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Why Nectara came to life
February 10, 2022
5 min read
Origin stories. They are essential to share because they illustrate the spark from which entire communities, movements, and companies have been built around. They clarify the why. If you’re curious about our story, here it is! Okay, it is kind of long; we really tried to keep this short. But for those who jump in, we hope you’ll enjoy it.
Why we founded Nectara
Going through our own psychedelic experiences, we often felt like integration was relegated to a second thought. It also didn’t go deep enough with what integration truly means to us. There’s a lot of emphasis on the peak experience with psychedelics but not enough on the lifelong journey that happens after to translate the insights into tangible and embodied action. And yet, this is where the richest layers and healing can surface.
We get it, it’s challenging for retreats to make it work financially. For practitioners, it is difficult to hold space in experiences and do deep, long-term integration support with everyone.
Integration time sometimes means an hour or two extended group chats after being stretched, pulled apart, fragmented, and excavated by the medicine. Sometimes, there is more time available, but it is often not enough to truly anchor the insights.
After a potent ceremony, we would sometimes go back home still feeling raw, vulnerable, and not quite put together. And then we would get smacked by life when we got home. A kid, three dogs, running a business, being partners. It was pretty intense! The surges of life would take over, and pieces of the experience and insights would be washed away. We needed more support. It took many experiences like that to realize what was going on.
And we weren’t alone in feeling that. We witnessed the effects of making integration a second thought with other participants. We’ve seen broken people going back home not knowing where to go for help. Those challenging returns back to daily life can not only blur the benefits of a psychedelic experience, but it can also create serious harm. And it’s not just the breakdowns on one extreme end of the spectrum; it’s also about people who go through an ayahuasca experience but go back home and can’t fully land the insights by themselves. It can be arduous work on your own. And then they go back to more and more ceremonies to chase the healing, and the cycle continues.
These personal and witnessed stories of struggle are why we decided to shift our life and re-orient towards full-time dedication to the psychedelic community. With our backgrounds in tech, strategy, and design, we felt like we could co-create an ecosystem of support that truly embraces people as they enter an experience and after they leave. There’s no quick fix when it comes to integration. It takes time and a diversity of modalities and perspectives to support the process.
With Nectara, we are aiming to create a safe space for wisdom, practice, and community to support people. Not just for a session or two but across their integration journey.
Our purpose, aligned
We’ve always wanted to support the psychedelic community because it has given us so much. We love this community. We love the compassion and selfless devotion to helping others that we have seen hundreds of times. And the stories of transformation, the people, the smiles and the tears… there is so much hope and genuine love permeating the psychedelic spaces we have been privileged to be a part of. The generosity we have seen has by itself sparked an eternal belief in us that yes, when we all work together we can create any kind of world we want. We just need more help and support to get there.
For a long time, we thought we should open a retreat to help people get more access to psychedelics. But after seeing what was missing in the space, it was clear that psychedelic integration was what we should invest the next 20 years of our lives to. Lots of people out there are already doing beautiful work with ceremony spaces. More people want to build more of them. That’s wonderful but we also think a healthy future for the psychedelic community includes a focus on building dedicated integration spaces, retreats, and offerings. Translating the experiences, practicing, and gathering in groups of belonging is key to sustainably and meaningfully changing the world.
What better way we thought than to do that by building a wall-less temple online? It would leverage technology to efficiently touch the lives of thousands of people at a fraction of the cost of physical space.
In the summer of 2021, after dancing with the idea for almost two years, we let go of our successful design and strategy agency for socially conscious companies and dedicated ourselves to building Nectara. Since then, we have been self-funding this project with zero income. The small amount of money we have made so far has gone back into hiring people, building software, and creating resources for you. Every day, giving back like this makes our hearts full. The money can come later.
Going back further
We’ll share a little-known story about us… In 1999, way before Tinder or even high-speed internet was accessible, we met in a Yahoo chat room by completely random (divine?) luck. We spoke on the phone and online for 6 years before we met in person for the first time. Since then, we’ve been together and that same dedication to following our heart and soul has guided us here in deep service and trust to this new phase of our life together. And it’s all for you.
Nectara is still very young. Some days it feels like things aren’t moving quick enough, or sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the number of to-do list items left to do. Some other days, we get down on ourselves and feel like we’re failing. But our life’s work is to help grow this ecosystem to resource as many people as possible. This is why we get up in the morning, and it lights us up so much.
We’re pouring ourselves into Nectara, and we will keep building this house with you and welcome everyone in so that all can gather and get the support they need to thrive.
What can we create as a community to help shift the world one degree better? Let’s find out what’s possible.
Thanks for walking this journey with us 🙏
Pascal, Elaine, and Noah :)