I had an experience where I went into a mentality different from my usual and got a message from my mom. It was an altered state, like when people use mushrooms, LSD, peyote, fasting, or holotropic breathing to enter an altered state. Or psychosis, delusions, visions, or other mental health experiences that are common for me.
Falling in love, intense grief, sexual experiences, and trauma can create a mentality very different from usual also. There are many ways to go into another mentality.
Coming out of it can be confusing. Was it real? Spirituality I tend to have layered beliefs about. Is God real? Yes, I think so. But not like a glowing magical being on a cloud. God is mysterious. She could be on a cloud, but I think she is actually more energy itself, life force, some deep consciousness in the universe itself. The not-knowing is part of it.
Are my voices real? Good question. They’re as real as anything I experience. Most people have a big distinction between what’s real and not-real, but I find the distinction is unnecessary. It happens all the time, that people remember what never happened, believe common knowledge that isn’t true at all, and everyone hallucinates every night in the form of dreams as we sleep.
Being human includes these altered states–some say that’s how humans became humans. The leap from regular animal to person has to do with how we imagine and use language, which I believe might have been facilitated by use of psychoactive substances.
But you know me–I don’t like drugs. I’ve used alcohol but have never been drunk. I used weed a few times when I was young, but I mostly didn’t enjoy it. The psychonautic work I do is from being crazy and experiences like the one I’m about to explain.
This is how I entered the altered state. I asked my friend to set a timer for 20 minutes and read me a list of sentences slowly and pause between each sentence. They were mostly sentences that I wrote down months ago for Ming to comfort me with, when I’m upset.
And I asked my friend to touch my back in a circle in this comforting way my mom did, when I was a child. If you wanted to try replicating this experience yourself, you might need to customize it, with sentences that comfort you, and if there was a nice thing your caregiver did for you, to comfort you when you were little.
I asked my friend to monitor how his body was feeling, and stop or change position if his body was in pain. It was important that I could trust him to care for himself well, for this 20 minutes. It’s really hard for me to turn off monitoring how other people are doing, but I needed to relax in order to go deep into myself.
I guessed I would cry a lot–the experience would help me feel some emotions. Then my friend would read the sentences again, and the experience would be over.
I knew it would help me feel my feelings, and I hoped some stuck grief could exit my body. That would be great so I wouldn’t need to feel it as anxiety later. Grief is hard, but anxiety is torture.
I didn’t know I would go elsewhere and work on family pain. A peer therapist recently suggested I heal my ancestral trauma, and I laughed at her. I said I couldn’t heal one pinky finger of my own trauma, let alone the trauma of my family. Ambitious far beyond my abilities.
But I could imagine my relatives back through time, hold their pain with them, and do something with it. Just trying a little something sounded possible.
So that’s what happened when I was in this altered state. I spent some time with my mom, at different ages of adult. Then I spent time with myself as a little child, around age 2. I gave empathy and love to that little Laura-Marie and her unmet needs.
I looked at my family, and how we really were. Not a glorified view or how I saw it then, stuck in it–I looked at it as the adult I am, knowing what I know now. It was intense.
Then I went back further and saw my parents as little kids, also getting their needs not met, as abused children in drug addiction households. Then I went further back and saw two of my grandparents, similar.
Wow, I had no idea I’d time travel like that. It was like that scene in A Christmas Carol when the ghost of Christmas past takes the main character to visit Christmas past. But I didn’t intend to do any of this–it just happened.
A part of me was feeling my friend touching my back, a part of me was crying really hard into my pillow, but most of me was doing intense emotional work, journeying around through family pain.
I also visited a goddess I like to visit in my imagination. Is she real? I doubt it, but she’s really important!
Then toward the end, I asked my mom if she had anything to tell me. She had a clear message that I accepted and thanked her for. It helped me make a choice I needed to make, and I got exactly what I needed. Thank you, Mama. You are brilliant and good.
deal with shit
A thought I have about this entire thing is “alter your state before it alters you.” By that I mean it might help you, to induce a different mentality and deal with shit before you don’t have a choice. Sometimes my mentality shifts in a way I didn’t make space for. This is like preventative medicine.
Yesterday we went to get apple cider donuts at Gilcrease with our good friend who loves me like I need to be loved. Doesn’t this orchard look impossibly beautiful? The clouds were great.
This song about being sad makes me very happy. It’s about resisting toxic masculinity and relates to this post like, “I prefer my make-believe to their bullshit.” And, “I’m attuned to what you’re numb to.” Too true.