Lessons I Teach Myself
According to the gods of Wikipedia, the term "psychedelia" is derived from the Ancient Greek words psyche
(which means "soul" or spirit") and dēloun (which means "to make visible, to reveal").
So today's post is all about a recent experience I had, while I was on the effect of a psychedelic substance, and in what ways my soul, or spirit, was revealed to me...
*Full disclosure: I am not advocating for a use of drugs or substances, be it legal or illegal. What I describe here is my own personal experience and take-away from it, and nothing more! Be wise, safe and responsible, kids. :)
So, psychedelics. Here we go:
Similarly to dreaming - my experience felt like it had lead me down the rabbit hole of my subconscious, but it differed from a dream by being absolutely a LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCE. A mystical one, which included hours of a complete dismembering of the ego and any awareness of the boundaries of my body. Like in a dream - it was all in my 'mind', of course. But unlike in a dream - I was wide awake to experience it as it was happening. And I remember it now well enough to share it.
However...no words can be quite accurate or expansive enough to describe such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So instead of trying... I made a 'Playlist For My Psychedelic Trip.'
Yep! 52 minutes and twelve seconds of delving into my take-away from the experience. If you give it a listen, you may have sensations of your own, and you may connect to my experience by feeling, more than just reading. Feel free to have a listen right now, right here: PSYCHE TRIP.
But since I am a lover of words and couldn't't resist the temptation to elaborate.... here is the breakdown of songs and my attempt at explaining my choices. (*Suggestion: you may want to listen to the music FIRST, and only afterwords read the breakdown below!)
So here is my 'Psyche Trip' Playlist:
1. Break On Through (To The Other Side) / The Doors
If this song is a lot for an opening song, it's because my experience was deep and FAST. I broke through to 'the other side', very quickly. The scenery around me started to 'breathe', and everything I saw was a lot more defined. So much so, that the scenery seemed like a cartoon at times. The range of colors were vivid and pronounced, and included colors that don't actually exist. Poetically speaking - I saw colors that I can only imagine. I have a feeling Jim Morrison had seen those colors once or twice as well. (or a hundred...)
2. One Day I'll Fly Away / Randy Crawford
As I was starting to lose the sense of awareness of my body, I found a safe place to lay down in and look up. That was the surreal moment of fully entering the dream, and to me, it felt at first like flying. The images and colors I saw when I looked up - took over so much, that I felt as if I was floating, like in an out-of-body experience. I know this sounds bizarre and hard to comprehend, especially if you haven't experienced something like this before. But just think of 'dreaming while you are awake.' It doesn't quite explain it, but it's a start...
3. Tomorrow Never Knows (Remastered 2009) / The Beatles
When the self, the ego, and the body fade away, it can be a frightening experience. And it was for me. I have experienced altered states before - with substances and without, but this was a new level of high that I've never been in before. And with anything new - fear comes along for the ride, sometimes as protection, and sometimes as distraction. These lyrics by the brilliant The Beatles describe well the sense of 'push and pull' that was going on for me at some uncomfortable times during the experience. My inner monologue was at times coming up with vengeance, questioning 'is this a bad trip? Is this even a trip? Is this an amazing trip? Where Am? Who am I? WHAT am I? Until it would go numb again, and I could relax into the trip, and no longer BE at all....
4. Bohemian Rhapsody (2011 Mix) / Queen
This song is itself a trip, and needs no introduction or any explanation. AmIright?
5. Rebirth / Spirit Minds
In the moments of surrender to the experience - I WAS the colors I was seeing, I WAS the cosmos, or pure consciousness. (If that term resonates with you.) I was feeling the 'oneness' so many people describe when experiencing the loss of the ego. The feeling can seem like dying: The ego, and the side of the brain that recognizes separation - diminish, so it can feel like what our mind will interpret as DEATH. And it did to me, at times. It also felt like I was in the womb, cradled by the colors I was in, floating in light, or being 'reborn.' (Seriously I KNOW this description is 'out there' but this experience is impossible to describe efficiently. Our minds are just too small now to grasp such an expansion! UGH!)
6. Here Before / Vashti Bunyan
When I first heard this song - I had the deja vu sensation that I have heard it before.
Ironic since that is literarily what the song is about. In my psychedelic experience, the concept of time joined the ego and lost its meaning altogether. And what I was left with were memory cells that couldn't really grasp what was real and what was not, like in a vivid dream. The expansive feeling of 'one-ness' was a feeling that wasn't new. It was familiar. Is that what my mind was like when I was a child? A baby? A newborn? In the womb about to come out into the world and wear the costume of the SELF? I wonder.
7. Mother's Nature's Son / Ramsey Lewis
I went into the experience wanting and expecting to be 'one with nature'.
And sure, the trees showed up in all their glory and the sky with its beauty, and even the dirt was magnificent. But I also requested mystery and unexpected discoveries from the experience - and that I received: Nature had a deeper meaning than only its physical manifestation. The concept of nature appeared to me in a more abstract form. Like the cycles we live in, and human nature, or the nature of being-ness. But instead of getting into a philosophical sphere to try to explain this, I'll just let this cover version of the famous Beatles song do all the explaining with its trippy sounds and melody.
8. Lullaby / Nick Mulvey
'It was right here all along, what you're missing isn't gone.' For several days after my trip, I was able to see specks of rainbows behind the clouds, the trees had a taint of definition around them and I was experiencing connection to all beings. While I am back to my 'senses' now, knowing that the expansion is there still, even when I don't see it or feel it, makes me truly happy and calm. That expansion is always there, even while we are clouded with our small mind, our ego, our judgments, our fears, or our ambitions. Knowing that alone, gave profound meaning to the experience I had.
9. One / U2
And that expansion I'm talking about... is being in ONE-NESS. Or in ONE LOVE, as U2 puts it. What actually happens in your brain in a psychedelic experience (and yes, other experiences can do that as well) is that the brain's left side and right side connect to each other in different ways than normal. Is that why we feel ONE? And connected to all beings? And even connected to the AIR in between all beings!? Mind..... Blown.
10. Shanti (Peace Out) / MC Yogi
This piece of music is prior to words, just like we are. So i'll just leave it at that... enjoy the listening.
11. Exit Music (For A Film) / Radiohead
'Breathe.. keep breathing....' Thom Yorke sings here. And that's what I was telling myself throughout the experience. I don't know whether I said it out loud, or if I followed my advice and WAS breathing. I obviously DID breathe and I'm alive to tell it - but the sensation of breathing wasn't felt by me at all, as I was simply....outside of my body....I EXITED, and I was somewhere in the air... escaping the bounds of my body and my small mind.
12. This Is To Mother You / Sinead O'Connor
At the peak of my experience, it became harder for my identity to hold on to me. Meaning - I didn't know who I was, what my past was, where I was from, what I do, etc. Pretty much all the concepts that tied into the understanding of myself - were stripped away. And the only concept I had - was MY MOTHER. She didn't appear in visual form. When I was deeply tripping - I didn't even know WHO my mother was. But I knew of the notion of a MOTHER. And it gave me grounding. Almost as if I was in the womb and the only connection to the self I was about to be - was my mother. Holding on to the concept of 'mother' gave me the sense of healing. And that no matter how frightening this experience was at times - it was unraveling and purifying me in ways that are needed. For clarity and for growth. And as I was coming out from the peak of the trip, I was filled with love for my mother, and deep appreciation.
13. Walkabout / Augustines
This song is about coming home, to yourself. Surrendering into your own truth and uncover the masks life forces you to wear. The conditioning our society imprints feels sometimes too heavy to wear.
Take it off, and remember: IT'S ALL INVENTED.
There are rainbows behind the clouds, whether you see them, or not.
Hope you enjoyed the music and a peek into my trip down psyche's lane...
This word is much more than a word.
Sure, ALL words are much more than words, since we put meaning on them.
But THIS word.... is like a vast giant WORLD of meanings.
(Noun) (Origin: French)
A feeling of having already experienced the present situation.
Okay, so far it sounds simple, right?
But thing is - us who experienced Deja Vu in our lifetime (apparently it's 70% of us), know the odd feelings a deja vu brings along.
Having a Deja Vu, for me, feels like a glitch in the system, or a reboot of sorts. As if the puzzle of our brains gets suddenly changed around, and time has ceased to operate linearly like it normally does.
The feeling only lasts a few minutes, at most, and it fleets quickly. Much like when we wake up from a dream and it quickly disappears from our memory.
We often (or, always?) get confused when we experience a Deja Vu, and we think the mind is playing a trick on us. Seems to me like our minds are playing tricks on us all the time, actually.
For instance, TIME is one of those tricks; When everything is 'normal', with no Deja Vu sensation around - our minds think of time in a linear way. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. But when we tap into the 'glitch in the memory cells' that is a Deja Vu - time operates simultaneously.
The notion of a deja vu also make us question our memory.
DID that happen already? Or was it in my dream? Is this solely a coincidence? Can I trust my own mind?
Questioning all that may only lead to more questions instead of answers...
But it keeps our minds in shape and our memory cells re-setting themselves.
So as bizarre and surreal as a Deja Vu may feel like.... I welcome it!
Ever feel like you are waiting for life to come find you?
Give you that opportunity you are waiting for?
Knock on your door with that dream job?
Connect you to that love of your life you are supposed to meet?
Show up unannounced and giving you everything you ever wished for?
Whether some form of delusion, or procrastination, or fear gets in our way,
we often seem to occupy our time dreaming of what we want, and waiting for it to happen, instead of sprinting into action and LIVING our wildest dreams.
Well... to that I say....:
YOU ARE OKAY.
I repeat: It's O-K-A-Y.
You are a human being, with all its wonders and flaws, and you have 'achieved' plenty already simply by waking up this morning. Do you have two working legs? A heart that beats? Lungs that breathe? Ears that hear? Eyes that see? Roof over your head? Food on your plate? Friends or family that you love? And that love you? Congratulations! You are excelling at this thing called 'life.'
You are lucky, capable and whole just as you are.
So why don't you take some time out of your busy schedule of waiting for life to happen... and put some of it in gratitude. If you are not be in survival mode right now when the world is in full-on crisis mode, than you have privilege. The privilege to dream. Be grateful for it. Adopt an attitude of gratitude, and before you know it, you may find yourself DOING more than talking, TAKING ACTION more than dreaming, and LIVING instead of waiting for your life to begin. It already began, and you are along for the ride...whether the waves are gushing high and carrying you along, and if the water is so still - you can peacefully float on it.
In a faraway land, way up above the clouds, across from care-bear land and the milky way, lived a giant bird. She had the eyes of a tiger and the wings of a hawk. She would often look at the earth below, and the people in it, wondering when will they ever stop hurting themselves.
Occasionally she would come down to earth, to visit a squirrel named Buzz.
Buzz lived in the tropical amazon forest of Brazil. He lived in a majestic tree house near a family of monkeys, and luscious bamboos and poison ivy. The monkeys often made too much noise to his taste, but they were decent neighbors overall. Buzz had particular taste, and often wore a vest made out of beer metal can tops. Ones he found in the city. He only visited the city once, because the smell of gasoline, and the sounds of machinery, weren't pleasant for our little elderly squirrel. He was a gentle creature of habit, and he lived for his visits from our giant bird. He loved her. And she loved him. He knew it. She knew it. But they also knew they could never do a thing about it. After all, she was a bird, and he was a squirrel. To each their own...Such were the ways of nature, they thought.
One day, our giant bird was making her way down to earth to visit Buzz. This time her commute was a tad longer as a couple of care bears hitched a ride on her back. When she arrived - it was already night time. And as she tip toed her way towards Buzz's tree house, she heard the shrieks of the fireflies and the owls. There was something different in the air, she felt.
As Buzz heard her thumps, he came rushing breathlessly.
He cried out 'I, I, I am banished. They took my home. They want me out!' They want me DEAD! '
'They', our giant bird wondered. She had heard that term before, but Buzz was usually more specific with his words. He was a stickler for words actually, so his behavior was peculiar. As his panic grew stronger, and cries grew louder, our giant bird started recognizing the agony in his words. She had heard these type of cries before. In the rhinos in Africa, in the leopards in Russia, the ferrets in North America. It was cries of fear: the fear of banishment. The fear of destruction. The fear of EXTINCTION.
Our giant bird spread open her giant wing and embraced Buzz with it. He calmed down a bit as he felt her warm velvety feathers. They reminded him of being in the womb so many years before. Life was simple then, he thought. The giant bird stayed wrapping her wings around Buzz until morning, and when she woke, she saw: The forest was in flames. Trees were chopped. Animals were brutally killed. Destruction was everywhere.
What could a bird do against the cranes, technology, and the violence of humans?
She knew her strength couldn't compare to theirs, but our giant bird thought of herself as a savior. She couldn't sit sideways or fly back to her clouds seeing the horrors below.
She remembered a motto her own mother taught her: 'Some can and some cannot. The only way to find out if you CAN is by doing WHATEVER YOU CAN.' With that motto echoing loudly in her mind, the giant bird whispered in Buzz's ears to find shelter. He ducked in a rabbit hole, huddled with a couple of rabbits, a snake and three snails, while she leaped up to her feet to do what she did best: FLY.
It was the one thing she could do, that humans could't.
She flew high enough so she could see the humans in their automobiles, dripping with sweat, with eyes twinkling of greed. 'From a bird's eye -- one can see it all', she thought. 'Those humans are blinded by their greed, how will I make them see what I see?' She thought. And then as if a muse had kissed her, an idea dropped in, like it was... magic.
She started flying faster. And faster. And faster. Fast enough for a small tornado to emerge out of the trees near Buzz's now destroyed tree-house. As she flew faster, the tornado grew bigger, and bigger, and before long, it directed the flames towards the humans. Vengefully, the tornado followed their cars, as if - with some irony - it was banishing THEM.
As the humans fled away, they clenched to their hearts in mortal fear, and crossed their arms, repeatedly crying out the God-fearing words 'Oh my God!'
'I suppose that is the language of humans', our giant bird thought.
Once the fearful people finally disappeared from view, our giant bird spread her wing wide enough to lift a WAVE up from a lake nearby, and poured it on the inflamed forest.
It was a tzunami of the best kind. One that could restore the nature of the forest.
The fire began cooling down, and eventually turned into ashes.
The trees were grateful, the animals were saved, and the giant bird was the true savior that she was born to be. As she landed, she faced Buzz, and her eyes said it all: It was LOVE. She did it for love.
The humans never returned to the forest again. They told the legend of a godly creature guarding the forest, for years to come. They named her 'Mother Nature.'
And Buzz returned to his tree house, and made it even more magnificent than before, and our giant bird would frequently visit him and the loud monkeys nearby. And the forest?
The forest lived happily ever after.
You and I have quite a relationship, don't we?
It's healthy, most of the time. You have your place, I have mine. I accept you, invite you, and you show up most of the time consistently, and sometimes -- at the very last minute of the party of my life.
You know, I don't say this often - but I truly love you Money.
Not for who you are. I am well aware you are only an idea, a figment of our species' imagination, an agreed upon concept that is deeply ingrained to us all. Us humans see you as the force that 'makes the world go round.' And in some societal ways, you do.
But you see Money, I love you - for what you bring along with you.
And by that, I DON'T mean the material, security, or freedom that you grace us all with your presence. Sure, they're all incredibly nice, and worthy of attention as well, but I am referring to the possibility of personal growth you bring along both in your absence and in your presence. I guess I am a junkie of 'getting to know myself', and you Money, help quite a bit in that department.
I always thought of you as a bi-product of my success. And if so, then what is success? Is it measured with material? With luxuries? With generational wealth? Perhaps to some. But not to me.
To me, it is measured with the willingness to go on a journey and trust that there would be no lack where I go. That there will be an abundance.
An abundance of creativity, of joy, of happiness, of richness, of thought, of love. Yup, as cheesy as that may sound. And it seems to me, that that type of abundance doesn't always depend on you. It can show up with you, or completely without - for the enlightened ones among us.
You, dear Money, bring up to us small minded humans - the notions of greed and survival. As if to tease us, to say 'Where are YOU at with money? Do you have plenty? Do you want more? Do you need more? Are you content with what you have? How are you at releasing money? Does it bring up fear? Are you ashamed to ask for more? Is it never enough?
Thank you Money, for showing up, with all these questions at once.
Our encounter with each other is sometimes frightening - when I feel like I'm going to lose you and never see you again. But other times, it is invigorating - when you show up gloriously, and with you - so does my sense of inner trust, gratitude and moments of abundance.
To the phrase 'Money doesn't grow on trees', I say:
'True, it doesn't. But rather, it IS trees.
So plant them well, water them, untangle their roots, and enjoy their fruits.'
P.S. Don't wait for another invitation to show up. You are invited, welcomed, and wanted. COME. :)
The first understanding of the other --
Is with mother.
She welcomes you to live, to listen, to dance, to play.
To put on the coat of identity.
It starts with a push.
Then, a sob.
Then, an embrace.
Then, a name.
That is always there.
If you ever wonder who you were before you became an other --
Ask your mother.
Deserts are my favorite landscapes.
Why is that?
Reason says it's because I grew up in the desert mountains of Jerusalem, only twenty minutes away from a full-on-desert with all its bareness.
A more poetic perspective will tell me it's because of the desert's "vast openness and seemingly deserted vacancy of life. It's in the emptiness that we grow, emerge and create."
A desert surely isn't the most beautiful to look at it.
Nor is it the easiest environment to live in.
Not to mention the heat can be unbearable even for the heat-lover that I am.
But when I dream -- I am often in a desert.
When I am in a desert -- something instantly relaxes in me.
When I think of a desert -- I get a twinkle in my eye.
Is it home to me? Perhaps.
Here are some deserts I love:
*Wadi Rum, Jordan
*Joshua Tree, California
Making decisions for an unknown future is like the bizarre experience of jumping off an airplane:
*There is no logic to it whatsoever.
*You have no idea how it's gonna go.
*Fear is along the ride, whether you plan for its arrival, or not.
Bottom line is, I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time (or, all the time?), and I believe this applies to most of us. But we roll with it. We make our decisions, plan our plans, dream our dreams, and hope for the best.
Covid era, stripping off the illusion of 'knowing how the future will go', can connect us to what we really want. So as I am scrolling through listings of potential new homes to live in, I realize I have a desire to live surrounded by nature, in a community of like minded friends. A commune of mobile homes in Malibu? A kibbutz in Topanga?? No idea. But in the spirit of being a hippie, I'm gonna roll with it and see where it takes me.
Consider this my first step at manifesting my desire.
What would the next step be?
I asked for mystery,
And mystery, I received.
In a blank afternoon,
An afternoon delight,
And food for thought.
I invited mystery into my life,
And there she was,
With her magic touch,
And her fearful pull.
I followed her down her chimney,
And it lead me to the other side.
Where I got to live in color,
And wonder where I was.
Where time no longer mattered,
And neither did I.
Mystery hugged me with love,
And spat me out with venom.
And she spun me into peace,
And echoed with violence from above.
It was a rollercoaster of the magical kind,
And the chimney lasted a century.
Or so it felt,
In the other side.
I asked for mystery,
And I received.
And now back home I know,
That Wishes come true.
And Dreams are lived .
And Mothers are our gateway to the selves.
So good night world,
And thank you for the magic .
I remember it all,
Your message, was received.
I see you, hiding behind your computer, calibrating which words of hate will you write today, or what person would you target, with that smirk lined up across your face.
That smirk is hiding something.
You think you hide it well, under the facade of digital anonymity, but the message is clear between your hateful lines. It says: 'I am hating on YOU, because I'm hating on ME.'
Some unsolicited advice:
Have you tried meditation? Therapy? Counseling? Going jogging? SELF-CARE!?
Before you retreat into your habit of hating and calling me a hippie, or whatever... take a moment, find a quiet place, and take a deep long breath.
Have you taken one yet?
Take another one.
Good. Now close your eyes. Listen in to your breaths.
When there is no distraction around, and nothing to hear but your own breaths and thoughts.... what do you hear? Do you hear words of judgment coming from that thinker in your brain? Words of contempt, even? Maybe some shame will surprise you with its presence? Or pleasure? Or perhaps softer words thanking you for the stillness?
Keep breathing. Keep tuning in.
Maybe eventually you can take off the mask of a hateful troll, and join the rest of us self-caring hippies. :)
I GENUINELY wish you well.
Now excuse me while I go and sage off the hate you tried to lash on me .
Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog that may, or may not be, of any significance to anyone other than herself. If you found her lil' life lessons, stories, poems and blurbs meaningful to you, well that's f**ing amazing! Comment and share so she can pat herself in the back - she doesn't do that nearly enough. Cheers.