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This post is following on from 30 Day Writing Challenge Review.

Many things helped me to make it through my way of publishing 30 times in 30 days, and today I’ll continue to share a few more.

Connecting to something bigger

At times of difficulty when I encountered a resistance to hit publish I returned to my why. It was a personal challenge, but personal only in so far as that I want to improve my ability to write and put out content so that ultimately I am more able to spread knowledge and information about psychedelics and to share ideas that I believe can be useful to other people. So when I had doubts I returned to the thought of ‘this is about much more than you’. This helped me to get over myself and think about the people my writing could reach and help. My feelings about how I might come across or how nice my writing is to read took a back seat to the primary aim of getting that information and those ideas out there into the world. This made it a whole lot easier to not get overly concerned with editing.

Knowing that it’s about more than myself was very helpful as those difficult feelings that I encountered were in the end just my personal difficulties. If I want to actually play my part in something bigger and contribute to the world in a meaningful way then I’m gonna have to get over myself.

Before the month I made a small reminder card with an image of the world and a heart that I now keep over my desk. This was to connect to the bigger picture of love and all those lives of the people around the world to help drive me on in times of difficulty.

Inspiring Material

I read Steven Pressfield’s Do The Work before and during the month on a timely recommendation from a friend. I think I’ve blown Pressfield’s trumpet enough on this blog by now for you to get it that his work speaks to me. One thing that stuck out from this work was that doing research can become a form of Resistance and procrastination. So for this month I actually did zero research for any of the articles. I referenced other materials and websites, but only ones that I was already aware of or had in mind that I could use. Aside from being hugely practical in terms of saving time, this was nice in that it was a good chance to test myself and my knowledge of psychedelics and it felt really good to keep churning stuff out without looking at what others had to say on the topic. It has been a great confidence boost for me and I feel way more ready to embark on creative challenges without spending so much time doing prep and just coming up with things on the spot. This is something I’d like to explore more in the future with workshops and talks and have more confidence in myself to do this than before.

Rituals & Routines

I had a few rituals and routines which helped me throughout the month. Here are a few:

Waking up early

I am a fan of a strong morning routine. In July I would wake up around 6, drink a glass of hot lemon water and stretch, take a cold shower, meditate, walk once around the block and then eat breakfast before settling down to begin writing. Having such a consistent routine with an early start was definitely helpful.

The 6AM start did go out the window after my accident as I had difficulty sleeping due to the pain in my arm, but I did get back to early rising once I was able to sleep well.

Fiery Music

Music was a huge help on days when I felt tired or low on inspiration. On most mornings during my short morning walk I would listen to some slamming track which would get me fired up and generally ready to kick some ass. My go to anthem for the month was The Bronx’s cover of Black Night Crash, a punk track which opens up with a ‘yeah!’ that got me going on even my most sluggish of mornings. I would often bounce around the block and always returned home ready to face a new challenge.

Pre-Writing Statement

Once at my desk, immediately before beginning the first draft, I would read a short passage aloud:

“Anything and everything that arises today can be written down,
Anything and everything that arises is a gift from my basic wealth, is bringing me closer to the truth, could be part of the message I want to convey… even if it’s a poop joke”.

This was inspired by Stephen Pressfield who makes a prayer to the Muse every morning before he begins writing. I liked the idea of using the same one but it just didn’t quite feel right for me. I found the above one whilst searching for prayers/odes to read before writing. This one was simple and straightforward and felt right, reminding myself that whatever I put down would be OK. Having this in the forefront of my mind before writing helped to settle me and then to blast through doubting resistance and keep moving forward with my first draft.

I had these placed in front of me every day. On the right, my passage, plus a picture of my ‘muse’, and on the left, my mantra.

A Positive Mantra

The idea for this challenge came in the latter part of a magic truffle journey and both excited and scared me. It seemed like a pretty big ask but at the same time the belief came to my mind, and it came with two words: ‘I can’.

This served as a mantra for my month and I repeated it many times in the week before starting as a way to psych myself up. I even changed the password on my computer to ‘I can!’ before the month so that every time I logged in I would again put it out in to the world and internalize this belief. I believe there is a great power to this and developing a mantra for a challenge is something that I will probably do again in the future.

Final Thoughts

So those are a few things which supported and helped me through the process, to finish here are a couple of final thoughts from the challenge.

Creativity breeds creativity

Before going into the month I brainstormed a few article ideas and kept them in a list for my reference. Initially it was useful to have so I felt reassured that I wouldn’t draw a blank but as the month went on what happened was a surprise. Rather than the list getting shorter as I wrote different pieces, what I found was that the opposite actually happened, and the list of ideas for articles kept growing. As I wrote more articles, more ideas for other articles that I wanted to write just kept popping up. This was a great feeling as I find that moment when a new idea pops up in the mind to be quite satisfying. In a creative sense it feels great to have such an abundance of ideas out there. However, deciding to act on them or let them go is another step and definitely something for to me consider as I make decisions about how I will spend my time and what projects I want to devote my time and attention to.

Writing More

This was the first 30 day challenge I used for a creative project and I think that is what made it so rewarding. It forced me to engage my mind in a particular way every day that is different than other challenges I’ve done and I noticed my mind working in a new and novel way that I haven’t since I learned Spanish. That psychedelic (reality broadening) aspect was hugely interesting and definitely will push me to do more of these types of challenges in the future.

Also, just being that creative felt great in and of itself. I was away for work the two weeks immediately following the challenge and didn’t have an opportunity to blog. (I wrote How to Start a Meditation Circle on a double day during the 30 day challenge so I’d have something to publish whilst away on work). I have actually missed getting up and writing and publishing every day. I don’t really know how to describe the feeling other than totally agreeing with Seth Godin’s comment that ‘blogging is good for the soul’. Although I feel rusty coming back to it after a couple weeks out it feels good to write again. There is a new version of Maps of the Mind coming later this year and I will then settle in to a schedule of one to two articles every week. I noticed that I had more regular readers for the month of July and that also felt great to have new content for people coming back.

Finding Purpose

One of the most remarkable things I experienced was the sense of purpose I felt throughout the month. The daily challenge gave me a real raison d’être each day and I woke up each morning excited for the day and to see what it had in store.

So there’s my review for my 30 day writing challenge.  Ultimately it was an incredible, magical, and especially empowering month. It has just further developed my love for the 30 day challenge and I am excited to throw myself in to many more. Taking a break for the month of August, I am already looking forward to embarking on a new one for September…. 🙂

Welcome to 30 Days of Psychedelics!

I have recently gotten a bit obsessed / addicted to 30 day challenges. Since the start of Corona, I have completed the following:

  • 30 days of cold showers 
  • 3x 30 days of yoga (thanks Adrienne!)
  • 30 day digital detox
  • 30 days of speaking to a new person
  • 30 days of no alcohol
  • 30 days of no smoking weed
  • 30 days of both no alcohol & smoking weed

I love the 30 day challenge and have decided to go for my biggest and most daring yet. Writing and publishing an article on Maps Of The Mind for 30 days in a row.

From the 1st to the 30th July, I will publish a new article here each and every day, on the theme of psychedelics.

The prospect of this is quite scary to me and I know it will be a stretch experience. It feels edgy, and that is why I’d like to take it on. One of my personal growth heroes and mentors (if I can call someone that who I’ve never met?) Steve Pavlina introduced me to this idea that a good growth challenge should feel a little scary, like its almost out of reach, for it to be a real stretch goal. And I have to agree. It also makes life exciting.

So this is an orientation and introduction post to my 30 days of Psychedelics, what I’m calling PSYJuly.

psyjuly 30 days of psychedelics blog writing challenge

If you were hoping this was going to be a blog series about someone taking psychedelics for 30 days in a row, well sorry to disappoint, though I hope it will be as enlightening and mind expanding as that would be, whilst also being slightly more practical and more sanity prevailing and reality holding for myself.

Intentions

Upon embarking a new course of learning or growth, I like to set intentions. This is something that I’ve picked up from psychedelic work, the Power Of Awareness Mindfulness Course I am nearing completion of, and Steve’s Pavlina’s Character Sculpting course which I started in January this year. So I have decided to take the opportunity of this post to write out my intentions and to share them with you.

My intentions for PsyJuly are:

  • to cultivate and embrace the experimenter/explorer mindset and overcome debilitating perfectionism.
  • to be pushed to think differently about how I create
  • to evolve my relationship with and how I tap in to inspiration, channel it, and express it in the outer world as form that can be shared with others.
  • to develop a clearer flow from inception of an idea to expression of it

In the long term, this will enable me to publish more frequently and share more, thus creating more ripples and having a larger positive influence on the world.  If I am able to share more, this will enable me to do more of my original intention when creating Maps of the Mind:

to share my experiences, to pass on ideas and resources that I enjoy or have been useful to me, and to share my thoughts, some of which I hope can inspire others.

To that I’d like to now add:
and have a positive influence on the world.

To those intentions I’d like to add:

  • to explore my own thoughts on the topic of Psychedelics. After years in and around the psychedelic world/community and approaching a decade of personal practice, it will be a great chance for me to assess where I’m at on my journey.
  • to present myself and my thoughts without over-editing. To use the challenge and awkward feelings I encounter as a practice in openness and honesty.

The challenge won’t enable me to get in to my over editing ways. So, prepare to see a rawer, unedited version of John!

The rules of the game

To publish one post each and every day for 30 consecutive days,
on the theme of Psychedelics.

Day 1 : July 1st.
Day 30 : July 30th.

Click publish on each post by midnight CET time.

That’s it. The rules outside of this are loose. The post could be:
a text post, a video post, an audio post, a post linking to other resources, a list post etc. There is no lower word limit (generation of words is not something I need to work on); the key is clicking ‘publish’ each and every day. I am allowed to create more than one post per day and save them for other days so I can have a day off. I may also use previously written but as yet unpublished material that is knocking around on my computer. Guest posts are also fine, so long as I write some kind of intro or outro for it myself.

What to expect / What I’d Like to Cover

My Experience as:

  • a psychedelic practitioner
  • a guide/facilitator
  • a retreat organiser

Tips & Practical Info:

  • How to make the most of sessions
  • Mindset
  • Tools
  • Session/Protocol creation
  • DIY Resources
  • Preparation
  • Navigation
  • Integration
  • Supporting Practices
  • Magic in psychedelic practice (AKA psychology, consciousness hacking, self programming, de-conditioning and re-conditioning)
  • Ritual
  • Non-psychedelic consciousness enhancers

My Thoughts & Perspective on

  • How psychedelics play in to change on individual and collective level
  • Their role in our species development at this time; psycho / activism, problem solving (collectively we are facing some pretty huge problems at this time), community building.
  • The psychedelic movement and its shadow side

My Favourite & Recommended Psychedelic Things

  • Books
  • Films
  • Influencers/figures
  • Articles
  • Music
  • Websites
  • Resources

…and potential for many more. Let’s see how much of that I can cover!

Psychedelics are something that I feel I could write and explore forever about, so the potential for ideas is not something I am worried about at all. Ideas are not something I am short of and writers block, in the sense of not knowing what to write, is never an issue. My block, or greatest Resistance, is my over-perfectionism, which can at times lead to an unhealthy obsessiveness. So this is the challenge and block that I am focused on overcoming.

I hope you will join me on this journey and hopefully in the process glean some insight, useful information… and enjoy the ride. I am excited! If you know of someone else who may enjoy, please share and I hope that this can spark some debate and continue to push the psychedelic movement forwards. I also invite you to speak about psychedelics a little more during the upcoming month, with whoever you like. I hope that this series will be able to provide some fuel for those conversations.

Perhaps you have one final question….

Why Psychedelics?

I’ll answer that tomorrow 😉 See you then!