We all desire things like healing, creating a life that we love and reaching our highest potential. In this episode, Adam talks about his personal journey at Rythmia Life Advancement Center, an all-inclusive medically licensed luxury resort and retreat center in Costa Rica. Rythmia aims to help their guests achieve “their miracle”. Fusing ancient wisdom and modern techniques, their program includes Ayahuasca ceremonies, yoga, metaphysical classes, hydrocolonic cleanses, transformational breathwork, massage, and farm-to-table organic food. Adam shares his experiences through each step of the program and how it helped him tap into every aspect of his well-being, including his appreciation for their impeccable attention to details. Join Adam for a “virtual” introduction to Rythmia and all that it offers.
If you are interested in exploring Rythmia in more detail, visit Rythmia here or call +1-844.236.5674.
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The Rythmia Experience: Opening The Gate To Extensive Self-Discovery
I am feeling very lucky, grateful and privileged to be here in this moment, thinking how odd, different and interesting this is compared to what I was doing ten years ago, fifteen or twenty years ago. Some who may be reading this, you’re not even twenty years old. I don’t know. For me anyhow, twenty years is a blur. Ten is even more of a blur, but that’s just the way time isn’t. I don’t think that’s something to lament or be sad about. Although I have my moments, I definitely have my moments where I think to myself, “It’s going so quick,” quickly passing by and all that sentimental thoughts and feelings at times. There’s another part of me that really recognizes that time is a fiction. It’s a figment of our making. It’s not a figment of our imagination, I don’t think, because the truth is we’ve constructed this time thing and we didn’t construct it. You didn’t construct it, I didn’t construct it. Our ancestors did it. They did it a long time ago to make sense of things and to have some form of a construct to measure. Maybe it’s some part of our DNA, part of the human makeup to want to and have to measure, to need, to have some craving to measure things. Time itself does not exist. It’s a thing we’ve made up. It’s a thing that human beings made up and it’s a fiction and it doesn’t even exist. In that regard, it doesn’t exist.
What do I mean by that? I think back ten years ago, I think back five years ago or even one year ago, and that time span between then and now is a blink. It’s an instant. It’s simultaneously then and now. Other than the things that happened in between, which again, you may have a million things that happened in between. I may have been as busy in the last year as I’ve ever been in my life and that probably would be at least a partially accurate statement, and yet the distance between a year ago and now does not exist anymore. The two things just collapse time and space merge and become one. With that realization and the knowledge that this thing we call time, it’s an interesting fiction and that’s where I’m beginning, recognizing that there are lots of interesting fictions in our lives.
What’s also interesting is the fact that we are guided by those fictions. We are run by those fictions so often. That means that our lives are occasionally going off in a direction that we haven’t really charted, hadn’t intended and that’s because we are so directed by these fictions. These fictional beliefs, our fictional thoughts. The thoughts that are programmed in our habitual and come from childhood, come from other people, come from the media and come from so many places where we just pick up the thoughts, the belief systems and the programming of others. They don’t necessarily emanate from our heart, they don’t necessarily emanate from our deepest sense of beingness, which maybe we can call the soul, spirit or God or any number of other things, I suppose. The idea that there’s this operating system on the inside very much the way at this moment. I’m operating this program through my computer and that’s an operating system that I am totally clueless about as to why it is that the screen operates the way it does and the words show up and this thing happens and that happens. For me, it’s a pure miracle. For a coder, somebody who’s a lot more software literate, they may say, “No, this is the reason that happens. It’s totally logical and it makes sense.” I would imagine even for them that there’s a miracle in it.
The first time that they recognized it or learning about it and ultimately, became able to code things and create things through software that is nothing short of a miracle, it was purely miraculous at the time. That is the best analogy for what is happening on the inside for us as well. That there are things that are running us, that there’s a system, there’s a program that is running our default ways of seeing the world, our default thoughts, our default beliefs, our default reactions to things, our default responses to things. In all those default modes are very much the programming and the code, if you will. It is definitely a pastime and a professional endeavor for me to be curious about that code, to be curious about those default modes, then to want to play with them in my own life, in my own experience, whatever I might discover in that state of inquiry and curiosity. That I can also, in the best of my showing up-ness, share with other people that may get it, try it, use it and explore it deeper than I’ve gone and found great things in it, whether it’s a great understanding of the self-compassion, kindness for the self, kindness for others.
I was thinking very much that as we learn kindness and we learn how to be kind with ourselves, we also learn how to be kind with others. That’s a very important thing for me at this stage in my life. I had the opportunity to explore that at an interesting level of depth and just a very different way to approach the exploration. This is so much of why I wanted to do this alone was to talk about a trip that Randi and I made. We’ve had the great blessing in the last two months of traveling quite a bit. I don’t know about you, but I love being home and I love to travel, so both. It’s definitely a wonderful thing when you can toggle back and forth between being on the road and not being on the road too long where you need to write one of those road songs, those old sad songs that I think we all love so much. The James Taylor-esque on the road tune, you’re a little lonely and a little homesick and all that. You get home and you’re home for some length of time and you want to pull what’s left to your hair out. You want to put your hands around people’s necks and mostly you’re going, “When’s my next trip? I’ve got to get back on the road again or I’m going to lose my mind.” It’s that beautiful harmony.
I don’t think it’s a balance thing. I don’t actually believe in balance. Personally, I think balance is a fiction. Somebody created this idea of balance and we should try to live in balance. That’s like living on a tight rope. When you think about balance, it’s like being on the high wire, which is just a lot of work and I don’t know, it’s a whole lot of fun all the time. The Chinese symbol of yin and yang is a symbol for harmony, not a symbol of balance, although there’s a relationship between them for sure. This harmony between being on the road and being home and nesting, being comfortable in home life and then the road life, the life of exploration, exploring things, curiosity, meeting new people, seeing new things and being on our growth edge. Our learning edge is a really profound thing to be creating.
Randi and I had been on the road a lot. We were in Singapore for a beautiful week. I was fortunately tapped to do a couple of keynotes there for a large company, paid quite handsomely to do it and first-class accommodation travel, all that thing. It’s really a blessing to have that chance. We did that. We went there. I traveled pretty extensively around the United States, East Coast and middle of the country and got to see things I hadn’t seen before and things I haven’t seen in a long time, which was truly great. We went to Costa Rica, the same thing. I was hired to go down and deliver actually two days of workshops at this incredible retreat center that I am going to spend a little time chatting about because I was so blown away by the quality of what was provided at this retreat center.
The Rythmia Experience
By way of just background, for those of you that don’t know, I ran a large company in pure personal development, personal growth, human potential space for a lot of years. We did retreats, we did pretty deep dive boot camps and things like that. These were no joke. They were wonderfully and impeccably delivered events. People had massive breakthroughs, doing all kinds of crazy manner of crazy things, what other people would call crazy things. Everything from rappelling on mountains and bungee jumping, walking very long distances on fire and all that stuff. Those were great and I love them. I’m a lover of that format for personal breakthroughs. What I was so impressed with this retreat called Rythmia in Costa Rica was the depth at which they had planned for everything. The safety, the impeccability, the attention to so many little details. The cleanliness of the place on every aspect of what we did was so cared for. For an entire week, they fed us this most beautiful, lovingly prepared organic cuisine that was everything you’d want to not have in the food was not in the food and everything you’d want to have in the foods that have cared for your spirit, your body and in your mind and everything was in the food.
The people there have curated the most beautiful souls to help other people to transcend their limitations, to break free of some of the default modes, to identify that inner programming maybe for the first time for many of us, the first time in our lives that we have touched on certain aspects of our inner self that are so profound because they are within us. They’re not something to do with a purchase. It’s not something that’s outside of us. It’s not something in someone else that we’re looking to tap, create, model, steel or any of that. This is every aspect of our divinity, our well-being, and our abundance is within the depth of our own being. To tap into that is not a usual everyday practice. At least it hasn’t been for me. To be in an environment with so many other people have had that experience and then we’re called to come back, facilitate, assist, give their time and their love to the support of others in that process is just utterly beautiful.
You’re wondering what did we do in Costa Rica? What was this thing that was able to break through the myriad levels, the soil layers in the rock layers and everything that’s covering up part of our truth? It’s called Ayahuasca so that we don’t dabble or delay further. It’s a plant medicine and actually, it’s something that I had done once before several years back and I had done it by myself. It was recommended that I go on this solo journey by a dear friend. Interestingly enough, she’s in our house now. She’s in the next room. I’m going to have this conversation with her later too because she introduced me to it. I had a wonderful first experience several years ago with it. Just so we’re clear, you can certainly look it up.
Ayahuasca is something that has been around for thousands of years and is plant medicine. It’s not synthetic. It’s not a drug. It’s not a man-made thing. It’s something that’s been passed down generation to generation of people, primarily indigenous peoples. People that have been using it in courts called ceremony to help find clarity, depth of awareness and all of the things that we’ve been just thinking about or I’ve been sharing. This is a gate which when we unlock the gate when you can unlock the gate to that depth of your being, you find new answers. I found new answers when I was able to go past these gates, go past these levels that formally, I had not been able to get to those places. Climbing mountains, I’ve gotten through the gate and I’ve gotten through the depth of my understanding of myself in certain processes and things that I’ve done when I’ve challenged myself. When I’ve challenged my fears when I’ve been exhilarated through surfing, which I love to do or in doing some other things like a bungee jump. There are certain things that will pop you out of your default mode and put you in what’s technically or what is often called in the personal development space, perturbation. To be perturbed, to have the pot stirred and that thing. That perturbation is something that the Ayahuasca, the plant medicine, sometimes also referred to as the mother, that this medicine works very interestingly with our bodies and produces a completely different state of being.
You could say it can produce a psychedelic state. I think officially it could be called a psychedelic, though I’m not a researcher on that, so I might be mistaken there. It was beautiful. The process we were led through to have to take the plant medicine and to be cared for was one of the most remarkable things. Rythmia is the only place I know in the United in the world because it’s in Costa Rica, but it’s the only place in the world that is sanctioned by the government and has an actual certificate to do what they do. Elsewhere, it’s not necessarily sanctioned by the government. In some places, including the United States, it’s even not legal. It’s illegal to do it. What was remarkable there is it has supervision of a doctor or a medical physician, practitioners in other areas, nurses, etc., people who were very experienced and facilitated by a shaman.
This medicine is provided. People can take as much or as little as they want. A tincture of it if they’d like, microdose or larger amounts. I went middle of the road, just went with whatever. Everything was seemingly put out on the table with something I was willing to partake in and see for myself what that would be like. I tell you flat out, I had some concerns. One of the concerns I had was the fact that I was there as a facilitator. I was going to wait until after I had facilitated both of the days before I would partake. There were four ceremonies on the first night. The first day, I facilitated a program about relationships. That evening, I didn’t partake. I was there with my wife, Randi, and she didn’t partake either. We had dinner and relaxed and enjoyed this gorgeous environment. There’s a retreat center, so they get massages, they have cleanses, pools, hot tubs and mud baths. All these things all going on there, as well as everything else and breath work to boot, other ways to facilitate transformation other than through the plant medicine. No requirement that anybody take it. That was the first night.
The second night, second day, I had this feeling that part of my own growth edge was to remove what I felt was a fear or at least challenge the fear that if I was to join the rest of the group, which was about 50 people and go on the journey, participate in the ceremony, that somehow maybe I wouldn’t be in control the next day. I wouldn’t be at my best the next day when I was going to facilitate part two of my workshop. I didn’t like the way that felt. It just felt like fear. I’ve lived a lot of my life in fear. I was a kid who grew up in Queens, New York, in a borough of the City of New York. A rough place in some ways. I got mugged once, twice, a couple of times. I was bullied at times because I was little. You had to watch yourself. You have to be alert. I had to be alert and otherwise, I could get my butt kicked out of me. You walk down the wrong street, walk down the wrong block, say the wrong thing, look at the wrong person the wrong way. Any number of things could get you in beef and things could go sideways from there.
I grew up in that environment, so I was alert. When I became a lawyer, I was a very alert attorney and I was mostly the one doing the offense, being the aggressor and striking first. That thing was more my style than waiting. That’s part of the record grooves inside of me. It’s part of my programming. Fear is the root of all that. Constantly operating from that place because of fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of being rejected, fear of being abandoned, fear of being killed, anything. All these fears that have been part of my very being for so long just didn’t feel good to me, don’t feel good to me and I had an opportunity to challenge that, so I did. Went in for ceremony on the next night and had the most wonderful experience that night. I won’t get into too many of the details of that, but it’s a bit of a long evening. It starts in the area of 5:30, 6:00 and has a lot of prep involved and pre-framing of things and the shaman shares wisdom and talks about what’s going to happen and intentions are set. There’s this beautiful comfortable space for people to be there and to lie down to sleep if they want to sleep, to dance if they want to dance. There’s music playing, there’s live music and then there’s recorded music. It is literally a journey like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
The First Evening
At one particular point in the first evening, I had this beautiful awareness when I was lying out in this hammock outside under this ridiculously big sky. It’s so warm in Costa Rica that you can be out at 2:00 in the morning and you can be in a t-shirt and all you might be hearing in the distance are the wild dogs barking and yelping and stuff like that. The sky is gorgeous, the stars are beyond infinite. You could feel like you can see the entirety of the universe. I was lying in the hammock and feeling this great peace come over me. It’s beautiful peace. Thinking a lot about the process of the butterfly becoming a butterfly in its various stages. Moving from this caterpillar on a leaf, this caterpillar that becomes discontented with the idea of continuing forever to be a caterpillar and ultimately is in this state of metamorphosis, of great transformation and change. Ultimately emerging from this cocoon state into this state of spreading its wings and this excruciating exit out of that cocoon so that the blood fills the wings of the butterfly, can actually take flight. At six weeks, that’s it.
We had a record butterfly hatching season here in California because of all the rain we had over the winter, which was magnificent. To think that those beautiful butterflies that went through all of what they went through to become who they become end up with six weeks. That’s it and then they migrate and they propagate again. There’s new hatching that will occur as a result of their having lived, but they get six weeks. This glorious flight and everything that they experience on their journey and what they see over those six weeks is truly remarkable. I had more than just the imagining of it. I had an experience of it, visceral felt experience of it in my journey, in what I was feeling as I’m lying in this hammock under this infinite sky and I’m under the influence of the mother, of the plant medicine. That was the first night and it went on and on. I had one thing after another.
The Second Evening
In the second evening, something else really profound happened to me. I was lying in a different spot and I was tapping. I found my fingers rubbing and tapping on a certain step spot in my heart, in my chest cavity. I could feel that there was a spot right in the middle where I guess my ribs must be knitted together or something. I could feel that there was this pain. I started to explore the pain and I start to think about the pain and I was asking, “Where’s the pain from?” The way this medicine works, I can’t imagine, it feels like it would be impossible to ask a question and not receive some form of an answer. Sure enough, I got an answer. The answer that I received was that it was a pain that was caused when I was four years old. I knew it, I could see it, I could feel it. I had every sense of the fact that when I was about that age, my dad took ill and had to leave and go to a hospital and was in that hospital for many months. I was four years old.
My only memories then were visiting him a few times, seeing him in the hospital, wanting to stay and wanting to take care of him, and not wanting to leave. The heartbreak of having to leave and being home with my mom. The only thing of my dad that was there for me was these drawings that he made. He was a good artist and he drew these boats, clowns, airplanes, and things. I talked to my dad about it. My dad is alive and well and my mom too, knock on wood. They’re both doing great. I started to think about what that was like for my mom at the time to be in 1969, a single mom who was raising a child in that moment and what that must have been like for her and the support that she was in need of, and what it was like to be just the two of us then from her perspective. Thinking about myself and thinking that the spot was actually the scar tissue or to not even scarred tissue of heartbreak of having had my heart broken at that moment, at that time at four years old.
Knowing that when I think back on it, on the things I’ve learned over the years since I got out of practicing law and ten years of being in the personal development space, in the training space that many of us, all of us are so impacted in the first seven years of our lives. It’s the state of our emotional development, and then we go into mental development and then physical development. This is pre-cognitive. We can’t put words to it. There’s no understanding of things when we’re six, seven, five or four, and many of us experienced trauma in those times. Sometimes that trauma could be very subtle. It could be just seeing people around you do certain things. Could be that they’re arguing, they’re unhappy, they’re getting divorced or there’s the threat of a divorce. It could be that there’s not enough of something like food or clothing and there’s this air of insecurity about the future or it could be something much more. There’s abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and all of these things that are also possible. There’s no comparing because of trauma is trauma.
There’s no, “My trauma is bigger than yours.” There’s no differentiating between pain or trauma. For each of us, its own thing that changes us and, in many ways really defines for us what certain things mean. We talked at the beginning about recognizing the programming and recognizing the default mode and the code that’s embedded inside of us. That code is very much established in those early years of life, including the code that tells us what love means, what self-love means and what every form of love looks like. For many people, their definition of love is learned in those first few years and will resemble those things for a very long time until they become more aware and cognizant of that’s what’s running them.
Their definition of love might include being abused or it might include being fearful of rejection. It might include not being enough or not feeling worthy. All of those things are embedded as part of the code when we’re young based on those traumatic experiences. This was something I didn’t expect to find when I was four years old. I felt abandoned, rejected and heartbroken that my dad left. As an adult, I realized he didn’t. This wasn’t his fault and we’re lucky that he got better and was able to come home after a period of months. To go back and re-experience that, to see it and understand it, and have light put on it, love, be something that I could look at it from that standpoint of compassion and kindness. It changed it so dramatically at the moment that the place in my heart or my chest where I was feeling that discomfort and that physical pain, the manifestation of that pain was right there and I could put my fingers on it and touch it, tap it. It was gone. It disappeared. I had no pain and I don’t have any pain in that spot.
The remnant of that was integrated, I suppose, something that was beautiful and unexpected. It went on from there. That was one piece of a beautiful evening that included thinking about my family, thinking about my brother and thinking about my love for my brother, my baby brother. Being six years old and he’s shown up and it’s like, “Who is he?” wanting to end him. At some point, it was like, “Get out of here. Who are you and why are you taking my love and my attention from my parents?” Being able to sit and be with that and so appreciate how much I’ve always loved and wanted him, and be willing now even to share, just to be sharing of our parents and sharing of our parents love and attention, support and everything.
These are things that you can’t predict. I couldn’t and I don’t think anybody could. There are other experiences and other things that can be shown to you. As I understand it, the mother, the medicine, the plant medicine, it interacts with what’s going on inside of us. Sometimes some of those things that it will show you are very harsh and they can be visions. They can be a vision being something that’s not there that you see there, instantaneous trips to the moon, to the stars or elsewhere in the solar system. Trips back in time, forward in time. Trips to the time in utero or pre-birth. I had some moments where before I was conceived, I was able to see things, experience things and feel things at that point of conception. Just utterly mind-blowing stuff and stuff that I would never be able to explain except in this way because people would be like, “That’s crazy. That’s not true. It’s unreal. You imagined that. That didn’t happen. Did you really experienced that?” As we said at the beginning, we imagine so many things. We have created fictions of so many sorts. It’s no more fiction than the fiction of the time, space or anything else that we have given meaning to.
The Third Evening
This was some literally trippy, amazing, beautiful, glorious experience. It’s something that I wanted to talk about. I wanted to share with people and be vulnerable about, my journey. A third night that I was in ceremony and that was even longer ceremony and there were other things there. With people around, moments with the shaman and moments in the music where I had such incredible clarity and peace. I’ve been seeking and searching for inner peace, peace of mind, peace in my body, peace in my spirit, peace in my soul for so long. To be able to touch on those things and feel that way was just worth any amount of time traveling to and from and everything else in between. I will probably be announcing some more specific invitation at some point.
My intention is to go back at a certain point to invite some very special family, friends and maybe some colleagues or other people that are part of our community that has an appetite for what I’ve been explaining and the experience that I had. The people who run it, the gentleman who created it, founded it, a gentleman by the name of Gerard Powell. We got introduced to him through his beloved, Brandee Powell. The way he and that team have created that retreat is something, from a facilitator’s perspective, somebody who ran a lot of events and knows the sanctity of that space, how sacred it has to be, and how impeccable the delivery and the process to support people going through all the stuff that they’re going to go through, the very much rollercoaster ride of it all.
I was so impressed with that. My literal hat is off to Gerry, to Brandee, to the team, to everybody else that was there, the yoga instructors, the beautiful people that are giving so much of their time to this and are such loving and committed people. I can’t say enough. At some point, we’re going to invite some people to join us on a private journey there. Same thing, a week or weekend time to explore and be a creative vortex, if you will, of people that we just love to be around, people in our community, people that we want to explore this with at a deeper level. Maybe that will be something you’re interested in. If you are in fact interested in finding out more about that, you can email us at Team@AdamMarkel.com. You can always post questions or comments. You can go on iTunes and leave a review there. That’s more of a review of the show, however, the questions you can direct to us and to our team.
We’ve got our beautiful Facebook Group, Start My PIVOT Community. If you’ve got questions or things, you can always post them in there and our team can answer those, as I do. I love being able to share vulnerably what that was like for me, my own concerns and fears around it. Having been through it now, I’m so ready to do it again and I’ll probably have fears again because it’s not our normal state of being to release, let go of control. At least it’s not for me. It is natural. I think that’s the way babies are. Babies are born knowing that and the rest of our lives we’re working our way back to being a baby, back to the original factory settings, if you will. Getting back to that initial coding that we were born with and that was downloaded from the divine to each and every one of us.
I hope you’re having a beautiful day and the rest of your day is just as beautiful or more beautiful than it’s already been. I wish you peace and harmony in your lives and love most of all, love for yourself, love for others. I believe that it’s the love that we give ourselves and the love that we learn to give ourselves is the love that we learn to be able to give to others. That starts for me every morning when I wake up. I wish that you also have that same morning moment when you get to wake up again and you recognize it’s special and it’s a thing that’s a gift. At that moment, you can feel grateful for that gift of waking, breathing, being and becoming even more conscious. That you take ten seconds to put your feet on the floor or even from your bed to declare out loud, “I love my life. I love my life. I love my life.” Have a beautiful rest of the day or the evening and take that love everywhere you go.