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Finding Wisdom in Plant Medicine

Leah van der Kooy · September 29th, 2020

By Leah van der Kooy, Licensed Professional Counselor and Participant in Third Wave’s Microdosing Experience Program

What now? After completing a six-week course on microdosing plant medicine, I was left with a deep sense of conviction and curiosity that this was just the beginning. But, the beginning of what? I still don’t know, but I can say without reservation that a seed has been planted and I’m compelled more than ever to go out into the world and allow it to grow.

Microdosing plant medicine allows for a sub-perceptual awareness enhancement. This is to say that whatever you bring to the medicine, the medicine will help you see the layers that surround it, and you gain a clearer understanding of how to approach things. When I entered the Third Wave program, my goals were based in sorting through painful emotions, the desire to gain an understanding of my role in my relationship with others, and the intention of trusting the medicine to do its purported job. All three goals were met and exceeded.

Tapping into self-awareness and self-love

Today I find myself more contemplative. I have increased self-awareness, patience, and self-love. I’ve gained an understanding of how I can be a better human being in my relationships with others. An example of this is the amends that I needed to make to resolve the pain I’d inflicted upon others because of my alcohol abuse. In fact, having never stepped into an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting in 10+ years of sobriety from alcohol, I didn’t realize how much I was in need of emotional sobriety, not just abstinence from alcohol.

Before plant medicine, I always attributed my personality traits to being the victim of childhood trauma or due to unfortunate life circumstances. I never had a grasp on the fact that I directly contributed to the drama and dissolution of the relationships in my life. I wasn’t the victim, I made myself the victim. Plant medicine allowed me to see that my ego actually strengthened every time I dramatized a part of my life, was controlling and possessive, or took my anger out on others.

Whereas I thought I had control, I now see that I have none. I now see I needed none. My Higher Power is in control. Consequently, I have become a full-time member of Alcoholics Anonymous and I am working the 12 steps of recovery so that I may break free from the bondage of Self. Ask me a year ago if I thought I needed AA! I hadn’t picked up a drink in over a decade, but my personal life was in shambles. My ego, victimhood, and the limited understanding I had of myself wouldn’t have allowed me to see that connection. Psilocybin helped to connect the dots. I did all the work, but the medicine lifted the veil and allowed me to see inside of myself.

The path to personal transformation

Psilocybin woke me up to the reality that I needed to begin a life-long journey of repairing my spiritual health and make every attempt I could to be more compassionate toward the people around me who were struggling in their own personal interpretation of life and communication. I came to understand that we are all simply spiritual beings in a human body. Nothing is personal. We are all trying to figure life out the best way we know how. Everything is love, underneath the armor, the trauma, and the narrations we play in our head about how we think life has treated us. I understood how much ego played a role in all aspects of me. This was perhaps the most profound takeaway from this experience.

My first microdosing journey has not been easy; rather, it’s been a cathartic and growthful process that I will pursue, as needed, for the foreseeable future. A bigger journey is on my list of goals now, which includes a guided macro-dosing experience. I am clinically and personally interested in the research surrounding the positive mental effects of ketamine and MDMA, and I’m participating in an ayahuasca ceremony at some point within the next year. As a mental health professional, I plan to pursue integration training so I can give back to those who are suffering. I am compelled to bestow to others the life-changing gift that has been given to me.

The start of a spiritual and mental health movement

I feel relieved. Life hasn’t changed. It still is challenging and I’m uncertain about many things. But my journey is lighter now. I don’t have to carry such heavy bags anymore. I credit Third Wave and Paul Austin for the heroic and ground-breaking work they’ve embarked upon to bring plant- based medicine into the public consciousness. This topic deserves public attention and I am encouraged to see legalization efforts make it to the ballots in the upcoming 2020 election.

These medicines are here to serve, not to harm. They’re nothing to fear. Rather, they deserve respect and study. Public officials, mental health professionals, and physicians are seeing the light. We are at the very beginning of a spiritual and mental health movement that I believe could impact humanity. And in no small part, Third Wave is boldly leading the way to ensure that happens.

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