Updated: Apr 21, 2022
“Just surrender” they kept saying as the cloying sickness that gripped my stomach sent ripples of nausea up my digestive tract. I was beginning to think that this was a seriously bad idea. Maybe the worst idea I’d ever had. “Surrender?” I thought to myself, “they’re taking the piss”. I had lost track of time but I would guess it was around 15 mins since they had scraped frog slime from the stick and applied it to the stinging burns on my arm. My very first Kambo experience was feeling like quicksand and I realised I’d gotten in way over my head.
What had started out as a weekend away to drink Ayahuasca had turned into something entirely different. Never being one to back down from a challenge when the facilitators announced that they were offering Kambo frog medicine I thought, “What the hell; in for a penny, in for a pound.”
But now I had gotten myself stuck, I had this almighty behemoth blocking my path and there was no option other than to just go straight through it.
This was how my Kambo journey began. From that day forward my Kambo treatment frequency was based purely on building enough courage between applications to do it again.
Then one day that all changed.
A serendipitous discovery with a Peruvian method of application transformed my relationship with this sacred medicine for the better.
Surrender Vs Non-Resistance
Ask any shaman, psychonaut or experienced medicine man and they will tell you that the key to unlocking the power of any plant or animal medicine is surrender. So what does surrender really mean in this context? I like to think of it more as “non-resistance”.
Most of us live in a subtle baseline state of resistance. We are all well familiar with those ‘oh for f*ck’s sake’ moments that ruin mornings, sabotage arrangements and cause maddening insomnia.
Hit a horrendous traffic jam on the way to work? Dropped that carton of eggs you were carrying? Can’t find your passport when you’re about to leave for the airport? These are everyday examples that even the best of us would feel resistance to, that visceral gut feeling of wanting things to be different.
Resistance = Persistence
Resistance is essentially; “I don’t like this, I want something else”. When we resist, without even realising it we are using mental and emotional gasoline to fight what is happening even if we know that fighting it is totally futile.
“Rain is not the problem, it is the reaction to getting wet that makes us suffer.” Alan Watts.
It’s human nature to do this so don’t beat yourself up about it, and absurdly, that would also be resistance - resistance of the resistance which I’m sure you’ll agree is getting into Inception “mindf*ck” territory, a “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” kind of situation.
The Solution To Suffering
What we can do though, is reframe this resistance and allow what is happening to happen without trying to change anything about it. This “allowing” means that what is happening is ok and also any internal resistance is also ok. I would call this next level of surrender “letting go”.
“Letting go” is what we want to do during our Kambo process. When there is resistance to what is happening, release control and let go of the wheel. When there is more resistance, take a deep breath and let go - even more. Just allow, allow, allow. This is easier said than done and of course, takes some practice, but you will find you will get better at it with time as you learn to loosen your internal control system.
“This is the key to unlocking the treasure hidden within the Kambo experience. By truly letting go we can access deep unprocessed emotions, buried feelings and uninstall troublesome thought patterns.“
Before understanding this deeper aspect of the Kambo experience, it was always very much a mechanical process for me. Being a left-brained thinker with a logical mind, I approached Kambo in a very linear, systematic and methodical fashion. Kambo was a means to an end, a way to achieve a desired outcome and something I had to endure in order to get the intended result.
Coming at it from this angle meant that for me Kambo was just about dosage. Not getting the desired effect? Then it’s not the right dose, if you get that part right then you’ll get the result you want.
One day, by pure chance I discovered the truth - Kambo is not about dosage, it’s about letting go.
Years after my initial trial of fire with Kambo, I was attending an evening Ayahuasca ceremony that was going to run through the night and I’d had a long day of travelling beforehand. I was feeling exhausted and with the idea of just crashing for the night in my mind, thoughts of snuggling up in bed became increasingly enticing. I needed something to give me that burst of energy required to make it through and Kambo seemed the perfect tonic.
As I began to get ready I started to think about my intention, it was very different from my usual one in that for the first time, purging was not the aim of the process. Not wanting to get into anything too intense I went with 5 points which was less than my usual 7 and all agendas and expectations of the outcome were dropped. I applied the points, relaxed and then something magical happened as I was resting in that familiar Kambo space. For the first time ever, I was completely present with the process without forcing my own will on what was happening. I let go and just focused my attention on what I was feeling without chasing the purge.
I lay on my side and felt the familiar warm glow in my chest begin to spread throughout my entire body. As I rested in this cosy, flushed and euphoric state, mild nausea began to brew in my stomach. Then suddenly the image of someone very close to me appeared in my mind. This image was accompanied by a strong emotional charge and I tried to put my finger on what I was feeling. Then it hit me, it was a deep sadness.
I allowed this feeling to just be, letting it blossom into a full grieving that had tears welling up in my eyes. Staying fully focused on the feeling without distraction, allowed my body to fully process these decade-old repressed emotions.
Upon checking the clock I saw that it had been 25 minutes since the Kambo had been applied. “Time to drink some water”, I thought to myself as I reached for the glass. As soon as that first glass was down I immediately purged the darkest and most foul-tasting bile I had ever expelled before. I continued to drink and purge until the process was finished.
This was a completely different process from any that I had had before...
This was a profound processing and clearance of tough, calcified emotional sewage that I can only describe as a multi-dimensional discharge. I purged on the physical, emotional and spiritual planes simultaneously.
This had been the most meaningful and effective Kambo process of my entire life and it became so clear at that moment that as your intimate relationship with Kambo strengthens so does your ability to achieve better results using less medicine.
This is now the focus of my Kambo work, and the internal mantra I live by - “relax, be present and let go”. Going through a Kambo process is a skill that can be practised and perfected, truly a discipline that can be slowly improved over time. The more I’ve worked with Kambo and applied these philosophical teachings, the more pleasant, blissful and meaningful the processes have become for myself and our growing tribe of wellness warriors.
It’s time for a Kambo revolution, welcome to Kambo 2.0.
Planet Kambo Ltd.
Plant medicine veteran & Planet Kambo co-founder Jonathan Gold, left an unfulfilling 10 year IT career to pursue a higher path of healing, self-discovery & enlightenment uniting him serendipitously with the transformational healing power of Kambo frog medicine.
Now a skilled facilitator boasting thousands of recovery testimonials, Jonathan escaped the matrix of corporate enslavement & lives a life of service, duty & soul alignment.