Spirituality was something I came to out of necessity. My own ill-health, lack of authenticity, unfullillmet and the utter loneliness I was drowning in threw me into searching desperately for something to connect to.
I had spent the majority of my life trying to escape myself, trying to be someone else, trying to escape the body I lived in and often wishing I was no longer here. Did anyone know this about me? Absolutely not, from the outset things looked peachy! Shame is a skilful master of disguise. But this shame caught up on me, it held me to ransom, keeping me in silence in my pain and feeling completely alone in the world. Eventually the pain of living with myself this way became my catalyst for change. Stepping outside my comfort zone began to feel more comfortable than staying where I was as I realised there was absolutely nothing comfortable about being somewhere I didn’t want to be. I threw myself into spiritual practices and being the high achiever that I was, I dedicated myself dutifully. I did everything, read all the right books, binge watched my favourite spiritual teachings, mediated and stretched by self-awareness to a pivotal point. All of this brought massive shifts to my life and brought me in touch with much of the pain that encapsulated me. I faced my past, I faced a lot of my shame, I faced many fears, self-doubt and more, I made changes on the outside which reflected this inner renaissance I was experiencing. I moved countries, careers and a mountain of emotion within me.
Life improved dramatically, but that’s not to say I was where I wanted to be. Despite these shifts I still felt so much resistance inside of me towards the things that I wanted, making many of my desires still feel so far away, unreachable at times. I longed for connection, openness and true authenticity. To be able to be myself, with all my flaws and my loveliness and be appreciated just the same. I was tired of being nice to gain acceptance, I was tired of being the strong one, the supportive one, the dependable, hardworking trojan who didn’t have to burden others with her needs. I wanted to show this side of me too but was terrified that it would repel connection rather than create it. I felt stuck….freedom from that stuckness has been one of the greatest gifts entheogens have offered me.
To say I experimented with drugs in my early twenties could be a slight understatement. Let’s just say that if true experimentation was all I was after I would have had been a Senior Scientist by the age of 23. Whilst much of this time was about discovery, fun and exploration, it was also about escapism and relief. This stage of my life was as much of a teacher as it was a friend to me but I reached a point where it no longer filled the voids in my life that I wanted it too. Fun nights turned into regretful mornings and deep, fascinating conversations became repetitive, meaningless, empty words which failed to deliver the hopes they once promised. I left this time behind me with a grateful fondness, albeit a touch of shame and a readiness for something deeper. The memories however of the connection, freedom and excitement of this time never left me and often returned, seductively enticing me into a world of nostalgia which I had forbidden myself to revisit outside the privacy of my own mind. Those days were over now, raw vegan chocolate was the naughtiest thing that past my lips so entheogens had no chance as I had no understanding of their role in therapy and expansion at this time and in my bid for healing, I’d become a bit of an uptight, rigid purist who secretly fantasied about my long lost carefree days of … experimentation.
However, when I heard about the clinical trials for MDMA as a tool for therapy I lit up like a christmas tree. When I read about psilocybin as a cure for depression, PTSD, anxiety and more I was zealously absorbed by the potential of this. When I learned about using such substances and others consciously to access the sub-conscious mind, heal trauma and relive deeply hidden past memories, I knew this was something I had to be a part of. With my earlier experience of these substances along with the self-awareness I developed without them, this potential made absolute and perfect sense to me. I had sadly but willingly “given up” entheogens in my past in order move forward in life, to gain more clarity, to become more conscious, in-touch with myself and my truth. I had spent the past 15 years developing my knowledge, skills and experience around trauma, psychology and health and had even directed my career this way. I had long bid my farewell to entheogens, I let them go completely and by now had faced my shadow reasons for using them. But because of this, now, here there were coming back to me in their truest purest form, in a way that not only aligned with my current way of life but in a way that fully supported it and encouraged it’s further development.
SO NEEDLESS TO SAY, I EXPERIMENTED….THIS TIME WITH INTENTION, RESPECT AND AWARENESS.
You see, in the past when I used entheogens to escape my discomfort, they showed me my discomfort. When I used them to feel more outgoing and to connect with others, they allowed me to do this, but without awareness and the tools for integration I have since developed, the connection they offered me led to a deeper void when I returned to my reality, which looked or felt nothing like this. The stark discord between what I felt and experienced while partying with friends at the weekend and the actual reality of my life during the week was such a massive contrast that it became unbearable to continue, the highs were no longer worth the lows.
This time was wildly different, this time my intentions were conscious, they were favourable to my expansion. This time I connected to the spirits of the plants and substances whose wisdom I recognised and offered to surrender to. This time I connected to my sub-conscious mind and brought forth my willingness to explore it. This time I brought forth my willingness to face my past, my shadows, my doubts and fears rather than hide from them.
THIS TIME THESE SUBSTANCES BROUGHT ME EVERYTHING THAT I ASKED FOR, AS MUCH AS MY WILLINGNESS TO SEE Y TRUTH WAS THERE, THEIR WILLINGNESS TO GUIDE ME WAS TOO.
This time these substances brought me everything that I asked for, as much as my willingness to see my truth was there, their willingness to guide me was too.
In real terms, the shifts I experienced with entheogens made it feel like I could move through a years worth of growth in a single moment. My ability to let go, to feel, to access my past without fear and anxiety was thrilling. The awareness I had during my trips began to merge with my everyday state of consciousness. Entheogens shed light on my shadows, my blindspots, my suppressed memories and the inner workings, fears and coping mechanisms of my mind in a way that made truly meeting myself feel absolutely magical, so much lighter than before and at times challenging yes, but also fun! This would not have been my experience if I did not have the knowledge and experience I had at this stage to navigate my inner-world in a way which catalyses integration. Nor do I believe, would it have brought me to the same place without me continuing my self-expanding practices of awareness in my everyday life. Nor do I believe would it have brought the same results if I had faced it alone and without the love, care and encouragement of my very fist trip-sitter and my now dearest friend Alice who has held me, laughed with me, cried with me and supported me through much of these unforgettable and life-changing experiences that we have shared together. Now what excites us more than anything is creating a space to offer these same experiences to others. Sharing the knowledge we have gained to use entheogens as a complimentary tool to therapy and freeing the stigma around these plants and substances so that they can be seen in their truth allowing you to accelerate yours has become our greatest joy and passion. This retreat is our invitation to provide this same space, care and support to you, the totality of you and in doing so helping you to shift forward with confidence and clarity to your new, liberated self!