And So, I Contemplate Everything (On Shrooms)

This Sunday I had one of the most profound experiences of my life. I came the closest to understanding and “oneness” that I ever have. I mean, not that I haven’t sought that out before. I think for the majority of my life I’ve considered myself to be someone seeking, someone philosophizing, someone trying to get closer and closer to their true essence. I plague myself with questions of “Why? How? Okay but why? What does this mean?” Is that the Aquarius in me? The INFJ? The Manifesting-Generator? Whatever it is I’m a curious fucking person. But this experience? This was almost indescribable, but I will try.  For over a year leading up to my last two experiences in 2020, I dove headfirst into knowledge-seeking about other human experiences with Psilocybin, DMT, Ayahuasca, acid, and almost every other kind of psychedelic there is. Psilocybin (the active ingredient in shrooms) resonated deeply with the experience I was looking for so I peeled myself apart as much as I could in the ‘real world’ in preparation for this journey. Before that, I would spend hours reading hundreds of Reddit threads about how people grow mushrooms, the different species, and the best way to prepare the shrooms (in my opinion- tea). I read dozens upon dozens of medical studies about the way psilocybin played off of different diagnoses like depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia which is something I hadn’t done for my previous two trips as a teenager.I’ve had endless conversations with experts and people who regularly take full and microdoses of the magic stuff. At one point I was so obsessed with this knowledge-seeking that I had to take a break so I didn’t try and overthink it. I’m learning I can equip myself with tools but I cannot always control every little thing, at some point I had to release. When I was 17 I got ahold of some shrooms with my degenerate best friend. Our friend’s parents were going out of town so we went to a park and ate shrooms on a swing before walking over to her house and knocking on her door like she wouldn’t notice we were tripping balls. She immediately freaked out and so did our high. We ended up going for a walk and I remember the sunset started stacking like stairs and my friend told me that God was welcoming me to heaven and that I was dying. She told me to call my sister and say goodbye. And I did. I went back to her house and locked myself in her bathroom, the one with paisley red walls and a shower curtain that kept telling me to hang myself. I ended up calling my mom to pick me up and she took me home and I played out the rest of the trip on my bed in the dark.  That didn’t stop me, I went back for more. The second time I tried them my fellow degenerate and I went to the movies to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. We ate the shrooms whole between mouthfuls of fries and I’ll never stop associating Burger King’s bland fries with the smell of cow shit. As the trip got deeper I remember the characters on screen melting into the room and filling the floor with colours. I was so scared I climbed over the seats and remember stepping on someone’s drink before running out of the theatre and gasping at the sharp winter air hitting my lungs. Scents, textures, flavours, noises, and emotions were amplified by a million- for better and worse. The rest of the trip was full of hallucinations and colours, deep moments of becoming one with music, and smoking weed until I slept.  Needless to say, as an adult I was very hesitant to go “there” again and it's what pushed me to go overboard with preparation. In my unbearable instinct to control I wanted to feel comfortable having thought about every single situation and how every timeline could play out. How my diet would affect the trip, what my intentions were, how my environment would affect it, who I was with, how my mental health may change. It’s why I began to challenge my diagnosis of Bipolar and BPD much before the trip.  It’s so bizarre- but not really- that about 4 months ago when I made the definitive choice to seek out a reputable shroom grower and actually purchase them, I had 3 consecutive clients reach out to me who, coincidentally, were on the same journey. I couldn’t believe I had actually attracted other humans to validate my choices in this direct of away. At this time I had never spoken publicly about my relationship with mushrooms because my past experiences kept me in fear of judgement so it was very surreal that these people came into my life. Could someone be a community leader and guide people and also use hallucinogens? Spoiler alert: they’ve actually made me a more creative, insightful, relaxed, aware, patient, and compassionate person, so yes. If you’ve noticed a change in me lately it’s not merely the shrooms, but the combination of harvesting the reward of years of inner work combined with the perfect timing of shroom trips. 2 weeks ago I had my first small trip since I was a teenager. I bought them from a reputable online grower and let them sit in my freezer for almost 2 months before I even opened it. I don’t know what I was scared of- maybe the power of them. I had this fear of letting go of my past self, like a snake shedding its skin too soon and being left raw. Was I really ready? What if I change dramatically? What if I don’t like who I become? So I started small (2 grams). I’m working up to a full trip (5+ grams) with an experienced guide this March, so I’ve been breaking down walls and pushing past myself in preparation. A micro-dose- a term you’ve probably heard if you’re reading this- is about 0.2 grams done twice a week. You don’t feel high, you don’t hallucinate, you’re just more… tuned in to yourself and the universe. Your brain starts to release rigid constructs and patterns like depression and anxiety, you become more creative, and you feel… lighter. So you can imagine what anything above that would be like- true magic. The day I finally went for it I had this overwhelming urge. I just kept hearing my intuition tell me I was ready. Stop being scared. Go for it. So I ground up a gram of shrooms and made myself a cup of tea, as usual, and let them soak. As it steeped I created a playlist of music I wanted to experience, mixes of philosophical speeches from Alan Watts and deep instrumentals that make you feel things inside of your soul. I ran myself a bath full of lavender salts and dried roses, lit candles, drank my tea with gratitude and then sank into the water. At one point there was a very spiritual song playing that had hundreds of frogs. It brought me right back to my childhood. I started writing about a very intrusive memory that always comes up with shame and it made me think about how we usually don’t experience these depths of emotions until we go back into the filing cabinet of our mind and stain the memory with our damaged adult perspectives. Here’s an excerpt from something I wrote in the bath: “I’m brought back to this one memory where I’m in a tie-dye shirt, on some sort of camping land in the ponds looking for frogs. Such a young girl. I absolutely loved catching frogs. I loved them. I loved the challenge. I loved the texture. I loved the observation.  I remember finding this one fat frog who had all this junk hanging off her butt. Slimy gooey junk with black dots in it. I thought it was attacking her, I thought it was a disease. Which is ironic given how I feel about my own childbearing body now.  I walked to land and I wiped it off of her. I made sure every last ounce of goo was off. Clean. Safe. Protected. And I put her back into the water- so proud. I saved her. I have held onto that memory my entire life. The way I just wiped away her purpose. Erased what she had worked all season for. Just because I lacked understanding. Just because I didn’t know what her story was I waltzed in with the answers and destroyed. How often have I done this?” For those who don’t know, those were frog eggs. The mother frog births the eggs in a gooey sac that hangs off her back until she lays them in the water and they evolve into tadpoles in their sacs.  When I learned that as a child I actually felt sick to my stomach. My heart physically hurt inside of my chest and I never went frog hunting again. I had thought I was doing something so noble and brave and yet here I was interfering in a process I had no business being a part of. From that day I learned to observe and respect instead of needing to share a storyline with everything I admired. That is the pain of human existence, we want it all. This trip was also funny because I had done them solo. I escaped into a world inside of my dark bathroom for hours and Zee would periodically open the door to check in on me and I couldn’t really articulate the existential awakening I was going through and he wasn’t really speaking my language anyways. Seeing the aura from the hall backlight his shadow and peer into my world was so surreal and I had fears of losing him in this process.  So I went deeper inside of myself. This was the day I created the picture of the hand coming out of the universe and melting into little drops of human souls. I still can’t articulate or depict the images that went through my mind.  Now, this second trip was something much deeper. Instead of sinking into myself I took out two mugs and made enough for Zee and I. We ran through the same rituals of playlist creation, finding movies to watch, and making sure Capo was taken care of. It was interesting to watch Zee be so open to this process because the man has never put anything in his body besides weed and alcohol. He was in fact -not- the degenerate I was growing up. There was a different vibe on this trip. Instead of him peering into my world we were both holding hands and walking in together, I didn’t feel that fear of loss anymore and was actually excited for us to evolve as one.  We sipped our tea and watched The Planet narrated by David Attenborough and it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever witnessed. We’d watched it over and over in the past but this felt like we were seeing it for the first time. We weren’t witnessing it, we were living it. The scenes where hyenas or lions were looking for dinner almost exploded my soul. The intensity of the moment and the colours on the screen blending into each other gave me those reminiscent feelings of “oneness” I had felt before. I not only rooted for the prey but the predator also. We all gotta eat. At one point there was a scene where orca whales were hunting for penguins and tossing them around in the air before bringing them into the depth of the sea and I looked over at Capo and suddenly started thinking about how he is in his own little world unable to fully communicate with his family- if only I spoke dog. Things really started to hit us and we kept going in separate rooms, having our moment and listening to music with headphones and a blanket over our eyes and then coming back into the room and talking endlessly about the discoveries of ourselves and this universe. Zee is a very self-aware person but I had never seen him go this deeply into himself, it was like he was replaying his entire life over in his head with new eyes. We both agreed that it was the first real day of our lives, the first time we had ever really used our eyes with purpose.  On shrooms you really reflect on how much pressure and energy you spend on living in pain, living out the stories you tell yourself, operating on unconscious programming and how much you care about other people's opinions and how they don't actually matter. It’s like a freedom, a dissolution of illusion, a lifting of the veil. You see things as they are not as you perceive with your limited scope. I kept reflecting on pain. If there was no conflict then how would we experience ourselves? If everyone on earth believed in the same God, the same science, the same ideologies and beliefs than how would we ever brush up against each other and trigger our learning and growth? Conflict and suffering are necessary for peace and liberation. I know that sounds like some wildly privileged shit, but I have not been without trauma and discomfort in my life and I can’t help but be grateful for the depth of experience I’m able to have on this earth. If I never experienced abandonment would I have the depth of yearning and gratitude for a sure love? If I never felt loss, would I hold on to those that I love with such passion? If we didn’t experience adversity, then what is life about? I feel like the universe has fragmented itself into billions of unique and individual timelines called humans and we are here just to witness, to evolve, to destroy. It feels like we’re in a virtual reality and one day we take off the glasses and reincarnate into a different life. Have I lost you yet? Here’s an excerpt from some writing that came through during this trip; “Every move I make. Why am I telling myself that’s the move to make. Even writing here I’m like, ‘Why am I trying to control the words. Why don’t I just let them flow. Why am I so uncomfortable letting things be. Why do I have to control it? Control the experience?’ I feel like shrooms are this key to unlocking a part of ourselves that we stop ourselves from experiencing because of a story we are forced to tell ourselves. On shrooms you start to question the entire human experience, you go from being a confined human in your tangible form. You expand and zoom out and are reminded that you are just the fabric of the world. You are the universe. The physical manifestation of what’s happening is irrelevant. The world is irrelevant. We are all just experiencing the universe- ourselves. It sounds so profoundly bizarre and yet it’s not. A million people have said what I’m saying with a different mixture of words and yet when it’s repeated in the same way we call it plagiarism. How can we plagiarize when we are all one? We are just pieces of the universe competing to be seen and heard and mirroring the best and worst parts of ourselves. Everything is possible and that’s why we are experiencing it all. That is why it keeps going.  Why am I worried about how to present myself to other people, I AM OTHER PEOPLE. I should  be so grateful to witness their existence because they’re me. They’re different parts of me. I choose to engage and relate and share a bubble we call a relationship or I don’t. Either way other people continue on with their lives because that part of us needs to be allowed to experience the depth of life, too. Why do we always try and interfere with another person's experience? Let them be. Let things exist. Imagine how painfully hard the human experience is. The irony. Animals and nature just do. They are. They don’t even know they’re doing it because it’s in their exact nature. They just exist as it comes to them.  We... control and perform and manipulate and dance and create and destroy and philosophize and it’s the most beautiful part of being a human but it’s also our self-made prison. We don’t get to just be. We don’t get to just do and exist we are all pushing up against each other and conforming and surviving. It’s exhausting. It’s a 24/7 experience of wondering what the fuck you’re doing and why you’re doing it instead of just doing it and being it. What if we lived more. What if we experienced moments while they were happening as if we would never get the chance to breathe that air in that place with that person exactly as it is again- so we enjoy it. Absorb it. Coexist with the moment instead of stepping outside of it and playing God. What happened to just being and doing. Is that not lucrative? I was thinking earlier while eating that my soul is the part of me that has that innate spirit. That just exists and does. The human element is when my brain tries to override that innate intuition of ‘knowing’ and conforms to the conditioning of this society. We were watching The Planet and witnessing animals hunt for their food tirelessly every day and it made me reflect on how eating and consuming is such a natural part of the experience of existing but our conditioning and our brain overrides that and tells us to go further. To eat more. To indulge. Our natural self does not indulge, that is man made. To take it a step further and indulge until I feel sick enough to purge is the absolute ultimate embodiment of social conditioning overriding my natural self. My instinct is to be a healthy creature and want longevity. And yet I self-destruct on a daily basis with my thoughts, my actions, my diet, my stagnation and my denial.” Wooooof, I know. When I say your whole life comes before you as if you are your own God at your own pearly gates- I am not being dramatic. Every day we wake up and choose to get out of bed or not, choose to be active or not, choose work or not, choose to love or not, and choose ourselves or not- we are playing God. And yet we feel powerless. We are not fucking powerless, we are the most powerful creatures on this earth despite the mental prisons we reside in.  What if we didn’t spend years concocting the perfect blueprint on how to escape ourselves and instead looked before us each and every single day for the tools we already have and just chipped, chipped, chipped away at the walls. What if we stopped competing with others and competed with ourselves. What if we chipped away until our arm was panging for a break and then we allowed rest instead of waiting for our arm to go numb and needing triple the isolation.  Anyways, I’ve already said too much. I’m looking forward to this journey and absolutely falling in love with the person I’m becoming. There is nothing wrong with following traditional models of healing, but there is something to be said about who built them and how they can stunt our growth. Empower yourself with knowledge and challenge your diagnosis, your relationships, the stories you tell yourself, and how much you self-sabotage because you don’t think you’re worthy.  No other species on earth wakes up contemplating their place on earth or if they are worthy of what comes naturally to them. The very idea of them existing at all is their purpose and their worth. 

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