Oh boy. Where to begin...
I guess at the beginning. On January 14th 2018, I booked myself in for the trip of a life time.
A trip to Peru... and a trip in Peru.
There was the flight, that was one part of the trip. Then there was the psychedelic trip. the spiritual trip. The healing trip. That part of the journey was with ayahuasca, a 'plant medicine' which makes DMT available in our body.
DMT is a very powerful stimulator of seretonin receptors in the brain, which doesn't normally get into the body because it's broken down by the stomach. But when you make a drink with the a plant like chacruna (containing DMT) and mix it with the vine of ayahuasca, the latter acts as a blocking agent and the DMT can get into the body, and the effects are rather undeniable.
While the plant is illegal in the UK and many other parts of the world, it is still currently legal in South America, and the most popular place for us gringos to experience it is in Peru.
I won't bore you with the backstory, but I had done my research and decided that if I found a retreat centre that looked safe and appealing, I'd go for it. Dreamglade checked all my boxes, I found some reasonably priced flights for May and off I went.
First off, I just hope I do a good job at explaining what I understand ayahuasca to be, and basically do the whole tradition justice. If you think ayahuasca is another party drug, or something to try out for the 'fun of the ride', you've got the wrong end of the vine.
In this podcast, I'm going to go in depth about my experience (so you'll notice it's a fair amount longer than usual) and I hope I can offer some help and answer some questions to any of you pondering ayahuasca use for its healing properties.
As always, if you have any questions after the show, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do my best to answer or find someone who can.
The starting place for any adventure, project, collaboration, big leap, epic change, scary ass challenge that I take on is answering the simple question:
Why am I doing this?
Why am I really doing this?
Why does this matter to me?
It's not often I get asked these 'why' questions. More common is 'How'?
How do you get the courage to speak on stage?
How did you build your website?
How do you grow your lnstagram account?
These questions are pointless, without first finding your why.
But I get why you aren't asking why more.
It’s not a question we’re encouraged to ask. At one point, you were probably really good at asking ‘why?’… that was until some big person told you to be quiet and stop being so nosey.
Or my personal (un)favourite: ‘I’ll tell you when you’re older.’
My parents have a LOT of questions to answer…
Anyway, starting with why isn’t a new or radical idea. You just have to watch the TED talk by Simon Sinek to get on that bandwagon.
The reason I’m getting into it today with you, at the start of this 21 day journey into facing the Resistance, is to show you how having your grand Why will help you when it comes to overcoming creative resistance, that inner critic, and finally achieving all your dreams.
I realised some time ago the only way I can do something scary, something my inner Resistance is preventing me from undertaking, is to have a damn good reason why.
Full show notes: https://wp.me/p5bc9S-2mB
In this week’s episode of the Creative Introvert podcast I talk to Kerstin Pressler of Sparkling Creative.
For the show notes: https://wp.me/p5bc9S-2kY
We’ve spent the last three podcasts in this Enneagram series going through the three triads, covering all the core 9 types. The idea is that your core type, one of the nine numbers we’ve discussed, describe your personality overall.
However: it gets a bit more complex. The wing - another type - adds an important, sometimes contradictory, element to your personality.
Last weekend was opening weekend and I surprised myself: I got stuck in to Brighton Festival for the first time.
On Saturday I went with a friend to a comedy gig. I didn’t have much in terms of expectations, I just knew it was at the right time of day (early evening - I’m not going to an 9pm gigs because, bedtime) and it was in the right place: the Warren.
The Warren is a part of the festival that I’ve heard very good things about, so I wanted to explore it. And oh boy: was I in for a treat.
I have this thing, may be it’s because I’m fairly empathic or maybe it’s because I know how it feels to be on stage…
But I make extra effort to smile and laugh.
And may be it was the beer, but after the initial awkward 5 minutes (which by the way EVERYONE experiences - something to think about if you’re scared of being on stage - you only need to get past the first 5 minutes)
After that passed, I was basically in hysterics. And I mean hysterics: laughing and crying. Yes, there were tears. I think the comedian took a shine to me then, because I was clearly a fan - and pulled me on stage to dance with him as part of this bit where he acts out the starting credits to Magnum PI, with the themesong playing…
Apparently I was only there for 15 seconds, but it obviously felt like an eternity.
Thank god there was some booze in the system or that would have been much, much worse.
If you’ve been keeping up with this series on the Enneagram system, you’ll know about what it is, where it comes from, all the different nine personality types and the wings of each type.
Unless you’re already familiar with the Enneagram, I really recommend going back and checking out the rest of the series here, in order to get much sense from today's post.
OK so today we’re talking about the Levels of Development. Now this is what really got me hooked and interested in learning more about the Enneagram because I don’t know of any other typology system that really lays out in detail this idea of progress within each personality type.
And forgive me, if you’re someone who understands the Enneagram as more than just a personality typology, I know it’s not defined in that way by everyone, but for the sake of this beginners series, let’s look at it in that light.
The idea is that there is an overall structure to each personality type. Each type description spans from healthy traits, to its average traits, and then to its unhealthy traits.
Full episode show notes here: https://wp.me/p5bc9S-2jA
Reading is one of the best solitary activities there is, and I for one have always been - since I could read I guess - a big old book worm.
But one thing that you can’t do alone, is discuss the book afterwards - and this is something I love to do. It’s like going to see a film: for me, the best part is discussing the film afterwards with the person you went with. And as much as I love solo cinema going I do miss that post-mortem part.
So books are no different. On the odd occaision someone has read the same book as me - ideally recently because my memory sucks - there’s nothing like a good discussion about the book. What we liked, what we didn’t like, what we learned.
Oh and on that note - most of the books - 99% - are non-fiction. For whatever reason, I got on the non-fiction train a few years ago and haven’t gotten off since, apart from the odd graphic novel.
But I don’t have many friends who read non-fiction quite as avidly as I do, well, until I moved to Brighton. Last year, while hunting for speakers for a live event myself and a friend put on, Wildfire Women, I met Donna for the first time.
Donna is the founder of Gozen Girls and has recently started her own podcast.
The idea behind Gozen Girls is getting together to discuss books, mostly non-fiction, written by women. The non-fiction part is what hooked me, and I finally went to my first GG book club: I didn’t have a choice when I saw the book to be discussed was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I loveElizabeth Gilbert. So much. I had put off reading Eat Pray Love for the longest time, purely because I thought it was - and please don’t get offended - ‘chick lit’. I thought it was a fictional account of some soppy love story and that just didn’t inspire me to read.
But then someone gave me a copy as a gift, and I decided - why the hell not. Since reading EPL, I declared my all out fangirl status for Elizabeth Gilbert and decided to consume all of her works.
Big Magic is her finest work, in my opinion, second only by a hair to EPL.
Now it’s safe to say that the book club were a fan too. And, happily, everyone there was all up for having those big conversations that Gilbert starts in Big Magic: about creativity, the resistance, fear, courage, purpose, creative calling and so much more.
It was an awesome night full of stimulating conversations that left me pondering all sorts of questions afterwards, and reminded me of how lucky I am to have this creative, open minded community on my doorstep. Which I guess I already knew, but if someone didn’t know that, all they would have to do is go to a book club like this and see for themselves.
And that’s my message for you today. Is there a ready-made community available for you on your doorstep? May be it’s also a book club - they’re common in most cities. Or can you be the one to start one, like Donna?
It doesn’t take much to get a group of people giving there opinions about something they love, like a book, and you don’t have to do anything other than show up. In fact, a couple of women who joined us did just that: they sat back and absorbed.
I didn’t leave feeling drained, likely because it was lifted to two hours which is just about my limit, and everyone was polite enough to give each other space to pipe up, if they wanted.
No pressure from Donna, who was a wonderful facilitator: who asked great questions and gave us a worksheet to go through which I found very helpful. If you’re subscribed to the Museletter you’ll receive the questions Donna gave us from that in this week’s update.
So, a perfectly introvert friendly evening, even if it was technically a group environment.