June 24th, 2021

Episode #29 of the psychedelic leadership podcast

Ep. 29: Laura Dawn on Visionary Leadership in the Psychedelic Space (Interviewed by Natasja Pelgrom)

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In this episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast, Natasja Pelgrom interviews Laura Dawn about Visionary Leadership, the path of the Bodhisattva and her perspective on what might “qualify” someone to guide other people on psychedelic journeys.

As we continue to witness the interest in psychedelics rapidly escalating, more and more people are feeling the call to step into leadership roles in the psychedelic space. But leadership can mean many different things and can take many different forms.  

 

In this episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast, Natasja Pelgrom (from the Awaken Podcast) interviews Laura Dawn about Visionary Leadership, what it means to cultivate a practice with sacred plant medicines and be open to receive their transmission, and then what it takes to step out and lead from this heart-centered wisdom. 

 

We explore the nuanced balance of how we need to give ourselves permission to lead but how and why we need to hold the process of stepping out with our offerings with great responsibility, rooted in experience. 

 

Natasja askes Laura Dawn’s perspective on how we can set ourselves up for success by cultivating peer-to-peer support groups as well as cultivating relationships with elders whom we respect and can trust to offer us clear, lucid feedback and reflections to help steer us in a good direction. This is also most beneficial when it’s built on the foundation of personal practices. Because in the end, we can only take people as far as we’ve gone ourselves. 

 

Title: Laura Dawn interview _transcript file

Duration: 1:30:28

Laura Dawn [Intro]:  My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to Episode number 29 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast, featuring a conversation that I had with a dear sister who for this episode is interviewing me on the topics of Psychedelic Leadership. Meeting ayahuasca, I would say was the real turning point, this is my path, and you’re my teacher. And this is what I want to dedicate my life to and that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people listening who work with ayahuasca. And I also happen to be my father’s daughter, which I would say is just radically stubborn in the way that I want to live my life and choosing to work with medicines in a way that is outside the box.

But dedicating my life to what it means to listen to direct transmission from the plant medicines themselves. Without it being like, I need to fit into this plant medicine box or it has to be done this way or that way. The moment that I drank medicine for the first time, I knew that I had a lot to learn from her and how I could just show up as a human being working with a plant, like all human beings have done for millennia. You know, I would say that was the turning point, I realized that my Dharma was to cultivate the understanding in myself around what it means to be a visionary. So a few weeks ago, I was invited to speak on my friend Natasja Pelgrom I can’t get her name, her last name is Dutch, Natasja Pelgrom.

Her podcast is called the Awakened Podcast. I just call her Natasja Pelgrom because it’s easier. And when she interviewed me for her podcast, I wasn’t planning on sharing that conversation here. But it occurred to me afterward, I’m always asking myself, how can I change things up? How can I do things differently? And I also speak to this in this conversation with Natasja Pelgrom, looking at what the mold is, in this case, how is this podcast quote-unquote, supposed to look? And then asking myself, what are all the ways I can do it differently? And then I thought, well, why not share that episode, that conversation that I had with her podcast, the Awakened Podcast, and one of the things I’m learning, and I am getting this on a whole new freaking level, is how to peel the layers back and show up in my authentic expression of who I am.

And let’s just be honest about this, it is easier said than done; it is just easier said than done.  We can talk all about being authentic, let’s just be authentic, and then when there are those moments where I say something that’s pretty edgy, and I’m realizing how often I do push the envelope, so to speak, about the topics that I’m speaking about. And it’s pretty hard to step out and own a perspective, especially in the psychedelic space. And so I’ll say that, I think the real training here and in fact, the irony of it is that I do believe that plant medicines are teaching us how to hold a perspective lightly, shaking the neural snow globe, quieting the default mode network, loosening our grip over the story we tell ourselves and inviting us to not cling on to our beliefs about anything at all.

It’s the practice of genuinely trying to stay open, which again, is easier said than done. So as you listen to this interview, keep in mind that I’m evolving, we all are, it’s very likely that I’ll look back on this episode and chuckle at myself at my perspective, because maybe I’ll see something in a different light, or God willing, I will see something in a new light in the future. So when we listen to other people speak, it’s also that invitation to create space in our hearts and minds for other people’s growth and evolution as well. This is something I’m learning on a personal level when I think about my relationship with someone close to me, like someone in my family, and I hold a narrative about which they are and that narrative might stay the same.

Meanwhile, they’re growing and learning and evolving as human beings. It’s so interesting the way that narratives work like that. And so some of the topics we touch on in this conversation are just so freaking nuanced.  Psychedelic leadership is such a nuanced topic, and my goodness, sometimes these topics just feel like minefields. And there’s just not enough time in these conversations to offer the full picture perspective, to look at it from every angle, we just can’t. And so these topics are just rampant with paradox and ironies that trust me, are not lost on me. Now, let’s set the stage here for the opening of this conversation and why you are listening to my nose run, I like constantly sniffling for the first entire half of the episode.

I’m sniffling to the end because I didn’t have a Kleenex nearby. And I didn’t just stop and say, let me go blow my nose. But what’s going on there is that opens this episode with his beautiful grounding meditation that she wasn’t recording. And she just channeled something at the moment that just brought both of us to tears. And it was imagining both of us sitting on this porch as old women looking back on our lives and all that we’ve done. And I’ve just been in this tender-hearted space making peace with my life, making peace with my impermanence lately, connecting to the knowingness that one day, I’m just going to be dust going back to this earth.

And when we hold this knowledge in our awareness it just can’t bring you to tears.  At least that’s just the case for me anyway. And if you haven’t listened to my solo episode, all the way back at episode number four,  I can’t believe I’m about to hit episode number 30 next week, I recorded on the initiation of bowing at the altar of impermanence. It’s just such a bittersweet topic for me. And it’s also just up right now because I’m moving through a big portal of transition and transformation in my life. I’m coming out of a decade-long relationship, I’m calling in a new home base, and honestly, I’m just working hard right now, that ebbs and flows in my life.

But I’m holding space for this three-month micro-dosing mastermind, who we talked about a little bit in this episode and I have over 30 people in that group. And it’s a lot to hold space for, and I love it. And it’s also you know, energy output, and I have the podcast, I’m also in graduate school. And now I’m moving through this time of transition out of nine years of marriage. And so, I’ve been reflecting a lot on this notion of impermanence. And also when I’m working hard, and I’m working to support the psychedelic movement, I have a vision that inspires me. And it’s also a lot of energy output. And I’ve needed to zoom out and look at the bigger picture and ask myself, what do I care about?

What do I value? What’s important to me right now? And what is this all for? And just struck a chord in my heart with her opening meditation. And so the conversation opens pretty much in my mid-sentence when hit record. And I was speaking to the sense of just how honored I felt to be able to interview some people in the space, who have dedicated their lives to this movement. And feeling like there’s this passing of a generation and this generation that just holds such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. And I’ve felt privileged in moments to be on the receiving end of these conversations with people like Dennis McKenna, and Sandra Angermann, for example.

And in this conversation, you’ll see, it just doesn’t get rawer than this. Well, unless you listen to the episode on Oponopono, where my mom and I do this real-time forgiveness practice,  maybe I should say, it doesn’t get rawer than that and holding space that it can get rawer than all of this more real, more authentic. And that’s the invitation that I’m permitting myself to step into right now. And the truth is, getting back to the runny nose is that I’m a crier, I do shed a lot of tears. It’s how I process emotion. And I also love to laugh, which you’ll hear throughout this episode. But I feel so deeply I feel a lot and sometimes, I also feel passionate about what I’m speaking about.

And just learning more and more into permitting myself to show up in the expression of whom I am in the okayness of who I am, that passion is energy and life force moving through me. And just owning that and permitting myself to be in the expression of that. Enough about me for a moment I want to say something about Natasja. I adore this woman, check out her Awaken Podcast. I’ll post a link to her podcast and her Instagram in the show notes. And I will have Natasja on this podcast as a guest as well, where I’m interviewing her. And so has been with Synthesis Institute for quite a few years now. And they’ve been rolling out some pretty high-level psychedelic facilitator training.

They have a world-class team that they’ve put together to teach these training programs. And Natasja is just doing such great work with them. And that’s how we met, I was invited to come and spend a weekend dropping into their program in the Netherlands that was pre-COVID days now. But Natasja is just so much more than that role. We are all so much more than our titles. She is such a beautiful space holder, she’s a guide, she leads retreats, and she is so full of wisdom. And I cherish our blossoming friendship, especially the long hilarious voice memos we leave for each other on WhatsApp, because we both love to laugh, which again, we do quite a bit in this interview, especially when she says some funny shit right at the beginning.

So at the end of this episode, I’m going to leave you with a song called Serve the Truth by my dear friend, Mary Isis, which just felt so appropriate for this conversation, where we dive into a whole bunch of nuanced topics related to Visionary and Psychedelic Leadership. And before we dive in, just one more note that songs like this can be found on my playlist for Psychedelic Journeys and beyond. There is one playlist on there that is so great for cultivating a micro-dosing, morning flow. And you can find that on my website at livefreeLaurad.com, where you can also swipe with my free eight-day micro-dosing course, which gives you a good foundational starting point for cultivating a micro-dosing practice.

Alright, without any further ado, here is my conversation with Natasja interviewing me for this episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Laura Dawn: I have the privilege of the conversations I’ve had with some elders where I feel I’ve received their wisdom and holding space for their passing for the degeneration, and we’re stepping into this. You and I are stepping into this generation now of eldership I’m not quite there yet. But just holding space for the passing of the generation and thinking about myself as an old woman, if I can make it that far and even more just thinking about the perspective of what it’s all for, what we’re doing everything that we’re doing right now and what it what is it all for and bringing that perspective into the day to day with all the waves of change, where surfing and everything, all the energy we give to people every day, and just bringing that bigger picture perspective of what it’s all for.

Natasja Pelgrom:   I know, it’s one of the things why I realized recently because my Dutch grandmother, half Portuguese, half Dutch, and my grandmother are alive. And she’s a children’s book writer. They’re writing a biography right now about her. And she was looking through her diaries throughout the years to get pieces to give towards the book. And she shared with me how that was to read her own story about what she was cooking this afternoon. And how she was playing with the dogs and I came to visit and all those memories. And I thought to myself, I don’t have those diaries because I’m not a writer and in that sense, I write differently in space.

And then I thought, but I do, it’s this podcast. So when I did the opening centering of I envisioned myself sitting on a porch and sitting with some sisters and being older and sitting in this space and then listening back on the question that I asked was so alive back then, if we would only know that this would have meant this in the end, so I envision that calmness and that reverence of elderhood that we’re stepping into ourselves.

Laura Dawn:  That being said, I found my first gray hair this week. I told my lover that he said, did you pull it out? And I was like hell, no, I would never, are you kidding me? I embrace my silverback

Natasja Pelgrom:  Yes, well, I have them on my head but not pubic hairs yet.

Laura Dawn: No guys it’s so funny. So funny

Natasja Pelgrom: Thank you for this beautiful starts Laura Dawn sweet Laura Dawn, how we got to know each other through the work and holding that space and you coming in with a playfulness, open heart, and beautiful smile and me going like a little girl, when you’re in the playground and looking at another girl and saying I want to be your friend. But I didn’t know how to [inaudible 16:10] this little girl part showed up. And I remember at the end of the ceremony, where I was just like I need to switch this around. So I put some dance music on. And then I started dancing and you came back into space. I was like I like you we are dancing, a beautiful introduction into our connection from then on.

And I just wanted to say and start naming here on the podcast about the work that you do and how much inspiration and a lot of respect, I bow my head down for the work that you do for the path that you do the absolute brilliance in communicating very clearly and standing in truth. And the truth is for many of us a very different truth, there is only one. So I wanted to share that today, I have this opportunity to have that recorded. And I would love to start Laura with going a little bit back in time. And because there are a few things that bridge our lives in a way that I don’t think we even fully realize. But one of the things that I recall and I was reading up on you is about your past and about plant medicines, and I how it helped you through depression, but also addiction.

And I recognize that path very well. And I would love for you to just go a little bit back in time. And if you can share that journey a bit with our listeners, especially for these listeners that might not know you. So give some context before we go into the juicy topics.

Laura Dawn:  Well, I just want to say thank you so much for those kind words. That means so much coming from you and the way that you hold space. I just admire and respect your space-holding capacity so much. And I felt the same about you. I was I just want to be her friend, and once people see what a goofball I am and how much I just love to dance and joke and laugh, it’s a whole different story in terms of cultivating friendship from that place. But thank you so much for the invitation about my journey and my past.  In my teenage years, I struggled with depression. I remember hearing Eckhart Tolle’s definition of the painful body for the first time when he came out with the power of now.

It would just be struck me and it was just that feeling of I don’t know where this is coming from, this pain body. Well, I’ll start by going way back before I was even born. About a year ago, I had an ayahuasca journey. And, it’s 20 years of working with plant medicines, and still new things coming up. And my mom and I are quite close. And I had a vision in that ceremony of something that happened before I was born prenatal trauma. And I called my mom the next day, and I asked her, what happened when you are pregnant with me? And she started crying, and she had never told me this and this was just a year ago, and she said that she quite far along in the pregnancy, she was going for an abortion. And she went to the clinic and she was about to abort me.

And then she decided last minute to keep me she said, I gave my other three children a chance I have to give you a chance too and that came through the medicine and I felt it,  and I felt just the imprint of wounding, of not belonging and so in my teenage years, there’s so much that we’re dealing with in this culture where I think everyone’s just trying to figure out what it means to be alive on the planet today, and just making sense out of just that, just living in this story of separation, as Charles Eisenstein would call it,  this disconnected reality where we all live in these cookie-cutter homes, and everyone’s so disconnected and working so hard, and just so much ramp and stress. And that was 20 years ago, now it’s this amplified to the max. So I was in that place of just struggling with making sense out of what it means to be alive.

And being a teenager struggling with depression is just so hard, because you think, what’s wrong with me?  What is this and I had a very strong propensity to want to explore the unknown, sort of hurl myself off over the edge, and I had my first high dose psilocybin experience when I was about 14 15. And it was at that time, I started intuitively just taking very small amounts of psilocybin when I was going to school, and it helped me and so this was many years ago, before the term micro-dosing. I remember the first time I heard the term micro-dosing, was that makes so much sense, and then over the years, and it was different back then, it wasn’t in a ceremonial context, I received so much benefit from being able to have these journeys, at that age where I was out in nature, looking up at the vastness of the cosmos, and questioning, why am I here?

What is this all for, and just laughing from the gut, from the depths of my soul, connecting to that place of laughter? And I think that stayed with me all of these years, there’s a strong propensity towards seriousness and drive and all of that, but having that backbone of laughter and humor at the sheer irony of what the fuck it means to be alive right now is one big cosmic joke in a way. And, then in my later, as I was still coping with so much I was in my undergrad, I had a degree in finance and was on the fast track of success. And I was struggling with drinking, and with overeating, and just numbing out, it was quintessential, numbing out not wanting to feel and moving into more cocaine addiction. And it was one very strong LSD journey that I was struggling with cocaine addiction with my ex-partner; we were doing a lot of cocaine in those days.

And I had one LSD journey where  I saw myself from a different perspective, and I saw other people on cocaine that night, and I saw an energy quality there, and I said, you know what, I’m done. I don’t want that to be my life. And I walked through a door that night and put down that addiction and never went back and that was the beginning of understanding addiction and I spent many years doing a lot of research into addiction. I wrote a book about food addiction and so I had to do a lot of research there and understand the mechanisms and more from a spiritual perspective than anything that was the inquiry, like why is I numbing out? Why am I reaching for something to not feel, and I found Pema Chodron’s teachings and Eastern philosophy that have had a tremendous impact on my life, huge impact, more so than I would say anything?

Including psychedelics, those teachings have helped me an enormous amount. Just learn what it means to be present, and sit with discomfort. And I find that those teachings around making contact with groundlessness and learning how to cultivate presence amid discomfort, learning what it means to sit in the middle of the fire that goes hand in hand, with working with plant medicines. You can’t work with plant medicines for 20 years and not know what it means to sit in the middle of the fire, and sit and learn how to sit with discomfort and make peace with that without trying to push away when you have nowhere to run.

There’s nowhere to run in the ceremony, you have to sit and stay. And I think that’s helpful to start making peace with addiction, with numbing out, with distraction and there’s full-blown addiction. And then there are the millions of ways that we move away from the present moment, moment by moment in every day of our lives. So, I think that’s what plant medicines are ultimately showing us is it’s not about the medicine it’s about how we show up and meet the medicine and it’s about consciousness, it’s about connecting to the vastness of the conscious awareness that we are.  So, that’s the journey.

Natasja Pelgrom: Yes, beautiful and nervous, so much recognition and awards are you using right now because I think my first experience was at 14 15. Which psilocybin and at the time, I wouldn’t realize what was shared with me until a few years ago. So sometimes it takes almost a lifetime to fully unpack what is shown up and exactly sitting in that uncomfortableness. I recall a moment of deep heart pain and shame of the space of when the moment when you start peeling away that onion of stepping out of I have to deal with this right now cannot go any further. And then going through the layer of shame how you’ve abused yourself, how you’ve shown up in a relationship with others.

And I recall a moment sitting in the shower of sitting in that pure, uncomfortable space, and having a full-blown awakening process and having a full-blown multi-dimensional, quantum physical expansion of awareness. Where, when I was a child, I would always see more of sacred geometry with plants and things where you will see, when you are in plant medicine space, and that was such a turnaround for me, and that was almost the precursor to go towards plant medicines and that work. How was that for you? What was for you the pivotal point of where you said you’ve done intuitively micro-dosing in the past, you’ve reached a point where you weren’t even at a numbing, sitting in that pain, what was the transition for you to then go, this is my life, I don’t want to be?

Laura Dawn: This is my path.

Natasja Pelgrom: But this is where I am, exactly.

Laura Dawn:  I would say every moment has led me to this moment, so it’s all been so relevant. working with psilocybin and LSD for about 10 years, and then meeting ayahuasca, I would say, was the real turning point of this is my path, you’re my teacher and this is what I want to dedicate my life to and that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people listening who work with ayahuasca, and I also happen to be my father’s daughter, which I would say is just radically stubborn in the way that I want to live my life and choosing to work with medicines in a way that is outside the box. And right now, it’s so interesting; I find this to be such a paradox, with the amount of judgment in the psychedelic space.

And I understand why, I get it, I have judgments too, as we’ve talked about, but dedicating my life to what it means to listen to direct transmission from the plant medicines themselves. Without it is like I need to fit into this plant medicine box or this plant medicine box or it has to be done this way or that way. Because otherwise, it’s called, quote, unquote, cultural appropriation, or which is a whole can of worms, and I have so much respect for always. And also, the moment that I drank medicine for the first time, I knew she was my teacher, and that I had a lot to learn from her and how I could just show up as a human being working with a plant, like all human beings have done for millennia.

I would say that was the turning point, I realized that my Dharma was to cultivate the understanding in myself around what it means to be a visionary. And that is a tricky place to walk because being a visionary or a leader of our time means that by definition, you’re stepping beyond the status quo. So even stepping beyond the status quo in the psychedelic space, is nuanced territory. It’s tricky to navigate that space. So I think, and then we have judgments, I hear people holding all kinds of Ayahuasca and electronic dance music, Ayahuasca and yoga now, it’s like there’s something for everyone.

So, it’s like I try as much as possible to maintain an open mind and we can all hold it with safety, harm reduction, there are key pillars that we can’t skip over, I think, no matter what we’re doing in the space, and I think just holding it with this awareness for me, in this process of what does this mean to be a visionary? And are these plants here to show us how to think in this way, and I believe that they are. And maybe that’s just a transmission that is meant to come through this being in my life and dedicating my life to that path. But also, just knowing what I don’t know, like the vastness of how much I do not know, the more you ask, the more you realize that you just don’t know.

So it’s like, how do I hold that spectrum of being a leader wanting to educate, wanting to support people and also saying, there’s so much that I don’t know, here, we’re all learning in real-time, right now. That’s what’s happening in the space.

Natasja Pelgrom:  How do you see the challenges as a leader yourself?  Simply as we learn and we grow, something that I believe two years ago, I might speak something very different.  So, how do you create an accountability process for yourself or a reflection process for yourself to be in this visionary state and be in leadership and taking the responsibility in that space? What’s your take on that?

Laura Dawn:  There’s so much to say about that. But well, first of all,  knowing how to set yourself up to make honesty easy,  so I just started my micro-dosing mastermind, which was the essence, the idea came through a visionary medicine space, where I said, there are so many people wanting to step into leadership roles in the psychedelic space, it would be great if we had this cohort of people where we can cultivate a container that sets us up for honest communication, clear feedback, supporting each other in a way that lifts each other, and creates sort of a model and a blueprint for how people can create a peer to peer support networks.

To not just like, quote, unquote, hold each other accountable, but to teach each other how to navigate this space, with a lot of humility and a lot of learning. And so it’s like, we just started our first sort of content call yesterday. And so I set myself up to be able to say, in the future, you know what, I was wrong about that by opening the container and saying, I don’t have all the answers, I’m learning right alongside you, I might be leading this container and holding the primary space holder for this container. But by no means do I have all the answers. And I’m here to learn just as much from you, as you are from me. And that’s my hope.

So it’s in a way, and I genuinely feel that. So I’m also setting myself up for the end. And I even said that at the end of the three months, I can’t wait to tell you all the things that I did wrong, and all the ways that I learned about what not to do next time, so I can share it with you and you can learn from that. And we can have exponential growth and transformation. So one level is the personal level, honesty, radical honesty,  humility, and I’m not always humble, sometimes I have these moments where I’m like, I just did the coolest thing, and it’s just that balance of being able to hold what we’re creating, and, either the sky and feet on the earth.

So the person I think level, and then the cohort, peer to peer level, and then the elder level, and the people who have been doing this a long time, and having people who love you, who you trust and who you know, will give you honest reflections and help check yourself in those moments where we come out of big psychedelic space, and we have all these ideas like, I know that space of my transmission channel being way open, and someone being like, Here, let me grab your foot and like, bring you back down to earth and it’s real, and learning how to set up the structure of our lives too, so it’s like the person the peer to peer, the elder and then the structure, the larger container, the set, and setting.

Setting means when we’re in psychedelic space is just amplifying what’s already there. So how do I set up the foundational practices of my life to incorporate, goods sleep habits and good eating habits and meditation practice that helped me check myself and show up to the best of my capacity as much as possible because if I’m getting four hours a night of sleep, I’m not showing up in centered, cognizant full. I’m debilitating myself on a certain cognitive level, so that’s a sense of responsibility that I have as a leader to take care of myself, and seeing it from that perspective, I think is important.

Natasja Pelgrom:  Beautiful, I love this topic about this leadership. And I know this is also your topic and your work and how you show up in what you bring across also with your podcast. And it seeps through very clearly. So the leadership aspect for those listeners of psychedelic leadership, just making it simplifies, what does that mean? What does that mean to be a psychedelic leader?

Laura Dawn: Well, this is a funny story, because, you know those images where it’s one image, but if you look at it one way, it’s a bird, and if you look at the other way, it’s like an old woman, those like perceptual illusions; it’s the same thing with psychedelic leadership. Essential components of what these key pillars of what psychedelics and sacred plant medicines teach us in our lives, like empathy, like pro-social behavior, which means a willingness to help support other people just for the act of wanting to support other people, creative thinking, and creative problem solving, which is the master’s degree I’m currently pursuing.

Looking at all of these ways that psychedelics are helping us they’re an advanced training ground to teach us how to become more heart-centered, more empathetic, more compassionate for ourselves, but also other people, more connected more aware of our connection to this earth, as Dennis McKenna, who is just so poetic, he says, plant medicines are the neurotransmitters of the guy in mind telling us to wake up and we were at the ninth hour here,  we have to wake up, we don’t have a lot of time,  as Pema Chodron would say, there’s no time to lose. So that was my entry into this naming of the podcast, which was an excruciatingly painful process, and for the first several months, I agonized over this thought of people are going to just think that I am so hubris to like claim this name, psychedelic leadership.

And so the flip side of that is, what most people see as psychedelic leadership name is, this is a podcast for leaders stepping into the psychedelic space. So I unintentionally put myself in that role and I would never from that angle, would never have chosen that name. Because I am like, don’t follow me, for the love of God, just don’t follow me like this is, it wasn’t that. And I didn’t realize that, which is so funny, because my mind was just so focused on like, the old woman and not the bird.  I was so focused on that one angle, and then I realized, I’m receiving a lot of emails from people asking about facilitator training, and how do I become a leader in the psychedelic space? And so my sort of the programs that I teach, and the work that I do is how do we cultivate a heart-centered leadership, regardless of the domain that we’re in?

But it’s looking at the pillars of like, what is the sort of key tenants like? How do we work with plant medicines to help cultivate a vision that expands the boundaries of what we believe is possible, it’s time to think bigger, we have to think bigger. And that’s what leadership is whether you’re in the psychedelic space or not. And so I’ve created a sort of a roadmap, a framework that’s come through the plant medicine space, called the path of the creative, visionary Bodhisattva. And there are big components to each one where I weave wisdom, these teachings that are 1000s of years old that have had a huge impact in my life.

Nobody owns these teachings. They’re for humanity. They’re to support the awakening of humanity. And they just so happened to go hand in hand with plant medicine space. And then there’s this whole teaching around what it means to embody the visionary, how do we train ourselves to think bigger, my mind thinks in Venn diagrams. So it’s the visionary pieces thinking bigger, but that’s what Pema says, the distillation of what it means to be walking the spiritual path is going from narrow mind to open mind. That’s the same thing and that’s what it means to be a visionary and that’s also what it means to be creative and think creatively. So weaving, science, psychedelic research, what are we learning now with neuroplasticity? How are we seeing with Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris’s research about pivotal mental states?  What can we learn from that and apply what we understand with creativity training, like training ourselves to think more creatively in leveraging those windows of heightened mental flexibility, with the goal, the drive to solve some of the most challenging, complex problems that we’re facing, and help uncover solutions?

So that we can radically choose to live differently on this Earth right now that we can find solutions that help us live more connected, that help us embody more self-compassion for ourselves and others, like, look around. These are the most divided times; these teachings help us build bridges. And that’s what we’re all doing in this space is how do we build bridges, whether we’re in the psychedelic space or not, we need to find more unity between us and our fellow humans. And so that’s my take on Psychedelic Leadership.

Natasja Pelgrom:  Beautiful, thank you so much I could go like I have four questions. I will go that way, we’ll go that way. I love it. You can hear you’re a podcaster, in dutch we have a saying you put a quarter in it, and it just goes on. But I want to keep on with a topic around the leadership piece because one of the things that I realized this was about two years ago when started creating a woman’s leadership retreat. And the word leadership was very funny because I had to untangle the meaning of it. Because I reclaim the word, like the number of times that I even till today, see women men don’t matter, I’m not a CEO, I’m not this or that, I have not accomplished this.

And then the word leadership, how much stigma or limiting me is on top of that word. There is also another part of it that is the leadership part where there is the part where people call themselves leaders. But I have not walked the miles of being a leader, everybody’s a leader, but are you that leader? Are you that person to be an expert in a specific field or a specific space? And especially when it comes to psychedelic space? What you said, I mean, I recognize that the open channel, yes, this is what I’m going to do, come back down, be grounded. And I do miss from time to time where, without judgment, where I pick up on people’s ambition and sometimes even entitlement if I can say that word right now, which might trigger some things for some listeners, but I’m going to say it anyway.

I’ve had this experience, now I own the experience, now I know about this and now I’m a leader. And especially because in marketing and branding, and wholesales besides psychedelics, we’ve been branded on our individuality, not on our weakness, not on our business. So how do you see and speaking into the psychedelic space of the gold rush around the psychedelic space and leadership created? Yes, I want to touch upon it with you.

Laura Dawn: It’s so tricky because I know that there are people who hold a lot of judgment about the work that I’m doing. I know that I’ve received emails and sometimes your critics tend to speak the loudest in your mind. But what I find to be helpful and again, it comes down to this place of people like, but I have good intention. And I’m following the path of my heart. And I say this too that I’m also following the path of my heart. And there’s nothing that replaces experience, and so for me, I don’t care if you have a degree in psychology, if you’re a therapist, if you’re doing the training of the map, if you have a Ph.D.

People have been working with plant medicines for millennia outside of the medical institution. So that’s not it for me, for example, if you’re in the cohort of people who are now on the psychedelic bandwagon because of Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind, I don’t necessarily think that you have a depth of experience, because that’s just too recent in our collective movement to be stepping out and leading big companies in the space, I think that’s premature. My sense is that, and what I emphasize is there’s this place around because you said, this place of self-judgment, self-criticism, and fear of stepping out.

So that’s unhealthy,  being afraid of stepping into the embodiment of what it means to like self-accept ourselves and know that we can be leaders. And, so all of that has to be held, with a deep sense of responsibility. So, I have this whole thing around like permission, self-permission, coupled with the response, self-responsibility, and a very strong support network, who is your support network in this space, because it is unfolding rapidly, it is unfolding in real-time, we are learning, we do need to be able to check ourselves, I don’t think that will grow and learn and transform through shame, and public shaming.

And I think we are seeing that a lot. Now some big people have landed on the top 100 Most Influential People in psychedelics, who have had very few psychedelic experiences themselves, how do you lead in the psychedelic space with having very few psychedelic experiences?  I don’t think there’s enough of a backbone, these experiences change over time, you just said it, you’re just receiving the gems of some of your journeys, when you were a teenager, and this shit takes time. It takes time, got to let the dust settle, and not just let the dust settle for two weeks, like two decades.   You can’t replace that in my opinion and it’s just my opinion, and if this is triggering for you to listen to this, that trigger right now that you’re feeling is good medicine for you. Look at that, what is in that trigger? Why do you feel defensive looking at that? Our triggers are good medicine for all of us.

Natasja Pelgrom: Absolutely. It’s where the magic lies; it’s the golden shadow part if you’re willing to see that part within you.

Laura Dawn: I love that term; golden shadow

Natasja Pelgrom: Golden shadow, yes

Laura Dawn:  I’ll attribute that to you.

Natasja Pelgrom: No, absolutely not, did not create that? Believe me, I read that once.

Laura Dawn:  I love it.

Natasja Pelgrom:  I can’t even recall, who can claim it, but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to use because it’s very much how I’ve worked with people. Always bring it back. If anybody knows me well, is always like what’s the gift, always the catch and what’s the gift goes back to sitting in the uncomfortable, sticking with it, go walk that mile. For me, it was a ride from Tiago to Compostela and collapsing down in 2013 and realizing I cannot walk any further on this path I need to sit and meditation was the only thing that it was the divine said to me, now sit on the ground and just sit with your shit and that was the way forward but talking back on the leadership piece.

What I love, I don’t recall which episode it was and where you said it and I think it was relating to probably the mastermind micro-dose course that you are having, I think I listened to the episode where you’re sharing and explaining and a few times you said the word about the shamanic process of it. And when you move somewhere, you want to change something that it’s first in the energetic field.  You want to create something that it’s an alchemical process. I don’t know if alchemical were the words, but I do know that you’ve shared the shamanic process in it. And that to me, it was when you sometimes hear people speak, and it’s a little bell goes off of; yes, this is the truth.

For me, it’s a tingling sensation in the body or it is my head that goes a bit upwards, that’s a truth that has a resonance in my test system. And what I love about that is because it brings you back to this heart-centered space, when you do approach the work this way. Now my question being is the leaders that come on your path that are probably from the paradigm, which all of us are in leadership, maybe position of maybe not necessarily psychedelic space or moving towards it, but using this space to understand self better. What do you see as the challenge, in that development, in that leader from coming from an old paradigm going into the process of heart-centeredness?

Laura Dawn: That’s a good question.

Natasja Pelgrom: You’re welcome.

Laura Dawn: Well, you know what’s so interesting? So, I received a lot of applications for this mastermind and one thing that struck me was that about 80% of the people; so in my application, it’s pretty in-depth and I also asked people what are your three most empowering beliefs? What are your three most limiting beliefs? And the words imposter syndrome came up 80%, I couldn’t believe that exact term over and over again. And at first, I thought this is so interesting but then through 60 plus applications, almost 70 applications, I probably saw that exact term 45 times.  That’s remarkable to me, that says a lot and that’s speaking to the fear of stepping out and one thing I’ve learned through just my process of we’re all finding our way in the dark here,  it’s like, I’m inching out and I’m like, who is this okay?

It’s so interesting and so again, it’s also complex and so nuanced but that’s why having that support system and knowing when it is time to permit ourselves, being a visionary is our birthright, being creative is our birthright, that’s our birthright. Whether you put a label of leadership on it or not, we’re all leaders, at the very least you’re leading a party of one so just even recognizing that but we’re so conditioned, the old model, the mold, is, the quintessential cubicle, and I’ve been an entrepreneur, my whole life, I was raised by two entrepreneurs, 10 years ago, was a very different entrepreneurial landscape than it is today. Now, people are leaving the cubicle in herds, by the dozen and so there’s a whole, learning curve around that as well too.

And how do I cultivate myself as a thought leader, for example, but I think the biggest thing that I’m seeing to sort of tie in this the shamanic piece is that when we spend all of our time facing outwards when we spend all of our time looking at the external environment that keeps reinforcing more of the same and we can go deep into the neuroscience of perception here. But the gist of it is that if you spend all of your time looking out at this solid 3D reality, you’re entranced with the solid 3D reality, it’s hard to see beyond it if you want to create something that does not yet exist on the face of this earth, which is the definition of what it means to be a leader.

If you want to follow through on wisdom that you receive that is beyond the currently prevailing belief system, you have to go within, maybe you can’t make a big ultimatum blanket statement like that but I would say very likely, you have to go with it, it’s there. There are other dimensions of reality, I just recently saw a quote from Maria Sabina that was like, there is the invisible realm that is so close, you can’t see it, but it’s always there. It’s here and I feel plant medicines are helping us to just tune our awareness to the subtle dimension of reality. And that’s where quantum physics and shamanic wisdom intersect completely.

In science is just validating what shamanic wisdom has known for 1000s of years, and I met a shaman named Menari from Ecuador and I met him in Costa Rica and he said something that was almost to the tee.  Einstein said that the field is the sole governing principle of the particle. It’s a soul governing agency of the particle, it’s the field and that’s what space holding is when you cultivate yourself as a space holder. What are we doing as space holders, we’re holding space, and we’re tapping into the field, the energetic quality of space. And that space, we can learn how to shape and mold into 3D reality. And he said, you go into the other dimensions, and that’s where you influence reality. And he said, I doubt he spends time, he’s walking in full regalia.

I doubt he’s spending time reading quantum physics, but it’s the same. And so I think that’s the hardest part is teaching people how to spend more time going within, so that they can start turning their awareness to another dimension of reality that does exist. That is where we imprint, that’s where we create from the power to create our reality starts in our mind, and it’s led by this resonant frequency in our hearts, our emotional being, our mind is not separate from our body. And so I would say that’s the biggest thing is learning how to stop looking at what everyone else is doing. What is mold? The molds are so strong, it takes a lot of will to imagine something different than the mold because if you’re always looking at the mold, this just keeps more and more reinforcing of that.

And that’s why full-circle moment, I  believe that people who don’t have enough roots in altered states of consciousness, in experiencing paying attention to the subtle dimensions of reality, who then go into launching major ventures in the space, they’re perpetuating the current mold, they don’t have enough roots into a new model. So let’s talk about the new model, reciprocity, that’s a new model.  People can spend a lot of time paying lip service to reciprocity; let’s just build it in so that it looks good on our corporate deck as we go raise $3 million.  I’m no shame of money, I’m all for abundance. But it’s such a different level; it’s even redefining what success means.  I consider myself to be very successful; I poop in a compost toilet.

Natasja Pelgrom: Exactly, that’s so beautiful and talking about the ultimate satisfaction and his contribution. When you step out of certainty and significance, you go into contribution and that’s something that I’m hearing you say, in other words, but we know what is received through plans where you said about giving back, heart centeredness, empathy, all these qualities that are needed in building a new structure. And it isn’t there yet, and societies and set up in that way.

I was talking to my partner the other day, and I was sharing with him, if I was a psychedelic entrepreneur who organizes retreats and travel, I want to have a certain bank account, I don’t need a loan, I don’t do loans but I if I want to have a bank, if I want to have specific insurance that doesn’t exist, society is not set up in a way that is also moving in that direction. Now, I’m not a keen believer in the insurance that I needed, so I’m not calling anything out here but it’s a very interesting way of everybody wants to be that spokesperson, the influencer. But what we need in this space are models of how does this foundation has in this new parent? How does this look like? It’s not just one person, not one, Laura or one Natasja Pelgrom is going to think of it.

Its people in specific capacity and understanding are going to think of it, are going to move to that, especially to financial parts, it’s so interesting. So many things are happening in that as well, I don’t want to divert the conversation into money but it’s also where the change is happening. Where would be in this psychedelic space and within this community, the thing that we should focus on more? Is there a blind spot that we’re having right now we’re all focusing on the expansion of something, I’m creating a podcast I’ve got, I’m also a spokesperson, it took me about three years to step out of my little cave, to come above ground.

And when I was asked to contribute to a book, I had the imposter syndrome for about six months writing only one chapter, it was the most horrific experience ever.  Who am I to say anything about this? I don’t know anything. I went full-blown in that process. So giving some time, I think.

Laura Dawn: It’s so tricky. There’s so much collective shadow. And again, it’s this nuanced territory of when we permit ourselves to hold it with responsibility and not to get crippled by imposter syndrome. It’s the people that you know, who drink medicine once, and then they’re like; I’m going to be a shaman. There’s like that end of the spectrum. And then you also have the end of the spectrum of someone that you know, who’s been drinking medicine for 20 years, and that they would just be such a great space holder, and they’re the ones who are like it is so much responsibility. So, I think the biggest shadow up right now is that there’s that double-edged sword of we need to wake up urgently. And that’s what plant medicines are sort of whispering in everyone’s ear.

So someone has one journey, and they’re like, I’m going to sell my house and move to Peru in the jungle, and I’m going to just launch  Ayahuasca  Retreat Center.  I’ve seen this happen. So, we do urgently need to wake up. And so how do we hold that? How do we hold that nuance of grounded action? And God knows, I have flailed in the space and made huge blunders and huge mistakes, and that’s why I think just time on the path of making mistakes, is what it’s like, it’s how we learn. And so I think the shadow right now is this notion that everyone wants to get into the psychedelic space yesterday, and I get this sense of urgency from so many people who reach out to me, and then I have calls with people who want to be in the psychedelic space, and I just need to figure it out ASAP.

Just take a moment,  just breathe and if you’re on this path, the plants they’ll show and there are all these mental plays of we’re on the path of dropping into the heart and listening to that guidance, following it from that base of the moment of every moment is fresh and new. And the essence of realization that’s what Pema children say, every moment has the essence of realization. It’s the essence of awakening and every single moment, and the more that we cultivate presence, and we learn that, we don’t have to be living five years in the future all the time.  It’s good to go into those visionary realms, we can all just take a breath and slow down, and we are all learning in the psychedelic space right now.

  I think the other shadow is this place where I think learning from an elder is great. And I think that there need to be different models for the way that we train in the space because someone creating a program, and then someone creates a program, for example, and then we all see that as the gold stamp of facilitation. But those people, who created the program, were also just creating the program, so it’s that awareness of what we consider to be because you pay $3,000 to go train with a shaman doesn’t make you a qualified shaman, because you go and get a graduate degree, it doesn’t make you qualified. What qualifies you is, how you hold space and how you cultivate space holding, and how you show up to meet presence for anyone that you’re serving and I think that the big shadow is the lack of recognition that you can only take people as far as you have gone yourself.

Natasja Pelgrom: Yes, amen that’s absolutely 100%. And that’s what, I’ve been taught every time again and sometimes there are you able to do, when it’s easy, comfortable enjoys, and people get their thing and they’re doing their thing and ceremony, great. But when there is a full-blown projection, and you said yes to that projection, it took me sometimes six to nine months to untangle that with care and work and understanding and supervision talks. And why I’ve said yes to that projection that was taking place, and that Madison space, and that responsibility and nightmares I had from it, of not being able to help someone, and are you able to hold yourself into those challenges as well? So, beautiful, I want to ask you something about the course, and micro-dosing bed, which isn’t, of course, up and running and, and I’ve heard you speak on it. It was so funny because I was at Clubhouse one time, I was invited by this group, and a question was asked, and I was like, well, you have to do your research, go search for Laura Dawn.  And then someone that we know, perhaps ping you as, they’re speaking about your hair that was me, go find her go there.  I would love to understand because so many are doing micro-dosing with psilocybin, but you’re going through the vine of Ayahuasca. And using that, which is I can imagine, not myself, but some might see that as an appropriation or might see that was Ayahuasca, like, how and what? So can you share a little bit about this journey? And then, the whole mastermind, what ended up in being?

Laura Dawn: Well, maybe I’ll just start by saying that the micro-dosing portion of the mastermind is, it is like the central sort of foundation, but I like to frame it, that it’s not about the medicine, it’s not about the thing that you’re consuming,  it’s how you show up,  the thing is life, the thing is a ceremony, the thing that we’re talking about is consciousness,  how can we leverage these experiences to allow us to show up and be present. And if right now, the tool we can draw upon to help cultivate presence is micro-dosing, or medicines, then great, let’s work with that. But let’s hold it in a way that understands that the real thing that we’re talking about here is consciousness, its awareness. It’s how we’re showing up to meet the present moment with openness to whatever is arising. That’s the thing.

So that’s like the central component of how I like to phrase it. And then we have medicines, but then we also have all other modalities that we can combine with medicines to help us cultivate, not just presence.  looking at the context of the world that we’re living in today, we’re moving through rapid change, exponential change, what is being required and cold of us is to cultivate emotional mental physical resilience, how to show up centered in the middle of the storm. And that’s the path of the Bodhisattva is, I’m training my heart and my mind to stay open in the face of suffering in the face of discomfort so that when I go and support someone else, who’s having a hard time keeping their heads above water, I don’t jump in and then drowned myself.

I cultivating I’m training my body and my heart and my mind, to be able to be resilient enough so that I can show up with fortitude to support other people. That’s essential, this notion that I said earlier is that we can only support people to the degree that we’ve gone ourselves. I can only support people and cultivating a daily practice, which daily practice is the training ground for cultivating these qualities of adaptability, rolling with the punches, resilience, flexibility, flexibility of body and mind, the daily practice is the bed of which we plant those seeds. That’s the fertile soil for which transformation transpires within the privacy of our hearts and minds.

And then they blossom through coming out of that private space and then connecting with other people in our community and sharing those gems and receiving reflections because we’re social beings by nature. So that’s sort of the foundational premise of, what this is all about. And, so showing people that we can only support the awakening of humanity, to the degree that we’re willing to awaken in our lives. And that’s the foundation. And we do that through cultivating practices. And medicine is one component, but there are ancient technologies of meditation that are also essential here for coming to know the nature of the mind. And very powerful practices for cultivating self-compassion for cultivating, the sense of willingness to sit in the discomfort, some teachings help us do that, that are incredibly helpful at the moment to draw upon.

So it’s combining different modalities to help us train ourselves so that we can be more effective human beings on this journey of awakening, ultimately. And so the medicine is one component for this particular mastermind, it’s open for people to cultivate whatever practice with medicine that they feel called to. I have a free eight-day micro-dosing course that helps people get started with the basics. This isn’t like a how-to micro-dose 101. This is like how to deepen in a practice. And my primary practice happens to be with Iosco vine, and I happen to have a lot of people very interested in cultivating that practice, there’s a lot of people on the medicine path who resonate with that frequency. It’s different than psilocybin and LSD and wachuma and, I’m not encouraging people to go and micro-dose with a Boga or Ibogaine or all of these things, I have a lot of experience with the full spectrum. The only thing I’m an expert in is my own experience.

So I’m not an expert in psilocybin and micro-dosing. I have many years of micro-dosing under my belt and many years of supporting other people in the process. But even when you start understanding the true nature of reality, we start questioning if we’re an expert in our own experience, as well, I started making medicine about 10 years ago, in the US, Banisteriopsis Caapi, which is the name of the vine is legal. And so that’s important for people to know it’s not working with the full brew with Chakruna leaf, it’s just Banisteriopsis Caapi, which is an MAOI, which is very similar to an SSRI. So there are big disclaimers that we have to put on here.  I don’t just sell people medicine, I have a whole framework, people have to do medical intake forms, I have medical doctors that I consult with, I have to watch out for red flags.

But over the years, I’ve supported quite of several people on this journey of micro-dosing vine just the other day, we had a call on zoom with 18 people cultivating a practice with the vine and it’s so special, like just to hear the essence of what people are distilling from their practice and the level of transformation that’s happening. Yes, somebody might feel very adamant that that is cultural appropriation shame on us; we should not be doing it. And if it’s bringing healing to people in their lives, genuine healing, genuine transformation, and people can show up more effectively, more lovingly, more kind, more self compassionately, I’ve had to grapple with this a lot, I had to sit in the discomfort of is this cultural appropriation?

And, I’m not making a blanket statement that I believe it is, or it isn’t. I’m just saying that I’m a human being cultivating a relationship with a plant-like many other human beings have done over the past hundreds of 1000s of years. That’s what I’m saying. And that I’ve learned a lot from this plant. And I think I can help support other people who want to do it regardless, you can order [inaudible 1:14:18] vine online without any disclaimers on it, without any guidance, without any support that’s how I feel about it. If I can bring some level of support that could just even help expedite someone’s learning curve just even a little bit.

I’m like that’s probably worth it. And from just the testimonials and witnessing and not just at the moment, like I check in with people six months a year after they go through my programs, and they say this is foundationally changed my life and my path. So again, if you’re triggered by the conversation around cultural appropriation, especially if you’re listening to this and you feel triggered, I invite you to look at what’s there for you. What is there?

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful way of working and I see and feel the way you work and was interesting because a few days ago, you reached out and I just had back to back, two days back to back that you came into my awareness where I was thinking of this mastermind and the thought was micro-dosing, I’ve only had challenging experiences with it.  It’s never been micro for me of how I perceive and I step into space. And so I was like interesting that’s my go-to answer without even talking to Laura about it. So I was already setting myself up like that my brain, the cognitive part, the one that wants to be in control, and everything is comfortable, just the way it is.

And then I was just laughing at myself going you should have this conversation with Laura because I would want to do it. And now that my brain is saying, no stay here, it’s always, because there might be other ways around it. And I might just need to change the environment, where am I just need to change my diet and don’t compare other experiences to this experience. So that being said, it’s now recorded; I want to do your mastermind.

Laura Dawn:  It’s so interesting because it comes up a lot for people and throughout the years of running these programs, this is the first time I’m doing this cohort and bringing in this mastermind element of cultivating thought leadership, how do we leverage our practice, to then think in novel ways. And that’s the essence of what this is all about. Getting back to,  what I’ve been sharing throughout this journey is like, how to not just step out as an entrepreneur or a leader, that’s all great people are like, Well, how do I have a content creation strategy, all of those things, that’s fine and great but I want to cultivate thought leaders.

That’s what I want to do. I want to help support people create original ideas. So that again, we can know that is possible to start thinking bigger to start literally, I don’t just use it as a catchphrase. I’m very serious when I talk about expanding the boundaries of what you believe are possible. And so what the medicines have taught me and I’m still learning, and I think I’ll be cultivating this framework for the rest of my life is how do we codify transformation and breakthrough? Because if we’re operating at the same level of thinking, it’s being stuck in a glass room, so we have patterns in our lives, patterns that keep coming up over and over again, we’re comfortable in the glass room. But anytime we have this thought of I want to venture a little bit further, we hit the glass wall, but we don’t see the wall.

So we’re like that’s uncomfortable. Why did I just bang my head, but then we’ll go back to the couch in the middle of the glass room and think, well, this feels more comfortable. I’m going to stay here, codifying the breakthrough. And what I mean by that is applying teachings that show us how to find the invisible doorknob so that we can venture beyond the classroom. And it requires tuning into subtlety. So if you’re facing the glass wall, head-on, you’re going to miss it, you’re not going to see it, it’s invisible. But if I say Natasja Pelgrom, come a little to the side, look at the glass wall, from this angle, focus, your perceptual field of awareness from this angle, and then you say I just saw a glimmer a light bounces off the glass wall. Now I see it’s there, now I can see

And then once you know how to see it, you can’t unseen you just can’t unsee it, then you train yourself how to pay attention. In a way, we’re refining our perceptual field of awareness. That’s what we’re doing. So we’re paying attention. Where are those patterns? Where do you keep hitting the wall? How can you look at it from this way, it’s and ultimately what it is, is cultivating meta-awareness, we’re becoming more aware, paying more attention to what we’re paying attention to. And that’s essential right now that is so essential for humanity living on this planet. And so the whole purpose of the mastermind is to start to cultivate our sense of where we’re staying stuck in, in the classroom, how to shift our perceptual field of awareness to say, I just saw the light glimmer off the glass. That’s where my boundary is. And now that I trained my mind to look for it, now it becomes more and more and more obvious. And now I can see the glass room, entirety. I can see it, I see the boundary. And now I can also see the door.

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. Where is Laura going to be from today June 3, 2021, that we’re recording? Where is Laura Dawn going to be on June 3, 2031?

Laura Dawn: 10 years, I was like, how far are we jumping into the future?  I just hold the prayer that we’re humanity’s still here chugging along in 10 years, I think things are changing exponentially, and we have no idea what the future needs to hold. So for me, it’s less about where and more about the how, and the why, and how I’m embodying my life.  Regardless of where I’m at,  I’ve been living off-grid in nature for 15 years, and so in different settings, and I can’t live, in nature, I don’t have a door, I’m in the jungle.  I live in a converted tiny home and I am going through a very big portal of transformation. I’ve had some big sort of punctuation points in the chapters of my life.

And I’m facing that again, right now. So I’m in this point,  after this mastermind, I’m going to go take some time off to go in and restructure the field, imprint the field so that it can sort of coalescing into the next chapter of what that wants to be. But for me, I just pray that in 10 years from now, some of the projects that I’m birthing right now, like grow medicine, which is all about reciprocity, it’s about building an app that before or after people journey with medicine, they open the app, they click on the button of what they just consumed, and it goes towards replanting, supporting sustainable regrowth, and also giving back to cultures that we’ve, been learning from over the years.

I’ll put it that way and so I just hope that less about me and more about like, I hope that these projects take off and that many vines will be planted and many iboga plants will be planted and that many toads will be conserved with some of the conservation efforts that we’re looking at supporting and that more people will be living in joy.  Like I say, dancing with the frequency of inspiration, that more people can find what’s alive for them. And that I can feel I’m sitting on my porch overlooking nature in whatever way knowing that I contributed to that in some good way and that it was all worth it.

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. Thank you so much. I would love to wrap it up with some random questions before I close, just randomly out of the air, I am not prepared at all. But I’m very curious about, let me see, what taste excites you?

Laura Dawn: Literal taste

Natasja Pelgrom: Literal taste, when you taste that something wakens in your system, in your body?

Laura Dawn: Well, I have my vine medicine right here I would say this medicine, that I ayahuasca vine from Hawaii has a very sweet taste. It’s, nectar and when I put it in my mouth that awakens me so much. I just love the taste of that. And I love dairy and I’ll say sits at the top of my list for a taste of goodness, creamy, raunchy durian.

Natasja Pelgrom: That’s beautiful. And what do you see as beauty in the world?

Laura Dawn: I have a little owl that just burst 30 feet from my bungalow. That’s beauty seeing the myriad ways that life expresses itself in so many different forms, and just that it all just emerges from the source. This little owl sounds cute, but this owl has been keeping me up for the last two nights. So loud I was like, this owl very present in my field right now. But just beauty in all the ways, just the way that life expresses itself.

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. And if you would be an animal then what animal would you be?

Laura Dawn: That owl is the visionary, sees in the dark

Natasja Pelgrom: As I thought you were going to answer that, but I just needed to know.

Laura Dawn: It’s my animal Totem I see at least two or three owls every day, they’re all around me. And I feel that deep sense of connection, they are the archetypal visionary. They fly in the night.

Natasja Pelgrom: Exactly. So last but not least, if you would not be doing what you do today, in terms of contributing to the world, what would that be like, if you would not be doing all of this?

Laura Dawn: You know it’s so funny is that I’ve had a few close reflections that people have said, even if you were so wealthy, and you didn’t have to work, you would not be able to let this go. So I just don’t know. I can’t imagine my life without it. I just can’t on this path.  I would want to go and spend two or three years in a deep meditative retreat with Pema before she passes.  I would say more like monastic life.

Natasja Pelgrom: Can I answer that too, see you?

Laura Dawn: Yes.

Natasja Pelgrom: So, I see you as an architect.

Laura Dawn: Yes. I like that. When I was a kid, at one point, I went through a phase where I was like, I’m going to be an architect but building temple spaces.

Natasja Pelgrom: And because it can be literal, but it’s also an architect of building foundation. And the way you choose the words, and I can see it architecturally when you speak. I see when I use vision. It’s very architectural thought of systematic, structured, and very precise. Every angle needs to be the exact right way. Because otherwise there is no balance and it will collapse. So every time you speak about the way you work and the things you create and how you see things and even the examples of saying the clear wall and look at it this way and that angle, it’s even in those words, I hear the architect.

Laura Dawn: I love that. I love that and also holding the vision for new projects to birth to in the future and where that’s going; I’m also excited about running retreats. Again, it’s been a year and a half with COVID.  I miss running retreats, and part of the beauty is being on a hiatus to go back to graduate school and getting this degree in Creative Studies in change leadership and applying more of that to the retreats and doing more corporate retreats because I want to be educating and instilling these qualities in the leaders leading in, the business realm as well, I think is important. So that’s exciting to go in that direction.

Natasja Pelgrom: Laura, sweet, Laura, thank you so much Thank the birds and the O’s and the beautiful sounds in the background. And that’s the first thing I always hear when I put your podcast on. And I always make me smile. And I love the fact that in your very first episode you excuse the fact I think every human being that’s listening is like it’s a lush for the ears to have nature around. So I’m thinking that nature. And I’m thank you.

Laura Dawn: Thank you. It’s such a pleasure. I just adore you. And I also want to give a big shout-out to everyone on the synthesis team who’s doing really good work. And just really appreciate how you guys are embodying psychedelic leadership as a team. It’s phenomenal. So thank you so much for having me, Natasja Pelgrom. I love you so much.

Outro: Hi, friend. Thank you so much for tuning in to another episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast. If you’ve been enjoying the show, I would so appreciate it if you could share it with a friend or post a link on your social media, or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Or if you feel inspired, I would so appreciate it if you could leave me a review on iTunes. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please feel free to reach out through my website at livefreelaurad.com or connect with me on Instagram @livefreelaurad. I also host weekly Clubhouse rooms, and you can find me on Clubhouse at livefreelaurad. I’m going to leave you with a song called Serve the Truth by Mary Isis. Once again, my name is Laura Dawn and you’re listening to the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast. Until next time

Title: Laura Dawn interview _transcript file

Duration: 1:30:28

Laura Dawn [Intro]:  My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to Episode number 29 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast, featuring a conversation that I had with a dear sister who for this episode is interviewing me on the topics of Psychedelic Leadership. Meeting ayahuasca, I would say was the real turning point, this is my path, and you’re my teacher. And this is what I want to dedicate my life to and that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people listening who work with ayahuasca. And I also happen to be my father’s daughter, which I would say is just radically stubborn in the way that I want to live my life and choosing to work with medicines in a way that is outside the box.

But dedicating my life to what it means to listen to direct transmission from the plant medicines themselves. Without it being like, I need to fit into this plant medicine box or it has to be done this way or that way. The moment that I drank medicine for the first time, I knew that I had a lot to learn from her and how I could just show up as a human being working with a plant, like all human beings have done for millennia. You know, I would say that was the turning point, I realized that my Dharma was to cultivate the understanding in myself around what it means to be a visionary. So a few weeks ago, I was invited to speak on my friend Natasja Pelgrom I can’t get her name, her last name is Dutch, Natasja Pelgrom.

Her podcast is called the Awakened Podcast. I just call her Natasja Pelgrom because it’s easier. And when she interviewed me for her podcast, I wasn’t planning on sharing that conversation here. But it occurred to me afterward, I’m always asking myself, how can I change things up? How can I do things differently? And I also speak to this in this conversation with Natasja Pelgrom, looking at what the mold is, in this case, how is this podcast quote-unquote, supposed to look? And then asking myself, what are all the ways I can do it differently? And then I thought, well, why not share that episode, that conversation that I had with her podcast, the Awakened Podcast, and one of the things I’m learning, and I am getting this on a whole new freaking level, is how to peel the layers back and show up in my authentic expression of who I am.

And let’s just be honest about this, it is easier said than done; it is just easier said than done.  We can talk all about being authentic, let’s just be authentic, and then when there are those moments where I say something that’s pretty edgy, and I’m realizing how often I do push the envelope, so to speak, about the topics that I’m speaking about. And it’s pretty hard to step out and own a perspective, especially in the psychedelic space. And so I’ll say that, I think the real training here and in fact, the irony of it is that I do believe that plant medicines are teaching us how to hold a perspective lightly, shaking the neural snow globe, quieting the default mode network, loosening our grip over the story we tell ourselves and inviting us to not cling on to our beliefs about anything at all.

It’s the practice of genuinely trying to stay open, which again, is easier said than done. So as you listen to this interview, keep in mind that I’m evolving, we all are, it’s very likely that I’ll look back on this episode and chuckle at myself at my perspective, because maybe I’ll see something in a different light, or God willing, I will see something in a new light in the future. So when we listen to other people speak, it’s also that invitation to create space in our hearts and minds for other people’s growth and evolution as well. This is something I’m learning on a personal level when I think about my relationship with someone close to me, like someone in my family, and I hold a narrative about which they are and that narrative might stay the same.

Meanwhile, they’re growing and learning and evolving as human beings. It’s so interesting the way that narratives work like that. And so some of the topics we touch on in this conversation are just so freaking nuanced.  Psychedelic leadership is such a nuanced topic, and my goodness, sometimes these topics just feel like minefields. And there’s just not enough time in these conversations to offer the full picture perspective, to look at it from every angle, we just can’t. And so these topics are just rampant with paradox and ironies that trust me, are not lost on me. Now, let’s set the stage here for the opening of this conversation and why you are listening to my nose run, I like constantly sniffling for the first entire half of the episode.

I’m sniffling to the end because I didn’t have a Kleenex nearby. And I didn’t just stop and say, let me go blow my nose. But what’s going on there is that opens this episode with his beautiful grounding meditation that she wasn’t recording. And she just channeled something at the moment that just brought both of us to tears. And it was imagining both of us sitting on this porch as old women looking back on our lives and all that we’ve done. And I’ve just been in this tender-hearted space making peace with my life, making peace with my impermanence lately, connecting to the knowingness that one day, I’m just going to be dust going back to this earth.

And when we hold this knowledge in our awareness it just can’t bring you to tears.  At least that’s just the case for me anyway. And if you haven’t listened to my solo episode, all the way back at episode number four,  I can’t believe I’m about to hit episode number 30 next week, I recorded on the initiation of bowing at the altar of impermanence. It’s just such a bittersweet topic for me. And it’s also just up right now because I’m moving through a big portal of transition and transformation in my life. I’m coming out of a decade-long relationship, I’m calling in a new home base, and honestly, I’m just working hard right now, that ebbs and flows in my life.

But I’m holding space for this three-month micro-dosing mastermind, who we talked about a little bit in this episode and I have over 30 people in that group. And it’s a lot to hold space for, and I love it. And it’s also you know, energy output, and I have the podcast, I’m also in graduate school. And now I’m moving through this time of transition out of nine years of marriage. And so, I’ve been reflecting a lot on this notion of impermanence. And also when I’m working hard, and I’m working to support the psychedelic movement, I have a vision that inspires me. And it’s also a lot of energy output. And I’ve needed to zoom out and look at the bigger picture and ask myself, what do I care about?

What do I value? What’s important to me right now? And what is this all for? And just struck a chord in my heart with her opening meditation. And so the conversation opens pretty much in my mid-sentence when hit record. And I was speaking to the sense of just how honored I felt to be able to interview some people in the space, who have dedicated their lives to this movement. And feeling like there’s this passing of a generation and this generation that just holds such a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. And I’ve felt privileged in moments to be on the receiving end of these conversations with people like Dennis McKenna, and Sandra Angermann, for example.

And in this conversation, you’ll see, it just doesn’t get rawer than this. Well, unless you listen to the episode on Oponopono, where my mom and I do this real-time forgiveness practice,  maybe I should say, it doesn’t get rawer than that and holding space that it can get rawer than all of this more real, more authentic. And that’s the invitation that I’m permitting myself to step into right now. And the truth is, getting back to the runny nose is that I’m a crier, I do shed a lot of tears. It’s how I process emotion. And I also love to laugh, which you’ll hear throughout this episode. But I feel so deeply I feel a lot and sometimes, I also feel passionate about what I’m speaking about.

And just learning more and more into permitting myself to show up in the expression of whom I am in the okayness of who I am, that passion is energy and life force moving through me. And just owning that and permitting myself to be in the expression of that. Enough about me for a moment I want to say something about Natasja. I adore this woman, check out her Awaken Podcast. I’ll post a link to her podcast and her Instagram in the show notes. And I will have Natasja on this podcast as a guest as well, where I’m interviewing her. And so has been with Synthesis Institute for quite a few years now. And they’ve been rolling out some pretty high-level psychedelic facilitator training.

They have a world-class team that they’ve put together to teach these training programs. And Natasja is just doing such great work with them. And that’s how we met, I was invited to come and spend a weekend dropping into their program in the Netherlands that was pre-COVID days now. But Natasja is just so much more than that role. We are all so much more than our titles. She is such a beautiful space holder, she’s a guide, she leads retreats, and she is so full of wisdom. And I cherish our blossoming friendship, especially the long hilarious voice memos we leave for each other on WhatsApp, because we both love to laugh, which again, we do quite a bit in this interview, especially when she says some funny shit right at the beginning.

So at the end of this episode, I’m going to leave you with a song called Serve the Truth by my dear friend, Mary Isis, which just felt so appropriate for this conversation, where we dive into a whole bunch of nuanced topics related to Visionary and Psychedelic Leadership. And before we dive in, just one more note that songs like this can be found on my playlist for Psychedelic Journeys and beyond. There is one playlist on there that is so great for cultivating a micro-dosing, morning flow. And you can find that on my website at livefreeLaurad.com, where you can also swipe with my free eight-day micro-dosing course, which gives you a good foundational starting point for cultivating a micro-dosing practice.

Alright, without any further ado, here is my conversation with Natasja interviewing me for this episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Laura Dawn: I have the privilege of the conversations I’ve had with some elders where I feel I’ve received their wisdom and holding space for their passing for the degeneration, and we’re stepping into this. You and I are stepping into this generation now of eldership I’m not quite there yet. But just holding space for the passing of the generation and thinking about myself as an old woman, if I can make it that far and even more just thinking about the perspective of what it’s all for, what we’re doing everything that we’re doing right now and what it what is it all for and bringing that perspective into the day to day with all the waves of change, where surfing and everything, all the energy we give to people every day, and just bringing that bigger picture perspective of what it’s all for.

Natasja Pelgrom:   I know, it’s one of the things why I realized recently because my Dutch grandmother, half Portuguese, half Dutch, and my grandmother are alive. And she’s a children’s book writer. They’re writing a biography right now about her. And she was looking through her diaries throughout the years to get pieces to give towards the book. And she shared with me how that was to read her own story about what she was cooking this afternoon. And how she was playing with the dogs and I came to visit and all those memories. And I thought to myself, I don’t have those diaries because I’m not a writer and in that sense, I write differently in space.

And then I thought, but I do, it’s this podcast. So when I did the opening centering of I envisioned myself sitting on a porch and sitting with some sisters and being older and sitting in this space and then listening back on the question that I asked was so alive back then, if we would only know that this would have meant this in the end, so I envision that calmness and that reverence of elderhood that we’re stepping into ourselves.

Laura Dawn:  That being said, I found my first gray hair this week. I told my lover that he said, did you pull it out? And I was like hell, no, I would never, are you kidding me? I embrace my silverback

Natasja Pelgrom:  Yes, well, I have them on my head but not pubic hairs yet.

Laura Dawn: No guys it’s so funny. So funny

Natasja Pelgrom: Thank you for this beautiful starts Laura Dawn sweet Laura Dawn, how we got to know each other through the work and holding that space and you coming in with a playfulness, open heart, and beautiful smile and me going like a little girl, when you’re in the playground and looking at another girl and saying I want to be your friend. But I didn’t know how to [inaudible 16:10] this little girl part showed up. And I remember at the end of the ceremony, where I was just like I need to switch this around. So I put some dance music on. And then I started dancing and you came back into space. I was like I like you we are dancing, a beautiful introduction into our connection from then on.

And I just wanted to say and start naming here on the podcast about the work that you do and how much inspiration and a lot of respect, I bow my head down for the work that you do for the path that you do the absolute brilliance in communicating very clearly and standing in truth. And the truth is for many of us a very different truth, there is only one. So I wanted to share that today, I have this opportunity to have that recorded. And I would love to start Laura with going a little bit back in time. And because there are a few things that bridge our lives in a way that I don’t think we even fully realize. But one of the things that I recall and I was reading up on you is about your past and about plant medicines, and I how it helped you through depression, but also addiction.

And I recognize that path very well. And I would love for you to just go a little bit back in time. And if you can share that journey a bit with our listeners, especially for these listeners that might not know you. So give some context before we go into the juicy topics.

Laura Dawn:  Well, I just want to say thank you so much for those kind words. That means so much coming from you and the way that you hold space. I just admire and respect your space-holding capacity so much. And I felt the same about you. I was I just want to be her friend, and once people see what a goofball I am and how much I just love to dance and joke and laugh, it’s a whole different story in terms of cultivating friendship from that place. But thank you so much for the invitation about my journey and my past.  In my teenage years, I struggled with depression. I remember hearing Eckhart Tolle’s definition of the painful body for the first time when he came out with the power of now.

It would just be struck me and it was just that feeling of I don’t know where this is coming from, this pain body. Well, I’ll start by going way back before I was even born. About a year ago, I had an ayahuasca journey. And, it’s 20 years of working with plant medicines, and still new things coming up. And my mom and I are quite close. And I had a vision in that ceremony of something that happened before I was born prenatal trauma. And I called my mom the next day, and I asked her, what happened when you are pregnant with me? And she started crying, and she had never told me this and this was just a year ago, and she said that she quite far along in the pregnancy, she was going for an abortion. And she went to the clinic and she was about to abort me.

And then she decided last minute to keep me she said, I gave my other three children a chance I have to give you a chance too and that came through the medicine and I felt it,  and I felt just the imprint of wounding, of not belonging and so in my teenage years, there’s so much that we’re dealing with in this culture where I think everyone’s just trying to figure out what it means to be alive on the planet today, and just making sense out of just that, just living in this story of separation, as Charles Eisenstein would call it,  this disconnected reality where we all live in these cookie-cutter homes, and everyone’s so disconnected and working so hard, and just so much ramp and stress. And that was 20 years ago, now it’s this amplified to the max. So I was in that place of just struggling with making sense out of what it means to be alive.

And being a teenager struggling with depression is just so hard, because you think, what’s wrong with me?  What is this and I had a very strong propensity to want to explore the unknown, sort of hurl myself off over the edge, and I had my first high dose psilocybin experience when I was about 14 15. And it was at that time, I started intuitively just taking very small amounts of psilocybin when I was going to school, and it helped me and so this was many years ago, before the term micro-dosing. I remember the first time I heard the term micro-dosing, was that makes so much sense, and then over the years, and it was different back then, it wasn’t in a ceremonial context, I received so much benefit from being able to have these journeys, at that age where I was out in nature, looking up at the vastness of the cosmos, and questioning, why am I here?

What is this all for, and just laughing from the gut, from the depths of my soul, connecting to that place of laughter? And I think that stayed with me all of these years, there’s a strong propensity towards seriousness and drive and all of that, but having that backbone of laughter and humor at the sheer irony of what the fuck it means to be alive right now is one big cosmic joke in a way. And, then in my later, as I was still coping with so much I was in my undergrad, I had a degree in finance and was on the fast track of success. And I was struggling with drinking, and with overeating, and just numbing out, it was quintessential, numbing out not wanting to feel and moving into more cocaine addiction. And it was one very strong LSD journey that I was struggling with cocaine addiction with my ex-partner; we were doing a lot of cocaine in those days.

And I had one LSD journey where  I saw myself from a different perspective, and I saw other people on cocaine that night, and I saw an energy quality there, and I said, you know what, I’m done. I don’t want that to be my life. And I walked through a door that night and put down that addiction and never went back and that was the beginning of understanding addiction and I spent many years doing a lot of research into addiction. I wrote a book about food addiction and so I had to do a lot of research there and understand the mechanisms and more from a spiritual perspective than anything that was the inquiry, like why is I numbing out? Why am I reaching for something to not feel, and I found Pema Chodron’s teachings and Eastern philosophy that have had a tremendous impact on my life, huge impact, more so than I would say anything?

Including psychedelics, those teachings have helped me an enormous amount. Just learn what it means to be present, and sit with discomfort. And I find that those teachings around making contact with groundlessness and learning how to cultivate presence amid discomfort, learning what it means to sit in the middle of the fire that goes hand in hand, with working with plant medicines. You can’t work with plant medicines for 20 years and not know what it means to sit in the middle of the fire, and sit and learn how to sit with discomfort and make peace with that without trying to push away when you have nowhere to run.

There’s nowhere to run in the ceremony, you have to sit and stay. And I think that’s helpful to start making peace with addiction, with numbing out, with distraction and there’s full-blown addiction. And then there are the millions of ways that we move away from the present moment, moment by moment in every day of our lives. So, I think that’s what plant medicines are ultimately showing us is it’s not about the medicine it’s about how we show up and meet the medicine and it’s about consciousness, it’s about connecting to the vastness of the conscious awareness that we are.  So, that’s the journey.

Natasja Pelgrom: Yes, beautiful and nervous, so much recognition and awards are you using right now because I think my first experience was at 14 15. Which psilocybin and at the time, I wouldn’t realize what was shared with me until a few years ago. So sometimes it takes almost a lifetime to fully unpack what is shown up and exactly sitting in that uncomfortableness. I recall a moment of deep heart pain and shame of the space of when the moment when you start peeling away that onion of stepping out of I have to deal with this right now cannot go any further. And then going through the layer of shame how you’ve abused yourself, how you’ve shown up in a relationship with others.

And I recall a moment sitting in the shower of sitting in that pure, uncomfortable space, and having a full-blown awakening process and having a full-blown multi-dimensional, quantum physical expansion of awareness. Where, when I was a child, I would always see more of sacred geometry with plants and things where you will see, when you are in plant medicine space, and that was such a turnaround for me, and that was almost the precursor to go towards plant medicines and that work. How was that for you? What was for you the pivotal point of where you said you’ve done intuitively micro-dosing in the past, you’ve reached a point where you weren’t even at a numbing, sitting in that pain, what was the transition for you to then go, this is my life, I don’t want to be?

Laura Dawn: This is my path.

Natasja Pelgrom: But this is where I am, exactly.

Laura Dawn:  I would say every moment has led me to this moment, so it’s all been so relevant. working with psilocybin and LSD for about 10 years, and then meeting ayahuasca, I would say, was the real turning point of this is my path, you’re my teacher and this is what I want to dedicate my life to and that can mean a lot of things to a lot of people listening who work with ayahuasca, and I also happen to be my father’s daughter, which I would say is just radically stubborn in the way that I want to live my life and choosing to work with medicines in a way that is outside the box. And right now, it’s so interesting; I find this to be such a paradox, with the amount of judgment in the psychedelic space.

And I understand why, I get it, I have judgments too, as we’ve talked about, but dedicating my life to what it means to listen to direct transmission from the plant medicines themselves. Without it is like I need to fit into this plant medicine box or this plant medicine box or it has to be done this way or that way. Because otherwise, it’s called, quote, unquote, cultural appropriation, or which is a whole can of worms, and I have so much respect for always. And also, the moment that I drank medicine for the first time, I knew she was my teacher, and that I had a lot to learn from her and how I could just show up as a human being working with a plant, like all human beings have done for millennia.

I would say that was the turning point, I realized that my Dharma was to cultivate the understanding in myself around what it means to be a visionary. And that is a tricky place to walk because being a visionary or a leader of our time means that by definition, you’re stepping beyond the status quo. So even stepping beyond the status quo in the psychedelic space, is nuanced territory. It’s tricky to navigate that space. So I think, and then we have judgments, I hear people holding all kinds of Ayahuasca and electronic dance music, Ayahuasca and yoga now, it’s like there’s something for everyone.

So, it’s like I try as much as possible to maintain an open mind and we can all hold it with safety, harm reduction, there are key pillars that we can’t skip over, I think, no matter what we’re doing in the space, and I think just holding it with this awareness for me, in this process of what does this mean to be a visionary? And are these plants here to show us how to think in this way, and I believe that they are. And maybe that’s just a transmission that is meant to come through this being in my life and dedicating my life to that path. But also, just knowing what I don’t know, like the vastness of how much I do not know, the more you ask, the more you realize that you just don’t know.

So it’s like, how do I hold that spectrum of being a leader wanting to educate, wanting to support people and also saying, there’s so much that I don’t know, here, we’re all learning in real-time, right now. That’s what’s happening in the space.

Natasja Pelgrom:  How do you see the challenges as a leader yourself?  Simply as we learn and we grow, something that I believe two years ago, I might speak something very different.  So, how do you create an accountability process for yourself or a reflection process for yourself to be in this visionary state and be in leadership and taking the responsibility in that space? What’s your take on that?

Laura Dawn:  There’s so much to say about that. But well, first of all,  knowing how to set yourself up to make honesty easy,  so I just started my micro-dosing mastermind, which was the essence, the idea came through a visionary medicine space, where I said, there are so many people wanting to step into leadership roles in the psychedelic space, it would be great if we had this cohort of people where we can cultivate a container that sets us up for honest communication, clear feedback, supporting each other in a way that lifts each other, and creates sort of a model and a blueprint for how people can create a peer to peer support networks.

To not just like, quote, unquote, hold each other accountable, but to teach each other how to navigate this space, with a lot of humility and a lot of learning. And so it’s like, we just started our first sort of content call yesterday. And so I set myself up to be able to say, in the future, you know what, I was wrong about that by opening the container and saying, I don’t have all the answers, I’m learning right alongside you, I might be leading this container and holding the primary space holder for this container. But by no means do I have all the answers. And I’m here to learn just as much from you, as you are from me. And that’s my hope.

So it’s in a way, and I genuinely feel that. So I’m also setting myself up for the end. And I even said that at the end of the three months, I can’t wait to tell you all the things that I did wrong, and all the ways that I learned about what not to do next time, so I can share it with you and you can learn from that. And we can have exponential growth and transformation. So one level is the personal level, honesty, radical honesty,  humility, and I’m not always humble, sometimes I have these moments where I’m like, I just did the coolest thing, and it’s just that balance of being able to hold what we’re creating, and, either the sky and feet on the earth.

So the person I think level, and then the cohort, peer to peer level, and then the elder level, and the people who have been doing this a long time, and having people who love you, who you trust and who you know, will give you honest reflections and help check yourself in those moments where we come out of big psychedelic space, and we have all these ideas like, I know that space of my transmission channel being way open, and someone being like, Here, let me grab your foot and like, bring you back down to earth and it’s real, and learning how to set up the structure of our lives too, so it’s like the person the peer to peer, the elder and then the structure, the larger container, the set, and setting.

Setting means when we’re in psychedelic space is just amplifying what’s already there. So how do I set up the foundational practices of my life to incorporate, goods sleep habits and good eating habits and meditation practice that helped me check myself and show up to the best of my capacity as much as possible because if I’m getting four hours a night of sleep, I’m not showing up in centered, cognizant full. I’m debilitating myself on a certain cognitive level, so that’s a sense of responsibility that I have as a leader to take care of myself, and seeing it from that perspective, I think is important.

Natasja Pelgrom:  Beautiful, I love this topic about this leadership. And I know this is also your topic and your work and how you show up in what you bring across also with your podcast. And it seeps through very clearly. So the leadership aspect for those listeners of psychedelic leadership, just making it simplifies, what does that mean? What does that mean to be a psychedelic leader?

Laura Dawn: Well, this is a funny story, because, you know those images where it’s one image, but if you look at it one way, it’s a bird, and if you look at the other way, it’s like an old woman, those like perceptual illusions; it’s the same thing with psychedelic leadership. Essential components of what these key pillars of what psychedelics and sacred plant medicines teach us in our lives, like empathy, like pro-social behavior, which means a willingness to help support other people just for the act of wanting to support other people, creative thinking, and creative problem solving, which is the master’s degree I’m currently pursuing.

Looking at all of these ways that psychedelics are helping us they’re an advanced training ground to teach us how to become more heart-centered, more empathetic, more compassionate for ourselves, but also other people, more connected more aware of our connection to this earth, as Dennis McKenna, who is just so poetic, he says, plant medicines are the neurotransmitters of the guy in mind telling us to wake up and we were at the ninth hour here,  we have to wake up, we don’t have a lot of time,  as Pema Chodron would say, there’s no time to lose. So that was my entry into this naming of the podcast, which was an excruciatingly painful process, and for the first several months, I agonized over this thought of people are going to just think that I am so hubris to like claim this name, psychedelic leadership.

And so the flip side of that is, what most people see as psychedelic leadership name is, this is a podcast for leaders stepping into the psychedelic space. So I unintentionally put myself in that role and I would never from that angle, would never have chosen that name. Because I am like, don’t follow me, for the love of God, just don’t follow me like this is, it wasn’t that. And I didn’t realize that, which is so funny, because my mind was just so focused on like, the old woman and not the bird.  I was so focused on that one angle, and then I realized, I’m receiving a lot of emails from people asking about facilitator training, and how do I become a leader in the psychedelic space? And so my sort of the programs that I teach, and the work that I do is how do we cultivate a heart-centered leadership, regardless of the domain that we’re in?

But it’s looking at the pillars of like, what is the sort of key tenants like? How do we work with plant medicines to help cultivate a vision that expands the boundaries of what we believe is possible, it’s time to think bigger, we have to think bigger. And that’s what leadership is whether you’re in the psychedelic space or not. And so I’ve created a sort of a roadmap, a framework that’s come through the plant medicine space, called the path of the creative, visionary Bodhisattva. And there are big components to each one where I weave wisdom, these teachings that are 1000s of years old that have had a huge impact in my life.

Nobody owns these teachings. They’re for humanity. They’re to support the awakening of humanity. And they just so happened to go hand in hand with plant medicine space. And then there’s this whole teaching around what it means to embody the visionary, how do we train ourselves to think bigger, my mind thinks in Venn diagrams. So it’s the visionary pieces thinking bigger, but that’s what Pema says, the distillation of what it means to be walking the spiritual path is going from narrow mind to open mind. That’s the same thing and that’s what it means to be a visionary and that’s also what it means to be creative and think creatively. So weaving, science, psychedelic research, what are we learning now with neuroplasticity? How are we seeing with Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris’s research about pivotal mental states?  What can we learn from that and apply what we understand with creativity training, like training ourselves to think more creatively in leveraging those windows of heightened mental flexibility, with the goal, the drive to solve some of the most challenging, complex problems that we’re facing, and help uncover solutions?

So that we can radically choose to live differently on this Earth right now that we can find solutions that help us live more connected, that help us embody more self-compassion for ourselves and others, like, look around. These are the most divided times; these teachings help us build bridges. And that’s what we’re all doing in this space is how do we build bridges, whether we’re in the psychedelic space or not, we need to find more unity between us and our fellow humans. And so that’s my take on Psychedelic Leadership.

Natasja Pelgrom:  Beautiful, thank you so much I could go like I have four questions. I will go that way, we’ll go that way. I love it. You can hear you’re a podcaster, in dutch we have a saying you put a quarter in it, and it just goes on. But I want to keep on with a topic around the leadership piece because one of the things that I realized this was about two years ago when started creating a woman’s leadership retreat. And the word leadership was very funny because I had to untangle the meaning of it. Because I reclaim the word, like the number of times that I even till today, see women men don’t matter, I’m not a CEO, I’m not this or that, I have not accomplished this.

And then the word leadership, how much stigma or limiting me is on top of that word. There is also another part of it that is the leadership part where there is the part where people call themselves leaders. But I have not walked the miles of being a leader, everybody’s a leader, but are you that leader? Are you that person to be an expert in a specific field or a specific space? And especially when it comes to psychedelic space? What you said, I mean, I recognize that the open channel, yes, this is what I’m going to do, come back down, be grounded. And I do miss from time to time where, without judgment, where I pick up on people’s ambition and sometimes even entitlement if I can say that word right now, which might trigger some things for some listeners, but I’m going to say it anyway.

I’ve had this experience, now I own the experience, now I know about this and now I’m a leader. And especially because in marketing and branding, and wholesales besides psychedelics, we’ve been branded on our individuality, not on our weakness, not on our business. So how do you see and speaking into the psychedelic space of the gold rush around the psychedelic space and leadership created? Yes, I want to touch upon it with you.

Laura Dawn: It’s so tricky because I know that there are people who hold a lot of judgment about the work that I’m doing. I know that I’ve received emails and sometimes your critics tend to speak the loudest in your mind. But what I find to be helpful and again, it comes down to this place of people like, but I have good intention. And I’m following the path of my heart. And I say this too that I’m also following the path of my heart. And there’s nothing that replaces experience, and so for me, I don’t care if you have a degree in psychology, if you’re a therapist, if you’re doing the training of the map, if you have a Ph.D.

People have been working with plant medicines for millennia outside of the medical institution. So that’s not it for me, for example, if you’re in the cohort of people who are now on the psychedelic bandwagon because of Michael Pollan’s book, How to Change Your Mind, I don’t necessarily think that you have a depth of experience, because that’s just too recent in our collective movement to be stepping out and leading big companies in the space, I think that’s premature. My sense is that, and what I emphasize is there’s this place around because you said, this place of self-judgment, self-criticism, and fear of stepping out.

So that’s unhealthy,  being afraid of stepping into the embodiment of what it means to like self-accept ourselves and know that we can be leaders. And, so all of that has to be held, with a deep sense of responsibility. So, I have this whole thing around like permission, self-permission, coupled with the response, self-responsibility, and a very strong support network, who is your support network in this space, because it is unfolding rapidly, it is unfolding in real-time, we are learning, we do need to be able to check ourselves, I don’t think that will grow and learn and transform through shame, and public shaming.

And I think we are seeing that a lot. Now some big people have landed on the top 100 Most Influential People in psychedelics, who have had very few psychedelic experiences themselves, how do you lead in the psychedelic space with having very few psychedelic experiences?  I don’t think there’s enough of a backbone, these experiences change over time, you just said it, you’re just receiving the gems of some of your journeys, when you were a teenager, and this shit takes time. It takes time, got to let the dust settle, and not just let the dust settle for two weeks, like two decades.   You can’t replace that in my opinion and it’s just my opinion, and if this is triggering for you to listen to this, that trigger right now that you’re feeling is good medicine for you. Look at that, what is in that trigger? Why do you feel defensive looking at that? Our triggers are good medicine for all of us.

Natasja Pelgrom: Absolutely. It’s where the magic lies; it’s the golden shadow part if you’re willing to see that part within you.

Laura Dawn: I love that term; golden shadow

Natasja Pelgrom: Golden shadow, yes

Laura Dawn:  I’ll attribute that to you.

Natasja Pelgrom: No, absolutely not, did not create that? Believe me, I read that once.

Laura Dawn:  I love it.

Natasja Pelgrom:  I can’t even recall, who can claim it, but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to use because it’s very much how I’ve worked with people. Always bring it back. If anybody knows me well, is always like what’s the gift, always the catch and what’s the gift goes back to sitting in the uncomfortable, sticking with it, go walk that mile. For me, it was a ride from Tiago to Compostela and collapsing down in 2013 and realizing I cannot walk any further on this path I need to sit and meditation was the only thing that it was the divine said to me, now sit on the ground and just sit with your shit and that was the way forward but talking back on the leadership piece.

What I love, I don’t recall which episode it was and where you said it and I think it was relating to probably the mastermind micro-dose course that you are having, I think I listened to the episode where you’re sharing and explaining and a few times you said the word about the shamanic process of it. And when you move somewhere, you want to change something that it’s first in the energetic field.  You want to create something that it’s an alchemical process. I don’t know if alchemical were the words, but I do know that you’ve shared the shamanic process in it. And that to me, it was when you sometimes hear people speak, and it’s a little bell goes off of; yes, this is the truth.

For me, it’s a tingling sensation in the body or it is my head that goes a bit upwards, that’s a truth that has a resonance in my test system. And what I love about that is because it brings you back to this heart-centered space, when you do approach the work this way. Now my question being is the leaders that come on your path that are probably from the paradigm, which all of us are in leadership, maybe position of maybe not necessarily psychedelic space or moving towards it, but using this space to understand self better. What do you see as the challenge, in that development, in that leader from coming from an old paradigm going into the process of heart-centeredness?

Laura Dawn: That’s a good question.

Natasja Pelgrom: You’re welcome.

Laura Dawn: Well, you know what’s so interesting? So, I received a lot of applications for this mastermind and one thing that struck me was that about 80% of the people; so in my application, it’s pretty in-depth and I also asked people what are your three most empowering beliefs? What are your three most limiting beliefs? And the words imposter syndrome came up 80%, I couldn’t believe that exact term over and over again. And at first, I thought this is so interesting but then through 60 plus applications, almost 70 applications, I probably saw that exact term 45 times.  That’s remarkable to me, that says a lot and that’s speaking to the fear of stepping out and one thing I’ve learned through just my process of we’re all finding our way in the dark here,  it’s like, I’m inching out and I’m like, who is this okay?

It’s so interesting and so again, it’s also complex and so nuanced but that’s why having that support system and knowing when it is time to permit ourselves, being a visionary is our birthright, being creative is our birthright, that’s our birthright. Whether you put a label of leadership on it or not, we’re all leaders, at the very least you’re leading a party of one so just even recognizing that but we’re so conditioned, the old model, the mold, is, the quintessential cubicle, and I’ve been an entrepreneur, my whole life, I was raised by two entrepreneurs, 10 years ago, was a very different entrepreneurial landscape than it is today. Now, people are leaving the cubicle in herds, by the dozen and so there’s a whole, learning curve around that as well too.

And how do I cultivate myself as a thought leader, for example, but I think the biggest thing that I’m seeing to sort of tie in this the shamanic piece is that when we spend all of our time facing outwards when we spend all of our time looking at the external environment that keeps reinforcing more of the same and we can go deep into the neuroscience of perception here. But the gist of it is that if you spend all of your time looking out at this solid 3D reality, you’re entranced with the solid 3D reality, it’s hard to see beyond it if you want to create something that does not yet exist on the face of this earth, which is the definition of what it means to be a leader.

If you want to follow through on wisdom that you receive that is beyond the currently prevailing belief system, you have to go within, maybe you can’t make a big ultimatum blanket statement like that but I would say very likely, you have to go with it, it’s there. There are other dimensions of reality, I just recently saw a quote from Maria Sabina that was like, there is the invisible realm that is so close, you can’t see it, but it’s always there. It’s here and I feel plant medicines are helping us to just tune our awareness to the subtle dimension of reality. And that’s where quantum physics and shamanic wisdom intersect completely.

In science is just validating what shamanic wisdom has known for 1000s of years, and I met a shaman named Menari from Ecuador and I met him in Costa Rica and he said something that was almost to the tee.  Einstein said that the field is the sole governing principle of the particle. It’s a soul governing agency of the particle, it’s the field and that’s what space holding is when you cultivate yourself as a space holder. What are we doing as space holders, we’re holding space, and we’re tapping into the field, the energetic quality of space. And that space, we can learn how to shape and mold into 3D reality. And he said, you go into the other dimensions, and that’s where you influence reality. And he said, I doubt he spends time, he’s walking in full regalia.

I doubt he’s spending time reading quantum physics, but it’s the same. And so I think that’s the hardest part is teaching people how to spend more time going within, so that they can start turning their awareness to another dimension of reality that does exist. That is where we imprint, that’s where we create from the power to create our reality starts in our mind, and it’s led by this resonant frequency in our hearts, our emotional being, our mind is not separate from our body. And so I would say that’s the biggest thing is learning how to stop looking at what everyone else is doing. What is mold? The molds are so strong, it takes a lot of will to imagine something different than the mold because if you’re always looking at the mold, this just keeps more and more reinforcing of that.

And that’s why full-circle moment, I  believe that people who don’t have enough roots in altered states of consciousness, in experiencing paying attention to the subtle dimensions of reality, who then go into launching major ventures in the space, they’re perpetuating the current mold, they don’t have enough roots into a new model. So let’s talk about the new model, reciprocity, that’s a new model.  People can spend a lot of time paying lip service to reciprocity; let’s just build it in so that it looks good on our corporate deck as we go raise $3 million.  I’m no shame of money, I’m all for abundance. But it’s such a different level; it’s even redefining what success means.  I consider myself to be very successful; I poop in a compost toilet.

Natasja Pelgrom: Exactly, that’s so beautiful and talking about the ultimate satisfaction and his contribution. When you step out of certainty and significance, you go into contribution and that’s something that I’m hearing you say, in other words, but we know what is received through plans where you said about giving back, heart centeredness, empathy, all these qualities that are needed in building a new structure. And it isn’t there yet, and societies and set up in that way.

I was talking to my partner the other day, and I was sharing with him, if I was a psychedelic entrepreneur who organizes retreats and travel, I want to have a certain bank account, I don’t need a loan, I don’t do loans but I if I want to have a bank, if I want to have specific insurance that doesn’t exist, society is not set up in a way that is also moving in that direction. Now, I’m not a keen believer in the insurance that I needed, so I’m not calling anything out here but it’s a very interesting way of everybody wants to be that spokesperson, the influencer. But what we need in this space are models of how does this foundation has in this new parent? How does this look like? It’s not just one person, not one, Laura or one Natasja Pelgrom is going to think of it.

Its people in specific capacity and understanding are going to think of it, are going to move to that, especially to financial parts, it’s so interesting. So many things are happening in that as well, I don’t want to divert the conversation into money but it’s also where the change is happening. Where would be in this psychedelic space and within this community, the thing that we should focus on more? Is there a blind spot that we’re having right now we’re all focusing on the expansion of something, I’m creating a podcast I’ve got, I’m also a spokesperson, it took me about three years to step out of my little cave, to come above ground.

And when I was asked to contribute to a book, I had the imposter syndrome for about six months writing only one chapter, it was the most horrific experience ever.  Who am I to say anything about this? I don’t know anything. I went full-blown in that process. So giving some time, I think.

Laura Dawn: It’s so tricky. There’s so much collective shadow. And again, it’s this nuanced territory of when we permit ourselves to hold it with responsibility and not to get crippled by imposter syndrome. It’s the people that you know, who drink medicine once, and then they’re like; I’m going to be a shaman. There’s like that end of the spectrum. And then you also have the end of the spectrum of someone that you know, who’s been drinking medicine for 20 years, and that they would just be such a great space holder, and they’re the ones who are like it is so much responsibility. So, I think the biggest shadow up right now is that there’s that double-edged sword of we need to wake up urgently. And that’s what plant medicines are sort of whispering in everyone’s ear.

So someone has one journey, and they’re like, I’m going to sell my house and move to Peru in the jungle, and I’m going to just launch  Ayahuasca  Retreat Center.  I’ve seen this happen. So, we do urgently need to wake up. And so how do we hold that? How do we hold that nuance of grounded action? And God knows, I have flailed in the space and made huge blunders and huge mistakes, and that’s why I think just time on the path of making mistakes, is what it’s like, it’s how we learn. And so I think the shadow right now is this notion that everyone wants to get into the psychedelic space yesterday, and I get this sense of urgency from so many people who reach out to me, and then I have calls with people who want to be in the psychedelic space, and I just need to figure it out ASAP.

Just take a moment,  just breathe and if you’re on this path, the plants they’ll show and there are all these mental plays of we’re on the path of dropping into the heart and listening to that guidance, following it from that base of the moment of every moment is fresh and new. And the essence of realization that’s what Pema children say, every moment has the essence of realization. It’s the essence of awakening and every single moment, and the more that we cultivate presence, and we learn that, we don’t have to be living five years in the future all the time.  It’s good to go into those visionary realms, we can all just take a breath and slow down, and we are all learning in the psychedelic space right now.

  I think the other shadow is this place where I think learning from an elder is great. And I think that there need to be different models for the way that we train in the space because someone creating a program, and then someone creates a program, for example, and then we all see that as the gold stamp of facilitation. But those people, who created the program, were also just creating the program, so it’s that awareness of what we consider to be because you pay $3,000 to go train with a shaman doesn’t make you a qualified shaman, because you go and get a graduate degree, it doesn’t make you qualified. What qualifies you is, how you hold space and how you cultivate space holding, and how you show up to meet presence for anyone that you’re serving and I think that the big shadow is the lack of recognition that you can only take people as far as you have gone yourself.

Natasja Pelgrom: Yes, amen that’s absolutely 100%. And that’s what, I’ve been taught every time again and sometimes there are you able to do, when it’s easy, comfortable enjoys, and people get their thing and they’re doing their thing and ceremony, great. But when there is a full-blown projection, and you said yes to that projection, it took me sometimes six to nine months to untangle that with care and work and understanding and supervision talks. And why I’ve said yes to that projection that was taking place, and that Madison space, and that responsibility and nightmares I had from it, of not being able to help someone, and are you able to hold yourself into those challenges as well? So, beautiful, I want to ask you something about the course, and micro-dosing bed, which isn’t, of course, up and running and, and I’ve heard you speak on it. It was so funny because I was at Clubhouse one time, I was invited by this group, and a question was asked, and I was like, well, you have to do your research, go search for Laura Dawn.  And then someone that we know, perhaps ping you as, they’re speaking about your hair that was me, go find her go there.  I would love to understand because so many are doing micro-dosing with psilocybin, but you’re going through the vine of Ayahuasca. And using that, which is I can imagine, not myself, but some might see that as an appropriation or might see that was Ayahuasca, like, how and what? So can you share a little bit about this journey? And then, the whole mastermind, what ended up in being?

Laura Dawn: Well, maybe I’ll just start by saying that the micro-dosing portion of the mastermind is, it is like the central sort of foundation, but I like to frame it, that it’s not about the medicine, it’s not about the thing that you’re consuming,  it’s how you show up,  the thing is life, the thing is a ceremony, the thing that we’re talking about is consciousness,  how can we leverage these experiences to allow us to show up and be present. And if right now, the tool we can draw upon to help cultivate presence is micro-dosing, or medicines, then great, let’s work with that. But let’s hold it in a way that understands that the real thing that we’re talking about here is consciousness, its awareness. It’s how we’re showing up to meet the present moment with openness to whatever is arising. That’s the thing.

So that’s like the central component of how I like to phrase it. And then we have medicines, but then we also have all other modalities that we can combine with medicines to help us cultivate, not just presence.  looking at the context of the world that we’re living in today, we’re moving through rapid change, exponential change, what is being required and cold of us is to cultivate emotional mental physical resilience, how to show up centered in the middle of the storm. And that’s the path of the Bodhisattva is, I’m training my heart and my mind to stay open in the face of suffering in the face of discomfort so that when I go and support someone else, who’s having a hard time keeping their heads above water, I don’t jump in and then drowned myself.

I cultivating I’m training my body and my heart and my mind, to be able to be resilient enough so that I can show up with fortitude to support other people. That’s essential, this notion that I said earlier is that we can only support people to the degree that we’ve gone ourselves. I can only support people and cultivating a daily practice, which daily practice is the training ground for cultivating these qualities of adaptability, rolling with the punches, resilience, flexibility, flexibility of body and mind, the daily practice is the bed of which we plant those seeds. That’s the fertile soil for which transformation transpires within the privacy of our hearts and minds.

And then they blossom through coming out of that private space and then connecting with other people in our community and sharing those gems and receiving reflections because we’re social beings by nature. So that’s sort of the foundational premise of, what this is all about. And, so showing people that we can only support the awakening of humanity, to the degree that we’re willing to awaken in our lives. And that’s the foundation. And we do that through cultivating practices. And medicine is one component, but there are ancient technologies of meditation that are also essential here for coming to know the nature of the mind. And very powerful practices for cultivating self-compassion for cultivating, the sense of willingness to sit in the discomfort, some teachings help us do that, that are incredibly helpful at the moment to draw upon.

So it’s combining different modalities to help us train ourselves so that we can be more effective human beings on this journey of awakening, ultimately. And so the medicine is one component for this particular mastermind, it’s open for people to cultivate whatever practice with medicine that they feel called to. I have a free eight-day micro-dosing course that helps people get started with the basics. This isn’t like a how-to micro-dose 101. This is like how to deepen in a practice. And my primary practice happens to be with Iosco vine, and I happen to have a lot of people very interested in cultivating that practice, there’s a lot of people on the medicine path who resonate with that frequency. It’s different than psilocybin and LSD and wachuma and, I’m not encouraging people to go and micro-dose with a Boga or Ibogaine or all of these things, I have a lot of experience with the full spectrum. The only thing I’m an expert in is my own experience.

So I’m not an expert in psilocybin and micro-dosing. I have many years of micro-dosing under my belt and many years of supporting other people in the process. But even when you start understanding the true nature of reality, we start questioning if we’re an expert in our own experience, as well, I started making medicine about 10 years ago, in the US, Banisteriopsis Caapi, which is the name of the vine is legal. And so that’s important for people to know it’s not working with the full brew with Chakruna leaf, it’s just Banisteriopsis Caapi, which is an MAOI, which is very similar to an SSRI. So there are big disclaimers that we have to put on here.  I don’t just sell people medicine, I have a whole framework, people have to do medical intake forms, I have medical doctors that I consult with, I have to watch out for red flags.

But over the years, I’ve supported quite of several people on this journey of micro-dosing vine just the other day, we had a call on zoom with 18 people cultivating a practice with the vine and it’s so special, like just to hear the essence of what people are distilling from their practice and the level of transformation that’s happening. Yes, somebody might feel very adamant that that is cultural appropriation shame on us; we should not be doing it. And if it’s bringing healing to people in their lives, genuine healing, genuine transformation, and people can show up more effectively, more lovingly, more kind, more self compassionately, I’ve had to grapple with this a lot, I had to sit in the discomfort of is this cultural appropriation?

And, I’m not making a blanket statement that I believe it is, or it isn’t. I’m just saying that I’m a human being cultivating a relationship with a plant-like many other human beings have done over the past hundreds of 1000s of years. That’s what I’m saying. And that I’ve learned a lot from this plant. And I think I can help support other people who want to do it regardless, you can order [inaudible 1:14:18] vine online without any disclaimers on it, without any guidance, without any support that’s how I feel about it. If I can bring some level of support that could just even help expedite someone’s learning curve just even a little bit.

I’m like that’s probably worth it. And from just the testimonials and witnessing and not just at the moment, like I check in with people six months a year after they go through my programs, and they say this is foundationally changed my life and my path. So again, if you’re triggered by the conversation around cultural appropriation, especially if you’re listening to this and you feel triggered, I invite you to look at what’s there for you. What is there?

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful way of working and I see and feel the way you work and was interesting because a few days ago, you reached out and I just had back to back, two days back to back that you came into my awareness where I was thinking of this mastermind and the thought was micro-dosing, I’ve only had challenging experiences with it.  It’s never been micro for me of how I perceive and I step into space. And so I was like interesting that’s my go-to answer without even talking to Laura about it. So I was already setting myself up like that my brain, the cognitive part, the one that wants to be in control, and everything is comfortable, just the way it is.

And then I was just laughing at myself going you should have this conversation with Laura because I would want to do it. And now that my brain is saying, no stay here, it’s always, because there might be other ways around it. And I might just need to change the environment, where am I just need to change my diet and don’t compare other experiences to this experience. So that being said, it’s now recorded; I want to do your mastermind.

Laura Dawn:  It’s so interesting because it comes up a lot for people and throughout the years of running these programs, this is the first time I’m doing this cohort and bringing in this mastermind element of cultivating thought leadership, how do we leverage our practice, to then think in novel ways. And that’s the essence of what this is all about. Getting back to,  what I’ve been sharing throughout this journey is like, how to not just step out as an entrepreneur or a leader, that’s all great people are like, Well, how do I have a content creation strategy, all of those things, that’s fine and great but I want to cultivate thought leaders.

That’s what I want to do. I want to help support people create original ideas. So that again, we can know that is possible to start thinking bigger to start literally, I don’t just use it as a catchphrase. I’m very serious when I talk about expanding the boundaries of what you believe are possible. And so what the medicines have taught me and I’m still learning, and I think I’ll be cultivating this framework for the rest of my life is how do we codify transformation and breakthrough? Because if we’re operating at the same level of thinking, it’s being stuck in a glass room, so we have patterns in our lives, patterns that keep coming up over and over again, we’re comfortable in the glass room. But anytime we have this thought of I want to venture a little bit further, we hit the glass wall, but we don’t see the wall.

So we’re like that’s uncomfortable. Why did I just bang my head, but then we’ll go back to the couch in the middle of the glass room and think, well, this feels more comfortable. I’m going to stay here, codifying the breakthrough. And what I mean by that is applying teachings that show us how to find the invisible doorknob so that we can venture beyond the classroom. And it requires tuning into subtlety. So if you’re facing the glass wall, head-on, you’re going to miss it, you’re not going to see it, it’s invisible. But if I say Natasja Pelgrom, come a little to the side, look at the glass wall, from this angle, focus, your perceptual field of awareness from this angle, and then you say I just saw a glimmer a light bounces off the glass wall. Now I see it’s there, now I can see

And then once you know how to see it, you can’t unseen you just can’t unsee it, then you train yourself how to pay attention. In a way, we’re refining our perceptual field of awareness. That’s what we’re doing. So we’re paying attention. Where are those patterns? Where do you keep hitting the wall? How can you look at it from this way, it’s and ultimately what it is, is cultivating meta-awareness, we’re becoming more aware, paying more attention to what we’re paying attention to. And that’s essential right now that is so essential for humanity living on this planet. And so the whole purpose of the mastermind is to start to cultivate our sense of where we’re staying stuck in, in the classroom, how to shift our perceptual field of awareness to say, I just saw the light glimmer off the glass. That’s where my boundary is. And now that I trained my mind to look for it, now it becomes more and more and more obvious. And now I can see the glass room, entirety. I can see it, I see the boundary. And now I can also see the door.

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. Where is Laura going to be from today June 3, 2021, that we’re recording? Where is Laura Dawn going to be on June 3, 2031?

Laura Dawn: 10 years, I was like, how far are we jumping into the future?  I just hold the prayer that we’re humanity’s still here chugging along in 10 years, I think things are changing exponentially, and we have no idea what the future needs to hold. So for me, it’s less about where and more about the how, and the why, and how I’m embodying my life.  Regardless of where I’m at,  I’ve been living off-grid in nature for 15 years, and so in different settings, and I can’t live, in nature, I don’t have a door, I’m in the jungle.  I live in a converted tiny home and I am going through a very big portal of transformation. I’ve had some big sort of punctuation points in the chapters of my life.

And I’m facing that again, right now. So I’m in this point,  after this mastermind, I’m going to go take some time off to go in and restructure the field, imprint the field so that it can sort of coalescing into the next chapter of what that wants to be. But for me, I just pray that in 10 years from now, some of the projects that I’m birthing right now, like grow medicine, which is all about reciprocity, it’s about building an app that before or after people journey with medicine, they open the app, they click on the button of what they just consumed, and it goes towards replanting, supporting sustainable regrowth, and also giving back to cultures that we’ve, been learning from over the years.

I’ll put it that way and so I just hope that less about me and more about like, I hope that these projects take off and that many vines will be planted and many iboga plants will be planted and that many toads will be conserved with some of the conservation efforts that we’re looking at supporting and that more people will be living in joy.  Like I say, dancing with the frequency of inspiration, that more people can find what’s alive for them. And that I can feel I’m sitting on my porch overlooking nature in whatever way knowing that I contributed to that in some good way and that it was all worth it.

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. Thank you so much. I would love to wrap it up with some random questions before I close, just randomly out of the air, I am not prepared at all. But I’m very curious about, let me see, what taste excites you?

Laura Dawn: Literal taste

Natasja Pelgrom: Literal taste, when you taste that something wakens in your system, in your body?

Laura Dawn: Well, I have my vine medicine right here I would say this medicine, that I ayahuasca vine from Hawaii has a very sweet taste. It’s, nectar and when I put it in my mouth that awakens me so much. I just love the taste of that. And I love dairy and I’ll say sits at the top of my list for a taste of goodness, creamy, raunchy durian.

Natasja Pelgrom: That’s beautiful. And what do you see as beauty in the world?

Laura Dawn: I have a little owl that just burst 30 feet from my bungalow. That’s beauty seeing the myriad ways that life expresses itself in so many different forms, and just that it all just emerges from the source. This little owl sounds cute, but this owl has been keeping me up for the last two nights. So loud I was like, this owl very present in my field right now. But just beauty in all the ways, just the way that life expresses itself.

Natasja Pelgrom: Beautiful. And if you would be an animal then what animal would you be?

Laura Dawn: That owl is the visionary, sees in the dark

Natasja Pelgrom: As I thought you were going to answer that, but I just needed to know.

Laura Dawn: It’s my animal Totem I see at least two or three owls every day, they’re all around me. And I feel that deep sense of connection, they are the archetypal visionary. They fly in the night.

Natasja Pelgrom: Exactly. So last but not least, if you would not be doing what you do today, in terms of contributing to the world, what would that be like, if you would not be doing all of this?

Laura Dawn: You know it’s so funny is that I’ve had a few close reflections that people have said, even if you were so wealthy, and you didn’t have to work, you would not be able to let this go. So I just don’t know. I can’t imagine my life without it. I just can’t on this path.  I would want to go and spend two or three years in a deep meditative retreat with Pema before she passes.  I would say more like monastic life.

Natasja Pelgrom: Can I answer that too, see you?

Laura Dawn: Yes.

Natasja Pelgrom: So, I see you as an architect.

Laura Dawn: Yes. I like that. When I was a kid, at one point, I went through a phase where I was like, I’m going to be an architect but building temple spaces.

Natasja Pelgrom: And because it can be literal, but it’s also an architect of building foundation. And the way you choose the words, and I can see it architecturally when you speak. I see when I use vision. It’s very architectural thought of systematic, structured, and very precise. Every angle needs to be the exact right way. Because otherwise there is no balance and it will collapse. So every time you speak about the way you work and the things you create and how you see things and even the examples of saying the clear wall and look at it this way and that angle, it’s even in those words, I hear the architect.

Laura Dawn: I love that. I love that and also holding the vision for new projects to birth to in the future and where that’s going; I’m also excited about running retreats. Again, it’s been a year and a half with COVID.  I miss running retreats, and part of the beauty is being on a hiatus to go back to graduate school and getting this degree in Creative Studies in change leadership and applying more of that to the retreats and doing more corporate retreats because I want to be educating and instilling these qualities in the leaders leading in, the business realm as well, I think is important. So that’s exciting to go in that direction.

Natasja Pelgrom: Laura, sweet, Laura, thank you so much Thank the birds and the O’s and the beautiful sounds in the background. And that’s the first thing I always hear when I put your podcast on. And I always make me smile. And I love the fact that in your very first episode you excuse the fact I think every human being that’s listening is like it’s a lush for the ears to have nature around. So I’m thinking that nature. And I’m thank you.

Laura Dawn: Thank you. It’s such a pleasure. I just adore you. And I also want to give a big shout-out to everyone on the synthesis team who’s doing really good work. And just really appreciate how you guys are embodying psychedelic leadership as a team. It’s phenomenal. So thank you so much for having me, Natasja Pelgrom. I love you so much.

Outro: Hi, friend. Thank you so much for tuning in to another episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast. If you’ve been enjoying the show, I would so appreciate it if you could share it with a friend or post a link on your social media, or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Or if you feel inspired, I would so appreciate it if you could leave me a review on iTunes. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please feel free to reach out through my website at livefreelaurad.com or connect with me on Instagram @livefreelaurad. I also host weekly Clubhouse rooms, and you can find me on Clubhouse at livefreelaurad. I’m going to leave you with a song called Serve the Truth by Mary Isis. Once again, my name is Laura Dawn and you’re listening to the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast. Until next time

Laura Dawn Biography

This interview was led by Natasja Pelgrom from The Awaken Podcast.

Laura Dawn Biography

Microdosing mentor, visionary life coach and business consultant, author, and international speaker, Laura Dawn has been leading transformational retreats for over 10 years. She teaches business leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation and creative manifestation, inspiring you to embark on the path of heart-centered leadership to influence real change. LD is pursuing a Masters in Science specializing in Creativity Studies & Change Leadership, exploring the intersection between psychedelics and creative problem-solving to unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges we collectively face.

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Episode number 29 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called Serve the truth by Mary Isis

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