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Plant medicine has helped me accept my identity



Brad Wells has built several successful companies during his career, trying to prove his self-worth and sacrificing a lot in the pursuit of achievement. Somewhat unexpectedly, he had the opportunity to experience that Ayahuasca brought about a fundamental change in his view of his life, business and especially of himself.

Plant medicine allowed Brad to accept his identity as a gay man, and his life has changed dramatically since then. He sold his successful company, ended his 25-year marriage and founded Meeting, a non-profit plant medicine center in Costa Rica that offers retreats designed to facilitate life transformation, including the Cultivating Pride & Authenticity program – a unique Reunion program created for the LGBTQ+ community.

Q: How has Ayahuasca helped you recognize your identity as a gay man?

Being gay was a secret I had buried Real deep. I’m 58 now, but at the time I was 53. I had been married to my wife for 25 years and had lived most of my life as a straight man. I remember knowing I was gay as a child but just choosing not to be – it was so ingrained in me that being gay was shameful and wrong. I decided I didn’t want to keep hiding, the medicine didn’t ‘disappear’ me; it helped me to be free.

Q: Let’s talk a little about where Reunion is located. It looks incredible.

A: Reunion is located on a beautiful 100-acre oceanfront property right on Sugar Beach in Guanacaste, on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. We are in the middle of a tropical forest full of many different animal species; it really is a spectacular part of the world.

Q: Tell me more about Reunion’s Cultivating Pride & Authenticity retreat.

A: The Cultivating Pride & Authenticity retreat is close to my heart, for obvious reasons. We had our first gay men’s retreat led by gay men in October 2023, and it was incredible. There were thirty of us at Ayahuasca and it was the most inclusive, safe and heard experience I have ever felt in my life. Much of the feedback from the boys was that it was a truly profound week of healing, self-realization and transformation. One of the participants told me: “I have been looking for 55 years and now I have finally found it.” This year we would like to offer two more experiences in July and October 2024.

Cultivating proud and authentic guests and facilitators, October 2023

Q: Why is it so important for the LGBTQ+ community to have access to these types of experiences?

A: From deep-rooted stigmas to the mental health crisis and high rates of addiction – the community needs support more than ever. We want to come together to build a network of connections and harness the power of plant medicine using ayahuasca or psilocybin to help heal our wounds and help individuals become all they can be. With the right set and setting, plant medicine ceremonies help transform ourselves and enable greater community and connection.

Q: What does the Cultivating Pride & Authenticity retreat week look like?

A: At Reunion we offer ‘all-inclusive wellness’. We are located on an amazing oceanfront property built specifically for personal exploration and self-development. In addition to four Ayahuasca ceremonies during the week, there are workshops on topics such as letting go of shame, discovering self-love and sustaining personal change. We offer healthy farm-to-table meals – and incorporate embodiment modalities such as yoga, breathwork and meditation into the program. There is personal time and time to connect in community at the secluded beach, saltwater pool, enjoy a massage or use the fitness center.

Question: Looking at the week, integration is also a big part. What does integration mean?

A: Integration is imperative in any plant medicine experience. We need to take the incredible insights of the week and integrate them into our lives. That is integration; it is the sustained facilitation of change. Community and support are a big part of the integration process. Reunion offers all guests a well-developed and guided post-retreat integration. The program combines self-reflection activities and tools and culminates in a group discussion with your cohort. We also host monthly community calls for all past guests.

Q: What would you say to someone interested in an experience like this?

A: Do your research. Wherever you go, make sure they are transparent and experienced, that they have thorough processes in place to support you, and that they keep group sizes small. Ask questions and make sure they ask some questions about you too! Finally, be open and willing to surrender to the experience. It is normal to have some fear. Guests report that this is one of the most transformative, profound and life-enhancing weeks of their lives. Additionally, our Cultivating Pride program is designed by the community, for the community, and it is one of a kind.

Facilities of Reunion Costa Rica. Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Q: It seems like the people at Reunion are in good hands.

A: They are truly in safe hands with us. At Reunion, safety is our first priority. Not only physical safety, such as location and security, but also the medical, psychological and emotional safety of our guests. We have a licensed medical clinic on site. Our team of trained medicine servers, facilitators and psychologists have years of experience and an unwavering commitment to providing the most in-depth experience. We keep our retreats around 25-30 participants and ensure we serve the highest quality medicines. Guests complete a thorough intake to ensure there are no pre-existing complications, plus there is an on-site medical check.

Q: If people are interested in learning more, how can they do that?

A: Contact us and chat with us! You can book a Discovery Call with me directly via email brad.wells@reunionexperience or visit Reunion’s website ReunionExperience.org for more information.

Reunion Costa Rica (aerial photo). Guanacaste, Costa Rica.


ABOUT REUNION

Reunion is a leading non-profit plant medicine center that combines indigenous wisdom teachers from different lineages and combines the best of ancient modalities and modern science. Located in Costa Rica, Reunion is a medically licensed, eco-luxury campus with a beachfront location that provides a safe environment for personal growth, healing and transformation. Rooted in reciprocity, 100% of proceeds support impact initiatives including stewards for indigenous medicine, the replenishment of sacred plants for future generations, and scholarship programs to expand access.

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