Tag Archive for: review

conscious psychedelic explorer program course testimonial review

The second cohort of my 6-week course, The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer finished a couple of weeks ago at the end of November.

As I’ve wrapped up, I’ve been talking with some of the members inside to learn about their experiences. The post today is a transcription of one of those conversations.

I wanted to share this to give people an idea of what it’s like inside and for those of you who might be on the fence about joining and would like to know more.

This conversation is between myself (J), and Mark (M) – an alias- and has been edited with permission for clarity:

J:

So where I’d like to begin is to ask, where were you before the course versus where you are now?

M:

So I’ve probably taken the psychedelics for, we’re probably coming up on two and a half years. I’ve probably taken 15 to 18 doses of psilocybin and three doses of MDMA. All of which, the protocol and the means by which I took them was formed out of just research that I did on the internet. And while I had what I thought was a fairly good protocol, as you can imagine it was evolving over all that time.

I find now that when I look at the overall protocol after the course, I can see it’s gonna be much more structured. Considering a lot of the things that you brought up throughout the course, I look at them and say, oh, that makes sense.

Like, setting aside a specific day. I mean, those thoughts come up, but when you hear somebody else say things, it makes it a little bit more solid to you. So going into my next experience, it’s gonna be much more structured.

I think because of that, it’s going to be better because I’m a structured kind of person, it gives me a sense of comfort. I don’t know why I didn’t tie to it before, but having you lay things out from one end to the other, has allowed me to see a more complete view of it. So that’s kind of where I stand.

J:

Right. Yeah, it’s great to hear that as a structured person, you’ll bring some of that more to your psychedelic work.
What has been your biggest win or your biggest result or benefit from taking the course?

M:

I’m gonna say twofold. So one of the big wins for me is the structure and the way you laid out the modules and stepped through everything and gave me that view.

Next, I think as I look at the journaling exercises and look at the exercises that we’ve done, I have more confidence in planning my next experience.  I think having that confidence, having that control, and going into the next experience is huge.

Finally, I would say the community. The group calls and the breakout rooms, I found much more value in that than I anticipated, especially the breakout rooms. I usually don’t like that. When you first said you’re gonna do the breakout rooms? I was shaking my head saying, “no, why are we going down this path?” <laughs>

But I found them, literally, every one of them was fruitful, in one way, shape or form. So that was huge for me. Being able to talk openly within the community calls was so incredible. I don’t have anybody I can talk to about it, nobody around me, or in my sphere, is active in psychedelics. I mean, we’re talking about something that’s illegal here, so it’s not like you can have this open conversation about it. It was huge for me to be able to just talk about it openly and freely and hear other people’s experiences.

Viewing my work with psychedelics through the lens of your course materials has forced me to take a broader, more holistic look at how I approach the whole experience. Instead of shallow planning really focused on just the day of dosing I now look at it from end to end.
First for me was setting a date on the calendar, making it an official or special event to work toward. Now that I have my sights on this special event how can I prepare in the days leading up to it to ensure success? The groundwork outlined in the course materials has helped me to create a much more engaged and thorough approach to the event day.
Sticking with the holistic approach of your course I have also, for the first time, created a structured plan on how to address the hours and days following the event. Instead of a loose idea of what Integration will look like, I have a plan and scheduled activities for my aftercare and integration.
Reflecting on the two major areas I have described above; each is built upon multiple concepts from within the course materials.
What is my biggest takeaway or lesson? That cannot really be named. All components build upon and complement each other, all have value and importance.

J:

Amazing to hear so much has sunk in for you. What was your favorite part of the course?

M:

The way you packaged and presented it. I’ve looked at some other courses before and I mean, we’ve obviously all been to courses, we’ve been to classes and learned things. To me, you provide the wisdom of experience in your knowledge that lies beyond just teaching. Beyond that it’s not delivered in an antiseptic way, or the way I would traditionally see a course. It was more like having a discussion with a wise friend that understands what you’re talking about.

You deliver and lead the course more from a caring perspective. I mean, the way you present your materials, lead the calls and facilitate the conversations, it was all delivered and created, not in a “yeah, I’m just going put this class together so you can learn the material and get through it” way.

There was caring and that’s the best way to describe it. There was care in the content that you created and the way you facilitated it. So that was super good for me. I didn’t feel like I was just in a class to just learn the material and go away, you know what I mean? Even the material done at home away from the calls, seemed to be done in a very caring way. That was huge for me too.

J:

Very much appreciate that. What would you say to somebody who’s on the fence about purchasing or joining the course?

M:

I would say do it!
Again, I’m going to go back to the way the overall course is presented, because it is presented in what is such a caring way, conscientious if you will. A way that is backed by what is obviously a passion for what you’re teaching.
If you’re interested in it, then you’ve got some questions or you’ve got some learning to do, to be honest, don’t we all have something we can learn from one another?
The volume and the accuracy of the content were rock solid too. It wasn’t this happy little kumbaya moment where we all just sit around and feel fuzzy and warm, but don’t learn anything. You were able to combine the kumbaya moment where it’s fuzzy and warm and everybody feels happy, but you were also able to present a lot of knowledge, and a lot of solid takeaways that will make you think and make you look at how you do things.
Even with all my research and limited experience, I was presented with completely new concepts that I was missing in the past. There is a lot of content here and I believe it contains something for everyone interested in psychedelics.

J:

Thank you for your kind words M. I’m really glad you joined. I’ve enjoyed your presence and the curiosity and sharing that you brought to the group.

The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer opens for registration again on the 10th of January 2023. Join the waitlist to get first access.

the conscious psychedelic explorer review

A couple of weeks ago, we finished the second run of my six-week cohort-based course, The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer.

Overall, beautiful. Helping others to work with psychedelics for learning and growing is something I find truly meaningful.

We had an amazing group come together with 10 members joining for this round. Now the dust has settled, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on this group, and my plans for the next cohort in January.

Diverse Group

We had a diverse group, which I always enjoy. We had members in France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, the US, and the UK. Love the international vibe. To my surprise, even two members of the group had no experience with any of the classic psychedelics, only plans and a desire for extra support and education before the first liftoff. A couple more were also new on the path of conscious use. 

Originally I built this course for intermediate explorers, but I did adapt it a little this time around and make it more beginner friendly, making sure to cover all the basics. The upshot of this is that there is something for everyone and a more mixed group, some who’ve lots of experience alongside newcomers.

The newcomers keep it fresh, help to remind us all of the fundamentals and key principles, and connect us to the beginner’s mind. The experienced members offer their experience, knowledge, and resources. That is something that I love about the mix. 

Community is a bit of a trite word these days but the wisdom and energy of a group really do contribute more than the individuals inside. Although I am facilitating the process and organizing, I do see that the group takes on a life of its own, becoming something of its own entity.

Camaraderie And Connection

What I also love is that the community sparks connections. I loved seeing friendships bloom. It has been great to hear that other members have been chatting with each other, or even better, planning ceremonies. 🙂 It’s cool to get updates from people before and after their experiences and to see the support from other members. 

On our final call, we had the chance to get a bit sentimental and misty, and many members remarked how the depth of connection with others was a surprise. One mentioned how they joined the course hoping to gain a technical understanding of how to organize psychedelic sessions, but received personal insights by way of the group. We had space for sincerity and openness to challenges and doubts, and also for fun and laughs.

Offshoots

We had a couple of offshoots from this group. One was a Psychedelic Film Club. We made a separate Signal group and shared film recommendations, and had some discussions there. A few members went deep on this, having their own “psychedelic film festival” and plowing through a bunch of films and doing their own deep dive. Very cool. I joined in for a couple, a screening of Aware: Glimpses Of Consciousness, which we watched at the same time, and joining a pre-and post-screening zoom call for a chat with other members. The other was watching a new personal fave Descending the Mountain. It has been a movie I’ve been wanting to see for years, so it was great to have a free and legit viewing sourced by one of our members and the group energy impetus to set aside the time even in a busy period.

As another side quest, I invited all members to join me in a daily awareness/mindful practice for 30 days on week 2. This coincided with week 2’s lesson on awareness, one of the lessons in the first module on foundations for working with psychedelics.

When the 30 days were up, one of the members suggested we keep it going for another 30 days, so we’re currently continuing with that, with a post and update in the Signal group each day. I like sharing and supporting others in meditation practice, so this is something I’ll definitely invite from future cohorts.

Embers

Ultimately I’d like to build something that outlasts me, that stands on its own, something that would just continue if I disappeared. And whilst this small community isn’t there yet, I see the embers of something great. So I’ve decided to reopen the course for another 10 members in January.

I like this group size, its small enough to keep intimate and give all members a chance to get to know each other, but large enough to have some group energy and diversity.

Registration will be open for one week from the 10th – 17th January. The course will begin with the first live call on the 19th.

If you’re interested, I encourage you to join the waitlist here for early access.

What’s Inside CPE in 2023

Beyond the 6 weeks, I will be offering a whole bunch of extras throughout 2023 for all new course members.

We will have monthly community calls for all course alumni, and I’m quite excited to see members new and old mixing.

I’ll also be offering quarterly workshops. The first, Music, Playlists, and the Art of Listening in Psychedelic Sessions, is already on the calendar for February 5th. These workshops will be included for CPE members, but I will also open them to others who’d like to join in the fun.

We will also have a bunch of guest classes, experiences, and calls.

This includes a neuroscience class from Manesh Girn, a live deep listening session with Wavepaths & founder Mendel Kaelen, a look into psychedelic facilitated nature connection with Dr Sam Gandy, a research overview and Q&A with Floris from Blossom, solo trips special with Psoirée founder Ray Christian, and a few others to be confirmed. These classes themselves could be a course and I’m excited to learn from these experts alongside the community.

If you want 2023 to be the year where you go pro in your knowledge and practice with psychedelics, this is an amazing opportunity. It’s a course with basically an added one-year membership to a club with expert classes, community calls, and quarterly workshops.

What’s On For You in 2023?

To close on a year’s end theme, I’d like to invite you to consider, what are your goals for 2023? What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations? What would, if accomplished or experienced by year’s end, would make the year a meaningful one for you?

If it’s anything to do with psychedelics, come join us in the CPE!

 

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fireworks

Challenging experiences often end up being our most valuable and offer the most opportunity for learning and growth. This year has been challenging to many of us in many different ways and as such provides plenty of fuel for a fruitful end of year review.

Today I have 2 questions that allow you to do year review and allow the lessons from the year to sink in a little deeper. This was a historic year, and in the future, when people ask: ‘how was 2020 for you?’, you will have a pretty nice idea 😉

I encourage you to take an hour or two to sit down and journal your answers to these 2 questions. 

1. What were the most significant events and experiences of your year?

If you need further prompting, think… emotional, spiritual, physical, mental.
You can make a timeline and run through January to December

2. What did you learn in 2020?

What were your biggest lessons? What was the universe trying to teach you in 2020?
Your timeline of the year will be useful as a reference point here.

 

The first question should begin to make a narrative of your year and your story arc as the year progressed. The 2nd will help to consider the lessons and make you more aware of them. With just these 2 questions and a little bit of time, you will be able to unpack a lot a have a fruitful end of year review.

Review With Friends

If you have a friend or friends that are interested, you can do it with them as a group activity. I had a great time doing this with some friends recently. The group dynamic and hearing about each others journeys over the year allowed further opportunities for connection and reflection. It worked well to have a round for sharing after time for journaling on each question.

You can also come up with some other questions together that might be fun. Here are some others we came up with:

How did COVID 19 affect you?

Which people influenced you the most in 2020?

This was a really fun one. You can do this one as a countdown, like a top 5 or top 3.

How have your values changed in 2020 compared to 2019?

What occupied your time this year?

How did you spend the minutes and hours that made up this year? What were the projects you worked on? What were your habits? Who were the people you were around?

 

Best wishes for 2021

Who knows what the year ahead is going to hold but with a little reflection at the end of this year I’m sure you’ll find some direction to head into 2021. I wish you happy holidays and an excellent start into the new year.

Last month I completed my most difficult 30 day challenge yet; publishing a new blog post about psychedelics every day for 30 days of July.

It was an incredible month packed with synchronicities and very meaningful to me in terms of challenging myself and cultivating a growth and exploratory mindset. I can say that it has been one of the most interesting months of my life and so many things occurred, not all clearly because of the challenge, but in ways that I don’t think were entirely coincidental.

The month also nicely coincided with two other milestones for Maps of the Mind, the most views and visitors the site has ever received in a month, and also during the month, 2020 became the year with the most views and visitors. With 5 months left this is very promising and by years end will set a nice new bar for me to reach in 2021.

I’d originally planned to do a review on the final day of the month but in the end needed the time to prepare for a work trip to the Netherlands. I just arrived back on Wednesday and today wanted to take the time to sit down and review the challenge and allow the lessons and all that passed to sink in a little deeper.

PSYJuly Review

Going into the challenge I was both excited and nervous. At the start of July I’d averaged around one post per month on the blog so this was effectively multiplying my output by a factor of 30 – no small amount. However, I knew that my slow rate was due largely to overthinking and perfectionism and the idea of making a jump that was so ridiculous in this regard was that I knew it would push me to overcome this resistance and through whatever was holding me back.

I learned an incredible amount about my writing process and was able to experiment with different ways of approaching writing articles, from structuring, drafting and also using different writing tools.

It was a challenging process and although letting go of those perfectionist tendencies was one of the main difficulties, there were were other hurdles such as days when I didn’t feel that motivated or inspired, and other days when I was tired and was still faced with the fact that I still had to crank out another piece. There were also some very personal things I wrote about which I’ve never shared in public and was nervous about posting online.

At those difficult moments, there were many things which helped. Here I will share a few of those things and I believe these will be most useful for me to remember going forward into new challenges.

Fully committing beforehand

Fully committing 100% to completing the challenge beforehand helped me to find ways and solutions through tight spots. The biggest example of this came on day 11 with an unexpected obstacle.

I was out on my skateboard early on the Sunday morning (I have found weekend mornings are the best times to skate as the city sleeps and you have the roads to yourself). One third in to the 30 days of publishing, I was feeling great about my creative output and in an excellent mood. The sun was shining, I had music playing in my headphones and, skating on some newly paved smooth ass roads, I felt on top of the world. I busted out a few new tricks that I haven’t in a while and was getting a little bit cocky. What happens when you get too cocky? You get a hard lesson.

Flying down the road on my way home from Alexanderplatz I attempted something I haven’t landed in years, and clipping the curb, fell hard. After lying on my back for around 15 minutes, making strange noises whilst I dealt with the pain, I picked myself off the tarmac and with a blood stained T-shirt, gingerly got myself home.

With my cuts and scrapes cleaned and bandaged up and an icepack applied to my right elbow, I was OK, but I’d totally lost the use of my right arm. No movement whatsoever, I couldn’t use my fingers, I couldn’t use my hand. The whole right arm was immobile and in a lot of pain.

At this point I might’ve thought that maybe I can’t go on with the challenge. After all, losing all use of your dominant arm is quite a setback if you are planning on writing. However by this stage I was so committed to the challenge that I knew I had to find a way.

Coincidentally, I had read article the day before called Setback or step up? about whether a change is a setback or an opportunity depends on your framing. It clicked in my mind that this is actually an opportunity for me rather than a hindrance. Thinking back to my original intentions, one of them was to force myself to think differently about how I create. If this wasn’t an opportunity for me to to think differently then what was?

I began dictating my first draft directly into Google Docs using voice typing and did my editing one-handed with my left hand. This editing process was tedious and time-consuming, but determination and resolve kept me going and I feel like I really strengthened these muscles through this trial. Fully committing to the decision to finish 30 days is something that ultimately pushed me through and kept me determined.

In this regard taking the time before hand to think about why I was doing it and having clear intentions very much helped me.

Revisiting Intentions

When stuck in some way, revisiting my original intentions helped a lot. I was able to remember why I was doing this and use it as a compass and impetus for action. There were many occasions when I started to get a little bit jammed or doubting and one of my intentions absolutely cleared up the issue for me and gave me a clear focus and direction to move forward.

Explorer’s Mindset

Seeing the month as an experiment very much helped to let go of perfectionism. I was able to tell myself that it was an experiment and that I would gain valuable data whatever happens and whatever I put out. This is one of the most useful mindsets I’ve found in terms of growing and something I wish to continue to cultivate.

Setting Limits

The first week was difficult and I had to overcome a lot of resistance to hitting the publish button when I was not happy with what I was putting out. Fortunately I had a very busy month outside of the writing challenge and though that might seem like the worst time to do such a challenge, it was actually a blessing. It pushed me to hit publish early in the day so that I could move on and get on with the rest of my day. It meant that I couldn’t afford to continually edit or try to refine the post.

I would set a deadline early in the day, do the piece to the best that I could by that time, publish it, and then move on. When my deadline came, usually around 10 or 11 am, I would remind myself that the point was to practice hitting publish even whilst not being satisfied with the final piece. Some days I really didn’t want to publish, but coming out the other side can say it was definitely worth it. I always have the opportunity to revisit and edit pieces in the future if I like.

More next time…

There is plenty more to this, but alas I am out of writing time and need to move on with the day. I’ll continue in a part two of this post soon… see you next week!