2Young 4Wise, 2Old 4Stupid

francislawrence8502

I am now a member of a Church, a requirement for an Ayahuasca oriented Church that offers its congregation a three day Ayahuascan ceremony. My application was both extensive and complete. I provided a list of my medication and health issues. I decided that trying to get around my health circumstances would be a mistake and when I was welcomed to attend the Church service I felt relieved not to carry that burden. I want others to decide if they can accommodate me or not and I only want to participate if I am accepted for who I am, not some sanitized version of who I am.

I’ve now spoken three times to Chris, a facilitator for the Church, and, although he seemed to only vaguely remember who I was or the nature of my issues, he said that I can now book my flights. 

This was a shock to me. I realized that from Chris’s perspective my health concerns were relatively minor so I booked my flights. As I did so I thought about Chris, who was once a first responder, and if his efficient manner was based on front line field experience. I also couldn’t help but suspect that the Church deals with a lot of people messed up by combat or some other distressing event or traumatic experience. After all, the Church is located in a violent country with lenient gun laws and in conflict or in some crisis or other longer that I’ve been alive. Such fleeting thoughts reminded me, once again, how fortunate I have been to being born and raised above the 49th parallel.

Although Chris has agreed that my mental state is fine and that my physical state is almost fine, he wants me to be off my blood pressure medication for five days including the three ceremonial days. This seems reasonable but, in my mind, I knew that this, in itself, would present a risk. More urgently, he stated that my acceptance will subjected to a BP screening when we meet. I immediatly went to a worst case scenario knowing the Church reserves the right to do their own evaluation.  I wondered if this precaution has more to do with a litigious culture or a lack of faith in their flock.  

In any event, the fact that my participation could be denied at the last possible moment is difficult for me to accept. I briefly thought that once I was accepted that my acceptance was guaranteed. To be evaluated upon arrival is understandable but it would mean that, if rejected at the last minute, I would have no recourse after spending or committing to spend approximately  $3500 for transportation, accommodation, food and required Church donations. This was beginning to strike some familiar nerve-endings. In this case, however, I saw their perspective and understood why they would take the actions that have instituted. I’ve decided to face my concerns head-on by stopping my BP medication in a trial run. 

I’ve chosen to stop my BP medications for four full days and three tapering days in the hope that this action will allow me to make an informed choice to either go forward with confidence or avoid the waste of time and money.

As I write this I’m experiencing some minor tingling sensations after having tapered my BP medications for three days and stopped taking it for two full days. I also feel my heart beating more than usual, a little light-headedness and some shaking in my hands. I’ve read that stopping my medication, Metoprolol Tartrate, cold turkey can create some unintended health complications. My three days of tapering has allowed me to avoid anything too concerning up to now but I do feel differently. As a precaution while jumping into the deep end of my comfort zone I’ve also been taking several BP measurements a day. The feedback so far has been reassuring. At the same time, my readings are not out of control.

My highest systolic rate (when heart beat pushes blood) has been 146 and my highest diastolic rate (when your heart rests between beats) has been 88, thus a reading of 146 over 88 or 146/88 mmHg. For adults 60 or older the recommended goal BP is now less than 150/90 so I am within an acceptable level for someone 10 years my junior. No wonder Chris told me to book my flight. I will still continue for another full day or so just to experience what I might need to face during the chaos of a ceremony and the strangeness of a strange land. 

At this point I feel good. This morning I was on the elliptical for an hour despite not eating for the past 15 hours, which is consistent with my daily 17 hour fast that I’ve followed for over the past 15 months. Nonetheless, this is a big deal for me. I am trying to navigate in unchartered waters, at least for me. Perhaps others have had the same experience or know how to find safe harbour but, for me, it has been difficult. The next day or two will unfold my truth. For now, I will hold true to the course that I have set.

Another day later and with a new high in BP measurements of 153 over 93. The fact that it is slightly higher than acceptable has increased my anxiety. Is this really what I want to do? Why do I feel so compelled? Sure there is an upside but there is also a downside, one that I have often tried to minimize. Yet, at the same time, I realize that it is only one measurement and that I am under more stress than usual as we are currently experiencing a winter cold snap which has meant our bathroom system is temporarily out of order. In itself, this measurement is not enough for me to panic. I will hold my course despite the sense of sailing too close to the unseen shoals.

I couldn’t believe that I had made such an obvious mistake and it shocked me to my core. 

At the end of my self-imposed no-BP medication dry run I discover that I have made a big mistake. When I took my last BP reading I told my wife about my week long abstinence.  I explained my reasoning behind my 7 day (4 full day) trial run and my rationale for not involving her until it was over. She was taken aback, but not by my deception. She gently explained that Metoprolol Tartrate was not my BP medication. I was in shock. I raced to understand not only the circumstances of why this happened but to review my life in order to determine if this obvious mistake was part of a pattern. 

On one level I know Metoprolol Tartrate moderate BP but I didn’t appreciate that it was used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain (angina) specifically to improve survival after a heart attack. To further complicate the matter my primary BP medication (Coversyl PLUS HD) is actually two medications in one pill: perindopril and indapamide. For some reason, never appreciated this pill as my defence against High BP. I saw it more as a water pill to help with urinary flow. In reality, however, Perindopril relaxes blood vessels and helps the heart to pump blood that carries oxygen more efficiently and Indapamide helps control blood pressure by getting rid of excess salt and water. Combined they treat adults with mild to moderate high blood pressure. 

On another level, I had made similar mistakes in the past. I am often impulsive and not thoughtful. My actions and non-actions have impacted my life and the lives of other, sometimes with dire consequences. Why don’t I think more and control my urges when a second thought or reflection might allow me to see another perspective and perhaps avoid an unpleasant circumstance.  I am like a kid in a candy store whose eyes light up and whose brain shuts off. 

Whatever it is, I’m too old for stupid. 

If I were kind to myself I could rationalize away this mistake. I have obviously done it before while hiding behind the self-image of an absent minded professor who fumbles through life while occasionally creating sparks of genius. I could disguise it my saying my compulsiveness has something to do with a dopamine or some other chemical rush that floods cognitive processes when something desirable overrides logic much like other biological and social urges like sex, children and power. I could even say that I’m old and hide behind other old people’s miscues. 

I’m unwilling to be dismissed by a culture overwhelmed but Alzheimers and used to treating old age as the final step into oblivion. I am not impaired. I am not prepared or willing to shuffle quietly into the end zone. I will face myself and do everything I can to go forward more aware and more conscious of my impact on others and myself. I accept this mistake as a pattern and see that I need to work back into determining the triggers that make me impulsive and reckless. 

I no longer have the luxury of ignoring my reality. Hopefully, this window of relatively good health will continue long enough for me to ensure future mistakes are no longer a repeat of past mistakes. Now I’m re-evaluating my entire journey to determine if it is beyond my ability to accomplish. Maybe I’ve waited too long and the door is now closed. If so, then the question is whether I will now use a window or simply turn the page.  

A Cautionary Tale

I have always believed that honesty is the best policy but now I no longer know if it will be enough. Its bad enough that I need to assume the additional burden of health risks without coping advice from my doctor but, now, I am being asked to assume the risks associated with advance payment of $5,000 US to people that who don’t accept credit cards or paypal or any method with consumer protection – despite my willingness to pay all additional fees.

The bottom line is that after I was accepted to participate in their 5-MEO DMT retreat until I challenged their corporate policy. It felt too one-sided on their part. I had to assume all the risks and then didn’t assume any responsibility. Maybe it was a test that I failed but my life has been tested enough my scams and dishonest people that maybe it shows that I need what they offer in order to get back the virtue of trust that I once let slip through my fingers.

Then, apparently, I had the ‘wrong attitude’ to participate and was rejected.  

Here is some of the correspondence:  Hi Peter, We don’t have any other form of payment besides wire transfer, unfortunately. We’re a small organization & that is the payment option we have. We can discuss more tomorrow.  In the meantime, if you could, I ask you try to meditate on this retreat & feel into if this experience feels connected with your path. We can go through an intuitive exercise tomorrow to see if this experience is the right one based on where you’re at right now. Think that will help clarify things.Talk soon, YYYY

The above note got under my skin. How is this my problem? I didn’t want to come across as angry or self-righteous but I clearly wanted to put the ball back into their court, so I replied the following respectfully. Hi YYYY, My problem with a wire transfer is that it provides zero consumer protection for me. What means of payment do you accept that also provides me with buyer protection? Peter

Then I awaited their reply in the hope that they were somewhat reflexible. Here is their reply. Hi Peter, Yes, let’s chat Thursday at 1pm.We unfortunately don’t accept PayPal, they’re not sympathetic to medicine work unfortunately. Our only viable payment option is via wire at this point. Talk soon! YYYY

The fact that paypal was not ‘sympathetic to medicine work’ suggested to me that they were concerned with surcharges, not prohibition. In my experience PayPal does not discriminate.

Hi YYYY, My path is clear to me. We discussed this at length and I still want to proceed with your retreat but, first, it is important to me to feel safe and not vulnerable at every stage of our relationship. Right now, I do not. In many ways, my ‘issue’ is simply the request to applying common sense in a sadly predatory online world.

This reality was brought home to me through a specific online incident in which I used a bank transfer and lost $2000 US was personally traumatizing. I felt a sense of invasion in that my trust and open, positive spirit were given a body blow. I felt gullible but also violated in that I lost a part of myself. It didn’t help that I was told by NY police that using an international wire transfer to someone or some company that I didn’t know, is what online criminals do. In fact, they count on people’s naivety. In such he said/she said circumstances the local and national police have no recourse and nor did I. 

You need to see things from my perspective, as well. At this point I have nothing concrete, no company details, no personal contact information. You have not yet provided me with your full name, despite my request from yesterday. All I am asking for is buyer protection to counter the fact that you want 100% payment in advance. 

I knew that this would clarify the issue but I was unsure if it would land in my favour or cause them to dig in even further.

My first two suggestions for alternative payment methods were unsuitable, yet, perhaps, PayPal might be worth revisiting. I understand that ‘they’re not sympathetic to medicine work’ but if I absorb paypal fees perhaps this method of payment would be acceptable to your organization.If, however, you truly have no flexibility in your method of payment then what can you provide that will give me consumer protection? My suggestion would be for you to provide me with a copy of your passport and driver’s license.  Talk soon,Peter

I was told that I was no longer welcome at the retreat because I wasn’t ready. I will need to reflect on this. I can admit that I have trust issues. I was prepared to meet them part way but to expect 100% advance payment 30 days before the event and to not provide any consumer protection felt not only disingenuous but also alarmingly out of touch with the real world.

It still seems odd to me that paypal was ‘not sympathetic to medicine work’ and that my offer to pay any additional fees didn’t alter their position on this matter.  It also didn’t feel right that this organization that operates international retreats could not accept credit cards or provide corporate information and that my main contact twice choose not to tell me his name. 

Nonetheless, I felt relieved not to continue along this path as I know that I would not be able to let go enough to blindly trust others without also knowing that it was a two way street, that my trust was earned.




A difficult decision

I have been reflecting on the ambiguity from my recent Doctor’s visit. I have put my faith in a medical system that ensures my longevity but I am responsible for my own life and how to live it fully. If I had sought such an experience earlier in my life there would be less concern for my well-being. Now I face the most daunting test of my abilities and my limitations without any true means to measure my fitness or to gauge the best path to take at this juncture.

My application for four separate psychedelic experiences (Holotropic breath work, Ayahuasca, and Psilocybin) have now been rejected. In all instances company insurance policies didn’t cover the risk associated with the fact that I take medication for my High Blood Pressure, Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation. This was, in part, due to the contraindications of the medications, the impact of the actual trip as well as the fact they were either not prepared to handle such medical emergencies due to their remoteness and untrained staff.

I have done some soul searching. I’ve even considered giving up my my Psychedelic Journey

What is my path? I keep going back to the burning question of what I want from my life. What is missing that I want or, perhaps, need from this experience? I am living a great life and, for the first time in my life, feel content. Why would I risk everything especially when the consequences for my care would likely impact my loved ones.

Is it simply that I believe I am emotionally, mentally and, even, physically healthy? Or is that I am drawn to having a mystical experience and, perhaps, gain a visceral understanding of what life would be like if I let go of my conditioning and expectations?  Probably both, why is why I feel compelled to proceed until not doing so is more obvious to me.

While I believe that I can frame the experience such that I can let go of my anxieties and embrace whatever experiences it presents, I also recognize that this is a new experience for me and my confidence is not yet grounded in reality. Therefore I’ve taken some precautions to ensure tripping will be a positive experience. I’ve made arrangements to take psilocybin through magic truffles in Amsterdam, where it is legal and where good hospitals are nearby. 

My experience will be under the guidance of an experienced professional that knows how to safely manage my experience. 

I am comforted by the fact that I believe that I can orchestrate the ideal scenario for the experience. I am disquieted by the fact that I need to lie in order the have the experience. Fortunately for my first experience this is less weighty as the people behind my first experience have stated “The service is directed to people who are willing to take psychedelics at their own risk.” 

I do not want to deceive those I love but nor do I want to deceive myself. Despite the consequences that this could have to my loved ones, especially my loving partner and best friend, it is, after all is said and done, my life and my decision. But it its also not fair or just so I will explain the risks and my decision to not reveal the full extent of my medication or admit to any health issues that would dismiss me as a candidate.

I don’t see any other path for me. 

I must proceed, as long as I believe that it is right to do so. I accept that it will never be safe, however. Such its life, but being safe should not be an expectation or, even, a goal in life. I don’t want to shorten my life unnecessarily, nor do I want to live a long life in pain or with regrets. After all, the whole idea of this experience, for me, is to make my dying and my death more agreeable, not less bearable.

I will now proceed with the journey under the belief that I can manage the experience. I believe that I am healthy and can have a positive experience. I know that I am in a good place and that likely this is my window. My greatest strength is not only that I am emotionally and mentally healthy but that I live a healthy lifestyle and my medications are more preventative than corrective.

From my research, bad trips are often triggered by not being in a good emotional state and not framing your experience in a positive manner. In fact, I believe that it is less likely that I will induce a medical condition if I approach it properly through emotional preparation and during the experience to let go, to surrender my ego and expectations.

The guide that I have selected is a practicing psychologist who is part of a professionally trained team with years of experience with psychedelics.

I believe that I will be in good hands and know that medical intervention is close by. I believe that I will be safe and maybe that is all I can do, maybe I need to let go of everything else.  In fact, I believe that I need to embrace this uncertainty, not because of the inherent risk to me but because of its value as a step into the unknown and a corresponding step away from my conditioning.


A Visit to the Doctor

I saw my GP today and presented to him my medical concerns regarding my taking Ayahuasca for the first time.  I was struck by the fact that this is not normal. This is not what I expected I would be doing as I turn 70. Each of various stages in my life so far have been fraught with challenges and delights, yet being old, so far, has been different. Different from when I was a vital member of a family or a productive member of society. Different in the way that marketing focuses more on health care and old age homes than living large. Different in that I cannot fully forget I rely upon medication to moderate High Blood Pressure, Stoke, Atrial Fibrillation and Minimal Change Disease. 

Yet, for all these differences, I don’t feel different. I am the same person that I have always been, yet my place in society and how people judge me is different. I consider my medical condition to be at the low end of the medicare care spectrum. For instance, Minimal Change Disease has been in remission for two years, my medication for Stoke prevention was prescribed as a precaution because I live 30 minutes on a good day from the nearest hospital. Atrial Fibrillation was a rare occurrence and nothing that was not seen as a problem that needed intervention. High Blood Pressure is moderated by my lifestyle of low stress, good sleep, regular exercise, a Mediterranean diet and also by my natural habitat of nature and nurture. 

The real problem is that the Western medicine relies too heavily pharmaceuticals.

We have all the answers for a healthy life in nature and nurture, yet our civilization is constantly fighting diseases and unhealthy lifestyles with pills which – in moderate circumstances – makes it easier not to pursue a heathy lifestyle, and, at the same time, unleashes harmful side effects.

The consequence to me has been profound. In my pursuit of a healthy long life I have involuntarily subscribed to the increased risk of immunedeficiency, stroke, heart failure, kidney dialysis, uncontrollable blood loss and, incongruently, at the same time, increased risk of a blood clot. 

I told my family doctor that I wanted to better understand the contraindications with my medication and the Ayahuasca MAO-inhibitor.

I knew this would be an issue so I also enquired into how long I can suspect taking medication.  My Doctor was unable to find the specifics of an MAO-inhibitor (as in the Ayahuasca) in his computerized medical data base but did find a 1950’s medication for anxiety which mimicked the MAO-inhibitor. On this basis, there was some indication that I would be at risk for low blood pressure, however, how much was uncertain.

There was also a higher risk of having a stroke, an episode of atrial fibrilation or a cardiac event. My doctor explained that there will always be individual differences and that I might react differently from someone else taking my medication. The bottom line was that there was no way to predict my risk.

When I asked about the medical consequence for me of not taking my medication for a month before and a month after taking Ayahuasca, as recommended. My doctor patiently told me what I already knew but didn’t want to acknowledge; that my medication effectively prevented the likelihood of a stroke, both the type of stoke caused when a clot obstructs a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain or when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. As well, my medication effectively stabilizes my blood pressure and my susceptibility for atrial fibrillation. 

After some reflection, I have decided to proceed.

I will seek an experience based, in part, on the closeness to medical care as well as the confidence I have in the facilitators to handle my worst case scenario. I still hope to experience Ayahuasca but I won’t do so if I feel in imminent danger, it seems like it would be the wrong frame of mind to benefit from the experience.


 


What to do?

I am beginning tp feel that perhaps my medication will stop me from following my Psilocybin dream

Here is an excerpt from the Dutch company I mentioned last week. It offers Psilocybin experiences but clearly isn’t comfortable with people on medications, even healthy people on medications like myself. “When I looked into your application I have found the following contraindications: High Blood Pressure and Episodes of Atrial Fibrillation: even though your doctor can attest to your good health we are afraid we cannot fully mitigate risks associated with both your high blood pressure and the episodes of atrial fibrillation.”

I am beginning to feel that my journey my not be attainable. They wrote that Psilocybin is known to be able to increase blood pressure which made me realize that if I go forward I will need to near emergency medical care. This became abundantly clear when they raised their concern over cardiovascular problems that be induced or increased due to my medications.

They refused my admittance and told me that “Both of your conditions are official contraindications in most of the contemporary research into psilocybin.”  They did so, however, it a a compassionate, understanding manner in which they put my safety first and expressed their regrets.

All this reminds me of when my Father was restricted to a wheelchair and as I took him places my eyes opened to the physical barriers that wheelchair bound people face.

My body has become my barrier. I understand that why they cannot allow me to participate. I do not hold it against them. I’m sure if they could help me that they would. Nonetheless, there must be a way, perhaps a situation where the facilitators are more capable of dealing with people like myself.

In addition, I applied for an Ayahuasca experience and was faced with a similar barrier when they stated in their reply letter “Most medication cannot be combined with Ayahuasca. When you are using medication, you have to check with your physician/pharmacist as soon as possible if these can be combined with a MAO-inhibitor (as in the Ayahuasca).

If they cannot be combined, you need to consult with your physician if it is possible to stop temporarily with the medication. Your physician determines if and how many days in advance you have to stop with the medication before you drink the Ayahuasca. We would like to be informed if this is the case. Anti-depressants and medication for high blood pressure are a contra indication for drinking the Ayahuasca. 

In case you might use drugs we ask you not to take any drugs for at least one month prior to the ceremony with Ayahuasca. This way the intelligence of your body and mind open up to the ceremony and you can connect with the Ayahuasca in the purest way. Wait with taking any drugs at least one month after the ceremony with Ayahuasca. This way the Ayahuasca can integrate in your body and mind without the drugs overruling the work of the holy plants. Some drugs are even life threatening dangerous to take in combination with Ayahuasca, like GHB.”

What to do? I have not given up but I will need to consider my options and perhaps become a little creative.

I contacted my pharmacy and asked them to check my medication in combination with a MAO-inhibitor and whether or not there was any heath concerns with my suspending my medication. After a few hours I was told that such a determination was beyond their comfort zone and suggested I approach my doctor.

I’m not surprised that my health care providers are not comfortable stepping outside the pharmaceutical umbrella that is more and more effective at replacing a healthy lifestyle. Ironic, isn’t it, that although medication’s purpose is be life sustaining, life extending the quality of that life is equated with longevity, not a life well lived.

In Western medicine it seems that I can have a longer life but not a life well lived or a death humanely orchestrated.





A Tree and Me

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As is our routine, I briskly walk my dogs through the forest again this morning. Often this is a mindless form of exercise for me and a time for the dogs to purposefully sniff and dig. Today I was struck by the vacuum left in the forest by a recently fallen 50 foot spruce, now reduced to a stump and scattered sawdust. 

Its comparably long life, much longer than you or I but much shorter than expected, unceremoniously deposed. Hastedly de-limbed, chunked and removed, now the only evidence of its life was the vacancy it once filled. It made me smile to think that its violent end-of-life was also an act of defiance in that when it fell this noble tree blocked the road and commanded attention.  

The whiteness of the snowy winter and the seasonal suspension of lesser plants once gave this tree a singular stature.  

While fir trees are generally successful in this stingy forest, this is where nature abhors a vacuum, where other life forms compete in an over-subscribed space, for sunlight in an unforgiving canopy and for sustenance in a wind-swept and salty soil. While some trees are gnarled and seemingly deformed and others full of stark branches covered in mosses and lichens, the fallen spruce once towered like a citadel amongst its brethren. 

As I continued by walk, I caught myself categorizing and labeling the various tree types. Trees can be understood as different or they can be seen as similar. After all, they all live and die under the same conditions and needs and all attempt to eke out an existence in the same patch of land. Much like all other life forms, including each of us. 

When I classify and label it aids communication but also reinforces the “nature” of our relationship to our ecosystem.

They are things in our service, even when their service demands genetic modification or extinction. For it is often in subtle ways that we hide behind the great truth of our existence, that all life forms live within a closed ecosystem and all are required to sustain our lives. Such is the path we take when we see differences and not similarities between life forms. 

I take a moment to survey a patch of alder, a common tree that utilizes its nitrogen-fixing root noodles to successfully dominant other species. Last spring I transplanted a few spruce saplings that I plucked from their winter dormancy to better understand how these two tenacious plants might find harmony. Today I see the first promising signs of life in the healthy tips of these young trees above the foot-high snow. 

For a moment I become lost in my thoughts about the cycle of life but, soon, I am abruptly ‘awakened’ by the sight of one of my dogs lifting his leg on subject of my thoughtfulness, a fledgeling spruce sapling, and realize that today’s walk has ended.

Can wide acceptance of Psychedelics be far away?

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In Canada, like many other countries there is a resurgence in the acceptance of the altered experience. It seems like the rush to normalize a never-ending drug war coupled with the long dismissed but now scientifically endorsed health benefits has made it acceptable for governments to embrace the added tax revenue. Something the psychedelic pioneers might have imagined but never experienced.

Something that I could never imagine happening during my life time. Yet, here I am, nearly 70 and largely new to altered experiences.

I’ve had a little pot but don’t enjoy the health implication of smoking. I don’t even drink that much. In fact, I’m alright with being sober and observant enough to connect with the natural world. My psychedelic journey is an aberration in my life, in which I hope to grasp the tail feathers of my misspent youth as well as challenge the foundational bedrock of my social conditioning with a psychedelic experience or two.

After all, we live in an interesting time when the street drugs have devastated communities and when legally tripping on psychedelics may actually free the mind from our conditioned lives. Maybe the tide is turning from when such experiences were banned by governments unsure of its impact on well-heeled populations. The hippie days are gone forever it seems but the political power of what was once called the ‘military/industrial complex’ has grown exponentially.

This is my first Blog. I don’t use social media. If, however, you stumble upon my ramblings I hope that you find something that helps you on your journey.

There have many points from which I could have started. For me, I hope that this blog will be organic. It is the way I think after a lifetime of enjoying the journey as much or more than the destination. My psychedelic journey is not simply about altered experiences but also about my personal journey and the maze of emotions and fears that I will likely encounter along the way. So here is the start.

After contacting a retreat in Holland, I was encouraged to complete an application. I wasn’t really committed to this retreat or to the use of psilocybin but I complied. I knew that they needed to know my mental and physical state before accepting me into their program. It must be difficult to manage the diverse needs and issues of clients while providing a consistent and rewarding experience with their success being judged like a restaurant review in social media.

It was the medical information requirement, however, that I knew would be a deal breaker. Most likely I am twice the age of most ‘psychonauts’ and have medical issues that most retreats are uncomfortable embracing. I understand all this but there must be a place somewhere that will embrace who I am. If not, then I will embrace the process, the journey and not the end result as I always have attempted to do in my life. What fun.

My Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heart beat) and High Blood Pressure have already disqualified me from a Groft-style Breath Work. 

At this deep breathing retreat in California I knew that I would be rejected despite a supportive Doctor’s letter. I didn’t need take the rejection personally, however. I was told that it was more a question of their exposure. The likely increase in insurance or, conceivably, a law suit, presumedly by myself or my next of kin, could threaten their survival, especially in litigious-leaning USA. If not, the publicity of my death or near-death would not be exactly good advertising.

So it raises an interesting moral and safety question for me. Do I lie or do I take my chance with the Truth? Lying in the past has always given me regrets. Mostly lying entailed lying to myself. Now, I can no longer ignore or rationalize my actions or inactions. I do not even have a choice. I need to live with myself and being in touch with my values. It is life-sustaining for me.

I may need to take a longer path but, at least, I know that I am on my the path that feels right for me at this point in my life. I have always tried to listen to my own self and whenever I didn’t then I suffered, as, eventually, did innocent people. Sometimes it was innocent and sometimes it wasn’t but felt right for selfish reasons.

In any event, I am healthy despite being old. Maybe that is a factor in and of itself. After all, younger people sometimes see the old as near death and disposable. I am no longer young so I no longer empathize with the young except for the mess that they will inherit. I empathize with my own struggles and the difficulties of death and dying.

This is why I am seeking a Psychedelic experience.

I want to experience a connection to all life-forms and the continuum of my own life, from physical to more aware, enlightened and present. It would be gift that I believe will help be to let go when I feel it is right to do so.

It helps that my health issues are on the low-end of the scale and now, with my current medication, are no longer a factor in my regulating my health, my life. It helps that I have a healthy lifestyle and some long-lasting DNA. It helps that I do not have any addictions and am comfortable with who I am. 

So, form filled and sent. Another stab into the dark. My fate is out of my hands and I no longer have the burden of trying to understand what is the best experience for me. All I need to do is to keep my mind open and not build barriers with expectations. Simple, right?



Welcome to my journey

As I start this year my thoughts turn to the journey that I have undertaken. In the past few months I have consider an appealing retreat in Brazil, which promised a safe environment and access to the heart of a country I would like to visit. 

However, once the government with more fascist leanings took power my enthusiasm paused to reevaluated the arduous 20 plus hour, 2 planes and a long taxi journey. I soon began to image myself at this isolated retreat and/or as a white gringo easily targeted by dire circumstances beyond my control, which for me, suggested that this was not the right venue for me at this time. 

At the core of this fear is a fear of the unknown and, more essentially, a fear of my own mortality.

I next considered Peru as my destination. I value the integrity of indigenous heritage and mastery of native plants. I am, however, a little intimidated by the jungle and, perhaps, a little more risk adverse than the more adventurous males such a venue might attract as potential fellow travellers. 

Despite the fact indigenous people are in harmony with their environment and that native plant medicines once saved my life or, at least, it seemed like that to me at the time, it boils down to the fact I am more comfortable knowing my survival in a medical emergency includes Western medical care. 

As consumed as I am with the venue, I am equally ambivalent about the nature of the exact experience. I’ll know it when I see it.

My approach has been straight forward. If I am comfortable with the venue, it will guide me. In other words, I will be flexible but also selective. Mostly, I want an authentic experience and I want expert help with the integration in order to make sense out of what promises to be an experience that will likely overload my circuits.  I have time to determine the exact experience and believe it is vital for me to find something and someone who can accommodate my specific concerns and fears as well as my hopes and dreams.

I do not want an experience in which I am left to make sense out of my chaotic images and thoughts. I want help to assembly something coherent, something meaningful from the flotsam I can retrieve.

I need to ‘experience ’ a world view, an unadulterated-by-man view.

At this early stage I am frightened as well as excited by the possibilities. I do not know what is buried within my unconsciousness, what my own brain has in store for me. There is something special about the fact that the experience I seek might unlock within me a portal into a liberating world view, a view that, regretfully, has taken me most of my life to begin to value. 

In general, I want to face my demons and explore any insights. In particular, I am interested in the unknown: the Cosmos and Death. I’m not especially morbid nor do I have any pressing life-death issues, but I am curious. Within me I want to see as far as I can see. Within me I want to reach as far as I can reach. Within me I want to hold as much as I can hold. Whatever that means.

The Journey Begins

I don’t know what to expect and I’m not sure what path I will take but I do know that I am committed to enlightenment and transformation. I’ve made 2019 my year to learn everything I need to know and to use this knowledge to plunge into the deep end of the psychedelic pool. 
 
I’ve long felt that Western society is more concerned with manufacturing consumers and producers to encourage consciousness and connectivity.  Now, finally, I want see if I can experience transformative events in order to gain an insight into the big picture; meaning of life, creation of universe and a frame of reference for death and dying. 
 
I invite you to be part of my journey.