"I believe psychedelics are a gift from God... a portal to a higher dimension"
Zipolite’s community center looked like a summer camp. A narrow path crossed a large garden with little huts in the corners. People of all ages were in the dining hall, making dough or cutting vegetables. Some were in wheelchairs. Some were missing body parts. Some were missing something else. I paid for physiotherapy at the reception and waited in the lobby.
An old man welcomed me in. “Hola, Soy Ari” he said with a slow gringo accent. He looked like George Carlin. He was thin, fit and wore a green fluorescent bandana covering his white hair. I started explaining my problem when he interrupted me, embarrassed.
- Mi espanol no es bueno.
- Esta bien. We can speak English if it’s better
- Si por favor! he smiled.
The old man scribbled my name in a big notebook and sat me on the massage table.
- So, walk me through what happened
- I got wiped out by a wave and hit the ground headfirst. I can’t move my neck since. It happened last week.
- Another surfer beaten up by Mother Nature. Zipolite is a dangerous spot, the beach of the dead they call it.
- Haha tell me about it! That wave has been kicking my ass since I got here.
Ari walked behind me and started to brush my skull and neck with light fingers.
- What brought you here?
- A girl… and the waves. I’m travelling in my van, from Canada to Argentina.
- That’s a cool adventure. I did that once with my wife… haha good times!
- Really!?? That’s amazing. When did you do it?
- Right after I closed my practice in the states.
- When was that?
- A long time ago…
- I feel dizzy
- The neck is very sensitive. Lie down on your back.
I turned around, stiff and slow like a boat on reverse. Ari held me from the shoulders and lowered my head to the table. He pressed my vertebrae one by one.
- You’re lucky
- You can still feel the pain. The ocean is no joke. Two weeks ago, a surfer died in Puerto Escondido.
- I heard. May he rest in peace…
Ari’s hands were numbing. I was falling in a hazy state when an electric shock stung my wisdom tooth. He had hit me on the side of the jaw… with a hammer!
- This one should be back in its place. How long are you in Zipolite for?
- A couple more weeks, I guess, why?
- Cause that neck is gonna need more work.
- Shit...is it that bad?
- You have a nasty inflammation. Your vertebrae may be compressed or displaced. Only a radio would tell.
- It would take you three to five sessions I think, assuming you don’t do anything stupid.
- I can't even nod!
- Your body needs to heal. Let it heal. You can help it by eating fresh food and drinking a lot of water. Curcuma and garlic help a lot. Also, try to avoid any substance.
- Even weed?
- Even weed.
- Isn’t weed a pain killer?
- Are you in pain?
- Haha not right now… but I might be later.
- You gotta pick your battles.
Ari helped me to my feet. My head felt light, I could almost nod. God bless therapists!
Three days later, I crossed the long narrow alley through the garden and waited in the lobby. Ari showed up in linen pants. He had a black bandana this time.
- Good morning Raz!
- Good morning Ari
- How are you feeling today?
- Better actually, thanks to you
- Good to hear. Let’s see what we can do today, shall we?
I sat down on the massage table. He entered my name in the big notebook and pressed his light fingers on my neck.
- The inflammation decreased. Your body is healing.
- Wonderful! When will I be back surfing?
- You gotta be able move your head first!
Ari laid me on my back and started rocking my neck side to side, then he pulled in and cracked it. The crack sucked all energy our of me, like that too-strong a hit that melts your body into the couch. The question was burning my lips.
- I was really tempted to smoke weed, but I didn’t.
- Good man!
- Do you smoke?
- I used to. I grew up in the sixties, he winked.
- When did you stop?
- In my early thirties. Twenty years of pot were enough.
- Interesting… was there a specific reason?
- Hmmm not really… I just didn’t need it anymore.
- After twenty years?!! How come?
- I started doing acid
I laughed until my neck hurt. Ari pressed my shoulders down on the table.
- Have you ever tried psychedelics?
- No, but I’m curious.... What’s your favorite one?
- Hmmm acid I'd say. It's something else.
- What do you mean?
- Acid…good acid…
He stopped mid-sentence. Ari pressed on my hip, then moved around the table and pulled my foot. Crack!
- You were saying?
- Do you believe in God Raz?
- Me too… I believe psychedelics are a gift from God, a portal to higher dimension.
- Euuuuh okaaay…
- It's like a portal to a higher dimension. When I was tripping, I experienced bliss. A kind of spiritual enlightenment, some call it unconditional love. I understood what’s important… That changed my life forever.
- What changed ?
- Well first, I stopped taking drugs haha
- Haha I guess that’s a good outcome. All drugs?
- Yeah, I had clarity. I just didn’t need drugs anymore.
- And what’s clarity like, I mean, on your day-to day?
- Well... for me it was understanding the essential. That the only fulfilling life was a life of service.
His words sank. We finished the session and hugged each other goodbye. Ari was leaving with his wife to the US, to spend the summer with their son.
I returned to the community center the week after. The new therapist was a young local and Ari’s apprentice. He said Ari lived in Puerto Escondido and travelled to Zipolite three times a week, to train and volunteer with the disabled and the poor.
A life of service eh? Maybe acid is the cure to selfishness.