As I shared in my precursor blog to this one, I've heard about microdosing psychedelics for years - and the extensive literature available on the neuroscience of psilocybin suggests an overwhelming boatload of benefits for neurochemical wellness with very little (if any) side effects. It's imperative to note that every/body is different. As powerful as psilocybin can be at having positive effect on the mental wellbeing of one person does not mean it's the right solution for someone else. The decision to microdose and/or experiment with psychedelic journeying or any kind of plant medicine is a deeply personal one that needs to be made intuitively and based upon personally-done research and consultation with the medical caregiver(s) you most deeply trust.
With that disclaimer aside, I share my story.
As I mentioned, I've been studying microdosing in theory for a while - with the intention of incorporating it into my clients' healing journeys. It didn't feel aligned, however, to be working plant medicine into my work without stepping upon the journey myself. For a long time, plants as teachers simply didn't speak to me. And therein lies lesson #1 - if it's not something you're led to do, on a gut-knowing, bone-deep level - then it's not for you right now.
As it turns out, largely unexpectedly, it was a path I was ready and open to walk.
Here were the basics I felt most informed by and equipped with:
- your dose (of psilocybin) dictates your experience. Every body is different but on average, 3-3.5 grams is the typical recreational dose and begets the desired strong hallucinogenic state. For the adventurers, 4.5-5 grams is known as 'the hero's dose'.
- Microdosing, though, is usually about 1/10 of your "trip" dose (so anywhere from 0.25 to 0.5grams taken across a variety of schedules depending on your desired effects) and can be done in a myriad of ways: a few days on, a few days off or every second day, etc. It's recommended to start low and slow, note how you feel/respond, and tweak accordingly.
- it is impossible to overdose on psilocybin, nor are there any physically addictive properties.
- psilocybin is believed to offer many of its users relief from physical pain. When I asked my source for more details, his response was pretty powerful: "We shouldn't be seeking relief from pain. Pain is a guidepost. It's an important message from our body. What we should be seeking to alleviate is suffering as a result of pain." - go down this rabbithole as it feels right for you. As for me, it was exactly the message I needed to hear.
When I asked him - "Is the hallucinogenic experience frightening?" he responded with another powerful nugget of wisdom- "What do you get when you squeeze an orange? Orange juice, right? You can't get apple juice or milk. What's inside of you is what will come out." - If you're experiencing dark, frightening visions during your journey, rest assured they aren't being created by the active chemical compounds of mushrooms.... psilocybin interacts with serotonin, your body's happy chemical - anything that comes up that feels menacing or dark is coming up to be processed and reflected upon - it shouldn't be tempered or muted, rather it is coming up in a demand to be felt, honoured, processed, and released.
I overcame my own first-timer anxieties by lovingly planning out the details of our journey (though, as it turns out, most of them didn't go as planned). I'll outline below, but essentially I prepared a mixture of mushroom powder to be mixed in with cacao and on the second morning of our mountain reset we would walk our path. That morning, I woke up before the sun came up - but the sky was already beginning to turn from black to dark, smokey grey. It was a welcome, restful, beautiful night's sleep - and I stepped outside into the chilly mountain air just in time to see the surreal juxtaposition of the crescent moon against the background of the sunrise. I knew it was the perfect morning for this experience.
We prayed over our cacao. Less God'y and Lord'y, more intention setting and conscious opening to the process. We shared any insecurities we felt and made contingencies and plans for 'what might happen'. I mean, when you're going into something like this completely blind you have no idea how it'll feel or how it'll go. We didn't know if we'd suddenly be taken by some overwhelming desire to fly and the un-banistered rooftop terrace could pose a threat. - it's funny, looking back, how very wrong we were about how it would all unfold.
Everything about that morning was a fairytale. Gentle nerves but full trust. Loving preparation. Gratitude for the opportunity to experience something (allegedly?) so profound in such a powerful geographic place. I mean, truth be told, that was ultimately the word that set the stage for this entire experience: gratitude. gratitude. gratitude.
Gratitude to the two adults who stayed behind in Playa to take care of our two tiny humans so that we could be here. Gratitude to the deeply trusted Canadian expat who gave us the source connection for the mushrooms we were about to take. Gratitude to the deeply trusted source who shared his 'craft' with us intentionally, openly, consciously. Who stood with us and shared information, history, truth as he sees it. No secrecy. No shame. No bullshit. Straight up, "This is sacred and I'm honoured to share it with you." Nothing sketchy. Nothing uncomfortable. Just full-blown, open-hearted, soul-shaking gratitude.
The setting could not have been more magical. We decided we would journey beside each other but separate from one another. My mindset was crystal-clear and my heart was open and ready.
As morning mountain air is breezy and crisp, I nestled under our host's oversized duvet comforters and a heavy, handwoven mexican blanket.
0746: grounded, weighted, and warm.
With my Remarkable notebook on my lap and my mushroom cacao in the other, I effortlessly sunk into the moment and surrendered to the path.
0750 - You know, it's funny.. I had everything planned out. Originally I was planning on making mushroom chocolates. I bought cute robot-shaped moulds (little robots are appropriate for psychedelic chocolate, right? - I measured out the grams, the doses, the calculations, the details. I planned to be in perfect control - the way I've always preferred to remain. --------- I N C O R R E C T. The actual result was that the chocolate I melted and mixed wouldn't firm up again. The result was sticky, messy, and stressful, but not thwarted plans could penetrate my inner stillness and contentment.
0754 - The last time I'm going to check my phone. Enough photos. Enough control.
I turned exclusively to my Remarkable - the one a client of mine recommended to me when she saw how much paper I was blowing through in my gorgeous, filligree-designed hard-cover PaperBlanks books. Yes, they were stunning, but no - they weren't practical. Instead now, my sleek journal tablet + its proprietary pen + my thoughts. Nothing more.
I was slightly annoyed.... when I created the new notebook for documenting this journey, aptly titled "This Morning", I accidentally selected for the pages to be lined. I NEVER use lined pages (my unruly, sprawly handwriting as the culprit) - so I largely ignored the lines and wrote as I felt... messy AF but okay with it.
Somewhere around 0800 - I'm thoroughly relaxed. I realize now how unbelievably important it is to enter this state of total relaxation REGULARLY. Full-bodied, expansive, total relaxation and regulation is MEDICINE.
In the early minutes (it takes about 20 minutes for digestion to begin) I felt heady a few times. Momentary lapses of a definitive change in bloodflow in my brain. I began pondering the shape, orientation, and proportions of the mountains to my right.
Suddenly I looked out into the distance and realized, "My pupils must have dilated." (this is one of the first effects).
I can specifically pick out every single shade of green on every leaf of every tree in front of me.
I guess this is the beginning of the beginning? The beginning of being 'all in' for the next few hours? Should I buckle up?
Mmmm. The expansive horizon began to draw me into itself. The shades of green. The edges of the mountains looming ahead of me. I felt like I could see forever, and see everything. It was powerful and beautiful. I was sucked into the distance and it felt like it was an arm's length away.
I closed my eyes and the "screen" of the inside of my eyelids feels 'closer' than normal. Not the typical "blackness" when I close my eyes at any given moment. I feel closer to my ... Self? I'm still fully enraptured in the attunement of my eyes to detail... colours, textures, movement in my periphery. All of it is sharper, clearer, deliciously and beautifully perfect in its natural state.
As I began to write out my sensations, I was BLOWN AWAY by what I saw.... suddenly, in one split second, that unruly sprawly handwriting from the lines before had turned into TYPEWRITER-caliber fine print. Holy shit. I even turned my notebook to show Anna. "WHAT IS GOING ON?!" - "Oh yeah," she responded. "This changes the brain. 100%."
There it was, clear-as-day, my handwriting in perfectly aligned, structured format. Effortlessly, I was writing neatly and with perfect balance. It felt like my brain had been struck by the tines of a tuning fork.
This is what I reflected:
The body needs to begin wholly relaxed
Honour the taste... taste comes first. How to sacredly, and intentionally, deliver the experience you seek.
Oh my goodness. I can smell the AIR!
I had arrived in a state of complete, subliminal relaxation. The vista before me just got more and more beautiful. The treetops became plushier and boasted more perceptible shades of green. I was completely enthralled in what I saw. Conscious, awake, aware, and bursting at the seams with gratitude.
"My brain is functioning entirely different." she commented. "As if it's suddenly turned on."
I began to reflect on the power, magnitude, and propensity of the natural landscape before me. Over time, you can change what an organism looks to for survival: neon lights and yellow M's have replaced shades of natural greens and rustling in the leaves.
I was completely present. Wholly defogged.
Still in awe over my picture-perfect handwriting. At first I'd been annoyed with myself for opening the notebook with lines, yet without them I don't know that I would have recognized this undeniable "calibration" that took place on a subconscious neural level.
I found myself visually fascinated by everything around me. Even the reflection of my hand on the Remarkable screen at exactly the angle at which I was writing and the sun was shining... gentle hints of rainbow hues. The mushrooms? Maybe. Who cares. It was beautiful. I would close my eyes and it felt like the screen had been removed between myself and the outside world.... like I was entirely immersed in what I had just seen and there was no more filter between me and it. All of it. It was me.
Not knowing how psilocybin acts on memory centers, and knowing how alcohol effectively erases most of its experience, I wrote it all down so I wouldn't forget.
Oh... and also, "No MAYBE." - it is, or it isn't. "Maybe I saw gentle rainbow hues." - What good does it do to doubt myself? To give myself the safety of an out in case someone has an opinion that differs from mine? Fuxk maybe. Is it yes, or no? And so it is. The End.
I closed my eyes. The colour of the screen of the inside of my mind took on an orange hue.
I felt the slightest hint of a body buzz, which could have been a proxy for ultimate, total relaxation. I felt grounded and weighty. Sunk into the surface beneath me. Perfectly thermoregulated. Present.
3. Sound. Every sound began to sound perfectly entangled and segregated at the same time. The cat, the birds, the chainsaw in the distance.
Sound became the next yummy, deliciously sensual input that I felt I could play with like sparkle slime oozing effortlessly between my fingers.
I closed my eyes and my first glimpse of "psychedelic" patterns appeared... the screen of the inside of my mind took on this gentle yellow/green kaleidoscope geometric pattern. I was fascinated with the inside of my own thoughts. Anna was right. The brain is different.. as though it's been asleep this whole time and suddenly I woke it up. Like scraping the scales off a clogged showerhead and suddenly the water flows out wholly the way it was always intended to.
Was I tired? was I relaxed? and do we live our lives confusing the two? We glorify being tired and look down upon prioritizing relaxation. That doesn't make any sense?!
Full. Conscious. Awareness. I could turn on/off my "trip" like a TV show. If I wanted to be in it I would simply step away from conscious analysis and back into the journey. When I wanted to be present and aware I simply indulged in the heightened senses I was enveloped in. Nothing menacing. nothing dark.
Both of us coughed a bit... weirdly at the same time... a bit of being cold, some body chills.
It felt like a fairytale - sitting on that porch, staring off into the distance, surrounded by trees that were host to dozens of hummingbirds and butterflies.
Anna has been obsessed with hummingbirds since arriving in Mexico. "They're 2 grams!" she exclaimed. "That's how much mushroom we consumed!"
Everything is sharper.
I began to reflect upon myself. "Why did I start writing? like, in this life. What was I trying to accomplish? to feel?" - the answer came pretty clearly. "Writing gives me the same temporary tuning-fork effect on my emotions."
Probably 1-1.5 hours into our journey and I was retaining full conscious acuity. I could have gone about my day if I so chose. I felt this incredible, laser-focused mental precision. What was that rumour about Alice In Wonderland being written while high on mushrooms? NO FUXKING KIDDING.
I couldn't have chosen a more incredible location to experience this.
I could smell the air.
Maybe this is how others experience life all the time? Different layers of sensitivity to stimuli?
I could feel myself peeling apart layers of the temperature. I've never felt cool breeze, seemingly atom by atom, molecule by molecule, across the skin of my face. Total sensual and perceptive subliminal bliss.
The SOUNDS! Each individual but perfectly orchestrated with one another. Banging, raking, a truck rolling in the distance (and momentarily bringing my heard back to Canada and its Freedom Convoy).
Full nature immersion. Full sensorial reset.
To experience that kind of relaxation you've been tricked into believing can only be described as 'tired' - and you should feel guilty for. What a mindfuxk.
An intejecting thought about Anna's courage... "She felt the fear and did it anyways." - taking a moment to acknowledge her growth, courage, and evolution since meeting me.
Back to myself.... it's like immersing myself in a perfectly hot, dream-like, exquisitely amazing bath. You know you can't stay in it forever but it can become part of a beautiful ritual you return to regularly.
RITUAL. - in everyday life. <-- I knew I needed to reflect on this later.
Randomly Anna giggled out loud. I wait until she shares what she's feeling - she's in another place and she laughs out loud.. the levity and childlike joy emanating from her is a whole other gorgeous experience. She laughs again, closes her eyes and announces, "No, no. Wait. haha - I'm going back!" - and she returns to the playground inside her mind. Her announcement nudges me to step out of my thinking-brain and back into my own inner journey.
She was right. The geometric patterns, the kaleidoscope of colours, the rainbow waves. They are SO fuxking mesmerizing to stare at. And.. my MIND created this?!
I see a dragonfly. And a little garden gnome. There's a thinning veil between that and me. I become the mirror.
"Wait! Wait! I'm going back!" - her childlike capricious joy is infectious.
I see a lion. Then a chameleon. Yup, okay.. this is a "trip". And it's so damn STUNNING you literally don't want to pull your perception away for a second. Sounds bring me back and I open my eyes. When I do, I'm fully here. Fully conscious. Fully aware. The journey you want, though, is the one that happens when you close your eyes.
"Wait! Wait! I want to go back!"
I look over a few minutes later and Anna is crying. She's happy. There are hummingbirds all around us (actually!)
"What power." she announces. "What a tool to tap into. And the second I try to give it words, words transform it into something else."
With my eyes open I perceived the ways the clouds cast shadows on various shapes of the mountains - a detail I don't think I would ever have perceived before. The portal is total oneness with nature. No neon signs, no McDonalds logos. Full nature immersion. I closed my eyes and the edges of everything I saw on my fading optic screen was sparkling.
Suddenly it's crystal-clear to me why drugs had to be vilified. If the pursuit is for status, money, and power (patriarchy, capitalism, consumerism) - why on earth would you want anyone to be aware of how infinitely beautiful and powerful their mind is?!?
"Words take away from its magic."
I closed my eyed and felt darkness. Uh-oh. What's this? I observed curiously. The darkness turned into galaxies. The same galaxies I saw in her the moment I realized I felt something deeper for her than just my personal trainer rehabilitating my knees that random summer in Krakow. Same galaxies. In me.
This woman is an extension of my very awareness.
We momentarily "return to language". All the magic is lost in the words we force to describe it. Like silence, the magic is lost when you speak to it.
I open my eyes and I'm grounded. I close my eyes and I'm dancing. Surrounded by hummingbirds and butterflies.
"There are so many layers to the brain.. and this opens all of them." she reflects.
I close my eyes and I see an owl... morphing from its natural, witchy-woodsy form to an Egyptian hieroglyph. A LOT of Egyptian imagery appears for me.
What an incredibly powerful TOOL. The very moment you close your eyes you're transported through a portal to something, somewhere else.
She "comes out" for a moment and stands up, getting a feel for her body again. "What even is a body?" she laughs. "A body is way too little! This body is a limitation! What even is it doing here? This body restricts us, binds us. This body is a prison!" - powerful reflections from someone who's spent her life working with it.
I close my eyes and feel total translucency to my surroundings. Total oneness.
I wait for the portal, step through it, and observe.
So much Egyptian imagery.. that's weird, right? Then Mayan / Aztec... all ancient. The first Egyptian presence is the dog, then the ankh, then the owl. What am I supposed to learn from this? I know nothing about Ancient-anything.
"What's inside of you is what comes out on a trip."
"Wait! Wait! I want to go back!"
Symbolism of an Egyptian hieroglyph eagle.
"Total connection with oneness." Anna announces. "My body has restricted me all this time. The body is a punishment!"
This feeling, this awareness, this connection - it's so accessible yet it's been so vilified. I'm filled to the brim with curiousity and fascination.
"It's a REALLY powerful tool."
It makes alcohol so low-brow and cannabis totally unidimensional.
Different pieces of my brain are waking up.
Suddenly I feel this wave of sadness wash over me... I'm missing my mother (who hasn't spoken to me in over six months). I get a craving for a tomato + onion sandwich. Very Polish. Very my-Mom.
Words have no power here. You feel more strongly what you have inside.
Suddenly Anna walks outside with a tomato/onion sandwich for me. My already-hyper-attuned senses are washed over with a flood of memories of my childhood and the mother I miss deeply but can't quite reconnect with.