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/

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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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Mega Doses of The Utah Desert and LSD

14 06 2017

I’m on my third year living in Salt Lake City, Utah and I can say I’ve never felt so much in love with a place before.  There was a time in San Francisco in my twenties that will forever stay in my heart and I will always love SF but with the coming of so much affluence and wealth that city largely caters to the rich, cut-throat, withholding, privileged and un-artistic who think they are simply artistic because they have money or just simply live in SF.  Don’t get me wrong I still know amazing, worldly people there and it can definitely still be a hotbed for such things but over the last 15 years or so it seems to have taken a nose dive for authenticity and opportunity for the more average person to flourish.  Other than familiarity, it wasn’t realistic and, although it may come as a big surprise to Californians, there are other places to live that are just as good and affordable where one can find inner peace, security, entertainment, authenticity, art and stimulated consciousness, hippies, etc.  Affordability, jobs, and excessive nature go a long way in living a good life in Utah even despite the state’s overall conservative Mormon culture.  The overall conservative culture gives Salt Lake progressives its meaning and drive and it is SO charismatic and attractive and stimulating.  Salt Lake is a vintage spot for what progressive culture looks like today.  I can’t help but feel that the true hippy, the true burner, the rawness of life, flourishes in a place like Utah.  So, yes Californians, the world is bigger than your state and you clearly are not the sole beacon of edgy and authentic liberal light anymore.

 

I ventured out to the San Rafael Swell near Moab in Utah a few weekends ago and took in a tremendous amount of the wonderful desert.  Utah’s desert is a mysterious place and the landscape of the swell reminded me a lot of the California coastline I grew up with.  One could really see how the ocean used to reside in these parts as it left its mark for the thousands upon thousands of years it was here.  We went canyoneering in the Ding and Dang and Little Wild horse canyons which is basically crawling into the mountain using the waterways that were formed over the millennium.  It was wonderful to witness the power play of the elements in how the power and consistency of the water carved its way through the mountainous Earth formations.  Traveling through these crevices felt like I was venturing deep under sea level.  There were moments where the only way over the water was in using your hands and feet on each wall traversing sideways slowly through a narrow.  Having days filled with such activity and then retiring to the desert floor to camp was as wonderful of a nature outing as I’ve ever had.  Eco therapy and interacting with nature is a real, uplifting thing.  I felt wonderful rushes of positive energy through my exertions and observations while navigating these sacred sites.  And the wonderful part about all of this is that this is just one spot out of like 10,000 spots in Utah that one could venture to.  I wonder what will become of Utah as the word gets out that Utah is one of the most magical places in the world.

 

On the last day in the dessert I partook in an LSD medicinal ceremony.  The amount being a mega dose of around 300 micrograms (about 3 to 4 average hits).  My partner and guide was experienced so I felt very confident in the setting, along with setting my intentions for the experience.  There had been a lot trauma I had experienced lately with almost dying from a motorcycle accident, and I was also going through some hardships with some relationships with people that I wanted to process.  I was ready to take that on and commit to whatever it was that was going to come out in me and allow the processing to flow.  For the first few hours I laid down with my guide.  It was about midafternoon and I was under a beautiful high cliff that was supplying shade to our experience.  Off in the other direction was the vast desert and the avenues of swells and beyond that were beautiful mountains.  I couldn’t have asked for a better setting.

 

As the hours went by I participated in a variety of practices that really helped my processing.  I laid down at one point and looked up at the cliffs.  They were all melting and the idea and vision of a three-dimensional world was gone as everything in my sight felt like it was just on display for me to see melt.  The greens and reds created halos around bushes and trees and everything was being shown to me in dramatic fashion and energy would spiral beautifully around objects I would stare at.  Nothing seemed real but everything seemed more real than it ever had before.  Simply writing about it here is impossible to convey as the paradoxical and opposite nature and quick thinking of what I was experiencing is meant to be experienced vs told to people.  It is impossible to follow all your thoughts or your visuals or anything and once surrendered to the un-control of the moment a super stimulating, relaxation flows in.  Everything that mattered before seems to not matter during.  There’s too much to process, which is the point, and a feeling of content overwhelms one as it is now okay to not try to control your experience or demand your experience.  This is also one of the major takeaways from these experiences; to stop trying to grit your teeth and control your life.  There is another way.  Less is more.  Our cultural norms and what we’ve learned all along could be what is holding our brains back.

 

There were moments, perhaps excessively long moments, of deep eye gazing.  I would look into the eyes of my partner and be able to really contemplate the essence of who they were.  I was looking critically into the soul through the gateway of the eyes and it’s wonderful what one sees.  Deep eye gazing is by itself a profound enlightening experience but couple that with the LSD in this situation and it was utterly fascinating and mind blowing to be taking somebodies energy into your own.  You could see every thought and infatuation and insecurity and confidence of the other through even the gentlest of movement or the subtleness eye motion, and then you would see yourself and wonder how you looked and what you were showcasing and how what one is feeling is no different than what yourself are feeling.  Your own observational thoughts on others quickly can turn into observational thoughts on you.  You can look into another’s eyes and look back at your own and a certain oneness emerges.  We are all conscious beings that basically experience life similarly.  It was beautiful to look into the soul of another and into the bone structure that will persist as decaying remains into the mountains for thousands of years.  The mountain melts into us and us into each other and everything is easily seen as one entity.  It doesn’t make you feel quite as alone.  It doesn’t make you feel quite as separate from nature as you can see the energy constantly swirling around you during the experience.  It makes you feel as ultimately connected as possible to everything that is going on around you, and even to things that are not around you.  Everything has a consciousness and we can travel wherever we want to and nothing is more advanced or less than anything else.  What an overpowering, connective, meaningful feeling!

 

The first few hours are definitely the “tripping” part of the experience.  There might be purging like throwing up or peeing and you can easily feel like it is too much as massive stimulation is moving through you.  Keeping breath is essential and knowing beforehand you are in a safe, secure space with wonderful people, and all your water and day pack essentials are in a backpack next to you in one place is key.  Without this prep it can easily turn into a dangerous and uncomfortable and paranoid affair.  You will not be functioning normally and super stimulated and trying to fight against it or control your thoughts absolutely will most definitely produce an unnecessary “bad” trip.  Sometimes, I do like to walk while in this first few hours of “trip” state as moving makes me feel comfortable and once again it is vital you prep out somewhat where you will walk beforehand.  Making decisions not previously thought about before while in this “trip” state can really be troublesome.  We didn’t really prep out a walk beforehand so we just stayed put on our blanket under the shady cliffs.  It was new for me to stay in one spot as I am easily the move around type.  Examining each other, examining the landscape, examining ourselves was an amazing experience.  I couldn’t stop starring at my legs and being amazed that my calves and muscles and blood had formed in a necessary way to allow me to be mobile and walk around without my vital fluids from spilling all over the place.  We are all just bags of water that have learned how to walk around, haha!  And why were my legs allowed to be soooo hairy and nothing thought of it while my female partner’s were not allowed?  Not something I would normally have thought outrageous in my daily life but critical thoughts about equality and whatnot are not in short supply.  How long must it have taken for my body to be finely tuned enough to allow me to do what I was doing today?!  How have other beings tripped like this before?  It can’t be helped that the experience feels like a rite of passage through the connection that comes from all that is around you and all that has come before and been a part of the mind expansion collective consciousness.

 

During these first few hours every thought that is thought seems of absolute magnitude.  It all seems so important and so meaningful and you’re thinking about things in ways you feel like you never have before, or it’s been very long since you have.  The glee and joy and fascination of a child seems to come back to you.  You find everything interesting.  You find everything motivating.  You want to uncover and figure out everything.  You have raw powerful energy.  Your brain is literally on display.  What makes you human and a part of nature is being defined to you and it is the most fascinating thing ever.  You feel grateful for the experience.  How have you forgotten about such things?  How have you ever veered from these magical insights and thoughts?  How could you not have motivation and empowerment for everything you see all the time?  The world is such a wonderful place.  Laughing takes over as it seems like some weird joke you play on yourself for somehow not experiencing life as it can be.  Tears come.  First with laughter as it seems funny and ironic, and the giggles take over and you feel like you’re in fifth grade again and you can’t stop laughing with that funny friend in a classroom where the teacher is trying to get you to be quiet.  Then different tears come.  Ones of regret that somehow you forgot about the beauties of what made you human.  That somehow that beauty turned into boredom, impatience, and ego, and were led to value other things that were socialized into you.  You get mad at commercials, mad at society, mad at your parents, mad at your friends, mad at your education, mad at all the things that formed you in ways that you might not totally agree with.  But then it all melts away just like the cliffs were doing above me.  You did in fact turn into a dynamic person no matter what “despite” you think you worked through or over.  Maybe the “despite” actually is what led you being a better you.  It all continues to melt into your being at who you are and giving patience and forgiveness to yourself and others and realizing you are a person that has an array of emotions and whims and that you are trying to be the best you can be, and most whom you interact with, and entities that influence over you, were also mostly trying to be the best they could be as well.  We are all just trying to thrive.  If nothing else, this whole experience was a jolt thrown at me to remind myself that I am continually in a process at becoming more thoroughly the person I want to be.  It was an enormously uplifting experience of highs and lows which ultimately was challenging and led to an overall accomplished high.  Teachers come in many forms.  Thinking LSD is not a teacher because it is a substance and how can a substance be a teacher seems completely ludicrous after experiencing it.

 

After the first few hours the “trip” slows down a bit into a somewhat more manageable, and possibly less nauseous experience.  The initial struggle is over and now you’re used to your space and presence and you can roll into the next many hours with an ease that it is all going to be alright, and whatever you were experiencing before, in the medicinal experience that made you have such struggle, has now melted away and new insight and positivity and overall flow is permitted.  Giving permission to ourselves to feel certain things is often at the base of our troubles and LSD and psychedelics can help enormously with melting that obstacle away.  You feel incredibly close to those around you and nature and the connection is an unstoppable force.  You can walk around and feel more capable of wandering and wondering about things a bit easier.  The desert seems full of life, the rocks around you are incredibly interesting and the visuals are even more beautiful.  You can see the wind and breeze and energy flowing around everything.  You can communicate with trees and ants, and rolling around and feeling the nature feels like one of the most meaningful things you’ve ever done.  The setting sun comes across like the most beautiful process you’ve ever witnessed and the magnitude of what’s happening with the Earth and its relationship with the sun and moon and everything else is mind popping and wonderful and the miracle and sophistication of it all creates a peace and a joy that everything is beautiful as it is.  The mystery and randomness of it all is the beauty.  There is an appreciation for the Earth, God internally and externally or whatever you want to call it, and the summation and effort at life of all things.  Appreciation and gratitude is off the charts!

 

As the sun was going down, building a campfire seemed like a must!  In my “normal” state I like fires but I don’t know how to build one so I don’t think I would have, or I probably would have hated learning or found it tiring.  It’s hard in “normal” life to have motivation for things you don’t already know how to do, and that usually gets tougher to overcome as one gets older.  On LSD or other psychedelics, that infatuation and learning process is the driving force.  Like a child, in how I mentioned earlier, you WANT to learn.  It is so fascinating to you and there is little impatience as the process and comradery vs the far off unimportant result is somehow what it is all about.  Results almost seem boring as that means you have to stop the learning process for a moment.  The fire I learned to make that night is something I’ll remember forever.  I felt the fire.  It was alive.  I knew how to give it breath.  I knew how to not squash it.  I learned the difference between a hot fire and a big fire.  I learned the difference between allowing the fire to persist pleasantly and efficiently vs when my ego got involved.  I have built fires since and I am amazed at how quickly I learned a skill in one evening vs a lifetime of not really getting it for how a fire should be allowed to flourish.

 

On such a big psychedelic dose, and even on far smaller ones, you can’t hide from yourself and you can’t hide from others.  My partner and guide and I went through various conversations that in “normal” life would lead to walls being put up or hiding behind insecurity or vulnerability, or blasting out in defense, etc.  During certain conversations, whatever you are feeling gets magnified and the wall that’s normally there has melted away and raw emotion presents itself.  This is wonderful medicinal for a multitude of reasons.  One being that for yourself you can witness spectacularly how something is flowing within you.  With no filter, it can be a shock to see how alive something is inside of you.  It can be a shock to realize how much something is actually affecting you and how much effort it would have taken in your life to squash a feeling and hide it away.  As tears of strife and unpleasantness begin to flow out of me it is certainly obvious as to what is going on.  That obviousness is what we are going for and the feeling afterwards as we fully allow it all to flow through us is of utmost relief.  It finally came out and since then it has seemed rather harmless when I’ve confronted similar feelings that normally would have been suppressed before this experience.  You forget how nonchalantly it is for us to put up walls.  It happens without us knowing.  It WILL happen without a doubt in all our lives and such medicinal therapy as LSD helps immensely with this.  Stable mental health is obviously important and our culture, our world, suffers from instability, and one can’t help but think that something like LSD could help an outrageous amount of people feel confident, balanced, stable, safe, expressed, empathetic, knowledgeable about themselves, among many other things, in their lives.

 

The other benefit to this emotional processing was for my partner and others close to me to witness.  When one puts up walls in their life the other doesn’t know the severity of what is going on inside that person.  They don’t know the history, they don’t know the raw emotion, and it is harder for them to have empathy.  Expressing and having others express in front of me was a grand info sharing and info gathering about the other.  Somehow it didn’t matter what the content was but just that it was having a dramatic effect on the person.  When one sees this, an intimate shared experience results and it’s through such experiences that we grow closer to each other and the world.  When we don’t have such experiences it is easy to write people off and dehumanize them, and can easily promote treating others bad.  We grow from being vulnerable.  Vulnerable power is what will make you and others you share it with the most empowered people around.  The world is truly your oyster when you can share safe, non-judgmental spaces and communicate and be vulnerable with others.  Talk about a relationship enhancer.  There will be a day when something like LSD will be prescribed for relational therapy of all kinds.

 

As the night wears on the LSD takes on another feel (yes, it lasts 10-12 hours!).  An extreme stimulated clarity emerges which can easily last well into the next day or weeks or months later, and when it wanes can be easily tapped into again by something like microdosing (extremely small doses of psychedelics to bring back that familiar feeling of all that you learned and experienced on your trip).  Words and thoughts seem to come forth so clearly and everything seems to make sense.  It is suddenly obvious what holds you back and gets you into ruts and brings you out of your best, most creative, powerful self.  If you’re a photographer, for example, you will absolutely feel at one with your camera and excel in this moment.  If you’re reading a book you will fully be able to dive into the story and characters and will undoubtedly understand vehemently everything going on.  If you are just around people chatting you will have amazing, reciprocated conversation with great points and lasting feelings and things will stick and you will be proud and heightened from your connection.  Your brain has reset itself optimally from its stimulatory workout and now the task at hand is in figuring out how to remember how to take better care of yourself to promote such positivity.

 

As the night desert critters started to emerge we thought it safe to get up off the desert floor.  Playing with scorpions is not advised and next to the heat, if there’s anything else that will kill you out there, it’s the night desert floor.  Our campsite was alive with desert activity so we tried out our new toy which is a mattress on top of a roof rack and just gazed up at the stars for the next many hours.  The conversations that emerged were perhaps what you would expect with talking about the universe, looking at the constellations, seeing satellites, and wondering what the dang hell was going on everywhere in our version and beyond of whatever existence entails.  Shooting stars are all over the place and as the milky way moves across the sky it is easy to feel like the stars in the sky represent a sort of floor that seems to be revolving with us in circular fashion.  Looking off into the horizon, it seems like there could be a road that just eventually leads up and around over us.  As the early am hours approach the body is tired but the mind is still wildly awake.  Things are clear and you may think you’re falling asleep but then someone will say something or you’ll see a shooting star and a whole new conversation sparks that is wildly stimulating and meaningful.  Eventually one does dose off, and with sleeping outside, waking up to a sunrise is the most refreshing thing of all time even if you only got a few hours of sleep.  When the sun peaks over the mountains you know it is time to get up as it will be unbearably hot in a few hours.  Being subject to the patterns and natural cycle of the Earth seems incredibly comforting.  The next day comes and the clarity continues and you feel as alive as you’ve ever felt.  There is no hangover to doing psychedelics, but rather, the opposite for most people.  The joy in the natural cycle of the passing of days is felt.  The Earth keeps putting forth it’s best effort, and being along for that ride, within nature, is part of the natural existence of things.  You feel like you belong.  You feel like you are playing your part.  May my jaw one day be found in this swell and pondered over by people who are trying to figure out for themselves the nature of existence, their joys, their sorrows, and how stimulating their brains in whatever future medicinal ceremonies can be extremely helpful and ultimately very human.

 

This experience was characterized and made wonderful by a lot of different entities that came together rather perfectly.  The company I was with was perfect.  The nature we were in was perfect.  The LSD medicine was clean and perfect as well.  The prep involved was ideal.  Any one or two of these things could have led to a magical time and an extremely medicinal experience but all of them together was truly transformative.  I really felt like I transcended into something new and it’s why I wanted to process much of this in writing so that I can read about it from time to time to refresh my memory, and also, to highlight to others the safer practices I catered to, to really go after a positive mental health experience.  Doing such ceremonies won’t “cure” me but it will help me in remembering what stimulates me and that I am very human and I will dive into behavior I would deem unhealthy again and that’s ok.  Rather these experiences will give me tools to feel the flow and acceptance for when things are not going as well.  It is easy to be functioning in a positive place but being ok to be in a not so positive one is where truth and insight and acceptance lies.

 

We all could use a little brain workout stimulation from time to time.  Why would we not work out our brains and provide for it a similar level of stimulation and health that we would encourage for all our other muscles in our body?  Our psyches need it.  Our humanness needs it.  It is too hard to go through life expecting you’ll be perfect and not partaking in practices that can really help you even if you’ve deemed them wrong or weak.  Who do we think we are adhering to what we’ve learned?  Is there a point where what we’ve learned could actually impede us from learning more in general?  The type of strict, puritan, capitalistic morality that our country was founded on doesn’t work for most people.  Know when you’re operating on your sense of morals of what you’ve learned while becoming an adult vs what you might have taken on if you were a child.  Child mentality does have its wisdom attached to it in much the same way as something like Zen Beginner’s Mind.  We are on the verge of a positive mental health revolution with the types of medicines that are emerging or re-emerging in our culture whether it be psychedelics or being in nature with eco-therapy or whatever does it for you.  It is hard to not look forward to what we are advancing towards in this world.  It is happening and more people are going outside their boxes, their cultural comfort zones, and the common socialized cultural trances that so often keep us down and unstimulated, and as a result of challenging ourselves, are becoming better for taking on such a journey.  Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is exciting times full of raging potential and brain stimulation if you’re willing to take it on.  The world will bring you down if you take it on as is but if you become one with it, it will motivate and create expansion in you.  Dedicate yourself to something that reminds you of the happy child you were and the positive life stimulation for how you want to be living.

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A Conversation with Death

6 06 2017

Who are you?  When do you come?  Why do you exist?  What would it be like to know you?  Talking to you is confusing, especially because I don’t know who you are, or what I’m talking to.  I know who you are but I don’t know anything about you.  It is intriguing.  It is unfair.  Would you be a friend?  Would you be boring?  Would you be just like me?  Would you just use me?  Would you be more of the same?  It makes one think of the saying, “doing a deal with the devil.”  Is death really the devil?  Is your appeal all in the mystery and allure and the supposed way we’ll get manipulated by giving into controlling death?  Why do some people choose you?  What are they choosing?  Is it really looked upon as a failure if death is chosen?  Are we losers for thinking such thoughts?  Nobody decides when death is to come except those few that actually commit?  Is it a power trip over one’s life?  Is it a sad desperation?  Is it a celebration?  There are some things meant to not be controlled or found out in life.  Death and the purpose of life have the joy of not having to answer to anyone.  Does life and death have life and death, or is the void just the void and that’s that?

 

Flying over my handlebars and tumbling with my motorcycle onto the highway, the feeling of death was a high frequency vibration penetrating through me.  Would the drunk driver who rear ended me continue to drive me over or would the parallel cars zipping by on the three-lane highway do me in?  As my body intimately encountered the pavement and my helmet felt the skid, my body braced for a car to continue the onslaught, as if I could just flex my abs and take a car riding over me.  The feeling of stepping on a bug came to mind.  Why have I squished bugs in my life?  How must they have felt that out of nowhere this presence ended their current existence?  If I got similarly squished would anyone care or would it be just like squishing a bug?  Do other bugs notice when the ones they know get squished?  I know that people would undoubtedly care if I got squished and died but would it change much?  People would be sad for a while but then life would go on as normal and they would continue squishing bugs and not think about it.  Not that the world is all centered around me or a single bug but when one encounters death, and life is then thought about as not mattering, it can be an extremely empowering feeling or an extremely crippling one.  Nobody would ultimately care if I had died.  Would the vast blackness and nothingness take over upon going over to death?  If that’s what inevitably happens does it make sense to live life to the fullest or not care at all?  Or is not caring at all, living life to the fullest?  Extremes aside, it’s probably a balance of acceptance of the two but that doesn’t change the intrigue of thinking about ultimately what’s worth it and what’s not.

 

Scraping myself off the pavement, a rage and terror was within me.  If I had a gun I would have killed that drunk mother fucker who ran me over.  Being somebody who has had his fair share of being “high” as they call it, I was as high as I’ve ever been and I now REALLY know how people kill one another in crimes of passion.  It is not nice to know that getting into such a passionate situation with the appropriate tools handy would land me in jail for the rest of my life.  The terror that came about in me emerged from a vision of a past face while I was encountering the pavement and the possibility of dying.  I was within a few different worlds.  The vision was of a man’s face that had jumped off a building I lived at in the mission district of San Francisco.  He slit his wrists in his first-floor apartment, bloodied his way up the three flights of stairs, and jumped off the roof committing suicide.  I was on the sidewalk below and heard him scream as he flew to the ground.  I looked over and saw the very end of his initial impact and then a total adrenaline surge as he instantly picked up his mangled body, looked at me, and then blood spurted out of his forehead as he collapsed.  I was the last person he looked at.  His gaze was one of loneliness and I see his face in dreams now and then, during moments of loneliness, and near death experiences like that with the motorcycle.

 

I can’t even remember his name but I think it was Steve.  I cleaned up his blood in the hallways because no one else would as we had a landlord who didn’t care about his building, and most other people will just step over such things as blood and go about their day.  I have kept the scrubber ever since as at different times I physically have not been able to throw it away.  There is a connection I feel with Steve.  I have tried to admire him over the years as a way of finding acceptance and a reason in myself for why he did what he did, but I feel that has in a way brought me closer to his world; his death world that he chose to go into.  His last lonely gaze makes me feel like he just wanted a connection and a friend.  I don’t like that I think about him when I do.  I try to avoid him.  I don’t really try to communicate with him but by thinking about him, and him penetrating into me in vulnerable moments, I feel like he insecurely wants me to join him.  I have never had suicide or death tendencies in my life before Steve.  Now I do whether it is brought on by moments of depression or moments of curiosity.  As years have passed and I’ve learned to navigate different portals of energy and different realms of existence his influence has grown.  Not in a corrupt way but just in a casual way.  Just in a way where somebody’s presences gradually grows.  You hang out with people and think about them and very slowly they become a part of you.  I give a lot to people and experiences and harbor a deep sense of connection that can often overwhelm me and leave me depleted.  I have a hard time saying no and a hard time withholding my energy from others.  I have a hard time not being intrigued and acting in ways I deem “helpful” in what I see happening in people.  I have a hard time moving on from energy and not allowing the energy of others to completely penetrate me.  I have a hard time not taking on people’s plights.

 

Steve is not of this physical world anymore and many walls have been built up by me to keep him out.  His influence has possibly made me a less open person and less receiving of others.  I can’t see him but I can feel him and it unknowingly has taken a lot of energy to keep him out and inevitably he is of another mysterious world and has learned to keep at it to influence me more.  I chose to now have a conversation with him to see what he wants and how we can find peace and how he can let me go.

 

RYAN:

Steve, I know you are there?  I feel powerless in this relationship with you?

 

STEVE:

You looked me in the eyes before I died.  You were the last person I met.  We shared one of the most intimate moments of my life.  I don’t feel lonely with you.

 

RYAN:

So are you just going to haunt me forever?  When I’m weak?  When I encounter death?  You’re slowly winning and I don’t give consent to this kind of relationship.  I don’t want to carry you with me forever.

 

STEVE:

I will always be with you Ryan and I’m upset you haven’t acknowledged me.  It is not a haunting but rather just a connection.  This is our first conversation and it’s been over seven years?  How do you think I feel?  We shared an intimate moment together and I see similarities in me that I see in you as I’ve been with you over these years.

 

RYAN:

Well fuck man!  You see similarities in me so that means you just loom around gazing into me at opportune moments?  How does that work?  It gets tiring to confront.  It comes across as selfish and like you’re just some scary ghost that’s influencing me.  I don’t want to make the same decisions as you.  I don’t want to join you on your quest.  Why are forcing me to do this?

 

STEVE:

I’m not forcing you to do anything.  I’m simply just witnessing your own pain with loneliness and self-worth and wanting to be seen and am hoping to lead you to a better place.  I couldn’t ever come to peace with those things.  Death is so much better.  I’m not in pain anymore.  I can’t be seen or unseen or feel like I’m disappointing or not worthy with my life compared to others.  It’s just my mind.  It’s so easy to be content.  I can be nowhere and anywhere at the same time.  There is nothing to accomplish or fail at.  I can’t commit suicide anymore.  I achieved success and I follow you around to give you spiritual guidance into a possibility in life.

 

RYAN:

You couldn’t have made those changes while you were living in your physical body?  What in your physical body was keeping you from feeling this way in your mental one?  What makes you think I want your guidance?  I don’t want to be influenced to be dead.  It will come for me but why would I hurry up to get there when I will inevitably get there someday anyway?  And death is better to you so what makes you think it will be better for me?

 

STEVE:

If you were with me, you would know.  The physical body is a hurdle to enlightenment.  It blocks us all too easily in achieving inner peace.  Our senses can lead us astray and now the only sense I have is my mind and it is so peaceful to not have a physical body.  I know you can relate as this kind of pain is inside of you.  I know how you judge yourself, pity yourself, talk to yourself.  You put a lot of pressure on yourself.  The relationships you have overwhelm you and mostly are not reciprocated back to you, or at least not in a way you accept.  You used to think of yourself as standing out as an individual who got recognized but certain glories have passed and now if you died nobody besides your family and friends would care for but a little bit.  Is that really worth it?  Why not take on something bigger?  Consider death as an evolutionary step.

 

RYAN:

I don’t know if it’s worth it but I need to be able to make this decision for myself.  I feel like you’re raping me with this.  Instead of date rape this is death rape!

 

STEVE:

You want me around Ryan even though you say it’s rape.  You give consent to the action and thought process but then get upset by the potential realities of it.  It’s your rebel against authority that is making you say such things in this moment, or the fact that you might share this with your writing sites and that you need to not freak people out or look good.  I am not an authority you need to stand against.  I’m just a pathway presenting itself.  Don’t let your sense of image in front of others cloud your judgement for when you are alone which is where you want to be most of the time.  There is a comfortableness and glow you get from being alone.  Most people only care about their own lives and it’s depleting for you to encounter.  Your anger at an ego led world brings you to such conversations in your head and with me about my lifestyle.  You get bored no matter what you do and ultimately this creates failure in you.  You want to feel like you’re contributing or leading to something so bad but in a world that only judges such successes and failures in a very specific way it is hard to compete with.  The vile competitor in you is exhausted.  Where I’m at there is no such thing as boredom or failure or competition or control.  Things just are what they are and we are just the experience of our own minds and spiritual navigations.  It is quite a rich and empowering existence.

 

RYAN:

It’s not that I grow tired of most people or that I’m bored, it’s just that I expect my life to be awesome and led by freedom and choice and meaning.  It can easily get relative and then what we used to aspire for, we grow normalized with and then we want more, or just something new.  “What am I not experiencing and how can it be better” is often on my mind.  I often have a hard time with ambivalence and wondering about the next thing, but that is a driving force within me, and I guess I’ve just learned to accept that for who I am.  I’d like to think that I’m more than just a competitor who is driven by corrupt authority.  I have learned new ways to deal with this aura within me.  Sportsball competition was mostly what I was raised with and I’m learning to channel that energy into other things.  I made a declaration to achieve this years ago leaving professional sports.  It is hard to live in a world that so easily puts people into boxes and I continually try to disconnect from it, or hopefully learn to weave in and out of it without it harming or judging me.  It does seep in deep at times, though.  You can’t help but compare yourself to commercials or succumb to people yelling at you to be better or people yelling at you with their ego or the whole world coming at you in a way where their existence is tied to controlling you into their own little whims and desires.  You are right Steve, it is EXHAUSTING and it’s easy to get bored with human endeavors overall and their supposed meaning.

 

STEVE:

Your driving force has led you closer to me.  You are not happy with the person that you are or else you wouldn’t be talking to me.  You wouldn’t be wondering and thinking about me so much cause you know that I represented a way out of all of that.  And that’s what you’ve admired over the year.

 

RYAN:

I tried to admire you cause I didn’t know how else to process your suicide.  You jumped off a roof and almost landed on me.  I couldn’t help but think you were a selfish ass for doing what you did.  Choosing admiration was the only thing that made sense and not being able to process it with you or with anyone else has made it heavy for me over the years.  The weight of your decision and unhappiness has made me feel curious about your way out.

 

STEVE:

You have an infatuation with that you almost died.  There is a part of you that wishes you did just to experience it, just to wonder about the mystery of what I undertook.  You admire people who do bold, eccentric, confident moves with their life and who really stand up with who they are.  You don’t think I was confident when I jumped?

 

RYAN:

I think you were scared and needing to end some momentary pain you were feeling.  I feel you and I are not really that different.  We both feel how we feel and you decided to make another decision in a certain moment.  I think emotions can pass and we can get to a different place if we can be patient.  Yes, I admire that you did something about it but I don’t admire it at the same time.  We are all symbolically falling off that roof that you jumped off and it’s painful and people judge us, we judge ourselves, and we hurt others, and others hurt us, but that doesn’t mean that ying doesn’t need yang or vice versa.  There are parts of us that come out in moments and life is overall painful.  You look stupid most of the time, especially if you decide to engage.  You copped out of that.  I love you for making the decision you had to make but it’s not the end all be all and you’re no more right about being alive or dead than what anybody else believes on the matter.

 

STEVE:
It’s funny to argue with someone still in the physical world.  There is no arguing where I’m at.  It just is and everyone knows it.  When will you figure out that you’re wasting your time?

 

RYAN:

How do you know Steve that you’re not wasting your time still?  How do you know that you’ve reached perfection?  Oh what, cause you’re somewhere where nobody argues anymore?  Isn’t there still death in some form where you’re at?  Don’t you think you’ll still experience pain and loneliness on some level?  You’ll just be whatever you are forever now and that’s just that.  Doesn’t that seem a bit boring as well?

 

STEVE:

Ha!  Pain and loneliness.  Not exactly, but perhaps there is another form of life awaiting me somewhere after this.  I am still an infant with only being here for 8 years.  I just find it hard that you wouldn’t want to join me?  We shared such an intimate moment.

 

RYAN:

Steve, well apparently, there is still loathing and friendship and ego where you’re at.  I am not saying I don’t want to join you but I don’t want to join you in your current manifestation yet.  What can I do to make you give me a break and not haunt me with your influence?  You’re just making me more unhappy in my current existence all trying to get me to join you and all, and you’re right, I won’t go along with what I perceive to be corrupt authority ever and that will never make me join you.  If you’re going to be around in your eternity life where there is no death or whatever then won’t I join you at some point anyway?

 

STEVE:

Fair enough, Ryan.  Well how about you just don’t ignore me in your current life.  When you don’t acknowledge what we shared together or that we are similar in our thoughts and lifestyles and connections then it makes me feel like you are unhappy and selling yourself short.  I’m only around within you because you think such things and have a lot in you that I had, and of course, I am going to try and offer you a way out.  What are spirit friends for anyway?

 

RYAN:

Ha!  We are friends now are we?!  Just kidding, yes, I promise to not ignore you or ignore our experiences together.  Just don’t freak me out when I’m already freaking out, like when I’m flying through the air and scraping on the pavement from a motorcycle accident.

 

STEVE:

Yes!  I almost got you on that one!

 

RYAN:

Har har!  I suppose so but I don’t want to see your blood squirting forehead face anymore in my dreams or trying to convince me of ways to improve my life.  Let me live my life.  Let me live my life in a way where even if there’s blackness and nothingness at the end of it I still choose to be a positive minded Nilist.  I want to be in control of my own life (or at least given the impression that I’m in control).  I want to stand up for myself and I want to control what I have control over.  I don’t want to live in lonely fear.  I don’t want to be thinking of a way out.  I don’t want to be stuck in normalized cultural trances of acceptance and sense of worth and judgment.  I need to engage and confront things in honest, authentic, and more calm than not ways.  I need to face my life and know that I’m living it and trying the best I can with the energy and motivation that I have and that’s good enough.

 

STEVE:

Well if you really want to think like that then you don’t have to ask me to be gone, I will just be gone but I will come back to say hello and please say hello back.  Don’t be afraid of my presence.  Walk with me.

 

RYAN:

Yes, Steve, I will.  I love you and ultimately love everything about this communication.  Now go and give me some slack for a bit and make up for lost time.

 

STEVE:

I love you too Ryan.  We all make decisions in our many lives and there really is no way to tell which is right or not, or if that really means anything.  We think we know based on what other people’s perceptions and judgements are but it has much more to do with other things than that.  Don’t get stuck on silly details of perception or attachments or social norm achievements.  That’s what will make you feel like you are worthless and alone in the end.  More will always be demanded of you and the revolving cycle of not feeling good enough will keep showing up at your door if you entertain such societal demands and expectations.  Every person is much greater than that and it’s okay for everyone to go through their own process.  Oh and also minimize facebook and staring at screens all the time.  That’s an easy one nobody does.  Be in your present moment most of the time.

 

RYAN:

Haha, okay Steve.  Thank you so much for this and thank you for the influence you’ve had in my life.  Good bye for now.

 

STEVE:

Good bye Ryan.  Take care of yourself and give the apartment a hello for me when you ever walk past it.

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The Shortcomings of Liberals, Identity Politics, and Intersectionality

23 05 2017

The full essay can be viewed here at https://patmosley.blog/2017/05/14/un-identity-climbing-down-the-other-side-of-peak-liberalism/.  Below is a one page summation.  

 

I’ve gone through my own personal experimentation with liberalism’s identity-centered calling cards. When you’re trans, Queer, disabled, breaking free of public school indoctrination, and just beginning to understand class relations in the world around you, liberal identity politics offer power–the power to demand attention, to shut down conversation, to center yourself, and to be untouchable in your politics, along the same identity criminal code used to reduce Obama’s critics to “racists,” and Clinton’s to “sexists.”

 

How long must we ignore the plight of us all exploited in this global cancer called capitalism before we name the failures of liberal politics and try something different instead? It is not enough to simply outgrow these politics and hope others do as well. If leftists are to engage with liberals, we must be willing to name and challenge the toxicity, absurdity, and de-radical nature of their politics.

 

Essentially, white privilege works to create a false consciousness of superiority in difference, dissuading “white” workers from working class unity. Today it seems likewise accurate to observe that “white privilege” shuts down dialogue of antiracist or other identity sectarian movements including or even working with white-passing and some mixed race folks.

 

Intersectionality failed to do more than congratulate a scholarly activist class on doing their assigned readings. And the more structural-leaning liberal side failed to offer any social change whose parameters are not dictated at the end of the day by capitalist conformity and use to the empire. Normalization and assimilation are preferred.

 

So where geography or economic liberty make it impossible for one to contribute to their own liberation in this way, the movement is paralyzed between one side demanding that the marginalized lead and the other pushing for neoliberal concessions. Any work towards solidarity or on issues that de-center whatever identity class(es) is en vogue are promptly dismissed as de facto prioritization of the over-privileged, and a re-centering oncis feelings, her feelings, white feelings, etc.

 

What is anyone to do? Answer: no one knows. If you don’t show up to every poorly planned collegiate protest, your silence is violence. If you show up and dare to speak to the media or any of the other attendees scowling at you from a safe space away, your privilege is showing. Privilege is critical. We’re supposed to be analyzing it, coming to terms with it, learning about it, really, really thinking especially about it.

 

We’re supposed to be more inclusive, but not in a way that demographically restructures the leadership of our group specifically to be inclusive, because that’s tokenizing. We need to be in community with marginalized groups, but not in a way that seems like we’re eager to work with them just to be in community with them.

 

That liberal identity politics and call-out culture both focus on disproportionate treatment rather than structural oppression exposes the policing and reformism at their root. Call-out culture mirrors the cultural of criminal punishment it has not yet escaped from.

 

Focusing our ire on people who receive privilege instead of people who dole it out is a losing strategy for ending oppression.

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