Death Becomes Her: Becoming Liberated From The Subconscious Patterns That Entrap Us.
This is the call to wash off the makeup and take a deep look at ourselves in the mirror.
Beauty cannot be boxed, packaged, and sold. No price tag will ever equal the value of something so wild and pure. Real beauty is something you capture when you feel and you open your heart. You can’t get there unless you are willing to die.
I don’t mean actual death; I mean surrender. Letting go of who we think we are and what others think of us.
Society’s obsession with approval-seeking behaviors points to our need to learn that all the love and acceptance that you could ever receive from outside yourself, will never equal the amount you need to feel fulfilled. That hunger or addiction inside that never seems to cease is really our souls crying out for attention.
My approval-seeking manifested itself as eating disorders at age 10. I was anorexic, bulimic, and had body dysmorphic disorder. 24 years later, I finally got down to the roots of eating disorders, my need for acceptance and not having control of my life.
It started with my strict Christian parents who had put these shackles on me throughout my childhood. I never went trick-or-treating because my mom thought it was satanic. I couldn’t watch the movies in class, like the Hobbit or even the Smurfs. I was not even allowed to have My Little Pony because my mom thought unicorns were evil.
I think I had the strictest parents in history. I felt like Cinderella.
Socially, I felt like an outsider. I didn’t know any other kids with ADHD, like me. I wanted to feel accepted. Instead, I was bullied. I volunteered at the school lunch cafeteria because I did not want to go to recess and be teased. I used to hang out at the elderly at the Carnation Senior center because they liked me.
When I got to middle school, I decided that being thin like a model would make me more popular. I started taking caffeine pills to stay up all night with my friends. I loved the buzz they gave me, and knew they could help me lose weight. My school principal caught me, when a friend ratted me out after I threw up in school from taking too many.
I was put in detention. My perfect goody goody Christian slate was shattered, so it wasn’t so bad that I started smoking. I thought it would suppress my appetite. I saw the models doing it in the magazines I read in the library. I tried marijuana but it did the opposite, and drinking was not an option because alcohol had too many calories.
I had found this Total Body Reshaping System diet in Teen magazine. It was a list of foods that I could eat, and workouts. I did the exercises obsessively. I joined track and became a long-distance runner. It was the only sport that I could do and not be confronted or bullied. Ironically, that is when I started running from my problems.
I switched schools my freshman year of high school. I still didn’t fit in.
By that time I was the expert in every diet from Ketonic to HCG. I got the best diet tips from the Pro-ana websites I was able to get online at the library. I copied the photos of sickly thin models as thinspiration reminders when I had a thought of eating.
I had this wild idea once after binging on spicy teriyaki to drink a bottle of Ipecac. I covered the floor with towels since I had no idea what to expect. I waited. I waited some more. Then it came, a wave of sickness like I had never experienced before. I was in there for hours.
I remember my sister knocking on the door and barely being able to say, “Don’t worry, I’m okay”. I am surprised that I didn’t pass out. Spicy teriyaki really burns when it comes back up. Worst idea ever.
I became a model at age 18. By age 21, I had been signed with the two top modeling agencies in Seattle. I still hated my body and modeling gave me an excuse to keep it perfect. I recall flying to Orlando for a photo shoot and having the photographer tell me my butt was getting too big. I couldn’t have weighed more than 107 lbs.
Fast forward to 2007. I had come a long way. I had a high-powered and high-paid corporate job managing a sales team that kept me jet-setting around the US and Europe. I was married to the perfect husband, owned 13 retail businesses, four houses, German luxury car, exotic vacations, and the freedom to buy whatever I wanted.
Despite the dream career and marriage, I felt like my material possessions owned me rather than me owning them. I had a lack of satisfaction for life or, should I say, I couldn’t feel my life, so I turned to alcohol.
After several years numbing myself, chasing temporary states of happiness, I started feeling this pull; something was calling me to a bigger cause. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I just knew it. A recovering anorexic and bulimic, I had dropped to 105 lbs and less than 6% body fat.
An intuitive healer and friend looked at my face and told me that my adrenals could not take any more stress. I was on the brink of adrenal fatigue.
I had social anxiety, an eating disorder, was controlled by my addictions, and had no idea what it meant to truly love myself. I masked the pain with Xanax during the day, two glasses of wine before bed, and a Venti Americano in the morning to put some jump in my step. I still felt empty.
I was so afraid that if I didn’t get my anxiety under control, I was going to lose it all. I saw a therapist, who told me I was like a breed of dog. It was just my nature to be anxious like a Chihuahua. “I am going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life,” I thought. The ideas of ending my life started to creep in.
My husband knew I was having trouble, but he had no idea what to do about it. I felt alone.
That’s when I picked up a book by Natalia Rose about emotional eating. She said that it was my spirit calling for my attention. I was stuffing myself with food, alcohol, and drugs to quiet it. I decided to start listening to what it had to say. The minute I did, I started seeing synchronicities.
I got the message that I was miserable because I had structured my life around a core belief of approval-seeking. It was time to let go off my cushy life and go find myself. That meant leaving my husband.
When I left, my family thought I was crazy, and so did my husband. My husband dragged his feet, using the houses and money to slow the divorce and delay my leaving. I gave everything to him, knowing that was my only way out. I left my entire life behind, with $35,000 cash, and took off to Europe and South America.
I had my first mystical experience in Buenos Aires during a meditation. I would explain what happen but, words cannot articulate these kinds of experiences. If you really want to know, this is an initiation. It will find you, if you ask from your heart.
I wanted to believe that this magic was real and I wanted more proof, so I decided to dedicate my life to a deep spiritual practice. I took on a teacher from the Modern Mystery School where I received psychic training, learned ritual magic, and how to read tarot.
I thought I was in a good place. I was able to give up alcohol and Xanax. Each time I moved closer to feeling, all the uncomfortable emotions that I had ignored from the past came in with a vengeance. I realized that eating, drinking, need to stay busy, and constant pursuit to improve my appearance were really just a denial of my emotional nature.
As I shed these painful layers created through years of numbing, I made food my primary drug of choice. I ate healthy, organic foods and superfoods for the most part. I was obsessed with ingredients, even where my water came from. I became vegan, and even spent several months as a raw vegan.
I thought food allergies were making me gain weight. I made sure that no gluten, soy, dairy, processed sugar graced my lips.
In 2012, while traveling in Europe for the summer, I added 25 lbs to my svelte 105 lb body, the most I had ever weighed. When I returned, I moved to Los Angeles and went on an extreme juice cleanse, dropping back down to a healthy 115 lbs. In 2013, I got adrenal fatigue and shot up to 141 lbs.
I went back to juice cleansing; this time, for 30 days I drank nothing but juice.
I was living in Los Angeles, where everyone is beautiful and skinny. I would go to Yoga class and, instead of being the thinnest girl in the room, I felt like I was the fattest one. I hated working out because I had to look at my huge thighs in the mirror next to a perfectly svelte model who most likely started doing ballet at age 2.
It was such a paradox to be going through a massive spiritual awakening and feeling self-conscious about my thighs touching.
I tried exercising, hiking, but the weight would not budge. I started taking Chinese herbs for my thyroid and adrenals, as well as fine-tuning my diet further. Still no weight loss. I went to get my adrenals, kidneys, and liver tested. I even got tested for diabetes. The results came back normal. I became frustrated.
To add insult to my situation, I was struggling financially. I did not have money to pay for my house in Venice Beach, and I was two months behind on the only thing I kept from my past materialist life: my Audi A5. I was sad to see it loaded on a truck to be sold at an auction because I could not make the payments.
Between my body and financial problems I felt so stuck, I couldn’t see which way was up.
In the midst of a breakdown in my acupuncturist’s office, I noticed a statue in the background. It was Guan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. I took it as message for me to be compassionate towards myself.
I continued on my healing path to become a Reiki master. I create a modality — Love juju — a holistic program mirroring the creative process utilizing various studies such as I Ching, tarot, astrology, meditation, shamanic healing, and medicinal foods. I was building a strong business healing others and felt deeply fulfilled sharing this gift with the world.
I had all the tools and I still wasn’t fully there. I had a community of friends that authentically loved me and accepted me for the first time. I knew no matter how much my friends loved me, it could never be enough. I had to love myself fully to get to one hundred percent.
I radiated with love, but it was not the kind of love that could weather the toughest storms. There were still places inside me on a subconscious level that believed that someone who grew up in a poor family, dropped out of college, was teased growing up, and had an eating disorder, was not lovable.
Even a drop of those feelings was enough to keep me enslaved to my food addictions. It was time to strip off another layer to get to the bottom of these core issues.
Coup De Gras
I was at a transformational festival when I ran into a friend, Dr. Martin Polanco. He owns Crossroads treatment center in Tijuana that offers Ibogaine treatments for addictions and spiritual transformations. Ibogaine is a stimulating Psychedelic medicine that comes from a shrub in Africa that, when taken in high doses, induces psychedelic visions.
It has been used in treating opiate addictions because of its ability to completely reset the nervous system. I knew right then that Ibogaine was what I needed.
Several weeks later, I get a call from Martin. There was an unexpected opening in the schedule. He said he could pick me up in the morning, if I was ready to experience the treatment. I said Yes without any hesitation.
The driver, Carlos, met me at the San Deigo airport. He warmly greeted me and loaded my bags into the back of the black SUV.
We arrived at a beautiful beach house in this gated community in Rosarito. The staff felt like family. They hugged me and they hugged Carlos. I got a large room with a private bathroom, in exchange for my cell phone and laptop.
I spoke with Tyson, a counselor and coordinator, about my struggles with eating, and he talked me through the process of the treatment. It hit me that I would be awake for 36 hours during the treatment. I was a little nervous.
The next afternoon, we got in the car and went to the clinic. The clinic was very clean and modern. It had a shamanic day spa feel. There was an altar set up in the middle of the room with crystal singing bowls and crystals. Laser lights were projected on the ceiling and tribal drumming was played through the speakers.
There was a second floor, with an outdoor deck filled with plants and a Yoga or meditation studio.
I saw Doctor Guardado, and he told me the process of going under the medicine. He inserted an IV in my hand and taped it up. He informed me that it was there in case of an emergency. I was hooked up to a bag of saline solution to keep me from getting dehydrated.
I lay down and the nurse put stickers on my chest to connect me to a heart monitor. I was given some water and two capsules filled with a white power. I was told not to drink too much because it could make me feel nauseated.
I took the two pills with a sip of water. Dr. Guardado said it took about two hours for the medicine to come on fully. It hit me within 30 minutes. I started to hear a buzzing in my ears and as I faded out, I heard a voice.
It started going through my body like a diagnostic system for a car; as the Ibogaine moved through and healed childhood wounds and parts of my body where I felt blockages or numbness. The whole process seemed to happen very quickly. At least it felt that way with my perception of time.
The next phase, I went into singularity. I became all that was and is. I knew of this place, the dimension of unconditional love, but this time it was so deeply vivid. That was when I let go of all of my projections. All of the ideas of who I thought I was. I was free.
I felt who I was and felt the oneness connection to all life, time, space, and dimensions simultaneously. I cried tears of happiness. I spent a long time in this space.
In the next layer of the journey, I was shown the tree of life and saw the places that energy was getting stuck due to the ego. I explored inter-dimensional spaces and archetypal relationships of energy. I had access to everything. I was connected to the highest levels of intelligence.
I was ready for Jedi training school. I was shown how to truly connect into my body and how to talk to it, creating an authentic relationship with myself. It was my space suit, allowing my spirit to have a human experience. I am grateful for it and the new things that I could do with it, that with it I could push my capacity to feel and think to higher levels.
The next 24 hours are where many experience the madness. For me it was strange, as I would close my eyes but still felt that I could see through my eyelids. Sometimes I would be lying facing the ceiling with my eyes closed and it would look like the ceiling of a log cabin or an ornate vintage tin tile.
I would think I was in a bungalow in Thailand by the look of the room and then open my eyes to see that I was in the clinic. I was not tired, not able to sleep, and sometimes I would just stare at these strange places that my mind took me. I am a practicing meditator, so this reminded me of a lying Vipassana, just with more interesting scenery.
I felt very happy and blissful living inside the dream.
Back to the earth plane
I was shown that when you go to the deepest part of yourself, you find that you are love. No book, class, or even Bhakti Yoga, or other experience where I’ve found deep love and oneness, has taken me to this level of depth of my truth and pure love. I had many conditions on myself that I need to be or do something to receive love.
When you can fully love yourself without conditions, you love everyone and every imperfect part of the journey that got you to where you are now. There is no longer any fear of the darkness.
This was the coup de gras to the wounds that made me emotionally eat and fueled every addiction that I’ve ever had. Ibogaine is a complete reset of your mind and body. I felt free and empty at the same time. I felt like a baby again, moving through with this new void inside and not having any desire to fill it with anything.
I was very gentle with myself each day. I practiced mindful eating and tried not to integrate too many things back in my diet right away. I know how sensitive I am; anything too spicy, garlicky, or sweet could turn off my connection to my feeling.
I wanted to keep my system clean and avoid anything too stimulating, which could trigger my old habits of binging and purging.
I had prepared myself mentally during treatment for how I would manage being back in the world. I felt very sensitive and vulnerable. I appreciated the sensitivity that Ibogaine had left, giving me deep insights on how to take things one step at a time back to a healthy way of living.
Arriving home after the experience, I went out with some friends. I ran into an old friend, and he could tell that I was different. “You look like a completely different person; you are the clearest that I have ever seen you,” he said. As I ran into more friends, they wanted to hear about my Ibogaine experience that had created such a profound shift in me.
I was still processing though, and putting such a mystical experience into words would diminish its power. It is one of those sacred experiences that you want to keep for yourself.
In the car ride home, a new friend shared with me that he was a recovering addict and that is what put him on his spiritual path. He used everything including cocaine and heroine. It was his 26th birthday. Tears filled my eyes, as he shared with me how he felt he wasted 10 years of his life as an addict.
It was exactly what I needed to hear to remind me how important it is for me to share my story and support others on their journey.
Ibogaine is medicine for those with addiction or eating disorders that feel the calling to do the deep work that it takes to be liberated from the subconscious patterns that entrap us.
Deep down we are all loving beings, enslaved by the constructs of our mind that cause us to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thus preventing us from experiencing the fullness of every moment. All disease starts in the mind, and that is where Ibogaine does its work.
It is not a magic pill in itself. You have to be really honest with yourself every day and do the work. It’s the hiding and the shame that cause you to go back into your old patterns. I admit that I still have a pair of Size Zero jeans in my closet. I thought about pouring some gasoline on them and burning them.
I know there is still a part of me that wants to fit into them. I just have to accept that.
After years of deaths that removed layers of myself that blocked my heart, I can start my day from a place of love and compassion. I wake up every day grateful for my freedom and the lessons that I have learned from my experience. My life is not free from challenges, but my stance in life has changed. Living from the heart is a daily practice.
We all want to be seen, to be felt, celebrated, and heard in our most authentic, stripped-down version of ourselves. Dying by letting go is the most profound gift one can give to themselves and the only way that true love can be found.
Tricia Eastman is a pioneer in the age of the spiritual makeover, with a mission to inspire others to live healthier lives in every way. Eastman incorporates alternative healing modalities along with medicinal foods into her programs and events. Eastman truly embodies LOHAS in all aspects of her life and passionately supports the movement, especially in her writing. You could contact her via her website.