For dare I say it, twenty years I have been a psychedelic enthusiast and particularly a psilocybin explorer, a psychonaut to say the least. I have had an intimate relationship with more psychoactive mushrooms than most people are even aware exist. I’ve nibbled and I’ve gobbled them down in varying degrees occasionally claiming that ‘Psilocybin is my superpower’. With infinite respect towards these ancient plants, I have disciplined myself to become skilled in the identification, dosing, cultivation and especially exploration of further and further reaches of the ‘psychosphere’.
Just a short reflection of the last week spent as a group in Jamaica on our last retreat.
It has been a couple of days since the February retreat wrapped up and I am still in amazement at some of the progress that was made for many people and the new paths that were created for them. This was only the second retreat that I helped Eric facilitate at, and each time it shows me in new ways how amazing this project is for so many reasons. I am truly gracious to be involved in this powerful process that can literally allow people to change their future forever.
This week brought people from different parts of the world (Sweden, Germany, Canada, Puerto Rico) with all sorts of ages (20’s-60’s), with all sorts of different problems. There were multiple people who came to MycoMeditations seeking help for depression, social anxiety, PTSD, dissociation, addiction, the loss of a friend, and others to just continue their growth. All of which made huge strides in moving forward with newfound lessons and directions that they know are now a part of them.
I remember sitting on the bus on the last day driving back to the airport, reflecting at how important this week was.
It is not everyday that you can say you helped somebody climb out of the dark hell that was their mind, and actually see them transform in front of your eyes. One person who joined us had shared how when he was a newborn baby, his mother had left him to cry alone in his crib with next to no human interaction for days at a time. This experience altered him for the rest of his life, as he remained in a state of trauma from the abandonment, loneliness, and separation from love.
Each night showed him what he needed for the eventual big leap. The first showed him how in the headspace mushrooms provide, it was possible that this was an experience gentle enough to not overwhelm him, yet deep enough to bring him back to this deep-rooted trauma.
On the second night we increased his dose, which brought him near the edge of going headfirst into all of these immense personal problems, but feelings of panic pulled him back. He felt on this second night that he would not be able to handle the chaos that was to come if he entered.
On the third day, he struggled between choosing to go back to a lower dose which he felt would make him feel more secure, or if he wanted to take the chance to up the dose to 10 grams, and force him to confront his demons. He bravely chose to go for it all, and took 20 x 0.5g capsules that night. Throughout this final night, memories of this transformation will stick with me for the rest of my life. He started in a state of fear, but quickly felt the urge that his body has a big role in helping him figure out this trauma. In his past he had experienced a dissociation from his body, feeling absent within his own skin. He got up, and walked around, trying to verbalize with myself and Eric what was going on for him. He expressed that sitting in that chair only reminded him of all the loneliness he felt back as a small baby, helplessly laying there all alone and scared. So he got up and tried to figure this whole mess out by talking out his feelings, and allowing the mushrooms to bring him back into his own skin. At one point I went upstairs to check on the other guests, and while looking down from a balcony into the yard I could see Eric talking with this guest. Suddenly, they roared into laughter that filled the whole yard! You can tell when a laugh is full and unrestricted, and it is almost impossible to laugh this way when your mind and body are in despair. Clearly something was slowly shifting for him. He quickly became hyper-focused on the new feelings he was beginning to have in his body…feeling like he was slowly returning into it. As this grew, and he was able to talk himself through this life event bit by bit, he quickly became ecstatic…running through the yard yelling in joy, happily talking to everyone he could, dancing, doing pushups, shouting into the sky…reclaiming his identity! I later had a chance to lay down with him in the grass, starring up into the thousands of stars that were out that night. Talking to him was much different than it had been compared to earlier in the week. He was excited talking about his life and his future in a positive light. It was great to see this unfold for him.
The next day in discussion, he said how he knew how something almost unexplainable had changed within him, and how his gut was telling him that this felt like a permanent change. This day was the most grounded he had felt in his whole life.
Another one of the more memorable changes was in a guy who came to us severely depressed, socially anxious, and extremely introverted. He was from China now living in Canada, and from the start it was pretty clear that he was quite withdrawn and wanted to keep to himself. He was able to express to me that his accent made him very insecure, and that depression and social anxiety had taken over his life. He said that he did not know what to do next, and how he really hoped this would work for him. Hearing that somebody is essentially seeing you as one of their last resorts is always a really intense and nerve-wracking feeling. It just doesn’t feel good having that kind of pressure. All you can really do is trust in the processes of the mushroom and that this person is in the right state of mind to allow for healing. Usually in times of desperation, when the mind has nowhere else to go…the nudge mushrooms provide can change that person’s path just enough to give them faith again.
His case was very interesting, as on the first night he did not feel a thing. This always sucks to hear, as with this being only a 3-dose retreat you don’t like thinking that the person seemed to get nothing out of it. However, as we alluded to throughout the retreat, mushrooms have a weird way of working on us even when we don’t know it.
On the second night, he was noticeably distracted. The second night allowed guests the option of tripping inside or outside, so he initially began outside. Once the mushrooms began to come on for people, he again said he felt nothing, and he couldn’t stop focusing on getting bug spray for the mosquitos. He sprayed himself many times, but he kept asking for more. Eventually we tried bringing him inside to try and settle him down. The noises made by others who had dosed with the mushrooms became too much for him, and he came back down. Soon he said his stomach was hurting a bit, and that he just wanted to go back to his room. It was clear that his ego was not ready to be displaced that night.
This guest’s big breakthrough also came on the third night. He took 10 grams…this time it went to work. He laid down after eating and did not move for at least 2 hours. Usually these experiences of no movement are of the most intense journeys. He eventually started to jostle around, and we came over to him to see how he was doing. Just on his face alone you could see a difference in his demeanour. His eyes seemed to have more life, he had a look of awe on his face. Eventually we stood him up and you could see his shoulders held back, standing him upright and taller, bringing him out of his prior slouch and rounded shoulders. He expressed how he felt this more positive internal attitude towards himself and how he felt his self-esteem was stronger! He didn’t feel anxious with a few people standing with him. You could see it all over his body and face that something had changed. He again brought up some odd feeling in his stomach, and Eric let him see that this was actually extremely healthy, his energies were starting to rumble again. We did some work in the yard to get him a feel for what this actually was, as people who have their energy trapped up don’t even recognize that energy actually does exist. Hell until three months ago myself I wasn’t aware of it. But it is very real.
The next day he expressed a fear of things going back to how they were before, and we assured him that people can’t expect a magic cure when doing any of this work with the mushrooms. He had taken important steps on that final night learning things about himself, and needed to continue to integrate those lessons. However, it was obvious that something was different in a much more positive way. He spoke louder and was more engaged when speaking. Prior to this last day he wouldn’t have really said more than five words at a time. But he actually managed to speak for nearly 10 minutes straight when we had our group discussion the next day. It was incredible to see and I was extremely proud!
Psychedelics should still be illegal though, right? 😉
These are just two examples, but each person seemed to extract a very helpful lesson for them to bring back home. I hope that they and the rest of this February 2018 crew are able to take this experience back home with them and transform their lives in the ways that they need!
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