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Thank You Plant Medicine: Eden’s Story

Updated: Jun 18

Thank You Plant Medicine: Eden’s Story

Originally published on 02/20/2020 for Thank You Plant Medicine: A movement to show gratitude for plant medicines and end the stigma associated with their use.

I had my first psilocybin experience at the age of 34. This was much later than a lot of the people in my peer group.

As I look back and reflect, I can identify two reasons for this:

First, there was a part of me that felt it was somewhat irresponsible to try any “drug.” As the daughter of two alcoholics, I had adopted the role of caretaker to my younger siblings and, in my then very black-and-white thinking, I felt that I couldn’t “let go” enough to trip as it was my duty to be vigilant at every moment.

The second reason was that psilocybin hadn’t often been available to me. However, this was largely due to the fact that I had totally hidden myself away socially in my early twenties. A fallout with friends that affected me very deeply was the initial cause of this, but a major reason I stayed in my shell so long was that I hadn’t yet achieved anything that I was deeply proud of. I felt that I needed to have something significant to show for all my career and creative ambitions, of which I had no shortage. But I could never seem to see a project through to fruition, and as a result, I carried with me immense shame.

The year before my mushroom experience, my youngest brother (who I’d had custody of since my early twenties), reached adulthood and moved out. I then felt a sense of autonomy that I couldn’t remember ever feeling before and I was exhilarated by the freedom. With that, I allowed myself to experience some of what I felt I’d missed during my young adulthood.

The experience took place in an idyllic setting. It was on a farm, situated atop the rolling green hills outside of beautiful Ashland, Oregon. It was night and the sky was crystal clear and breathtaking, no perceptual enhancement required. I began the journey camped under the stars, but as the mushrooms began to take effect it became unbearably cold that April night. I was with several of my new friends who I had connected with one very magical and fateful evening at a psychedelic society meet-up the previous September. As the experience grew more intense I also became overwhelmed by the chatter of some of the others, so one of my friends took me to his car to get away from everything and warm up.

When the car doors closed and the outside world was finally silent, as my friend and I began to chat, my inner world became the main feature. Suddenly, I felt as if my entire life was laid out before me in graphic detail, as if on a projector screen, and I was in no way prepared to face the scenes. Everything was SO HEAVY. My life-long challenges and the current problems I was encountering seemed simply incredible, immense, and totally overwhelming and NO ONE seemed to get it. No one felt the depth of it. And the more I tried to explain it to my very patient friend while he held perfect space for me, the more convinced I felt that no one would ever understand.

I pored over every sad detail of my past and current situation for what was a couple of hours but felt like an eternity (as these experiences often do). But it wasn’t all horror. As I moved through the hurts and disappointments I also began to feel a deep sense of appreciation come over me for all that I’d endured. For as heavy as everything was, I began to see that I was equally as strong and capable for enduring that weight.

The experience of disassociating with my past allowed me to see it as a story to which I had no obligation. I then stopped seeing myself as merely a victim of my circumstances and for the first time realized that my past did not have to be an indicator of my future. I had the ability to create a fresh, new narrative.

And, I began to believe that I had (and would) bear situations that no one would ever understand and that it was okay. As I would later come to better understand, no one got it because everyone’s experience is so incredibly unique, and I think it’s a part of the price we pay in this experience of duality. I realized that I was a witness to my story …. and that that was actually enough. Yes, it is important and healing to be witnessed by others, but I was a powerful witness also, and I was able to give myself much of the validation I had long been seeking.

With the sense of appreciation for what I’d endured and achieved, I also began to feel a confidence in my own voice that I’d never had. This first presented itself to me when I told one of my friends to “fuck off.” He had been offering unsolicited and patronizing advice about my trip. In the future, I would learn to use more non-violent language, as well as avoid surrounding myself with patronizing types that would elicit that temptation to lash out.

The mushrooms also helped to further ingrain much of the personal work I had already been doing, including dismantling much of my myopic thinking about what I saw as responsible behavior. I realized that living a full spectrum life was necessary to self-actualization; by being a shrinking flower I was a doing a disservice to myself and to those to whom I felt responsible. What I discovered was that I had been wrong … “tripping” (for lack of a better term at present) in the right set and setting (of course) was responsible.

Because of my passion for plant medicine I also have found a sense of purpose outside of my natural role as a caregiver, and it has also allowed me opportunities to develop my creative interests and put them to use towards projects of which I am deeply proud.

Bonus: I also met my incredibly magical and wonderful partner through our shared work volunteering to help end the stigma associated with the use of plant medicine.


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