Ivan attended Eleusinia with his wife and had an unexpectedly intense experience. Ivan describes an emotional purge that brought him to a place that he never thought possible. He describes how he went from grappling with depression and suppressed childhood trauma to now moving through life as a successful man and business owner with a sense of deep satisfaction, more in touch with his heart. Ivan takes us on a journey to a place of vulnerability, connectedness, and motivation to create a legacy to help our fellow human beings thrive. Listen here, or on Apple Podcast.
Ivan: It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. With a distant second, like, not even close. But it’s exactly what I needed. And like every day I’m getting more and more insight as I react to the world a little bit differently. As I realize that in fact I do have control of my life and in fact I can do whatever I want.
Tawnya: This next story is incredible. And I’m so excited to introduce to you Ivan.
Ivan had an unexpectedly intense and huge experience. Not only was he able to emotionally purge and reach a place that he never thought possible, but he’s now moving through his life as a successful man and business owner in this place of being totally okay and happy being more in touch with his heart, in a place of vulnerability, connectedness, and with a mission to create a legacy to continue to help our fellow human being. You’ll love this. Enjoy.
Ivan, thank you so much for coming to the show. It has been such a delight to get to know you and to have you as one of our guests. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and why you decided to come to Eleusinia?
Ivan: Well, I thought who I am was a pretty simple question before Eleusinia and now that question has gotten much more complicated. I think I used to define myself by my work, so I probably would’ve said before, I’m a real estate investor and a business owner, and then like husband, dad. Now I think I’m a seeker. I think I’ve always been a seeker of the truth, knowledge, of everything.
I feel like I’m on the path to finding my true self again. So I think I’m a seeker that happens to be a business owner and a husband and a dad and these other things, but I think that’s really what I am. It’s interesting because my wife and I are both very quick decision makers. And we’re comfortable making decisions with some information and then just go.
So I never listened to any of the podcasts. I never looked at really the website much before we got there, which probably would’ve helped if you’re thinking of coming, maybe like listen to the podcasts, which are really good. But I didn’t do that. After I read “How To Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan, I was like, all right I’m ready to try this. And I literally just jumped on Google, found Eleusinia, read like five Google reviews, which were all amazing. And I was like, okay. And I told Jennifer, “Hey, I really want to go do this.” And she was like, “I’ll go with you.” Immediately we booked flights, and then never thought about it again.
And I don’t even think we were responding to your emails, because she was getting them and I was getting them. So it’s like she must have read that. We never like had a call with Jessica, nothing. And then we just showed up to the airport and off we go. That’s kind of how we are, but that did lead me to have a very huge experience that might have gone differently had I prepared a little more, but was probably exactly what I wanted and what I needed. The experience was amazing.
And frankly, I heard a couple people in the podcast mention something to the effect that you guys restored their faith in humanity. And I think that who I am as a caring, compassionate, empathetic person was really masked by my trauma. And I was raised by good people and I was doing the right things and taking the right steps, but I didn’t really feel connected. And I would have my moments, but like I was walking around really close hearted. And Josephina noticed that like as soon as I got there and mentioned it and I was like, yeah, I guess, yeah, that’s true.
And then she mentioned some other things and I think she saw right through me. And the experience has really opened me up. And now I’m having random moments of real connectedness that are really profound. Even leaving Eleusinia was hard because I felt so safe. It was like a really a moment in my life where I was like, things will never be the same. You know, this has changed everything for me. Going to the airport, just being in a sea of people, of strangers and like, out of nowhere, just becoming completely overwhelmed with the feeling of connectedness. And these are my fellow, like my family and like, I don’t know them and they don’t know me, but like we’re together and just my eyes welling up with tears or just feeling the profoundness of how connected we are. And that’s happened to me several times since I’ve been home… where I’m just like, whoa. I knew that, but I wasn’t experiencing it, So that has been a real gift.
Tawnya: I love the start of your story, because many people are like, you know, I researched and I love how you were like, okay, I found it on Google. I read the reviews, and then I jumped right in.
So you really didn’t expect anything because you just kind of jumped right in feet first, 100%. Can you tell us a little bit about what it felt like to arrive and then moving into the first ceremony with the macro dose?
Ivan: When I arrived I was instantly comfortable. The container that you guys create, immediately you can sense the peace in a safe environment, like as soon as you walk in. For the minute we got to our room. And it’s like, Hey, we’re all going to get together. It is amazing how quickly you can become bonded to a bunch of strangers. And so I felt really, really comfortable and safe right away.
And in the ceremony, I was not ready for what happened. You know, I had a huge experience that was a very scary and unpleasant and profound. It was all the cliche things of like, “you can’t describe it.” it was visual. It was emotional. And I tend to do this with everything in my life. I did just jump completely into the deepest end that I could find. And it was a super emotional experience for me.
Tawnya: Can you break it down to ceremony and what it felt when you first started feeling the effects?
Ivan: I think because this is a very spiritual process, you know, it’s not just physiological… and I think you guys do a really good job of really understanding the science and keeping it science based, which for those of us with a science background is really I think comforting. But at the end of the day, it is a very spiritual process as well. And I think treating it with the respect of the ceremony really helped set the stage for what it is and what it should be.
And so as we were going through the ceremony, I was apprehensive. There were moments I was getting anxious, you know, and that was the reason I came to Eleusinia is because I’ve had so much anxiety and depression and I was just looking for something to help me with that. Because I knew I wasn’t enjoying my life. I knew I wasn’t experiencing joy even though my life is wonderful. And so I was like, something’s wrong with me. I had all of that kind of, like, waiting, you know. And waiting for the effects to come in, I was like, all right, well what’s this going to be like?
When I started to feel the effects, I was hoping it was going to be pleasant and I knew it could go either way. And the first thing I experienced was like a little bit of joy and I just started laughing and I think it was just a cruel joke because I was like, this is going to be great, you know, and then wham, I got hit with so much grief. It was very general, like non-specific grief. And for the trauma that I experienced as a child, I don’t think I ever processed it. We’ve all experienced a lot of traumas and I think I just been bottling it up and bottling it up my whole life and I had a major, major emotional purge during my experience. You know, wasn’t very, very unpleasant to go through, but I felt really, really good afterwards.
Tawnya: Ivan, are you comfortable telling us a little bit the trauma that kind of put you in that place? Because it’s a really fascinating story.
Ivan: Absolutely you know, and I was thinking about this, I was like, well, someone, and I’ve always minimized my trauma and I’ve always thought, you know, people have it so much worse. You know, I should just suck it up and this is fine. But I hope that someone has a similar story that can identify with this. And I was like, yeah, I need to go to Eleusinia and deal with my stuff because I’m not enjoying my life like I should because I haven’t processed this.
My parents are Mexican immigrants. They moved to the United States in the very early seventies. So I was born in Los Angeles in 1973. Had a very interesting life in south central Los Angeles. Very diverse. Basically Mexico. And all minorities, you know. And my parents moved to northern Illinois when I was six. My dad had a sister there and so we relocated to northern Illinois and we were very, very poor. But I didn’t know it because we were loved and had food. I had a pretty, I feel like, almost like an idyllic home life, even though we didn’t have anything… because we had love.
And that’s, you know, at the end of the day, it’s all we need. But when I started kindergarten, which it turns out I did kind of twice because I started kindergarten in Los Angeles and I was, you know, going to school, having a good time. I had wonderful teachers and then when we relocated I did kindergarten again in northern Illinois.
And my teacher who made it very clear that for some reason she didn’t like me. I think it’s because I didn’t speak English and she didn’t appreciate that and she didn’t want people like me in her class, but she took it upon herself to isolate me and you know, make sure that I didn’t play with kids. Separate me. Exclude me from activities. Just torment me every day, until I would cry, and then my sister Araceli, who was two years older than me would be called out of her class and come get me and have to take me home over and over and over again.
And I really hadn’t thought about this. I mean, I knew it happened. I never really talked about it with anyone. I’d never seen a counselor. I’ve never seen a therapist. But I have something… this damaged me. You know, I don’t know if it was PTSD from just being retraumatized over and over and over again. Since I’ve been back, I looked up the symptoms of like, ptsd, of like hypervigilance, super anxiety, and I’m like, oh my God, this is me. You know, I am all of these things. I’m constantly anxious. I’m super vigilant about everything. I don’t trust people.
Tawnya: And it impacted your entire life, right? The experience of that torment that even was physical changed the way you interacted with your peers from there on out. So it definitely impacted your entire trajectory socially.
Ivan: Yes. If you’re in a small town, if you’re in a school and you’re going to go from grade to grade with your, with your classmates, I was basically ostracized in kindergarten and that continued, you know, and I wasn’t able to, partially because of the way I felt, and partially because I was the weird kid that was crying all the time in kindergarten. I was kind of taken out of the main group. And I never came back, you know. I just felt as like an outsider from then on. To this day if I’m in a group of people I don’t know that’s bigger than just a few, I feel like I just want to get the hell out of there, you know?
And I’m good at covering that up, but like at our own company Christmas party, my own business, I’m uncomfortable around people I know even because I’m just like, I feel judged. I feel uncomfortable. And that’s something that I just thought was part of my personality and now that I’m really analyzing and I’m like, that’s not my personality. I’m just scared because of this trauma. Maybe the most profound thing about this psychedelic experience is that it opens up the aperture of your mind and your total experience to reality and in the most profound way. And that happened in a lot of ways.
So like, I was like, oh, I’m fine. I’m not really upset. Then it was like, oh no, you’re really sad and we’re going to feel that right now. You know? And then it was like, oh, I’m in Mexico. There’s a nice little hill about there. And then it’s like, no, you’re on earth. This is amazing. The profoundness with which I experience like reality, the magnitude of the beauty was just completely overwhelming. I could not believe how beautiful, to the point of like, being afraid of it, you know? And then love. Like, shit, we go through life and like, we’re told all these things by everything, you know, the business world. “What matters is what you drive, what you wear, where you live, what groups you belong to.” And the psilocybin, like, not only does it smack you in the fucking face with like, ” here are your problems,” and it smacks you in the face with, “holy fuck, the world is so beautiful” and then it smacks you in the face with like, “all that matters is love” and that we take care of each other. And you’re like, “Ooooooh!”
And that’s why I kept asking you guys, “What do we do now?” We know what we read, we listen to songs about it. You know, all we need is love. It’s cute. And then you feel it and you’re like, “Oh shit. Yeah, all we need is love.” But in the midst of like feeling that, because of my trauma, I’m like how sad was it that I couldn’t trust you guys? You know, I’m surrounded by people trying to help me. And you guys were all so wonderful and so kind and so giving, and yet when it got intense, I was so suspicious of you guys.
And Josephina right away, we got there, she’s like, you don’t trust people. And I knew I was sad, I knew I was oppressed, but I kind of had tricked myself into thinking, oh, I trust people. You know, I behave as though I trust people. I say I trust them. I think I learned when I was young because no one came to my aid and no one even noticed it was happening, that the only person you can count on when it gets ugly is you. And it’s a horrible way to live because I am surrounded by a wonderful family and my wife is wonderful.
And I was so closed off that not only was I ruining my experience of life and robbing myself of so much joy, but I was also robbing the people around me of my full self. And because I was on edge… you know, I listened to a couple episodes with the police officers from Canada about how like the littlest thing, and it was like that with me. Like I’m a really nice person, but the littlest thing is just like, I’m so on edge that just the littlest thing would just send me into an anxiety spiral. That like, it’s just one little thing, why is this little thing ruining my day? You know? And I was aware of it, but I couldn’t stop it. Like I was getting triggered over and over and over again. And now I’m recognizing that more and I’m like, wow, I would’ve been really upset here. Oh, I would’ve been. I would’ve snapped at Jennifer right there.
And Jennifer and I were in the airport on the way back and something had screwed up with our tickets. And we were at the ticket counter. And I know for sure that that little, because we’re both going to miss our flight, that we were going to snap at each. We were going to get angry and it was going to, it wasn’t going to be a big thing, but we were going to turn on each other. And we didn’t.
And then it hit us both at the same moment. And then we looked at each other and we both got emotional because we’re like, oh, we actually are changing, you know? And since we’ve been home, we’ve been much better to each other. And I wasn’t expecting like our integration session with Andrew, because we ran of time, and we did together, which ended up becoming like a mini marriage counseling thing, which I was kind of like, “Hey, wait a second, that’s not what we’re here for.” But it was wonderful! The whole experience at Eleusinia. And maybe it’s because I’m more open to seeing the joy, but like, God, everything was so perfect. And I look at my own professional career and I, you know, we’ve helped a lot of people through what we do. And it’s what I want my life to be about: helping people.
And then I thought about like what you guys do and the profound changes you are making every day in people’s lives and how beautiful that is. But our experience, my experience in particular, because the macro dose was so powerful for me, when we did the mini dose, I wasn’t scared or anything anymore because one, it was a lot less intense. But two, I had a chance to talk to you and I was like, all right, trust the medicine. Trust these people. Everyone’s here to help me. You know? So I wasn’t freaked out at all and I was, enjoying the sensory experience and just the beauty. I felt in control. And then I was like, “let me go be by myself,” because I don’t want to mess this up.
And so then the emotions really started purging. There was a lot more sadness left that needed to come out. I told Jennifer, I felt like I mourned for my six year old self. I would cry if that happened to my daughter. I had to mourn that for myself that I lost all this time. And so I’m sitting there crying and I’m like, you know, like ugly crying, like where you’re convulsing, and Jennifer came over and she was holding me and I’m just sitting there and I couldn’t stop. And I kept telling her I can’t stop crying. And I could hear all of you guys laughing and talking and it was, felt so wonderful. And I just felt so loved. And then the music that was playing. I was like, getting like chafed from my face being wet and… and I told Jennifer, I’m like, “it’s just so perfect, you know?”
And I’m like, I don’t know what song was playing, but I’m like, even this fucking song is so perfect. It’s like a soundtrack to a sad movie. Even the song was like, this is the perfect song for me to be sitting here bawling my eyes out. It was just really, really, really, really wonderful.
At one point or another, all of you whether it was Jay specifically that night, Jay just came and sat with me. And especially as a man, to have another man just come and he mentioned something, just like, how are you? And, and he talked about something that another guest had mentioned. You know, and I was like, oh, I’m trying to be, you know, keep my shit together. But I was on shaky legs and he just sat there with me for a long time. You know, and I didn’t say anything to him, but I felt just so touched by his kindness of just sitting with me. And I really reminded me of what we’re all here to do. And all of you Jessica, I mean Josefina, Andrew, Yamil, all of you guys at one point or another, like, just in a little way just reminded me how good we can be and what we can do for each other.
Again, it was like the psilocybin. It’s like it seems so cliche, but I think we trivialize the truth in the modern life. You know, like it’s naive to love people. It’s naive to feel joy about little things. It’s somehow childish. And I think childish is probably the best thing we can be. Children are so good to each other, you know, until we teach them not to be and we teach them how different we are. And I felt like when I was there, like we were a bunch of kids on a playground going through some really difficult things together. But, you know, little kids will come up to another kid they just met and they’ll be like, thanks for playing. I love you. And they’ll run off. You don’t do that as an adult, but I really felt like that’s what we did. You know, we were there like going through stuff and they were like, “I love you,” to a stranger. And we meant it and it wasn’t bullshit. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey.
Even though when I was going through it, I was like, you are never doing this again. Like, what did you do? It feels really good to be vulnerable again. Jennifer and I, at our meeting, we have a weekly meeting with all of our staff. And before we went out to talk, which Jennifer leads, she’s like, “should I say anything about where we were?” and I was like, “just do whatever feels right, you know?” She’s like, “okay.”
So we get out there and we’re in our meeting and then like I was like, I don’t think she’s going to say anything. And then she finally, she was like, “well, Ivan and I weren’t at a yoga retreat. We did do yoga, but we were actually at a psilocybin retreat.” And and then we talked about our experience a little bit and that we really thought it could help people. Because it can and it will. And a couple people came up to me after the meeting and were like very interested in our experience and how it might help them. And so I said to someone, “I finally feel open.”
And they were like, you’re always open. You’re like really transparent. You’re always very open about your feelings. And I was like, yeah, I am. But I didn’t feel open. So like I was going through the motions and I knew that it felt good to be honest with people, and so I was always honest. But, and I’ve used the analogy a couple times, you know, it’s Christmas season now, so we watch the Grinch with the girls every year and I can’t wait to watch it again this year because I really feel like that seeing where he is in pain, because his heart’s growing two sizes and he’s like, “Aaaaah!” You know, that’s what I feel happened to me. I was so closed off emotionally, and now I feel like I am not only more conscious of reality and I’m more focused.
I think it’s very easy to think we have so much time, so much time. But like I think it was Buddha, Jennifer had a little thing on her computer, a little, you know, “the problem is you think you have time.” I think that’s Buddha. And again, I’ve been staring at that. We have for years. I felt it now. And I remember like on the ground crying and literally saying over and over again, we’re wasting time. We’re wasting time. So I talked to my brother yesterday who’s my business partner, and I’m like, we have to get a lot more focused about what we’re doing and like I want to help as many people as I can before we leave. We’ve said that before, but like it’s time to get serious. Like, how many people can we touch? How many people can we affect? You know, that’s my legacy. Like how much suffering can I alleviate before I go in my own little ways? Like, that’s it. It’s the only thing that matters. And he was like, all right. Let’s do it. And I’m so blessed with such a great family, and I’m like, Hey, this is, this is what we’re doing now. And we always do that, but I’m like, I’m serious now. Like we don’t have the time we think we have, so let’s start getting our affairs in order. Let’s start focusing on what really, really matters. And that is kindness and love, and we’ve always felt like our business is a tool for that, right?
It’s just our way, our art, it’s how we express ourselvesis our business. And it’s very creative. I was doing that. Like a robot, you know? I was like, ” I help people. Great.” And I’m so sad that I’m not able to really give myself fully to anyone in my life and I was not experiencing joy hardly ever, which, you know, I felt very guilty about.
Tawnya: If you would’ve known how much grief that you were going to purge and how intense it was really going to be, if you had known that, would you have jumped in with both feet?
Ivan: Yeah. Yeah, and I’ll do it again. I can’t wait to do another macro and if it was worse, I’m doing it, because I really think it’s reality. And if you’re broken, go ahead feel it. Don’t run from that. I just think the truth is better than than lying to yourself. And if you got to feel some horrible things to get to yourself, it’s worth it. And I might have more horrible things to feel. I kind of don’t think so. I really think that my next experience is going to be really good.
Jennifer’s very empathetic. You know, she can’t even watch like scary movies. She identifies too much with the characters. It really affects her. You know, she’s like, she’s very empathetic and I’ve always prided myself as being like very caring, but not an empath. Things don’t bother me. I’m not emotional, and it turns out I’ve been lying to myself this whole time and that I am very emotional and I am very sensitive. Now that the psilocybin has kind of brought me back to myself, someone in our office messaged me and said, “Hey, I’m proud of you for dealing with this stuff.”
She’s a person that has really had a rough hand in life and she’s just such a strong person to have survived it and flourished. And so she reached out to me and she said, you know, I’m really proud of you. And I was in the parking lot about to go into an appointment, we’ve known each other for a long time, and I know what she’s been through, and we’ve been very supportive of each other and we work together. But her trauma was like an academic thing for me before. Like I felt bad for her. I wanted to help her, but I didn’t feel it. And yesterday when she texted me, I texted her back and I was like, “I’m so sorry for what happened to you.” And I just started crying in the parking lot and I’m like, I hope no one sees me. I’m in here bawling in my car again. And like I mean, I knew it happened, but I didn’t allow myself to really feel someone else’s pain like that.
Tawnya: Feeling love come is also present with tears because I feel like we do not associate tears with healing, with coming back to ourselves, as a purge, as a necessary purge for our nervous system to feel connected to other human beings and to feel more connected to ourselves. So before you had come, were you a person that felt moved to tears?
Ivan: No. I cried very few times in my life. You know, the death of a pet or something. Luckily I haven’t lost many people in my life that I really care about, but no, I don’t. I was not a crier. I’m a crier now. I’m a full-fledged crier. I’ll be crying a lot now. And it feels good to be vulnerable. I know that. Again, I was going through the steps very well. Like in our business we’re, we cry all the time. We had a meeting recently and it was a cry fest. I mean, everyone was bawling. And everyone feels safe to do that because we all support each other. And we were out of town for a conference and you know, we started getting personal and I was like, wow, this is amazing that we trust each other enough that I had a couple tears here and there, a little well up, you know, like, oh, that’s sweet.
If this me, the current me goes back to that situation, I’ll need to bring a blanket to cry into. I don’t know that I saw it as weakness. I just think that I had put a shell around my heart so like, no one’s going to hurt me. I’m not going to let anybody in. I’m going to go through the motions. I’m going to say I love you to people. You know even my family, like, I love them dearly. I think I was just protecting myself, you know, from feeling pain. Which also prevented me from feeling joy. And that’s why as the years passed, I’m like, why can’t I feel joy? Why can’t I feel joy? Why am I sad all the time? Why am I anxious? And it was like, oh, because your heart’s not open. You’re not feeling anything.
And because I wasn’t feeling joy, I knew that wasn’t right. I knew I was unhappy. And that progressively getting worse and worse and worse is what finally led me to, thankfully led me to Eleusinia and a kind of a fresh start. I heard people say this, and I, for me, it’s totally true. There’s like my life before Eleusinia and you guys, and this very healing process and now my life after.
And I have a lot of habits and you know, now I’m back in my old regular container that’s full of bad habits and, you know, processes and triggers and so it’s going to take a long time to, to work through that. It didn’t fix everything, but this was as close to like a miracle for me as I think is possible. Like everything wasn’t going to get fixed in two seconds and I was going to go back and everything’s great, but like, as close as in the real world can happen of having like a transformative experience where you like, see what’s actually happening, and you’re like, oh yeah, okay, now I see what’s up.
Like now I have to do the work to create lasting change, you know? And I have a lot of habits and thought processes and probably neural pathways I have to reroute about how I feel about myself. But I feel really, really good about life and where it’s headed and the impact that I can make for other people. Which I was, again, I feel like there was, everything was so academic. It was so like, okay, this is what I’m going to do, and now I’m doing my life with my heart open.
You know, Josefina… when I first got there, I mean, she, she read me like a book and was like, your heart’s closed. You don’t trust people. And when I left, the last thing I said to her is, I said, my heart is open and it’s going to take some, some work, but I am just so grateful to you guys.
Tawnya: Ivan, what I love about your story is that you started off by saying like, I had a really intense, almost terrible experience, but really what it was your ability to, you know, break through that shell and tap into that well within, and like purge unexpectedly, an enormity of grief that maybe was even beyond your own, you know, and then moving through with so much connection.
Ivan: Yeah. It’s, it’s like growth is always on the other side of pain. You know, if you want to grow muscles, it’s painful. If you want to deliver a baby, it’s difficult. And maybe pain isn’t the right word, but difficulty, struggle. But like everything in life that is good that I’ve experienced is always on the either side of trouble. So like we can’t be afraid of, like, this could be hard. Yep. Probably. Like bringing a baby into the world is a profound thing, and the birth of both of our girls was, was amazing. And for Jennifer it was by far the most empowering, you know, experiences of her life. But, our trips were both very, very big. And when we got done, she’s like, that was way harder than delivering a baby. And I was like, oh yeah, me too. Like that was, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. With a distant second, like, not even close. But it’s exactly what I needed. And like every day I’m getting more and more insight as I react to the world a little bit differently. As I realize that in fact I do have control of my life and in fact I can do whatever I want.
You know, and I messaged you, I mention this to you in my email, but like, Dabby would not give me attention when I was there. And I love animals. I have always loved animals. Since I was like, one of the earliest pictures of me that my parents have is me, like, other than as a toddler, is me, like at a park in Los Angeles, like trying to step over and get on top of a deer at a pet zoo or sitting on the deer. And like ever since I can remember, I’ve felt really, really connected to nature and animals and so I love snuggling with animals. And we have a big dog who is sadly the most… he’s not affectionate at all. He’s a great dog, but he’s loves to go for walks, but he’s not snuggler, he doesn’t want to sit with me. And then when we were at the retreat the whole time, do’s running around. I’m like, just come sit at my lap. You know, I want to hang out with you. And Dabby was like, no, no, thank you. I’m going to go sit with Jessica. I love my mom. Or she’d sit with Jay and I was like, ah, this is terrible. So then I got home and I’m like, man, I want to snuggle with the dog. And then before the trip, I’d have been like, yeah, but we’re so busy and we already have a dog and two cats and with work, and when we go on vacation, who’s going to watch it? I’m like, what? I would have talked myself out of it for sure.
And now I’m like screw it. I want to snuggle with the dog and I’m going to get myself a puppy. And like right away I was like, yeah, I can get myself a puppy. And so I got myself a puppy. I’m going to go pick him up on Sunday. And I can’t wait to just sit with my puppy and do nothing because one of the things that, that has been a real problem for me is that because I felt unworthy, I felt that the only way to make myself valuable and worthy of love was to accomplish things.
And I think a lot of men suffer from this. And so when I’m not working, or before when I wasn’t working, I would feel anxious. And I know that now that that stems from the fact that I was like, I have to be productive to be valuable. I don’t matter if I don’t make things happen for people. So like I can’t sit down and, you know, watch TV watch this show. And in fact when people would tell me, oh, you have to check out this show like, so good! Like in the back of my mind I was like, oh, that’s nice. And I was always judging them. Why are you wasting your time watching TV? You know, like you need to go be productive. Go do something.
And I think you can waste your time watching too much TV or whatever, but you know what? Sitting down and just watching the leaves blow with a puppy in your lap is just as valuable as going to a meeting or making things happen or whatever. And probably more. I’m definitely going to start. A couple of your podcast guests were like I forget his name, but he said, you know, it’s not bad to take time for yourself. And then his wife was like, not bad. No, no, it’s necessary. You know, and I was like, yeah, I totally identify with that.
I’m like, I’m going to make time now to just be and try to realize that I am enough. I want to help people and I will help people. But I want to do that because I want to share with people and I want to do what all of us should be doing, right? What all of us, I think are called to do, which is to help our fellow space travelers on this rock hurling through space. But helping people isn’t what makes me lovable. You know, helping people isn’t what gives me value. I already have that. I already have value. I’m enough already, and I think I want to spend more time sitting with that, with a puppy in my lap . And you know, and I think that’s the beauty of a dog. I think a dog looks at, you’re like, yeah, I know you’re enough already. Like you don’t have to go do stuff. I’ll just sit here with you. You know, you don’t have to put a business deal together or do anything to earn a dog’s love.
Tawnya: Ivan, I’m so happy for the both of you guys. Thank you so much for sharing insight into that and your ability to move into vulnerability. And I’m curious if you would recommend to other men to do what you did as far as jumping right in with both feet like you did.
Ivan: This medicine is serious. And I remember very clearly in being in the middle of my big experience of me like, oh my God, this is not something to turn your back on. You know, this is powerful, powerful stuff. In the right setting though, which Eleusinia is, I really do feel everyone needs to go to a place like Eleusinia.
And I just felt so fortunate to have stumbled into you guys because the medicine is very powerful, but the setting obviously is at least half of it. I can’t recommend it strongly enough. I was talking to my brother about it yesterday and I’m like, you need to go. You have to go. You have to go once and like, feel the profoundness of the world we’re living in. And I think if people did that, they couldn’t behave the way they behave. I just don’t think you can. I’ve always had a problem with this like fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder profit. Like what? Like that’s your guiding light? Constant growth. It doesn’t matter if it burns people, hurts people, destroys our earth? But that’s our world right now in the west. You know, like how’s the market doing? Like that’s our barometer for how we’re doing as a society. The Dow Jones. Like what? Our metrics should be how happy are we, you know, how safe do we feel collectively? Those are the things that really, really matter. If more people took a big psychedelic journey, I think collectively it would create a shift, because you can’t feel that connected to everyone and then come back and be like, oh, I just want to exploit all of you. I just want to exploit all of my fellow humans so I can stack more acorns in a corner that I can’t take with me anyway.
Like it just seems so silly. And if you really, truly feel that, I don’t think you can behave the way that we’re collectively behaving right now. I think it would be very healing of course. So if you’re listening to this interview, a guy… go like, get out of your own way. Go cry a little. Go open yourself up.
I was going to use the word “life saving,” but I probably would still live a nice long, miserable life without this experience. I think what you guys did and what this experience did for me is it didn’t save my life. It saved me from a sad, empty life, which I was in the middle of. Which is maybe more important because like, more sad than dying early is living sadly, and then being a shell of yourself. So you guys really saved me from a lot of sadness and I’m so grateful for you guys and the work that you do. More and more as I think about it, I’m like, wow, like what a gift.
Tawnya: Oh, Ivan, thank you so much for coming on the show and opening your heart and telling us all about your journey. Like it is so valuable and your opinions on the impact that it could have, it means the world to me. And it was just such a pleasure and delight to get to know you and your wife and the work that you’re doing, and I just hope that we can stay in touch. So thank you so much.
Ivan: We will stay in touch and we’ll be back. One thing I will say that I so appreciated about you guys and your approach and Jessica’s approach to this was the concept of autonomy is so important. And, you know, when we talk about or think about how can we help? You know, so often, I mean, Eleusinia is a business. But Eleusinia is not a business that is trying to maximize shareholder profit at all costs, right? The fact that you guys give us the tools to continue on the path on our own to heal with support, instead of being like, we have the answer, come back and pay us more money. That’s generally the way things are done. It’s really wonderful. And I think capitalism can be, when done consciously, can be a really powerful tool. And business isn’t the problem. You know, our greed is a problem. Our glorifying of money, glorification of money is a problem. But I felt incredible love from strangers that changed my life with the help of a little mushroom, at a business , right?
So I think that’s also something that is really profound that we should… that people should think about is like, you can do business. Business is wonderful, you know, we all need to eat. When done with heart and compassion and with a strong moral compass can be wonderful. And I am so grateful that Jessica didn’t just heal herself and go, whew, that was great, thank God. You know, but then she was like, “Hey, wait a second, I can help other people.” Right? And then to put together a team where all of you were so wonderful and so giving and listen, it dawned on me when I was there. Like the last day I’m like, ” Jennifer, they’re dealing with a new batch of crying fools every time. Right?” Like, and you guys were there one night Jessica was with me and it was like getting really late and you know, I was getting suspicious. I’m like, why does she care so much what I think? And she kept asking me questions. It was right after my macro dose. And like my mind was blown wide open. And she was asking me like, really good questions. And like, so what do you think that meant? And I talked to her for a little bit. And listen, I was there on a retreat, but she was at work, right? And she was not in a hurry to get away from me.
She was there for me like a friend. And finally I was like, all right, I’m going to go to bed. But I know that she would’ve stayed there with me all night if I kept asking questions, you know? And I was like, it just seemed weird to me that someone I had just met cared so much about me and I knew I was in this fragile state. And that was another one of those moments where I was like just kind of overwhelmed by humanity and your generosity. And I think little by little that chipped away at my distrust.
And so that’s why I think it was so wonderful by the time I got to my mini dose that I think I was ready to be like, all right, I’m ready. You guys have shown me that it’s okay to trust people, so let me just let this thing grow and feel all that stuff, and I’m ready to come back, you know? And it was because of you guys. It wasn’t just the medicine. Had I like done that at some concert somewhere, holy crap, it wouldn’t have been good. Like, you know, it’s like you mentioned it’s like you don’t turn your back on the ocean because it’s so powerful.
Like this is not something to be taken casually and like done in some unsafe, strange place. The integration I think is just as important. And you guys really provided that for me and it was awesome.
Tawnya: Oh, Ivan, thank you so much. Thanks for sharing everything. We’re so appreciative.
Ivan: Thank you.
Tawnya: Thank you all so much for listening, you can find all the information that you need to learn everything about this retreat on Eleusiniaretreat.com.
We are a retreat that offers ongoing integration support, breathwork classes, and cultivation support after you have attended this retreat. It’s an amazing experience that’s one of its kind. If you’re looking for a science based retreat, something out of the box, something to change your life, something to add to your practice. This is where you really need to start: Eleusiniaretreat.com.