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  • Selva Lawler

#7 - Tremors

I recently caught up with a buddy of mine who is an expert on automobile design. We were chatting about how the design of the Lexus SUV looks almost entirely the same as it did twenty years ago. That’s not because the makers of Lexus are lazy. It’s highly intentional. “Once you have a really good design,” he advised me, “you don’t mess with it.”

Needless to say, that quote is also applicable to SpiritQuest. One of our esteemed alums recently stated that his plant medicine ceremonies at the Sanctuary were the most important events of his life, and that he would never do Ayahuasca anywhere else. In further elaborating, he noted the impeccable design of the don Howard University of Higher Consciousness programming. In this participant’s words, “Everything was engineered to perfection. It was safe, comfortable, and I felt really well cared for and looked after.”

What differentiates us from what else is out there? I’m not the best person to ask, because I haven’t been to other centers or know much about them. Perhaps a large part of it is because what we do originates from the heart center. One of our recent participants passed along a quote from don Howard that I had never heard, which is always an extra special treat. don Howard expressed, “My heart is my home. My head is my office. And at the end of every day, I always go home.”

Our second group this year was quite different from the first. They had a different vibe. They were working on different things. How wonderful! As Rumi once wrote, “It's your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” And that speaks to the broad spectrum of people that are called to SpiritQuest. We don’t have a cookie-cutter type of seeker. There’s large diversity within our ranks. That’s a tremendous asset.

We also were treated with the tremors of a powerful 7.5 Magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Ecuador on Friday morning around 5 am. We felt it at the Sanctuary, although thankfully, we didn't incur any damage. In passing along an amusing anecdote, one of our participants was on the toilet at that time and still very much feeling the effects of the medicine. He was thinking to himself, "Geez, this feels like an earthquake! What do they put in the brew here at the Sanctuary? don Rober's high levels of Shamanism have no bounds!" Some existential terror was on the menu, no doubt, but he's better off for it. Life seems like a piece of cake after one can endure an earthquake while still highly in la medicina.  😁😁😁

Our seekers' experiences were profound. One participant felt both polarities of consciousness, ranging from an internal inferno that raged uncontrollably to states of utter euphoria and good-as-it-gets bliss…in the same ceremony. One participant felt an unbridled joy - an emotion she shared that she had never before experienced. Another seeker felt that he was trapped inside his own mind. It was extremely challenging work, and he eventually found the key and a newfound freedom after being unshackled from that prison cell. In another experience, one of our participants couldn’t stop fixating on a tree with humanlike qualities, akin to an Ent in Lord of the Rings. The visuals were so powerful that he desperately wanted it to turn back into a normal tree, or look at something else, and yet that simply wasn’t in the cards. Hey, we’ve all been on that white-knuckle, cosmic sleigh ride before. That can be alarming. You can’t unsee what you see, or put the toothpaste back in the tube, or turn an Ent back into a "normal" tree. Nonetheless, we’re all better off for it. 

The plot thickens, and it grows richer by the day. Work with the plant medicines is like the Theater of the Unexpected, and sometimes when you least expect something, you get it. 

As usual, it was a privilege to be a bit player with this special group of kindred spirits. I’m just a regular guy who is lucky enough to get to do irregular things. They really brought it, and I’m excited for the continued unfolding that they will experience.

Meanwhile, we will have two additional groups visit us in March. Same time. Same place. Same Maestros. Same ingredients in the brew. Different experiences. There are few guarantees in life, but that much seems like a metaphysical, cosmic certainty. 


We’ve created an Instagram account! You can find us on Insta at SpiritQuest.Sanctuary

Please don’t forget the dot - the username SpiritQuestSanctuary on the Gram is not affiliated with us, although we’re glad that whoever created it is a fan of our work. Although with only one post from almost three years ago, he/she/it needs to step up their game! 😂😂😂

Give us a follow if you’re so inclined to periodically watch some scenic stories or photos that might bring you down SpiritQuest Memory Lane. I've got a story up on our Instagram now. And by all means, please tag us @SpiritQuest.Sanctuary if you have any Sanctuary related posts in the future. We’d love to repost any cool content in which you tag us!


We’re in the process of overhauling our website. Yes, there’s something undeniably nostalgic and glorious about the SpiritQuest website. It's almost as if the site has been pristinely preserved and frozen in carbonite (Han Solo style) for the last couple decades. don Howard has told me how it needs a facelift, and he’s not wrong (has he ever been wrong?). 

The testimonials on our site are heartfelt and beautiful. However, we haven't published a new one in about eight years. We’d love to receive and highlight some new, authentic testimonials on our site. If anyone would like to submit one for consideration, please email it to me at

The length is totally up to you, but they needn’t be long. Several sentences, or a few short paragraphs, may be more than adequate. Less is more in so many ways.


I’ve done my best to collect as many SpiritQuest alum emails as possible - and I have hundreds and hundreds - but inevitably some people slip through the cracks. If you know of anyone that would like to receive these updates that doesn’t currently get them, please pass along their info and I’ll make sure they get on the list if they aren't already. The circle will both expand and tighten simultaneously!

Much love and respect, fam! -Parker


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