A Non-Ordinary FridayBy Emma Pearson
September 22, 2023
Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash
16th September 2023
In early January 2023, I had dinner with a couple of friends from my “end of life” circle. At that dinner, as well as bravely avoiding all contact with alcohol (dry January and all), I fell with delightful curiosity and intrigue into at least two, new-to-me, topics of conversation. One was ChatGPT, which I had not heard of nor experienced until that evening. And the other was Psychedelics. Of course I’d heard of Psychedelics, but didn’t realise I knew people, like these two, who’d tried/experimented/dabbled with them. These two well-grounded, law-abiding people? Tell me more! What? When? How? Why? Where? And, Now What?
By the end of that dinner, along with gentle (not reckless) encouragement from both, I determined that 2023 would be “my year of psychedelics” (along with “my swan song trail run”). I am not so good at setting new year’s resolutions but I do set intentions, and these were the two biggies. By the end of (dry) January I had a third intention – as little alcohol as possible in 2023. Not “none”. But just “a lot less”. And so far so good on that one.
Last weekend was my “Swan song trail run – Not ”, and yesterday was my first experience of having a non-ordinary state of consciousness, using MDMA 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Two commitments to myself, two gifts to myself, honoured within a week of one another.
I felt well-prepared. I’d had multiple conversations with lay people as well as professionals who “knew my story”. I’d read around. I’d even signed up for a Sounds True programme called The Psychedelic Wisdom Intensive.
Yes, I felt a little bit nervous, but mostly I felt a lot excited. I felt ready.
It was a good experience. No, I didn’t have brilliant, fluorescent colours swirling in front of my eyes, as Kaa the snake does in the Jungle Book. But something happened. Slowly slowly. Gently gently. Body, mind, heart sinking into deep relaxation (despite MDMA being an amphetamine, a stimulant). Calm. So very calm. Peaceful. At ease. Okay with the All of it.
I lost track of time. I had three of Frank Ostaseski’s brilliant invitations come to the forefront of my mind early on, then at various times throughout – a kind of mantra to breathe into – “Welcome everything, push away nothing”, “Bring your whole self to the experience”, and “Cultivate don’t know mind”. It made utter sense that his work would show up for me, guide me through the experience. I try to live his principles daily.
My intention, in as much as I had one without clinging to it, was to really “feel” Julia’s love for me. I know Julia loved me, but I wanted to really feel it. Again. Trust it was for real. Not just a memory.
I wanted to dare to go deeper, to surrender, into the pain of my losses. And to trust that the joy and gratitude that I have for life as it is today are authentic and genuine. To not feel that I am avoiding things. So often I have wondered, “How come I am doing so “well?” How come I love life – still – so very much? How is it I carry on, despite it all? Surely I must be faking something, avoiding something, bypassing something?”
I don’t know what the order of things was, but such beautiful wisdom, messages, insights, truths, invitations made themselves known to me. Bathing in peace and calm, love and wisdom. Such enormous feelings of peacefulness and calm. My body completely soft and relaxed even when sitting for a long time.
If there were one summary sentence, this is it: I feel utterly at peace with what’s happened, who I am, how I grieve, how I love, how I live, how I work.
Tears were softly softly rolling down my face as I felt, really felt, the feeling of being embraced and held by Julia, her love, her joy, her creative talents. A tender awareness that she goes on inspiring people every day. I felt feelings of total and utter peace as I engaged with her. Such acceptance of her death, of her choice. Deep and sincere gratitude for her love and presence in my life. Now, then, always.
What I have lived, what I live, is what it is. It just is.
My birth family – from Seven to Six.
My love family – from Five to Three.
What an amazing Seven. And now, what an amazing Six.
What an amazing Five. And now, what an amazing Three.
And today? Yes – the effects have worn off. A day later, it’s not all blissful joy and transcendence. It wasn’t yesterday, either. I don’t expect it to be and I don’t need it to be. The peace and okay-ness with the all of it remains for now. The love for Julia and acceptance of her choice is still there too. I hope it stays. It might come and go. And that’s okay too. I continue to miss her. I will always miss her. And Mike – the sweet love of my life who helped make me who I am. The ache is still there. And that’s okay too. I don’t need it to leave.
Live Long – Love Hard – Work Well
Sensing from Mike – You are me. I am you. You are in me. I am in you. Love Medjool fully, totally and completely. That is also how you love me. Love Medjool, love me.
Sensing from Julia – I lucked out on the parents. Grief doesn’t need to hurt so much. We can dance, we can touch hands and hold each other, but you’re there and I am here. You there, me here. You here, me there. Dad is in you, inside you. I am wrapped around, sitting, holding you from behind. Here. There. Bring back more music and dance into your life. Dance, sway with me. I will dance with you there.
Sensing about work – Bring deep love and compassion to every encounter, every connection. Your work is about love, life, connection, courage. It is all the right work.
Sensing from Edward and Don – Full permission not to actively grieve them, not to hold on, or wish I was grieving them “better”. With Ed, there is just fun and lightness, and otherwise he is needed with his family, mum and dad, Laura. I had a sense of “hands full – go!” And total and utter glee and joy that I am living fully. With Don – also no need to hang out with him. He is with others who need him.
Sensing about friends who have fallen by the wayside, disappeared, and horrified me by their absence after all the deaths – Full forgiveness, full acceptance, part of life’s impermanence, you are released, I am creating new and rich communities. Go well.
And my parents – Such gratitude, love and admiration for mum and dad. Loving and trusting their own wisdom. Utter certainty of their love for me, and me for them. I love their presence in my life, and they can go anytime.