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"Should I try 'shrooms?" | and other slightly more eloquent thoughts on why i decided to... {pt. 1}

Altered states of consciousness and higher levels of awareness are one of the most primal pursuits of humankind.

Yet, despite my excessive amounts of studying human behaviour and the brain, I may be fairly late to this game..... I've never done 'drugs'.

I was in my early 20's the first time I felt safe and comfortable enough in my social surroundings to even experiment with alcohol.

In some strange (though largely explained by my fear) unfolding, I was never drawn to altered states of consciousness. I attended raves bone-sober, and - if I'm being perfectly honest - I judged the shit out of people who 'used'. I always felt like I was somehow morally superior to my substance-indulging circles.

It wasn't until I began healing from the darkest throes of my postpartum nightmare that I was even remotely open to microdosing. A therapist suggested I consult with a cannabis clinic on prescription THC to get a stronger handle on PTSD symptoms as triggered by sleep deprivation and - well - parenting. Even then, at 37 years old, with a clear-as-day prescription from a medical doctor for medicinal marijuana, I still felt I was doing something 'bad'. And therein lies the entire crux of the argument - how mature, educated, informed exploration of our consciousness has been vilified and misrepresented to paint a monochromatic picture of loose-moraled young'uns getting high and smashing stuff.

During that short microdosing-with-cannabis stint I followed my doctor's orders to a T - until the one evening that three of us adults were parenting two tiny toddlers - we were trading off roles cooking dinner, playing with Lego, enjoying each others' company - and I (*gasp*) decided to use outside of heart palpitations and cold sweats. What I experienced that night was a lighter, more expanded, fully embodied clarity. Things felt easier and more enjoyable. Mind you, I was in the company of seasoned cannabis consumers so I'm positive the evening doesn't even ring a bell for them at this point - but it was a first for me... to feel that kind of levity and softness. It ... was.... nice.

Fast forward a few months and we left Poland, thus leaving my prescription and related paraphernalia behind. While my partner uses CBD to manage his epilepsy and procured what he needed upon arrival in Mexico, I've found myself in a place where my own PTSD has been remarkably easier to manage and I haven't felt the need to partake. That, and I was busy navigating uncharted paths like lucid dreaming.

From the moment I arrived on the Mayan coast I feel like I've been sucked into a vortex of the most powerful, symbolic, without-a-doubt channeled dreams. Night-after-night they've left me reeling with interpretation - and often - exhausted. A new portal of consciousness was opening to me and I had no choice but to study lucid dreaming, varying brain wave levels, imagery, and dream symbolism. I was in a crash-course consciousness masterclass whether I wanted to be or not.

And something else I couldn't ignore here? plant medicine; it's everywhere. Ayahuasca, kambo, rapé, psilocybin - retreats, sources, circles, sessions. In Mexico, many (if not most) people I've met integrate plant medicine into their healing path. Once again, my approach was a hard no. I mean... toxic frog secretions or vomiting violently from ayahuasca? no thanks. - but then there's people I know and love who've done ayahuasca anywhere from once to 400 times. There are retreats listed here daily that involve multiple plant journeys daily. - so which rhetoric am I buying into? The one that's fear-driven? or heart-led?

"Until the medicine calls to you, it's not your time." - any time I openly objected to the integration, I was met with this gentle-hearted response. "When you're ready, you'll know. And until then, you're not."

Unlike in my adolescent years, there was no pressure to participate - actually the exact opposite.

I don't remember the exact moment my hard no became a cautiously curious maybe - but it involved this amazing Canadian girl whose openness to mushrooms and full-bodied approach to life was intriguing and undeniable. She was so casual about her recreational use - entirely without apology. Wildly successful in her professional pursuits, playful and lighthearted despite the heavy circumstances that surround all of ours recent displacements. She was a beautifully innocent link between my hard-walled "no-drug" world and a momentary spark of interest in exploration. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, I began to wonder what plants might be meant to teach me.

Were mushrooms meant to be my next teacher?

Naturally, as any science-minded control-freak would do, I dove into devouring all the research I could find: books, articles, case studies. The positive psychological effects of microdosing psilocybin on seratonergic neural systems are impossible to miss - or deny. I consumed as much information as I could - both as a therapist and as a girl on her own healing path still. My ex-tech mind walked me down a path of cost-benefit analysis, which left me with a glaringly obvious 'no-reason-not-to'.

I studied doses, imperceptible vs. perceptible limits, immersed myself in q+a conversations with those who've used mushrooms on their own healing path. Ultimately, it was meeting the powerful soul who acted as source - the man whose own mushroom experiences began innocently as a child in the Mexican mountains eating mushrooms in the wild with his friends - 8, 9, 10 years old - that I felt fully convinced and entirely open to the journey this particular medicine was meant to take me upon. After a brief chat exchange he and I met, he handed me a meticulously-measured jar of home-grown mckennai mushrooms. I looked at my phone as I walked away... numbers repeated across my screen and continued to appear that way throughout the evening. I knew I had made the right choice to try. Now, I needed to plot out the path I would take...

{ continued in pt. 2... }

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