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Are You Ready for Psychedelic Healing?
6 signs you’re ready for psychedelics, some questions ponder, top resources to get educated
You’ve heard about the healing potential of psychedelics and you’re curious.
You wonder if they could help you.
But you’re scared.
You’ve heard all about bad trips, psychosis, people jumping out of windows thinking they can fly, and all the dangerous side effects of these harmful, forbidden drugs.
Maybe you watched 9 Perfect Strangers and are worried psychedelics will make you addicted, violent, or crazy.
Above all, you’re worried you’ll be worse off than before.
I was there a couple of years ago. And then I took the plunge and, through years of deep, intentional work with psychedelics, turned from a depressed, bulimic, and unfulfilled corporate zombie into a happy, healthy, and joyful human.
Everyone deserves to feel free, so do I, and so do you.
Here are six signs that you’re ready for a psychedelic journey:
You’ve tried a lot of different things, but nothing makes you feel better (in the long run)
You have no idea why you’re feeling the way you do and are frustrated
Or…you have a good idea about what’s going on but feel stuck doing something about it
You’ve educated yourself on psychedelic medicine and non-ordinary states of consciousness
You’re ready to let go of what’s holding you back and begin a new chapter
You don’t feel fearful about going into the depths of your own mind
Read more about each point below.
6 Signs You’re Ready for Psychedelic Healing
#1 You’ve tried a lot of different things, but nothing makes you feel better (in the long run)
I got interested in psychedelics because was I was desperate.
I’d tried talk therapy (with different therapists), worked with several coaches, devoted myself to the path of meditation & yoga, took time off work — but my mental illness always returned.
And every time it did, it was like a slap in the face. Frustration grew into desperation. I thought nothing or no one would ever be able to help me.
Let me tell you now: whatever may be going on, there’s a reason you feel the way you do. It’s valid, and it won’t go away unless you heal it.
Over the past years, I’ve learned about hundreds of journeys from people who overcame lifelong addictions, major depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and PTSD. If you want scientific proof that psychedelics work, just research what MAPS is doing with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.
Psychedelics can help you heal the root causes of your suffering.
They are different than most things you’ll ever try. They’re the most effective tool for root cause healing of mental ailments — whatever the surface level symptoms may be.
#2 You have no idea why you’re feeling the way you do and are frustrated
Perhaps, like me, you’ve reflected plenty on your present and your past and don’t understand why you continue to feel the way you do.
I thought my eating disorder was exclusively the result of dieting and restriction, so I was puzzled that it persisted even when I’d stopped dieting.
But, what had caused me to be prone to dieting and restriction in the first place?
In my case, like many people’s cases, it was childhood trauma that planted the belief that I wasn’t good enough.
If you don’t know why you have the thoughts or compulsions you do, there’s a high likelihood that parts of you are stuck in the past as a result of trauma. These parts may be attempting to protect the more vulnerable, traumatized parts within you that have been “exiled”. Techniques like Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy can help you connect and unburden these parts.
So can psychedelics.
Both are effective, psychedelics are just the shortcut. Getting through the parts that protect you to those that need protecting with talk therapy is tricky.
Psychedelics are the rocketships to healing trauma.
Because they alter your consciousness and take you into a space where it’s safe to connect with your most vulnerable parts. They temporarily lower the walls of your protectors and help you see what’s behind them.
When you consider a psychedelic journey, you need to be ready to visit moments in the past that have hurt you.
If you’re not ready for this, you’re not ready to work with psychedelics.
#3 Or…you have a good idea about what’s going on but feel stuck doing something about it
Perhaps you know what’s causing your mental misery.
But knowing what causes our pain is not the same as healing our pain.
This is partly why talk therapy never helped me much. I could talk about my problems for hours but it wouldn’t change much about my thoughts and behaviors.
“Imagine the mind is a ski slope. Day by day we go down the same path. It’s our default because it’s easy, it’s what we know.”
A psychedelic journey is a reset: it puts a layer of fresh snow on our slopes of mental rigidity and, by covering up existing grooves, allows us to find new ones.
It was only after I re-connected with my inner child during a horrendously difficult Ayahuasca journey, that I had the access to my emotional world. This was the prerequisite to develop coping skills. Suddenly, I was able to identify and label emotions in my day-to-day life in a way I’d never been able to.
Another thing to consider here is a more material perspective: you might be aware of the trauma that has impacted you, and perhaps have even extensively talked about it, but that doesn’t mean you processed it.
Until we process trauma, it will remain stuck in our bodies.
If you have any doubts about this, read this excellent book by psychiatrist Bessel Van Der Kolk with 40,000 five-star Amazon reviews.
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#4 You’ve educated yourself on psychedelic medicine and non-ordinary states of consciousness
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, there is a risk involved with working with psychedelics.
After all, you’re going into the depths of your psyche.
You don’t want to mess with that.
The most important risk mitigation tool is trust.
The sources of trust are twofold: in the medicine and/or in a guide.
In order to trust the medicines, we need to have some level of assurance of its value. The easiest way to get there is to educate yourself on how psychedelics have helped millions of people by reading books and research studies, watching documentaries, or listening to podcasts on the topic. There’s tons of information out there. When we learn how to maximize its value (through “set and setting”), we’ll feel confident.
In order to trust the process, we need to have someone who will guide us through it. If you’re new to psychedelics I cannot overemphasize the importance of a guide. Especially if you’re looking for healing, which relies on higher doses, you’ll want to find someone who can hold space for you. It may be an underground guide or a licensed psychedelic-assisted therapist. Whoever you feel most comfortable with is better than no one.
When you hear about bad trips, it’s usually people who did not have the proper guidance to turn a challenging journey into profound healing. Either because they didn’t educate themselves properly to build trust in the medicine (and know how to navigate it), or they didn’t have someone holding space.
Here are some recommended resources to get started:
Books: here’s a link to my top five book recommendations
Apps: Mindleap to find psychedelic guides and practitioners
#5 You’re ready to let go of what’s holding you back and begin a new chapter
Psychedelics will change your life if you let them.
You’re presented with an abundance of insights and it will be up to you to what extent you act on them. This is what we call psychedelic integration.
Every psychedelic journey is about letting go of something.
You don’t always know what, however. It’s almost unavoidable that they will shift something in you, and often you won’t get to decide what they will shift.
Yes, it’s important to approach your journey with well-thought-out intentions. But oftentimes these medicines will bring up simply what most urgently needs healing — whether it’s what you had in mind or not.
Psychedelics have a tendency to change people’s priorities.
You see the world with different eyes. You may quit your job, end or begin relationships, pick up a meditation habit or other spiritual practice, change your belief systems, move closer to nature, or embark on creative endeavors.
If you’re completely happy with your life and you don’t want anything to change, think twice before embarking on a psychedelic journey.
But if you’re still reading this, that’s probably not you.
When I first began to work with psychedelics, I had nothing to lose. I was mentally at my worst and thought that there was virtually no risk because things couldn’t get any worse for me. But I don’t think things need to get as bad for psychedelic healing to make sense for someone.
I truly believe that they have the potential to make anyone’s life better, not just those who are incredibly miserable.
Perhaps you’ll soon be one of them.
But you have to be open to change.
#6 You don’t feel fearful about going into the depths of your own mind
There’s a saying about Ayahuasca that goes something like this: “when you’re supposed to drink the medicine [Ayahuasca], you’ll know. You’ll hear the call.”
I always frowned at the woo-woo nonsense. Until I heard the call myself. After having reservations about plant medicine for years, I woke up one day and I just knew it was time.
Four weeks later, I was at an Ayahuasca retreat in Costa Rica.
There were no doubts, no more fear.
If you’re meant to seek out psychedelics, there comes a point when your curiosity, courage, and determination outweigh your fear.
There comes a point when you realize that the ways you’ve functioned (or malfunctioned) have a cause, and you’re determined to find it.
You’re determined to liberate the parts within you that are suffering.
You’re determined to let go of the things that are holding you back from living the bigger life.
That’s when you know you’re ready to lean in.
That’s when you’ll know you’re ready for psychedelic healing.
Some prompts for you to reflect on this week:
What are you most afraid about when it comes to psychedelic healing? What could be ways to face or mitigate this fear?
What are your key motives for embarking on a psychedelic journey, and why do you think psychedelics can help you?
If you’re up for it, hit reply and share your thoughts with me. This will help me curate resources and information that’s more relevant for you. Plus, I’m keen to get to know you.
I’m linking my curated collection of Top 20 resources about psychedelic medicine for you. It’s a great starting point if you’re new to psychedelic medicine and want to educate yourself. Feel free to share it with anyone interested to learn more.
Thanks for tuning in this week, more from me soon. Don’t forget to share this if you know someone who might find it helpful.
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