This is a personal story coming from a Eleusinia retreat guest regarding grief and psilocybin. Nina dives into what brought her to the retreat and how her experience unfolded. Her story is a unique one. Grief and loss show up for at unexpected times and in a wide spectrum of emotions. This episode gives a window into how the psychedelic experience can shift our perspective in a way that keeps us resilient, growing, and whole. Listen here or on Apple Podcasts.
Tawnya: Nina. Thank you so much for coming to the show. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and why you decided to come to Eleusinia?
Nina: Absolutely. , thanks for having me, . I am Nina, as you said, I’m a researcher. I’m thirty? Still, time has been an evaporating concept these days, but yeah. I, I, I came here, I mean if I were to say the entire reason why I got all the way here, would take hours.
But I guess the kind of pivotal moment was that I lost my father a few weeks ago. And it’s been a little bit of a difficult experience for me. Not that we were close, actually I didn’t really know him super well, but it did trigger something in me and I felt like I needed a reset that, you know.
I had kind of like reached a point in which, I mean, I think I told you that in a, in a different setting, but resilience for me always meant, oh, you have to power through. You have to, you know, like no matter what happens, keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t look back. And this time it felt like no, like resilience this time, is acknowledging that I need to make space invite, you know, sat in this at a table, look at it.
It deserves that space. And I felt not only sadness, but also joy wasn’t there anymore and it need to find its way back. And so this is what brought me here.
Tawnya: So previous to coming and you recognize that what you used to identify as resilience is pushing through, no matter what you knew, you needed something different at this point in time.
Nina: And I mean, my body told it, like it kept being my mind saying resilience is powering through and this and my body said, no, you know?
Tawnya: So you were like, I have to try something. Why did you pick this one?
Nina: That’s a good question. So I said, initially I’m a researcher. So for me it was really, I may have dabbled in, in psychedelics in the past a little bit.
I do, I did, you know, a gram with my therapist back in London where I lived for a few months, so I had an intuition that it would be something positive for me but I was also sort of really drawn specifically here by the fact that was really researched backed, that, Jessica has this approach that, , brings you in with the research and with kind of like what it does to your body, that it felt like a very safe environment, because I mean, you have a nurse background.
Initially there was this kind of research, as opposed to maybe things that are more mystical to which I have a harder time initially relating. And so that’s what drew me in. But when I came out of it, I realized it is above and beyond, the kind of like clinical experience.
It is a human experience. And so while it wasn’t religious, it was a spiritual. And so now I get sort of both sides. I was driven by the safety of it, and I came out of it, happy with the humanity and the energy, of the retreat.
Tawnya: That is so beautiful. And during your experience, did you feel a release or can you tell us a little bit about your, challenging aspects.
Nina: So I love how you said your experience. I would say your experiences because I feel like it’s been…
A journey of like a narrative arc of so many different experiences in which I got to explore a huge spectrum of emotion. So I would say yes, some moments were challenging, but in a good way. And the way that I was looking for, I mean, so there is the, there is a macro dose and there is the mini dose for me that those were two different sets of experiences.
And within them I’ve had different experiences, but I guess broadly speaking, the macrodose was very much in my own head. And kind of, because it was so strong, I feel I was very connected to my own trauma, but what it brought to it was compassion, even the hardest thing, like I told you, you, my father, we didn’t have a strong bond and it mostly came from him and he didn’t, he didn’t quite want to create that.
And in that moment, it was the first time that I’ve had compassion. For him. And,
Tawnya: Instead of frustration and a feeling of like, why?
Nina: Why are you rejecting me? And, at that moment, I understood that it wasn’t me, it was the idea of me and that, you know, everybody’s coming with a baggage and he probably came with his own baggage to that story.
The experience was, I mean, I, it was so beautiful, I mean, we briefly discussed it, but it really was this moment and where I felt connected to human that way and where, so the fact that he couldn’t sort of have this relationship with me was materialized by like this beautiful rock that we were both holding and that we buried into ground together and he stayed there and I went sort of back to the surface and something grew on it.
And so it was, it was out of this emotion that for all of my life has been just anger. It put fruition and growth. And so that was, yeah, that was, that was, that was a beautiful moment, but a challenging one as well. Because to let go of the anger and see that in this new angle was, was difficult.
I think. I think one thing that I’ll say about the retreat that’s really positive is how you empower us to have the experience in a way that we are independent in it, that we know how to shift some narratives that are not, you know, going the right directions. And before, you know, you’re not like, hello everybody, here’s five grams, you know, deal with how it’s gonna work out with your body.
You give us so many tools before, like the meditation. Like I was going to say yeeting, you’re going to have to explain that to listeners, but this, this method of like shifting position and having, you know, to move to different spots and knowing how to recognize when you’re maybe in a difficult time and knowing, that there is somebody around who’s going to help you sort of, out of it was so, you know, so reassuring to me and I didn’t really quite even go down paths that were scary.
And I think it was because in the background of my mind, I knew that there would be somebody there who would know how to help me out of it.
So I felt safe the whole, I didn’t know the word safe, which is really important when you’re experiencing such intense emotions made it so that never felt scary. Each felt challenging, never felt scary.
Tawnya: Beautiful. Thank you so much for saying that.
I feel like you had said something like, you said confidence or intense confidence at the end of the day.
Nina: Oh, intimate knowledge. Oh, that’s what, yeah. That was my other definition for resilience now, which is, you know, resilience now is I am allowed to make space for sadness because I have this intimate knowledge that there will be light, you know, but
Tawnya: Wow. Intimate knowledge that there will be light.
Nina: There will be light.
Tawnya: Therefore you can make more space for sadness.
Nina: Space for darkness even. Yeah, there was a lot of the experience was about this ambiguity because no, none of the kind of journeys that I’ve had shrooms were one directional. They were multifaceted, they were ambiguous and it was I, saw my strength in navigating that ambiguity and that was really just reassuring in a way that, you know, not nothing is like one single emotion.
That it’s okay to navigate multiple multi-faceted, you know, aspects of an experience. And that felt really good. And I guess one thing that I didn’t say is, so that, that macro dose was like experiencing sort of more in my head.
Then the mini dose was much more about the environment and I saw, you know, nature in a way that I never seen it before I saw rivers of gold, like with my own eyes. And it was so beautiful. And I think at some point in the mini dose was interesting there, it was like, oh, I’m not processing my trauma in the way that it was in the big, the large dose.
And so maybe I’m not doing it right, because I don’t feel sadness, I only feel joy. And then I was like, Nina are you really beating yourself up for being here happy? And it’s crazy how we do this patterns where we’re like, oh, it’s supposed to hurt. It’s like, no, it’s not supposed to hurt.
And like the fact that it was pure, like joy and rediscovery in nature and in this childlike energy and the way that like, because my mom was sick when I was really young, I didn’t get to be really a child for a long time. I quickly had responsibilities. And so I didn’t even know that I had in me, I thought it was up for other people to be carefree in some sense. And so it brought back this, this joy, this childlike energy that I didn’t know, I had it in me or that I, I could feel it. Yeah.
The reason why I invited or that I felt confident and invited sadness and giving it the place that it deserved and the space that it deserves in my life right now is because I have that intimate knowledge that eventually there will be light. And so it’s okay for the moment to be in the tunnel. I know there will be light.
Tawnya: The last thing that I’ll ask you is I know that you were watching Josefinas hands.
Nina: Yeah, she is. She’s so amazing energies flowing and floating around her. It’s it’s wonderful. And from day one, like we know we have this little ceremony before, or I guess like one-on-one chat before ceremony.
And she said so many beautiful words that were so on point and from that moment, and I was like, when I need to connect to energy is the way that I would put it. I’m not religious or anything, but I do believe that there is sort of, we’re all connected. I came in with that belief, but now I’m coming out with the knowledge, you know, it’s a little bit different.
But yeah, so essentially she, I think she shared this sentence. It was really interesting, she says, we wash our bodies with soap, you know, we’d take off the dirt of the day, but we don’t wash off the energy of it. And so she taught me some like signs with our bodies to clear the energy. And essentially she told me how you sort of go counter clockwise on your face to clear the negative energy.
You send it out to the world and then you take it back in as positive. And actually during my five gram a trip I brought some crystals and I was holding a crystal in my hand. She came to me and she was like, oh, she taught me how to like, bring all of my negative energies to the crystal, and that made me on the spot very happy.
And then she says, now you’re going to have to take back those energies. And in the moment I was like “Oh, no, I thought we’d given them to the crystal and gotten rid of them. I don’t want them back. So I had this moment of sadness that I had to take them back, but then she said no because you can change the narrative around it so that you’ve sent them out as negative, but you get them back as positive.
And so she really taught me the, the body language releasing the negative ones and welcoming back in the positive and that, that I’ll take home.
Tawnya: That’s so beautiful. And it’s interesting because you said you came as a researcher and you came with like kind of wanting a more clinical perspective. That definitely that experience is kind of outside of the box.
Nina: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I mean, I was a dancer for 10 years, so I think that my body was craving these movements. But it’s going to be I started with a classic dance, so it’s, it’s very framed and I never did kind of like modern jazz or anything that was more expressive. And I think my, my body was probably craving expression as opposed to discipline.
Tawnya: Yeah you spent a lot of time doing like this incredible expression that was just so beautiful. And you know it just feels like just tapping into those freedoms can just, just be so delightful. Do you plan on continuing forward with a program of dosing for yourself to keep yourself on a healing journey?
I love the way that you framed it. And I think it’s sort of, how do you get, when do you get your cue for a new dose? And I think this kind of low confidence as you described is probably where I would get my cue from it. I think at this point, for me 2 grams felt really right in that I was very much in control of my body and I, I don’t think…. it was very pleasant to have people around, but I could have handled it perfectly on my own. The five, I think I, I would prefer to still do it in a setting like here and also because Yeah, I think it’s a practice of like, I would like to do it like regularly on lower doses to bring back that feeling, to open that door, to make sure that it is still there.
But I think making several days space, the way that we did in the retreat is maybe good for full reset every once in a long while or something. But yeah, that’s how I would, I think I would integrate it.
Tawnya: That’s so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate it.
Nina: Thanks for having me on the show.