The Sad Truth About Gun Violence in America and the Politicians and People Who Don’t Care About Your Life.

4 10 2017

Other than the obvious fact that guns allow people to kill themselves and others much more easily here are other truths about guns in America.

Relative to the ratio of population and guns, America has 6 times as many firearm homicides as Canada and nearly 16 times as many as Germany.  America has 4.4% of the world’s population but almost half of the civilian-owned guns around the world.  There is more than one mass shooting for each day in America.  States and developed countries with more guns have fewer gun-related deaths.  The states with the most guns report the most suicides.

To go into further depth with the article I specifically referenced please read it here at https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

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The Santa Clause Mushroom: A Blunt Day With Amanita Muscaria

3 10 2017

I had never eaten the Alice in Wonderland/Mario Brothers/Santa Clause and his Reindeer mushroom.  It is one of the eight major teacher plants.  It is technically not considered a psychedelic in how it reacts to your brain and body but extraordinarily it still mimics a psychedelic experience.  I knew this experimental day would be different than others.  People that I know who have taken Amanita have not said the most wonderful things.  Most have just gotten sick and purged and sweated profusely and not exactly had a pleasant experience.  My Shaman friend who was involved in giving them to me, mentioned he recently had a conversation with the plant and it was giving up on humans.  They’ve been trying for thousands of years to have an effect and although it might have worked for some time, it doesn’t seem to be working now and are giving away to its relatives, the psilocybin mushrooms, who seem to be having a better connection point with more people right now.  From my experience after today it seems like the shaman was at least partly right.  It was a tough day.

 

I laid the Amanita’s in front of me.  My mentor and friend gave me enough for what he said would be a dose that would make me have an experience with the plant.  For me this would probably be a higher dose due to my sensitive nature so I was excited he didn’t give me more.  I laid the mushrooms down in front of me and asked them to have a conversation with me.  I asked the plant to show me what is has shown thousands before me over the thousands of years.  I was in deep gratitude to be able to experience this day with Amanita and that I had come across it in my life.  Mushrooms have been around for 18 million years and Amanita has been interacting with humans for just thousands of years.  The scope of the plant would go far beyond anything I could really grasp in my human consciousness but I was willing to partake like so many had done before me.

 

At noon, I ate the heads of the mushrooms.  Note that when eating Amanita Muscaria the caps are what you want while the stems do not have any mystical ingredients.  The mushrooms smelled sweet and tasted on average a little better than psilocybin ones.  I took them then went about my day for the next hour doing normal things like laundry and some cleaning.  Sometimes I like to do somewhat normal things to where I’ll naturally realize that eventually something is having an effect on me.  Sort of like realizing at some point that someone is banging on the door and obviously “a guest” has shown up, and now it’s time to cater to them because they will not leave for many hours.

 

An hour in, I looked out the window and that familiar psychedelic feeling was upon me.  Not that the world or room was magically dancing or melting around me but just that my attention and focus was a little less specific in its trajectory.  I would look outside and easily lose my focus while staring at a tree.  It was getting harder to focus with my normal consciousness and sight.  Amanita was acting upon me.  The guest was ringing the doorbell and wanting to come in to have a chat.  I sat down to read and although I finished a chapter, my attention wasn’t totally on the book.  I started to feel like I had to go to the bathroom.  I did and I’m glad I had a toilet and hadn’t left the house.  This was my first purge.  At around two hours, the mushroom was beginning to fully converse with me.  My mouth began to water and little feelings of that I might throw up came on.  I grabbed a bucket and had it near me and would occasionally spit in it.  There were times my mouth would suddenly be drooling and my nose was running.  I also realized how much I was starting to sweat even though I was getting extremely cold.  I had on sweat pants, long socks, a shirt, a sweater and my clothes were getting moist.  Sweat was dripping off my brow and rolling down my cheeks.  My body was so cold.  I grabbed a blanket off a bed and wrapped myself up in it and laid by the fire that was raging.  It was an extremely uncomfortable experience that lasted about an hour as I was just sort of teetering in this liminal space and halfway conscious.  I knew I wasn’t in any danger, but just having a purgy experience that I was ready for.  I kept trying to focus on my breath and the breathing would make the nausea go away but it was still there looming.  Finally I went through about 3 rounds of throw up purges and dry heaves and one bathroom run.  The purges were intense.  Not many plant medicines make me throw up but purging has a way of feeling good after the fact.  It was as intense as anything I’ve been through before.  It was uncomfortable, and I was laying there sweating profusely and freezing my ass off and trying to sit with the pain and discomfort.  Not exactly a fun experience.

 

After about an hour or two of this, I decided that I needed to do something about how cold I felt and since I had the resources I did something about it.  I passed by a mirror at this point and my eyes looked as dark and sunken as they’ve ever been.  My face had suddenly aged.  I looked dead.  Looking into mirrors on psychedelics can easily lead to a wormhole of thinking.  I brought my throw up bowl with me to the bathroom where I put the shower on as hot as it would go and then laid down and allowed it to flow over me and fill up the bath tub.  The feeling was magical as I felt warmer and wasn’t wearing sweaty clothes anymore.  I laid in the bathtub turning on the shower every now and then to fill up with hot water.  The warm water stopped the cold feeling and a relaxation took over, although mucus and spit was still accumulating in my mouth which I deposited in my bowl.  I would close my eyes and be in a sort of dream like state but not necessary experiencing rapid hallucinations.  There were moments when I’d see something totally wobble through into my visual minds eye.  It was as if a ripple of water had been cast on one side of my subconscious and when it reached the shore of my inner eye it would ripple and wobble into my visual scope.  It’s hard to explain and I’m doing my best to find the words but I can’t seem to define it any other way.  When my eyes opened, I knew what I was looking at, but, it’s funny, because it felt hard to actually look at something.  It felt hard to think about anything else but my breath.  My mind was empty.  It felt good to be able to sit for long periods of time without thought.  Amanita was in my body and mind, and my eyes and wandering brain were not the focal points.

 

I stayed in the tub for what must have been a few hours.  I never got uncomfortable and my mind never wandered.  I had a certain focus but it wasn’t on anything in particular.  It was easy to not get distracted.  The medicine was very direct.  It wasn’t filling my mind up with a million things or making me focus solely on something very intensely like what can usually happen with many psychedelics.  It wasn’t a numb feeling, just a nothingness feeling but it wasn’t like I felt like I was focusing on nothing but I guess nothingness was the focus of the plant.  It felt primitive.  It felt connective because of the simplicity.  The normal distractions that fill up my mind weren’t there.  It was easy to not “go there” and I was very much in my body and not in my brain.  It felt relaxing to able to feel this “just being there” feeling.  It felt wonderful to not have my mind racing in a million directions like it can easily do.  It felt great to not have my mind so stimulated like it can be on other psychedelics.  It felt great to be at ease.  The plant was forcing me into ease.  Forcing me into a simpler thought process and a simpler life orientation.  I was still feeling a bit nausea at times, but I never threw up again.  It was easy for me to focus on my breath.  Amanita was having a directness with me.  It wasn’t allowing me to use my “normal” human brain.  It was just allowing me to exist while being directed at nothingness.

 

When I finally got out of the tub I put on new, dry clothes.  I still felt cold but not as cold as before but I still wrapped myself up in a blanket and went and sat by the fire.  Again, it was easy to just sit there and just be.  Something I have improved upon A LOT in the recent years of my life but something that doesn’t naturally come to me.  My mind felt empty.  Things that I would normally be thinking about weren’t coming up, and if they did they just came and went, not feeling any more significant than happening to see a bug on the ceiling, and then I would calmly go back to my own void of “nothingness” focus.  I would look at my phone and not be motivated by it, whereas normally on psychedelics it just wouldn’t make sense.  All I wanted to do was listen to peaceful piano music.  This was extremely relaxing and the piano notes increased my relaxation and my interest in the moment and it was astounding to notice how easy it could be to just let something relaxing have a positive effect on you.  The piano notes were making me feel warm and in flow.  They were making me feel connected to something else, a connective feeling that even the plant enjoyed and allowed me to tap into.  After about another hour of this, I wanted to watch an episode of my favorite show, “Narcos.”  It was easy to just watch the story and feel deeply inside the characters for what it was rather than my mind jumping all over the place and wanting to know the end and getting impatient.  It was easy to focus on one thing, but that one thing was all encompassing.  It was easy to just take in and allow it to happen in front of me.  I was in a very relaxed state.  Everything felt super focused but not in a forced way, just in a non-distracted way.

 

The night went on and even many hours later I still laid in bed and was cold when usually I am very hot and don’t use any sheets and blankets.  It is some days later now and I still have a level of focus.  Things are not penetrating me in the same way or for as long  Thoughts that usually create tension and anxiety and stress seem to not have the same affect.  This is similar to other psychedelics but whereas other psychedelics might seem to bring out an exuberance I still feel a very consistent calmness and directed focus.  It reminds me of the day after experiencing a mega dose of LSD (4 hits) but yet different as that was a bit more energizing with focus.  I keep thinking about what I’m striving for in my life and what I strive for with my days and my to do lists and me watching myself and others watching me.  It makes me feel an equal ease for getting things done vs not getting things done.  My to do list and daily happenings seem more irrelevant.  But not irrelevant in that they don’t matter but just that it doesn’t matter how much I judge myself over what I deem myself pressurized to do and accomplish.  I do with my day what I do with my day and less is more.  Mushrooms have been around for millions of years.  They are a mystical organism that gives us experiences about that history and their relationship with everything along the way.  The calm, bluntness of the plant influenced me.  It made me feel happy about what I’m doing with my day to day despite if I “achieve” anything.  Less is more coupled with consistency really made an impression on me.  What is meant to be achieved will and my energy will naturally lead me to that.  Existing in itself, felt like achievement after this experience.

 

I think the shaman is right that Amanita is going into a sort of hiding, especially when it’s cousin the psilocybin mushrooms is having much success healing humans at the moment.  Not that we don’t need Amanita’s teaching desperately.  Anything that helps modern humans in our tech age not get lost in our own minds or lost in distraction with screens or lost in thinking about a million things is a great benefit to us.  Amanita’s focus is more on sitting and trying to be okay with pain and discomfort and being in the present moment.  It forces you to not think about anything.  Not unlike Ayahuasca in some ways but at least Aya comes with these sacred geometric visuals that one can get lost in that carves out a story and experience with them.  I think our culture is so visual that anything that doesn’t cater to that will be taken in less.  Plus, Amanita is painful and I felt like I was dying with cold sweats and throwing up.  It seems like a plant of the old world.  A world that was perhaps more harsh, more deathly.  Maybe Amanita will have a place again with us in the future but right now I can’t see it taking.  It will loom in the distance, what’s a few thousand years or even a million to a mushroom?  They will just sit and wait patiently doing their thing and observe how these humans will either destroy themselves or engage with plants and nature more.

 

Would I take it again?  Yes I would, but not for some time.  The experience was tough but I think it was one that was important for me to go through and see more of what the major teacher plants bring to the consciousness table.  The level of intensity is insanely high with these plants.  They have a positive effect on us because they give us these insanely traumatic painful experiences that are coupled with enlightenment or endarkenment that bring about an eventual ease at having trodden down tough paths.  Uncovering what lays at the end of these tough paths is the benefit of psychedelics; taking on psychedelic trauma in order to process trauma.  For a white, heterosexual, middle class man like myself, I think it is important for me to go through such things and feel what it’s like to sit with pain and discomfort.  It is something my demographic has had to go through much less than others and that equalizing effect gives perspective and empathy for recognizing those who have gone through or are going through painful life experiences.  These plants force you to interact with your relative shit.  They lead you to decomposing your thoughts and taking on things that will make you better.  I look forward to the day when Amanita will be something that is prescribed to people to help them, rather than just something that some guy writes about on the internet that most people know absolutely nothing about.

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Enlightenment Through Breakdown of Body and Tech

22 09 2017

There will be a day when our bodies will look more like something from the Borg in “Star Trek: Next Generation” vs anything of what we look like today.  The Borg is a species in space that is simply known as the collective.  The phrase “resistance is futile” is commonly associated with them.  They are somewhat human, mostly machine.  They have mostly human faces but mechanical components for their limbs and of course their brains have been networked with technology to the point where there are no individuals on the Borg but only the collective consciousness of the whole collective.  Star Trek (specifically The Next Generation) is a great show and they highlight well what our species is moving towards.

 

Until the days of the Borg arrive and we have no choice, I strive to not ignore technology but to constantly maintain a balance with it in how it affects every faucet of my life (because it DOES and it will only get more intense as companies like Google and Apple take over more of the world!).  I also strive to recognize what my own body is telling me.  How do I get too obsessed with physical and mental activity and “getting somewhere” and “achieving?”  How do I get too stuck on “to do lists” and going too intensely in one direction?  How does my body tell me what I’m doing is perhaps not balanced and depleting for me?

 

I was on a couple week camping trip lately and I pushed myself hard for it.  I wanted every day to be as perfect as the last.  I wanted every night to be under the stars after having amazing experiences during the day.  I wanted to hike everywhere, talk to everyone, and take in all that I could.  I wanted to ascend mountain peaks, have transcendental experiences, show the world through social networking what I was doing, and write lengthy self-reflection journals into the night.  I wanted it all!  However, sometimes when we continually grab for it all we miss something.  We miss rest, we miss creativity that comes from boredom, we miss taking deep breaths, we miss relaxation, we miss down time, we miss not falling into social norm trances of the status quo; even if the status quo is something like camping!  Overall, we easily surge in one energetic direction until it goes out somewhere and when not in balance we can miss out on a whole array of things when we’re so narrowly focused no matter what it is.

 

About a week into my trip I had many days in a row of utter stimulating activity.  Each day I was planning 7 to 15 mile hikes mixed in with connecting with people mixed in with driving all around, mixed in with sleeping in caves or in an uncomfortable tent, etc.  I was in Taos, New Mexico on a leisurely walk with a friend in Taos Pueblo forest when my ankle snapped.  I have this re-occurring right ankle injury that is a sprain that happens about once or twice a year.  The last time it happened was when I was helping my second friend of the day move their furniture.  The time it happened before that I was doing gymnastics in a stressful setting, the time before that I was carrying too many things and walking down a crazy steep street, the time before that I was training too hard and I jumped awkwardly on a medicine ball/wobbly fitness ball.  The theme is most definitely over exertion and as the years have gone by, I have hurt it less as I really try to recognize when I’m going too big or too non-stop.  The most recent occurrence a few weeks ago was no different.  I felt invincible on my trip and was not taking the proper rest and pushing too hard.  I was walking behind my friend in the forest on a very mild hike when I felt the familiar “pop” on my ankle.  I was embarrassed because I was with a friend and we were having a good time and now I was going to be hobbled for the rest of the time.  I was initially crushed that I had somehow “failed.”

 

My friend recommended I put my foot in the freezing cold river water that was flowing magically around us.  She then sang medicine songs and performed reiki on me and found me hiking sticks.  We did this a few times as we continued our slow walk downhill.  The injury slowed me down but it also gave me an opportunity to experience different things.  Conquest of the hike is something I am easily drawn to but now I was able to spend a different energy presence with my friend and learned how to use a walking stick appropriately (which is an amazing tool for hiking by the way!).  When we got back to the car and parted ways I decided that I was going to take the pressure off myself and not try and camp that night.  Instead I booked a hostel in town and for the next 20 hours I slepted, ate, iced, read, wrote, and had a very restful time.  It was interesting to do this and notice how much ease and calmness burst through in me.  It took off the edge of thinking I needed to “accomplish” on my trip.  It allowed me to actually sit and be still and do something I love to do which is write and reflect.  Initially, it was so anxious ridden for me to think about not continuing my, many days in a row, camping outside streak.  Weird how we get in these stressful expectation ridden trances even for things that are supposed to be fun and relaxing.

 

When I continued on my camping trip just the next night the refreshing feeling I felt was unimaginable.  I was on such a high from my body failing me and it forcing me to take a break.  Our bodies as machines need tender love and care.  Our brains need to be put on time out sometimes as they get carried away with routine of thought and looping neurotic pursuits.

 

Three days later I decided to test my ankle and hike a 14k foot mountain in Mount Blanca and Ellington right by the Great San Dune National Park.  Before you scoff and claim that I fell into the same trap I was in but only a few days earlier, note that I was setting an intention to actually experience this hike rather than conquer it.  Plus, I had my magical hiking stick from Taos that my friend gave me and it was amazing how using that made my body feel so much better.  I climbed for most of the day.  I took copious amounts of pictures and videos with my new favorite Snapchat app (really, it’s not just for young kids and super convenient for taking and sharing videos).  On my way down I really felt like a mix between Gollum and a billy goat as I was using my handy stick to descend steep cliffs edges and probably go where most people wouldn’t.  I was super careful and was loving my stick.  Still utterly amazed how magically and powerful this stick felt in my hands, helping me as a long third limb in a way to ground me and re-distribute and carry my body weight as I saw fit.

 

In my somewhat rugged climb down I noticed at one point that I had broken my phone.  Stupid me for keeping it in my pocket as I’m climbing on unmovable, jagged rocks.  A feeling of desperation came over me in that now I had no way of driving home with digital maps or finding the next camping place or listening to music or communicating with anyone, etc.  Luckily it was basically my last night out anyway and, if anything, I only had to cut my trip short one day.  However, the biggest feeling of dread came from having all my pictures and videos gone from my day, before I had gotten back to camp and able to save them through data connection.  For much of this two week period, I had posted on all the social networks of Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram what I was doing, where I had been, and what I was processing.  I suddenly felt like nobody would care because they wouldn’t see a blip in their feed.  I suddenly actually felt alone and like I hadn’t accomplished anything.  I suddenly felt stupid for admitting to myself that I was feeling these things.  How was I to go about my life without proving to others what I had done and what was important to me?  It was an awkward moment and here I am descending this wonderful mountain in an utterly beautiful setting while suddenly feeling like what I was doing didn’t matter if it’s not expressed through tech.

 

It didn’t take long for this attitude to change.  Again, you can’t trust your brain with anything.  It will freak out when the ease or routine of something is out of order or threatened.  It is very much a spoiled, selfish child and doesn’t usually have your overall best interests in mind.  Spending more time thinking about things, analyzing, being in your head does not usually lead to better decisions.  More importantly, it is better to be able to get out of your head.  That is where a true form of enlightenment lies but it is so hard given our cultural values that refer to your brain and the thought process as superior to anything else.  If anything, consult the brain obviously but listen more to your gut and your heart and people that exhibit qualities you admire.

 

I sat down in a cool little cave rocky place and smoked a bowl of cannabis to take a chill pill for a minute and re-center and redirect my energy.  By the time I began hiking again my feelings had dramatically switched.  I was alone now in this beautiful place with only nature and myself.  There was no way I could get ahold of anyone.  I couldn’t just pull out my phone and take pictures.  The pictures would only now be taken in my mind and remember as good old fashioned experiences that I could tell people about.  The pressure of taking pictures and showcasing where I had been was off of me.  It felt good.  I felt lighter.  I felt like I didn’t need to be anywhere or impress anyone.  I could notice things like rock formations and flowers more and in a different way that was centered around my pleasures and excitements and my own experience.  I also could ask someone in my camping area for a map and write down directions for driving home the eight hours the next day.  What a concept; “writing down.”  I strolled the rest of the way back to my camp.  It took a lot longer than usual as I was making sure to walk slow so as to not hurt my ankle but also because I was taking everything in.  There was nobody else there with me.  A certain “Walden in the Woods” feeling came over me and it felt wonderful.  It dramatically made me feel like a kid again.  The internet didn’t come out until I was a freshman/sophomore in high school.  I didn’t have a cell phone until my freshman year of college.  It was a blast back to how happy I was as a younger person and how I used to function.  I felt fortunate for this experience and to my surprise felt an incredible ease and stresslessness.

 

It is weird to think about who we were and where we came from and what we are now and how “normal” life functions for us.  I think about my 95 year old grandparents and the world they grew up in and all that that they saw and how they’ve interacted with tech and their bodies over the last 10 to 20 years.  It is easy to think that life heads in a linear path of energy direction.  We are always cocooning and becoming something better right?  I don’t disagree with this fully but I do question that cocooning couldn’t work as well in the opposite direction.  We think we have these routines and we think we are defined by our bodies, our tech in our phones and social networking, but just like that it could change and we are left with a non-physically capable version of our isolated from tech selves.  When things break down we are forced to figure something out which leads to a breakthrough of how we now have to deal with life.  Sometimes, we go further ahead but sometimes we go backwards.  There really is no right or wrong for following linear positive energy streams that are easy to navigate.  How can you really blame ourselves for doing that and wanting and believing in correct paths or answers, or in taking the path of least resistance?  If anything we are a cluster-fuck of energy going in all sorts of directions that have nothing to do with whether we are accepted or judged or however we are presenting ourselves as “living.”  How are we really different from the man who is homeless sleeping in the street vs the Buddhist in the mountains vs our avatar on social networking?  We have created these entities and these lifestyles that we think define us but the true content of what defines us is not something that can so easily be destroyed by a fall or a phone break.  That is gone in an instant and then we have nobody left to impress or answer to but ourselves.  Who are you defined as then?  Would you have foundation to stand on if parts or all of your body and tech were taken away?  It is obviously not an easy one to answer and nobody really knows these things until they happen to them or until they make a grand intention to switch things up.  The Borg physicality and mentally is looming in the not so distant future.  I’m not saying the Borg are wrong but just that would you rather be defined as a Borg or a human?

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The Dogmatic Religious Practices of the Church of Social Justice

12 09 2017

There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of communities that has troubled me, silenced people, and turned away enormous amounts of allies.

 

There is an underlying current of fear in activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless conversations with activists about this anxiety, and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical.

 

The amount of energy I spend demonstrating purity in order to stay in the good graces of fast-moving activist community is enormous.  I have found myself performing activism more than doing activism. Activists are some of the judgiest people I’ve ever met

 

The experiences of oppression do not grant supremacy, in the same way that being a powerful colonizer does not. Justice will never look like supremacy. I wish for a new societal order that does not revolve around relations of power and domination.

 

Telling people what to do and how to live out their lives is endemic to dogmatic religion and activism. It’s not that my peers are the bosses of me, but that dogmatic activism creates an environment that encourages people to tell other people what to do. This is especially prominent on Facebook. Scrolling through my news feed sometimes feels like sliding into a pew to be blasted by a fragmented, frenzied sermon.

 

Punishments for saying/doing/believing the wrong thing include shaming, scolding, calling out, isolating, or eviscerating someone’s social standing. Discipline and punishment has been used for all of history to control and destroy people. Why is it being used in movements meant to liberate all of us? We all have made serious mistakes and hurt other people, intentionally or not. We get a chance to learn from them when those around us respond with kindness and patience. Where is our humility when examining the mistakes of others? Why do we position ourselves as morally superior to the un-woke? Who of us came into the world fully awake?

 

If we are interested in building the mass movements needed to destroy mass oppression, our movements must include people not like us, people with whom we will never fully agree, and people with whom we have conflict. That’s a much higher calling than railing at people from a distance and labeling them as wrong.  Building a movement is about restoring humanity to all of us, even to those of us who have been inhumane.

 

I want to spend less time antagonizing and more time crafting alternative futures where we don’t have to fight each other for resources and care.  It may mean admitting that speaking my truth isn’t justification for being mean.  It means honoring their humanity, in spite of, their hurtful political beliefs and violent actions. It means seeing them as individuals, not ideologies or systems. It means acknowledging their agency to act justly. It means inviting them to be with us in love, and pushing through repeated rejection.

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This is a summary of an article.  Full article can be read at https://www.autostraddle.com/kin-aesthetics-excommunicate-me-from-the-church-of-social-justice-386640/





Dennis Mckenna, Psychedelic Fish, and Psilocybin/Magic Mushroom Therapy at Telluride Mushroom Festival

6 09 2017

Telluride is one of the most beautiful places on Earth!  This is my third year attending the annual mushroom festival and again loved every minute of it.  Art Goodtimes wowed me once again with his boisterous and beaming positive presence and his wonderful poetry and wisdom and showcased yet again how he is a magic mushroom in motion and one of my favorite people around!  Being my third year, I am really getting to know well the people that come back each year.  It’s one of the main reasons I’ve kept going, along with exploring the absolutely stunning and magical nature that’s there.  I’ve met so many contacts in the mushroom world and given my wellness practice in plant teacher healing modalities like psilocybin mushrooms and San Pedro Cactus it has been wonderful to get to know others doing similar things.  Whereas the first year was me running around and attending a million lectures and being overwhelmed in amazement at the content of the healing psychedelics used in trauma, addiction, end of life anxiety, stress, empathy for others and a connection more to oneself and nature, etc., the third year showcased more of an experimental phase with these plants and the healing natures they take on.  There was even psychedelic mushroom tea one could buy which was a lovely addition to the overall vibe of the festival and something that hasn’t been around for years at the festival, hence showcasing the psychedelic renaissance we are entering.  One should easily be able to purchase the medicinal healing plants that are talked about so highly at this festival.

 

There were your usual speakers there this year in Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain and Peter McCoy of Radical Mycology whom specialize in cultivation and offer unique and efficient ways to grow mushrooms and use them to improve the world in cleaning up waste and garbage, improving natural environments and forests, and overall positive permaculture development.  In this group of people as well were Mark Jones of Sharondale Mushroom Farms, Daniel Reyes of MycoAlliance, William Padilla Brown of Apex Growers and Kris Holstrom of TomTen Farms.  I didn’t witness many of these lectures but did hear that William Padilla Brown is trying to create livable mushroom islands that people can live and thrive on.  I will definitely not miss his lecture next year and will follow him online to see what this young extraordinaire is doing.

 

Other wonderful speakers who were also similarly permaculture focused like the ones above but had more of a saving specific endangered habitats tilt were also on large display.  They were Giuliana Furci of Fungal Foundacion of Chile and Larry Evans who focused on North and South American conservation.  Bob Cummings was specific to California, Elinoar Shavit to the Middle East and North America, and Daniel Winkler to the Himalayas and North America.

 

The journalist Don Lattin had a very engaging and entertaining talk about his experiences with mushroom medicine while he showcased his writings but the main focus for me was in two lectures that dealt with my healing modality of psilocybin mushroom medicine.  These talks were by Peter Hendricks of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Dennis McKenna who needs no introduction.

 

Peter Hendricks has been doing research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for many years for how psilocybin treatment affects addiction.   He mostly worked with the addictive substances of alcohol, cocaine, and cigarettes.  It’s these drugs that mostly affect the dopamine centers of the brain that bring about the “rush” that is so addicting.  Dopamine addictions are some of the harsher addictions to kick.  Psilocybin on the other hand, primarily affects the serotonin receptors of the brain and is therefore not considered a truly addictive drug that people really have trouble with.  The results of the psilocybin therapy for getting people off dopamine inducing addictive drugs was remarkable at an 80% success rate compared with a 25% success rate with the treatment of the current, best addiction therapy..  The psychedelic psilocybin treatment therapy was largely recorded by participants to provide a sense of unity and insight, transcendence of time and space, deeply felt positive moods, sense of sacredness, introspection and insight, ineffability, etc.  People responded that the feeling of vastness of life made them feel more capable of reforming their mental approaches to their life’s problems.  In regard to their addictions, people exclaimed they felt like they had wasted so much time.  Overall there was a sense of “awe” felt.  This promoted a positive small sense of self that enlightened people to move away from the extremes in their actions with their lives.  The awe led to a sense of cooperation and pondering where one could feel the entire collective of their lives and were able to more relate to their own humanity’s place in the world.  Put another way, it made people feel significant in a way where they realized their own sense of self being in direct relationship and working with everything around them.

 

The participants in the study likened their experience to feeling like they were tapping into the mindset to that which is gained by saints and sages after years of training.  For months, and even a year after the study, most of them still said that the experience was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives.  Long term effects included improved mood, altruism, mindfulness, capability of positive value shifts, and enhanced spirituality. The researcher Peter summed up the experiences in his own words and compared it to the “Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.  “What the main character Scrooge went through was a psychedelic mentality.  It represented a quantum change in how he approached life brought on by a PEAK experience.”  Scrooge and the participants went through what Peter described as a “chaos theory that changed the linear path of their lives that ultimately led to a re-organization.”  Peter then went on to describe how the more modern Maslov Hierarchy of Needs has been reorganized in a way that supports magic mushroom psilocybin psychedelic therapy.  Self-actualization used to be at the top of the pyramid but it has now been replaced by self-transcendence.  In psilocybin therapy, self-transcendence has been seen to be achieved through the PEAK experiences brought on by the psychedelic experience.  It puts a priority at becoming better and catering to something bigger than the individual and how we can relate better to others.  For Scrooge and most of the participants in the study they fell away from the attachment of the illusion of their existing selves and emotionally processed in a way that led to authentic, positive change.

 

Dennis McKenna followed with the keynote lecture of the festival on Saturday evening which was especially special because it was after the parade and dancing and most people were relaxed and in an elevated state of consciousness.  McKenna was originally influence by the writings of Carlos Castenada in Don Juan (on my new book list!).  His lecture was riveting and gave me great motivation for continuing to pursue my psychedelic, mind manifestation healing practice.  His lecture included the explanation of “true” psychedelics vs others.  Psychedelic means “mind manifesting” and McKenna explained that “true” psychedelics are serotonergic which means they work on the serotonin receptors in the brain.  These psychedelics include dmt, mescaline, and psilocybin.  Other psychedelics mimic the serotonergic effects.  Salvia D which can be found in head shops (a member of the mint family) and cannabis do not contain alkaloids and nitrogen which makes them rare.  Clinical studies also show that Salvia D hits one receptor site in the brain in an extreme way unlike any other psychedelic, which I found to be interesting.  McKenna emphasized that when people take on prescription SSRIs they are blocking their serotonin uptake which is how many psychedelics work on your brain.  MDMA for example uses up much of your bodies serotonin stores.  In order to regenerate this, it is important to eat high tryptophan foods which include meats, many cheeses, pumpkin seeds and other seeds, nuts, among many other foods.  McKenna emphasized about psychedelics in general and how they are used to study the consciousness and the mind/brain relationship and clinical studies have shown no bounds for positive healing with things like addiction, trauma, depression, stress, etc.  To see these studies and do any of your own research, clinicaltrials.gov is a site dedicated to the clinical trials of whatever is going on.  One would only have to type in “psilocybin” to see trials related to that substance.  And much like Peter stressed above, Dennis claimed that psilocybin disrupts the “normal” fundamental processes in the brain.  To provide another example with the psychedelic Ayahuasca, the initial rough experience when interacting with the substance has helped most people move their lifestyle in a positive direction, especially when it’s used with people suffering from drug and alcohol addictions or other life limiting, controlling traumas.

 

Other useful information McKenna ended with was looking into the ingredient in the psychedelic Ayahuasca called harmine (simple B-carboline) as it is showing to be one of the major influences creating the positive effects of that plant (I myself have since ordered a supplement to try out).  Iquitos, Peru is home to an unbounded amount of untouched medicine potential as many of the indigenous plants there have not been experimented with by western societies.  Toe Negro for example is a plant that grows there that is said to have a three-day high and comes with a direct conversation with the plant, but also can come with being blinded for three days as well.  Ha!  Intriguing!  Other such plants include an acacia plant species that has lots of dmt in it that is found in Southeastern Australia and is called wattles.  More known plants like Kava have also been experimented with to have a mellowing effect, be a social lubricant, anti-seizure, muscle relaxant, and help with adhd.  Kraytum is also a wonderful plant for treatment of opiate addiction as it hits the opiate receptors but is NOT an opiate.  Kanna or Kougoed is a plant responsible for mood elevating, euphoria, appetite suppressant, alcohol addiction, and a sedative.  The ingredient being thought responsible for that is called Zembrin and is also what is making my new supplement list to experiment with.  Other hardly known psychedelics also include a plant called Drunken Horse Grass and certain fish and insects.  It boggles the mind at what psychedelics we have yet to come into contact with and how those will go about changing our brains and humanity overall.  We are seeing the current surge of psychedelics take hold again in western society after about an unwarranted 50 year hiatus, political, demonized lockdown on them.  There is no way we won’t dramatically change as a species from being more in contact with these plants and substances.  It is a heavily transitional era for humankind.

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Intelligence = Awareness

31 07 2017

Two things come have come to mind lately playing a hypnotizing, thumpy, trance in my head.  One is: intelligence equals awareness.  If one’s intelligence doesn’t make you more aware then you’re probably only very smart to mostly yourself.  And the other is a saying.  The saying has always gone, “great minds think alike” but that is misleading and doesn’t really mean to include others, and promotes a dismissive personality.  It is nice in various other ways for comfort, intimacy, ease of communication, getting rejuvenated, feeling comfort and security, etc. but in really hammering out what it means to be human and grow, having awareness, and getting along with each other through understanding each other, the saying should read, “great minds think unalike.”

 

What does it really mean to have awareness.  We can struggle to be aware of so many things that it can seem daunting and overwhelming and like we just want to give up.  Ahhhh, too much awareness!  Stop it now!  Please make me unaware and just happy in whatever various bubble that is comforting to me!  The list can get out of control quick and everyone will have different things for what they think we should be aware of, and there definitely can be ills from having too much awareness and over analyzation and over intellectualizing but those are problems that seem to be a bit easier to deal with.  If one can truly never stop learning, then one can truly never stop being aware of something new, or taking on a new perspective of something old.  We are VERY capable.

 

As the years pass, the more I try to simplify things.  Yes, the world is very complicated and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t walk towards what is complicated but when possible try to keep it simple and cater to “less is more” and go from there.  It is all too easy to take in too much stimulation and try to come up with solutions for whatever and end up in a pit of loops that results from “reacting” that forever keeps us chasing the carrot in front of our donkey face.  I think this is one of the reasons why the most effective meditation and mind calming techniques relate to simply focusing on the breath and recognizing what’s in our minds.  Just remember to KISS yourself (keep it simple sister).

 

And in the spirt of KISS-ing ourselves in regards to “awareness” being aware of oneself is where it starts.  Who are you?  What was your child hood like?  Where did you grow up?  What kinds of schools did you go to?  Who were your parents and how did they treat and love you?  Who were your sisters and brothers and friends?  What things do you remember most vividly from childhood?  Who influenced you?  Who did you hate?  What kinds of people were you around and how did they think?  What were your first jobs and/or where did you go to college?  Who did you date?  How did relationships and love make you feel?  Did anything traumatizing ever happen to you?  How did relationships end for you with people?  What kinds of friends did you keep and what kinds did you let go of?  Where did you travel to?  What kinds of drugs did you do?  What traits do you most like in people?  Who are your friends currently and who do you sleep with now?  How do you view the world?  Have you ever had money?  What kinds of foods do you eat?  How is music a part of your life?  Do you exercise?  What kinds of jobs do you do?  Do you help people?  Do people help you?  What gives you pure joy and what makes you insane with rage?  Are you introverted or extroverted?  What do you want to become?  When do you lose your power?  When do you have the most power?

 

The list can go on and on and I bet you’re thinking, this isn’t simple at all!  And yeah, the point is to not answer these questions all in one sitting (remember less is more).  The point is to march forward to creating awareness.  And just as important as doing this for yourself it is vital that we ask others around us what they see.  We have to know how we sound, how we move, how we energetically are engaging with others, as it is far too easy to not see ourselves.  We do not have eyes outside our head to observe ourselves.  I know this may be coming across as an egotistical pursuit but if we do not know and are aware of our own ego within ourselves then we really have very little in our lives and we will forever be stuck in living through others and in impatient reactive states all the time.  If we are patiently in relation with ourselves then we are so much more capable beings and can live out far more meaningful, authentic, and wildly amazing lives that can really help others and the world.  We don’t want to be limited in our lives by not knowing ourselves as that definitely leads to us living under the constraints of a glass ceiling and spending more time admiring others rather than thinking we are capable of action and that admiration as well.

 

An example of awesome questions to direct at others to answer for getting to know oneself are such:

  1. What do you most appreciate about me?
  2. What impact do you see me have on others?
  3. What do you see that I bring/offer to others by being who I am?
  4. What do you see that I should continue doing/being that supports what is authentic in me?
  5. Do you notice areas of my life where I experience a loss of power?
  6. When do you see me get inspired? When do you get inspired by me?
  7. What do you find challenging about me?
  8. What is the one thing you believe I could master in my lifetime?

 

And, as far as my belief in thinking that great minds think un-alike, that comes from a very different place than where I’ve spent most of my life.  It is easy to get into a place where whatever it is you are thinking is the “ideal” and that those around you just need to get on board.  I can’t express how limiting this is overall and how much of a mirage it is to make you think it is not limiting and actually enhancing!  Again, I veer away from absolutist thinking (extremist thinking being something one moment vs thinking you’re wrong and being the opposite in the next).  Yes, there is a time and a place for any kind of thinking or acting but I’m speaking more broadly about what seems beneficial for most of the time.  However, relying on thinking that people just need to come around to your level of enlightenment is oppressive and not accepting at its core.  It doesn’t foster communication, it doesn’t foster connection, it doesn’t foster patience and acceptance, and it draws lines and promotes a black and white/right vs wrong overly simplistic world.

 

In today’s era with Trump we are seeing such at what seems to feel like an all-time high.  We are so dismissive with people and we reject constantly the humanity in others.  We get SO offended at the thought that someone is going against us.  We talk behind their back or straight to their face and easily talk down rather than to people.  It is an era of empowering the bully asshole with Trump coming into power and people are taking the bait and acting similarly.  Yeah, it’s tough not to cater to.  I’m not saying I’m free of this by any means.  It’s hard to constantly control yourself and monitor how you come across in your day to day life given the “norms” of what’s mostly going on around you.  It is easy to be mean and manipulative and react to others.  It’s easy to want to be right at all costs and ultimately be in it to win it for yourself at the expense of others.  How do we resort to calm?  How do we resort to allowing others to express in a safe space and finding out why they think the way they do?  How do we rely on listening instead of talking?  How do we walk towards conversations rather than being afraid of them and others in general?  How do we create a space that caters to non-judgement and acceptance?

 

I would say a major component of success with this is slowing it down and getting to know yourself and being aware.  Don’t let fear and insecurity and aggression and non-communication reign supreme and limit your resources for learning.  Rely on erring on the side of being vulnerable rather than defensive and protective.  Work through your own traumas and mental blocks.  Remember to KISS with others and yourself often.

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Casual Psychedelic-er: A Day With San Pedro Cactus

24 07 2017

I have learned recently how to extract the healing medicinal brew drink from the San Pedro Cactus, or Huachuma as it is also known.  That process can be found here as another entry I posted a while back (https://keatingbodyworks.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/san-pedro-cactus-brew-using-medicinal-plants-to-take-charge-of-your-own-healing/).  Mescaline is the psychoactive alkaloid found in San Pedro that makes up somewhere between 0.2-2% of the cactus.  Synthetic Mescaline has a much higher potency WAY above 2% and as it is just a white powder it is absent from the other synergistic components of plant ingredients that normally form in the cactus that allow for the psychoactive component to be in balance with the rest of the plant, offering a more manageable experience.  In this sense, it is basically at least, a different much stronger form of San Pedro, and at most, an altogether different drug and experience.  One must always pay attention to if they are taking a natural, plant form of something vs something synthetic.  Just because they came from the same place and in name are the same drug doesn’t mean they will be the same.

 

I had one more jar left frozen which was nearing an expiration date so I decided to go ahead and take it on.  In the past, I had always created very specific intentions about what I wanted to gain from the experience.  Those experiences were often with other people in powerful ceremonial situations or with myself that usually involved long hikes and processing through those means.  Although those experiences were amazing and still come highly recommended, I wanted it to be a bit different this time around.  My intention was to take the drink in a natural life setting and go about my day and see what emerged (I didn’t have to go into a job on this particular day).  Do people need the support of a group, or to cater to stereotypical meditative type behavior, or what we would could consider normal “ceremonial” behavior in order to have a positive experience?  At about noon I took the medicine.

 

I finished up a few tasks I was doing and then sat down and read for a bit.  The mostly unavoidable side effect of psychedelics is the nausea.  Some people have it worse.  I’ve never throw up (purged) from them, unless that was my intention, but it’s always a good idea to wait about an hour or two to see if this will be the case.  This particular brew was definitely more mild than others in that regard.  As things started to become distracting from focusing on the words in my book, I put it down and started to move around.  This is one of the reasons I usually always resort to a hike because movement and running around outside usually calms the stomach and the overall nervous feeling that you’re entering a psychedelic realm.  However, I did not want to resort to this type of trip of just going on a big hike so I decided I would spend about one hour at the local park just to give myself a normal feeling entry point.

 

Walking outside was an instant relief.  There’s a reason the inventor of LSD, Albert Hoffman, said that psychedelics should be done outside.  As soon as stepping out the door and seeing the scalable mountains all around Salt Lake City, I had an urge to just start going for them.  No!  I  wasn’t going to do what I always do!  To the park instead!  Quickly on the way to the park I noticed all the colors outside.  The sunflowers that lined neighbor’s yards seemed so yellow and intriguing.  There were these bees in them and little tiny bees at that, that I’ve never seemed to notice before.  They were living their lives out and doing what they naturally feel compelled to do to survive and feel meaningful.  Some of the sunflowers even had heart shaped centers which I found incredibly unique.  Have sunflowers always looked like this?  Did I just forget?  I love bees and feel spiritually connected to them so instantly walking out my door and having these experiences seemed extremely connective.  Generally having a connection with nature is typical on such medicine.

 

The lightness I felt while walking around was consistent throughout the day.  I had an intentional and calm gait, something which can be more rare for me as I am always twitching and itching for energy release and being bored and at times depressed of the relative, day to day things in my life.  Walking around and watching the houses and cars go by was extremely calming.  Like the bees, everything was happening for a reason and people were fulfilling their duties and meaning in their lives.  I wonder how many of them were truly feeling connection and meaning with what they were doing?  Do bees feel similar?  Do they mostly like how they go about their day or would that concept seem ridiculous for a bee?  With observing people, I couldn’t help but think that only a small minority of them, given the normative nature of our culture where we can so easily become passive participants in our lives, were not feeling a meaningful connection to their existence, or living how they wanted to be.  We so often live out the lives others want us to live, what “cultural norms” tell us to do, and we are afraid to stand out and really go for things.  If only people had more courage to get through that first hump which makes people notice you and then very quickly turns into acceptance and then envy that such a person is living out their authentic process and sense of meaning.  Not always the case I know, as often we are not always accepted for living out our genuine lives, but if we accept ourselves then that counts for most, and the kind of people who you mostly want in your life will be accepting and feel growth themselves through your admirable actions.  Most others who we try to impress are so preoccupied with themselves, for better or worse, that nobody really takes too much notice of you.  I felt a sense of sadness as I walked and looked at these people as I wondered if they were fulfilled and what scary things they would have to take on to make their lives more open and connective to their true essence.

 

The park was a magical place to be.  I walked through the grass and continued to walk with an ease and grace and calmness that I hope I can remember to do more of in my everyday life.  Suddenly a beautiful, vibrating sound came out of nowhere and there were two bag pipers!  This completely entranced me and I had to stop and sit in the grass for a while and just take it in.  Such a beautiful instrument and I could feel every inch of my being affected by the hypnotizing sounds.  It was so wonderful to just sit there and take it in.  Over the last many months, I have come to have a new respect and understanding of music and vibrational therapy.  The bag pipes were like medicine on top of medicine in the state I was in.

 

Eventually I got up and continued my walk.  Ironically as soon as I got up, the bag pipers stopped which made me feel like there was something so perfect about that moment.  Something was naturally aligned to have that work out so well.  They were playing and I was watching.  There was a natural connection with the performer and the audience.  We each were motivated by the other and feeding off each other.  You don’t notice these types of things as much in your day to day life.  It was enormously refreshing to know that we all contribute to each other in meaningful ways even if it’s something we can’t really see.

 

I walked around for the next bit going to my favorite places in the park, taking in deep breaths, and noticing all the wonderful people around who were also enjoying the park.  It was easy to say hi to people, it was easy to connect with the animals and stare admiringly at the trees and plants.  I walked by the Zoo and had an intimate long stare, eye contact moment with a pelican.  It started out uplifting but then it turned depressing as it seemed obvious that this animal was being held against its will in an animal type of concentration camp.  I suddenly began to visualize WWII Japanese internment camps.  What would it be like if we kept humans in these things for children and adults to come and observe, eat frozen yogurt at, and then simply go back to their freedom based lives?  I hate zoos for this reason and looking into one and making spiritual connections with the animals made me feel awful and like I should do something about this.  How does one go about changing things when 95% of the population views it as “normal?”  This isn’t an excuse for inaction and my soul hurt upon leaving the stare but I will not ever pay to go into a zoo or encourage anyone else to go to one for these reasons.  Passive activism is the bare minimum that we can do, but also very effective at the same time.

 

Before this experience started I had really wanted to go to yoga in this state.  I left the wonderful park and walked home and took a moment as my body was drenched in sweat from the 100 degree everyday July Salt Lake City has been having.  I felt like I was ok to jump in a car and head down the way to my yoga studio.  It is a good general rule to avoid driving while under psychedelics but there are a lot of general rules that don’t apply even the majority of the time.  A test one can do is for one to go off their gut feeling and to think about how big of a dose you took.  WIth micro to low doses I don’t see any problem, but starting with medium doses I would take special precautions.  An actual physical test one can cater to is to stare at an object.  If that object melts or turns into something else then you are clearly not okay to drive.  You can also do a test of trying to focus on one idea.  If you try and focus on one and it leads very quickly and intensely to an array of ideas and tangent thoughts where you basically lose track that you wanted to drive somewhere then that is a good indicator you shouldn’t drive.  Take some deep breaths and really go within and see what you want to be doing and what you’re capable of.  It is easy for people to judge others on this war on drugs/don’t drink-don’t drive absolutist mentality.  The reality is that people on drugs who are distracted and shouldn’t be driving can very easily be no different than people who are emotionally distraught, irritated, confrontational, abusive, aggressive, depressed, numbed out, etc. whether they come from drugs, emotions, or whatever in their “sober” lives.  However, these other things haven’t as easily been kept tracked of or paid attention to in our society while the war on drugs demonizing culture has led the popular public to think that all illicit drug users are evil people.  Driving under alcohol is vastly different and more dangerous than anything else on average and should not dictate one’s thoughts for all drug use.

 

All that being said, I drove to my yoga.  My driving was like my walking; much slower, calm, and full of intention and observation.  The overwhelming thing was walking into the gym.  I go to Vasa gym in Murry and it is one of the most “scene” gyms I’ve ever witnessed.  It’s insanely, super cheap so that’s why I go.  Your senses are usually much more sensitive on this kind of medicine and instantly upon walking in the smell of plastic, and protein powder filled me with anxiety.  People were abusing their bodies in extremely back killing torque bends with high weights.  Most of the men in there looked like they were going to topple over from being so top body heavy and having no flexibility or range of motion.  Everyone seemed so stiff.  It’s been a while since I’ve noticed how much people are looking at others around them or obsessing over themselves in the mirror.  There was something going on in this gym and it wasn’t too much associated with health and definitely not in alignment with anything psychedelically related.

 

I reached my yoga class and it was wonderfully refreshing.  For Vasa being such a “douche” gym, the 4pm yoga instructor Calvin is really good.  The music is calming and refreshing and it’s much more breath and energy focused and balancing yoga than it is anything power yoga or cross fit yoga related.  The yoga session was amazingly powerful.  I kept my breath in a way I usually don’t.  The balance poses seemed way easier and I had no problem keeping myself from pushing too much.  Catering to my breath and what I was capable doing with my body that day seemed so natural vs other times I go not on medicine.  It felt so good to be focusing on where my body was leading me in the moment.  I wasn’t impressing my neighbors or, most importantly, wasn’t competing with myself, which is a hard, critical, self-judgement issue I have with myself.  The meditation poses where I normally have monkey brain rather felt like I could stay in calm meditation forever.  It all just felt so natural and eyes closed breathing exercises gave rise to some visualization in my minds eye which is often very hard for me to do.  The energy I could see swirling around from that transferred to my natural vision when I would open my eyes and made me feel connected and meaningful to my teacher and the people around me.  I will focus on tapping into this feeling when I go to yoga not on medicine.  I loved the connectedness of the whole experience.  My body and mind felt wonderfully open and powerful and full of energy and life.

 

Upon arriving home, I laid down on the floor and felt overwhelming waves of lightness and body flexibility.  I did not have a constricting muscle or entity in my body.  Everything was open.  I turned on some music and relished for a long while in the zen state I was in.  It was so nice to be feeling so comfortable in my body and to fully absorb the music appreciation which was vibrating my brain so eloquently like the bag pipes had done earlier.  Not putting any pressure on myself to be doing anything other than what I was doing, I reveled in the openness of the moment and the self-acceptance and love I was feeling for what I was experiencing.

 

I eventually got up.  It was around 7pm and I figured I had a few more hours of feeling the medicine in its more pronounced state.  I grabbed my backpack full of water and figured I’d head out for a walk in the more cooling Utah dessert evening.  In my trek, I noticed many things about downtown I normally don’t notice.  Salt Lake City has one of the best libraries in the world and it was just made better in my mind as I ventured in and found myself on their rooftop deck.  It was wonderful to be able to look at the mountains and then down many stories to the bees of people who were all busy doing their duties below.  Looking down upon the tiny little beings of the human race really humbles humanity.  How are we any different than any other living thing that’s just going about its day?  We live in this infinite, massive, expansive universe and it is often so easy to feel like we are at the center of it all.  We clearly are not, and although it is wise to have an insight of your ego and how you affect the world there is clearly a billion times more things that don’t involve you.  We should not so easily get lost within ourselves being the center of the universe.  It is a balancing act for sure but a lot of depression and stress and angst and anxiety in the modern human, especially the American, is a result of this imbalance and us taking too personally everything that’s happening in our lives.  It is really not all about us, but likewise, we have to be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with what’s around us.  You see, it’s not the easiest pickle to figure out.

 

There were free concerts all around downtown happening here and there and it was incredibly refreshing to see people experiencing and enjoying music and dancing and embracing in culturally what makes them human.  I ended up over by the Mormon temple which is an incredibly beautiful building.  I couldn’t remember the name of the little guy on top of the church.  The name Jabroni kept coming to my mind but that clearly wasn’t it, as that is the name for like an east coast slimy dude.  Ha!  Angel Moroni was the actual name that I eventually remembered but somehow I think I’ll remember the name Jabroni from now on.  As I was walking around Temple Square I was in amazement of how I’d gotten to this particular space in time in my life.  Even only about 3 years ago I would have NEVER thought I’d be living in Utah and NEVER would have thought I would have taken San Pedro medicine and been in Temple Square.  I used to be so scared of Utah and Mormons and although I will stand firmly against the gross oppressive ways of their church leaders and doctrines, most people involved in the religion are just common people trying to live out good lives with what they think is the correct way.  Not that this a justification for doing bad things but they are no different than most of us others.  We’re all trying to figure it out and we all need to stand up for what we feel is right and clashing over that idea is ok.  Most Mormons are good neighbors and nice people and I can jive with that.

 

As I settled in for the night I was famished and had an extremely enjoyable meal to wrap up my day.  It is common for psychedelic medicine days to not come with eating much food.  Fasting adds to the experience.  My impressions of the day were positive.  I really liked going about my day in a normal fashion while attempting to take in the San Pedro medicine.  It was a medium to big dose but the extraction process I use keeps these doses manageable and more mild relating to nausea in general so it was all good.  I probably could have achieved the same thing today with taking a small dose as once the psychedelic mind is just slightly stimulated and attuned to knowing what is going on it doesn’t take a lot of medicine to tap into the brain stimulation that leads to the positive feelings of its healing powers.  Just like with anything else, the placebo affect is often the strongest medicinal approach we have.  This is probably one of the reasons psychedelia is not really addicting and why experienced psychonauts eventually do less psychedelics in their lives as the years pass for them.  I felt confident in my processing given my “normal” day and my impressions are that one doesn’t need a purely stereotypical ceremonial space or to be in a traditional, super contemplative meditative mindset for meaningful processing to occur.  I do think that when one is inexperienced or a beginner with psychedelia, it is good to have people around or to have support in some way.  Not to say you couldn’t cater to this when you were “advanced,” just that one can process on their own in a more or less “normal” day if they have experience with psychedelia and choose to do so.

 

Overall, I get into ruts in my life.  Everybody does.  We all battle issues related to our ideas of self-worth, feeling heard and expressed and loved in relationships, feeling meaning in our lives for the jobs we do, and basically overall angst at how we spend our time, and if we are doing the “right” things and living the “right” way.  These real and intense thoughts can all lead to us battling our own problems related to stress we put on ourselves, traumas we’ve experienced that have shaped our personalities, anxiety about the future, and depression about what we’ve done in the past.  All can lead to very unsettled feelings in the present, which can easily lead to addictive behavior in whatever we take on in our lives whether it’s liking the feeling of certain drugs vs being dependent on watching TV or working out or dating excessively or eating sugar or diving into religion or politics or anything else in our lives that has a routine built around a negative effect on how we treat ourselves and others and possibly forces us into isolation and looking forward to numbing feelings so we don’t have to feel.  We all know the negative feelings we don’t confront.  It is not an easy life and issues and problems are relative and it’s why a homeless person can be happier than someone making a million dollars.  What I’ve learned to love about psychedelic medicine and the San Pedro in this situation is how non-ordinary states of consciousness can be a positive force for living and dealing with ordinary states of “normal” day to day consciousness.  Our brains need stimulation in non-ordinary ways too no different than our bodies need it and why we do workouts that cater to different muscles not too much used, which we then are sore from.  If we are in an emotionally good place then we ARE in a good place.  Emotional health is everything and contrary to popular belief regarding whatever politicians and laws tell us regarding the “War on Drugs,” psychedelics can dramatically benefit emotional well-being and leave us in a very healthy, light, calm, loving, accepting, efficient, and connective place.

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