sea region of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would last for thousands of years despite global climate change,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “But the new studies found that the loss is underway now as warming ocean water melts away the base of the ice shelf, and is occurring far more rapidly than scientists expected.” A sea level rise of 4 feet is expected to occur within the next 200 years; and if you think that isn’t going to have a significant impact in the next few years–including the death and displacement of millions of people–you’ve got another thing coming.
I’ve often wondered if the end of humanity will come swiftly once we universally understand our connection to, well, everything. What happens the moment after all religious devotees stop clamoring for the “most true” position amongst the rest of us and simply see that in no way does our connectivity impinge upon our individuality? This “knowledge”—this truly sober moment—may be closer than we think, melting and creeping towards us like Antarctic ice. And it can have only two possible outcomes: 1) It is the End Times. For real. We realize our connection to each and every thing, and then, of course, we become one with it all in eternity, or 2) It’s not the End Times but it’s the end of those times where we saw ourselves as so separate from each other and the earth that we felt it was appropriate to disengage from pressing issues and focus on, well, Lindsay Lohan, instead. But instead of that, we move into a new earth, a new planetary culture that’s not marginalized by TMZ and celeb-bashing. We rise to meet the challenge of rising sea levels and temperatures and make drastic, lasting changes to the ways we live and care for the earth. I know. The End of the World is the likelier scenario, right?
But all most some judgments aside… something’s got to give. We know we can’t continue to bury our head in our iPhones or “Game of Thrones” and pretend that things aren’t changing. We (at least, me) have children to think about. And if they don’t get to grow up in a world with rainforest medicines and Antarctic glaciers, they at least deserve to live in a world where their parents’ generation tried to save those things and make it a better place. Even if we fail. We can say we tried. Looks like even Lindsay’s going that route. Will you?
Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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