This article originally appeared on AZmarijuana.com
Continued from part 1…
“My Sister; Your Mother Needs to Talk to You”
Whose messages were coming out of my mouth? How had he/she/it hijacked my voice to say that? And what in the actual fuck did it mean?
I talked to my mother every day. I couldn’t possibly talk to her more. It simply didn’t make sense. I wondered if the message were more related to being kind and aware of my own mother, and of mothers in general. As a mother now myself, I knew firsthand how thankless and difficult it is to be one. Can we even call it a job? So much debate around it makes my head spin. I started a campaign to protest the Women on the Block conference that was being held on Mother’s Day during NYC’s Blockchain week. It was largely unsuccessful. Probably because I had no Twitter followers, and the women who organized the conference dismissed me as a troll.
To try and compensate for the fact that I was unable to affect the world around me, I spent an exorbitant amount of money on a Mother’s Day gift that year, but the voice in my head would not abate.
“My sister; your mother needs to talk to you.”
Again: what the fuck?!
The Empire State, The Mayor of Tribeca, & A Lesson in Psychoactive Drugs
I accompanied my boyfriend to New York the following week. He was attending conferences at Blockchain week. I tagged along for the job fair… and because New York City is one of my favorite places. While he was at conferences during the day, I visited old friends who lived in the city and worked on my CV for the job fair. One night, at a dinner with a VC who was associated with a Burning Man camp that my boyfriend and I hoped to join that summer, I got an abrupt answer to my burning question.
Although our new acquaintance – the VC – affectionately known in his local circles as “the mayor of Tribeca” – could not grant us entry into the Burning Man camp he was associated with, he provided invaluable insights. Though he was newly sober, the mayor had no shortage of experience with psychoactive drugs. He asked what substances, if any, my boyfriend and I intended to bring with us to Black Rock City for our first burn. We told him what we planned to bring. “Good,” he said. “Anything else that’s meant to cross your path while you’re there will.”
Offhand I remarked that I was afraid to try mushrooms because a psychedelic experience with LSD I had as a teenager left me scarred. I continued to tell a brief version of the story of my encounter traveling through space and time and conversing with two deities who to my mind represented God and the Devil. I recounted my hallucination with vivid clarity that I had previously lacked.
The mayor told me that that kind of hallucination, accompanied by a fear that his drug use had awakened too much knowledge that he couldn’t handle, was a large contributor to his newfound sobriety. However, in his experience, mushrooms were unlikely to bring on psychedelic states of that magnitude. Usually, according to the mayor, that kind of knowledge was awakened by far more potent substances than psilocybin (the hallucinogenic agent in mushrooms). Ayahuasca was the particular substance with which the mayor was familiar that tended to produce vivid hallucinations similar to the one I described.
My boyfriend and I had heard of Ayahuasca the previous winter when my boyfriend was traveling to the Hoffman Institute in Northern California to work on his own personal development. We had heard/read that using Ayahuasca could lead to deeply personal revelations that could radically alter a person’s life, cause them to course correct, and even cure opiate addiction – which I found particularly interesting because my brother had been battling that disease for the better part of a decade, and he was losing. I shared that despite having serious fear and trepidation, I felt as though an Ayahuasca experience was probably in my near future. The mayor recommended the experience but warned against using it at Burning Man, especially for the first time. Responsible Ayahuasca use is done under the guidance of a shaman and/or other medical professionals, and never in conjunction with other substances that can lead to serious medical issues. A final word of caution (regarding Ayahuasca use) from the mayor:
“It’s the MOTHER of hallucinogens.”
There it was. The “mother” I was looking for. Mother Ayahuasca.
Getting High on Life & Pushing Back the Mother’s Message
During my long flight back to Phoenix, I researched Ayahuasca again. Thank goodness for Wifi on airplanes. I found Ayahuasca retreats of varying lengths in different parts of the world. Most of them were ten days and in the Amazon. I would have to be gone for at least two weeks to travel to the Amazon to try and discover what this plant “mother” wanted to tell me. I hated to put her off, but whatever her message was, it would have to wait a little longer.
Back at home, my daughter needed me. Although my amiable relationship with her father allowed me to travel more than a lot of single mothers (or of parents in general) I know, I couldn’t be gone for more than a week or maybe two at a time. I didn’t want to be. I had been in New York for a week and later that summer, I was going to be gone for two weeks to attend Burning Man. My daughter was about to turn seven, and she would be starting first grade in the fall. Everything paled in comparison to the high I got from being around her. If MJ eased my pain and suffering, Sofia erased it completely, at least when I was in her presence. I wanted to be a better mother to her, to stop feeling sad, scared, lonely, depressed, and incapable. I wanted to give her everything the world had to offer, to keep a cleaner house and car, to earn more money at work so I could take her more places and buy her more things, but something was holding me back.
I couldn’t help but wonder if Ayahuasca might tell me what that was. No matter; it had to wait.
Preparations for Sofia’s seventh birthday party occupied my time in late July. I was one of those moms who made all of the decorations myself, invited everyone from every class she had ever been in and our personal friends, and had the parties at home. I probably had no business trying to be that kind of mom, but I was lacking in some of the things I felt my daughter needed and doing things – like birthday parties – right was my small way of making up for my shortcomings. As I frantically cleaned my house and readied for the biggest party we’d had yet, I relied on MJ to boost my creativity once again. Walking inside from some yard work one day, it happened again. I saw nothing but black and when I stood, my lips moved again. This time they said:
“Pay attention. Something happens here. You’re going to need to learn to breathe.”
What was about to happen? Was it going to be something good, or something tragic? I had an ominous feeling. My fear that tragedy could strike occupied every moment. I took extra caution in all that I did to ensure that my family and I avoid all possible dangers. Months passed. Sofia’s birthday party was a success, and in August, my boyfriend and I went to Burning Man as planned.
Burning Man & A Message from a 747
Burning Man was more than I could have hoped for. Although it didn’t quite live up to the utopian ideals I had built around it in my head, the flawed reality was better than my fantasy. I could write an entire anthology about my adoration for Burning Man, my new-found family with my campmates there, and the lessons I learned in Black Rock City. For now, I’ll just say that my biggest take away was summed up in a sign I read on a 747 nightclub parked in the middle of the inhabitable desert. It read:
“You are not your baggage. Drop it and remember who the fuck you really are.”
That’s so much easier to do at Burning Man, where the economy is a gift economy, and no one keeps track of who owes what to whom.
Back in the default world, things were not all sunshine and roses for me. The business I had built selling goods online was crumbling. The price of cryptocurrency was stabilizing, but it wasn’t rebounding to the all-time highs that would have left me with enough money, so I could just relax. I had lost a consulting gig I got as a result of my trip to New York earlier that summer because I couldn’t get along with a female executive at the company, and they owed me money. I was never good at collecting on debts because I hated when debt collectors called me, and I didn’t want to contribute to the problem; I wanted to be a part of the solution. I had been struggling to overcome an enormous amount of personal baggage that I had been accumulating and carrying for my whole life, and my sister was getting married in the fall.
I wondered if Burning Man was the something that MJ forewarned me about. I hadn’t had any more revelations since late July. My guard was still up, but I felt as though I was starting to lower it, even just the tiniest bit.
To Be Continued in Part 3….