January 13th, 2021

Episode #6 of the psychedelic leadership podcast

Tools for Self Shamanism with Shiri Godesi

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Laura Dawn speaks with Shiri Godasi, MA, the director of Psychedelic School, a professional certification program for psychedelic leaders in training.

In this episode, Shiri Godesi shares her four-pillar framework (that includes set, setting, skillsets, and support) she uses to help her clients create a “psychedelic roadmap” for maximizing their transformational experience with sacred plant medicines. She also shares applicable tools for what she calls “self-shamanism” to help her clients deepen in their journey, and gain more insights and wisdom along the way. 

In this episode, Shiri Godesi explores:

  • The 4 pillars of the Psyched Soul protocol she created, and now teaches in her training program for psychedelic facilitation.
  • Two terms she coined called “self-shamanism” and “psychedelic roadmap”.
  • Tools for navigating fear.
  • How to hold space for people moving deep, emotional pain.
  • The difference between intention and expectation.
  • Her interesting viewpoint on the often-given advice to surrender.
  • How she applies attachment style theory to integration coaching.
  • Her take on psychedelic leadership.
  • How she navigates criticism and intense feedback.
  • What she’s learned in this process of launching a psychedelic training program.

Episode #6 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast: Tools for Self Shamanism with Shiri Godasi {Transcription file}

Laura Dawn: It is so nice to have you on the Psychedelic Leadership podcast. Thanks for dropping in with me today.

Shiri Godasi: Thank you so much for having me and for your presence, Laura, appreciate it.

Laura Dawn: So, I’d love to just dive right in here. Maybe we could just start with an overview of your framework and the modalities that you weave in and draw upon. And then we could dive into integration and some practical tools for people listening.

Shiri Godasi: Absolutely. I’m a Jungian Psychology trained person. So that’s my framework, it’s that and me in-depth psychology. And my philosophy or my framework is not the only framework that exists. And there are different takes on integration, of course, and there is room for everyone, but mine is the psychology lens, there are a few things that I based my theory on number one, integration is a never-ending journey. Don’t expect to integrate your experience after one two or three sessions, as I know, many integration coaches, that’s how they’re offering their practices these days. For me, it’s a long-term deep interaction with archetypes with a collective consciousness, always shining those antennas to hone in on those messages again, in that sober state, which depth psychology in itself isn’t just a psychedelic roadmap, right? So psychedelic road mapping is a term that I coined as well. It’s a journey that I take my clients on, through articulating exactly, I have a formula that I created, which includes a specific intake, doing a safety assessment, understanding what their needs are going into some trauma work to understand, what they’re coming into the room with because a lot of people would want to come in to have a mystical experience or to meet God or to get a breakthrough in creativity. 

And then when you speak with them for a little bit and you understand that there are some family issues, attachment issues, deep unresolved traumas, developmental traumas that typically, most always come up in the early stages of psychedelic healing. So, we do some trauma work. And then I help them according to what they bring to the table, their presenting conditions, or mental health or resources, who they are, I help them draw out a psychedelic roadmap of what their potential healing journey could look like, with what substances at what doses at what locations and framing the preparation and integration sessions along that path. But again, it’s a long term and I always recommend a minimum of four clients who want to do classic psychedelic therapy for deep healing for a minimum of six months. 

And within a framework of three treatments. The three-treatment model, my protocol is called the Psyched Soul method. It’s a trademarked protocol. So, it involves the set, setting, skill set, and support, those are the four pillars that we work on. So, a lot of people will know this set and setting concepts which are the earliest concepts of psychedelic education. And to those two, I added two more skill set, which is what happens during the journey, which is a toolbox of self-Shaman, what I call self-shamanism that people can utilize to deepen their journey, gain more insights, gain a lot more self-agency, sustain their energy, know how to take breaks, know how to go deeper know how to minimize bad trips, quote, unquote, which of course, as we know, they’re not bad, maybe they’re challenging or difficult, but they’re not bad, they’re so precious and useful in their way. So, the navigation skill set is a part of my framework as well. And the support which I find also can alter the outcomes of psychedelic therapy and support can look like either someone that helps you do the work before and or after or appear or a community or just some other external container that can mirror you reflect you to allow you to as Salvador Dali said, just like to get out of your mind and peace. Or just go crazy and peace so you can return to wholeness and just feel safe doing that. So set, setting, skill set, and support are the four pillars of the framework that I developed. 

Laura Dawn: Beautiful, can we dive deeper into I love this term self-shamanism, can we open a couple of tools out of the toolbox and just talk a little bit just to give people a deeper sense of what you’re talking about?

Shiri Godasi]: Sure. So, another aspect of my integration, philosophy, or modality is that my service is based on providing you with the tools to be your healer. So, in my practice, my practice my coaching packages, there would be six months. And with an aim of not continuing and renewing the package to double it to another six months for another three months, but to make sure that the client feels that they have everything they need to be able to be their shaman, so the self-shamanism can look like a cute tool as in self-soothing, learning how to do basic self-care to make sure that you are in good and balanced emotional states learn how to sustain your energy. And the daily I’m talking about right now in the preparation integration, sober, quote an unquote stage that we keep talking about having anchoring practices, having mindfulness practices, giving them all the tools, they need to just go through the everyday feeling as they can get through the day. And the journey itself. We’re talking more about a navigation skill set, which can look like there are some general things that most experienced Psychopaths understand, for example, listening to the music and using it as a tool to go deeper into your physical experience into your emotional your psychic experience, learning how to ride the music waves to again help either dissipate the energy or go deeper. Learning how to observe your mind in a way that you don’t become your mind. 

So, I call that mental observation, emotional observation, metaphysical observation, which can look like recognizing if there are energies or spirits and learning how to be in dialogue with them. What to do if there’s fear or resistance, how to dismantle them. So, one of my favorite strategies that I use that my clients love is called personifying the fear. I’m an experienced psyche, not by now, I’m still I still experienced fear, especially at certain doses with certain medicines, I still feel fear approaching them, I have a high level of reverence for them. And sometimes I’m fearful. So, approaching the fear, as fear false evidence appearing real fear. That’s the acronym of fear, false evidence appearing real. And then observing and finding it in the body and treating it like it’s a person that’s sitting in front of you. So, ask it, just talking to it. Who are you? Where did you come from? What is your name? What is your message to me? What have you come to show me? Why are you here? 

And I find that when you personify the fear when you turn it into a living, breathing person. It strips it away of its powers because it’s a person that has intention. They’re approaching and having typically they would have an iodine dialogue with you. One of my teachers said sometimes that if you ever encounter some type of malevolent energy or spirit, you get in dialogue with it. And if they don’t want to interact with you, they can’t dialogue with you, they will just squirm away, they’ll just disappear. But if they’re not malevolent, if they’re not healing intending, they will talk to you, they will share their messages, they will reveal themselves. So, personifying fear is a great self-shamanism tool. And of course, it can be used in the psychedelic state, as well as an everyday state, in which the whole skill set that I teach is a skill set for both worlds. It’s the same skill set for both worlds, except we may just, it may come out in different ways. And just the methods might be different when you use them. But every day is a psychedelic trip, as we know.

Laura Dawn: It is it’s an ongoing hallucination, and now we know that more accurately. How do you work with people to balance their intention with expectation? 

Shiri Godasi: Great one. So, the short answer to that would be that, first of all, they’re very different that for intention, when you set your intentions for a session, then you set what it is, and you also set it free, meaning you allow it to come into fruition without knowing how it will come into fruition. So basically, inputting your target address in your GPS and not having to calculate how you’re going to get there, just trusting that your GPS will lead you their hell or high water, but you’re going to get there and you’re going to be just fine, and you will get there. Whereas expectations for articulating the address, and we’re also wanting to calculate exactly how we’re going to get there. That’s a more set state of mind. You’re more set on a very specific outcome and how things should be I tell my clients, you can approach it that way. But you will probably feel a lot safer, have a much deeper journey. Get to your outcomes even quicker than you think. If you just relinquish that sense of control and just allow the Great Spirit divine intelligence to lead you to where you need to go.

Laura Dawn: So, it sounds like you’ve created your own set of flight instructions. And that you work with people? I like that. I’m curious if you have received a lot of direct insight and guidance working in your psychedelic states doing your private work. Do you think a lot of what you’ve brought through to your clients in this framework has come directly from whether it’s a plant teacher or a compound? Are you working with plant medicines or psychedelic spaces from that intentional framework of showing me the path show me guidance? Like, is this the right way? Do you go into those places? Because I know I do for sure, just really opening up to the divine influences that been an influence for you?

Shiri Godasi [11:05]: That is a wonderful question. I will say that a lot of the framework is the stuff that has been done by observation, and not by directly intending to find solutions to things or downloading or receiving frameworks. So, it’s been more like, a lot of this skill set that I teach is the stuff that I learned through the work with medicine. So, for example, I remember one time in one of my earlier psychedelic sessions, I sat and I was feeling very confused, and just kind of like floating in the air. I’m not sure where this was going. And then the medicine was, sort of speaking with me, she said, you can ask me three questions. So, if you could ask me anything, what could it be? So, stuff like that, and then I would come home, and I would reflect on that and see, well, actually you can speak to the medicine, and you can co-create the experience, I don’t believe. And this is another big aspect of the self-shamanism is that some teachers say, well, you go into the experience, and you just surrender. I don’t believe in that. I believe that you can surrender to a degree. 

But I believe that a big part of the healing and the teaching of psychedelics is self-empowerment. And they’re ultimately trying to teach us just how much agency and ability and capacity we have to create our experiences and our realities. So, learning basically, that there was always an invitation there. Sure, surrender to listen, so you can listen and be guided. But not surrendering. Just lay on the mattress and just let the medicine do whatever it wants to do to you. There are completely two different aspects. So, to answer your question, it’s been more of an observation, doing my healing. I’m still in many ways, still working on deep intergenerational traumas. So, I can’t say that I’ve gone in with intentions of creating per se, but more from Okay, what is happening in the here and now, what is happening in my integration practice? What support do my clients need going through their journeys? Most of the content that I’ve created has been in direct response to observing them and their journeys and writing articles about the themes that came up for them, seeing what they were dealing with. So, I would say it’s more field practice than intentional work for me at this point.

Laura Dawn: That’s amazing. I’m curious if there are categories that you’ve noticed over the years of what people struggle with, with integration, like what are some of the key topics of those articles that you’ve written about that are like, okay, this is like, a thing that people struggle with. And this is how it can be remedied.

Shiri Godasi: So, I would say that trauma is typically a big step for most people, even and especially if there are not expecting it or don’t think that they have trauma. I am one of those people. Even as a psychology student, I did not understand how much trauma I had. For example, we usually when we think of trauma or at least the way that I used to think about it is a specific acute isolated experience that happened in your life like a loss, a death, a car accident, and a disease, a divorce, and big disastrous life events. And we’re not aware of how most of us have suffered early childhood developmental trauma, which is more of a topic that a lot of trauma specialists have been talking about the last few years like Gabor Maté, like Bessel van der Kolk, all the somatic experiencing people. They don’t have that in the DSM, which is the manual for mental health. 

So early childhood developmental trauma typically comes up a lot. Definitely family dynamics usually lead that to attachment theory because a lot of clients love to make sense of who they are through those lenses, I introduced that typically attachment styles. Also, we talk about boundaries, a major concept, which again, think about it for a lot of people that are approaching psychedelic therapy. Why do they approach it, they typically approach it because they’re either suffering from some type of a mental health condition, typically anxiety, depression, sometimes PTSD, if they’re aware of it, typically they’re on some type of medication or antidepressants? And or they have relationship issues with their spouses or partners, and or they’re suffering from some type of addiction. Most of my clients are fall under that description and one constellation or another, sometimes all of them together, sometimes just some of them. 

So, when you look at that type of client prototype, then what does cause depression and anxiety? Typically, it is rooted and family in early attachment, and relationships and insecurity, and not even understanding what boundaries are because their parents themselves, they come from a very traumatized generation, that is not our parents don’t have the tools that we have, they don’t have the awareness that we have no one talked to them about trauma. They didn’t have the holistic psychologist on Instagram to tell them how messed up they are, and how they can do the work. 

So, our parents didn’t model good, healthy boundaries. So, a lot of us don’t even have that concept. So, we talk about boundaries, we talk about differentiation, skill sets that have to do with learning what it means to be a sovereign being an individuated being that has the right to have their own needs, and their desires. And of course, if they’re that person, then how do they go back to their communities and their families, being the new person that they are there as a whole, once they accept who they are and that they have needs and desires? And they’ve accepted that? Then they move into new challenges? Like how do they assimilate back into the family? If they’re this new person now? How are the people that knew them in a certain way? How are they going to receive them? And what implications will that have that meeting? So, then we move into typically, a life skills relationship module where people understand that they have to start making some pretty difficult decisions about relationships have to make some really brave choices.

Laura Dawn: Can we go deeper into attachment styles? How do you apply attachment theory to this work? 

Shiri Godasi: Well, so attachment theory was developed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth, it is thought, according to the research that they conducted, and this was a few decades ago, that there are three attachment styles, depending on how the primary caregiver for the child, which is typically either the mother or the father, or the nanny, whatever adult was present to take care of the child in their first two years of development. How well or not so well, did the primary caregiver respond to the needs of the baby? And basically, how are they able to make them feel safe, secure, taken care of, and protected. So basically, it’s all about levels of safety and security. So, the three types of attachments are secure, which means that either the parents were good enough, we have that also that concept of being good enough, good enough mother a good enough father. So, they were good enough quote, unquote, and the child had their needs met, and they grew up to be secure individuals that can form healthy relationships in their adult lives. A second attachment style is avoidant because they did not have their needs met according to what they needed, and there isn’t a standard it’s just according to what each person needs and their own. Unique blueprint, then the avoidant learns to not trust the primary caregivers and their coping mechanism is to avoid because they don’t want to get hurt. They just learned to become extremely self-sufficient and independent. And the third type is the codependent/anxious, which also did not have their needs met, and their coping skill or mechanism or the behaviors that they learned was to be codependent to be overly attached. They learned that they can only exist if they have someone there to validate them. And show them that they exist at all times. So secure, avoidant, and anxious are the three attachment styles.

Laura Dawn: And so how do you apply this work to integration?

Shiri Godasi: So, after we start unpacking? Early on in my consultation usually I asked the questions, what’s going on in your life? How are your relationships? What’s the relationship? or How was it with the parents? What was your childhood like? So, asking open-ended questions that invite the client to start speaking from their experience. And learning about what these relationships were, like, I may ask also about, like, sibling connection. And so basically, how are their relationships now? And how were they in childhood? And then I, typically, 99% of clients will remember something, I think this happened. And I think that happened, and mom was too busy. She was engaged with her work, and to come back home from school on my own and warm up my lunch, or my dad always favorites my brother, and things like that seemingly don’t make too much of a difference. 

Because we’ve learned to not make a big deal out of them. But then in turn, what happened over time is that we’ve learned to minimize ourselves and our needs. And anyhow, so I unpack that, and then we bring attention to that. And that’s when I would introduce the attachment style. And if there is a fun little quiz that they can do online, anyone can do online, you can even Google it or YouTube it, you can even watch the original experiment that they conducted back then to create the attachment styles. So, they like to do the quiz and kind of see where they fall. And then things start making more sense to them. I find that once clients have a framework for understanding why things happened the way they did, they’re better able to contextualize their experiences and gain a better grasp on them and be able to do the healing work and move forward and do the forgiveness work that comes after that. So that’s kind of how my practice is set up. So, I have tons of all these different topics, I have a library of topics and just completely customized to what the client brings in and every moment in every session based on the psychedelic experience that they had, or just what they ate for lunch yesterday, and how they felt about it. So, there’s always something that emerges. So, whatever emerges organically, then I laser in on it and help them find limiting core beliefs, help them see how this may or may not influence their lives. And they love all this theory, they appreciate it, it makes them feel more empowered. And as I said it makes more sense to them, and they can find more forgiveness. 

Laura Dawn: I want to talk about holding space for pain. And I think a lot of people right now, especially, we’re still in the pandemic. This is like the era of letting go of things falling apart for people of reinvention of like really going into that cocoon of metamorphosis, whether it’s trauma, whether it’s the pain of letting go, or people revisiting a painful memory.

How do we strengthen our capacity to hold space and I want to ask this question for people listening who are training themselves to hold space for other people? So that’s the perspective how much is your presence and your capacity to regulate your nervous system, helpful for someone experiencing pain? What suggestions are you offering these people? And where do we find that balance between really feeling it and grieving it fully, but then also, okay, is it time to move on to a new moment? And so, anything you want to share about holding space for people experiencing like, a depth of pain, loss, trauma, whatever it is, that they’re experiencing, that is just hard to hold.

Shiri Godasi: It is hard to hold. And the phrase that comes to mind hearing Laura is, you can only take a person as far as you’ve gone yourself. And you’re right. I do believe that a lot of people, especially people that are being trained to hold spaces to be integration coaches to be integration facilitators, even clinical therapists, clinicians that do ours to learn how to hold therapeutic space for people. Pain is still somewhat of an elephant in the room. You asked me about my personal experiences I’ve seen and I watched the journeys directly how I was placed and painful ceremonies directly also with the spirit of the plant whispering in my ear this will allow you to hold better, painful space for your clients, you need to get intimate with your pain first to learn how to hold that. 

So, you can hold another person’s pain as well. Otherwise, you’re right there is a risk of basically your anxiety of not being able to tolerate pain being brought into the therapeutic relationship. And rushing people out of the healing process, I kind of belong to the camp and this is just kind of like my medicine flavor. I’m the trickster energy has a deep passion for depth psychology, which goes into all the archetypes and it gets pretty deep and intense in there. And I straight up from the beginning from the get-go. And I do understand that it can seem suggestive and but again, I feel like that’s my medicine, I prepare my clients for rough waters during the journey, I talk with them about the period of disintegration that happens during the integration journey, I believe that it won’t be very productive or effective to try to build new foundations that are aligned on top of rotting foundations and old foundations old paradigms and to be eradicated before you can plant in anything fresh and anything new. And that period of disintegration/destruction/deterioration can be extremely painful, extremely confusing, dark, can cause a lot of anxiety. And yet I find that within that six-month timeframe that I articulate for my clients within that container, there’s at least a month or two of that. But we can have that pain of grief of sadness of not knowing who I am and not knowing who I need to be. So, I prepare my clients ahead of time for that because I believe that it will ultimately help them build a lot stronger and a lot more aligned with who they are. So, I do believe it does depend on the facilitators or the guides, pensions, and tolerance for the less rainbow and spark, rainbow parts of the journey. But again, teach them on medicine, different guides have very well known, the poor, different medicine so.

And from a psychotherapy perspective, if you were sitting in session with someone who’s just like getting worked, do you offer, words of encouragement, this too shall pass? Or are you more like, let’s breathe together? Or is it like where do you feel that in your body? Is there anything that you can offer for people who are learning to hold space in the immediacy of a moment of a client feeling a lot of pain?

So, at the moment, a tool that I also trained in and highly recommend for any type of psychedelic oriented support person is somatic therapy, somatic release, either it can be Somatic Experiencing sensory-motor therapy, Hakomi. And getting expertise in one of those modalities will allow you to hold better space. So, some of the interventions that I love to use are from somatic experiencing. One of them is called resourcing, where you teach your client to self-soothe and to find the inner strength, wherever they are without needing anyone else to support them. So, one example that I love is to imagine that you’re in them. And you can teach them to this in the moment and during the relationship. And of course, it’s a tool that they can take with them is, for example, the movement, like take both of your hands up and just draw a big rainbow to have both of the palms your palms meet above your head, drawing, and energy from the earth. And then bringing it down, circling your hands back down into your body in your heart. And then doing that again, then allowing them to just go at their own pace. But the idea is to invite them to create it a few times. So, they have that imprint within their bodies. And they can take it along with them once they leave the session. So that’s a great tool. So, I’m all about practicality practices. So, let’s hold this space in this session. And here is a tool again, that you can take and do on your own again, that’s self-shamanism.

Laura Dawn: I like that. I like practical tools. And I think all of the things that you’re sharing are helpful. So, thank you so much. I’m curious where you’re meeting your growth edge right now. And really what you’ve learned in the past few years of like really holding space for people, in terms of like what it means to be a leader in the space right now, what have you learned and sort of where are you at your edge?

Shiri Godasi: Such an amazing question. This is something that, honestly, is taking me quite a while to own, I’ve never really thought of myself as a psychedelic leader and everything that I’ve built is been built just by going through the motions and integrating and the everyday. So, I never had any desire to be an integration person I never had in my entire life and desire or an inclination to start a nonprofit. I always loved psychology, I always loved self-investigation, but I never thought that I would be any of the things that I am. I never thought that I would be an author or a writer. I’m discovering all these new things about myself and just putting them into practice. And again, following that guidance through the meditations, and then you asked me in my guided and when I write in my journal, I’m guided. Absolutely. When I meditate. I get divine guidance. Sometimes if I’m clear enough, even if I’m having conversations with like, I’m having one with you right now. I have like that guidance, like speaking and I hear it. And it speaks through me. So, what is being a leader? So, first of all as mentioned, for me, it’s just been about bringing in this information and practice, the practicality that I had to bring in from other realities and accommodate them into this reality, quote, unquote, and just that practice, just as created a completely novel reality. And that practice, I started recognizing gaps, myself being a psych-e-naut, not a psychonaut, by the way, psychenaut.

Laura Dawn: I noticed that you said that differently.

Shiri Godasi: Tribes psychenaut, so being a psychenaut I needed community, I didn’t have people that would support me, I needed tools. So, I created them, I saw that there is a large demographic of us that wasn’t getting support. And I just started trying to find solutions for these loopholes. And I think one thing that I’ve learned along the way, and this is something that I’m still in my very young path, I’ve only been doing this for five or six years, which is nothing for a psychedelic person, and I’m still so young and that type of consciousness, but I have noticed that I’m a visionary. And I’m also an architect. And I’m also an implementer because someone’s got to do it. So, I’m holding these three archetypes and trying to make them work together. And now I’m at a stage of you know that you can do all these things cool. You’ve proven it. But do you have to do all these things, or maybe you can just concentrate on what you’re gifted at? For example, if I can be visionary and be the artist, be the creator and learn how to express these visions, good enough for another person, to architect them and for another person to implement them. So, the leadership holds these three aspects and some learning how to basically like work with the tension between these three right now. 

Psychedelic leadership is also definitely learning how to be telling of possibilities as well as practicing and expressing that practice. It means that you have to have the courage to trailblaze a lot of courage to mess up and I’ve messed up a lot and fallen on my ass so many times, and being a public person in the community. Psychedelia is in Los Angeles were one of the first, if not the first integration communities in Los Angeles. And being a person that still undergoes a lot of healing myself, you can imagine that it’s not always pretty, but I just had to learn to accept that that’s part of my journey and part of my medicine and that actually, a lot of people have shared with me, you give me so much courage just by demonstrate, you permit me by permitting myself, I’m giving myself permission to mess up and just keep going. 

Then other people get permission to just show up authentically to see that they have gifts to see that this healing journey, whatever it is. We all have different takes on it. Does it ever end, No? Are you going to wait for it to end for you to get up and like be and shine your beautiful light that you’re here to shine? So, a lot of that for me has been about God is just being bold enough to express myself to dare to express my art and my creations and see who would stick around. And a lot of people didn’t, and a lot of people did. And so that’s kind of a feel like the summary of my journey. And also, what psychedelic leadership is transparency, Authenticity, and just looking outside, from the personal to the transpersonal, see beyond the self, recognize the needs of the people that are walking this path beside you and learn how to articulate it even better than they can articulate it, and then they can hear themselves in you

Laura Dawn: Girl, I feel you, you when you step out in this space, you just have to be ready, that there’s going to be criticism, there’s always going to be someone who disagrees with what you choose to do. And I think that the way that we hold space for those conversations, I think is also a really important topic. There are so many different ways to hold space in the Psychedelic community. Psychedelic leadership is taking on a myriad of forms, and a lot of people disagree about different practices. So, I’m curious, how do you go about that? And what have you learned in those moments where you’ve received harsh criticism? And then how do you differentiate? What’s theirs? And what’s yours? And how much of that do you let into your life? And how much of that do you say, okay, no, thank you. I’m not going to be paying attention to that, I’m finding it such a dynamic balance. I’m curious where you’re at with that process?

Shiri Godasi: Well, first of all, the amount of criticism I received, just be of being who I am and my entire life, not just from this community, but it’s just as pretty big. From a psychedelic community. Absolutely. Definitely from all levels of leadership. How did I accept it? Well, it depends on the beginning of my journey, all of my trauma came out being projected on everyone else. And I went through some type of a night of the soul, reflecting like a lot of my wounds just came out reflected through the community and the people that I was very close with, I’m grateful now because I understand that they were some of my greatest teachers. And we’ve been able to just understand that our soul contract has been fulfilled, and we’re moving on. But that took me a few good years to learn that it’s not my truth to get hurt is not my truth. It’s my inner wounded child that needed the recognition that needed the validation. A lot of that, by the way, I do want to add this to the conversation, a lot of that came out based on my credentials, and what credentials were allowed, quote, unquote, to facilitate integration therapy, and what credentials were not allowed to facilitate integration therapy? This is a question I get asked all the time. 

And I went through all the loopholes that have to do with that because when I was granted my psychology degree, I wasn’t a clinician, and I want to use the word attacked because that’s the word I use back then I felt like it was under attack by the clinician community for basically infringing on their clinical space for daring to allow peer integration support. So, I went through a lot of learning back then, about all the legal issues, the licensing issues, who can do what and I learned a lot about myself and the journey. And also, at the end of the day alone, that I’m again, I’ve always been more of the underdog, more of the underground, more of the alternative. And maybe I wanted to get licensed in the past to get approval. But now I feel like actually, I can be more of service, not being licensed and demonstrating that we can do this work with a very high level of ethics and service and not have to get some type of a credential.

Laura Dawn: When people offer you harsh criticism. How do you hold that?

Shiri Godasi: Right, so the criticism so along the way, I have learned number one, that if you want to play in the arena, you’re going to get hit. If you don’t want to get hit, you can remain a spectator. And actually, a lot of spectators are those providing the hits. I’ve also learned that so first of all, recognizing that I always try to differentiate who is the person that is providing me with this feedback. Everyone that says anything to us, always speaking from themselves and is always speaking from their truth in their reality. So whatever people are saying to you, even if it’s well-intentioned, and acknowledgment and wanting to help you improve, it’s still things that they’re seeing within themselves. So just understanding that again, people will see what they want to see based on their own experience based on the lens that they have the glasses that they have on their faces. So, understanding that and also So learning that everything that people will tell you is information, information about who this person is, what their current state is, and what they’re looking for. 

And when I learned to view, every dialogue as information, it completely transcended the wounded or toxic energy that can come from thinking, is it criticism or not? I’m seeing it now as information, which neutralizes it, so it’s more neutral. And then I can decide from that neutral place. How do I want to use this information? How can I use it to my advantage in my favor? So okay, if I’m getting this certain feedback from my audience, it just means that maybe this is not what they need, they need something else. For me as an entrepreneur, as a leader that I want to serve, I want to be better at what I do, then that means I need to listen better to understand what they’re trying to tell me what their current needs are, and how I can fulfill those needs for them. So, a great book that I used, very simple and just really practical. That word practical book that helped me understand that whole information bit. And that helped me move through the old criticism aspect is called Playing Big by Tara Mohr. So, it’s a great beginner’s book for women leaders or aspiring leaders. 

Laura Dawn: That’s wonderful. I’ll add that to the show notes. Thanks for that recommendation. I think it’s interesting, especially in the psychedelic space, where we’re talking about this notion of like permitting ourselves, and then it’s so easy to look at other people and thinks like, wow, you’re giving yourself so much permission, you’re like bulldozing through space, and like, maybe you should give yourself less permission, you know, and like where our judgments reside. And I like this notion of permitting ourselves from a place of really holding that permission with so much responsibility, that we can embrace integrity and responsibility, and that if we are permitting ourselves like we need to own all repercussions of that.

Shiri Godasi: Yes, responsibility is a big word. And so, another way to learn from that another way that I found that has been helpful for me, so how do I differentiate and a lot of the feedback is great, it is great. But how do I make sure that I work out of integrity is, I have, I keep studying, I keep learning, I keep educating myself, I stay in touch with my students, I stay in touch with my clients? And this is probably the biggest aspect of this work is to have mentors to have elders, the support aspect, someone else that is not you that can see things from the outside, that can provide feedback and people that you trust, that had been doing the work, and they can keep you in check. So, the only thing that I can do better, and the only person I’m going to compare myself to at the end of the day is just who I was yesterday, if I keep looking at what other people are doing in this field, there’s so much going on, that I can lose focus very quickly for my art. So, I learned that I need to keep myself in check by doing my work, by holding myself to a certain standard, which is having mentors, staying in touch with my psychedelic teachers and getting that guidance, doing the practices every day that would enable me to have that clarity and continuously receive that guidance, and just continue being transparent with my audience. So as long as I’m doing these four things, I feel like really, that’s the best I can do.

Laura Dawn: I appreciate that. And just as a side note, for people listening, I just want to encourage everyone in the psychedelic space to communicate feedback with kindness. I think this is a big responsibility that we have right now. We don’t need to attack each other, anything that you hear from people on this show with taking what you resonate and leave the rest. Reach out, have a conversation about it, and come from an open-hearted, open-minded place.

Shiri Godasi: Yes, absolutely. And I second that.

Laura Dawn: I’d love to talk about your psychedelic training programs. So, you have the psyche soul Academy, and is that different than the professional certification program?

Shiri Godasi: It’s the same. It’s just currently I’ve been waiting for it to get trademarked. And now it is, it’s in the process of that. So, the Site Soul Academy does include my professional certificate program, which the years of being a pioneer and a teacher in this field. I constantly got asked, How, did you get to do what you do? Where can I learn to do what you do? How can I get started? And people ask me, if aside from the current offerings that I had back then is if I would teach them long term, so I listen to my audience and put together the integration program of my dreams. Taking all of the years of knowledge that I’ve had in the field and all the different hats I tried on in the terms of the different pieces of training, of course, learning from my mistake and a lot of like wasted time on things that I was a trailblazer a lot of things that I did not know, and had to take shots in the dark, trying to articulate what I’m even looking for and needing in the space that would help me support my clients better. So, taking all of that and packaged it into a really beautiful program that I’m so proud of. 

So, it’s an experiential integration container taking the students through the protocol that I’ve developed, that I take my integration clients on, I believe that one of the most important things and as integration providers are to undergo the integration process yourself, which is not something that can be learned cognitively, read in a textbook, just like the psychedelic experience, you have to experience it for yourself. And then again, from that place from that depth, you will better able to support your clients and their integration journey. So, it’s currently at 12. Well, there are three modules, the first two modules are 12 months. And then there’s another master module, which is another six months. So, it’s an 18-month program total. So, there’s, we have a module a very solid module of psychedelic education. And then they go through them, what I call the integration initiation, just like they would as my clients would. And then, after they retrieve their soul medicine and go through that healing tunnel, we go into a sacred entrepreneurship module, and they take my blueprint, and they infuse their own sacred medicine into this blueprint to create a niche integration practice of their own. So, it’s education practice and integration, and taking action and consciously like becoming leaders in the community through creating your integration practice, and your modality that no one else has invented before. So super creative, super thorough. I’m opening to new groups and the beginning of 2021, which is just around the corner. That’s I’m proud of that program. 

Laura Dawn: Do you feel that after people go through your 18-month program that they would be qualified and educated to hold space for trauma?

Shiri Godasi: Yes, but with certain provisions. So, this is something that I’ve talked about a lot. So, I talked about how trauma comes up, I do train them to recognize trauma when they see it, and also how to extract it even when the client can see it. And we talk about symptoms, we talked about what it could look like we talked about how it can come out. But at the end of the day, tell them you know this, we’re not clinicians, doesn’t matter what we’re trying to do here, even though I firmly believe that the program that I offer is extremely sophisticated. So, it’s sophisticated yet, we need to operate under the laws and jurisdictions of where we live, which currently, we’re living in the United States, we know that licensed clinicians are better equipped to support trauma in any type of setting. And give them tools to recognize it when they see it, and also to be able to articulate how to refer out when they see it.

So, this is something that we talked about continuously in the course, as well as I always drill into them, we each have an audience, don’t try to do all the things, there are some things that you’re going to be great at. And that’s your soul tribe client. And other people are trained to deal with certain populations way better than you and I can and let’s let them deal with it. So, I do talk about that, and definitely in the supervision that I offer, which is part of the program. So, the program includes not just the classes, but we have weekly peer support circles, we have integration circles, we have one on one guidance and coaching and we have mentorship calls and supervision that I run for people who are graduating and are already seeing clients so they can come to me with any type of question about their practice about their ethical about how to support their clients. And then I help them make decisions that are always in favor of the client and of course, keeping the coaches safe and protected as well. So, we talked about all of that.

Laura Dawn: And so, what have you learned about getting a vision like this off the ground, it’s a huge vision and so kudos to you for implementing it but for other people who are launching programs, especially in the leadership space, what’s the best advice you can give people who are getting big visions off the ground?

Shiri Godasi: Against supervision, have elders that keep checking you keep educated, those are my pillars. Without that, I couldn’t do anything that I do. Don’t try to do something that is not your expertise. Don’t try to offer support and something that is not your niche. Everyone has a gift specialized in your gift offer your gifts, and then other people concentrate on their gifts and offering their gifts. And so basically to have a team of professionals that each of their gifts, and together, you build that holistic support structure, don’t aim to do everything on your own because number one not feasible, not sustainable. And it’s just, it’s not what we’re supposed to do. The teaching of medicine is that we’re here to collaborate, that we’re here to support each other, that we’re here to uplift and help each other arise. And that’s the gift of collective empowerment, and it doesn’t bypass the leadership. We’re all learning. we’ve all learned these lessons, and I’m still learning them, deeper and deeper with every interaction that I have. And so, my key advice is, to keep supported by other experts and professionals and to hone in on your gifts and your message, and concentrating more on service and on making an impact rather than your bank account.

Laura Dawn: I like that’s good advice. I like to ask different fun, random questions to close. So, I would like to ask you if you could plant one seed that could transmute a limiting belief into an empowering belief for humanity, what would it be?

Shiri Godasi: Live with compassionate power. We’re all incredibly powerful. We’re all just waiting to be unlocked. And then I think the work after discovering the power is just learning how to channel that immensity, and grace and service and compassion and kindness, to be able to inspire others to uplift others. So, service with compassion and power is my motto. And heal serve love. That’s the journey.

Laura Dawn: Thank you so much, Shiri. It’s been quite the pleasure of dropping in with you. And I’m excited to see where your path takes you and to keep dancing in this psychedelic space together. 

Shiri Godasi: Thanks for dancing with me, Laura. Appreciate you. Mucho aloha to you.

Episode #6 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast: Tools for Self Shamanism with Shiri Godasi {Transcription file}

Laura Dawn: It is so nice to have you on the Psychedelic Leadership podcast. Thanks for dropping in with me today.

Shiri Godasi: Thank you so much for having me and for your presence, Laura, appreciate it.

Laura Dawn: So, I’d love to just dive right in here. Maybe we could just start with an overview of your framework and the modalities that you weave in and draw upon. And then we could dive into integration and some practical tools for people listening.

Shiri Godasi: Absolutely. I’m a Jungian Psychology trained person. So that’s my framework, it’s that and me in-depth psychology. And my philosophy or my framework is not the only framework that exists. And there are different takes on integration, of course, and there is room for everyone, but mine is the psychology lens, there are a few things that I based my theory on number one, integration is a never-ending journey. Don’t expect to integrate your experience after one two or three sessions, as I know, many integration coaches, that’s how they’re offering their practices these days. For me, it’s a long-term deep interaction with archetypes with a collective consciousness, always shining those antennas to hone in on those messages again, in that sober state, which depth psychology in itself isn’t just a psychedelic roadmap, right? So psychedelic road mapping is a term that I coined as well. It’s a journey that I take my clients on, through articulating exactly, I have a formula that I created, which includes a specific intake, doing a safety assessment, understanding what their needs are going into some trauma work to understand, what they’re coming into the room with because a lot of people would want to come in to have a mystical experience or to meet God or to get a breakthrough in creativity. 

And then when you speak with them for a little bit and you understand that there are some family issues, attachment issues, deep unresolved traumas, developmental traumas that typically, most always come up in the early stages of psychedelic healing. So, we do some trauma work. And then I help them according to what they bring to the table, their presenting conditions, or mental health or resources, who they are, I help them draw out a psychedelic roadmap of what their potential healing journey could look like, with what substances at what doses at what locations and framing the preparation and integration sessions along that path. But again, it’s a long term and I always recommend a minimum of four clients who want to do classic psychedelic therapy for deep healing for a minimum of six months. 

And within a framework of three treatments. The three-treatment model, my protocol is called the Psyched Soul method. It’s a trademarked protocol. So, it involves the set, setting, skill set, and support, those are the four pillars that we work on. So, a lot of people will know this set and setting concepts which are the earliest concepts of psychedelic education. And to those two, I added two more skill set, which is what happens during the journey, which is a toolbox of self-Shaman, what I call self-shamanism that people can utilize to deepen their journey, gain more insights, gain a lot more self-agency, sustain their energy, know how to take breaks, know how to go deeper know how to minimize bad trips, quote, unquote, which of course, as we know, they’re not bad, maybe they’re challenging or difficult, but they’re not bad, they’re so precious and useful in their way. So, the navigation skill set is a part of my framework as well. And the support which I find also can alter the outcomes of psychedelic therapy and support can look like either someone that helps you do the work before and or after or appear or a community or just some other external container that can mirror you reflect you to allow you to as Salvador Dali said, just like to get out of your mind and peace. Or just go crazy and peace so you can return to wholeness and just feel safe doing that. So set, setting, skill set, and support are the four pillars of the framework that I developed. 

Laura Dawn: Beautiful, can we dive deeper into I love this term self-shamanism, can we open a couple of tools out of the toolbox and just talk a little bit just to give people a deeper sense of what you’re talking about?

Shiri Godasi]: Sure. So, another aspect of my integration, philosophy, or modality is that my service is based on providing you with the tools to be your healer. So, in my practice, my practice my coaching packages, there would be six months. And with an aim of not continuing and renewing the package to double it to another six months for another three months, but to make sure that the client feels that they have everything they need to be able to be their shaman, so the self-shamanism can look like a cute tool as in self-soothing, learning how to do basic self-care to make sure that you are in good and balanced emotional states learn how to sustain your energy. And the daily I’m talking about right now in the preparation integration, sober, quote an unquote stage that we keep talking about having anchoring practices, having mindfulness practices, giving them all the tools, they need to just go through the everyday feeling as they can get through the day. And the journey itself. We’re talking more about a navigation skill set, which can look like there are some general things that most experienced Psychopaths understand, for example, listening to the music and using it as a tool to go deeper into your physical experience into your emotional your psychic experience, learning how to ride the music waves to again help either dissipate the energy or go deeper. Learning how to observe your mind in a way that you don’t become your mind. 

So, I call that mental observation, emotional observation, metaphysical observation, which can look like recognizing if there are energies or spirits and learning how to be in dialogue with them. What to do if there’s fear or resistance, how to dismantle them. So, one of my favorite strategies that I use that my clients love is called personifying the fear. I’m an experienced psyche, not by now, I’m still I still experienced fear, especially at certain doses with certain medicines, I still feel fear approaching them, I have a high level of reverence for them. And sometimes I’m fearful. So, approaching the fear, as fear false evidence appearing real fear. That’s the acronym of fear, false evidence appearing real. And then observing and finding it in the body and treating it like it’s a person that’s sitting in front of you. So, ask it, just talking to it. Who are you? Where did you come from? What is your name? What is your message to me? What have you come to show me? Why are you here? 

And I find that when you personify the fear when you turn it into a living, breathing person. It strips it away of its powers because it’s a person that has intention. They’re approaching and having typically they would have an iodine dialogue with you. One of my teachers said sometimes that if you ever encounter some type of malevolent energy or spirit, you get in dialogue with it. And if they don’t want to interact with you, they can’t dialogue with you, they will just squirm away, they’ll just disappear. But if they’re not malevolent, if they’re not healing intending, they will talk to you, they will share their messages, they will reveal themselves. So, personifying fear is a great self-shamanism tool. And of course, it can be used in the psychedelic state, as well as an everyday state, in which the whole skill set that I teach is a skill set for both worlds. It’s the same skill set for both worlds, except we may just, it may come out in different ways. And just the methods might be different when you use them. But every day is a psychedelic trip, as we know.

Laura Dawn: It is it’s an ongoing hallucination, and now we know that more accurately. How do you work with people to balance their intention with expectation? 

Shiri Godasi: Great one. So, the short answer to that would be that, first of all, they’re very different that for intention, when you set your intentions for a session, then you set what it is, and you also set it free, meaning you allow it to come into fruition without knowing how it will come into fruition. So basically, inputting your target address in your GPS and not having to calculate how you’re going to get there, just trusting that your GPS will lead you their hell or high water, but you’re going to get there and you’re going to be just fine, and you will get there. Whereas expectations for articulating the address, and we’re also wanting to calculate exactly how we’re going to get there. That’s a more set state of mind. You’re more set on a very specific outcome and how things should be I tell my clients, you can approach it that way. But you will probably feel a lot safer, have a much deeper journey. Get to your outcomes even quicker than you think. If you just relinquish that sense of control and just allow the Great Spirit divine intelligence to lead you to where you need to go.

Laura Dawn: So, it sounds like you’ve created your own set of flight instructions. And that you work with people? I like that. I’m curious if you have received a lot of direct insight and guidance working in your psychedelic states doing your private work. Do you think a lot of what you’ve brought through to your clients in this framework has come directly from whether it’s a plant teacher or a compound? Are you working with plant medicines or psychedelic spaces from that intentional framework of showing me the path show me guidance? Like, is this the right way? Do you go into those places? Because I know I do for sure, just really opening up to the divine influences that been an influence for you?

Shiri Godasi [11:05]: That is a wonderful question. I will say that a lot of the framework is the stuff that has been done by observation, and not by directly intending to find solutions to things or downloading or receiving frameworks. So, it’s been more like, a lot of this skill set that I teach is the stuff that I learned through the work with medicine. So, for example, I remember one time in one of my earlier psychedelic sessions, I sat and I was feeling very confused, and just kind of like floating in the air. I’m not sure where this was going. And then the medicine was, sort of speaking with me, she said, you can ask me three questions. So, if you could ask me anything, what could it be? So, stuff like that, and then I would come home, and I would reflect on that and see, well, actually you can speak to the medicine, and you can co-create the experience, I don’t believe. And this is another big aspect of the self-shamanism is that some teachers say, well, you go into the experience, and you just surrender. I don’t believe in that. I believe that you can surrender to a degree. 

But I believe that a big part of the healing and the teaching of psychedelics is self-empowerment. And they’re ultimately trying to teach us just how much agency and ability and capacity we have to create our experiences and our realities. So, learning basically, that there was always an invitation there. Sure, surrender to listen, so you can listen and be guided. But not surrendering. Just lay on the mattress and just let the medicine do whatever it wants to do to you. There are completely two different aspects. So, to answer your question, it’s been more of an observation, doing my healing. I’m still in many ways, still working on deep intergenerational traumas. So, I can’t say that I’ve gone in with intentions of creating per se, but more from Okay, what is happening in the here and now, what is happening in my integration practice? What support do my clients need going through their journeys? Most of the content that I’ve created has been in direct response to observing them and their journeys and writing articles about the themes that came up for them, seeing what they were dealing with. So, I would say it’s more field practice than intentional work for me at this point.

Laura Dawn: That’s amazing. I’m curious if there are categories that you’ve noticed over the years of what people struggle with, with integration, like what are some of the key topics of those articles that you’ve written about that are like, okay, this is like, a thing that people struggle with. And this is how it can be remedied.

Shiri Godasi: So, I would say that trauma is typically a big step for most people, even and especially if there are not expecting it or don’t think that they have trauma. I am one of those people. Even as a psychology student, I did not understand how much trauma I had. For example, we usually when we think of trauma or at least the way that I used to think about it is a specific acute isolated experience that happened in your life like a loss, a death, a car accident, and a disease, a divorce, and big disastrous life events. And we’re not aware of how most of us have suffered early childhood developmental trauma, which is more of a topic that a lot of trauma specialists have been talking about the last few years like Gabor Maté, like Bessel van der Kolk, all the somatic experiencing people. They don’t have that in the DSM, which is the manual for mental health. 

So early childhood developmental trauma typically comes up a lot. Definitely family dynamics usually lead that to attachment theory because a lot of clients love to make sense of who they are through those lenses, I introduced that typically attachment styles. Also, we talk about boundaries, a major concept, which again, think about it for a lot of people that are approaching psychedelic therapy. Why do they approach it, they typically approach it because they’re either suffering from some type of a mental health condition, typically anxiety, depression, sometimes PTSD, if they’re aware of it, typically they’re on some type of medication or antidepressants? And or they have relationship issues with their spouses or partners, and or they’re suffering from some type of addiction. Most of my clients are fall under that description and one constellation or another, sometimes all of them together, sometimes just some of them. 

So, when you look at that type of client prototype, then what does cause depression and anxiety? Typically, it is rooted and family in early attachment, and relationships and insecurity, and not even understanding what boundaries are because their parents themselves, they come from a very traumatized generation, that is not our parents don’t have the tools that we have, they don’t have the awareness that we have no one talked to them about trauma. They didn’t have the holistic psychologist on Instagram to tell them how messed up they are, and how they can do the work. 

So, our parents didn’t model good, healthy boundaries. So, a lot of us don’t even have that concept. So, we talk about boundaries, we talk about differentiation, skill sets that have to do with learning what it means to be a sovereign being an individuated being that has the right to have their own needs, and their desires. And of course, if they’re that person, then how do they go back to their communities and their families, being the new person that they are there as a whole, once they accept who they are and that they have needs and desires? And they’ve accepted that? Then they move into new challenges? Like how do they assimilate back into the family? If they’re this new person now? How are the people that knew them in a certain way? How are they going to receive them? And what implications will that have that meeting? So, then we move into typically, a life skills relationship module where people understand that they have to start making some pretty difficult decisions about relationships have to make some really brave choices.

Laura Dawn: Can we go deeper into attachment styles? How do you apply attachment theory to this work? 

Shiri Godasi: Well, so attachment theory was developed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth, it is thought, according to the research that they conducted, and this was a few decades ago, that there are three attachment styles, depending on how the primary caregiver for the child, which is typically either the mother or the father, or the nanny, whatever adult was present to take care of the child in their first two years of development. How well or not so well, did the primary caregiver respond to the needs of the baby? And basically, how are they able to make them feel safe, secure, taken care of, and protected. So basically, it’s all about levels of safety and security. So, the three types of attachments are secure, which means that either the parents were good enough, we have that also that concept of being good enough, good enough mother a good enough father. So, they were good enough quote, unquote, and the child had their needs met, and they grew up to be secure individuals that can form healthy relationships in their adult lives. A second attachment style is avoidant because they did not have their needs met according to what they needed, and there isn’t a standard it’s just according to what each person needs and their own. Unique blueprint, then the avoidant learns to not trust the primary caregivers and their coping mechanism is to avoid because they don’t want to get hurt. They just learned to become extremely self-sufficient and independent. And the third type is the codependent/anxious, which also did not have their needs met, and their coping skill or mechanism or the behaviors that they learned was to be codependent to be overly attached. They learned that they can only exist if they have someone there to validate them. And show them that they exist at all times. So secure, avoidant, and anxious are the three attachment styles.

Laura Dawn: And so how do you apply this work to integration?

Shiri Godasi: So, after we start unpacking? Early on in my consultation usually I asked the questions, what’s going on in your life? How are your relationships? What’s the relationship? or How was it with the parents? What was your childhood like? So, asking open-ended questions that invite the client to start speaking from their experience. And learning about what these relationships were, like, I may ask also about, like, sibling connection. And so basically, how are their relationships now? And how were they in childhood? And then I, typically, 99% of clients will remember something, I think this happened. And I think that happened, and mom was too busy. She was engaged with her work, and to come back home from school on my own and warm up my lunch, or my dad always favorites my brother, and things like that seemingly don’t make too much of a difference. 

Because we’ve learned to not make a big deal out of them. But then in turn, what happened over time is that we’ve learned to minimize ourselves and our needs. And anyhow, so I unpack that, and then we bring attention to that. And that’s when I would introduce the attachment style. And if there is a fun little quiz that they can do online, anyone can do online, you can even Google it or YouTube it, you can even watch the original experiment that they conducted back then to create the attachment styles. So, they like to do the quiz and kind of see where they fall. And then things start making more sense to them. I find that once clients have a framework for understanding why things happened the way they did, they’re better able to contextualize their experiences and gain a better grasp on them and be able to do the healing work and move forward and do the forgiveness work that comes after that. So that’s kind of how my practice is set up. So, I have tons of all these different topics, I have a library of topics and just completely customized to what the client brings in and every moment in every session based on the psychedelic experience that they had, or just what they ate for lunch yesterday, and how they felt about it. So, there’s always something that emerges. So, whatever emerges organically, then I laser in on it and help them find limiting core beliefs, help them see how this may or may not influence their lives. And they love all this theory, they appreciate it, it makes them feel more empowered. And as I said it makes more sense to them, and they can find more forgiveness. 

Laura Dawn: I want to talk about holding space for pain. And I think a lot of people right now, especially, we’re still in the pandemic. This is like the era of letting go of things falling apart for people of reinvention of like really going into that cocoon of metamorphosis, whether it’s trauma, whether it’s the pain of letting go, or people revisiting a painful memory.

How do we strengthen our capacity to hold space and I want to ask this question for people listening who are training themselves to hold space for other people? So that’s the perspective how much is your presence and your capacity to regulate your nervous system, helpful for someone experiencing pain? What suggestions are you offering these people? And where do we find that balance between really feeling it and grieving it fully, but then also, okay, is it time to move on to a new moment? And so, anything you want to share about holding space for people experiencing like, a depth of pain, loss, trauma, whatever it is, that they’re experiencing, that is just hard to hold.

Shiri Godasi: It is hard to hold. And the phrase that comes to mind hearing Laura is, you can only take a person as far as you’ve gone yourself. And you’re right. I do believe that a lot of people, especially people that are being trained to hold spaces to be integration coaches to be integration facilitators, even clinical therapists, clinicians that do ours to learn how to hold therapeutic space for people. Pain is still somewhat of an elephant in the room. You asked me about my personal experiences I’ve seen and I watched the journeys directly how I was placed and painful ceremonies directly also with the spirit of the plant whispering in my ear this will allow you to hold better, painful space for your clients, you need to get intimate with your pain first to learn how to hold that. 

So, you can hold another person’s pain as well. Otherwise, you’re right there is a risk of basically your anxiety of not being able to tolerate pain being brought into the therapeutic relationship. And rushing people out of the healing process, I kind of belong to the camp and this is just kind of like my medicine flavor. I’m the trickster energy has a deep passion for depth psychology, which goes into all the archetypes and it gets pretty deep and intense in there. And I straight up from the beginning from the get-go. And I do understand that it can seem suggestive and but again, I feel like that’s my medicine, I prepare my clients for rough waters during the journey, I talk with them about the period of disintegration that happens during the integration journey, I believe that it won’t be very productive or effective to try to build new foundations that are aligned on top of rotting foundations and old foundations old paradigms and to be eradicated before you can plant in anything fresh and anything new. And that period of disintegration/destruction/deterioration can be extremely painful, extremely confusing, dark, can cause a lot of anxiety. And yet I find that within that six-month timeframe that I articulate for my clients within that container, there’s at least a month or two of that. But we can have that pain of grief of sadness of not knowing who I am and not knowing who I need to be. So, I prepare my clients ahead of time for that because I believe that it will ultimately help them build a lot stronger and a lot more aligned with who they are. So, I do believe it does depend on the facilitators or the guides, pensions, and tolerance for the less rainbow and spark, rainbow parts of the journey. But again, teach them on medicine, different guides have very well known, the poor, different medicine so.

And from a psychotherapy perspective, if you were sitting in session with someone who’s just like getting worked, do you offer, words of encouragement, this too shall pass? Or are you more like, let’s breathe together? Or is it like where do you feel that in your body? Is there anything that you can offer for people who are learning to hold space in the immediacy of a moment of a client feeling a lot of pain?

So, at the moment, a tool that I also trained in and highly recommend for any type of psychedelic oriented support person is somatic therapy, somatic release, either it can be Somatic Experiencing sensory-motor therapy, Hakomi. And getting expertise in one of those modalities will allow you to hold better space. So, some of the interventions that I love to use are from somatic experiencing. One of them is called resourcing, where you teach your client to self-soothe and to find the inner strength, wherever they are without needing anyone else to support them. So, one example that I love is to imagine that you’re in them. And you can teach them to this in the moment and during the relationship. And of course, it’s a tool that they can take with them is, for example, the movement, like take both of your hands up and just draw a big rainbow to have both of the palms your palms meet above your head, drawing, and energy from the earth. And then bringing it down, circling your hands back down into your body in your heart. And then doing that again, then allowing them to just go at their own pace. But the idea is to invite them to create it a few times. So, they have that imprint within their bodies. And they can take it along with them once they leave the session. So that’s a great tool. So, I’m all about practicality practices. So, let’s hold this space in this session. And here is a tool again, that you can take and do on your own again, that’s self-shamanism.

Laura Dawn: I like that. I like practical tools. And I think all of the things that you’re sharing are helpful. So, thank you so much. I’m curious where you’re meeting your growth edge right now. And really what you’ve learned in the past few years of like really holding space for people, in terms of like what it means to be a leader in the space right now, what have you learned and sort of where are you at your edge?

Shiri Godasi: Such an amazing question. This is something that, honestly, is taking me quite a while to own, I’ve never really thought of myself as a psychedelic leader and everything that I’ve built is been built just by going through the motions and integrating and the everyday. So, I never had any desire to be an integration person I never had in my entire life and desire or an inclination to start a nonprofit. I always loved psychology, I always loved self-investigation, but I never thought that I would be any of the things that I am. I never thought that I would be an author or a writer. I’m discovering all these new things about myself and just putting them into practice. And again, following that guidance through the meditations, and then you asked me in my guided and when I write in my journal, I’m guided. Absolutely. When I meditate. I get divine guidance. Sometimes if I’m clear enough, even if I’m having conversations with like, I’m having one with you right now. I have like that guidance, like speaking and I hear it. And it speaks through me. So, what is being a leader? So, first of all as mentioned, for me, it’s just been about bringing in this information and practice, the practicality that I had to bring in from other realities and accommodate them into this reality, quote, unquote, and just that practice, just as created a completely novel reality. And that practice, I started recognizing gaps, myself being a psych-e-naut, not a psychonaut, by the way, psychenaut.

Laura Dawn: I noticed that you said that differently.

Shiri Godasi: Tribes psychenaut, so being a psychenaut I needed community, I didn’t have people that would support me, I needed tools. So, I created them, I saw that there is a large demographic of us that wasn’t getting support. And I just started trying to find solutions for these loopholes. And I think one thing that I’ve learned along the way, and this is something that I’m still in my very young path, I’ve only been doing this for five or six years, which is nothing for a psychedelic person, and I’m still so young and that type of consciousness, but I have noticed that I’m a visionary. And I’m also an architect. And I’m also an implementer because someone’s got to do it. So, I’m holding these three archetypes and trying to make them work together. And now I’m at a stage of you know that you can do all these things cool. You’ve proven it. But do you have to do all these things, or maybe you can just concentrate on what you’re gifted at? For example, if I can be visionary and be the artist, be the creator and learn how to express these visions, good enough for another person, to architect them and for another person to implement them. So, the leadership holds these three aspects and some learning how to basically like work with the tension between these three right now. 

Psychedelic leadership is also definitely learning how to be telling of possibilities as well as practicing and expressing that practice. It means that you have to have the courage to trailblaze a lot of courage to mess up and I’ve messed up a lot and fallen on my ass so many times, and being a public person in the community. Psychedelia is in Los Angeles were one of the first, if not the first integration communities in Los Angeles. And being a person that still undergoes a lot of healing myself, you can imagine that it’s not always pretty, but I just had to learn to accept that that’s part of my journey and part of my medicine and that actually, a lot of people have shared with me, you give me so much courage just by demonstrate, you permit me by permitting myself, I’m giving myself permission to mess up and just keep going. 

Then other people get permission to just show up authentically to see that they have gifts to see that this healing journey, whatever it is. We all have different takes on it. Does it ever end, No? Are you going to wait for it to end for you to get up and like be and shine your beautiful light that you’re here to shine? So, a lot of that for me has been about God is just being bold enough to express myself to dare to express my art and my creations and see who would stick around. And a lot of people didn’t, and a lot of people did. And so that’s kind of a feel like the summary of my journey. And also, what psychedelic leadership is transparency, Authenticity, and just looking outside, from the personal to the transpersonal, see beyond the self, recognize the needs of the people that are walking this path beside you and learn how to articulate it even better than they can articulate it, and then they can hear themselves in you

Laura Dawn: Girl, I feel you, you when you step out in this space, you just have to be ready, that there’s going to be criticism, there’s always going to be someone who disagrees with what you choose to do. And I think that the way that we hold space for those conversations, I think is also a really important topic. There are so many different ways to hold space in the Psychedelic community. Psychedelic leadership is taking on a myriad of forms, and a lot of people disagree about different practices. So, I’m curious, how do you go about that? And what have you learned in those moments where you’ve received harsh criticism? And then how do you differentiate? What’s theirs? And what’s yours? And how much of that do you let into your life? And how much of that do you say, okay, no, thank you. I’m not going to be paying attention to that, I’m finding it such a dynamic balance. I’m curious where you’re at with that process?

Shiri Godasi: Well, first of all, the amount of criticism I received, just be of being who I am and my entire life, not just from this community, but it’s just as pretty big. From a psychedelic community. Absolutely. Definitely from all levels of leadership. How did I accept it? Well, it depends on the beginning of my journey, all of my trauma came out being projected on everyone else. And I went through some type of a night of the soul, reflecting like a lot of my wounds just came out reflected through the community and the people that I was very close with, I’m grateful now because I understand that they were some of my greatest teachers. And we’ve been able to just understand that our soul contract has been fulfilled, and we’re moving on. But that took me a few good years to learn that it’s not my truth to get hurt is not my truth. It’s my inner wounded child that needed the recognition that needed the validation. A lot of that, by the way, I do want to add this to the conversation, a lot of that came out based on my credentials, and what credentials were allowed, quote, unquote, to facilitate integration therapy, and what credentials were not allowed to facilitate integration therapy? This is a question I get asked all the time. 

And I went through all the loopholes that have to do with that because when I was granted my psychology degree, I wasn’t a clinician, and I want to use the word attacked because that’s the word I use back then I felt like it was under attack by the clinician community for basically infringing on their clinical space for daring to allow peer integration support. So, I went through a lot of learning back then, about all the legal issues, the licensing issues, who can do what and I learned a lot about myself and the journey. And also, at the end of the day alone, that I’m again, I’ve always been more of the underdog, more of the underground, more of the alternative. And maybe I wanted to get licensed in the past to get approval. But now I feel like actually, I can be more of service, not being licensed and demonstrating that we can do this work with a very high level of ethics and service and not have to get some type of a credential.

Laura Dawn: When people offer you harsh criticism. How do you hold that?

Shiri Godasi: Right, so the criticism so along the way, I have learned number one, that if you want to play in the arena, you’re going to get hit. If you don’t want to get hit, you can remain a spectator. And actually, a lot of spectators are those providing the hits. I’ve also learned that so first of all, recognizing that I always try to differentiate who is the person that is providing me with this feedback. Everyone that says anything to us, always speaking from themselves and is always speaking from their truth in their reality. So whatever people are saying to you, even if it’s well-intentioned, and acknowledgment and wanting to help you improve, it’s still things that they’re seeing within themselves. So just understanding that again, people will see what they want to see based on their own experience based on the lens that they have the glasses that they have on their faces. So, understanding that and also So learning that everything that people will tell you is information, information about who this person is, what their current state is, and what they’re looking for. 

And when I learned to view, every dialogue as information, it completely transcended the wounded or toxic energy that can come from thinking, is it criticism or not? I’m seeing it now as information, which neutralizes it, so it’s more neutral. And then I can decide from that neutral place. How do I want to use this information? How can I use it to my advantage in my favor? So okay, if I’m getting this certain feedback from my audience, it just means that maybe this is not what they need, they need something else. For me as an entrepreneur, as a leader that I want to serve, I want to be better at what I do, then that means I need to listen better to understand what they’re trying to tell me what their current needs are, and how I can fulfill those needs for them. So, a great book that I used, very simple and just really practical. That word practical book that helped me understand that whole information bit. And that helped me move through the old criticism aspect is called Playing Big by Tara Mohr. So, it’s a great beginner’s book for women leaders or aspiring leaders. 

Laura Dawn: That’s wonderful. I’ll add that to the show notes. Thanks for that recommendation. I think it’s interesting, especially in the psychedelic space, where we’re talking about this notion of like permitting ourselves, and then it’s so easy to look at other people and thinks like, wow, you’re giving yourself so much permission, you’re like bulldozing through space, and like, maybe you should give yourself less permission, you know, and like where our judgments reside. And I like this notion of permitting ourselves from a place of really holding that permission with so much responsibility, that we can embrace integrity and responsibility, and that if we are permitting ourselves like we need to own all repercussions of that.

Shiri Godasi: Yes, responsibility is a big word. And so, another way to learn from that another way that I found that has been helpful for me, so how do I differentiate and a lot of the feedback is great, it is great. But how do I make sure that I work out of integrity is, I have, I keep studying, I keep learning, I keep educating myself, I stay in touch with my students, I stay in touch with my clients? And this is probably the biggest aspect of this work is to have mentors to have elders, the support aspect, someone else that is not you that can see things from the outside, that can provide feedback and people that you trust, that had been doing the work, and they can keep you in check. So, the only thing that I can do better, and the only person I’m going to compare myself to at the end of the day is just who I was yesterday, if I keep looking at what other people are doing in this field, there’s so much going on, that I can lose focus very quickly for my art. So, I learned that I need to keep myself in check by doing my work, by holding myself to a certain standard, which is having mentors, staying in touch with my psychedelic teachers and getting that guidance, doing the practices every day that would enable me to have that clarity and continuously receive that guidance, and just continue being transparent with my audience. So as long as I’m doing these four things, I feel like really, that’s the best I can do.

Laura Dawn: I appreciate that. And just as a side note, for people listening, I just want to encourage everyone in the psychedelic space to communicate feedback with kindness. I think this is a big responsibility that we have right now. We don’t need to attack each other, anything that you hear from people on this show with taking what you resonate and leave the rest. Reach out, have a conversation about it, and come from an open-hearted, open-minded place.

Shiri Godasi: Yes, absolutely. And I second that.

Laura Dawn: I’d love to talk about your psychedelic training programs. So, you have the psyche soul Academy, and is that different than the professional certification program?

Shiri Godasi: It’s the same. It’s just currently I’ve been waiting for it to get trademarked. And now it is, it’s in the process of that. So, the Site Soul Academy does include my professional certificate program, which the years of being a pioneer and a teacher in this field. I constantly got asked, How, did you get to do what you do? Where can I learn to do what you do? How can I get started? And people ask me, if aside from the current offerings that I had back then is if I would teach them long term, so I listen to my audience and put together the integration program of my dreams. Taking all of the years of knowledge that I’ve had in the field and all the different hats I tried on in the terms of the different pieces of training, of course, learning from my mistake and a lot of like wasted time on things that I was a trailblazer a lot of things that I did not know, and had to take shots in the dark, trying to articulate what I’m even looking for and needing in the space that would help me support my clients better. So, taking all of that and packaged it into a really beautiful program that I’m so proud of. 

So, it’s an experiential integration container taking the students through the protocol that I’ve developed, that I take my integration clients on, I believe that one of the most important things and as integration providers are to undergo the integration process yourself, which is not something that can be learned cognitively, read in a textbook, just like the psychedelic experience, you have to experience it for yourself. And then again, from that place from that depth, you will better able to support your clients and their integration journey. So, it’s currently at 12. Well, there are three modules, the first two modules are 12 months. And then there’s another master module, which is another six months. So, it’s an 18-month program total. So, there’s, we have a module a very solid module of psychedelic education. And then they go through them, what I call the integration initiation, just like they would as my clients would. And then, after they retrieve their soul medicine and go through that healing tunnel, we go into a sacred entrepreneurship module, and they take my blueprint, and they infuse their own sacred medicine into this blueprint to create a niche integration practice of their own. So, it’s education practice and integration, and taking action and consciously like becoming leaders in the community through creating your integration practice, and your modality that no one else has invented before. So super creative, super thorough. I’m opening to new groups and the beginning of 2021, which is just around the corner. That’s I’m proud of that program. 

Laura Dawn: Do you feel that after people go through your 18-month program that they would be qualified and educated to hold space for trauma?

Shiri Godasi: Yes, but with certain provisions. So, this is something that I’ve talked about a lot. So, I talked about how trauma comes up, I do train them to recognize trauma when they see it, and also how to extract it even when the client can see it. And we talk about symptoms, we talked about what it could look like we talked about how it can come out. But at the end of the day, tell them you know this, we’re not clinicians, doesn’t matter what we’re trying to do here, even though I firmly believe that the program that I offer is extremely sophisticated. So, it’s sophisticated yet, we need to operate under the laws and jurisdictions of where we live, which currently, we’re living in the United States, we know that licensed clinicians are better equipped to support trauma in any type of setting. And give them tools to recognize it when they see it, and also to be able to articulate how to refer out when they see it.

So, this is something that we talked about continuously in the course, as well as I always drill into them, we each have an audience, don’t try to do all the things, there are some things that you’re going to be great at. And that’s your soul tribe client. And other people are trained to deal with certain populations way better than you and I can and let’s let them deal with it. So, I do talk about that, and definitely in the supervision that I offer, which is part of the program. So, the program includes not just the classes, but we have weekly peer support circles, we have integration circles, we have one on one guidance and coaching and we have mentorship calls and supervision that I run for people who are graduating and are already seeing clients so they can come to me with any type of question about their practice about their ethical about how to support their clients. And then I help them make decisions that are always in favor of the client and of course, keeping the coaches safe and protected as well. So, we talked about all of that.

Laura Dawn: And so, what have you learned about getting a vision like this off the ground, it’s a huge vision and so kudos to you for implementing it but for other people who are launching programs, especially in the leadership space, what’s the best advice you can give people who are getting big visions off the ground?

Shiri Godasi: Against supervision, have elders that keep checking you keep educated, those are my pillars. Without that, I couldn’t do anything that I do. Don’t try to do something that is not your expertise. Don’t try to offer support and something that is not your niche. Everyone has a gift specialized in your gift offer your gifts, and then other people concentrate on their gifts and offering their gifts. And so basically to have a team of professionals that each of their gifts, and together, you build that holistic support structure, don’t aim to do everything on your own because number one not feasible, not sustainable. And it’s just, it’s not what we’re supposed to do. The teaching of medicine is that we’re here to collaborate, that we’re here to support each other, that we’re here to uplift and help each other arise. And that’s the gift of collective empowerment, and it doesn’t bypass the leadership. We’re all learning. we’ve all learned these lessons, and I’m still learning them, deeper and deeper with every interaction that I have. And so, my key advice is, to keep supported by other experts and professionals and to hone in on your gifts and your message, and concentrating more on service and on making an impact rather than your bank account.

Laura Dawn: I like that’s good advice. I like to ask different fun, random questions to close. So, I would like to ask you if you could plant one seed that could transmute a limiting belief into an empowering belief for humanity, what would it be?

Shiri Godasi: Live with compassionate power. We’re all incredibly powerful. We’re all just waiting to be unlocked. And then I think the work after discovering the power is just learning how to channel that immensity, and grace and service and compassion and kindness, to be able to inspire others to uplift others. So, service with compassion and power is my motto. And heal serve love. That’s the journey.

Laura Dawn: Thank you so much, Shiri. It’s been quite the pleasure of dropping in with you. And I’m excited to see where your path takes you and to keep dancing in this psychedelic space together. 

Shiri Godasi: Thanks for dancing with me, Laura. Appreciate you. Mucho aloha to you.

Shiri Godesi, MA Biography​

Shiri M. Godasi is a pioneering psychedelic integration teacher, consultant, visionary entrepreneur, coach, author, depth psychology & spiritual scholar, and mother. She is passionate about creating grassroots, bottom-up supportive systems that enable people to Self-heal and live an authentic and empowered life. As a trailblazer in the sphere of psychedelic education & activism Shiri is the founder of the community nonprofit organization PsychedeLiA: Psychedelic Integration, Los Angeles; the founder and CEO (Chief Ecstasy Officer) of Psychedelic School, a virtual educational platform specializing in psychedelic support training; and director of The Psyched Soul™ Academy, a professional certification program for psychedelic leaders in training. She maintains a private coaching practice in Chino Hills, CA and has assisted people who are afflicted by a range of mental health conditions, life situations and spiritual emergence. Her approach draws from transpersonal humanities studies, Eastern philosophy and shamanic healing modalities to fuse ancient wisdom with modern & practical practices.

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Episode #6 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called Let It In by Laughing Lady Love.

1 Comment


Oliver
February 4, 2021 at 9:44 am
Reply

Great episode! so good we listened twice, Thankyou laura D for another focused look at the lessons we can learn from these inspiring leaders. Bem haja


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