Tony Westbrook, Host/Organizer

About The Teacher

My name is Tony Westbrook. I am an artist & entrepreneur. I love life, community, and most of all family.

Aya de La Vid began in spirit 30 yrs ago, when I walked away from my mission. I was serving in the Ventura, California Mission, as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints better known, as The Mormon Church.

Serving in California, meeting people from every walk of life, I was only 19. I knew there had to be more, to answer the biggest questions of life, than what I had been taught and was offering, as a missionary.

As a Mormon missionary, I took no drugs or alcohol, no caffeine. I did not ingest anything questionable. I kept a strict code of healthy eating and a lifestyle of rigid conservative values.

After my mission, living in California and while attending college, I worked at a group home in Atascadero, California attending to the needs of the developmentally disabled. My major area of study was psychology and religious studies. With work in my field, it felt like perfect preparation.

However, what I was actually doing was simply adapting, and finding my way. At college, my intellectual friends introduced me to poetry, The Grateful Dead, and LSD. The doors of perception were opened wide and my path was becoming more clear to me.

I was an entrepreneur not an academic person. I ended my college with a 4.0 and a scholarship. I was accepted with honors to Berkley to complete my undergraduate work. Instead of Berkley, I started a cleaning business.

From psoriasis to ulcerative colitis, I have battled autoimmune issues most of my of life. By 23, I read my first article about Ayahuasca in High Times Magazine. Plant Medicine and indigenous people's use of plants to cure disease and expand consciousness was a natural interest.

I had opened the doors of perception, but was still suffering from autoimmune issues. Western medicine only offered symptom relief via steroids, potentially damaging my liver. I wanted to know if indigenous plant medicine could heal my condition.

Life and love lead me to New Hampshire from California. As an entrepreneur, I started another business, Westbrook Abstracting, a financial services company. For 15 yrs, we provided Title Searches and managed instruments, recording Deeds, Mortgages, and Liens, on behalf of major financial lenders across the country.

Meanwhile, my creative instincts were advancing and productive. My photography was chosen for two American Embassies, and I was selling my photography at the local Canterbury Shaker Village Gift Shop. I had my first magazine cover on Destination New Hampshire Magazine and centerfold in New Port Life Magazine.

Psychology and religious studies had evolved to entrepreneurship and full time art. Ayahuasca and plant medicines were still orbiting my world. By my late thirties, I could study about Ayahuasca online. See new retreat locations, and understand the legal, political and cultural dynamics at play.

My autoimmune issues had become so intense that I began researching herbs, learning about cannabis and the cannabinoid system, searching for a solution. My intestines were swollen and I was bleeding daily.

Life and love changed. 2008 collapsed the market and reshaped my life. After everything, researching titles was profitable, but not for me. I opened an Art gallery at the Manitou Arts Center in Manitou Springs, Colorado. For the first time, I truly found my place with community and fellowship.

Finally, once community and fellowship were constant, I experienced the brew Ayahuasca.

By the next morning, everything was new. In a sense, I woke up from where I left off on my mission, but with insight that was reliable, and fundamental to my life. I had been healed, evolved, and set on a better path.

Since then, I have traveled 13 countries. Learning about and sharing in the experience of this plant knowledge, offering community, while networking in support of individual transformation.

Currently, I live in Mexico with my family. Aya de La Vid is another step in networking credible sources and retreat events to work with people, who feel called to know the Ayahuasca experience.

Artistic Resume:

Manitou Arts Center, Manitou Springs, Colorado

Mardi Gras, Best in Show at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs

ART in Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State

2008 Nicosia, Cypress U.S. Department of State

2007 Sanaa, Yemen U.S. Department of State

Canterbury Shaker Village, Museum Store

Shakers

Newport Life Magazine

Destination New Hampshire Magazine

American Heart Association, Go Red For Women

Reviews  
  Write a review - tell others about your experience.

Why Retreat?

We asked people why they go on retreat, here's what they said:

My last retreat at SMC was so inspiring and so relaxing. But i'd love to have more time there to spend at the Stupa, visit the Kami shrine, and generally interact with the beautiful enlightened society happening on that entire land. Brett
 

Retreat Guru's Vision

We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.