Psychedelic Challenge (Small Prize)

Credit to AfterLife Coach for the image.

So I had been attempting a 30 day challenge to write everyday and post something new to the blog. Sadly, as school crept into the mix I can say that while I’ve written everyday, nothing more made it up here after the 11th day…I’ll take it as a partial win since doing anything for more than a day straight tends to be a bit of a personal adventure of sorts.

The other interruption was going on a weeklong retreat to practice a new healing method I’ve been exploring with a shaman down on a pot farm in Oregon. I spent a week sitting with Grandmother and Grandfather along with some of the most amazing people it has ever been my pleasure to encounter. True hippies, filled with the love leftover from the movement in the 60s and still sharing what it means to be surrounded by brothers and sisters with no shared blood but all the right intent.

With that in mind, I wanted to put it out there to what audience there may be of the blog still to see what others can come up with on a topic that has become near and dear to me of late. Plant medicine, any form be it poetry, prose, short, or long, I’d like to read something from you fine folks on the topic however you see fit to blend it into your work.

I don’t have a lot of resources, but the top entry will get a $10 PayPal donation or eGiftCard of your choice. Please leave submissions in the comment section. Contest will end October 20th, 2020.

Thanks for reading, and here’s my own submission:

Full moon night,
harvest weather.
Ceremony tent glowing
from colored tapestries
dangling as flags of focus.
Stage set for the journey
to come home,
be set free from Earthly Bonds
into the Dreamtime.

Day 11 (The Feel of Psychosis) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Psychosis, when you’re a shadow of what you once were.

Hesitation on the edge of perfection while the wind whips back past the lips of despair and a trajectory that ends splatted on the rocks below. A momentary pause for God knows what reason, soliloquy rattling like unquenched armor inside a skull aching for reasons and meaning.

No jovial tone to be found other than the laughing hysteria that comes choked off with a seemingly endless parade of tears. Coughing, bawling, howling, begging, giggling into the yawning darkness and discontent of a reality set to dissolve beneath the weight of a mind misfiring badly.

The beautiful tableau awash in sunlight and a fucking million possibilities all riots against that creeping sensation that “all is not what it seems”. A centipede who can no longer walk because he thought about how he did it. Natural instinct sold out into chained slavery inside the boundaries of nothing and infinity. Conjured by poisons and released by fears it’s set loose as a hungry behemoth on the landscape of mind, the carvings of soul, the sculpture of heart.

Hesitation on the edge of perfection with the barest sliver of hope overcoming resignation. Nothing is ever as it seems, and the worst of the world today may become the most redeemed beauties of tomorrow. Shake off the terror and walk into the fire to be forged anew.

The edge of perfection recedes against hope. Time slips forward into the next scene.

Day 10 (Owning a Demon)- 30 Day Writing Challenge

Strummed beat, matched march, dirges as a throwaway tune,
deviancy is salt to bear rubbed tight inside a weeping open wound.
If you haven’t heard the music yet then swallow down your pride.
The life we lead is the life we get and you’ll know it deep inside.
So stagger or crawl and jog or sprint or fly,
the Devil is inside your soul today, just like it is for I.


I thought it would be a fun way to go today with a little poetry of sorts to begin with. This damn challenge thing has me trying to think on my feet about what to write and I seem to be coming up dry, or at least feeling like I’m grasping for straws about what to say. The goal was to just put fingers to keyboard everyday, and I’m happy to say that I’ve pretty much managed to do just that.

So, with that said, on my mind today is the nature of our own personal evils, our devils, our drive to do the untoward and vicious. For me, that takes the form of drinking or drugs, pumping my body full of as much poison as I can stand in whatever way I can get it. It’s always surprisingly shocking when after a bout in the ring with that particular demon suddenly the quality of life I’m experiencing diminishes rapidly and dramatically. I don’t know why it’s surprising is the thing, we truly do generate our own decisions, and those choices play out in the overall feeling of our life and how well we are able to experience the highs and the lows.

That seems like really common sense knowledge, and despite that I have sat remaining in, then feigning ignorance of it. Life truly is what you make it, trite and cliche as the saying may be, there is a huge degree of veracity to it that I somehow missed. It’s like I wasn’t there at school that day and somehow managed to keep missing that lesson for the next 20 years.

With that in mind, addiction is a doubly baffling fucking ailment to explore and endure. You find yourself superseding every survival instinct and rational or logical awareness you have in lieu of chasing further inclement weather, misery, and chagrin–all done for a momentary rush that has faded into boring monotonous repetition long, long ago.

I get that there is a re-wiring that happens internally with addicts. If you show an image of a crack pipe to a crack addict, before the frontal cortex is triggered the pleasure center rings in and says “great times to be had”. That means that addiction literally steps around the “smarts” part of the brain that makes decisions and can bring a logical or determined drive to bear on any dangerous ideas. Which in many ways makes it seem scientifically hopeless to recover.

But people do, in a myriad of ways. Some manage to just go the harm reduction route and drastically reduce their intake, or they transition it to new forms of addictive tendencies that are less damaging, or they actually well and truly get sober. The fact that there is a narrow band of success and the penalty for failure is horror without refrain followed by an early death doesn’t always make a sufficiently motivational case it seems.

Today, I continue the struggle, moving forward one foot at a time, continuing to believe and search for answers or solutions to something that has stymied me for the vast majority of my life. It is my heaviest wish to somehow overcome and share that success as a lesson to my children about what is truly possible as one of the strangest species on the planet.

People are weird, and when we carry monsters in our back pockets, we only get weirder. Part of me wants to just plain rejoice in that insanity and the multitude of characters that are created by the imps at our door, but most of me is just plain done reveling in a well trod and predictable path leading nowhere but an early grave.

Time will tell, as it always does. Plus hey, I still have getting poisoned by frog secretions to look forward to in a short number of weeks!

Day 9 (Deadly Desires) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

There’s a heinous wind of wanting that sheds lightly bound despair to the trundled carts of cash swept from their bodies.

Aching insides so very desperate, desiring the next and the next until the vacancy between their heart and soul is refined.

Never use the words “better than” when referring to your own, it makes you seem shallow in a wading pool of sharks and minnows.

What was the purpose? The sheer ecstasy of the reveal, the acquisition, the placement, the perfect moment of satisfaction felt so briefly?

What wiring madness has been mounted to the mainframe that this ceaseless task marks consumers as those to be consumed?

Eaten alive beneath wild stacks of treasure all aglitter in the pelting wind, eyes glazed to a rapture of earthly delights.

Day 8 (Howl) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

I just started reading “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg and am already taken off my feet by the remarkably flippant and deep feeling fuck off embodiment of a massive struggle we/he face(d). I absolutely love the thick atmosphere of dirt riddled dis-ease and aggressively sexual overtones that demand I open my eyes and ears to the realism of what goes on beneath and behind the scenes. The title fits so perfectly as the first section seems to roil up a primal scream. A shout for attention to be paid to the damned masses and the rollicking unbridled injustice they endure and are forced to thrive within.

Fucking. Magical. Here’s a snippet:

Who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons; who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication; who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts

Allen Ginsberg, “Howl”

How vivid and intense are the words? How brilliantly anarchistic and rebellious is the feeling? How just, fucking, magical, are those words?

At least for me, reading Ginsberg is an unfettering of the constraints and standard normative I find in so much of my own and other writing. It takes me back to the wilderness of my own mind and demands that I purge the violence and sickness that resides there in some glorious fountain of verbal spew that it might infect the mainstream with decades of sweat and tears and failure and endurance and broken spirits and unbroken souls.

I am so glad I picked this up, and sometime in the next 30 days I might start an homage piece to what I’m personally characterizing as (with my limited scope of awareness to be sure) one of the most scandalously beautiful pieces of literature I have ever run across. Thank you for your pain and horror Mr. Ginsberg, thank you.

Day 7 (New Ideas) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Have you ever sat back and tried to just come up with an original thought? When you really look at the way all our experiences, from the most mundane to the most intense, shape our perspective on the world and how they get filed away for future access points it becomes a daunting task to disassociate from all that information to find something new.

It makes me question whether I’ve ever before had a unique idea or whether I’ve been following some intangible labyrinth of stimuli of my own generation internally to lead down pre-trodden roads. Reducing it further back, it strikes me that if that’s the case then the initial filtering mechanism that we put in place to process the incoming data points might be where originality occurs. In the values, the beliefs, the morals, the ethics that we choose to ascribe our viewpoint on the world and as the lens through which we perceive it.

If that’s the case, it stands to reason that having unique values and beliefs would in some ways lead logically to having a more unique capacity for thought generation as the pieces would connect in more abstract formats. Do that to such an extreme however and you’d find yourself completely ostracized outside the realm of acceptable societal standards and awash in the lonely seas beyond. Not the end of the world, but certainly a challenge.

Alternatively, I suppose it’s possible that there are so many variations on popular concepts that there is room for nuanced navigation of their boundaries as constraints to actually finding new ideas, truly new ones, that are compatible with a larger subsection of the world. Are there enough variables to the belief that “honesty is important” to allow for new concepts to form, or is there a rigidity inherent in any belief system that prevents it from expanding conscious thought or creation beyond a certain degree. Do we have to play out the scenarios sufficiently that we can form an experiential backlog of data points from which to construct or are we stuck forever in a sequenced arrangement? Is further elaboration a mechanism to create more niche thought processes that might stand out as truly original? What if we said, “honesty is important because you should match actions to words in order to be a responsible and trustworthy individual.”?

Of course even that statement can start to get broken down further and further as you seek to define responsibility or trustworthiness and why those are important factors to consider when going to through your day to day existence.

So pulling it back to the beginning…what does an original idea feel like? Something generated from within that is ahead of it’s time, or stands out on the curve as beautiful in its further question inducing qualities. Shouldn’t any new idea beget other new ideas? Are we all just vacuumed into a state of static accepting the status quo of our lives and the world around us, how it works and the mechanisms of it’s action in our lives or are there roads out to pursue?

I guess this whole thing is getting pretty esoteric out there, but apparently that’s what today’s writing is going to be about since it’s on my mind and I can’t seem to generate anything truly outstanding or new, so instead I just keep questioning and looking for answers. Thanks for reading.

Day 6 (PTSD Love)- 30 Day Writing Challenge

Wrap me in the mysteries of your dreams,
oh, sweet one with your eyes of green,
where the magic pools and smiles go
to dip beneath that inner glow.
Wash us deserving in the shadows of your pain
where the struggle is real,
no longer a game and
all that once was becomes real again.

Day 5 (Frog Poison) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Self care is always one of those mysteriously challenging yet o’ so crucial aspects of day to day life it seems. More often then not the prospect of going for a walk, reading a book, meditating, exercising at home, journaling, or any of the rest of the litany of options available to each of us, seems like such a long stretch after the necessaries of the day are taken care of.

Sometimes, it takes a totally different form.

In roughly 3-weeks, I’ll be joining in with a ceremony circle and spending 9-days engaged in holistic medical practices from (mainly) South America. There may be opportunities presented to partake in Ayahuasca, Peyote, and a host of other intriguing substances like Kambo–essentially frog poison–to attempt a system reset.

Whether or not you would qualify sitting in shack with a shaman and ingesting quantities of herbal and animal toxins mixed to unknown strength and potentially lethal consequences as self-care or not I guess depends on who you’re talking to.

For me, it presents a unique opportunity to stretch my acceptance and belief system to try and encompass something that many would consider “woowoo” kind of pseudoscience magic and embrace it as something more. It also provides a chance, depending on the validity or hell, even the placebo effect, to help me disarm some of the more disagreeable parts of my psyche and behavior patterns (like addiction or smoking cigarettes which I still struggle with) that have remained reticent and resistant to all other forms of treatment at this point. I don’t believe in magic bullets, but I do believe in the prospect of rewiring connections internally, both mentally and physiologically if resetting parts of the DNA or bodily interactions which may have become messed up over multiple decades of drug abuse.

So there we have it. In the meantime, I’m getting out to ride my bike more regularly, and had a dog not chewed off the top of my thumb recently, doing some more general exercise while attempting to practice better health practices overall. It’s a multi-stage process I suppose, every little bit helps the whole to develop and grow.

While it may see strange, this is not intended as just another story to put in the bank, taking 9-days to really focus on healing, nutritional changes, not bringing any smokes or being in a location where they will be accessible (nor will drugs and alcohol) cannot help but be beneficial in the long term. In the short-term, it buys me a period of time away from my normal day to day where I occasionally flounder and struggle for direction or conviction to stay the tried and true pathway to life, love and happiness.

So bring on the frog poison, bring on the dream tea, and bring on open-mindedness to something which is beyond my normal ken. Time to expand that awareness a bit.

Day 4 (Frost Comes) – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Credit to Marketwatch for the image.

There is a whisper laying heavily across the hills outside
our back window. It calls of frost and aching joints
amid pale rains covering all the land in pure bone shades
before the grime of cars and feet tracks humanity
across that softest of faces.

Forever replete in an incomplete cycle
washed to bare sticks and the legend of struggle
through the flames of Summer which left
vaunted few standing into the withering of Fall.
Not in perpetuity do the giants stand, rather, they
grovel to the wind and vanishing sun as it takes
it’s yearly rest deep in the night.

Ground down over a mashing of ephemeral gears
as children romped across their veins
sucking desperate gulps of life through buried tendrils.
Survival as a gasp to share their essence
revealed finally as they die beneath the weight of Winter.

Day 3 – 30 Day Writing Challenge

Nearly ever morning my girlfriend and I sit outside on the back patio and sip coffee while shooting the shit. There’s something wonderful about sharing the early morning moments with another living being, it puts us in tune with each other and sets the pace for the day.

Today, stepping outside into 55F degree air and feeling that cool Fall-esque weather wash over me was incredible. It’s always been a point of question for me as to whether other people experience what I coin as joygasms since I was awash in one this morning. For me, it’s that moment when everything seems to line up just perfectly, usually with music accompanying it, where sight and sound and feel all mesh in a bucolic fashion and leave me tingling with excitement or peace head to toe.

It’s so rare to find those moments in life, particularly considering the seeming catch-22 where if you’re looking for that moment it seems to move further away. Only in the unexpected and spontaneous times when we are to be caught unaware do they sneak up to wrap you in absolute bliss.

Of course, most of my life has been spent searching for the opposite, mired in drugs and alcohol to the point that there seemed to be a morass of misery punctuated only periodically with small glimmers of stolen happiness. It is very possible I have this whole thing backwards and in reality it is possible to take control of this life situation and legitimately hunt those special moments done.

I suppose, actually, if I were to take that logic leap in general it might help restructure and redesign my interaction with the world around me as a whole. There’s a reasonable chance that that belief might guide me down some better roads. Well shit, look at that, a weird epiphany moment 3-days into this writing challengemajig.

This comes at a time when I’m mentally trying to prepare myself for a 9-day shamanic healing retreat in the wilderness in Oregon. I have been graced with an opportunity to work with a healer who uses plant medicine to address a myriad of issues, including addiction and the struggles that materialize from it.

While I’m thrilled at the chance, it will be the longest I’ve spent out of touch with my significant other since we got together and there is of course apprehension since it’s been such a wild ride up until this point. That said, the risk, any concern or latent fears based on insecurity, really much anything, falls by the wayside to the looming possibility that maybe this time I’ll land on something that can genuinely help heal the madness and wounds inside that so regularly lead me back down the darkest of paths.

Either way, an early October camping trip onto a beautiful property with good people and communal living sounds like one hell of a way to start wrapping up what has been (much as for everyone) one madcap year. I’m eager to start anew and continue finding those things and people in life that bring me a spark.

Maybe I’ll even find some joygasms along the way.