The 65 year old psychotherapist Estalyn Walcoff was devastated when she was told that she’s suffering from untreatable lymphoma 5 years ago. But, realizing that having negative thoughts won’t do her any good, she decided to incorporate a spiritual outlook into her life.
She began looking for ways to help herself and came across a study that required test patients for consumption of psilocybin, the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’, with hopes in treating anxiety and depression in cancer patients.
When she got in NYU where the testing took place, she was amazed by the environment. “There was a couch, flowers, and books, and it seemed not-study-like” she recalls. “Jeff and Seema had a wonderful ritual with the three of us, intending for how that day would go, which I thought was lovely. I also asked if I could read a poem, and play a song that really moved me, to set an intention for the day too.”
Even though “magic mushrooms” weren’t new to her since she’d tried them few times in her early 20’s, this time it was different. This time, she took a journey through the dark barrels of her own mind.
She soon realized that this anxiety was actually a level of her own mind.
“I began feeling that I was actually holding the pain of the world in some way. I had been listening to black spiritual, and I felt the pain in the woman’s voice who was singing the song. I felt the whole gestalt of slavery, and what it is like to pull people out of their homes and take them here to this country and treat them like animals, and I sobbed and sobbed because of that.“
She became aware that compassion towards other is easy to show, but compassion towards herself was something new.
Recently, there’s a great interest in the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of various entheogens and plant medicines, including psilocybin, MDMA, ayahuasca, ibogaine, cannabis etc. Will we finally find out what kind of role psychedelics has in reconnecting mankind to both nature and each other?
For Estalyn’s whole story, watch the video below: