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Episode 012

Psychedelic Storytelling

Cory Firth

Publishing Date

March 18, 2023

Summary

Explore the power of storytelling on your psychedelic wellness path, healing in community, and experiences from two dads navigating parenting and psychedelics.

Discover

  • Nikean's global platform for psychedelic stories
  • The power of storytelling for change
  • The cycle of personal transformation
  • Telling better stories in and with community
  • Social wellness and the future of health
  • Parenting and psychedelics

Themes

00:00 – Introduction
01:08 – Psychedelic Storytelling Project
04:28 - The transcendence of stories
05:26 - Writing our own story
08:33 - Setting, Skill, Support, Story
17:53 - Social wellness and Neuma
23:51 - Parenting and psychedelics

Links

Connect with the Psychedelic Storytelling Project: https://nikean.org
Connect on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coryfirth/
Connect on Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/nikeanfoundation/

Show notes

Our guest

Cory Firth

Cory is a human-impact community builder, communications entrepreneur and plant medicine advocate who has spent the last 5 years building communities in the mental health and wellness space. After a 20 year battle with depression, Cory has committed his career to a vision of the future where the stigmatization of mental illness is replaced with compassion, transformation and community connection; a world where we work together to reunite with our innate abilities to heal, overcome and actualize our full potential. As the former Executive Director of the Canadian Psychedelic Association, Cory is passionate about collaborating with other psychedelic advocates to share their transformation stories with the world.

Episode transcript

Pascal: Hi, welcome to Nectara’s Conversations. I’m Pascal Tremblay, your host. I’m the co-founder of Nectara, we're a psychedelic support ecosystem. And today, I’m really thrilled and honored to have my really good friend, Cory Firth here with us. Hi Cory.

Cory: Hey Pascal. Thanks for having me.

Pascal: I’m calling from Kaslo, the land of Sinixt people, Ktunaxa people. Where are you calling from Cory?

Cory: Yeah, I’m dropping in from Kingston, Ontario, the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee people and the Anishinabek Nation.

Pascal: Beautiful. Thanks for being here. Me and Cory met, I think about two years ago, I believe.

And I really found him to be one of the sweetest, most considerate and gentle and intentional person I’ve met in the psychedelic space. And as a family man as well, I’ve just really also connected with the way he nourishes his relationships and his family and the intention and purpose he brings into this space. So I’m really honored to be your friend, and thanks for being here, today.

Cory: Thank you so much. And I feel the same way about you, Pascal. It was really nice – one of my favorite – I met a lot of people over the pandemic, and then, starting that job with the Psychedelic Association, met a lot of great people, but you're at the top of that pile. It's been fun to get to know you.

Pascal: Yeah, thank you so much. Do you want to let people know what you're up to in the world?

Cory: We've been building the Psychedelic Storytelling Project, which is a really cool initiative for the psychedelic space to put a little fuel on storytelling as a tool for cultural evolution, I like to say, where, there's a lot of talk about how psychedelics are used in healthcare, and how they're used in therapeutics.

But what about all the other cultural impacts that psychedelics can have an impact on, because they do have an impact across all of culture and all of humanity. So the storytelling project really came out of that idea in a nutshell.

We saw a gap in the education side of things, where there was this really great research happening, but the amount of people that can actually understand that and extrapolate it and make sense of it for themselves is very few and very little.

So what else is out there? And we saw social media and the media, in general, and when you think of traditional media, they're typically looking at the polarizing good story or bad story, and there's no real gap in between. And we identified that as being our place that we could fit into with this project, and the Psychedelic Storytelling Project was born. And it's really a platform, much like Ted Talks or Netflix, where you can go on and search for psychedelic stories.

And the news for us actually was Ted Talks, in the beginning, where you can go on and search for climate change or politics on our site, now, you can come over and look for end of life anxiety and psilocybin or MDMA and PTSD.

So that those that are seeking out information around these experiences, those that we call the psychedelic seeker, those that haven't had an experience, maybe they've been conditioned by the war on drugs, or they had a recreational experience when they were younger, and now they're hearing about the sort of transformational potential for psychedelics, they can come to the site and see someone that kind of looks like them in the future, and they can see what's possible with a psychedelic experience.

So that's what I do for most of my time outside of family stuff. And then, I also, I’m a co-creator and founder of a clinic, a center here in Kingston, Ontario that's just recently opened up called Neuma, and we like to call ourselves the Center for Social Wellness, and the whole, strategy there is about bringing people back together, so everything we do is in group, and it's really beginning where we're at with psychedelics now, what's accessible, what's available, what people are interested in, and then, we're growing into the regulation side of things.

Pascal: Yeah, I do, and I love the storytelling project so much, because it, stories, they transcend culture, they transcend politics, they transcend story – not transcend the stories, but they transcend all those things that can hold back kind of the essence of the psychedelic experience from being fully expressed and fully felt in people. And there's just a lot of connective threads between those stories and between our shared humanity really.

So I love the impact it's going to have and is having already. So yeah, thank you for working on that.

Cory: Yeah, for sure. And I'd love to go back first before I forget, because you said something that got me thinking about the idea of stories. You said they transform – transcend time, they transcend politics, they transcend government, they also transcend language. And one of the difficult pieces with the psychedelic experience is they describe it as ineffable, which is something that can't be described in words.

And that's the beautiful thing about story is storytelling transcended language because it was really the initial way we communicated with one another through cave drawings on the walls, through tribal reenactments of different things. So story goes beyond language, which is really cool for psychedelics because it's hard to go into the psychedelic experience and describe it for someone, but the idea of telling your story is what I believe to be our responsibility to try and do that.

Pascal: That's a really good insight, thank you.

What are things that you're exploring within your own journey right now that is top of mind or something you're practicing or something you're contemplating?

Cory: The cool thing about that I’m just philosophizing on with stories is like all the stories we have until we realize that we have these stories, have been told by someone else. So they're conditioned patterns from our parents and our upbringing, and how they raised us, they're conditioned patterns from media, and the word propaganda has some polarizing connotations, but propaganda. School is a big one, right? Our teachers have a lot to say in the shaping and making of who we are mentally and emotionally.

Once I was aware that the stories I had weren't mine, or were, in part, created by someone else, then I could take back ownership of that, start to really become the narrator of those individual stories, and then, really recreate an entire new narrative of who I am, which is constantly becoming more of that, more of who I am.

I’m not really done, I don't believe that I’ll ever be done, I'm just exploring now. And a good example of that is confidence. I’ve always had a decent amount of confidence, but I was also told that's not a good thing, to have confidence. And I was told that by someone probably who didn't have any confidence, when really, confidence isn't a bad thing, it's the subjective understanding of what that is based on your own experiences.

And when someone tells me who isn't confident not to be confident because it's bad, it's coming from their smaller place, and then, it makes me believe that, and then, it turns me into a smaller version of myself.

And you could go into that with anger and sadness, there's positives and negatives to all of those things, but typically, our stories have been to like repress one side of it, but there's often two sides to the coin when it comes to emotions I’ve seen or behavior patterns like confidence, for example.

Pascal: That speaks to the power of words, and just how whenever you're talking to someone, you're influencing their story in a very real way with the words you choose. And the way you're conveying and communicating yourself is an expression of your own story. So whenever you're connecting with someone, there's an interface of stories that's happening between people; and, as fathers, we know very well the power of our words when we speak to a four or five-year-old or younger or a bit older as well is like, when you say something, they really take it in.

And as adults now, we have all these stories that we've accumulated over time, like, how my teachers, I was in grade school on a military base, and they were nuns back then. And we used to say prayers every morning, and I was told that I talk too much and I’m too energetic and I’m – essentially, she was saying I was being too creative. And, as an older person, that story remained in myself of oh, I can't be too much, I have to keep it down.

So with Nikean, and then, you work in marketing as well before that, you were working a lot with stories. And one thing you shared once that I thought was really insightful, I’d love for you to expand on that, is the kind of framework that you've developed or maybe been inspired by someone else that developed around set setting skill, support and story, which is like a cycle of change a little bit some cycles of change and like intention, action and support. But you've expanded that to include story, I’d love to hear more about that because I think it's very powerful.

Cory: Okay, so set setting skill, support and story, yeah I'm fascinated by psychedelics. I’m fascinated by their ability to influence all parts of culture. And one of the common things with psychedelics is set the good setting, the mindset going into, or set the good mindset going into experience, and then, set a good setting up, so have the right container, have the right space.

There's much more to it than that, but set and setting is this common theme. And I kept thinking to myself there's more to it than that, and I don't want to complicate things cause I don't think psychedelics need to be any more complicated. But what else might be additive there in terms of how these things become mainstreamed, which is where we're headed, and I thought about this idea of skill being a really important piece. And that's from various lessons with some underground therapists that I’ve worked with, and, specifically, a guy named Daniel McQueen who's out in Colorado, and he wrote the book called Psychedelic Cannabis, and he teaches a container for cannabis as a psychedelic, and he brings in set setting and skill.

And he talks about the idea of teaching people how to go through these experiences, so there's a bit of like sovereign health within them, so that they're taking ownership of the experience themselves, cause, for anyone who's had an experience, there is this sort of come up, I call it a come up – it's this experience of where the medicine kicks in and now you're headed into that altered state, and it's the blast off mode, and that specifically needs some skill.

There's a little bit of skill in that to be able to understand your body's reaction to the medicine to understand how you can approach that, which can feel a little bit anxious or can bring on a little bit of anxiousness. And that's the idea of skill while we're going through bringing psychedelics to the mainstream, we should also be not just bringing them into the biomedical model we have that exists today where it looks like some ideas here are now trying to push towards having a psychiatrist lead the way, that's not really teaching anybody anything about this.

And the worry that I have with psychedelics is that they become another pill we pop, and we don't need another pill, we need less pills. So the idea of psychedelics should be helping people get to a point where they don't need drugs. And that's where the skill comes in.

And the other element to that is support. I also think there's definitely a time and a place to be doing these things on your own; there's definitely a time and a place to doing these things one-on-one with a therapist. But I think real support, real magic happens in a container of group, and the, more ancient ritualistic versions of these experiences were done in that setting. And I don't think we're losing that completely, but there does seem to be an emphasis on this one-on-one type of experience as they become – as this becomes westernized, and becomes part of our healthcare system.

And I think that's a mistake, if that's all we do. I think that we really need the support of one another. There's a lot of research behind the idea of group coaching, group therapy, to have the beneficial effect on each other, to go through the experiences. And especially, when you bring in like-minded individuals, folks that have similar backgrounds, similar identities, similar experiences, veterans, for example, is a great example of that, where you bring them in, then they can learn from each other cause they've been through similar experiences.

I think it still works with people from all walks of life and group, they don't have to have that affinity to connection. But I think there's a real power for the idea of doing it in a group. There's a level of support that can be added that I think a good, the best of the best therapist can't even bring that in. They can bring other really great skills to that experience and other great support to that experience, but there's nothing like doing this together. Again, my opinion, my philosophy on it.

Pascal: It's the group intelligence you have a collective of people, a collective of nervous systems coming together. And once you create a container that's safe and well-held, then there's this harmonic resonance that gets created in a group where, all of a sudden, just being together is healing by itself.

And, of course, the power of stories to connect people, as we talked about earlier once you hear people's stories, there's a bond that gets connected almost immediately because I see you and you see me, and that by itself, again, is healing because, as we've heard other people's stories, influencing our own as we're growing up, there's a lot of them doing there that eventually for some of us brings us to, we're very similar, and we've all had pain and suffering and victories that are quite similar in essence. And yeah, very well said, I think that's a big part of the healing journey and the personal growth one as well.

Cory: Yeah, it's a great segue into the storytelling portion, which is that last S which, for me, it wraps it all together. Like you said, there's the element of the stories that we tell each other in those group experiences that are super powerful, that get you to think differently, that get you to maybe understand something a little bit more about yourself in your scenario that you could try out to help you transform.

I've seen it over and over and over again in men's groups, in group experiences with psychedelics, at church, like, all different types of things, this is an obvious one for me that it needs to be there. And then, the storytelling component of it, to me, storytelling is a gateway drug, and I’ll veer off a little bit for a second, I’ll tell you a story about gateway drugs, or the idea of gateway drugs.

So the first time that I was exposed to drugs in any form, I was in grade four, so I think you're around nine or 10 maybe at that time. And we were ushered into the library, I remember not knowing why we were going. When you're like, when your class gets broken up for a school assembly or for something, you're like, yes, get me out to this class, at least, that's how I felt.

And I remember being like, yeah, we're going to library, awesome. And we get to the library and all the bookshelves had been moved to the side, and there's a big open room now. And standing in the middle of the room are these four big burly cops, and this four by six masking tape rectangle on the ground. We're all told to sit around the rectangle, and these cops proceeded to tell us about marijuana, and how bad marijuana is, and how much of a gateway drug marijuana is, and if you do marijuana, then you'll end up in this jail cell because it's a gateway to other harder drugs, which then will lead to other bad experiences, you become homeless, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you'll commit all these crimes, you'll do all these things.

So that's the power of storytelling, that's the power at its extreme, which kept me away from that. A lot of people have similar experiences with that, whether it's the Reagan administration in the US that brought these crazy commercials to life with your brain frying like an egg or a similar experience of being at school.

But the truth is that the story can also help people transform, and that's like bringing back the Nikean Foundation for a minute. Everything that we're doing with this foundation is rooted on this mantra of transforming out loud. We believe that if you transform out loud, then you prevent others from suffering in silence. And yes, you can tell the story, and it can be, like I said, on the gateway drug side of things, it could be mind manipulating, but it can also be mind manifesting.

And then it can be a psychedelic story, and that psychedelic story can then lead to someone else seeing what's maybe possible for them on the other side. And that's not just in a setting of maybe a center, which is what we believe in with Neuma, but also just within the idea of storytelling, you bring all that together, and you have the potential to help someone help themselves, which is I think why we're here, right?

Pascal: Absolutely. How can people, on a personal journey of growth currently implement storytelling into their process or their integration process, or, how did you start weaving that into your own, and what did you learn along the way?

Cory: Yeah, just having conversation, just having dialogue. Dialogue comes from the two words dia, which means moving towards, and logos, which means meaning. And by having conversation with someone like we're doing now, we're moving towards meaning.

Just stepping out a little bit and inching in and finding a friend or finding someone close that maybe you could share a little bit more with. And that's all it has to be.

Pascal: Yeah, you've touched on it a little bit, but it's this idea of transforming via the witnessing of others which I love, and I think is very powerful, and it's bringing us back to the basics of our ancestors and how they used to commune together, it's like coming back to the bonfire. Right?

You talked a little bit earlier as well around social wellness and what you're up to at Neuma around bringing people together. I’d love to hear more around that idea of social wellness, what does that mean to you?

Cory: We kept landing on the idea of our bigger mission here is to expand social consciousness. But it's really about at the kind of like delivery mechanism, level is, it's about social wellness.

And the idea that we can come together and heal together in group, we can transform together, which doesn't mean just healing, it means creativity, it means personal development, it means professional development, it means creativity.

And there's a lot of people that are going through a lot of different things, and I think, because of the pandemic, they felt quite alone, and this concept of social wellness is the idea of bringing us back together and extrapolating some of that, moving through it a little bit with different exercises that allow us to connect more than just with our minds and into our bodies, like we talked about before.

Pascal: That's awesome. It's our men's group, we have a bit of a mantra, which is reframing I got this to we got this. And it's this idea of bringing people together again and not having to do all of the heavy lifting ourselves. And it also talks a bit as well around what we talked earlier around slowing things down and keeping things a bit simpler. I started seeing a chiro last week in Nelson, and for 45 minutes, I think she touched me like four times just with her fingers, and otherwise, it was just like facilitating a container of me connecting with my body and letting my body's intelligence heal itself.

And I’m just lying down there and being like, hey, I need some deep massage and cracking and redoing stuff. And for 45 minutes I just laid there, and she was whistling and just inquiring and giving me prompts to explore my own body's intelligence. And I feel better than I have doing any of the harder stuff, and it's the same with community, I feel, is where you don't have to overcomplicate things, you just have to come together around a shared purpose or share an intention and magic happens. And is that kind of the approach you're having with Neuma, just creating the container for togetherness to come?

Cory: One of the models that we're looking at, and there's a real cool connection to psychedelics on this is A.A. So A.A's model has done more for mental health than anything else we've done in society and humanity, and we could argue about that. They've done so much for that addicted population that most of the systems can't provide.

And the original formation of A.A, the founder, he actually wanted to use LSD, but the board convinced him not to do it, they didn't want it, they were against it, and they didn't do it. It still became what it is, and it's still super effective. But it's funny that connects you back into psychedelics. And we're not trying to mimic A.A by any means, but the idea of how simple A.A is, it's so simple. It's real just a talking circle, a gathering of people sharing their experiences and learning from one another. There's a little bit of other things mixed into that, of course, and then, there's the 12 steps.

Now, we're not going to bring any prescriptive sort of 12 steps to anyone, I don't think, but we will have modalities and tools and disciplines and people that can teach different things that help with the overall human condition. And the human condition for me is four main things, and I think his name is David Engel, he created this three-part concept of biopsychosocial, and that was to represent the entire human condition. But what he missed was spirituality.

And what we do is we add that spirituality component back in with different disciplines and different practices.

So breathwork is a great one, it brings in the biological functional breathing and improving of your breath, it brings in the psychological component where you can move through emotions and trauma and various things, it brings in the social component when you do it together; and it brings in a deep spiritual component to it as well, because spirit, if you break down the word spirit, it comes from the root word spiritus which means to breathe.

One of the big pillars of A.A is to take what you need and leave the rest. And there's no pressure on you having to go through every part of the breathwork and it be perfect, going through every part of the psychedelic cannabis ceremony circle and get every part of it and make sure every part's dialed in and you get something out of every element. It's just taking what you need in that moment and leaving the rest behind, and maybe you'll pick it up down the road, maybe you'll come back and you'll pick it up.

But the idea is that we're not too prescriptive, we look at the whole, and then, we allow you to pick and choose what works for you in that container, which gives a little bit of guidance. So that's the approach, that's been our sort of foundation so far, and we feel if we do this right and we build a good model, that brings in a co-wellness membership, which allows not just folks that want to go through different classes and different programs, but also folks that want to deliver different things. We can marry that together and create a really unique model that allows for psychedelic healthcare to be not just mainstreamed in healthcare and therapeutics, but across all culture and from every aspect with a scalable model that allows for success and regeneration.

Pascal: Beautiful, I love it. I hope you bring that model to other cities too. That'd be great to have a local social wellness center where you can come together and explore all these things together.

Cory: That's the goal.

Pascal: I think that's great, much needed in the world as well, so thank you for doing that work, and I’m excited to see what happens there. And I want to touch on something that's separated from the conversation we've had so far, but it's around parenting and psychedelics. I’m a dad, you're a dad. My beautiful son Noah is almost seven – he really likes a six and a half you need to put the half there it's important for him, so he's six and a half. How old is Rosie now?

Cory: 17 months.

Pascal: In the space I’ve seen parents take a lot of different paths with their children, and how they relate to their own growth journey with psychedelics. For us, it's been part of our conversations, and Noah knows when we're going off to ceremony, and he's participated in some breathwork sessions and some ceremony that we've been part of without psychedelics. But he knows that what we're up to, and we talk about our work, and it's a very kind of open conversation, and he seems curious about it, but there's no stigma in our family around talking about it.

I'd be curious to hear, and I’ve seen other parents too microdosing ayahuasca when they were pregnant, and I’ve seen parents bring their children to an ayahuasca session and be there the whole time, and there's a whole different kind of interface that different parents have had with the relationship. What's been yours and Caitlyn's?

Cory: I think parenting is such an important thing to focus on as we talk about this. We're here in Canada, we're focusing on end of life anxiety, and that is a really important area of life to figure out how these things can be utilized, of course.

But I also think about the internal, the family unit, the parents and what they go through. And yeah, we had a baby daughter Rosie about 17 months ago, and, thank God I found psychedelics personally. I think I’m very grateful for that because I’ve been able to re-parent myself before she arrived, so that I can understand things a little bit more, understand myself a little bit better.

And I think when I say re-parent, and I say different things like improving myself from my childhood, I’m not saying it because I had a bad childhood, I’m saying because I had such a good childhood that I want an even better childhood for my daughter, and I think we all want that. And I think I'm so lucky to have had such a great childhood that my striving for more or for better for her is coming from a really good place, but psychedelics really allow you to do that.

So I think for me yeah, Caitlyn and I started a podcast called Innate In Us, and there's a seven-part series on our podcast we did before Rosie arrived, because we thought, how cool would it be – she may not think it's cool at all – but how cool would it be for her to be able to look back on the time that she was born, and have a little audio time capsule of what life was like.

We called it Innate In Us, cause it was like, what is innate in us, and why don't we just let it out, and share together what we're dealing with, what we're going through, good and bad.

It would often take this psychedelic route where we would start talking about how psychedelics have been really useful for us. And I think the biggest thing for me with psychedelics is that it helps – it's helped me, like we talked about before, connect to the body. All these different tools, they can do that really well too the somatic therapies and things like that. But when you're on a psychedelic, you – that coming up we talked about it's a very somatic experience, it's a very body experience. You have to learn how to be in your body.

And when you're dealing with a young child, any child potentially, there's a lot of nervous system response, there's a lot of body response and sensation that pops up from different things, whether it's a three o'clock in the morning diaper change, and you just want to go to bed, my body's firing at that moment. And I can typically, my pattern is to go into anger, and my pattern is to run away from that sensation. And more and more I’ve been able to listen to it, and more and more I’ve been able to just be with it.

So instead of just giving her the energy and not saying anything about it, repressing it and her noticing it and seeing me repress it and learning that, or feeling it and not being capable enough to deal with it and lashing out at her emotionally, then she's having to learn that, where I find myself more balanced, more able to hold on to those experiences that are a little bit more challenging, a little bit more difficult, and just be there for her in the way that I know that she needs me there, cause what I’ve learned over the years is that a toddler or a young baby, their neurons are quite underdeveloped, and they're looking for, when they're in a tough experience, they're actually using our mature neurons to regulate themselves.

And I have to, in that moment, not worry about what I say to her, not worry about the movements I make or anything like that, but worry about calming myself down, so that she can tap into those mature neurons and hopefully move through and teach herself to do the same.

For me psychedelics have helped me just truly understand that level of becoming a human, and it's become much more fun to experience all of the things, not just the really good stuff, but even the bad or the challenging stuff, where she had to go to hospital, or she's up late or doesn't sleep or is sick, and we don't know what's wrong. It's been a bit of that contemplation of just allowing things to be, and not putting too much pressure myself on how it would be the one to fix it, which I'm sure you've gone through this experience as typical dad mode, have to fix everything, typical guy mode, have to fix everything.

I’d love to hear your experience too, because you've got a six and a half Noah, six and a half-year-old at home that, I’m sure, challenges you in different ways, and inspires you in different ways. So what's been your experience and your connection to parenting and psychedelics?

Pascal: . Thanks for sharing and for the question too. I like to see Noah and our children as little time capsules. They're little time capsules of our ancestors, and our DNA, and the stories that our parents had, and their parents, and they're born with that default state of holding that in their nervous systems and the fabric of who they are really. And I see them as very potent medicine for parents who can see their children as reflections of their own stories, and as ways to play a game of contrast of this is what I'm seeing in my child that maybe I saw in my parents or that I’m seeing in myself, and how do I interface with that, how do I receive it, and what can I get out of that in terms of learning something.

And with Noah he's obviously a child of mine and my partner, and he's reflecting our parents. And for me, that was deep medicine for me, because as I was relating with him, I could see parts of my dad coming out sometimes, like, when I was getting triggered, I was like, sharing something or... And it's not all bad stuff, it's also really good stuff. But Noah truly became a mechanism or a set of experience that allowed me to reflect on myself, but also, at the same time, reflecting on my parents as well.

And as I was parenting Noah and I keep learning new things all the time, I developed a very deep compassion and empathy for my own parents, because I was facing situations that they've probably faced with me and my reaction was mimicking what my parents would react to me as, and I learned a lot from that. It's not just like me as a parent, but also me as a son that I learned a lot from Noah.

And that's why I like to say Noah's like my greatest teacher, because I really feel there's a lot there and this is the psychedelic experience that allowed me these expanded states of awareness and consciousness that I could really expand what my senses were picking up on, and I could take those insights, and then, bring them into the everyday parenting life. And yeah, I know Noah is going to listen to this one day, but thank you so much.

Cory: Yeah, I love the way you put that with him being your greatest teacher, I totally agree. And I see that, yeah, those tendencies of, yeah, on I’m doing what my dad did or my mom did or whatever. And again, it's no fault to anybody, but that's the mirror effect, and that's been the cool experience to witness as well and contemplate.

Pascal: Yeah. Have you thought about, as she grows up what's going to be your approach to plant medicines? I've had some friends share oh, at 16, there’ll be like a rites of passage with maybe psilocybin, and then, when they're 20, maybe they'll invite them to do ayahuasca. And for us, we haven't planned anything like that, but yeah, what's your personal approach to that, maybe you haven't really figured out, that's fine, but love to learn more about where you're at with that.

Cory: I think that I subscribe to the idea of like minimum effective dose. We talk about these heroes' journeys, we talk about these big experiences, I don't think we need those completely. I think they're great, but I think, at a smaller level, the same impact can happen. So when I think about anything that she could do, good or bad, everything should be in moderation.

Somebody told me recently, cause I was asking a similar question, and it was my cousin actually, I said, cause she's, she was asking me about some things about psychedelics for herself.

And then, I was asking her, cause her kids are 13 and 16. I asked them what would you do, how are you going to teach them about this stuff, drugs, in general, alcohol. And her approach was don't let it affect your responsibilities, and don't let it affect your relationships. And those are like the two main things that I would bring in there that I really like.

So I think that's just a foundation for anything though, don't let anything destroy your relationships, don't let anything get in the way of whatever you're responsible for. So I take that approach with psychedelics now. We need a new drug education program in our schools, because this is going to happen.

It's available, and no one knows what to do with that, I don't think. And I think it'll be different for me, when I get to a point where she's old enough to understand them, I know for sure that I’ll be honest with her, I’ll be direct with her, but I’ll communicate with her based on the language that she can understand for the age when she's at.

I think there's still like a huge level of safety and harm reduction that needs to be included in on that. I keep all of my medicine in a safe, for example, even cannabis. Just different things like that, that are really important to make sure that you have the right intention all the way through, not just with the experiences themselves, but who they affect and they affect our kids just as much as anybody else, probably more. So I think it's important to be honest. I like the approach that you have.

I think the education or the ways of communicating this has to happen with the adults.

So instead of the parents resisting the idea that these things exist, and thinking that they're bad, it's not going to be universal here, of course, but maybe there's some openness to the idea of what these things can do intentionally and allow for us to have a better, more nuanced conversation around what these things are, what they can do to teach our kids that they don't have to hide away and do these things, there's a time and a place for them, and that maybe they won't want them if they keep them away from us.

Like me, when I learned about cannabis, it was like, oh, you're trying to take that away from me I want to try it. So I think that I’m going to guess, I can already tell, Rose wants that, she's pulling stuff out of the cupboards, and I can see her kind of being that inquisitive, curious little girl that may follow a similar pattern. So that's my approach, that's the way I’ve been thinking about it. But I think that'll evolve over time.

Pascal: Yeah, beautiful. I think there's definitely a lot of potential in like a book series around re-parenting and reframing the stories people have told on plant medicines, just as a generational endeavor really, cause it is a big one.

And for anyone out there listening, education for, yeah, in schools, and that's a really good point around harm reduction and just setting up the space properly so that children can grow up in a world where they understand the nuances of what it means, and that's not for everyone either, that's not a silver bullet, and how do you engage with them with deep intention.

So yeah, that's the podcast today. Thank you so much, Cory. I really appreciate your time and your efforts in the world. Any parting thoughts, any wisdom, insights, tips that you'd like to share?

Cory: Go tell your story at nikean.org. If you have one, and you feel called to share, check out Nectara too. What they're doing over at Nectara is amazing. I think it's much needed in the space right now. And if you're interested in understanding more about becoming a guide, getting part of – being a part of a community, being part of a bigger support system, Pascal and the team at Nectara are your people.

Pascal: Okay. Thank you so much. Take care of yourself and blessings.

Cory: Thank you.

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From Psychedelic Renaissance to Psychedelic Enlightenment
Honouring the Spirit & Dreams of Psychedelic Medicines
Honouring the Journey After the Journey
War, Peace, and Integration
Integrating with Systemic Constellations
Exploring the Ethics of Integration
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Ethical Stewardship
Indigenous Reciprocity & Interbeing
The Science of Sound Therapy
Being in Right Relationship
Breath as Medicine
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Psychedelic Safety and Preparation
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