“Each exercise and encounter had an attentive elegance to it. The seamless flow and increasing preparation grounded me and inspired confidence for what was ahead.”
— CYNTHA GONZALEZ
Watch Cyntha's story:
My name is Cyntha. I am a transpersonal counselor, emotional bodyworker, expressive arts therapist and yoga teacher. All of these parts of my work honor deeper and expanded states of consciousness, and their value in mental, emotional, physical and spiritual healing.
I define healing as a ‘calling back into wholeness’ of unfelt, unexpressed and unacknowledged parts of ourselves that are the aftermath of unprocessed trauma, grief or conflict.
Sometimes healing is a nascent striving to ‘become’, and we need support to dare to take the leap. All of this led me to attend a Synthesis retreat. I knew that I needed help in releasing the final grief of my late partner’s death several years ago. I also desired support in taking the step in moving my work more online, finishing the book I am writing, and looking to move from the country where I have been living for 22 years.
Psychedelics have a way of quelling the ego and overriding the personal self. They allow for a more direct knowing of our greatest pain, fear, gifts and hopes. The ego can be crafty in hiding what is truly for our greatest good, out of shame, overwhelm, fear, false modesty or thinking it knows best.
I have learned that plant medicines carry not only beneficial neurochemical benefits to support such usurping of the ego, but are also imbued with a shamanic deep wisdom that comes from earth-based spiritual traditions. I felt the opportunity for a psychedelic experience was timely because I had hit an impasse on both old grief and creative projects.
On my journey with psychedelics, I have also learned that it is imperative for the setting to be secure, safe and supportive. This is no small feat. This includes the venue itself and the human facilitation. Upon reading Synthesis’s impressive website and watching the accompanying videos, I immediately recognized I would be in competent, reassuring hands, and held in exquisite beauty along the way.
Prior to going, I was equally impressed with the interview and the comprehensive pre-homework that allowed a deep dive within to truly prepare and be ready to get the most out of my experience. I took the time to make the most out of these resources and am retrospectively, very happy I did.
Upon arriving at the venue, I was floored by this stunning, gorgeous setting, that was once a church and has been transformed into a tranquil, refined, earthy oasis, calmly away from the rest of the world and the life I was taking a break from. The mindful attention to detail, the artful, nourishing food, the lighting, the cleanliness and the pervasive serenity, all led to an instant dropping down and into the most sublime retreat space.
The particular retreat I was on, was over three days. Day 1 was dedicated to settling in and preparing – on my own, as a group and one-on-one with a facilitator. Each exercise and encounter had an attentive elegance to it. The seamless flow and increasing preparation grounded me and inspired confidence for what was ahead.
I was also highly sensitive to the humility and integrity of the staff, who was working with us, including the men. As a woman, I am highly attuned if I feel safe with male facilitators and need to be reassured that they have excellent boundaries and self-awareness. Basically, “Had they done their work?” Given my long experience in the field, I recognized this was very much the case and revelled in the high-level integrity present in all of the staff members. I was able to fully trust and let go.
On the special day of descent, I felt guided, held and ready. Let’s go! And go I did. Mostly in my heart. Despite the protective strategies I have used, they were relievingly blown out as I was taken to even greater heartbroken sadness of losing great love, but also fully letting in the overwhelming love that is omnipresent with this once partner, despite him no longer being in body.
Along with his love, there were key friends and family members that appeared – and I was taken into a shared love that is absolute and all that is, but that I so often minimize, take for granted or underestimate. But not on this journey! This love took center stage and lifted me up for the creative and professional next steps calling to me. When I felt that level of love and support, I asked, how could I not take the jump that is calling – if the worst happened, they would all be there, with no less of their love surrounding me.
Prior to coming, I had been incessantly praying and asking, “When will I move? Where to? What’s next?” because I felt something Is definitely next. Consistently throughout the journey, the answer was, “Give away your motorcycle (which my late partner had given me), and finish your book. The next steps will then effortlessly appear.” This dialogue repeated itself several times. I would watch that fearful thought of, “What’s next?”, rise up, and a smiling knowing would patiently repeat the same answer. I finally relented.
And I have been guided by this since, and particularly so since Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. I employed an editor upon returning and set up a strict writing schedule with a writing partner. I have taken my work increasingly online. I feel I am in flow and trust as I inch towards completing this big goal of finishing my book, which I accept is the key to what my future will open up to – all in perfect timing.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Day 3’s integration on the cognitive, emotional, physical, social and spiritual levels impressed me. I had never been held that thoroughly before, post-experience. I relished in the permission and time to dive deep into key moments of the journey and flush them out with creative, integrative exercises that expanded and made real what I had accessed in that privileged, other-worldly state.
Synthesis - I give it an emphatic yes! A yes in the most knowing, hopeful and grounded sense. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
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