Art credit: For the Love of Life by CHOR BOOGIE
We have all been there, at one point or another, facing the dark night of the soul. It hurts beyond words. We want to escape, medicate, fight. We just want it to stop—asap.
Sometimes we are so busy trying to conquer difficult states like anxiety or depression or addiction, we never stop to ask why it came in the first place.
We can become curious...
These states are trying to tell us something about ourselves & the world... And their true message may be found under all the resentments, fears, attachments, conditioning & well-worn stories.
When we listen, we may find the true need that exists under the "want."
These states may offer a heart-centered call to action. We may be asked by Spirit to create, connect, express, heal, transform, or serve.
Perhaps there is a call to create a work of art, a poem, or a community service program. Perhaps there is a call to work with a healer, go on a retreat, change habits, or experience plant medicine. Or perhaps the call is for silence, rest, and self care. Only you know.
“Listening” to these difficult states does not mean indulging or prolonging them, it just means paying attention & responding with compassionate skill. Indeed, truly listening to them may be just what is needed to midwife them through transformation.
Here are a few favorite ways to inquire into difficult states and "mine the shadows."
Cheers to the eternal unfolding, dear ones.
10 WAYS TO TURN PAIN INTO PEARLS
1. WRITE. Journal. Free flow a stream of raw words at hyperspeed. No editing. No censorship. Express recklessly. Write clear or cryptic, literal or poetic, linear or time traveling. Your choice. Super charge this one by timing yourself: 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes. GO.
2. GIVE IT A VOICE. Literally. What does the difficult state have to say? Talk. Sing. Grumble. Growl. Scream. Speak in tongues. It can be words—or primal sounds. Get weird. Do this alone—or ask a friend to witness. Hot tip: Smash your face in a pillow if you don't want neighbors to call the police. ;)
3. MOVE. Walk. Run. Dance. Shake like a wolf in a rain storm. Flee from dangerous spaces into safe ones. Or turn up the music and let your body create an untamed poem.
4. MEDITATE. Go inward. Just sit, pay attention, and breath. You can't do meditation "wrong" or "bad." It's not about accomplishment, though the contemporary Western mind loves to approach everything that way. Meditation is simply a way to explore, enjoy, & listen to your Self... and UNIVERSE/SPIRIT/CREATOR... and savor all flavors of existence along the way.
5. NATURE. Take a hike. Hug a tree. Talk to stars. Whisper to the moon. Touch a river. Dig your hands into the earth. Pull weeds. Plant a seed. Rake leaves. Stop and smell the roses. Listen to birds; they have a lot to say.
6. TAKE A BATH. Let that hot water slow you down and bring you into the present via your senses. Make it a ritual. Light a candle. Bless the space with a sacred aromatic like sage or cedar. Power up the water with a few drops of pure essential oils. Epsom salt and sea salt help to deepen the experience, draw out toxins, and saturate you with magnesium, a fantastic mineral that calms the nervous system and supports many healthy functions. Get ready for inspired downloads and epiphanies.
7. GIVE IT A NAME. Ever heard that old adage? When you know a demon's name, you have power over it. So get to know that anxiety, depression, addiction, or any other difficult state, and give it a catchy name. Naming it helps you to detach, observe, study it, and recognize it as a temporary pattern you've picked up—and not necessarily a fundamental part of yourself. In other words, these difficult states are just like fleas on your skin; they are not your bones or blood.
8. SWEAT. Any sweat will do. Japanese bathhouse, sweat lodge, or laying in warm sun on a beach. Move that fluid.
9. LEARN. Books. Courses. Retreats. Podcasts. Mentors. Workshops. Counselors. Hone in on those resources that speak to your need.
10. CONNECT. Community. Fellowship. Touch. Hugs. Trusted confidents. Support groups. Burningman camps. Spiritual organizations. Educational societies. You know, connect with real friends, the kind who will help you move and bring you soup when you're sick. If you don't have those kinds of friends, then BE one of those.
Experiment. Notice if your difficult state softens or changes after a few of these.
+ BONUS TIP!
11. SERVE. Help others get through the same challenge. ...But only when you can speak from some experience. In essence, don't try to feed others when you're still starving. The possibilities are endless.
Though everything in life may not always feel like "a blessing," we can make blessings out of whatever life throws our way.
All these tips aside, some difficult states may be too difficult for DIY answers, especially when trauma is a part of the story. If you ever feel that you might need additional support, reach out to a qualified mental health professional.
NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS HOTLINE
Text: 741741 in the US
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
This page is for informational and harm reduction purposes only. This page is NOT intended as professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendation. Please always seek appropriate medical and psychiatric care for your conditions—from qualified providers that respect your personal choices for healthcare.
A friend said to me recently: "Do you know about Carré Otis Sutton? She's doing amazing work." Then another friend. And another. OK, Universe, I am listening... I looked her up online and found that I recognized her iconic face from her career as a "supermodel." Then I read a powerful article featuring her story and current work raising awareness about eating disorders, sexual abuse, domestic violence, women's empowerment, and ethical standards in the modeling & entertainment industry. She exposes the dark cracks in the glamorous facade of the fashion world that so many young women dream about. She tells the truth about the toll on her body.
Carré ultimately pursued a path of healing, joy, and spiritual discipline with a fierce dedication, leading her to find true inner beauty and all that really matters most in life. And she put it all into a profound, intimate, and courageous memoir, which enchanted me from beginning to end. I love how Medicine-Spirit-Dharma is working through her to help heal our society's relationship with beauty.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to ask Carré some powerful questions, and I hope you enjoy her transmission as much as I did...
PLEASE SHARE as inspired!
You've written a powerful and very intimate memoir, Beauty Disrupted, about your personal journey from disempowerment to empowerment, trauma to healing, and silence to finding your voice. You openly share about surviving anorexia, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and exploitative work in the (often glamorized) modeling industry. The authenticity and vulnerability in your story was so striking. It clearly took great courage to reveal so much.
How did you come to receive the calling to write the memoir? And what kinds of difficulties or challenges did you encounter along the way?
The calling was loud and clear. It was actually unavoidable. There was a moment that all of the voices telling me I needed to SHARE were everywhere. Subtle and not so subtle. I began to tune in to the cultural norm of women, societal expectations... both within my industry and without. I began to see the pervasiveness of abuse and objectification that I had grown up with and become so accustomed to. There was this common thread of avoidance and sugar coating and minimizing predatory and abusive behavior. Having been deeply submerged in an industry for decades that does just this—while normalizing these dysfunctional behaviors, it was already well on my radar.
Becoming a mother… a mother to daughters, was a game changer. I awakened to a deep sense of responsibility. I understood quite clearly and literally that my mission was to be a voice, use my platform and be an advocate for change.
All of these pieces were a perfect storm to ornament me with the courage to step out and into the voice and message I maintain today. In the earlier part of my life, I subscribed to being a "victim" of the patriarchy that defines and dictates many women's stories. It was the belief system I had grown up in, without questioning its validity as it pertained to defining MY Story. This construct really shattered in its entirety when I stumbled across my ex-husband being interviewed by Barbara Walters. As he again recounted his version of our time together, it became crystal clear that it was time for my story to come forth.
I am so grateful for the spiritual foundation I had under my belt. The many years of practice and discipline. The steps I had taken to fortify my relationships with family and friends. From Tibetan Buddhism to the shamanic path, I had a team of angels to guide and protect me. But that didn’t make the lifting easy or light. There were many tests. Obstacles. Wrath. Scorn. I really saw every shade of the human response towards me being a woman with a voice. It was as if there was some silent unspoken contract I had signed when I came into this body that I would be the KEEPER of secrets and sorrows. And I really had to consciously rescind that. A well behaved woman never makes history. I can relate. I am not well behaved. And proud of it.
Image from Carre's TedX talk. LINK BELOW.
Would you say that telling our personal stories can be healing for the collective? How so?
Absolutely! I truly believe that as we step up and do our part and participate, whether its finding our voices, telling our stories, or healing ourselves through therapies, we contribute to healing the Global Archetype. We are part of a collective. Together we rise. Together we can also fall. Its really time to rise. Other women's stories have given me so much courage and inspiration. We are safer in numbers. I encourage women to share their stories. Its cathartic. Its empowering. It also can take the "charge" out of the wounds. One thing I am ever cautious about, however, is that I have been very clear that I am not my story. My evolution and place on this planet at this time has been informed by my experiences, but I am so much more than my story… I am not a victim, but a survivor. I am careful with what I identify with. Without the work I have done I could easily identify with the violence I have experienced, or the betrayals… and on and on. I chose to not be defined by these experiences but to be empowered and it does enable me to relate to so many on their own journeys.
Photo by Bill Curry featuring Carre with Robert Mirabal, Taos Pueblo flutist
Your story offers great perspective for women who many be suffering from emotional abuse and domestic violence, as we get to walk in your shoes over the course of many years and a lot of personal healing. This can be illuminating for those women who may recognize the same abusive patterns in their relationships & who may not see a way out when they are in the thick of it.
What advice would you offer to any women out there who realize that they may need to get away from an abusive relationship?
Ah…. I recall the day that I truly felt immobilized. Paralyzed by fear. I could not fathom or dare to imagine the path forward. There didn’t seem to be any way out of my situation, which really is a text book feeling when one is in an ongoing abusive violent situation/relationship. I look back and can see that there were angels that graced me. There were women that came and spoke with me. Not with an agenda or objective, but to share their own stories of struggle, abuse and then freedom. One such angel was Ally McGraw, the wonderful and talented model, actress, author, and yogini. She had been married to Steve McQueen, the beautiful and dangerous rebel actor. Their situation was so similar to me and my then husband. She took the time to visit with me when I was deep in my despair. I couldn’t imagine at that time that I could be free like she was: accomplished, strong, and solo. She represented a female archetype that I had yet to have modeled in my life. I was awe struck. Of course it wasn’t anything instant but she planted a seed of possibility for me. One that I hadn’t ever considered: what would my life look like if I were to stand on my own, in my power, in my glory and grace and confidence? What would life look like if I lived and operated from my heart? A whole, healed heart.
It takes a village. It takes a tribe. It takes sisters and aunts and mothers and grandmothers. I had to learn to reach out and take the hand that was extended to me. I had to learn to ask for help. These were basic principles foreign to me but truly the movement and freedom in my life has come by way of support from others.
In the beginning, in preparing and making a plan of exit from my abusive husband, I sought therapy. I had to focus on myself, my goals, and a cohesive plan of departure. It was a terrifying time but with the support from my "team," I was able to make my exit.
What kinds of spiritual practices or healing modalities were a part of your healing journey?
I relied heavily on yoga and my meditation practice. My connection to the Dharma and Buddhism played a big part in my healing. It was a time for me to slow down and really allow myself to notice, to feel everything that was coming up. Nature has always played a big part in my mental health and feeling heart centered. Long walks in the mountains and on the beaches of Southern California were true medicine for my soul.
How has your relationship with food and nourishment changed?
Food today is nourishment. Its fuel. When I was recovering, not recovered, I had a very fractured and frightened relationship with food as well with my body. Today I am grateful. I am turning 50. I take nourishment very seriously. From food for my body to the nourishment of my soul, my spirit. I live in balance and harmony with food and nourishment, and I try to model this with and for my daughters who are 10 and 11.
In your story, you speak openly about a very taboo subject: faking orgasms. Where do you feel that this phenomenon of faking arises from? How can we heal it? Why is it so important for women to be completely authentic in our sensual intimacy?
I believe and have experienced first hand that often our identity and sense of "self" is intertwined in our sexuality. Like a job: who are you beyond what you do? Our one reference point for "self" is this human body, and often times our identity is also wrapped up in it. Why? Because unless one is on a spiritual path, one doesn’t tend to dig deeper.
It’s a big question… Who am I? It can be an uncomfortable question.
For me, being the performer and faking my way as this wild completely aroused woman was a persona that conveniently kept me away from experiencing true intimacy. It was a creation by my own design, but also one that I believe was placed upon me through societal expectations. Lets face it, modeling is performance art. Sex sells. The more that I could build up that character, the more I was sought after.
The irony of it! It took me a long time to even ask myself… "What do I like? What do I dislike? What feels good?” It wasn’t until after a five year vow of celibacy and diving deep into my own healing that I was able to arrive at a place where I was ready to name what it was I wanted as well as ask for those conditions in a relationship. And that is now where I am… with my husband of 13 years and 2 daughters.
For me, the "faking orgasm" was also wrapped up in my conditioning to serve others and to perform. There was a mistaken view that another's pleasure and arousal was more important than my own. There was also a big disconnect for me when in a situation that I could potentially feel vulnerable. There was fear in feeling vulnerable. I hadn’t yet tasted the sensuality of it. The magic of it. The potency of being in that open place.
Granted, certain conditions need to be in place to feel safe in our vulnerability. Like a safe lover, a safe physical place, and trust. These were not qualities I had previously asked for nor cultivated in relationship.
I truly believe we magnetize exactly where we are at. If we are in the wounded archetype, thats what plays out. When we are in the sacred feminine, empowered in our divinity, this too is what we magnetize.
You are a mother of two girls now. How do you help them to have the healthy boundaries that you didn't have as a young person?
Its amazing to me that I spent the majority of my life, all the way through my mid thirties, just learning how to say NO. I had never been empowered to use that word. I didn’t receive that initiation in my early years. Had I known that I could say no, defend myself, question, tap into my intuition to navigate which road to take, life would have been very different. Just simple body awareness, that my body is mine, was never instilled in me. My body was for others. From childhood through my career as a model. I was very disconnected and disempowered.
With my daughters I have had such an amazing opportunity to empower them with all that was not uploaded to me. They are aware that their bodies are theirs. If something doesn’t feel right, they get to speak up. I actually remind them that they will be their own most fierce protectors, but they must exercise that muscle. Because it is a muscle that gets stronger the more we use it.
In my family, we speak about food being fuel. We never speak about "diets" or shame other humans shapes or sizes or ethnicities. I actually make it a point to celebrate diversity in our household. We speak about different cultures whose values go beyond a Western aesthetic and celebrate aspects of strength, courage, and wisdom. I think we own every Strong and Courageous women's story book that there is to own. My daughters have grown up with conversations about the sacred feminine. They have grown up around Tibetan Buddhism and the strong women and mentors and surrogate mothers that I have had in my life. They have been part of sacred ritual around full and new moons as well as ways of our indigenous brothers and sisters. I am extremely grateful to have such a strong spiritual family in our lives. And, of course, these young women will find their own rhythm and ways. But it has felt truly important to have had them supported in the magical fabric that is our family life.
How as a society can we help young women have a healthy body image?
I believe that we do need to address what has become the norm within media. The massive subversive messaging that we all receive from TV, movies, commercials, video games, internet, music… it's impactful. An impossible, inhuman standard has been perpetuated within our culture, and quite frankly, it's reckless. Its negligent. Its abusive. It desensitizes us, as is the goal I believe. Coming from the entertainment Industry, I see the premature sexualization of our youth, the normalizing through advertisements of a rape culture, a violent culture. If you can consider that our average young male is receiving their first sexual encounter via internet exposure, porn, or video games—no wonder our statistics of rape has skyrocketed. Look at those images. Look at what messages are being perpetuated.
The change will take a big force, but there is headway after the #MeToo movement has unfurled. I am working with Model Alliance and change is under way from legislation to protect entertainment industry workers from sexual harassment. Programs like RESPECT will hold industry accountable and require healthier standards for our workforce.
But as it boils down, the discussion we can have amongst ourselves is so important. Part of empowering our young women and men is to demystify the images that they receive from media. I have a program where I walk through what actually takes place to create images in magazines, from airbrushing, lighting, photoshop, makeup, hair, clothes… etc. Essentially these images are extremely doctored. I also believe in the power of discussion. Intention. Celebrating diversity. Noticing when covers of magazines just pick apart the women and men on their covers. Also noticing how as women we are engaging in this dialogue as well. When are we criticizing and judging? From bodies to clothes to color? We all do it. How can we bring mindfulness into our conversations and consciously celebrate diversity and humanity? It feels so much better to do so.
What kinds of activist work are you currently involved in these days?
My work with Model Alliance. Recently I flew to State Capital Sacramento to testify before the labor commission to create stronger laws that would protect models from sexual harassment and sexual assault. I continue to educate and advocate for reform in our industry to safeguard its workers. Its appalling to me that the one industry (modeling) that employs our most vulnerable sector (youth and young adults) does not yet have laws in place to prevent sexual assault and abuse in the workplace. So far these crimes are not and have not been punishable under the law and many cases go unreported. I also am an Ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Institute and Project Heals.
What are your next creative projects?
I am in the process of recruiting a team to help me share my story through a documentary film. I had been on the fence as to whether the next project is a book, however after some thought, I realized that the medium of film will be the best.
The Blue Lotus Foundation will be my focus over the next year, an organization which supports eating disorder prevention through educational workshops and presentations, as well as getting my business moving forward with its projects.
Photo by Bill Curry
Have shamanic plant medicines and ceremonies been a part of your personal healing & development? How so?
I have been a practicing Tibetan Buddhist for thirty years. My spiritual path has been my guide and savior. My connection to my teachers, the discipline from the practices I have been so blessed to receive, have shaped who I am today. Yet my path has evolved over the last decade. I have been initiated into several shamanic lineages where sacred plant medicine is part of the path. My direct work with these teachers has been a game changer, catapulting my healing and supporting even bigger growth on every level. Where I stand today, the view I have, and the freedom I have, has come through being graced with these teachings. I continue to dive deeper. Our work in these bodies will never be "done." At least mine. I am here to learn. And support others on their path of exploration.
WATCH CARRE'S TEDX TALK
Mr. Boogie & I had the great pleasure of visiting the Ibogasoul retreat center for one month in Canada, where we supported one 8 day psycho-spiritual retreat and one 9 day detox retreat, both with natural iboga medicine and traditional Bwiti ceremony.
Ibogasoul was founded by Mark Howard and Robyn Rock. The center features sustainably and ceremonially harvested iboga medicine, with all of the naturally occurring alkaloids present. Mark and Robyn are clearly devoted providers, doing everything possible to help guests feel comfortable, safe, and cared for.
Before each medicine ceremony, with candlelight and Bwiti music filling the room, Mark offered traditional Bwiti wisdom transmissions called Fire Talks, helping people to study life, study themselves, and navigate the medicine. Mark also kept everyone cracking up and smiling while delivering the deep material. It was inspiring to witness Mark's attentive and skillful facilitation throughout each ceremony, from dusk to dawn and beyond.
Ibogasoul moves between British Columbia and Nelson in Canada. Their various locations offer a beautiful, comfortable, and immaculate retreat center.
We watched miracle after miracle there... Not to say that any plant medicine or ceremony is a "miracle," however the experience can be miraculous with these key elements: quality facilitation, a safe setting, pure & potent medicine, the full participation of guests, and Grace.
Some people have the false notion that the iboga medicine is some kind of "magic pill" that makes everything better, when in fact it is an intense journey likened to climbing the Himalayas within. It is WORK. And the guests who came to Ibogasoul were highly intentional, present, and committed to their process. People struggling with substance addiction, depression, anxiety, and trauma all gained a new light in their eyes, clarity in their minds, and a sense of physical cleansing. Several people were successfully freed from their chains of high dose opioid dependency. Everyone stood a little straighter and prouder, yet a little gentler and more relaxed in their skin—like a green tree in the wind, looking freshly "polished" by the end of their retreat, all effects I often see with iboga.
We enjoyed delicious, healthy comfort food created by the Ibogasoul chef, Rachael Anthony. She was very attentive and conscientious about each guest's unique dietary requests: gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian, dairy free, etc. When working with powerful plant medicine and spiritual ceremony, I have found that great healthy food is key! This helps to support our digestive system, the cleansing process, and the soul's delight.
The house manager, Geoff, was a phenomenal host. Kind and meticulous, he kept the ship running and made sure everyone had their special needs met. I fondly nicknamed him "MacGyver" because it seemed he could fix any broken thing or resolve any urgent matter that arose. Though a gentleman in every way, he was tough and skilled, and he brought an incredible protective energy in the center.
We were blessed to have Bette visiting at the same time, an established iboga provider and a living treasure of ceremony experience. She contributed many deep insights to the Fire Talks and healing divine mother energy to the aftercare.
Ibogasoul is fairly unique, being traditional Bwiti providers who also offer highly skilled medical support, available round-the-clock. This is Ibogasoul's medical director Patrick Fishley (shown above) is a seasoned critical care & intensive care registered nurse with over 700 iboga & ibogaine treatments under his belt. He has a solid understanding of the various contraindicated medical conditions, street drugs, and pharmaceutical medications. More, he is ACLS certified; this is an important medical emergency credential for all iboga & ibogaine treatments, whether detox or psycho-spiritual. With his guidance, guests can be properly prepared for their iboga treatment according to their unique medical situation.
Patrick is available during the actual iboga ceremonies, and he is also available on site 24/7 for the entire retreat. Adverse events are rare with good medical screening, however if they do occur, they are more likely to occur in the 24-48 hours after initial administration of the medicine rather than in the treatment itself. It was great to see their deep commitment to qualified medical support.
Patrick also happens to be one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, a true spiritual warrior with a healer's heart!
Check out my interviews with Patrick about general iboga info & microdosing considerations.
I was blessed to be able to support my friend Robyn Rock with the traditional Bwiti spiritual shower.
The spiritual shower is a powerful cleansing ceremony. Many medicinal plants, both African & local, are carefully blessed with the unique recipient in mind. The guest is washed with the soaked aromatic plants (while wearing light clothing). The spirits of the plants and the water are activated with intentions and prayers. All of the physical senses are cleansed and awakened. The ritual supports the guest to release the past and consciously bring in the new path. It is most often included in the psycho-spiritual retreat format (vs. detox). Robyn is a true heart-centered priestess and ritual artist!
I am super grateful for the spiritual shower that I received there from my Bwiti elder, Maud, who was also visiting at that time. I've never felt cleaner!
The natural environment and views surrounding Ibogasoul were stunning! Several times during the retreats, guests were taken on outings to bask in the fresh air, trees, and views of the bay.
I would gladly send my own family members to Ibogasoul. I am grateful to see such commitment, integrity, and grounded care from providers of this sacred medicine.
Iboga & ibogaine are illegal in the United States (sadly!). If you choose to experience these sacred medicines without legal persecution, you will have to go countries where these medicines are legal or unregulated such as Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, or Africa.
There are always various risks associated with psychoactive/entheogenic medicines, and they may not be ideal for everyone. This page is for informational and harm reduction purposes only. This page is NOT intended as professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment recommendation, personal suggestion, or endorsement. Please always seek appropriate medical and psychiatric care for your conditions—from carefully selected and qualified providers that respect your personal choices for healthcare.
"This manual for self-realization comes not from a mountain but from the mud.... My qualification is not that I am better than you but I am worse."
This book is not just for people struggling with hard addictions! Though it could be especially helpful in such cases. This book is for any being that happens to be human. At some point, every human will face some form of addiction—and grapple that tendency to satiate the insatiable. It is the human condition: endless and wandering craving, grasping, and attachment, all fired up by fear. However, the opportunity to transmute addiction is also part of the human condition, and Russell Brand serves as an inspiring and seasoned way shower.
With his classic ruthless honesty, reckless humor, colorful analogies, skinned-alive humility, philosopher's perspective, oracular tongue, familiarity with non-dual states, artful cussing, and grandiose vocabulary, Russell entertains as he educates about the 12 step program and his journey of recovery. By the way, you've never heard the 12 steps quite this before. Even seasoned 12 steppers will enjoy Russell's radical rendition of the process. He shares that he's been sober for 14 years—and confesses to still taking it one day at a time. That's all he can grasp.
Raw, intimate personal stories are woven through the exploration of the steps. Brand himself has experienced multiple addictions: heroin, other hard drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, work, fame, digital media, fame, chocolate, and even overusing his professional taxi account. He reaches beyond his personal specifics and speaks to all forms of addiction with compassion and clarity.
12 step groups may not be right for everyone, due to a slew of various reasons. This 12 step guide is accessible to anyone, whether inside or outside of AA, NA, everything A, and especially to cynics, the impossibly misunderstood, and those who consider themselves to be worse than anyone. Whoever you are, you will find some solace and resonance reading this, and that heavy, armored shell might start to crack a little.
12 step work can be a wonderful compliment for integrating entheogenic medicine journeys, with the right mentor and community. In my experience, good integration work and ongoing self-reflection can help one to receive all the long-lasting benefits of entheogenic medicine work, and this book could be helpful for that process.
Brand freely offers comprehensive program materials on his website. Right alongside a mantra addressed to divine power, supreme truth, and love, you'll find each of the 12 steps laced with the "F" word, starting with Step 1: Are you a bit f*****?
This book is a radical act of courage and another gem in the growing culture of transparency. Cheers to the the journey of recovery and infinite personal development.
If you experience the audiobook, you will get to hear Brand's delightful Estuary English accent.
Addiction is when natural biological imperatives, like the need for food, sex, relaxation or status, become prioritised to the point of destructiveness. It is exacerbated by a culture that understandably exploits this mechanic as it's a damn good way to sell Mars bars and Toyotas.
I don’t wake up in the morning and think, ‘Wow, I’m on a planet in the Milky Way, in infinite space, bestowed with the gift of consciousness, which I did not give myself, with the gift of language, with lungs that breathe and a heart that beats, none of which I gave myself, with no concrete understanding of the Great Mysteries, knowing only that I was born and will die and nothing of what’s on either side of this brief material and individualized glitch in the limitless expanse of eternity and, I feel, I feel love and pain and I have senses, what a glorious gift! I can relate, and create and serve others or I can lose myself in sensuality and pleasure. What a phenomenal mystery!’ Most days I just wake up feeling a bit anxious and plod a solemn, narrow path of survival, coping. ‘I’ll have a coffee’, ‘I’ll try not to reach for my phone as soon as I stir, simpering and begging like a bad dog at a table for some digital tidbit, some morsel of approval, a text, that’ll do.
Support the beauty and buy this book on Amazon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since rising to fame in 2003, Russell Brand has established himself as one of one of the world’s most celebrated stand-up comedians. Aside from stand-up, Russell is also a successful author, broadcaster, actor, podcaster, columnist, political commentator and mental health & drug rehabilitation activist. He has 2 cats, a dog, a wife, a baby, 10 chickens and 60 thousand bees, in spite of being vegan curious.
Here we are, all bright-eyed and throwing sparks, after having danced and sang in a high voltage ceremony all night, for 10 hours straight, surpassing all our preconceived limits of physical exhaustion, guided by light doses of the iboga medicine.
For the second time, Chor Boogie & I visited Mother Africa to receive teachings from the Bwiti tradition and experience the sacred iboga medicine at its roots.
Africa was supernatural, to say the least...
Much love and thanks to the Bwiti people, who so generously share their beloved tradition and offer healing to all sincere human beings. The Bwiti and the sacred iboga medicine are the inspiration behind my intimate memoir, Heart Medicine, which chronicles our healing journey with the iboga medicine. To learn more about the iboga medicine, explore this article.
We are also deeply grateful to the Bwiti community who embraced us in Africa, all lifelong devotional artists, musicians, dancers, and healers.
The Bwiti is not a religion in the typical sense, as it is not "man-made." It is a tradition stemming from the wisdom of the plant teacher, iboga.
In our Eurocentric and enthnocentric culture, it may be challenging for some people to understand how a plant can be a teacher, however science is finally starting to catch up with the indigenous traditions by discovering plant intelligence. Furthermore, plants have no ego, which can be one of the great downfalls of human teachers.
Unlike some religions, the Bwiti do not hold "beliefs" in the sense that no one is expected to adopt a dogmatic ideology that has been dictated by someone else. Rather, seekers are encouraged to verify knowledge through direct experience. The Bwiti is a study of life; they practice the art of knowing rather than believing.
There are no authoritarian hierarchies in the Bwiti. Everyone is equal and free to make choices.
The front of a Bwiti temple is always wide open. Everyone is free to enter, and everyone is free to leave at any time.
*All photos were taken with permission, with the shared intention of raising awareness about this beautiful tradition.
Here, Chor and our friend Manima lovingly prepare raw iboga roots for our ceremonies.
These roots were sustainably harvested from wild iboga plants, deep in the jungle of Gabon. This means that only a few roots are carefully gathered from each plant so that it may continue to live.
Before cutting any roots, there is a ritual for "asking" the plant for permission to harvest some of it.
Every part of finding, gathering, and preparing the medicine is infused with reverent ceremony. The medicine is known to respond to the intentions with which it is handled.
Some special plants may be up to 35 - 70 years old. The older the plant, the more potent and spiritually mature the medicine is.
Though our friends in Gabon have expressed that they have no shortage of the sacred medicine, other contacts have witnessed the devastating social and environmental impact of overharvesting in different areas of Africa.
For reasons of sustainability, safety, and ethics, is critically important to never order the medicine online. Refer to the SAFETY TIPS on the IBOGA page.
A better approach, though one that requires more patience, is to develop relationships with local communities and Bwiti trained facilitators.
We do not recommend seeking the medicine in any country where the medicine is illegal.
It was so beautiful to be at the roots of this magnanimous spirit! The Missoko Bwiti regard iboga as the "godfather" or progenitor of all plants, though it is essentially a dual spirit in the sense that is can serve as both "mother" and "father" at different times.
In addition to initiation and healing, the iboga medicine also helps people with ongoing spiritual discovery.
The Bwiti is an oral tradition. According to the Missoko Bwiti, when this plant was first discovered by the people, the spirit of iboga revealed that it had been "watching" the human beings for a long time and "listening" to all of our spiritual and existential questions, and it had come to answer these questions. This is not so outlandish, considering both the depths of plant intelligence and the origins of modern human beings being from Africa.
In Gabon, I sensed that I was at the very roots of the human world...
And the roots are powerful. As Chor puts it, the Bwiti ceremonies are like a roller coaster on a freight train on a rocket ship. Drums pound, aromatic torches illuminate visions, rattles tremble, hands clap, voices sing, hips shake, bare feet pound on bare earth, shamanic transmissions flow through the mouth of the nganga. The dancers' bodies move in elegant, surreal, and seemingly superhuman ways, so agile and swift that one can barely see the limbs.
Through the movement, medicine, and music, the community is woven into one harmonious whole.
Beholding all this, I revere life all the more. My spirit is fortified. Joy is stoked along with the fire.
In the Bwiti temples, I could literally see the origins of all sacred ceremony on the planet.
Many elements of Bwiti ceremony can also be found in other parts of the world, such as the sacred fire, the anointment of the 3rd eye with symbolic pigment, drumming, communal dancing, singing, and more, and it all began in Africa.
Shown above: Okume, my teacher and friend.
We were blessed to witness a traditional music jam in the jungle...
Our friends have tremendous strength, passion, and endurance in their artistic expression.
Their love for life and nature was palpable. They kept going and going, until everyone was dripping in sweat and radiant. Music and dance are also beautiful medicine!
Thank you Danny Mikala, Andy Mikala, Ashil, Pharrell, Manima, Papi, Brice, Kifa, and Silver! (Forgive my spelling!)
We were also blessed to spend time with the great Bwiti harpist, Boussengue Guy Roger.
One can hear a lifetime of devotion and discipline in his music...
Have you ever met your own soul, face to face?
I will never forget the first time I did, three years ago.
In the Bwiti initiation, people are guided to connect with the tradition, the iboga medicine, and their own soul. It is a rebirth, and a gateway into one's full humanity.
During this initiation ceremony, one young man discovered his abilities as a seer, after being guided into the visionary state... Moughenda invited each person in the temple, one at a time, to sit in front of him. He then proceeded to stare into each set of eyes and "read" them, speaking their deepest secrets, life challenges, good qualities, and some things that might be yet to come. He said things that should have been impossible for him to know in the ordinary world.
As I watched this amazing scene unfold, I wondered what he would see in me. When I sat down in front of him, I intentionally opened my heart, mind, body, and soul. I wanted to be completely transparent, hiding nothing, so he could see into me as deeply as possible. When I looked into his eyes, I could see that his personal ego was simply not there at that time. I was looking into the eyes of the medicine itself. I will never forget the first two words he said to me:
The temple chuckled. Two words that hinted at so much more.
He then went on to tell me a few intimate, resonant things. How could he know? I will keep these sacred gems to myself. It was affirming to be so deeply seen, and powerful to be receive prompts from the medicine itself. My purpose, direction, and spiritual prescription were solidified.
With the aid of the iboga medicine, the Bwiti know that we can enter the spirit world, which is actually a spiritual realm rather than a hallucination. This may sound wild to some, but after you actually travel there, you will understand.
In the temple... reborn through INITIATION... I see...
LIFE is a GIFT, freely offered from Creator, to do with what we will.
We are free to create healing, art, beauty, & discovery--or darkness and misery.
I am the artist of my own life, my purpose, and my mind, in every breath.
They start 'em young here!
One can see just how deep the roots of this tradition go, watching this young nganga move...
The RITE OF PASSAGE in Gabon is a test of strength, patience, endurance, skill, & humility. You'll know what you're made of at the end of it.
It is generally for young people between the ages of 6 - 18, and it serves as the entrance to the community of respected adults. There is no common equivalent in our mainstream culture.
For this visit, Chor was able to help facilitate the men's rite of passage, being a graduate himself.
The women have their own rite of passage, which I experienced during our first trip.
Some elements must remain a mystery, but I'll say that everything in life feels easier—and more precious—after it.
This was a traditional cleansing treatment, with medicinal aromatic smoke. After a few intense minutes of sweat and tears in that hut, my eyes and breathing passages felt brand new.
I like to say... the Bwiti are the original Jedis....
Below are images from a rare healing ceremony. More often, ceremonies are for other purposes such as initiation, welcoming visitors, marriages, or spiritual discovery.
This particular ceremony was requested by a family who wanted help from the Bwiti. They had been practicing dark sorcery, and they wanted to cleanse their lives of it.
The Bwiti itself is a healing culture, but other practices are known to exist in Africa that are malevolent.
So what differentiates the benevolent from the malevolent? This is an important question. During colonial times, prejudiced Christian missionaries brutally persecuted the Bwiti people and demonized their tradition. Even today, sometimes Bwiti temples are burned and the people are stigmatized. Though no one should be hurt for their personal esoteric practices, the ignorance of the differences still persists.
The Bwiti know that whatever one puts out into the world comes back, ten fold or a hundred fold or infinitely stronger. They are the healers and protectors. And they know that the most important "battle" between dark and light is in one's own mind, every day.
As my Bwiti elders have said:
Bad spirits try to control free will.
Good spirits support free will.
My humble observations:
Malevolent practices are rooted in fear—hate, greed, envy, rage all sprout from fear.
Benevolent practices are rooted in love—you know, the true kind, without self-centered attachments.
Bad spirits try to dominate nature.
Good spirits harmonize with nature.
What are your reflections?
Many long days in village were spent doing nothing other than JUST BEING—in the heat. It was the perfect pressure cooker to connect with myself and the people around me.
No one seemed to hurry anywhere, and there was no strict schedule. Each day, "time management" was dictated by an organic process and full presence. Moughenda spoke to us about valuing our quality of life more than so-called efficiency.
Though cell phones are starting to penetrate even remote villages, internet access is still extremely limited. I was happy to unplug from the matrix for a while.
I noticed, someone was always playing with the baby... The baby had countless relatives around at all times, and thus, everyone had fresh energy and attention for him. This is very different than our mainstream culture, where the nuclear family model leaves people isolated, stressed, and fatigued. I see how people here in Africa grow up feeling loved, supported, happy, and confident.
Everyone spent most daytime hours outside, in nature. Sunlight and fresh air are also forms of medicine that we all need more of! We cooked, washed dishes, played soccer, washed laundry, all outside. I did not miss my stove or dishwasher or washing machine, and I began to doubt the value of doing everything in such a fast, automated way.
With no running water, the men in the village had to go to a local well with containers, every day. It was a communal effort infused with fun. Though running water is a great thing, I found myself appreciating every drop of that water—and especially the bucket-showers on those hot days.
There was no television in this village. (GASP!) In the evenings, everyone sat around actually talking and enjoying each other. Chor and I noticed, jokes and laughter filled the air continuously.
As they say even here, no place is "perfect." Africa is a great land, rich with tradition and nature, and we were fortunate to connect with wonderful people there. And yet, Africa has problems, too. It has good people and troubled people. It has political, economic, and social issues, like we do.
It can be easy to idealize one place over another.
It can be easy to dream of far away places as the source for fulfillment.
It can be easy to put off tending to your own soul, by fixating on some external circumstance that has not yet come into form.
LOVE NOTE: No matter where you may be in the world, the greatest temple is within & the most important person is the one in front of you!
"for it is the seeking that keeps you
from being where you are"
—excerpt from Traveler, a poem by Martin W. Ball
host of the Entheogenic Evolution Podcast
Check out the iboga inspired artwork by Chor Boogie...
I had the pleasure of meeting Rachael Madori at a talk that Chor Boogie and I offered about the iboga medicine with the Aware Project in Los Angeles. At the time, this polymath was exploring her expression as an adult film star, in addition to other gifts such as writing, activism, culinary arts, and fitness education. I would come to know Rachael as a multifaceted and compassionate being; she shared her inner world and raw struggles on her blog and social media platforms as much as she did her physical form and fire. It's a paradox: in the world of mainstream professional erotica, it is supposed to be about "revealing," but it generally only goes skin deep. Personally, I find the holistic, honest view of an artist far more compelling than any marketing mirage. (And yes, erotica can be art.) Through Rachael's journey and authentic unveiling, she has helped educate and inspire many people about mental health, mental illness, suicide awareness, psychedelic medicine, creative freedom, and what it means to be a real, whole person...
Rachael Madori resides in Hollywood, California. She is pursuing opening a restaurant on the east coast. Both her and her fiancé, a chef in Beverly Hills, plan on combining their love of food and service to own their own establishment. Currently she’s learning skills at a fine dining restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and taking classes with Ashworth College.
Rachael is a mental health advocate and social activist. She is a suicide survivor and has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder; she helps to educate people about these issues. She volunteers with and fundraises for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Rachael advocates for alternative psychedelic medicine. She supports the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. She also attends events put on by the Aware Project in Los Angeles. Their mission is to “balance the public conversation about psychedelics, spread accurate information and give a new face to psychedelia”. A self proclaimed psychonaut, Rachael tries to teach the world through her understanding and years of experience using psychedelics as healing medicines, not only for her mental health but her overall well being.
A passionate writer, Rachael has published articles at sites such as SimplySxy and AVN. She is also a contributing author at Consumer Health Digest. She has accomplished her first written piece of fiction which will be published by Cleis Press in a book curated and edited by Asa Akira. Rachael continues to blog as an outlet for her advocacy and creativity.
A former adult film performer, Rachael holds multiple awards including 2015 Inked Awards Starlet of the Year and 2016 Inked Awards Best Scene of the Year. Her proud and unadulterated voice as a pervious sex worker sheds light and dismantles the stigma associated with the sex industry.
Her blogs pertain to many different subjects but the main objective here is voice. The point of a voice is to be heard, she writes not only to be heard but for anyone out there to find comfort knowing that someone is listening.
Do you feel that living with transparency helps us, as a collective, to heal?
Absolutely. I look at humans as this one large organism and we all, whether we recognize it or not, affect and feed off each other. Not always in a bad way. Truth, transparency and honesty will feed truth, transparency and honesty. Facades will feed facades. Negative will feed negative. It’s all about whether we choose to heal or poison. I want to be on the end of the spectrum that is helping society find what it means to be real again.
What do you feel are some of the gifts of being bi-polar?
Being bi-polar creates this completely altered reality that I live in and because of this I’m creative, different and expressive beyond words. I feel hard, I feel deeply. Sure it’s all over the place but there’s some kind of beauty in the constant chaos inside my mind. Honestly all I’m trying to do is focus on manifesting that chaos into beauty. I feel like we’re all trying to do that in one way or another.
How can people be sensitive and supportive for loved ones who are dealing with mental illness?
It's not easy loving someone who has a mental illness but patience is key. I think the best way to be supportive is to be open and frank about it. It's not something anyone should be embarrassed or ashamed to struggle with so their loved ones shouldn't feel that way either. I can't tell you what a difference it made to finally have an open dialogue between my family and friends about my diagnoses. Sometimes when I was having an episode they could tell when I couldn't. I need that. I don't want to be treated any differently, I just want to know someone will be there when my mind fails me.
What drew you to the adult film world, initially?
I was always fascinated with pornography. I used to envy the women I would watch in videos because I found it so amazing that they had the confidence to show to the world an intimate action that most people shy away from even talking frankly about. I wanted to know what that position of empowerment was truly about.
What did you like about it?
I loved that I had a safe environment to practice and learn about myself and other people sexually. I enjoyed how much emphasis is put on safety and consent. It honestly helped me appreciate how we are all sexual creatures with our own likes, dislikes and boundaries. It let me develop a confidence and sense of self worth I didn’t know before.
What didn’t you like about it?
I didn’t like how political it can all be. Whether it be award shows or the aspect of “Who you kiss up to”. I think all the arbitrary ideas and cliques take away from the industry what it should be about which is creating amazing content.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
I would like to see performers act more like a family of coworkers and less like competitors. Pursue being the best, win awards, become a top tier performer but leave your ego at the door. We all face enough stigma from the outside world, to create drama within your own industry due to ego is unjustified.
Why did you limit it to three years?
I always heard this saying that three years is the best time frame for a female performer. I didn’t go into sex work for the money, I did it because I felt drawn to it and ended up falling in love with performing. I knew it was a side step off my path so I figured giving myself a time frame would keep me headed towards all my other life goals.
What did the adult film world teach you about human beings?
The good things it taught me about humans was both physical and mental. I learned ways to please and be pleased that I think would take a lifetime of experimenting with different partners and I’m proud of that. I learned about having pride in yourself as a sexual creature and holding steadfast to that. We’re all organic, developing beings and the adult film world taught me never to be ashamed of that.
I also learned that ego can destroy people without them even knowing it. I found out very quickly that to some people - how popular they are, how many followers they have on social media, how many trophies they hold and what they see in the mirror is all that defines them. And it’s sad.
Have you ever encountered judgment and/or discrimination from people in reaction to your work in adult film? How so?
I’ve experienced people who were caught off guard by how frankly I talk about adult films and sex in general. I’ve gotten hate mail from religious people, I’ve gotten called countless slurs because I did publicly what people do behind closed doors. It even took a long time for my family to see me as credible because they feared this industry, clouded in mistruths and taboo, had destroyed a part of me. My love and life partner has been harassed online by people who cannot see sex work as work. I’ve been misjudged as unintelligent and have been discriminated against far enough that I’ve been told my choice to be a performer was due to my mental illness. At first I ignored it but to be honest it started to hurt me. Not my confidence or sense of self worth, but I hurt for all of the people who have developed such a distorted view because that kind of tunnel vision leaves zero room for growth of your inner self.
Most porn stars I’ve seen tend to create a very slick, one dimensional, “adult fairy-tale” image for marketing purposes that appears to have few real world human challenges. Yet, while in the adult film industry and beyond, you have been so open about your full-spectrum human self, sharing about your experiences navigating mental illness, psychedelic medicine, personal relationship, dreams, and multi-faceted creativity. You started this intimate expression on social media, then it expanded onto your blog. What made you want to break that mold?
For a while I marketed myself the way everyone else did. I only posted what I was told to, I never kept my presence online too serious and conveying a brand like that and separating it from your true self is successful for some people. I just don’t happen to be one of those people. People have been trying to fit me into boxes my whole life and I wasn’t aware that there were boxes for pornstars too. I have this innate and deep conviction to bare my true self to the point were upholding a manufactured image of myself online wasn’t even possible. I am sexual and filthy and heated, all the things a sex performer should be, but that’s not even half of me. So I decided I wasn’t okay with only being seen as that. It’s just not in my personality and I had this deep feeling to throw my entire self out to the world. Whether I lost or gained fans because of that didn’t concern me. This became a movement to show the world something much more intimate that me having sex.
What kinds of feedback (positive & negative) have you received from your adult film fans after revealing more about yourself?
I received some negativity. I was told to stick to the basic frame work of a pornstars internet presence because I had no business being anything else. I was told that people weren’t there for me they were there for my body. Which I’m all well and good with. My career was of the human body. However, that doesn’t negate my right to express every other aspect of myself.
I got a lot of positive feedback too. There were people struggling inside and outside of the industry who reached out to me because they knew I wouldn’t judge them or they knew that what they saw is what they got. I have lifelong fans that started watching me because they loved my videos but now they follow me on my life journey because at some point sharing my humanity became just as entertaining.
When did you start your public blog?
I started it two years ago. My website has always had my blog section because I love to write. I’ve been writing ever since I could spell. I used to have links and such to my adult films but once my fan base started growing from outside of porn I made the decision to make my site completely PG about a year ago. Not because I wanted to hide my career, I embrace it fully. I did that so now my words could reach a wider range of people who may need to hear something that touches them.
What kinds of people follow your blog?
All ages, genders, interests. A lot of young women and men. Fitness and wellness is one focus on my website so a lot of people looking for tips or motivation tend to follow along. I also converse with a lot of people who struggle with mental health or live with someone who is struggling and I’ve been told I help them by putting into words that they otherwise cannot to describe what’s happening to them or their loved one. There are still fans of my adult films that continue to follow my life and my blog which I think is great. I broke this barrier where you can enjoy my sex work but also the rest of me as well.
What kinds of feedback have you received about your blog from your readers that are not necessarily your adult film fans?
Some people call me brave. I’m not sure how I feel about that word because I just feel like I’m doing what I have to do to help. There’s a few particular fans of mine who live with wives struggling with Bipolar Disorder and they’ve let me know how much my blog has helped their understanding and their marriage. I feel like some people are taken aback that I went from a one layer pornstar to such an open advocate for many things personal to me but the feedback has been mostly positive. If I can make one person feel even a little better, I think I’m doing my job as a human.
Now that you’ve retired from adult film, you are onto other projects and visions. What is next for you? What are you excited about?
I’m focusing on my position in the restaurant industry and opening one of my own. I’m working in a great company at a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles until I move back home to New York City to pursue a second degree in Culinary Management. Another creative endeavor I’m working on is a streetwear line called Feel Hard where I’ll be donating a percentage of the proceeds to non-profit mental health organizations. I’m also trying to dedicate whatever free time I can find to compiling my first book.
*Check out the DONATE section on the website with links to the organizations that Rachael fundraises for including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies.
Support Rachael's Fundraiser:
Streetwear Line for Mental Health Awareness
We don't make art for the applause. We make art because we MUST—or our soul will starve to death. You know.
And on a deeper level, my ego can't take personal credit for the art that I make. My job is to get out of the way, more than it is to "accomplish" anything.
The act of writing my book about our healing journey with the sacred iboga medicine was a practice of surrender, letting spirit weave the story that wanted to birth itself through the etched vessel that is me.
I had no idea if anyone would even "like" the book that came through me because it was so... radical. With ruthless honesty, I revealed our most intimate struggles. It wasn't a flattering work, but I knew I had to do it, even to help one person by sharing our story.
But when applause happens, it's nice. It is. This means that someone found the creation to be useful, and it is good to feel useful within the human hive. It's just a human thing.
So thank you! I am honored and grateful that Heart Medicine recently won the National Indie Excellence Award for the Spiritual category, and it was the top finalist for the Addiction Recovery category. It was also a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for the New Age category, and received an honorable mention in the San Francisco Book Festival. Yay!
And I gotta add, it was truly a tribal process to birth the book. I couldn't have done it without the blessing of Moughenda Mikala, the generous and skilled shaman we worked with, and my beloved husband, Chor Boogie aka Joaquin Lamar Hailey, for his courage to be so transparent, steady support for this project, and beautiful ART, the multifaceted maestra Anandha Ray for the book cover design, author photo, and love, Mark Weiman of Regent Press for his wonderful production skill, and all the magical ones who contributed quotes!
My beautiful husband, artist Chor Boogie, continues to amaze and delight me with his prolific creativity and professional dedication. Check out the solo show, "VISUAL JAZZ," featuring over 20 original works on canvas, on exhibition through June 3rd at Monarch | Arredon Contemporary art gallery in La Jolla, CA.
There is a deeper story here...
The critically acclaimed spray paint maestro returned to his roots in the San Diego area after circling the globe to share his latest body of work—and to offer a percentage of the sales to benefit Writerz Blok, a youth arts program, where Chor Boogie found community, support, and inspiration as a young, emerging artist.
VISUAL JAZZ celebrates the creative power of the human spirit—and art as the intersection between the physical and the metaphysical. Vivid colors and multidimensional designs reverently embrace classic figures of jazz maestros. The composition and forms are unpredictable and yet harmonious, like jazz itself. The audience is invited to feel the music through the soulful works.
MONARCH | ARREDON CONTEMPORARY is La Jolla's exclusive gallery of emerging art founded on respect, passion and trust. The Gallery offers high-quality crafted artworks along with the category expertise and individual-focused approach to collectors, art professionals, and art enthusiasts. Monarch | Arredon Contemporary is located at 862 Prospect St, Suite A, La Jolla, CA 92037. Hours: Thursday through Sunday 11 am to 5 pm, and by appointment Monday through Wednesday. For more information, please contact the gallery at email@example.com or 858-454-1231.
Read the exhibition review on ARTSY.
Mi amor, Chor Boogie, and I were super honored to bring our art and words to Psychedelic Science 2017, produced by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. It was the largest conference for psychedelics in the world to date. Of course, it was a fun crowd! There was a thrilling balance of science, art, music, dancing, humor, culture, community, tea service, and delightfully odd inflatable creatures.
We offered a talk on the Psymposia Stage about our healing journey with the iboga medicine and also the additional factors that supported our positive experience with the medicine. The "medicine" is never just the the physical material alone; it is a holistic experience involving intention, preparation, participation, integration, community, tradition, spiritual technologies, and so much more...
To watch our full 20 minute talk, click HERE and forward into minute 59. Enjoy all the other great presentations included in the footage as well!
Heart Medicine, my intimate memoir about the iboga medicine, was present in the MAPS bookstore, and Chor exhibited two iboga inspired original paintings for the very first time...
48" X 60"
SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS
48" X 60"
SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS
This was one of those moments that it would have been handy to have ten heads like some Hindu dieties and the ability to bilocate, as there were so many exciting and revolutionary presentations offered, but it was impossible to take it all in due to events overlapping. That said, here are some of the presentations that were highlights for me...
*Links to videos or other media are provided when available.
Film Screening: Curandera
Presented by Ethan Goldwater of Hover Pictures
Cognitive Liberty, Neurodiversity, & Non-Pathologizing Approaches to Mental Health
Presented by Adam Andros Aronovich
Evaluating the Efficacy of Ayahuasca-Assisted Treatment for Substance Dependency
Presented by Anya Loizaga-Velder, Ph.D.
Rapid Antidepressant Effects of the Psychedelic Ayahuasca in Treatment-Resistant Depression:
A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Presented by Draulio Barros de Araujo, Ph.D.
From Taboo to Treatment: The Evolutions of Psychedelic Medicine
Presented by Amanda Fielding
Psychedelic Use Predicts Reduced Suicidality:
Findings From a Longitudinal Study of Women Sex Workers in Vancouver, Cananda
Presented by Elena Argento, Ph.D. Candidate
Neural Changes and the Relationship Between the Acute Peak Experience and Clinical Outcomes
Presented by Leor Roseman, M.Sc.
Ayahuasca Legal Prosecution Worldwide: Connecting the Dots
Presented by Benjamin De Loenen, M.A.
Duncan Trussell Family Hour Presents the Microdose VR Experience with Android Jones & Bruce Damer
PANEL: Psychedelics, Injustice, & the Intersectionality of Trauma
Film Screening: Sacred Plants
Presented by Javier Prato
Honoring Huston Smith
Presented by Austin Hill Shaw
Subjective Effectiveness of Ibogaine Treatment for Problematic Opiod Consumption:
Short & Long-Term Outcomes and Current Psychological Functioning
Presented by Alan K. Davis, Ph.D.
Debunking Common Ibogaine Safety Myths
Presented by Jamie McAlpin, R.N., B.S.N., & Christine Fitzsimmons, R.N.
Characterization of Mystical Experiences Occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT-Containing Toad Venom & Comparison with Prior Psilocybin Studies
Presented by Joseph Peter Barsuglia, Ph.D.
My Life Reset: A Journey with Ibogaine
Presented by Kevin Franciotti
New Findings from the University of Zurich Studies into the Mechanism of Action of Psilocybin & LSD: Relevance for Treatment of Major Depression & for Enhancement of Psychotherapy
Presented by Dr. Rainer Krahenmann, M.D.
Ibogaine & Opiod Withdrawal: Does it Work & Is it Safe
Presented by Paul Glue, M.D. , FRC Psych
Esalen's Legacy & the History of Psychedelics
Presented by Dr. Jim Fadiman & John Harrison, M.A., Psy. D
Psychedelic, Morality, & Virtue
Presented by Claudio Naranjo, M.D.
Film Screening: Shamans of the Global Village
Presented by Rak Razam
Ibogaine in Brazil: Finally Stepping Out from the Underground?
Presented by Bruno Rasmussen Chaves, M.D.
Cannabis & Spirituality: An Explorer's Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally
Presented by Stephen Gray, author
PANEL: Insights from Contemporary Ibogaine Research for Addiction
Ibogaine and Neurotrophic Factors: GDNF, BDNF, and NGF Releasing Properties of Ibogaine & Activity of Novel Ibogaine Analogues
Presented by Ignacio Carrera, Ph.D.
The Role of Experimental Language in Psychedelic Research
Presented by Nese Devenot, Ph.D.
The Past & Future of Psychedelics
Presented by Mike Crowley & Ben Sessa
Psychedelics as Behavior Change Agents: Addictions Recovery & Beyond
Presented by Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D.
Psilocybin Mushrooms & the Mycology of Consciousness
Presented by Paul Stamets, D.Sc.
Cosmic Sister's Psychedelic Feminism Grant Recipients
Presented by Nese Devenot, Ph.D., Selma Holden, M.D., Katie Bain, Faye Sakellaridis, & moderated by Leia Friedman
INTERVIEW WITH DEANNE ADAMSON: Founder of Being True To You—Recovery Coaching & Entheogenic Integration
I had the pleasure of meeting Deanne Adamson at the Global Ibogaine Therapy Conference in 2016, and then I had the privilege of working closely with her on a private ibogaine detox integration retreat. I was inspired to see her in action. She is highly intuitive as well as well-versed on the subjects of addiction recovery and coaching. She understands and respects sacred medicine work while being beautifully grounded in the professional world.
I am excited to share that I am now in the midst of the Addiction Recovery & Psychospiritual Integration Coach training program led by Deanne with Being True To You. This coaching program is utterly unique in that it supports people who work with entheogenic (psychedelic) medicines as part of their healing and self development. The program is incredibly progressive, compassionate, and intuitive. It builds on the wisdom & experience of all previously existing approaches to addiction recovery. I am only on level 3 out of 16, and my mind has already been beautifully blown open.
Deanne Adamson, founder of Being True To You Integrative Recovery Coaching, is paving a new era of addiction recovery. Deanne trains and certifies Addiction Recovery Coaches to work one-on-one with people in need, allowing for a perfect match. Deanne mentors the coach-client relationship for many individuals and families. Deanne & the Team provide a wide-range of tele-classes to the public about the new era of addiction recovery and the importance of continuity of care. Deanne illustrates how the fundamental principles of life, when refined through daily discipline, allow people to more naturally mature out of their addictions.
Deanne has a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, and an academic background relating mostly to spiritual psychology. Deanne started with psychotherapy but transitioned pretty quickly to recovery coaching. Over the last seven years Deanne has discovered her talent in, and mission to, change the way people perceive and approach addiction and suffering, and guiding the transcendence beyond addiction and other life blocks and attachments. If you or someone you know needs help with addiction or similar phenomena, one of the best things you can do is contact Being True To You.
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What is Being True to You?
Being True To You is a network of specialized recovery and integrative coaches working virtually with individuals, families, and groups through our addiction recovery and transformational online and in-life program. Client focuses are based on the fundamentals of addiction recovery, self-growth and life skills, mind, body, and spiritual wellness, holistic healing, entheogenic integration, and life purpose and true self actualization. Being True To You specializes in providing preparation and integration around Ibogaine treatment for addiction, so our services have emerged with much depth guiding the greater journey of one’s human experience.
What inspired you to create Being True to You?
Life paved a very synchronistic path for the emergence of Being True To You. Like many, I grew up within an addiction culture, with sweets, coffee, nicotine, alcohol and street and rx drugs being the norm, and material possessions, fame, power, and money being the goal. I spent 15 years of my life using substances and witnessing the shadow aspects of my mind, body, and life. I experienced first hand the emptiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, and pain that comes with one’s endless pursuit of happiness through things external. I also experienced the wonders of intoxication, altered realities, and the expansion of perspective that can be gleaned through these experiences. I saw the beauty to know oneself through the journey of the forgotten self.
Beyond teenage years I majored in psychology and mental health counseling. I had a strong drive toward psychology, philosophy, theology, personal development, spiritual cultivation and enlightenment, and the study of behavioral change and role of consciousness. Working in the sectors of community nonprofit, judicial victim advocacy, and counseling in the medical field, I saw many problems, gaps, and unmet needs. My passion to make a real difference spawned a personal oath to sobriety from alcohol, a leap of faith to start my own coaching business, and a recalibration of life overall with clearer intention, purpose, and morals. This leap of faith quickly resulted in the invitation to serve in the Ibogaine community where all this magic has unfolded.
How have entheogenic journeys changed your life?
I’ve have enjoyed two very different chapters in my life taking entheogenic adventures. The first phase started in my younger years using psychedelics recreationally. These early experiences started my awakening process allowing me to see behind one veil after the next, foreshadowing the depth, complexities, and mysteries of my own psyche as well as the greater cosmic field. I saw that I was but a speck in the universe but at the same time a being of great power, which could only be known and harnessed through my own self-actualization. This prevented me from taking life too seriously and falling too deeply into social conditioning, and helped me face life's hardships as challenges with an inevitable bright side.
The second chapter started in my later twenties when I discovered Ibogaine. I realized that psychedelics are not just recreational drugs that alter your reality, but rather entheogenic medicines that open doorways to your inner world, higher truth, and greater life purpose. Since then I’ve explored a number of different medicines realizing more each journey, that we are in fact here to cultivate our true selves and that the answers are already within us. These medicines have landed me in the evolutionary journey of my true self, practicing through a single mind-body cultivation way.
Why is recovery coaching and psycho-spiritual integration coaching important?
Addiction takes you on a journey of your shadow side revealing parts of yourself you never thought possible, emotional states that seem intolerable, and hardships that feel unmanageable. Entheogenic experiences too, unlock new depths in your subconscious, activate intuition, truth, and wisdom, and in the process defragment the splintered aspects of your personality. Conquering either of these states of consciousness does not happen in a single experience; both leaving you in a deep contemplation about life. Whether you take a journey through the depths of addiction, or psychedelic adventuring, once you enter there's no turning back. Being True To You Coaching serves as an expansive support container for ongoing reflection, introspection, and integration ensuring that the insights discovered are in fact implemented in the genuine cultivation of oneself.
In addition to coaching, what integration activities might be helpful, after an entheogenic journey?
How one integrates their transformational experiences will vary from person to person and also from culture to culture. Talking with a trusted specialist provides a sounding board to externalize the inner workings of the mind for greater understanding. Additionally there are a variety of other practices such as: mindfulness, self-reflection, looking inward, meditation, journaling, artistic expression, musical composition, nature walks, breathwork, vision quests, vegetable and/or juice fasting, slow yoga, and generally implementing positive changes in life.