Podcast Transcript: Waking Up To A New Consciousness: The Future Of Transformative Wellness – Stacey Wallin & Payton Nyquvest
Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Stacey Wallin & Payton Nyquvest.
Founded in 2018, Numinus offers a holistic blend of medicine-assisted therapy, psycho-spiritual support and integrative services as a path towards experiencing transformative health. Based in Vancouver, they plan to develop worldwide centers in the coming years.
In this episode, we talk about:
- Why more professional success led to even more sickness for co-founder of Numinus, Payton Nyquvest
- Why our ability to be strong and self-aware is deeply connected to our ability to do good in the world
- Payton and Stacy’s vision for Numinus – and why it’s much more than just a healing center
- The future of transformative wellness and what role psychedelics will play in introducing this new industry to mainstream culture
- How Payton went from being the “anti-drug guy” in the finance world to opening one of the world’s first psychedelic clinics
0:00:30 Paul Austin: Hey, listeners, and welcome back to The Third Wave Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin and today’s episode is with Stacey Wallin and Payton Nyquvest from Numinus. Now, Numinus is a global network of healing spaces that uses a combination of psychedelic medicine and cutting-edge science to facilitate transformative wellness. Founded in 2018, it offers a holistic blend of medicine-assisted therapy, psycho-spiritual support and integrative services as a path towards experiencing transformative health. Numinus is based out of Vancouver and so when we were on a little business trip up there in mid-August we decided to drop in with Stacey and Payton, the two co-founders of Numinus and hear a little bit more about why they started Numinus and what they hope to achieve with this global network of healing spaces. So a little bit about Payton and Stacey. Stacey previously founded and was CEO of LifeBooster, a tech startup that now helps Fortune 100 clients detect and proactively respond to workplace injury risks. She most recently was the Director of Venture Programs at the BC Tech Association with a mandate of solving the largest ecosystem and policy-related challenges facing growth and scale stage technology companies.
0:01:46 PA: Payton is a former Director, VP and Head of Sales at Mackie Research Capital with 15 years of experiencing, focusing on early-stage companies in multiple industries including technology, health-care and biotech and clean tech and Cannabis. He has raised over $100M for 100+ public and private companies and has facilitated numerous IPOs. But most of that doesn’t matter in this conversation because when I had the chance to sit down with Payton and Stacey at Payton’s home in Vancouver, we really got into why they chose to pursue this work. So both Payton and Stacey have had somewhat recent experiences with psychedelics that have totally shifted the way they perceive both themselves and the relationship with the external world and so we get really deep into those stories in today’s episode. So without further ado, I bring you Stacey Wallin and Payton Nyquvest, the two co-founders of Numinus. Welcome Payton and Stacey, I’m so happy to be with you and to be talking about Numinus and the psychedelic clinic that you’re now opening up in Vancouver, so thank you for joining us.
0:02:51 Payton Nyquvest: Thank you. Happy… I think we are very happy to be here.
0:02:54 Stacey Wallin: Thank you for having us.
0:02:55 PA: Absolutely. So let’s just start with a little bit about your story, both of your stories. What brought you here opening a clinic in Vancouver? What’s the reason behind it?
0:03:04 PN: Both Stacey and I come to this from a personal… It was out of necessity I would say for both us personally, myself I grew up in quite an addicted childhood and at 12 my mom got sober and said, “Sorry for the last 12 years. You may wanna go and see somebody about what’s happened.” And as a good teenager, I did what a teenager did which was said, “No, I’m fine.” And carried on and that led to… At 19 I was in a very bad drink and driving accident, I was the driver, got brought home in a cop car and mom was the one that answered the door and at that point in time realized this was probably not gonna be a good long-term life strategy for me and so really started to dive into my own mental health and had a really dedicated practice from 18-19 years old continuing to really dive into doing my own work, all through traditional, western, easily-accessible modalities, so talk therapy and yoga and doing all these things and at the same time I’d had chronic health issues from childhood and was continuing to do this work on myself but my chronic health issues, no matter how much work I was doing, continued to get worse and worse and worse which led me to about 30 years old when I’ve gotten to a point where I was getting hospitalized every two weeks.
0:04:42 PN: I had join private healthcare clinics in Canada which is a bit of an anomaly because we have public healthcare in Canada and nobody could tell me what was going on for me and really got to a point where I’m quite a down the rabbit hole type of person, so I’d research psychedelics for a year and a half. I’d never had a psychedelic experience in my whole life but I got to a point where I was actually in the trauma ward at Lions Gate Hospital down the street and leaned over to my fiancee and said, “I have to do something different.” And I had sort of made the decision that I was gonna go down and go to Costa Rica and go into Ayahuasca for the first time and the decision… I’d gotten to a point where if that wasn’t going to work then it wasn’t worth sticking around for anymore. And so I went down to Costa Rica and I had, by no means, a meet the universe fly around on a unicorn type of experience but it was the first time that I’d gotten relief from my physical symptoms in my life. And so came back to Vancouver and really, I just wanted to give back to something that had saved my life that was really the intention behind it and as I was sort of meeting with a number of groups that were doing good work in the space I realized that just simple philanthropy wasn’t gonna be enough that there was a real call to action to do something and that, from my end, that’s really where it came from and I hand over to Stacey.
0:06:24 SW: Like Payton said, it was also very much so a personal journey, I guess my story starts at childhood as well. I grew up in a household, really loving parents, siblings that struggled with mental health issues and were diagnosed at a young age and so I grew up very confused, very confused about mental health and exposed to a lot of things with our mental health system and our health care system here in Canada and I also started sort of exploring things and researching and trying to understand better throughout my teenage years.
0:06:55 SW: And I had a bit of a push in the right direction in my mid 20s. I’d been dabbling in all the western modalities and had developed meditation and yoga practices and things like that to help manage just I was a pretty high-powered work person and had gotten into a lot of the stress rhythms that I think people can get into with that kind of lifestyle and so I was using tools like that to help manage my lifestyle. And then, in my mid-20s, I had a bit of a health crisis really it was involved a misdiagnosis, it ended in a sort of a week later me ending up being driven to the hospital in acute suffering and it was kind of a near death miss and for me that I’d never experienced anything like that before and it was a bit of a wake up call and definitely really coming face to face with my mortality.
0:07:49 SW: I ended up having a couple of emergency surgeries and was in and out of the hospital for a week or two and then, had another sort of miss where their treatments weren’t working the way that they were supposed to and my health condition had deteriorated and I was basically told or warned that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t come through and so, that was a little bit different because I had to sort of sit with that knowledge.
0:08:16 SW: And yeah, so that was really what I would call my spark to spirituality and just wanting to explore particularly altered states of consciousness and so I was really lucky, I did end up recovering fully which has been great and that sparked a change in lifestyle. I left my job, I had got rid of my place, I did but I’ve, since then, can be a little bit of a cliche thing after having an experience like that.
0:08:43 SW: I got a truck and a tent trailer and my now fiance and our puppy and I took off on a road trip across North America for nine months and, on that road trip, it was really an exploration, a bit of a just a soul search and trying to unpack what had happened and, yeah, it was incredible, that was the time in my life where I downloaded podcasts and read books and sort of really started to explore a lot of the possibilities and the alternative methods out there and, yeah.
0:09:13 SW: And I came back from that trip really in a different place and started to want to explore these things personally, I hadn’t had any experience prior to that as well. Yeah, I came back from that and then I got really into a lot of advocacy and social impact work. I was really focused on wanting to use what I could in my life to make the world a better place and, yeah, and then really… I mean that kind of pushes us forward to last year when Payton and I reconnected on this and we’d work together in our previous lives and had a good friendship and we really had a lot of parallels in terms of what we had gone through and what we were looking to do in the world and everything just really clicked into place. So, yeah.
0:09:54 PA: And now we have Numinus.
0:09:55 SW: Now we have Numinus.
0:09:56 PA: Yeah, tell us a little bit about the name, the clinic.
0:10:00 SW: So the name Numinus… What we’d been going through I guess naming exploration stuff, just trying to find something that really resonated with us and we were playing around with the concept of light for a little while luminous and that kind of thing and, in and around that time, I was reading a book and that book was “Women who Run with the Wolves.” it’s an archetypal book for women, full of myths and that kind of thing, it’s really powerful. And on one of the pages in that book I happened to have come home from a naming exercise and the word Numinous that spelt O-U-S at the end was listed like six times on a page and so, I use a Kindle and so I pressed on it to find out what it meant and it meant the presence of divinity which I thought was beautiful and then actually shortly thereafter I had a therapeutic psilocybin session.
0:10:49 SW: And it was a very meaningful one for me and I had an element to that experience where I really sort of encountered the dark behind the sky like the black in the sky sort of came out and sort of personified as being sort of the foreground and, in that experience, it was really… It felt very meaningful and divine and it took on sort of the presence of the universe being represented as a black woman, it was just a powerful personal journey for me. And the funny thing was is that… So, I come back from that and I’m googling things around and I decided to look at this word “Numinous” and so I’m trying to find new ways of sort of playing with it and spelling it and stuff and so I just take out the “O” and do a Google search and Numinus, the way that it’s spelled, the way that we use it, just with the “U-S” at the end.
0:11:43 SW: Actually what popped up is imagery of a superhero, a Marvel character from the ’60s and ’70s called Numinus that’s represented as a black woman who is in that story, the guiding benevolent force behind the universe. And it was like, “Wow, I just… Something clicked for me in my stomach, it’s a beautiful story if you take a look into it and it was very parallel with a lot of the ethos that we’re looking to bring to Numinus.
0:12:10 PA: What was the story?
0:12:10 SW: Well, so she basically is the invisible sort of benevolent behind the scenes, the background, the sky becoming the foreground but the representation was the same as my psilocybin experience and basically, yeah, she’s sort of the invisible hand benevolently guiding the universe the way that it needs to be and so that’s quite literally exactly what I experienced. And so it was just the same word that came up was the same name of the character, which was archetypally represented the same way, and it just, it really resonated strongly and then Payton and I talked about it and it really made a lot of sense. So yeah.
0:12:55 PA: Yeah, it fits right in. When I first heard about it, I thought of Stan Grof’s book Doorway to the Numinous. This book that he wrote about his LSD psychotherapy. And it’s a word that’s not very commonly used, but it does such a great job of encapsulating what this work is about, and I think for many people who have either recently got into psychedelics. I can speak for myself. When I first got into psychedelics maybe 10 years ago, I wasn’t really a spiritual person, I was more or less raised in a traditional religious capacity, I then became an atheist and then through these experiences I had this divine acknowledgement or understanding of what the fundamental truth of reality is…
0:13:36 PN: I always had a strong understanding of what spirituality was. I could write you a paper about it but it wasn’t until actually having a psychedelic experience that was properly guided and supported where it was like, Oh, that’s what that is. And even in my own journey around my sickness that to me that’s what felt that was missing is there was a missing piece there that needed to get properly filled and supported and that was really a big part of it.
0:14:11 PA: And from your perspective, why on an individual level, why do you… Why do you think psychedelics was so healing for you then for these auto-immune conditions and things that Western medicine just can’t address.
0:14:22 PN: Yeah, I think they talk a lot about mind-body connection. And where I had gotten to in my life and what I was doing even professionally I had always had a call to service, that that always was a very strong thing that showed up for me in my life and so I was working in an industry I’d come from the finance industry, I would say I come from the finance industry. Don’t hold that against me.
0:14:50 PA: Both of you come from the finance industry right?
0:14:52 PN: Yeah, yeah, that’s actually how we know each other but… But I got into the finance industry because I thought I was gonna be helping people, I thought that’s, I thought Okay, here’s a way for me, to help people. And obviously then realized such was maybe not the case, but still, that that action of service was really, really strong, and for me, my professional success was directly correlated with my increased sickness, the more professional success I was getting the sicker I was getting, and I remember sitting in the hospital going I will give back every single dollar, I will give back every single professional accolade I’ve ever had, just to be healthy, that’s all that I want, if this is what success looks like, I’m not interested, I don’t want it, I just wanna be healthy. So in terms of getting that connection to spirit, it was a realization of, “Yes there’s a call to service, but it’s not in alignment with what I’m doing professionally in my life. And was very quickly, within nine months I had quit my job, and it was at sort of the peak. A lot of people thought I was crazy, probably still think I am crazy.
0:16:11 PA: I definitely think you’re crazy.
0:16:12 PN: I appreciate that but I was sort of at the peak in terms of my professional success and where I was going at quite a young age, as well. And I just said This is not, this is not gonna work for the energy that I wanna put out into the world going forward and While, in saying that I also got a lot of the training and where Stacey and I have been able to add and support this psychedelics movement. There was a lot of training that came out of that that would hopefully and is… We think lending to continuing to help support the good work that’s going on in this space.
0:16:54 PA: And Stacey. What about you, pain stories a matter of professional success, becoming more successful, becoming more sick for you was there any correlation between the work that you were doing before and the sort of discontent or was it more just you were happy where you were and the work that you did, you love, but just because of the experiences that you have with psychedelics, you just felt pulled into it what was that story for you?
0:17:17 SW: I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever been somebody who was super content easily with what I was doing. I’ve always been a bit of a, a bit of a seeker in that way. I did start my career in finance, I went into it with a real lack of understanding I think about what the industry really was. I was 18 yeah, and I guess by the time I was in my early 20s, I was looking for another way of giving back already and that’s what pulled me into entrepreneurship. I really wanted to generate something of value that would help people and so that’s basically where my first entrepreneurial endeavor was a huge learning experience for me, [chuckle] I just sort of jumped in and started doing stuff ended up building a business with my partner, Bryan, who we basically used sensors and technology to help predict and prevent injuries in the workplace.
0:18:07 SW: And my mom had a terrible workplace injury, a while ago and ended up breaking her back and it really impacted her quality of life, and I just always thought it was, it was such a shame that things like that happen when people are doing their work. And so anyways, there was a bit of a personal story there too and we ended up spending almost… I almost spent five years Ryan is still running the company today and doing a great job, but that was really where I started exploring and really playing with combining my passion and my purpose in the sense of giving back in service with my career and I really got into the concept that work can be a vehicle for fulfillment that was basically, I think, the first turning point, I think that then I had my hospital stint and a bit of a wake-up call and taking some time off work at that stage in my career, felt crazy at the time.
0:19:00 SW: I was sort of just… Yeah, I was in this beautiful trajectory and everyone was very excited for me, and everyone was telling me how awesome I was doing, and I had this baby that was going well and honestly, I got a lot of my self-worth and a lot of my ego validation at the time from that taking some time off that even though it looked crazy, from a societal perspective was the best thing I’ve ever done, I had to just sort of walk away and then figure out the fact that I couldn’t have my self-worth wrapped up in something like that and it just needed to be more intrinsic. And so the sort of exploration with spirituality. And all through that, and then yeah, I guess coming back from that trip, I had a very renewed sense of giving back, and that’s, I think, something that Payton and I have connected so well on is we both have this deep desire to be of service to the world.
0:19:51 SW: And so coming back from that I started thinking what bigger picture and how could I solve bigger problems? And that’s through my time at the BC Tech Association. That was really what I was hoping, and looking to do there was to solve systemic issues, solve real issues that were holding people back. From being able to live the lives they want and could. And that was where I got exposure to government policy and got exposure to brilliant mind solving huge problems and doing it in novel and unique ways and.
0:20:20 SW: It was just, it was super charging it was learning on steroids, I loved it [chuckle] and it was a beautiful time, in my life and I think it was really actually… Now I look at it as a bit of a perfect gift because it was also an exposure to the exact knowledge that I needed to be able to do something like this. And so that was basically, the journey with my career, but I experienced all the typical entrepreneurial and executive burnout and stress conditions. I was treated for adrenal fatigue and supplements and this and that, and tried everything. And really the only thing that’s ever helped has been self-exploration and more conscious lifestyle design so.
0:21:00 PA: And then, why psychedelics you talk about this perspective of systemic change, this perspective of wanting to really dig into something that you think will contribute back to society. Why do you think that Numinus and the psychedelic clinic is an avenue for that?
0:21:15 SW: That’s a beautiful question. Well, I think that we have a lot of problems in society still and a lot of people are suffering. Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time just trying to figure out how to best alleviate that suffering and a lot of our wonderful things that we do to help people are treating the symptoms or the outputs of a lot of that suffering. And my experience with psychedelics has gotten to the root of all my issues. It really has, it’s been amazing. And I have been able to release and change things that I carried with me my entire life.
0:21:52 SW: And having been around a lot of people who suffer deeply and have it impact their ability to work and live and enjoy and take care of themselves. I have, I guess a belief that our ability to be strong, and healthy and self-aware is deeply connected to our ability to do good in the world and to take care of ourselves and the people around us and have just a really healthy relationship with life. And so for me, I guess I really view psychedelics and psychedelic I mean more specifically well-supported psychedelic psychotherapy as being just a wonderfully powerful tool for the kinds of changes, we need as a society. Tackles some of the biggest issues that we have, that we have very limited existing systemic solutions for, and it’s something that I think when we have a really healthy population a really healthy people in community, we will then solve a lot of the issues that have continued to plague us, and so I really view it as going straight to the source and helping people where they really need it the most in order for everyone to have an increased quality of life, and then sort of one degree of separation have a much healthier society and Community.
0:23:09 PN: I’ll touch on one thing that Stacey mentioned. And you said… Why psychedelics? And I think it’s while yes, it’s psychedelics, it’s also. How do they get properly supported in a way where they’re effective for people and safe for people as well? And in my own experience with psychedelics I had done 15 years of personal development work beforehand, and it was really a catalyst for all of this work that I had already done and fitting into that structure that had already been built, there already to really use what psychedelics were offering me to their full potential. And I think that’s such an important thing in this movement is making sure that that’s not getting lost and that people are getting properly supported in doing that work, and so that it’s safe and also continuously, not only effective for them, but is available to them in continuing on to keep doing their work and achieving what they’re hoping to achieve.
0:24:11 PA: Yeah, the terminology that we’ve come up with lately, is we’re helping, psychedelics really have this internal shift where they turn people from consumers to contributors.
0:24:20 PN: Yes.
0:24:21 PA: Because when you have your self-worth, that’s tied up in ego validation, these external things, the way that you continue to fill that is by doing things externally whereas the spiritual shift that many of us go through is realizing that self-worth is internal. And then it’s a process that we cultivate and it’s a practice of continually connecting to spirit, whether it’s through psychedelics, or meditation or breathwork or whatever else.
0:24:44 PN: Yeah, I think allowing people to become their own healer, that’s the real inspiration around it is a realization of oh I can be the one to make the shift versus relying on an anti-depressant or the next therapy that you’re going to do, but it’s a really empowering thing to know that you can be the one or you are the one who needs to make that shift in their life, right? And not to say that if you break your arm, you break your arm, you need to go and get a cast from somebody. But in terms of mental health and how that mind body connection affects your physical health as well? There’s been a gap that it almost feels that’s been missed where even myself, I was very very sick where was I going the hospital, and if the hospital wasn’t it, then that there was no other option for me versus really working on what was going on for me, on a personal level and trying to create that shift first, before ending up at the hospital.
0:25:50 PA: Well And how did being diagnosed with a chronic illness feel to you what was that process like?
0:26:02 PN: It was a really hopeless feeling. Again, it was, yes… It’s a chronic health issue, and it was just a very helpless, essentially I was on my own that was really it. And, it was up to me to figure it out, but there was a real… Again, it was me trying to shift to all these different modalities or different treatment centers to try and figure out what was going on before realizing… No, it’s a connection that I needed to truth… To my true self to really actually be able to make that shift.
0:26:39 PN: And then immediately it was like, “Oh great” I have this, I don’t call it a chronic health issue anymore, I call it an alignment tool, where if I’m not living the way that I should be living… Guess what? I get sick. So I get a very… I get a very literal heads up when things aren’t going the way that they should be going, which I’m grateful for. It’s been the best learning tool that I could have asked for. But I also had to go and figure it out. And there’s a lot of people who don’t and there’s a lot of people who live like that their whole lives. And, then they get… They mask it with an anti-depression or addiction or any destructive behavior that can result from just not having that connection and that’s what psychedelics do is… Help build that connection.
0:27:28 PA: Yeah, they get to the core of it. Which is why, it creates some messy changes as you both went through. These transitions were perceived as being a little crazy or out there because we’re towing a path that’s more unconventional, but at the end of the day, I feel like that’s in some ways, the archetypal journey of when you detach from conditioning… From what’s expected of you and you really listen to the sense of truth, that’s where freedom and liberation and real self-knowledge and understanding comes from?
0:27:58 PN: Well, and also… To talk about doing something crazy. Doing something crazy now to me feels like sitting in an office, doing something that doesn’t serve me properly and having “success” around it while it making me sick. That sounds pretty crazy to me. Now, this sounds pretty normal and much more in tune with where the energy should be focused on. So…
0:28:25 PA: Yeah, it’s a big shift and it’s a big shift that a lot of people are going through which is why, from my perspective it’s like… This is why things kind of feel messy, right now, and why places like Numinus are so important? Because they provide a hub, a community. And, I’d love to hear you talk about that. What is that vision for Numinus when it comes to the community element because as we talk about with psychedelics, it’s like integration… Is so important. We can have these experiences, we can have these openings but if we don’t have a place, a community, a way to actually come back and solidify that. So, it feels real.
0:29:01 PN: Yeah.
0:29:01 PA: Then, it’s just another drug experience and it’s not…
0:29:05 PN: And that’s our focus with Numinus in creating… We don’t even really calling them clinics, center or place really feels more fitting for what we’re trying to do. And it’s… When I came back from my experience, it was the word integration gets thrown around a lot and while there’s a lot of recognition that integration is the most important part. How do you do that?
0:29:34 PN: And so I came back from Costa Rica and my therapist was across town, my naturopath was on the other side of town. And, I was also still trying to… Okay, what does integration look like for me now that I’m back at home, where do I go, what do I do? And as human beings, if something looks too large, insurmountable, especially as we’re in the very early stages of our work, that’s where you can lose people.
0:30:03 PN: And so, with Numinus what we wanted to create was spaces where people can have as much of that support of work as possible under one roof where that’s a designated place where you know you can go to, where people speak the language, where there’s supportive community, where people are going through… No two people are gonna go through the same sort of experience but they’re going to be able to understand each other a lot more. And, you can continue to go and do that work and continue to evolve and grow through that work. When I originally started looking at… How do I properly support and where can I lend my energy to help support this movement? First thing I thought was, “Oh I’ll go and open some retreat space down where I can get away with all this kind of stuff.” Right?
0:30:54 PA: Right.
0:30:55 PN: But realized that that, that wasn’t gonna create a proper shift. People shouldn’t have to get on a plane and go whirl if that is what you feel called to do that is what you should do. But also, people need support here, people need support in their backyards, where they can continue to do their work and be able to have a supportive place where they can do that. Not have to jump on a plane every time and not be supported in their community because ultimately, while yes, you might go down and have an experience somewhere, you still have to come back home. And, you still have to be here and you have to be able to implement that in your life here, to be actually able to create a shift.
0:31:39 PA: Right, ’cause otherwise… A lot of these people who go on retreats, they come back home and really the only connection that they have, is usually on Facebook or online.
0:31:46 PN: Right.
0:31:46 PA: And, this is what we always hear from people even in the Third Wave community, they’re like like the Microdosing course is great, but what we really love is when you do the in-person events, and we show up and there’s like a 100 other people who also get it.
0:31:57 PN: Yeah.
0:31:58 PA: And have gone through these experiences and can ask questions about it, and are just like… It’s not even about the psychedelics, so much but it’s more like being with people who can be present, who can hold space to just connect, who you don’t feel like there’s kind of smoke and mirrors, but who are just there with you.
0:32:11 PN: Yeah, one… We talk a lot about creating a shift in the world. And, so you need to… We talk about not creating one space, we wanna be able to create spaces across the world. And how do you create a shift with people and create a shift in the world but be able to pollinate and transplant this to cities all over the world where there’s now a space in every city where this work is being supported and that will continue to stretch out through those communities, and you then create supportive communities in cities and places all over the world, and that’s… Now starts to spread.
0:32:50 PA: Yeah, it’s a mycelium, it’s a network of sorts.
0:32:52 PN: Correct. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
0:32:53 PA: Right. So what’s the vision for Numinus, then, like where do you see this in 10 years, or is it too early to ask that question?
0:33:05 PN: We’re putting together sort of a concept, if that’s what you wanna call it, in Vancouver. But the thought process was, “If we can make one of these work, we can make a 100 of these work.” And that’s really been our vision, is it’s a big goal, in terms of where we wanna be going, but we think it’s realistic. And Stacey and I both have experience in the realms of trying to build big things out of little things, and that’s really the vision, is to create supportive spaces for people to be able to do this work properly supported throughout the world.
0:33:40 SW: I think one of the things that we’re doing that’s powerful when done properly is like we keep talking about, and we joke about how the word holistic is kind of over-used these days, but this is an integrative, holistic look at what it takes to transform a person. And somebody who’s struggling, or in their own way, there’s such a range of ways to struggle, and it’s not sufficient to look at a person in a series of isolated chambers, the health bucket, the mental health bucket, the lifestyle bucket, the career bucket. And so this is really a way for us to look at all those things together and to bring in mind and body and societal and community solutions that have been shown to work in isolation and bring those together in a hybrid model that supports people holistically.
0:34:27 SW: And so I think that’s a thing that people are craving right now, they’re craving somewhere that they can go and look at themselves like that and make these kinds of changes. And I think that having access to a community, as you put it, and having access to peers of people who you can talk to authentically, and not about the events in your life, but your life, “What’s really happening? What’s easy? What’s hard? What do you wanna change? How do you feel on the inside? Where does your life need some love?” those are the things that people want to be more authentic around, and sometimes our society can make that a little difficult. And so yeah, that’s really the vision, just be a place for people to do that and develop programs and solutions that help them.
0:35:13 PN: Yeah, and I think just going back to the 3D, right now world side of things too, is there’s a lot of research that needs to get done still, and there’s a lot of proof of concept that needs to happen. And when we were originally looking at putting this together, it was really, “How do we support research?
0:35:35 PN: How do we support what’s going on, from a research standpoint, that can actually create a shift and regulatory change?” I had been involved with cannabis in Canada back eight or nine years ago when that movement really started to happen and saw a lot of the good and the bad that happened in the cannabis industry in Canada, how can we take that experience and apply it to psychedelics and make sure that the research is getting done but there was a real call for scalability now, there was a need for… Philanthropy had really… Has really taken the research to quite an amazing extent now, but it was now… What we continued to feel was a call for scale, and a call for infrastructure, this was an ability for us to be able to put a model that can be a bit of a self-sustaining engine for research and continue to drive research until, call it mission accomplished from a regulatory standpoint, as well as research and accessibility for people, but also, obviously, letting people tell their stories. We identify with people’s stories, we identify with people, we want community. So letting people in their hometowns be able to talk about the shift that this was able to have for them in hopes, to continue to shift the needle from a regulatory standpoint as well and a public relations standpoint as well.
0:37:04 SW: And I guess one other thing that I think is just interesting in terms of where things are at in the environment right now is that there’s been a really large advancement in the last… I don’t know, probably five to 10 years, predominantly, but going back a lot further than that, in terms of the tools and technologies and just the things that are available. Science and spirituality are sort of merging in some ways, and there’s a lot of really phenomenal things that exist now, neuro-imaging, the ability to understand what’s happening inside the brain, the ability to use neural feedback tools, to use virtual and immersive experiences to guide people through certain kinds of transformations, and these are just things that science is really starting to understand how powerful they can be. And so talking about bringing our sort of background worlds with us into this space is really looking at which of those tools would make sense in a model like this, and which ones have validity and credibility and require further research to really understand how they can be applied therapeutically. And so that’s in conjunction with research on the therapeutics of… Therapeutic elements of psychedelics themselves, also looking at how we can combine certain elements like these and create more powerful shifts and then support people in a more sustainable way, in an empowered way where they understand and can see and validate the changes that are happening in themselves too.
0:38:27 PA: Right. And I just remember… I think it was yesterday or the day before, I read that there was a research paper that just came out of Switzerland that showed that psilocybin when used in combination with meditation significantly helped to improve X, Y and Z. And I think this is sort of what you’re getting at, it’s like, “Okay, it’s not just about psychedelics, but also what’s that process of psychedelics with neural feedback, or psychedelics with breathwork, or maybe just for some people, not even doing second psychedelics right away, but starting them with a float tank, or something that’s a little bit easier as an on around.
0:39:00 PN: Yeah, and I think Paul you’ll probably not be very happy with me, when I say this, and I already know you know what I’m gonna say, but people have asked me what the end goal would be for Numinus? And frankly, it’s that nobody ever has to take a psychedelic ever again. I think we’re a very, very long way from that, so don’t worry, you’re okay.
0:39:19 PA: We could argue about that too.
0:39:22 PN: But I think, even in talking about… You can come to Numinus and you don’t have to take psychedelics. But there’s a culture that’s being built there, and a community that’s getting built there that knows how to connect with people on a different level than you might get a connection somewhere else. And if you’re just coming in for neuro-feedback therapy, or if you’re just coming in for a sound therapy or just even to talk to a therapist that knows a little bit about what these waters look like. That was one of the amazing things that I experienced when I was working with different psychedelic psychotherapist was their ability to meet you where you were at, and understand the person much more than maybe someone, maybe a different style of therapy where a therapist is sort of talking down to you, and you’re not feeling like you’re connecting with that therapist properly. But the culture that psychedelics have been able to inspire and the community that they’ve been able to inspire really… It aids to the availability of being able to connect with people and be understood in where you’re at.
0:40:37 PA: Connection, I think, that’s to me what a lot of this comes back to, right? It’s connection to spirit, connection to source, and then through that understanding it’s… It’s this ability to feel safe and secure.
0:40:49 PN: Well connection to yourself, right? Connection to your true self so that you’re not looking for external validation, or you’re not turning to addiction. Right now, where our society is we’ve got more abilities to be disconnected than we’ve ever had ever. We’ve all got phones that sit in our pockets, we’ve got food that we can turn to, we’ve got drugs we can turn to. There’s so many things that we can now turn to that create disconnection, right? And I think that’s why psychedelics are having this Renaissance period, if that’s what you wanna call it. We need something that can shift us back as strong as we get shifted out now. And that’s why there’s this call now, I think, with psychedelics is, we need something to get us back on track as fast as we can because we can get off track so fast now.
0:41:40 SW: Yeah, I think it’s really great, what you brought up Paul, about just the fact that it’s not really about psychedelics and what we’re doing at Numinus, it’s about healing. It’s about what works. It’s about how to shift people the ways they need to be shifted. And we use the analogy sometimes that psychedelics are a tool in the toolbox, and you gotta use whatever tool makes sense for the situation and that’s very much so. The approach is that to look at the person individually and see what makes sense for them, and if it’s a psychedelic experience, cool. But if it’s not, and it’s a combination of these other things that are also effective, great. It’s not… This isn’t a psychedelics company, it’s a company that’s focused on human healing that uses psychedelics when appropriate, and in a safe way.
0:42:31 PA: Transformative wellness is also a term that I picked out from your website, in the homepage, for both of you, what does that phrase mean, transformative wellness?
0:42:42 PN: Yeah, transformative wellness or transformative healing, it’s that shift. It’s really, it’s creating proper transformation in people versus looking at it as just fixing one diagnosis. It’s how do you actually create transformation in a person to have them evolve and shift and grow? That to us is what… That to me is what transformational medicine is, is actually allowing that person to shift and transform and continue to do so, right? This is not a… There’s no gold at the end of the rainbow, sort of thing. And frankly, that would be boring. We never wanna actually achieve it, but we wanna know that there’s a place where we can continue to stay on track with being able to walk that path and continuing to walk it. I think that’s really important.
0:43:41 PA: Yeah, the path that we were… Ben and I, last night, we were hanging out, reading the Vedantas as one does…
0:43:47 PN: As one does.
0:43:47 PA: On a Sunday night. And the metaphor that stuck out to me was that the path, the process of self-realization, and self-becoming is like a river, instead of a pond. A pond is stagnant, and it’s just kind of like… A river is continually moving, continually kind of carving out the path that it will go, and that’s ultimately what the work is about. It’s not becoming stagnant, it’s continuing to revisit what’s important and sort of get into that flow and that rhythm.
0:44:14 PN: Yeah, I think, staying in talking about a river, a river doesn’t get stuck right? And I think that’s what happens for a lot of people, is they get stuck somewhere, right? So the ability to continue to flow, every once in a while you’re gonna hit a log, you’re gonna hit a rock, the river is gonna slow down a little bit, but being able to stay in flow and continue to go on that path, not get stuck somewhere and keep evolving and keep growing, I think that’s the name of the game.
0:44:47 SW: Yeah, I like it, it’s a great analogy. We all need to keep moving, and we all know it, and we’re not thrilled when we’re blocked somewhere, but it’s very much so about the journey and not the destination. And that’s beautiful, that’s a beautiful part of life. There’s always another chapter to read, there’s always a next phase of your growth. And I think that’s when people are happiest is when they really feel that advancement and that sense of self growing. And so this is just a place and a set of supportive people and tools to help people get into that flow and just keep riding that river.
0:45:00 PA: So we’ve talked a lot about Numinus, and we’ve talked a lot about Numinus more at a conceptual level, what the vision is, why it came to be, what matters to you from a values and principles perspective, but I’d love to get a little bit into more the logistics of just how the company Numinus come to be, who are you working with in the Vancouver area to get this up and going? So who are you collaborating with? Just going into a few those logistics will be great.
0:45:00 PN: Sure. So I’ll backtrack a little bit. So. As I was sick and still in the profession, I was in before… I was always very interested in how can I help people, what is something that I can marry my professional experience with my call-to-service, and be of service to people and help. And so, as I said… I’d been researching psychedelics for a long time, I’d had a lot of experience in mental health and physical health, and the more I looked at psychedelics I was thinking, “Wow, this could be something that I could support from my experience with cannabis. And, this could be something that I could get behind that could help people and I could lend new experience that I had.
0:46:29 PN: So I went down to Costa Rica, had this experience… And I was in my last ceremony. And nothing ever goes the way that you think that it’s going to. And, I’m in my last ceremony there’s 94 people in the Ayahuasca ceremony that I was in, and then the last ceremony I get this message, which is, “Psychedelics are too important for you to be in charge of screwing up. So leave it alone.”
0:46:56 PN: And so I go, “Oh, okay.” And at the end of these retreats, everybody’s gonna quit their jobs and become yoga teachers or Crystal Shamans or something like that, and Ayahuasca has just told me to beat it. So, [chuckle] I come back home, and I just said, “You know what, I totally get that message. All I wanna do is just give back to something, to save my life, that’s it.” I really felt that I had to do that and so started to just reach out and see who would be the best group that I could just strictly give back to.
0:47:34 PN: And within three weeks, I was meeting with Health Canada. There was this huge amount of momentum that was behind me, and I was meeting with a lot of people in the psychedelic community and they were all saying “Payton, you’re being led, you should be doing something with this.” And I would always say, “Well, Ayahuasca kinda told me to screw off, so I’m gonna leave it alone.” And they were all saying, “No, no, we’re… ”
0:48:00 PA: Don’t listen to Ayahuasca too much.
0:48:01 PN: Yeah. [laughter]
0:48:02 PA: There’s a lot of bullshit there as well.
0:48:03 PN: Yeah. And other people were saying, “Don’t worry, we’re in the community and you should go with this.” And so the only thing that I could think to do was go back to the source. So, I booked another flight down to Costa Rica to go and clear the air with Ayahuasca as it were and went down. And of course, I get this message, which is now you understand the level of integrity that these things need to be walked with and how important it is to really, really make sure that you keep that level of integrity really high.
0:48:34 PN: And so, I was walking to the last dinner, and I was kinda going, “Well, I got that message, but is that maybe my ego sort of telling me what I needed to hear.” And, my fiance actually came down with me the second time around and I said to her, as we were walking to dinner. And on the last night, there’s a shift change in terms of the people who are leaving the retreat and a new batch, that’s coming in. And so I was walking to dinner and I say to my fiance, I said, “I don’t know why but I feel really called to reach out to Gabor Mate. I’ve never met him before, I know he’s in Vancouver and I’m just getting this call to reach out to him and I get to dinner. There’s 94 people at dinner and Gabor Mate’s daughter was sitting beside me at the dinner table.
0:49:18 PN: And so at that point in time, I kind of went like, “Okay, I got it. We’re good here, I understand and we had an amazing conversation, we just spoke out about our own personal experiences and I got back home and she sent me an email saying, “You should maybe meet with my dad and I said, “Yeah, probably.”
0:49:36 PN: So sat with Gabor and he was one of really… One of the first big supporters of myself and Stacey in what we were doing. So, I went back to those philanthropy groups that I was talking to, including British Columbia Center on Substance Use, who we’ve been working really closely with. They’re doing a lot of the psychedelic research in BC as well as across Canada. And I just asked them, I said, “What do you need, what outside of just obviously writing you a check, what is it that you need?” And, what kept coming up was there was a real call for infrastructure, there was a call for… That’s where a lot of the costs were going was in spaces and training people. And so I said, “Well, if I go build that and donate it back to you in kind would that work?
0:50:26 PN: And they said, “Yeah, absolutely” and fast forward a year, they’re a partner of ours now and have been working… We’ve been working together to put together some protocols and policies that we’ll be moving forward with in the future, and that’s really what the birth of it was, was creating these… Creating infrastructure and in a safe and supported way, with experts in the community. We’re not here to try and get in front of or monopolize anything that’s going on in the space, we wanna just support the really good work that’s getting done and there’s experts out there who are doing amazing work and we just wanna be able to lend and help support that work in any which way that we can.
0:51:08 SW: It’s been consistent. What we’ve been hearing and learning and my experience sort of entering this community and this industry parallels with patents. There’s a lot of phenomenal people who have deep experience in various realms that are relevant and we’re not doctors, although we are working with them and we have our set of experience and expertise and it’s just been actually really organic where we can contribute because it’s quite complementary to the expertise that’s already there in spades.
0:51:45 SW: And so, I really just see us as we’re the platform builders to help lift everyone else up. And be that place where they can do their best work with people who do help support them and to take on a lot of the more operational and sort of bricks and mortar aspects of just what needs to be done in this space. And so, I really view it as a bit of a one-two punch. And we’re kind of just the infrastructure platform people.
0:52:13 PA: ‘Cause one thing you learn after working in this space for a little bit is the more operators that come in, the better.
0:52:20 PA: Because it’s a little… When you have a whole community that’s doing stuff like psychedelics and many of them on a somewhat regular basis. There is this element of creative, visionary, inspiration that comes from that of wanting to… This is even from the ’50s and ’60s, the original inspiration for the counter culture that’s coming back now is we see this world, we see this vision of what we could actually build and create, but the challenge is that the infrastructure and operating sort of underpinnings of that aren’t all that feasible. So to have people like yourself who come from a finance background, who have a clear understanding of what it takes to build a business, who are now coming in in support of that. I’m sure what you hear from people all the time is a lot of gratitude and appreciation for that perspective and ability.
0:53:11 PN: Yeah, and that’s… To talk about feasibility and that’s how we have been able to show an ability to create scale is… That’s where the change needs to happen now is “Let’s create scale. Let’s make this actually make sense,” which… That’s been a big part of our focus is, if we want this to say, and if we want it to actually be here to create a shift, it needs to make sense across all platforms. It needs to make sense from a research standpoint. It needs to make sense from a business model standpoint. Not so that it’s something that gets taken advantage of which… Unfortunately, that was a big part of what happened in the cannabis space was there was a lot of maybe poorly-intentioned folks that came to this cannabis space with a motive of just trying to make a quick buck. Psychedelics is a different model. This is a therapy-based model, not a product-based model. And so, it’s a slower approach, but there’s an ability to really create scale and change and that again needs to make sense.
0:54:19 PN: The one thing that I say all the time is, “I don’t want my psychedelic psychotherapist worried about how the rent bill is going to get paid next month. I want them to be here fully present and focused on the work that I’m doing and that needs to be a platform for them to be legally supported and do all of the work that they need to do from a properly supported place so that they can be able to be of service and of the best amount of service going forward.”
0:54:50 PA: And then, this is one of the concerns for a lot of people is the cost.
0:54:54 PN: Sure.
0:54:56 PA: I won’t get too deep into the numbers, but it’s in the five figures for a proper psychedelic psychotherapy. To mirror the similar results that we’re getting in research. Two psychotherapist for every one person who’s in there, and this is something that when we were starting synthesis last year, the retreat center in Amsterdam, we would talk about is like, “Well, then, what does it look like to create a scalable system that’s actually affordable for as many people as possible. Because on the one hand, you have the issue of when money comes into a space, particularly in the more capitalist society that we live in. Then, what people are incentivized by from a business perspective is reaching as many people as possible. Right? So then, the question is, “Do you sacrifice quality of care to reach as many people as possible?” Because to be frank, to create a legal above-ground infrastructure for psychedelics, it’s unlikely that we’re gonna be able to train two psychotherapists for every one person who needs treatment. That’s potentially 40 million psychotherapist if not more. So, I’d just be curious to hear what thought you’ve given to that, in terms of if you’re setting up these clinics, and how do we take the results that have happened from a research perspective and actually see similar results in a real world environment where we’re not gonna have two psychotherapists for every one person who come in to do psychedelics?
0:56:17 PN: One, we’ve looked at a number of different models in terms of… You talk about quality versus quantity essentially, and quality… Going back to that integrity piece and quality to us, we need to make sure that people are first and foremost achieving what they want to achieve versus just a numbers game of get as many people through the door as humanly possible. And that’s really been our focus is how do we create the best experience for the people coming through the doors. And that’s been a big focus of ours and we’ve been extremely collaborative in our approach of rolling this out and that’s been talking with everybody from MDs and NDs, to therapists, to different technology groups even in terms of how do we streamline this so that people are getting that high quality work that it doesn’t cost them a fortune to do. But also, there’s different models we’ve looked at as well as in terms of how to do subsidy programs for people and how to roll this out so that it’s supported across all walks of life. Whether that’s someone who can afford high-end expensive treatment, down to the people who can’t afford it that probably need it more than anybody. And so, we’ve been extremely conscious in terms of our roll-out strategy and being able to support… And going back to talking about community, even the people who can afford it, helping subsidize the people who can’t and creating a community there in terms of even financially supporting each other. Right?
0:58:01 SW: And I think something that’s just really interesting around all this is you touched on a really important thing is that it’s really hard to build a large business that can deliver this kind of service well consistently and at scale. I would say that as much as my finance background has been helpful, it’s actually been my exposure to successful scale entrepreneurs that’s been most helpful. Because getting a front row seat to what it takes to do something like that with integrity and with the level of… Yeah, consistency of service that’s required. It’s a feat. There’s a reason most businesses don’t succeed.
0:58:42 SW: And so, we’re really taking… Definitely not a slow but a thoughtful approach and learning from all of the examples that we have in front of us, not just from a particular industry, but just looking at what it takes to do something like this well, and that requires the ability to take all those visions and all those ideas and manifest them grounded in reality and built on real-stuff. They can move this movement and move this industry forward and I think that’s how we’re gonna be able to contribute as… With that sort of grounded business-based real-world approach but being very thoughtful about… Yeah, the advocacy element of what’s required here, the public education and the stakeholder education elements that need to occur. This has been a really misunderstood thing for a long time and that’s nobody’s fault, in particular, there’s just a lot of misinformation going about. I was wildly misinformed, wildly misinformed.
0:59:47 PA: Yeah, what did you think about psychedelics when you started doing them?
0:59:50 SW: I was raised Catholic and I went to Catholic school for elementary school and high school and was very much so educated along the lines. I think a lot of people are… Drugs are bad, don’t do them. Drugs are bad, not any sort of nuance or discrimination around which ones for what things but just drugs. And I was pretty resistant to drugs most of my life and I heard all sorts of crazy stuff. You never know what’s true but I remember hearing things, “LSD will melt your brain.” You know, it’s just stuff like that. And I just kind of thought better not go there in general. And so… The process of discovery for me around this and this last while really digging into it, digging into the research that’s occurred, the thousands of clinical trials from all over the world. It’s crazy to realize that that stuff’s been happening for decades, and most of us still have this other belief or perspective of how psychedelics work and what they are and what they can be used for. That was really eye-opening for me. And…
1:01:00 SW: So I think that there’s a bit of a responsibility now as well to help just educate and to help share knowledge, and to help make sure that the narratives that are being portrayed in media and just that are out there and available for consumption for people are accurate and they’re just based in credible science and they’re not propaganda various sorts and just really getting to truth, truth around these things, and there’s some powerful truths that need to be talked about, that are very much so based in reality and there’s people who can testify to it from their personal experiences as well. And I think that’s gonna be an important chapter of what is continuing to occur it has been for a while, but just sort of the continuation of that is, what do the regulators need to know? What does the public need to know? What do health professionals in various degrees need to know? How can we contribute to and help provide content and education and research that will just drive some of those larger aims and make sure that people really understand the truth about how these things work.
1:02:04 PA: I was having this discussion with a couple of friends last weekend. And psychedelics in many ways are the biggest threat to the current system that we have. And it’s on the one hand great that there really hasn’t been any much public backlash.
1:02:18 PN: Right.
1:02:18 PA: There haven’t been any sort of government crackdown. In fact, it’s been the opposite. We’ve had Oakland has decriminalized all plant medicines we now have Denver, that’s decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA and psilocybin around a fast track for FDA approval in the United States. So this is something that I often, I don’t know if I think about it all the time, but it’s something that comes up, it’s like what happens as more and more people get exposed to this and get exposed to the truth of who they are and there’s always a back and forth, there’s always an ebb and flow, and as more people wake up to the sense of discovery and self-exploration, that’s just something that comes to mind for me, it’s like, “will there be backlash? Will there be push back? If there is, how is that mitigated? This is why I often think about Microdosing just from a strategic perspective that it’s in some ways a great way to sort of familiarize mainstream culture with psychedelics because it’s not so threatening to the sort of individual and collective ego.
1:03:13 PN: Yeah. I think even… I never had… My first psychedelic drug experience wasn’t until my early 30s. I’d never… I actually was always the… As I said I grew up in an addicted family, and I always recognize that… The destruction that Drugs and Substances can have on people’s lives. I was always sort of the anti-recreational drug guy in my old industry, which was a bit of an anomaly.
1:03:47 PA: Really?
1:03:47 PN: Believe it or not. That’s the truth. And I was always quite outspoken about that.
1:03:54 PA: The guy who went to Burning Man in a suit and came away with nothing.
1:03:58 PN: I know, I know, shocker, shocker. But yeah, that was always… For me that was where I came to it from. And as I said, I came to psychedelics as a last resort and even still I haven’t really had recreational psychedelic experiences, most of the work that I’ve done, and it’s been a lot of work, but it’s all been within a therapeutic context, and I think in terms of what some of the backlash could be is there’s so much good stuff out there that you read about with psychedelics right now, right? It’s having this great effect for people, there’s all these things that it can help treat and that’s creating a lot of enthusiasm for the good but also could be harmful. There’s a lot of people now racing out to go and have psychedelic experiences and if they’re not in the right context, and the right supported way, like anything else, a hammer can be used to build a house or it can be used to cause harm. And frankly it’s the same thing with psychedelics and these need to be properly supported and they need to be done in the safe environment and that’s really where our focus has been is how do we create the safest most effective environment for psychedelics to be used within an integrative health model, and that’s been our focus.
1:04:45 PN: And, so that is a little bit of… For myself, that’s definitely something that needs to be made aware of is these are not panaceas, they’re not magic pills. You can’t go grab some mushrooms and go sit with your friends by the fire and fix all your problems. There needs to be proper structure around these things. And that needs to be made apparent, I think, or else we’re gonna fall into some destructive patterns that could really hurt this movement.
1:06:03 PA: And then I think this is the challenge right going from a pharmaceutical model which is traditionally “We’ll just go to the doctor, we’ll get a prescription for a pill, we’ll take the pill, things will get “better” And there’s really not much agency or autonomy, given to the individual to actually make the steps necessary. And to me, this has been the biggest shift with things like microdosing or general psychedelic use. It’s really like, “How can we give the power back to the individual who’s going through their own process?” It’s what you talked about earlier? Helping people wake up to the fact that they are their own healer. And that these people who are around them, whether it’s a psychotherapist, or the medical doctor, or the shaman. Those are just people to guide you, and provide a mirror of sorts that you can go deeper and deeper into the sea.
1:06:46 PN: Yeah. Exactly, exactly. It’s just something that’s gotta get walked with, as Stacey mentioned, real proper understanding and education. And inspiring someone to become their own healer. You also don’t want to inspire someone to, as you mentioned, just go race out and have an experience, and scare themselves out of becoming their own healer. I can’t imagine if as a last resort, I turned to some huge psychedelic experience by myself to help create a shift in myself. I would have had no idea what to do with my experience, I really wouldn’t have. But luckily, I was in a supported environment, and I had done enough work on myself. To begin with that I knew a little bit of the landscape to walk with, but a lot of people don’t have that same opportunity.
1:07:41 PA: Yeah, they don’t have the context, they don’t have the background with meditation or with other person of element. It’s more like they’re in a situation of desperation, and these are for many people the last hope that might work.
1:07:52 SW: Yeah, absolutely. And one of the analogies that we talk about is that psychedelics just takes the lid off the box, right? Then you as a human have to unpack the box, re-assemble it, put what you want back in the box. There’s steps that come after an experience that are important to healing, and to integration. And one of the things that can happen if you don’t understand fully what it is that you’re doing, or you’re doing it in an unsupported environment, or without professionals to guide you is, you can have experiences that you might not be able to safely handle afterwards. Or you might make decisions in your life that maybe aren’t the best ones for you, but feel so at the time. And there’s just a lot of real implications for doing this work on your own. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s so important, and so much more effective to do these things in an environment where people can guide you through what actually works. And how to take the things that you’ve learned, or that you’ve been exposed to, or the realizations that you’ve had. And what to do with those insights, so that you turn them into practical change in your life that helps you become the person that you wanna be. That’s the work, the experience just opens the door, and then there’s the work that comes after. And so that’s really what we focus on, is that work aspect.
1:09:13 PA: Yeah, it’s like the metaphor of, the cloud’s clear, and you see the mountain top. Or even with psychedelics you sometimes take the helicopter all the way up to the mountain top, only to come and realize later that, you still have to continue climbing. And that the clouds will come back. And it’s just a matter of understanding where that path is, and continuing to honor that path. And then when it feels like it’s okay to continue to do psychedelics… Cause this is where Payton and I disagree.
1:09:40 PA: Psychedelics will always be used. For me, it’s a practice of… The metaphor that we would often teach at synthesis is like a dentist appointment, where every six months you go to the dentist to get a deep, deep clean in your teeth, but everyday you’re brushing and you’re flossing.
1:09:55 PN: Yeah I think. So I’ll back up a little bit. Just so we’re still friends. I think being able to create that shift where psychedelics can be used in the context of wellness, and continued exploration, and advancement, versus just out of sheer necessity for people. We wanna try and help people not to get to the point where they’re acting out of necessity. And you mentioned the last option, we wanna help people try and avoid having to get to that point, before having to turn to psychedelics, right? And going back to just talking about doing the work, there’s so many people that are willing to do the work, because of where they’re at in their lives, but they can’t get shifted. They need something to just help them create that initial shift.
1:10:50 PN: You talk about a river and being in flow, when you’re stuck up against that rock and you can’t move, you need something to, even if it’s just 1% to just help create that strong shift. And psychedelics can do that, they can really kick you in the right direction. But it is up to you then to integrate, and do that work going forward. But for a lot of people, myself included, the ability to… I was there ready to do the work, I would do the work all day long. But I needed something to actually help put it into practice, and help make it be effective. I’ll use the rehab model, for example. I read a stat the other day that said that traditional rehabilitation is like, a 6% success rate with people with addiction. It’s just not acceptable for people, and that shows there’s lots of people that are there to show up. But they can’t get shifted, so they’re turning back into the old pattern again. They need something that’s going to create a shift for them and psychedelics can help do that.
1:11:55 PA: So you two have been working with each other and have known each other for how many years now?
1:12:00 PN: Seven or eight years. Yeah.
1:12:02 PA: So I’d love to hear from Stacey first, what’s your impression of Payton before and after psychedelics? Who was he before, and how has he changed as a result of the work that he’s done now?
1:12:11 SW: Payton, I met him… I would have been in the end of my early 20s around 23ish, yeah, I was working in the finance industry and the truth is, I was quite disillusioned, I was just at a place where I was realizing I think what a lot of people are realizing that finance often isn’t applied in a way where it’s providing benefit to the people they’re looking to serve and that’s definitely not a truth across the board but just it’s prevalent in some ways and also just there’s a culture that exists there that I was exposed to at times and yeah, and so I was at a point in my life where I was a little disillusioned and actually meeting Payton in the finance world was a breath of fresh air because as much as he’s changed before and after he even before had a strong sense of integrity and he was just kind, he was just kind and I needed that at that time in my life, it was wonderful getting to work with him, we were both different, we both probably were a little bit more typical mainstream, we went out for more drinks, it was more like that.
1:13:11 PN: We wore less Crystal.
1:13:12 SW: Yeah, we wore less Crystals, yeah exactly. So we were a little bit more mainstream I guess, in that way and he was honest and I really appreciated that honesty and enough actually that I brought in one of my best friends to work with us who now Payton is engaged to but it was a place within the finance industry Payton created an environment that felt safe especially for young women and it was great and I actually really appreciated always that I was allowed to speak my mind which as I’m sure Payton will mention I did a lot and that wasn’t always welcome that wasn’t always welcome I had a lot of experiences where my opinions weren’t invited or welcomed and so yeah, I appreciated the dynamic that we had back then because I could have a reaction to something and be all testy and go in and tell Payton exactly what I thought about something and you know and he listened, he listened to me and as a young woman that was really empowering in the finance industry and it’s one of the reasons that I was able to work so closely with him for three years so. I know that’s not as juicy as you were going for but the truth is, is that yeah, I wouldn’t be doing this with Payton now if we hadn’t been learnt a really strong working dynamic and if I hadn’t grown to trust who he is irregardless of his lifestyle habits, he always had a really strong core of trust and kindness so he’s still the same guy, he’s just a little cleaner, a little shinier a little healthier.
1:14:46 PA: Now, I have the same question for you Payton with Stacey, how has your relationship developed over the last seven years? How has your perception of who she is changed? What’s that been like for you?
1:14:55 PN: Yeah, I think a few friends. Stacey has a lot of fans but yeah, Paul is a big fan. I always was a very big fan of Stacey, I really was. She was amazing when we worked together in a different environment and is amazing working together now even more so but I think this shift that I’ve been able to see in Stacey is see Stacey become her own number one fan I think that for me has been amazing to watch because always knowing that and seeing that in her and then be able to see her have… Not that she didn’t see it before but I think really been able to really sink into that and it’s been amazing to see because she is so amazing and a strong powerful force and so it’s been great to see that evolution and continuing evolution in Stacey. So, yeah, that is what I would say would be probably the biggest shift that I’ve seen that’s been amazing to watch.
1:15:55 PA: That internal process of really sinking in here and going, this is what I need and this is what I need to honor and this is my own path.
1:16:02 PN: And I think we both, in both us being able to step into this path there’s been an ability for us both to be able to step into our truth a bit more and do that together in a way that’s supportive and yeah, it has been… I’m very grateful to be able to do that with Stacey.
1:16:18 PA: Beautiful and then this is the amazing thing about… I can also speak for Ben who’s sitting over here. When we were on this Ayahuasca retreat at the beginning the year it was just that like, “Okay we see eye to eye, we have the same vision, we come from a similar place and we’re both willing to do what’s necessary to see this succeed and the interesting thing about working with psychedelics is in some ways you’re playing at a really high level and you’re also playing at a high level where there needs to be transparency and accountability and having a partner who can keep you and hold to that is just makes the biggest difference in the world.
1:16:51 SW: That’s actually, I’m glad that you brought that up because one of the things that… You’ve always been good at this but one of the things I think that’s really shifted in you is you’re so centered and you’re so grounded and you’re so solid and it’s so great because that really helps me be the same way and it’s like a great foundation for us and Payton very much so keeps me on track.
1:17:16 PN: We both do that for each other.
1:17:17 SW: Very much so.
1:17:18 PN: I don’t wanna take all the credit for that. Stacey keeps me on track as well.
1:17:21 PA: Isn’t Stacey Director of Operations?
1:17:24 SW: Yeah, well, and that’s the thing, that’s the thing we’re both strong individuals and that’s what it takes in a partnership like this is you have to be strong in yourself and you have to have that sense of core but you also have to be willing and open to and receptive to feedback when you’re getting a little off kilter. I’ve always really appreciated over the last year that Payton has been able to kindly and in a constructive way just open up conversations where it would have been easier to say nothing and to bring stuff that sometimes can live in the shadow world up into the light world and just let us talk about things in a really just safe and supportive way and so that’s been a good thing I think that’s developed and not that we didn’t have that in our first run around the working together track but it’s definitely stronger now and you’re very much so able to coach each other as friends.
1:18:17 PN: Talking about the psychedelic community one of the things that I turn back to a lot is just making sure that if you’re going to be supportive in this community, that you’re doing your own work and being of service to doing your own work first and foremost. You can’t be a champion for something if you’re not doing it yourself. And I think for Stacey and I, we’re very dedicated to doing our own work and sticking to that process, and that gives us the ability to… Stacey and I have big things we need to do so we don’t have time for our own stuff getting in the way of that. And so, we honor that by continuing to really be dedicated to our own practice and I think that’s so, so important in this space, is the people that are supporting other people in doing their work to be doing their own work as well.
1:19:03 PA: And as entrepreneurs, that’s why we start projects I think. We have experiences that mean a lot to us then we go, “We really genuinely believe that other people could benefit from this and how can we create the infrastructure and create the systems to provide that value on a large scale.” Somewhat of a final word. That’s this big shift that’s occurring is, how are we moving people again from consumer to contributor where they’re pursuing things that are really deep soulful purpose, meaning-driven things where they go, “Okay, this isn’t about me and the ego but this really is about selfless services. This really is about taking these insights and lessons that we’ve learned from Stewart and then providing them and giving back, and ensuring that there’s again this flow through us of that energy.”
1:19:43 PN: Yeah, I think to talk about entrepreneurship. And I tried doing all the things that fed my ego perfectly well and it made me really sick. So, being of service and just helping people feel is a whole lot better and I think the more people can realize that, the better the world’s gonna be.
1:20:00 PA: Cool. So as a final thing, just Numinus, when does it open? When do you start providing treatment?
1:20:05 PN: Sure, sure.
1:20:06 PA: What’s that, a little bit of the timeline?
1:20:08 PN: Yeah, so we have a small clinic that’s open right now in Vancouver and in the fall, we’ll begin to start rolling out what programming will look like. It’s going to continue to evolve and be quite organic but we’ve really been focusing on being able to offer a fairly robust program from the beginning. And we’re planning on expanding into another larger purpose-built facility in Vancouver within the next 12 months, but fairly quickly expand across Canada and potentially down into the US.
1:20:37 SW: Like Payton said, we’re really focused on one of the things you touched on, is the number of available trained people, and that’s absolutely something that’s really important and needs to be done really well. [chuckle] And that’s something that I think we’re really lucky to have made wonderful relationships with strong people in that area, but continuing to work with pools of excellent individuals with strong training and foundations and just continuing to create, I guess, a pipeline of trained high quality therapists, that there is a sufficient number of people available to treat all the demand. [chuckle] So yeah, and just a thought, you were talking about helping people in entrepreneurship, and that’s really what makes a good business period, is just, it’s not about even the vision really. It’s, does it work? Does it provide value to people? Does it help them? And if you can help people consistently, the business will be great. And I think it’s when we lose sight of that and we make it about the business itself that things can go a little sideways and that’s all this is. This is just a vehicle to help people, and as long as we stay really focused on that, I think we’ll be okay.
1:21:49 PA: And I think that’s why we’re lucky to be working in Psychedelics because really they make it pretty damn easy to do, right? Because as long as you create the space and as long as you have the education, as long as you… The medicine and the substances will often do it. Obviously, there needs to be the preparation and the integration, but psychedelics make it easy to do that.
1:22:07 PN: Yeah. Awesome.
1:22:08 PA: Cool. Well thank you both for joining us on the podcast.
1:22:11 PN: Thank you Paul.
1:22:12 PA: It was really an honor to come here to spend time with you on Friday for dinner and I’m excited to see the clinic right after.
1:22:19 PN: Yes. Very grateful for the work that you’re doing with Third Wave yeah, really amazing. So, appreciate you very much. Yeah.
1:22:24 PA: Thank you. Thank you.