March 29th: First impressions, Hummingbird Center

Upon arrival in Iquitos, the smell and taste of the air is a strikingly familiar feeling, a cascade of memories from Sri Lanka fill my mind.
I travel to the center alone with the driver, Wilson, in a vehicle very similar to a Sri Lankan tuk-tuk. I absolutely adore traveling in these things and could have happily stayed in it for hours on end, watching the markets and billboards slowly morph into jungle.
The center is much smaller than I had expected, there are only 6 or so people currently, though I am told that number will at least triple on Wednesday.
Jim, the owner, is a very warm and inviting presence, though occasionally projects a very stern and fatherly energy when discussing certain subjects. I don’t feel I have a very thorough read on him yet, he is clearly motivated by kindness but also has the air of someone who has a background in business. I feel safe with him, but not entirely comfortable yet.
Walking around the center, I soon notice a theme that I’m sure will be prominent in my work here – I cannot help but be critical. With all of the positive things about the way the place has been put together, I immediately focus my thoughts on where it could be improved, and how it doesn’t feel intense or radical enough for me. I have not even had ceremony yet (not til Monday) but I fear already that it isn’t hardcore enough, that it doesn’t kick people in the ass enough.
After a while of these thoughts, I recognize them as core contributors to my derealization (what I am here to address), my perfectionism and constant criticism of my surroundings. I try to let these thoughts go, and consequentially start feeling some of the energy of the plants and wildlife surrounding me. This is going to be my practice in the coming weeks.
As I begin to lie down to sleep, I feel the surrounding nature communicating with me, much more so than I had expected. Usually when I close my eyes at night I have some level of closed eye visuals, but in general it is composed of familiar images and feelings. Tonight, I experience a much higher frame rate of closed eye images, and most strikingly, very unfamiliar forms and feelings, a much higher level of novelty. It feels as if new energies are entering my sphere, but only on the periphery, gently suggesting their presence.

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