Transcript: How Psychedelics Can Help You Find Fulfilment In Life – Kim Iglinsky
Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Kim Iglinsky.
From fashion model to psychedelic guide – Kim Iglinsky has an unusual career path. Kim describes how her upbringing in an Israeli Kibbutz, followed by an unsatisfying career in modeling, led to her seeking love and belonging in psychedelic ritual. Ayahuasca played an important part in the transformation that helped her find meaning and fulfillment in life. She describes her practices of psychedelic integration, and how her microdosing regimen keeps her depression at bay.
In this episode we talk about:
- How military service and a modeling career left Kim emotionally disconnected
- How ayahuasca helped Kim discover a sense of belonging
- How Kim microdoses with Psilocybin mushrooms to treat her depression
- Why integration practices are lacking in modern culture
0:00:29 Paul Austin: Hey listeners, it’s Paul Austin, host of The Third Wave Podcast, welcome back to another episode. I’m in full prep mode for “Burning Man” at the moment, I’m actually going to my first burn tomorrow. I fly out Wednesday at the moment as I record this and then I’ll be in the playa, on the playa for a full week out to experience whatever it is that you experience. And from what I’ve heard it’s hard to prepare for an event that you can’t really prepare for. So I’ve been doing my best, I’m packing a few things, doing a few Amazon shopping sprees, getting a few little cool clothing items. But all in all, I’m just somewhat nervous but also excited to go out and experience the desert in Nevada. It’s a fun little personal update.
0:01:08 PA: On this week’s podcast, we have Kim Iglinsky who is a former model, now turned coach who did extensive work with herself in healing some of her past, particularly issues with depression, with the microdosing Psilocybin mushroom. And obviously one of the big focal points of The Third Wave is microdosing, it’s education around microdosing, the potential usefulness and practicality of microdosing, so I wanted to bring Kim on the show, to give a more personal in-depth perspective of someone who has struggled with depression herself, and decided to turn to psychedelics, and particularly microdosing psychedelics to help with that process. So in this podcast, you’ll hear, a lot about Kim’s journey, in terms of what got her involved in modeling and how that led to her moving to New York City and eventually the Bay Area, and then where Ayahuasca, but also microdosing started to play a role in her own healing process. As always, if you enjoy the Podcast, please leave a review on iTunes, we would love your support on Patreon, patreon.com/thethirdwave. If you make a small monthly donation on Patreon, we’ll give you a few little gifts. So again, your support is much appreciated. Patreon.com/thethirdwave. So without further ado, I bring you Kim Iglinsky.
0:02:35 PA: I’ve never spent any time in Israel and I’m not Israeli myself, but there’s obviously a lot of conflict in and, it sounds like you made a really intentional decision then to move to the States to get away from that, so to say.
0:02:49 Kim Iglinsky: I definitely made a conscious effort to, actually it was more about exploration, I just wanted to explore other experiences, and then once I started, I realized how insane it was, that I would tell people that I did a mandatory army service, and that would be crazy where for me, it was like, “What do you mean? Everybody does it.”
0:03:12 KI: Right.
0:03:13 KI: But I’m glad to be back here. The Bay Area, I essentially progressively moved west until I got to the Bay Area where I feel like I found my people, I found people who were like have the… We’re not dealing with safety issue, with root Chakra safety, and we can actually build on top of that and then what we’re building could be in the service of humanity, having a better experience of this lifetime. So that’s what led my life since I moved here about 14 years ago. So initially, when I moved out of Israel, I started modeling, I’m kinda modeling of, I went to Milan and did modeling over there, and then moved all around Europe through this modeling, essentially in Germany, and Paris, and London, and eventually moved to New York. And when I got an agency there, and I modeled for 12 years, I did runway and editorial modeling for about 12 years. Before, this life was not satisfying anymore, essentially.
0:04:35 KI: And I met my husband, Michael, which you know, and who you know. And we decided to move out here together. He’s originally from here, so we moved out here together. And this is where my personal development chapter of my life began and I’m really grateful for it, because up until then, it was all about working in order to support our lifestyle. And once we came over here, it became about more than that and how, “What’s the impact we can have on other people?” And, “How can we create more of the life experience that we want to?” Rather than just accumulating boast things and transient experiences. So yeah.
0:05:31 PA: So I’m curious, what brought about that change for you from modeling, and runways, and spending intense time in New York City to making the transition to living in San Francisco and opening up that chapter of your life. Was there one moment or one experience or was it an accumulation of experiences that just finally had you saying, with Michael, “I think it’s time to move out to the Bay Area.”?
0:06:00 KI: Yeah, I think it was an accumulation… I’m pretty sure it was an accumulation of experiences. Growing up, I always wanted to have this meaningful experience and I wanted to be out there and experience life. And I think I also had an intense desire to feel love and belonging, which I didn’t really have growing up in Israel. And I think a part of my… The modelling career that I have was to be seen, and to be adored and to be loved and appreciated and certainly on covers of magazines and just people looking up to me and wanting to be around me and wanting to dress me and it felt like the right place to move toward in order to feel this love and belonging. But I do have a memory of one moment where I was living in New York at the time, and I did an advertising for the Gap. And I was walking down 5th Avenue and I saw the ad that I did on a 10-storey building, and there was a 10-storey building with this Gap ad and that would surely give me the satisfaction, there was like this moment of satisfaction. And then there was feeling of emptiness and I was really noticing how unsatisfying it was and how unfulfilling… And I think that was like this marker where things started… I started noticing how much this life isn’t actually giving me the love and belonging that I’d like.
0:07:47 KI: And it was starting to erode since after that. And over time, it’s a job that’s very hard to say no to, the lifestyle is glamorous. There’s a lot of money, a lot of traveling, a lot of fun. And I was in my 20s so it was all pretty fabulous but at the same time, both Michael and I started feeling like it wasn’t enough. And I think it was after 9/11, we were living in New York at the time, and we started asking ourselves, if this is all there is. Michael was in the art world at the time, and we were partying every night and meeting a lot of people and having a lot of fun. But it felt repetitive and ungratifying essentially and… But the first thing that happened was that we went to a retreat, a mindfulness retreat with a zen Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh, he’s became well-known for his mindfulness style of training. And we went to his retreat and got a lot of other ways to feel fulfillment that not just consuming both culture and media.
0:09:10 KI: And I’m trying to think if there was a catalyst moment but I think it was just these progressions of events where we eventually decided to move out of New York, and we actually didn’t know where we were gonna go to because New York is the greatest city in the world, and we couldn’t imagine going anywhere else and feeling that we like it. We would probably complain about it not being New York. So we ended up going to this Buddhist monastery in the south of France, Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery near Bordeaux, and essentially we went there for three months and at the time we said we’ll stay here until we’ll know where to go further and we stayed there until this idea of moving to San Francisco arised. So then we moved to San Fransisco.
0:09:55 KI: I went from my army service to working as a model so I never got to go to college, and I never got to study. I was 31 and worked for the last 12 years and haven’t had time to study anything or to really develop myself in any way. And when we were in the monastery, the first thing they called me to practice was Kundalini yoga. And so we moved to San Francisco and found a place at a Kundalini yoga Ashram, on the Haight-Ashbury, that’s been there since the 70s. And we moved into a room in the Ashram and I started to become a Kundalini yoga teacher while Michael was starting his company. And then I started this process of personal development, where every year I followed the next thing that’s called me forward to study and to deepen with.
0:11:01 PA: You went from the Army to modeling, which is probably a sentence that’s not spoken very often because obviously when most people think of women who are in the army, for example, the United States, they’re tough, they’re strong, they have a pretty hard resilient mentality, but going from a situation like that into modeling, was it a significant transition? Were there difficult points in making that move?
0:11:28 KI: The army service is mandatory in Israel for men and women, so all women have to go whether they are tough or they’re not. And most women at the time, at least, women cannot go into combat, so most women actually sadly get to be secretaries. So, then you spend two years of your life being a secretary in the army. And for me, there was no way I was gonna do that, and so I became a sport instructor, like a fitness instructor to soldiers. And so the rationale was that I would, at the very least, be in shape and spend a lot of time outside and out of uniform. When I left the army, I think one of the things that actually ironically really end up helping me was that the army kind of toughened me and also it was a part of my personality, but to kinda not really let things touch me, like really impact me and being tough, like emotionally tough was actually really useful in the modeling industry, because there’s so much rejection, and so much people just assessing you for your look.
0:12:26 KI: And mostly, you feel like a mannequin, like you don’t actually have feelings or you’re not really cared about. And so it really helped me actually having this disposition of like I don’t actually care, or I don’t care about you either. And yeah it was, I don’t know if for life had me, I know so many women who are just too sensitive to withstand the modeling industry, because it’s actually really kind of tough. How much you were judged, and how brutally honest people are with you about your shape and about you not looking a certain way. And so I found that… Actually when I look back of and I’m like, “Oh it’s actually this mentality of I don’t give a shit” [unclear speech] for the modeling world with a sense of self intact, actually. So, but I do remember moments where I would… When I would go from the army to [unclear speech] to take off my uniforms and put down my M16, and get into this whole crazy makeup and corsets and hair and everything and then transform back into a soldier and go back to my base and trainings. And it was both surreal and I think just what it was, it was totally normal at the time for me.
0:14:02 PA: You know, with a lot of these Israeli women that I’ve met, for example, they tend to have this strong sense of resilience and so I love how you connected that to also your modeling career which, maybe from an external perspective, is perceived as superficial or perceived as not really being all that difficult or tricky, somewhat fabulous. But, actually underneath a lot of that is, like you said, probably a lot of your identity and a lot of the way that you perceived yourself was attached to what people were saying to you. So to have the resilience from your experience in the military must have been super helpful. Moving this conversation forward, which is why we’re having this and a little bit of context for our speakers, Michael, who was previously on the podcast, who is your former partner.
0:14:57 KI: Yes.
0:14:58 PA: He runs Entrepreneurs Awakening and works with Ayahuasca within a business context. When did you then get first exposed to psychedelics and plant medicine? Was it when you moved out to the Bay Area 14 years ago or was there a prior introduction or experience with those those substances?
0:15:17 KI: Yeah. Actually, I was mostly drinking alcohol. I didn’t have any exposure to psychedelics as a teenager or even in my early 20s, I smoked pot. And then in my modeling days experienced MDMA, and a few other drugs, but I didn’t actually have any access to or, yeah, any introduction to psychedelics in my 20s. It was actually way later. And I think the first, and I don’t know that it’s actually classified as a psychedelic, but my first introduction [unclear speech] was Ayahuasca. And at the time, this is a bit of a longer story, but shortly after I moved to the Bay Area, I’ve gotten pregnant and had a late term pregnancy loss. So at six months, the baby died and they couldn’t tell what happened. And then shortly after that, my sister died. And then I had another pregnancy loss again, a later trimester.
0:16:31 KI: And all these experiences, because I didn’t actually have any internal process and my coping strategies were still like, drinking and finding a way to not feel, it created… Actually plunged into a pretty serious depression at the time. And yeah, and in order to work with the depression, I’ve tried many different things. I’ve tried all kinds of modalities. There was one thing that felt really cleared in my system was that antidepressants were not gonna work. I don’t know how I knew it, but I just knew that that was not gonna work for me. And so the solution was to look for what would work. And so I started working with all kinds of modalities, addressing physical, addressing mental, psychological, emotional, shamanic, ancestral. I addressed all these different aspects to find the root of the depression, and to this straight up sadness, grief and loss that came as a result of these experiences. But there was also… It uncovered a depression that I didn’t realize I was pretty much experiencing most of my life.
0:18:00 KI: And so, when I finally was introduced to Ayahuasca, it was over 10 years ago now, by a dear friend who went to Peru and drank Ayahuasca, and she told me about it, and at the time, it sounded completely insane. [chuckle] They give… A depressed person going down to Peru and drinking some unknown tea in a shamanic setting just, it seemed really far-fetched for me to do. And yet at the same time, I was just getting this, “Yes,” in my system that that’s the right thing. And I remember at the time it was, I think, Michael’s friends were… When I started to… I actually started considering going to Peru, and started doing the research about it. And at the time, there wasn’t all that much out there about it. There wasn’t many people you could talk to about this, and. But I had a strong [unclear speech] “yes” in my system to experience that.
0:19:07 KI: And so yeah, I found a retreat center that was offering the medicine in a retreat setting and I decided to go, and yes, [unclear speech] at the time, Michael’s friends, could not believe that I would refuse to take antidepressant but instead, I would go to the Peruvian mountains and drink some brew that nobody heard about yet by this point. And I think it’s kind of… Just speaks to knowing, trusting, learning to trust my inner wisdom, learning to trust the path that my own system guides me to what I need to learn. And so I did go down to Peru and I stayed there for one month at the time. And then I can’t remember how many several Ayahuasca ceremonies which were incredibly [unclear speech]. At the time I was so depressed that, like when I went down there, I really felt that, if that [unclear speech] I’m probably ready to die. I’m just… I just can’t take this pain anymore, and I think this level of surrender to the medicine, to Ayahuasca, and I don’t know how much I should say about Ayahuasca, I’m sure your people who are listening to the podcast must know what Ayahuasca is?
0:20:44 PA: That would be correct. Yeah, they probably have some context for it…
0:20:48 KI: Would you think?
0:20:48 PA: But just… Yeah. What was your experience like, or how did it change you, what was the impact? Because, what I’m hearing from you, and talking about a lot of this, are things that, I think a lot of us in the psychedelic space who are doing this work have come to recognize, which is that, anti-depressants and other modalities that have been perceived to be important, really aren’t as effective as we thought. So I’d love to have you, yeah, just go further into what was the impact of Ayahuasca for you?
0:21:14 KI: Yeah, so my work with Ayahuasca, I think, was… The incredible thing was that I was… I think when I came to her with total surrender, because I was in a place of being so beat down with… By my experience in life by this point, just all the loss and not being able to reclaim myself from the depression. And so I came to her, and I say her, because her… The spirit of the medicine feels to me, and a lot of people, she’s kind of known to be a kind of a mother or grandmother. To me, she felt like a grandmother spirit that was just both very loving and accepting, but also not quite tough, but asking you to do the work, requiring you to do the work.
0:22:10 KI: And so, when I went into the ceremony, I was in complete surrender to her. I was like, “I’m at your feet, it can’t get worse than it is.” And what… My experience with her was really beautiful actually. From the beginning, it was never scary, it was always very, very beautiful, and she… What did she do? She took me… One of the things that were very healing to me was that a part of my depression was the fact that my system didn’t trust that there is enough love. I didn’t feel like… Growing up, the way I interpreted my upbringing was that I wasn’t loved, that nobody really cared about me. And it wasn’t necessarily true, it was just how my system registered my upbringing.
0:23:07 KI: And so, the medicine took me to a place that kinda felt like a womb, and she told me, “This is the birth place of love,” and she kinda immersed me in love. This is one of these things that forever changed me when I came out of the ceremony, and since then, I never doubted that there was enough love. I never… I was kind of saturated in it, completely immersed in the fact that love is available everywhere, and it’s not in a… It doesn’t need to come in this particular way, but it actually is available in a ray of sunshine, or in a flower, or in any person, and it’s kind of like this plant that you would probably read in a thought of the day calendar or whatever. But having that visceral sense in my system actually changed me, changed the way I perceive life.
0:24:10 KI: And so, there were several of these experiences with the medicine that had dramatically changed who I was. And one other thing that… So I grew up… The way I grew up was, I grew up in a kibbutz in Israel, and it was based in Zionism, so then religion was… Nobody was religious, and religion was not… The need for religion wasn’t… What am I trying to say? Yeah, I grew up without the meaning of religion, or meaning of spirit. And I think a big part of my depression was, had to do with the fact that there was no meaning to life, like if you couldn’t see something, it wasn’t there. There wasn’t spirit, there wasn’t any higher force, there wasn’t a creator, there was just, “What you see is what you get.” And what I saw was a lot of depression, a lot of just being really, really, just depressed all the time.
0:25:26 KI: And so then, life didn’t make sense like, “If everything is so… If I’m so depressed, then what’s the point of keeping on living?” And one of the things that the medicine actually showed me, is how to find meaning in being a human on Earth, how to find, how to create meaning in my relationship with nature, my relationship, being sort of a part of the greater web, how to see myself in the greater web, and how essentially I’m here to… As one manifestation, a one kind of filter of how the creator is expressing itself in this life. I hope that makes sense, but translating, you know, understanding some form of psychedelic journeys is always kind of a difficult things to put into word. But essentially find the meaning of life as was presented to me by Ayahuasca was that the meaning of life is to live it and to live it through my particular filter, my particular expression. And that was… Because up until then, there wasn’t really any meaning to life, there was just live it and then die. [chuckle]
0:27:00 PA: Right. ‘Cause I think contextualizing this is really important, just within the larger narratives of how depression is perceived right now by example… By, for example, the medical establishment where it’s perceived as largely a neurobiological issue. In other words, you have low serotonin which is why you’re depressed, so we’ll give you an anti-depressant, which then fixes your serotonin. And I think it’s now more or less “the cat is out of the box” so to say, in terms of… That’s why that’s such an ineffective model because really at the root of it is… Sure, it can be partly neurobiological but it tends to be much more about societal systemic issues. And this feeling that most of us have, particularly in the 20th century of feeling, like you were saying, alone and disconnected, because although you grew up in a kibbutz, there wasn’t really this sense of there’s something greater than us. And this is particularly what Nietzsche wrote about, at the end of the 19th century, when he said that God is dead, and that we won’t really derive our meanings anymore from these mainstream religions, but then, in fact, it’s up to us as humans to create our own meaning, which is what he termed “active nihilism”.
0:28:23 PA: And then so, nihilism more or less pervaded us an existentialism throughout the 20th century, and I think it’s now reaching a tipping point where people are realizing that it’s time to look outside of our own individual selves, to find greater meaning. Which is what I’m hearing from you, when you discuss and talk about things like Ayahuasca and feeling like you’re a part of this greater web of things and how there’s also philosophies like panpsychism that are now coming to fruition that says that everything is conscious. And for that reason, we’re just this node as humans. We’re just this node of consciousness, like you said, expressing the godhood, whatever that means, through our own experience. And so I think that what you’re saying is a similar story that many people have who have struggled with depression, and so I just wanted to acknowledge that and contextualize it.
0:29:24 KI: Yeah, that certainly feel true to my experience. But what I find really challenging actually is integrating it, and I think that’s a big part of the work with psychedelics, that there’s an issue with that, it being mostly illegal, is that it’s… At least up here in Northern California… Sorry, North America, that people are going through pretty traumatic experiences which change their outlook on life, but then there isn’t really any way to integrate it into life, have actionable plan of how to then be in this kind of western or northern, how they call it, “down there” society that we’ve created here. And so, those experiences that are so deep and meaningful then kinda get lost in the shuffle of life.
0:30:23 KI: And so that’s one of the things that, when I came back from Peru at the time I didn’t… Now I know tens of therapists who could help people make sense out of those experiences. But at the time, I didn’t know anybody and I came back to San Francisco [unclear speech] kinda didn’t really know how to integrate this experience into my life and into my being. And I felt both torn and confused, and there was this reality that seems so real that Ayahuasca showed me, and seemed so like the path to healing, and the path… The way to be, which is this connection like some of the antidote to depression is connection. [chuckle] And as most depressed people will tell you, isolation, they wanna isolate. One of the first signs for me of depression, is that I tend to isolate, and then leaning into connection is usually where… Not necessarily with other people but with nature, or with animals, or with life. So it’s such a vital part of the self-administered treatment that I do.
0:31:47 PA: We heard a little bit about your Ayahuasca experience and how you came back and how integration was somewhat challenging. I’d love for you to maybe go a little bit deeper into that in terms of what proved to be so challenging about integration, and then how did that bring you to the topic of microdosing, and starting to work with microdosing on an ongoing basis to help with some of the integration processes of feeling more connected and alive and vibrant.
0:32:14 KI: Yeah, so coming back from Peru, I didn’t know how to bring these… How to have these learning mean anything in my life or be in this psychedelic space. Like I said, there were several experiences that changed who I was and yet there were a lot of things that I was shown that I kinda didn’t know what to do about it, or how to implement what I was shown into my life. For example, it was one of my depression symptoms, is that I just stopped eating. To just don’t… I just… I eat… Food grosses me out, so I stop eating. And so, I stop nourishing myself, so then obviously, I lose energy and my brain doesn’t get the nutrition that it needs, and then I get more depressed, like that cycle that I get into. And she, the medicine was showing to me, and several sessions, she was showing to me that everything starts with nutrition, that I need to feed my body in this particular way. And even though I knew that that was true, I couldn’t put that into action. I didn’t know how to put that into action and depression would kinda come on and then I would stop eating and go into that cycle of lack of nourishment.
0:33:44 KI: It was like one of these things that I was shown what to do, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. And coming back also, they were… One way that a therapist who later explained it to me, a therapist who worked a lot with Ayahuasca himself told me it was that depression in a way is like a collapse of all your… That your sense of self is all collapsed and the medicine creates space and all of a sudden you can see everything that’s available in your being. And then, if somebody can then help you take all these things that showed up in your journey and put them in the right place where they belong, in your psyche, or in your being, or in your experience, then you can start creating, essentially, a new… You’re creating new neuro-pathways right, ’cause that’s what you talked about, that’s what the depression is. It is, has the biological component, but it’s fed by the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.
0:34:57 KI: And there’s a sense of, “If I see life in a certain way continuously even if I clean the slate, so to speak, with a psychedelic experience, pretty quickly, if this is still how I see life as being unsafe, and I don’t belong, and there isn’t enough love to go around then pretty quickly, my story is going to create the same kind of neuro-pathway or brain chemistry picture.” And so a big part of the story for me is like, “What kind of story are you telling yourself about who you are and what life is, and who are the people around you?” And I got into the study of NLP, which is Neuro-Linguistic Patterning, are you familiar with that?
0:36:00 PA: Yeah yeah yeah, I’m familiar with NLP and how it works. I have a good friend who did a number of seminars that… I haven’t practiced it myself, but I am familiar with it, for sure.
0:36:07 KI: Yeah. Yeah, but to me, it’s fascinating ’cause it’s the study of how the brain does what it does rather than why. So instead of asking the question of like, “Why are you that way?” [unclear speech] ’cause of my [unclear speech] it’s actually like, “How does the brain… How can the brain receive a trigger and responds the way it responds, and can we create change?” And a big part of it has to do with reframe, and what kind of stories we’re telling ourselves and how can we tell them different, different stories in order to achieve different results.
0:36:44 KI: And so, NLP was a big part of my healing process, and what I find is that the Ayahuasca actually was helping to rewrite some of these stories like I mentioned before about, that there is enough love and that there is a meaning to life. But there’s some stories that I wasn’t able to, that weren’t actually… That I wasn’t able to rewrite with the Ayahuasca. And actually, what I found over time, over the past 10 years of working with the medicine is that she’s always been very loving and she’s always has been very graceful with me. And one of the things I think… One of the things that I consistently see with people who… Because I do coaching preparation and integration coaching with Ayahuasca and prep and integration [unclear speech]. And one of the things that I see with people is that they have… Everybody tells them to put their intention into the medicine and into… And whisper it into the cup and before they drink it, and they try to get the wording just right.
0:38:05 KI: And instead of doing that, what we work on is trying what I… The question that I ask, and I invite people who wanna do Ayahuasca to ask themselves is, “What do I want?” ’cause most of us start with “What is the problem?” And what I’d like people to ask themself is “What do I want?” And then they… It could be, “I want a better relationship with my family, or I want to have a relationship with a significant other, or I want a better relationship with myself.” And then I want them to ask themselves, “And what would having that do for me?” And often they get attached to a strategy, for example, “I want a primary partner, and then… But actually, what… If I keep asking myself, ‘And what would having a primary partner do for me?’ I won’t be so lonely.” And then, “What would having that… If you weren’t so lonely what would having that do for you?” And often, that would be a means to actually have connection. So people want connection, and then they get attached to the strategy over having a primary partner. And so getting clear on what is it that is actually your deepest need and not the strategy level need, really helps you with not being attached to how things look and more to the deepest need being actually met.
0:39:38 KI: And so when you know that what you actually need is connection, what you actually want is connection, you can go into the ceremony. And actually, what I recommend for people to do is to share ceremonies, and to just journal on the question of connection and “what does it mean to me?” Or not particularly connection, but what it is that they discovered that they really want? And so… And take that into their ceremony like, “What does this thing mean to me?” And then the other question is like, “If I had that, what might I lose that I value?” And that’s another deep question, which is essentially having us ask ourselves, “What’s in the way of me having what I want? So if I had connection, what might I lose that I value?”
0:40:27 KI: And it’s a hard question to answer for a lot of people because they’re like, “I’d lose nothing. I want this thing. This is… I wouldn’t lose anything.” But there’s usually something in the way and that thing that’s in the way, and often, so the answer to connection, what might I lose that I value if I had connection could often be there’s independence or my sense of self, like safety mechanism that’s in place. And so this is just like a process that have people begin to know themselves, to understand themselves a little bit more. And then if you are able to journal about it and meditate on it, maybe three minutes in the morning where you meditate on the meaning of connection, or what’s in the way of you having connection. So then by the time you actually get into the ceremony, it’s not so much about saying, whispering into the medicine this exactly word sentence or desire that you want, that you have, but it’s more like being actually present. And then what I recommend all my clients to do is to ask the medicine, give me what I need, and make it graceful with this mindset of, I know what my intentions are, I’ve done the work to be here today, I’m bowing to your wisdom to show me what I need. And then if at all possible make it graceful.
0:41:58 KI: One of the things that I’ve learned on the medicine is that she could be pretty harsh with people who are not willing to… Who are not willing to surrender, who are fighting her, who are thinking they’re stronger, who are thinking that they have nothing to learn or… And she has a way of… I’ve watched people purge a lot or have a really bad experience and it usually comes from resistance. And so, this being willing to surrender to the medicine, I think is one of the greatest ways to actually get the learnings from her. Yeah, and so whisper into the medicine “Give me what I want, and if at all possible, make it graceful,” and then they experience and then just surrender to her. And…
0:42:56 PA: And I think I’ll kinda hop in here and just emphasize, kind of pick up on a couple of threads, one of which is this concept of resistance. We’re recording this podcast and in early August, and I just got back from Amsterdam. So I was in Amsterdam for the last two weeks and we’re leading Psilocybin retreats there because Psilocybin truffles are legal in Amsterdam. And this is a concept and a topic that came up in both retreats that we did, we had about 28 people who took truffles, Psilocybin truffles, and we talked a lot about resistance, because oftentimes where you find the most resistance is where you need to go. And so if you are coming up against certain types of resistance within a high dose experience, I think it’s often worth exploring that and going into the resistance because only by going into it, do you actually come out on the other side with this newfound insight or understanding. One of my co-founder and co-facilitator for synthesis more time mentioned, the metaphor that they often use in the Amazon, which is if the Anaconda is coming at you, to go into its mouth. And I think this is this concept of surrendering to the experience and not trying to fight it by going into, by surrendering, by going into the resistance, that’s really the only way through the pain and the challenge and the struggle that often arises in the midst of an experience.
0:44:20 KI: Yeah, it’s true for life as well. I mean, wherever you’re resisting in life, whatever, if there’s an experience or person you particularly resistant to, that’s where the magic is, that’s where the grace and blessing on the other side of that if you’re willing to actually face it, but particularly in a psychedelic experience, where there’s resistance, it’s usually essentially our ego and ego I mean it as a sense of self, a sense of who we are, that kind of keeps us together is afraid of letting go, is afraid of changing. It’s responsible for safety, for a sense of, again, a sense of who we are, but a sense of safety. And so the ego is always responsible for us kind of staying the same because if we’re the same then there’s something predictable about it. We know how to take care of things, we know who we are, we know who other people are. And there’s a lot of safety in that, but there’s also lack of change. There’s a lack of evolution, there’s a lack of new experiences.
0:45:21 KI: And often, if your sense of self is also related to any kind of trauma, then there’s a lot of abuse and a lot of addictions live there and depression and anxiety and so much of kinda like our my sense of self was… My ego had anxiety and depression in it and but it couldn’t change because it knew how to survive anxiety and depression. I knew how to be anxious and depressed, but I didn’t know how to be a thriving human being, and though that sounds like a better thing, it doesn’t actually sound that way to the ego, the ego just wanna make sure that we are staying the same. So we are totally predictable and we totally know how to deal with life. And so that’s what we’re working against and so much of psychedelic experience. Being willing to… Kinda overwhelming the ego, and being willing to let go of who we think we are, and how we think the world is in order to have a different experience of life.
0:46:22 PA: Right, and this is…
0:46:24 KI: And a healing experience.
0:46:26 PA: And this is I think a term that often comes up in this process is then adaptability which is the ability for us as humans for our ego and our minds and our bodies to adapt to new situations. So when we talk about these new neural pathways and neural plasticity, this is what’s so great about some initial research that’s coming out about the utility of psychedelics is they help win the neural plasticity and adapting to new things. Which means that our identity, our sense of self doesn’t have to be stuck in these ruts that they were before, but that in fact, through psychedelic medicine and other modalities like yoga breathwork meditation, we can actually facilitate change in an accelerated way. And this is exactly why I started The Third Wave and this whole podcast to begin with, was because when I began microdosing, I noticed that microdosing then allowed from an integrated perspective for greater adaptability. In other words, it was this constant sense of being able to go with the flow and change, instead of feeling like there was a lot of resistance and friction in my life.
0:47:33 KI: Yeah, yeah, that’s beautiful. And yeah… And actually we talked about it before, but my former husband Michael was suggesting microdosing to me after talking to you about it. Because what was happening with the high dose, the therapeutic dose experience for me was that they were no longer working. They were no longer giving me what I needed. I mean, while I was in the ceremony, I was getting all these downloads and information, but then I wasn’t able to actually utilize any of them anymore. It’s almost like all the… Everything that was gonna change was already changed. And then it wasn’t actually giving me anything anymore, and so I felt despair around it. And then Michael told me about your website, and I looked into it, and he became really, really interested in this idea of microdosing. I didn’t understand how… It’s almost like the psychedelic experience, actually getting the visions and getting the information was the medicine, but the idea of taking medicine that’s sub-noticeable effect didn’t really make sense.
0:49:01 KI: And so I have to say, I did resist it initially, my ego resisted to it working. But then when I started with the protocol, and I would say that I was suffering from quite a lot of anxiety and depression again, like another wave of it came up. And I started the protocol that’s recommended by James Fadiman, the 10th of a dose every three days. And what I did about that is that… Let me see, okay, so yeah, just a little practical note about that, because I’ve talked to a lot of people. I mean, since I started doing it and it started working for me, I’ve essentially told it to everybody I talked to. Because I feel like information like that should be out there, people should know that that’s available. Especially, people who’s been struggling with depression, and addictions, and anxiety and other mental disorders. I know people who’s been struggling for years and years, and tried “everything” and haven’t seen results. And I’d like for people to… It’d be great if there was more information out there, but right now we’re essentially all experimenting and helping each other more along.
0:50:26 KI: And so I haven’t recommended people try it, but I do tell them about my own experience, which is… So I’ve committed to doing it for three months to see how that works. It was like I wasn’t seeing anything for about two and a half months. And two and a half… I remember it was like two and a half months in that all of a sudden there was no way to describe it except what you just mentioned which is like all of a sudden I felt like neural plasticity in my brain. And I don’t know how you describe neural plasticity, but it felt like there was kind of grooves that were in my… That was so deep in my brain of “This won’t work, and this sucks, and it will never be different,” softened. And it all still came up in a way where my brain would go, “Oh, that won’t work.” And all of a sudden this other voice came in, and went, “How do you know, maybe it will, what if it did?” You know, and it’s like where the brain would come up with some negative statement.
0:51:34 KI: There’s all of a sudden other options that would present themselves, and be like, “And what if it didn’t? What if you gave it a try?” And so I find that to be super interesting, because it wasn’t a psychedelic experience. I make sure that what I take… And actually, I took a 10th of a dose, a dose is 1 gram, and so I took 100 milligrams. And then I could feel that, and so I went down to 80. ‘Cause the idea is not to feel it at all, not to have any psychedelic or physical symptoms at all. And so at 80 milligrams, I didn’t, I’m not feeling anything. And so I take that every 72 hours or every three days on the morning… And I just mix the powder, I grind the mushrooms into powder and then I use a scale, ’cause a bunch of… Some people were telling me that [unclear speech] or that they were, and that’s a bad idea. I think you can’t have all microdosing, you have to really measure it. It’s medicine and you wanna take it in the appropriate way.
0:52:49 KI: And so, yeah, every three days, I measure it, I put it in a little bit of water, I drink it on an empty stomach in the morning, and then I wait a half hour before I eat anything and that… So yeah, so after two and a half months, I started seeing results, where I wasn’t… So the thing is is that it wasn’t like all of a sudden I’ve got up in the morning and I was like, “Oh, I’m not depressed. Life is great, I love it.” There wasn’t anything like that, but there was like, “Oh, I think I can actually eat what I need to eat to be healthy and I actually, I can go and work out and I can do therapy and it could be useful.” And it was, it kinda took off that pressure, that oppression, the depression, depression is that makes it so that it seems like nothing will ever work. I don’t know if it’s pretty common for people with depression to feel like it’s not worth it or what’s the point or nothing would work.
0:53:57 KI: And it takes away that aspect of it and gives you the capacity to do the things that needs to be done in order to feel better, like what I mentioned like food and eat well and exercise and do therapy and do… And be with people, so socialize, which is such a crucial aspect of being out of depression is to actually be connected and involved life. And so, I did that, at the time, I did it for about five months and then I decided that I should take a break and see what happens and I took a break and it… I started, actually after about two weeks, I started feeling the depression a little bit again, and so, I went back on it and I kept going for another couple of months and then took another break. And the idea is to take take it for three months and then take a month break and then to continue three months on, one month off, just to, first of all, not to be completely dependent for life on anything, but also to let the brain reset itself, and hopefully, when it resets itself, it resets itself to this new and more healthy way of being.
0:55:37 PA: Well, we’re nearing about the hour mark now and so we’ll start to wrap up, but really you’ve given such a tremendous context, and an overview of a few of the challenges that you struggled with in terms of growing up in the Kibbutz and the sense of disconnection within that framework and then how you moved from that into modeling eventually to New York where you and Michael lived there and it sounded like a really great lifestyle. But there were certain shortcomings when it came to greater meaning and purpose, which is eventually what led you into Ayahuasca. And then the difficulty of integrating the high-dose Ayahuasca experiences led you into looking at microdosing as a potential tool to help with an ongoing basis. So we’ve had this fantastic trajectory of your own life with these medicines and I think this conversation will really prove useful and helpful for a lot of people in our audience who probably struggle with some form of depression, whether that’s clinical or not. I think going into further research and understanding about why people are experiencing what they’re experiencing and how psychedelics can be helpful for that has been really illuminating. So, I just wanna thank you Kim, for…
0:56:43 KI: Yeah, thank you.
0:56:44 PA: For hopping on and going deep into your own story and bringing in some of these models and elements that you’ve integrated from your own coaching, both with preparation and integration. And I’d love for us just to, to wrap up with just hearing a little bit about what do you have going on in the future, any future projects or plans, and then, if people wanna learn more about your work, where they can find you.
0:57:07 KI: Thank you, the one thing I didn’t get to mention during our call was that one of the things that were really actually important in this process was that in order to get to know the root of the issue. So the reason why I didn’t wanna take anti-depressant was that I didn’t wanna mask the issues for any longer, I wanted to get to the root of them. And so, a lot of what I did was a lot of work to know myself, and like I mentioned before, I did practices like NLP and yoga and EFT which is emotional freedom technique and works a lot with our emotional body and breath work and just different modalities that happened to speak to me. And I think we all have different [unclear speech] who we are and that’s the thing that I realized for myself is that it’s not there isn’t this one key, one magic thing that you can do that would basically solve all your problems. Life is an ongoing process of evolving and we never stop to evolve. And this idea that at some point we could just coast is dangerous for our mindset.
0:58:14 KI: And so, what’s really important I think for people who are listening to know is that even once I found microdosing and it has been working for me, is that it’s not just doing microdosing, it’s then what is, finding the practices, whether [unclear speech] I don’t know, chanting, whatever it is for you, or hiking or this regular practice that keeps your body and mind and emotional system all in good shape, you always wanna keep your [unclear speech], your system in a good shape and always learning new modalities to better yourself, to put yourself better in touch with yourself and with who you are and with your family. When I was growing up, if you had a trigger, then you would basically build your life around avoiding this trigger. And now, the way I’m now, I’m like, if there’s a trigger, I’m like, “Oh great, let’s look at this trigger and figure it out and find a way to lower the trigger so then there’s more freedom in my life.” And I think as humans for us, the idea of having, not the idea, but actually having more freedom in our lives is a life worth, having the freedom to experience life as with all that it has to offer, is the greatest gift rather than locking ourself off from all the triggers that are around us all the time.
0:59:42 KI: And so, what I’m doing right now is I’m using all these modalities that I’ve learned along the way in my coaching practice. It’s called the Evolving Center. I coach people both on prep and integration to Ayahuasca, for Ayahuasca and other peak sort of psychedelic experiences. But I also help people who are already microdosing through that process and helping to glean and integrate their learning from that process. And I also just offer life coaching, which is one of, what I found that I really love doing is actually helping people who did all the right things in quotes of everything they should be doing in life and then, and, but are actually not having the as satisfying experience of their life. And I help them find the meaning and purpose and the connection, mostly what I find is that the connection with themselves has been severed somehow. And I actually help people find this connection with themselves and then through that, find the life that they actually wanna be living and that’s been super satisfying and for me that’s what I’m up to right now.
1:00:52 PA: Great, perfect. Well, that sounds great, Kim. And what we’ll do is in the show note for everyone who’s listening now, we’ll provide links to that and also links to the other resources. So again, I just wanna thank you for taking the time, both in having our initial call, but also really going deep in this podcast, I really appreciate you sharing your story with everyone and your knowledge and wisdom and love. It really means a lot, so thank you so much.
1:01:15 KI: Thank you Paul, thanks so much for doing this and for your website and all the research you guys are doing.