In the sobering documentary The Last Shaman, the suicidal

main character decides to heal and cleanse himself with personified

plants and the authentic shamanic teachings from a teacher

deep in the jungles of Peru.

After electroshock therapy and exhausting all of western medicine

to figure out why he doesn’t feel human anymore, he finally finds

a teacher, only to lose him. His teacher is, presumably,

exiled from the village for teaching shamanic ways for free to so-called

tourists like him, because of greed essentially.

With his true teacher he’d received the plant songs and sense of

brotherhood he gravely needed. So, in summary, we see him going

on a kind of hero’s journey to an exotic location and finding what he


then losing what he sought, only to realize it’s really himself he seeks,

and upon realizing this he returns home to New England,

where he decides he’s going to try to help others who have difficulty

with healing from western medicine.

It’s in the denouement embedded in the credits we see him having dinner

at home with who, but his loving, doctor parents, who we can imagine

hugging him in the soft light of their Kelly green living room,

with a teddy bear looking on from afar.

Tonight, my calves are pushing down on the ottoman and searching for

a way to keep themselves there, the way a werewolf might chain himself

to a post in the basement just before the full moon in order to keep

his ectoplasmic saliva from falling into another bite wound,

below which rivulets of the unsuspecting victim’s raspberry red blood

pulse and fork across final moments of humanity, like the way rain

strikes across a window during a thunderstorm.

The voyager of emotion and consciousness I am thinks

that after all my service to others all morning and afternoon, that there

has to be some way to be taken care of in a similar fashion when

he comes home at night,

and no, he’s not talking about another mom for a girlfriend

or wife, and not another self-care coping skill, or pet to have to

feed first, but an affectionate and nurturing woman to come home to

who doesn’t come with a condition he has to either wipe up or go

on a vacation with first.

Who the heck could that possibly be, he asks himself? Is she even

out there? Does she even exist? My therapist tells me

nobody can fill the void left behind by the absence of my mother,

especially women without nurturing mother’s themselves,

and that I shouldn’t ask one to do that, an ice chunk of advice

I think she’s mostly right about.

Since, besides creating another event at the Need Olympics

couples with similar baggage try to steal the gold from,

and even though I also believe it’s right that not having

my mother was what was better for, not just me, but for

pretty much everybody, it’s virtually impossible to fill someone who

wasn’t nurtured by their mother.

It’s why when my stuffed teddy bear looks at me from its place

at the head of the bed as if to say what are you waiting for,

and I say “I’m coming, I’m coming,” like a parent signaling

to their needy child, I take it from its place against my pillow,

hold it securely against my chest and pressing gently on the back

of its head, guide its soft face into the warm, jungle cavern of my

stubble-covered neck, and say to it, to me, really, “Thank you,

my friend, thank you.”