Making Up My Mind

I recently wrote a post about faith.  This post would not have been possible without psilocybin, otherwise known as magic mushrooms – those of the psychedelic variety.

I’ve wanted to write about my experience with psilocybin for some time now.  You can probably guess why I’ve resisted.

While this blog isn’t a worldwide sensation, I have family members (hi mom!), friends, neighbors, business colleagues, and others in my immediate sphere of influence who read the words I throw out to the web.  I guess I still care what these people think of me.

What drove me to write about a topic that is still considered taboo by many, is my mission in life – I seek my truth and encourage others to seek theirs.  Writing this blog post is me jumping into the deep end of the pool and living out my truth.  To not write about this topic is being disingenuous to the closest person in my life – me.

Before moving on, this is probably a good time to insert a disclaimer that I’m not a doctor and I’m certainly not telling you what to do.  In fact, my wish for this blog is to be the anti-tell-you-what-to-do blog.  I don’t know jack about what you need or want.  This is just me telling you a little story and whatever you choose to do with this information is on you.  With that said, here’s a tale about the first time I consumed psilocybin and the mushroom strain known as Psilocybe Ovoideocystidiata, commonly referred to as “ovoids.”

About 4 years ago, I met a friend who introduced me to foraging.  After a couple of meetings and walks in the woods looking for chanterelles, chicken of the woods, and morels, I asked him, “have you ever found any psychedelic mushrooms?”  To which he replied, “oh yeah.”  It’s not an overstatement to say my world hasn’t been the same since.

I soon learned that psychedelic mushrooms are nearly everywhere, you just need to know where to look.  Only a couple of weeks later, I found my first cache in a public park, not far from my house.  Shortly thereafter, I consumed what is considered a “heroic dose” (IE – A LOT) in a safe place, with my friend as a guide.

Now, I’m leaving out a significant amount of detail here, but I did a considerable amount of research before finding and consuming my first ever dose of psilocybin.  I read numerous books on the subject to include; Supernatural by Graham Hancock, Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler, Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna, The Pyschedelic Explorer’s Guide by James Fadiman, and The Secret Chief Revealed by Mryon Stoloroff.  In addition to books, I listened to and watched many hours of podcasts and youtube videos on leaders in the field to include; Stanislov Grof, Terence McKenna, and Alexander Shulgin.

(Note – Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind, wasn’t out yet, but it is now my favorite read on the subject.)

When taking the mushrooms, we used the protocol set out by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.  This included dosage, proper set and setting, guide, and even musical arrangement.  Put simply, this wasn’t some half-brained college-based experiment.  This was something I took very seriously.

After preparing and consuming the mushroom tea, I put on an eye shade and headphones, and lied down on a sofa. 15 minutes later, the experience had begun.

This first psilocybin journey took place nearly 4 years ago and I am still working to process everything that took place.  Rather than give you a play-by-play as to what I experienced (I’m nowhere near the writer I need to be to accurately explain the experience and you probably wouldn’t believe me anyway), I’ll simply state what I gained from taking psilocybin during this occasion. 

Going into the experience, my stated intention was “truth” and the “truth” I uncovered and/or was given to me, was as follows:

  • I need to slow waaaay down and enjoy life
  • Don’t be afraid of death – there is nothing to be afraid of
  • Language is an imperfect technology or tool
  • Love more – really open my heart
  • Be me – take off the mask
  • We are all connected – there is no “other”
  • Everything I worry about is completely absurd and not worth worrying about
  • Life is truly wonderful and mysterious
  • I am so grateful for my family
  • Psilocybin is not to be abused
  • Things are not good or bad – everything is always ok

Was any of this earth shattering news?  Not exactly.  Read a book by Ram Dass or another spiritual teacher and you’ll probably find much of the above.  However, what was different about this information was how it was received.  When reading a book on life or love, the information is taken by the reader logically, through the brain.  In this psilocybin experience, the information was felt and/or learned.  It was as if a great book of knowledge was melted into a balm or oil and spread into the fibers of my being from the inside out.  In my experience, the transmission was impossible not to learn after consumption – there was no choice.

All of this is probably sounding very esoteric for those of you who have not taken part in a psychedelic journey before.  Additionally, I won’t blame you if you think I’m off my rocker and delete the feed that provides you with these posts.  However, I feel compelled to share my experience not to convince, but merely to share one of the most influential moments in my life.

Now, back to the beginning of this post.  You may remember that I started all of this by saying that my previous post on “faith” wouldn’t have been possible without psilocybin.  No, I didn’t write it while “tripping”.  In fact, I’m not sure I will ever consume psilocybin again (it’s not something I feel I currently need).  The reason I was able to write about faith was because the experience I summarized above, helped to change my mind.

Prior to my psilocybin experience, I carried a lot of negative judgement towards people who used words like, faith, belief, higher power, and God.  I wouldn’t say that I was an atheist, but my views towards spirituality were relatively agnostic.  Post psilocybin, I see things very differently.  I am now comfortable talking about spirituality and religion, praying with others, and just considering the possibilities.  Today, I wouldn’t say I have any structured belief system other than I am “spiritually curious.”  Prior to psilocybin, my curiosity was more on the “you crazy if you believe that stuff” side of things.  Just like Michael Pollan’s book, I believe psilocybin literally changed my mind about a subject I wouldn’t previously have entertained.

Ok, so what’s the point here?  For me, the point is there is a mushroom that grows naturally (organic, gluten free, and vegan!) that in my experience has had a profound impact on my life.  Take the experience away and I am confident I am “less” of the person I would like to be, today.

That’s it.  That’s the story.  No hidden agenda or ulterior motive.  Just some honest sharing about how my mind came to be.


Author Bio: Dan started Fired and Free in 2017, to provide his “truth” after being fired as CEO of the company he started and led. After a diverse 17-year career in management consulting and entrepreneurship, Dan now leads 3Sixty Leadership, where he provides coaching and consulting to business owners with $1M to $20M in revenue, helping them to improve their leadership and company culture.

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