Today I’ll be sharing some additional details on an experience I briefly mentioned in a previous blog post. It was a tremendously healing experience for me, opening my heart in ways I never thought possible.
Previously, on this blog
In my blog, I mentioned that I tried a new tool that helped me with the emotional difficulty I was experiencing in 2020. In the months since that blog post, I have witnessed a growing amount of dialogue regarding emotional (and physical) health and the need for change in our current system. The time has come, I believe, to share a bit more about what steps I’ve taken for my emotional and spiritual health.
Making my decision
In my November 2020 blog post, I do not mention what my healing experience was, but I feel it’s time to be more open.
I had made a new friend in the spring of 2020, and he started talking to me about the amazing world of mushrooms, of their amazing nutritional value, of the wonderful benefits for the brain of some varieties, and of the healing properties of “magic mushrooms.” I listened, and was probably a little judgmental, thinking it was odd that this guy was talking about weird illegal hippy mushrooms.
The two of us continued our budding friendship, though I put the “weird” mushroom topic aside, thinking that those were not for me, and there was no reason for me to explore it further.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was having difficulty with depression during this time. I was working with a spirit-life coach who, in previous years, had helped me find inner peace during many difficult periods; but during the summer of 2020, my biweekly coaching sessions seemed to help only briefly. I would feel fine after our Sunday session, but by the time the next session came two weeks later, I was often back to feeling deep sadness and anger. It was an exhausting and frustrating loop.
One day, in early September, I was back in a dark place; on the floor with my shaving razor in my hand, I was wondering if this was going to be my last day on Earth. I was trying the breathing techniques I knew to try to overcome this depression, and after about 10 minutes, I started to feel a bit of relief. And a voice in the back of my mind said: “ask your friend about the mushrooms.”
Over the past years, I’ve tried to pay attention to those little intuitive hits, but I was surprised by intuition’s invitation to explore this unusual topic. It took me about two weeks before I brought myself to ask my friend for some details, and he explained what he could. At around that time, the word “mushroom” (both magical and non-magical) was popping up everywhere around me. That could not be a coincidence, so a few days later, the two of us set a date for me to have my first psychedelic experience.
The mushroom experience: opening my heart
Every psychedelic trip is unique for each person and for each experience, so what I’ll describe here was unique to me. However, there are some underlying themes that are shared by many people, so what I’ll describe here will touch upon what a “generic” experience is like and what I personally experienced.
I prepared by putting myself in the best mental and emotional state I could, with a day off of work to reduce all stress. My friend did everything he could to create a safe space for me, decluttering the room, playing calm music. (I later learned that the setting of a psychedelic trip is essential to creating a positive experience, so I am doubly grateful that he did this prep work.) He also assured me that he would be just a few metres away, watching me and making sure I was fine.
Having not done any research at all, I did not know what to expect. I knew only that my intuition told me to reach out to my friend for help, and that’s what I was doing. I was nervous, excited, and humbled at the same time. So, I drank the mushroom-based tea my friend prepared, and waited for the experience to start.
For me, the experience started with a feeling of giddiness; everything was alright in the world.
And then, after a while I noticed that some of my depressing thoughts were coming up. But interestingly, I was able to notice the thoughts without them causing me to spiral downward. I still felt the urge to cry, which I did, but it was like I was able to watch myself without getting caught up in the negativity, and the tears felt good to let go.
After shedding of that baggage came the best part of the trip. This is the part that many people describe about the use of a psychedelic, and what I believe is the most healing part of these substances. I felt my heart opening up, and being filled with so much love that I was just ready to burst. My heart, radiating love, was ready to share it, and my friend sitting across the room was the closest “target” for all that love. The experience was indescribable: here was a man who is my opposite in so many ways (heterosexual, meat eater, soccer lover, calls soccer “fútbol”, musically inclined) yet I was able to feel such love and care for him. I started to say to myself, wow, if I could feel so much love for this guy, who else could I love this much?
Throughout the four-ish hours of my mushroom trip, I also feel like messages were given to me as part of my soul’s purpose in this life, things that I was meant to do once I returned to my sober state. The feeling that I had a task handed to me from the Universe was enriching, and may be the topic of a future blog post (to this day, I’m still examining the meaning of this message, and working towards being able to fulfill my mission).
Psychedelics: a new perspective
The feeling of tapping into so much love has no words, and it’s something that I’ve been working to incorporate into my day-to-day experience. I have had a few bumps in the road since then, but each rough patch is easier to overcome than the last one. I no longer spiral into depression like I did. My husband, my friends and my spirit coach have all noticed how my mood has shifted for the better.
I find it unfortunate that psychedelic substances are vilified, with little information available about their benefits. Some religious leaders have called mushrooms the work of the devil, but how can a substance that made me truly feel the “love thy neighbour” credo be evil? With all the wonders on our planet, like plants that turn sunlight into sugar, lungs that ingest air and extract oxygen, could substances that grow naturally and fill humans with a sense of inner-connectedness and wonder be a cosmic mistake? I doubt it.
Yet our current social and political climate has labelled these substances “bad”.
I won’t explore the topic of why psychedelics have a lot of stigma around them. Instead, I’ll share this video by Russel Brand (comedian, actor), who discusses the topic well.
A few things I find interesting in the above video
- It is interesting to learn that in the 1960s, psychedelics were part of a counter-culture movement and then, with the flick of a pen, became evil and illegal.
- At the 17-minute mark, there is an extract of an interview where the panellist is trying to explain the benefits of psychedelics, but the interviewer responds with “but these are Class A drugs”, (what we call in Canada Controlled and Illegal Substance) — the term “Class A drugs” is a made-up label to categorize drugs into good and bad, and the interviewer simply cannot get past the fact that LSD and Ecstasy are “bad”.
- After my experience with mushrooms, it made me examine what I label as good and bad. Are there topics in your life, psychedelics or otherwise, where you are convinced that something is “bad” though you have little or no first-hand experience with it?
There is a documentary on Netflix called Fantastic Fungi that is also fascinating, which presents many interesting facts about fungi and mushrooms of all kinds, as well as the emotional and physical healing experiences of people who used magic mushrooms. I invite you to watch it for a fascinating look at how mushrooms contribute to our ecosystem and how they could heal many aspects of our lives.
Using psychedelics for healing
There are probably always going to be people who use psychedelics for recreational purposes. You do you.
However, if you want to tap into the real magic of magic mushrooms, then I want to add this note: I don’t believe that simply taking a dose of these fungi is necessarily going to be the cure for everything that ails you.
Is it possible to just take psilocybin mushrooms and see incredible change in your life? Maybe.
But to ensure you have the best possible outcome, I believe that you have “homework” to do. Your psychedelic trip may bring out your old baggage, and that is where the true healing can come.
How do you deal with this old baggage? That is a personal question that you’ll have to answer for yourself, but I mention a number of my own techniques in a previous blog post. Some of you will prefer to turn to a therapist. There are also currently therapists doing studies on the benefits of psychedelics, though you may need to fit some criteria to be able to join the study.
In my opinion, it is also important to surround yourself with people who are supportive. After you have had a profound healing experience, you may want to share it with those around you, and may find it disappointing to find friends and family responding with “but these are Class A drugs”. It isn’t always easy to stray from the path that society thinks is best for us. I have been lucky that my husband, my friends, my family and my spirit coach have all been supportive of my choice to explore the healing powers of psychedelics.
After my experience, I started to imagine the wonders that this natural medicine could bring. Just to take one example before closing: consider the many people struggling with depression who turn to anti-depressants, the go-to treatment in our society; how many of them feel so uplifted, so full of love after their treatment that they want to move forward? How many feel that their medicine gives them a purpose in life?
I wanted to share this experience with my readers because I felt like it was time to open a dialogue about emotional health. I believe most of us would agree that, when we look out at the world today, we see a society that is ready to heal and embark on a different path. Most of us would likely agree that our current societal structures are producing unhealthy results. Perhaps it is time for us to turn back to Mother Nature, see what gifts she has for us, and explore alternative ways for humanity to grow.
If you are curious and want to know more about my experience with mushrooms, feel free to contact me.
If you’ve had the experience of mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca or another psychedelic, I’d love to hear of your healing journey.
And please share this post with anybody you feel may benefit from an ancient healing tool. Perhaps the time has come to shed the stigma surrounding this topic and reconsider the ways we approach our physical, mental and spiritual health.