Vision Quest: A Journey Within

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    Nicole Stasio
    Nicole is a woman that defies the laws of nature, a caregiver of humanity, an intellectual soul seeking truth and justice. Originally from San Francisco and currently growing roots in the Costa Rican jungle. Nicole is passionate about what she says, and talented with what she does. Currently seeking to elevate her consciousness for the greater good of mankind.

    A Brotherhood of Game-Changers Seeks to Expand their Consciousness through Vision Quest: A Journey Within

    Secret waterfall along Vision Quest trek

    What is consciousness?

    What is the nature of reality?

    How can I break free of all physical and mental limitations?

    Can we use collective consciousness in a high-risk environment  to achieve shared goals?

    What is my greatest fear?

    Is there a way to escape the matrix and find freedom, sovereignty, and truth?

    These are some of the truth-seeking questions nine transformational leaders from around the world asked themselves when they pulled the trigger on a high-risk, extreme adventure through the heart of the Costa Rican jungle. With Danny Yepez and A.J. Maxwell leading the way, they set out on a treacherous journey to step beyond limitations, connect with pure source, and discover gnosis – knowledge of spiritual mysteries….a journey within.

    Consciousness isn’t a journey upward, but a journey inward. Not a pyramid, but a maze. Every choice could bring you closer to the center or send you spiraling to the edges.

    The Mission: To expand masculine consciousness while navigating high-risk extreme conditions

    A.J. Maxwell and Tarmo at waterfall along trek

    The mission of visionQUEST EXtreme Adventure is to provide leadership in the expansion of adventure-based transformative experiences. vQ has stirred real interest in using a new set of transformative methods as a rite of passage. The original Carias-Maxwell model is an interdisciplinary concept that focuses on masculine consciousness expansion while navigating high-risk extreme adventure environmental conditions.

    Each individual goes through a sequence of innovative, adaptive, trust-building exercises, initiative problems, while traversing dynamic natural elements. Two basic goals are constantly sought and reinforced: 1. that the individuals as a group learn to solve problems more creatively and efficiently, and 2. that individuals and the group as a whole learn to overcome preconceived barriers to their agreed upon objectives. 

    A women’s version of Vision Quest is taking flight in October 2017 with Phoenix Rising. Each Vision Quest will have it’s own theme related to the goals and intentions of that particular journey. Learn more about the women’s quest here:

    Harnessing the power of earth, air, water, and fire

    Temazcal Sweatlodge and Sacred Fire

    Vision Quest: The Journey Within began on Monday, August 21st with a traditional temazcal sweatlodge tucked away at the base of a lush green mountain in the sacred Diamante Valley of Costa Rica, one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. The word temazcal comes from the Nahuatl word temāzcalli meaning “house of heat” and draws upon healing from the four elements of earth, air, water, and fire. In ancient Mesoamerica temazcal was used as a ritual for building strength and courage as well as purifying the body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

    A Journey Within group starting quest with temazcal sweatlodge

    The “sweatlodge” is seen as the womb of the Mother Earth. In this ceremony the men had the opportunity to release what was no longer serving them – to allow death to anything causing suffering and experience a transformation, or rebirth, through the heat of fire. They began to face any fears and perceived limitations, push past them, and find their infinite inner strength. This was also the start of their fast – no more food for the next 36 hours…

    Calling all warriors

    Peyote ceremony along trek

    The following morning the nine men set off on a 12 mile, 5.5 hour trek through treacherous terrain including dense jungle, flowing rivers, slippery boulders, and cascading waterfalls. They made three stops along the way to ingest peyote, a medicinal plant used by indigenous people for heightened awareness, perception, agility, instincts, and connection to Earth.

    The first test came when one of the leaders, A.J. Maxwell, slipped on a moss-covered boulder along the river and dislocated two of his fingers as well as suffering a gnarly gash along his forearm. The group was devastated, thinking this might be an early end to their journey. But they all watched in awe and respect as A.J. stood up with blood dripping blood down his arm, and proceeded to yank on his fingers one by one to re-set them back into place..almost passing out with the relocation of the second finger. In the jungle everything happens for a reason, and they had passed their first obstacle – overcoming the fear of pain and injury.

    A.J. Maxwell’s warrior cut

    The quest required the men to function at an extraordinary brain capacity and use all four limbs to navigate the ever-changing landscape…in effect becoming superhuman. The group traveled light and smart – only carrying a small filter straw in their pockets to sip water directly from the flowing rivers…many commenting that it was the most refreshing and rejuvenating sips of their lives!

    The real journey within…

    Upon completing this physically strenuous and mentally demanding trek through the jungle, the group prepared for the real journey within….a nighttime ayahuasca ceremony in the middle of the jungle in hammocks, with fire and spirit as the only protection. Ayahuasca is a plant medicine from the Amazon shown to stimulate neurogenesis, or the birth of new brain cells, as well as providing physical cleansing, spiritual and emotional healing, and a release of stored traumas and addictions.

    A Journey Within group at ayahuasca ceremony campsite

    The ceremony was led by a native to the Diamante Valley, alias Knowing Sky, who has dedicated his life to the preservation and care of sacred plant medicines and traditions. He grew the ingredients for the ayahuasca brew in his greenhouse (alongside many other entheogenic plants) and brewed it with much love. You can find more information about his work and the power of entheogenic plants on his Facebook page, The Living Library.

    A process that draws one closer to the god within

    Entheogenic literally means “a substance or process that draws one closer to the god within.” This translation paints a perfect picture of what the nine men experienced during their ayahuasca journey that night. This process is unique to one’s needs for healing and can involve re-experiencing traumas to work through them, seeing visions, traveling to other dimensions, and meeting other-worldly spirit guides. Nestled in their own hammocks around the fire, they dove deep within their consciousness and navigated a personal maze to reach their true essence, which is connected to Source and universal intelligence.

    A Journey Within group on the trek out of jungle after ayahuasca ceremony

    Many of the men found answers to those transcendental questions during the night, and the following morning reflected with their brothers during the trek back to homebase with the help of locally picked mushrooms, another entheogenic catalyst to awakening and expansion.

    Dean Grafos, one of the brothers, shared his experience of envisioning how to always be unconditional love for his family, especially his wife and daughter. Rock Thomas voiced his take-away as to simply “surrender to the jungle.” This sentiment resonated so much with the Vision Quest team that this was chosen as the theme for the upcoming Vision Quest from December 4-10, 2017, with simultaneous men and women’s quests!

    A common discovery was that they were able to take themselves to edge and still have the capability to go beyond that edge. Where there was once a dark void, a space was created and filled with knowledge of their true selves.

    Infinity, Eternity, and Universality for life

    This lesson was so profound, many of the men got tribal tattoos from local shamanic artist, Amanda Thomas. They tattooed symbols from the Language of Light, meaning Infinity, Eternity, and Universality.

    Next up, the women show their feathers with Vision Quest: Phoenix Rising in October. Click here to learn more about the women’s journey and future Vision Quest dates.

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    Resonance Costa Rica
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