#46 Best of 2021

December 28, 2021
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To mark the turning of yet another year, please enjoy this “Best-Of” Field Tripping episode with appearances by some of the year’s most memorable and insightful moments (in case you missed them the first time, or not!) including Dr. Andrew Weil, Zak Williams, Keith Farrazi, and more!

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[00:00:00] Ronan: Hey everyone, I'm your host Ronan Levy, and welcome to this special best of episode of Field Tripping. We compiled some highlight quotes from recent past episodes for you to relive and enjoy. We're off next week so we can relax and recharge over the holidays. Come back again next week for our regularly scheduled episode with Julian Uzielli on January 4th, but for now please sit back and tune in. 

Here's a clip from Zappy Zapolin, psychedelic concierge to the stars. 

[00:00:41] Zappy: That's all we're doing is just scan for danger, scan for danger. And so you become that, and you're just scanning for danger and the psychedelics realign you and bring you into a place within yourself. And this is what I consider spirituality, which is when you get to a point within [00:01:00] yourself where you are no longer looking at things through the human filter. And that's the problem is we human filter everything. So when you can take something like ketamine and you can get beyond the human filter, now you're able to, you know, really connect to what I would call source to connect to yourself. And the beautiful part is when you come out of it, you're resonating. It's almost like this ketamine is this incredible frequency that, you know, Timothy Leary in his paper, the eight areas of the brain, he said, The way you unlock the eighth area of your brain, the one that turns on your supercomputer, the tell- you know, the expanded satellite that you can take all this information is using ketamine. And so I just think that we are limited with our human filter and that if you can disconnect from that and get back to your own frequency of [00:02:00] vibration, that's spirit. You don't have to think- it's not necessarily outside of you. It's not, you know, some guy up in a cloud. It's you reconnect to that source and, you know, that's what I consider to be spirituality. So you don't even really need to believe in God, necessarily to have a spiritual experience. You can just go inside yourself, your own frequency and have that experience. Uh, and to me, that's what spirituality is about. And, you know, science is so limited that, you know, we all know that, you know, we keep finding things, you know, we didn't know there were bacteria and then we didn't know there were atoms and then they find quarks and it just, it goes on forever. So it's like, if, if you're going to try and science your way out of this thing, forget it. You're going to have to use the technology of psychedelics, of plant medicine, these things that are going to allow you and your incredible miraculous machine [00:03:00] to tap into that spiritual place. 

[00:03:03] Ronan: Next is Dr. Andrew Weil, Integrative Medicine MD, and leader of the war on drugs movement.

[00:03:10] Andrew: It seems to me that the great mistake that was made in the early days, uh, was that many people doing this kind of research and work did not realize how important set and setting are. That the magic is not in the substance, uh, it's the substance in the right context, right expectations, right environment. And that's one of the things that led to problems with early research on LSD especially, that, you know, the first people that were doing this got great results and reported them. And they were people who really knew from their own experience what, what this was all about. And then other people try to reproduce that and couldn't because they were just thinking that the magic was all in the substance and they just had to give that to people, and would get, you know, these wonderful [00:04:00] outcomes. And it doesn't work that way. So that's the first, you know, it's like, you cannot overemphasize the importance of- the importance of set and setting, of context, uh, and, and how to use that, to shape the experience. Uh, and the other, another thing is that I think that caused problems way back then, is that, um, many of the people who were most enthusiastic about, uh, psychedelics in the early days, were not sensitive to the, to how a lot of the mass culture would react to all this. Uh, you know, th th they, they just were not aware of how threatening it could be, um, and then went about in a very cavalier manner of saying this is going to change the world and how wonderful it is, and, uh, you know, it made a lot of people, very nervous. 

[00:04:53] Ronan: Do you think the world is different now? Do you think we have enough insight from the first go round, we have [00:05:00] enough wisdom from people like yourself, uh, and, and many of the other, uh, forefathers and foremothers of, of what's happening right now to avoid a lot of those mistakes? Are you hopeful that, uh, we're we're on the right path and, and, and won't divert?

[00:05:16] Andrew: I am. I am hopeful. I think first of all, the need for change is so great. Uh, secondly is that, uh, the, the interest in the general culture is so great and very positive. Um, so yeah, I think that potential is there. You know, if you look at cannabis, um, cannabis was a scary drug for mainstream culture because of its associations. It was associated with deviant subcultures, you know first with, uh, you know, uh, black jazz musicians and Mexican migrant laborers. And then with hippies and radicals. And a lot of the way the mainstream culture has reacted to cannabis is really to those- they were reacting to those associations more than to the [00:06:00] substance, and that's still, hasn't completely gone away. Psychedelics have not had that, you know those associations. And if anything, now there's a lot of positive associations with indigenous cultures, with mystical experience, with so forth. Uh, so I think psychedelics are in a better position to be accepted now. Um, and, uh, with all the evidence accumulating about their therapeutic benefit, especially for mental health conditions that we can't manage very well and that are becoming, you know, a great burden for our society, I think that has, they have a lot going for them now. So as long as, as people are- take minimal, basic precautions and proceed and, uh, you know, in a careful fashion, I think there's tremendous potential for these being integrated into our culture in a very good way. 

[00:06:49] Ronan: Next is Robin Williams' son, Zak, a mental health advocate and founder of his company PYM.

[00:06:55] Zak: Well, my journey with mental health started as a child. Uh, [00:07:00] I. I had OCD as a kid, um, something that contributed to insomnia and, uh, was a bit of a forcing mechanism around me finding opportunities to relieve that obsessive thinking and the anxiety associated with it, through my teens and adolescence. Uh, From an early age, I discovered self-medication, specifically using things like alcohol to manage that anxiety. Uh, and, uh, throughout my twenties, um, I kind of grew out of the OCD thing, but really found myself being more and more anxious and, uh, and reaching bouts of depression. All this came to a head after my dad died by suicide. Uh, I found myself experiencing, uh, the detrimental effects of alcohol [00:08:00] abuse and alcoholism manifesting in a progressive manner, um, meaning it was there and managed to really rear, you know, more of its ugly head through my being diagnosed with PTSD, finding myself self-medicating in a major way using alcohol and having nothing really get better for me personally. Um, through that experience, I realized a couple of things. One is I could support, uh, the underlying stress, anxiety and bouts of depression through a commitment to service, specifically mental health advocacy was something I discovered was really helpful for me. And then coinciding with that, I realized that if I actually took alcohol out of the equation, I was still stressed and anxious and kind of not feeling great and, uh, actually discovered [00:09:00] alternative ways to manage my wellbeing, applying a mental health hygiene ritual to manage one's wellbeing. Um, Through that journey, I started learning about other protocols and became a supporter of psychedelics and, uh, and developed an understanding that there is a mosaic of mental health supporting compounds, experiences, exercises that can be applied to provide precision solutions for an individual. So my journey around having mental health disregulation, anxiety, depression, addiction, as part of that, uh, led me to becoming an advocate, not only for mental health, but for precision oriented solutions.

[00:09:50] Ronan: Now we have Deran Young, LCSW and founder of Black Therapists Rock. 

[00:09:55] Deran: I did a lot of research from the Eastern perspective on [00:10:00] how they view, uh, birthing and labor, um, as we call it in the west. We call it the west, labor. In the, uh, in the east, I think they call it more of service, transition, uh, tradition, you know, there's a lot of other, uh, concepts that go along with the birthing process in the Eastern philosophy. So I will say that, um, one of the things that was really helpful to me that, that kind of mirrored the balance of the two worlds is something called the fourth trimester. And it says that, you know, we as humans, we're coming from a very connected and warm and loving and trusting, um, place, and secure place. We're securely attached in the womb. And when we come out to this world, it is very abrupt, um, especially the way that we do it here in the west, and bright lights, you know, sterile environment. It's not like a communal, um, village kind of, um, experience. And so I did a lot of research on the fourth trimester. [00:11:00] And they said that we're supposed to try to recreate the womb experience as much as possible. And I thought about how much privilege it takes to be able to know something like that here in America. As a black woman, you know, so many- I was actually doing counseling with other black women and women of color while I was in the military, pregnant. Um, and I realized that so many of us women, it's a privilege to be able to, uh, take care of our bodies or take care of ourselves while we're going through this birthing process, because the American society says you're not sick, nothing's wrong with you, you don't need anything special, soldier on, you know, kinda. And I actually, you know, broke- my water broke while I was at work. The military setting was the perfect place to really learn a lot about how not to do it. And Africa was a place that really showed me a lot of other options of how I could do it. Um, and knowing that these are two different environments, but how could I blend the two, um, in a way that worked for me [00:12:00] and my family. So I definitely believe that that's a thing. Um, I believe that, uh, intergenerational trauma is passed through the womb. Um, I don't know if you've heard that your grandmother was carrying your mom's eggs, you know, at the time of her, uh, her birthing process. So, you know, I believe that trauma is definitely passed down. I'm three generations removed from slavery, so that's something that's very important for me to think about and talk about a lot. Um, it was kind of the cornerstone of my work and, um, yeah, I think that suffering is a part of reality. And I think that we sometimes have a false dichotomy between reality and consciousness, um, just as we do with science and spiritual- spirituality or sacredness. Um, and I think it's time to really blend some of these polarizations that we've, we've created as humans, um, as, uh, a form of false safety. But, you know, to really be able to say both and, to be able to include all the things and see the connectedness in all things. [00:13:00] 

[00:13:00] Ronan: That's super cool. 

Up next is Bri Emery, LA-based art director and the founder of the lifestyle blog, designlovefest.

You recently completed our ketamine assisted therapy program in New York. And I have a ton of questions about that. My first question you've already answered, which is you had tried psychedelics before going into our therapy program, but it sounds like only once or twice, is that correct? 

[00:13:26] Bri: Um, I actually- I have more experience with microdosing and I've probably done psychedelics maybe like under 10 times, but I'd never done ketamine. I actually did it, uh, the ketamine in, in Los Angeles, not New York. 

[00:13:42] Ronan: Oh, sorry. I have a typo here. 

[00:13:45] Bri: I was going to do it in New York, but I ended up doing it in LA and yeah. So I'd never tried ketamine before this experience. 

[00:13:53] Ronan: Okay. And I would've loved to have asked you this question beforehand, but I'm going to [00:14:00] see if we can get some insight into it. How would you have defined yourself before you started the program? And how do you see yourself after having gone through it? 

[00:14:12] Bri: I would say that the biggest shift was before, I felt a lot more worry on the back, like behind the scenes. Maybe people close to me could, could notice that or know that I'm constantly scanning for danger, sort of thinking ahead, ever, always thinking ahead, always scanning. And that takes a real toll on your body, when you're just not living in the moment and you're living in the future so that you can feel safe all of the time. And when you've experienced trauma, that's just something that you're trying to control all of the time, is feeling like you know what's going to happen, you're [00:15:00] you're in control and, and you're safe. I would say that after doing it, I've experienced a lot less worry, and a lot more connection to my intuition, which tells me a much clearer picture of the moment. It's not living in my ego, which is constant scanning, and it's living more in my soul or in my intuition with, okay I recognize you're feeling that way, but what if we looked at it like this? And so it's put a lot more space around all of my reactions, which affects every area of your life. 

[00:15:44] Ronan: How did you get there?

[00:15:45] Bri: There were definitely a lot of metaphors and abstract visions that I saw that, let's see if I can try to explain, but it would be like, what, like, I felt like it was sort of like [00:16:00] riding on a drone. The experience was like, so zoomed, it would zoom all the way out. And then zoom so far in, it was basically in the cells of my own body. So it was zooming out, and zooming in at the slowest pace possible. So nothing ever felt overwhelming, but it widened my perspective so that when I am getting overwhelmed or I am feeling triggered, I can remember to even look wider, you know, like, uh, take this like somatic approach of like, how can I calm down my body and widen my perspective here because I'm, I'm experiencing tunnel vision right now and it's causing my body to react a certain way. So it was not only showing me visuals that sort of exemplified that, but it would also show my body such peace and such ease that it was almost whispering to [00:17:00] me, like, you could feel like this all the time, you know? You could come back to this place behind your eyes, like, cause it's very similar to like a very deep meditation. So it really was letting me know, like, you can always come back here, like, at any point and it was showing me that in the most fantastic visual way, but it's hard, very hard to explain, but that's the feeling that I, I kept receiving over and over. I also experienced- during my fourth session, I went a little bit deeper and I decided to lay down. And this was, I was able to move around and do more release in my body. And so when I was coming back, like out off of the medicine, my legs started like involuntarily shaking a lot, okay, and I could hear in my mind it was kind of saying like, this is good, you're unwinding. And it kind of was showing me this spiral motion of like, just unwind it. Like [00:18:00] let it all out. All this tension that's been built up that we don't even really know how to access that we can access through our subconscious. It was like releasing like a primal release of stress, cause you know, they say like animals, like after they're going to be attacked, they like their whole body will shake and then they're not stressed anymore. Like, they removed it. So it was almost like it was removing it from a body perspective, but it was also helping me with like the mental idea around it. So, you know, simple things like that. 

[00:18:33] Ronan: And here's Dr. Mike Dow, psychotherapist, author, and known for his expertise on VH1's Couples Therapy. 

I'm curious to know, you know, through your ketamine experiences or otherwise, have you been able to unpack that and see beyond the inspiration that clearly your father, who sounds like he was an amazing figure in, in this experience, um, brought. You know, how, how did it affect you and how did it change your [00:19:00] perspective on the world and how you view yourself?

[00:19:03] Mike Dow: That is a great question. And I will say absolutely a hundred percent it came up. So it came up in a rather indirect way. Um, and by the way, the other profound experience that I had this year, losing my grandfather to COVID. Um, that also came up in a recent, uh, ketamine assisted psychotherapy session that I personally had, and I think it comes up in a, you know, if talk therapy is using the left hemisphere and logic and how do I make sense of that, right? I feel like that's a very talk therapy way to process trauma, um, ketamine kind of accesses things in a very different way, I think a more feeling way. Um, so one of the experiences I had, uh, the ego death and feeling at one with all living creatures, and knowing not, not, uh, not, uh, well, somebody told [00:20:00] this to me so I believe that to be true knowing, but in experiential knowing, that it's really hard to put into words. Um, I really got this sense that, oh, our bodies are simply garages for our souls. And I, I had that spiritual experience and I, and I think I also, there are a lot of images and, and, um, metaphors that were very visual. So, you know the love of a mother and my brother and I, and now my partner in all of the love in the world, um, I could sort of, I was in it and I felt it. And that, sort of in this indirect way helped me to come to terms with my trauma and, and how that shaped me in my attachment style, um, in, in my family as a child, and then later in life in my romantic relation- relationships and even my friendships. And then also, I think this is a really sort of more direct example. I had this experience [00:21:00] of feeling at one with the universe and I saw these stars and this was just a couple months ago. And I knew in that moment that all the stars were living beings who had passed, and that one of the stars was my grandfather. And after I was coming out, uh, Dr. Randy, our Director of Consciousness, he said, Well, how's he doing? Is he okay? I said, yeah, my grandpa's okay. So isn't it so interesting that that feeling in that one moment was like, oh, that sort of healed and, and helped me to grieve in a way that is so, so different than traditional talk therapy. And again, and, and then of course I could take that to a talk therapy session as you and I are talking about it now, but I think it's a good example to see, and to understand how ketamine assisted psychotherapy works in a very, very different, deeper, more experiential way than any other therapy I think we have on the face of the planet. 

[00:21:55] Ronan: Yeah. That totally resonates with me. 

Now, wrapping [00:22:00] up with Keith Ferrazzi, entrepreneur and author. 

[00:22:04] Keith: Always ask the question, who? We get so much time focused on the strategy, the objectives, the, you know, how am I going to get there? What do I have to do? Ask the question, who? Who do I need to build relationships with to achieve whatever that goal is, from love to, um, changing the world in, in, in human consciousness? Um, then figure out a systematic way to build those relationships with those people. And you're going to do it through service of them. And then while you're, while you're doing all of that, show up authentically so that it further solidifies the loyalty in that relationship. That's kind of it. I mean, there's a lot of tactics in every loan and how you build that broad set of relationships. There's a lot of tactics and who's got your back and how you build a team that won't let you [00:23:00] fail. There's a lot of tactics in leading without authority, and how do you work inside of an organization to get things done in networks that don't report to you. In my new book, that's going to be coming out, Competing in the New Work World, again, a lot of tactics but, it really, you know, I think the biggest gift I can give everybody is the word of co-elevation. If you imagine that everybody you're in relationship with, your desire and your objective is to find ways to co-elevate, go higher together, you'll be a winner. 

[00:23:31] Ronan: And one last question. For anyone who's just starting to think about psychedelics or is starting, you know, having had early experiences or even someone who's advanced, you know, is there any takeaway, any piece of advice that you'd give to them as, as they embark on their journey within psychedelics specifically? 

[00:23:53] Keith: Look for somebody who can be your sherpa, your guide, your [00:24:00] journey leader, not specifically through the journey, but I mean, your advisor. Look for somebody whose ethos is somebody that you believe the work has been done on and with them, uh, successfully. Find the people who walk in this world with a smoother step, who are the kind of people that you want to be, and trust those individuals to be your guide to where to go. And then the other thing I would say is on a personal basis, there is now enough professional support, um, in this industry and in this space that I wouldn't, I wouldn't go with, uh, people who don't have professional cred in, in their guidance. I would wait for the guidance of professionals in this process. 

[00:24:54] Ronan: That is great advice. 

I hope you liked what you just heard or reheard, [00:25:00] and maybe it provokes some new thoughts, new feelings and new actions you may want to take in your life. Remember to please rate and review our podcast if you liked what you just listened to. Also, please reach out to us either via email at fieldtripping@kastmedia.com, that's Kast with a K, or leave us a voicemail with a how to question at speakpipe.com/fieldtripping. Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast that's dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host Ronan Levy. Until next time, stay curious, breathe properly, and remember every day is a field trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping is created by Ronan Levy. Our producers are Conrad Page and Harley Roman. And associate producers are Sharon Bhella, Alec Sherman, Macy Baker and Tyler Newbold.[00:26:00]

About Ronan

An entrepreneur and a visionary, Ronan is one the founders of Field Trip – with a mission to bring the world to life through psychedelics and psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy. Concurrent with his work at Field Trip, he is a partner at Grassfed Ventures, a venture capital and advisory firm focused on the cannabis and biotech industries and is Chief Strategy Officer and Member of the Board of Directors for Trait Biosciences Inc., a leading biotech company in the hemp and cannabis industries. Prior to his current roles, Ronan co-founded Canadian Cannabis Clinics and CanvasRx Inc., the latter of which was acquired by Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) in 2016, after which he served as Senior Vice President, Business and Corporate Affairs for Aurora. A lawyer by training, Ronan started his career as a corporate lawyer at Blake, Cassels Graydon LLP and Legal Counsel at CTVglobemedia Inc. (now Bell Media Inc.) He holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Commerce degree, both from the University of Toronto.