In this Microdosing Table Talk episode we speak with Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio, formerly known as Andrea Pennington, as she shares her life journey, the importance of self-love, and the profound impact of shamanic healing practices as a way to loosen the grip of old conditioning and trauma. Our discussion touches on themes such as self-identity, microdosing psychedelics, and the unique ways in which microdosing psilocybin can positively influence women’s health.
Dr. 1Drea Pennington emphasizes the value of open and honest conversations, practicing harm reduction, and the concept of the “cornerstone process,” a powerful tool for personal growth and self-discovery that can help us navigate life’s challenges and uncover our true potential.
About Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio
Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio is an integrative physician, psychedelic-assisted therapist and modern-day medicine woman who stands as a vivid testament to the transformative power of the Dark Night and the illuminating Dawn that follows. Over half a century, she’s danced between her roles as an artist and medical scientist, emerging stronger, wiser, and more attuned with her Authentic Self. Blending Eastern philosophies, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and insights from applied positive psychology and psychedelic neuroscience, DaeEss 1Drea provides a holistic and integrative approach to well-being. Through her guided psilocybin retreats, she crafts profound journeys into the psyche, enabling individuals to face and heal their deepest traumas. And through her books and powerful TED talks, she’s inspired millions, unraveling the intricate dance between resilience, self-love, and holistic wellness.
Microdosing Table Talk Episode 27
- Who is Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio
- How 1Drea’s childhood experiences have shaped her path of healing
- Transformative power of shamanic practices like Ayahuasca
- What is TRUE self love?
- Letting go of our constructed identities imposed by society
- Microdosing’s potential for women’s health
- Menopause and estrogen levels
- Importance of community and group support
The need for open, honest conversations about psychedelics
The cornerstone process and what is it?
Healing for healers
Power of stories
Disclaimer: Microdosing Institute is an information platform and a community with the sole purpose of providing education on microdosing. We do not encourage the illegal use of psychedelics. Even though we discuss the many benefits of microdosing, we do not claim that microdosing is proven effective as a medicine, medicinal aid or supplement, or that it could be seen as a replacement for conventional therapies or medicines.
Connect with Dr. 1Drea Pennington
- Website: https://realself.love/ Conscious Evolution
- Podcast: https://consciousevolution.live/
- Visionary Leadership Psilocybin Retreat in October 2023: https://makeyourmarkglobal.mykajabi.com/visionary-leadership-psilocybin-truffle-retreat
- Other upcoming retreats with 1Drea: https://sendfox.com/lp/m797wx
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreapennington/
- Instagram: @dr1dreapenningtonwasio
Microdose with us
- Join the next 6-Week Microdosing Immersive group program
- Learn how to microdose with our self-guided video course
00:03 Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio (DP)
There’s good evidence to show that certain psychedelics and even nontraditional psychedelics, like you might even look at MDMA, for example, to be helpful. But anything from ayahuasca psilocybin, mescaline and LSD there are research studies that can make this connection that whether it’s mood or it’s cognition, it’s getting better sleep, getting better sex, having better relationships there’s this whole host of effects that psychedelics mediate that can be helping women across the lifespan.
00:38 Jakobien van der Weijden (JW)
Welcome to Microdosing Table Talks, the world’s first podcast dedicated exclusively to learning more about you guessed it microdosing. For those new to the community, microdosing is the practice of consuming a psychedelic substance in tiny sub-halucinogenic doses with the purpose of enhancing one’s quality of life. While this practice has its roots in ancient and indigenous traditions, there’s still a lot to learn and a great deal of mystery to uncover. Here at Microdosing Institute, our mission is to merge and honor this ancient wisdom with the growing body of scientific knowledge. In the podcast, we’ll introduce you to experts in the psychedelic space to bring you a better understanding of how microdosing can truly serve us both as individuals and humanity at large. Before we begin, we’d like to extend a thank you to our friends at Microdose NL for sponsoring this episode. Microdose NL is Europe’s number one shop for all of your microdosing needs.
For our community members based in the European Union, check out Microdose NL before your next microdosing cycle. Now let’s go ahead with today’s episode.
Hello, I’m super excited to record this live conversation today with Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio formerly known as Andrea Pennington. She’s an integrative physician, psychedelic assisted therapist, and a modern day medicine woman who stands as a vivid testament to the transformative power of the dark night and the illuminating dawn that follows. Over half a century, she stands between her roles as an artist and a medical scientist, emerging stronger, wiser and more attuned. With her authentic self blending Eastern philosophies, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and insights from applied positive psychology and psychedelic neuroscience, Dr. DaeEss 1Drea Pennington Wasio provides a holistic and integrative approach to well being. Through her guided psilocybin retreats, she crafts profound journeys into the psyche, enabling individuals to face and heal their deepest traumas. And through her books and powerful Ted Talks, she’s inspired millions, unraveling the intricate dance between resilience self love and holistic wellness. Welcome to the podcast.
You just arrived in the Netherlands for a retreat that you’re facilitating here. How are you feeling today?
I’m feeling really, I’m really happy to be back in the Netherlands. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been here and very excited about this retreat and what we can bring to this group of people.
Yeah, and we will talk a bit more about your retreat work and especially the communities that you work with, such as women, and we’ll get more into that. And I’m excited to dive into this conversation first thing as I also mentioned in the intro, you are trained in many different modalities of healing and medicine work, philosophies and tools. If you had to explain to a five year old what it is that you do, how would you go about that?
Oh, wow, that’s a fun one. If I had to explain to a five year old, I would say I help people be happy. I help people let go of pain when they’ve experienced something really hurtful so that they can be happy and live a full good life. I think a five year old might be able to understand that.
I hope so. Yeah. I think so. Short but sweet. Yeah. And then I’d really love I think your backstory is also very important to go into, and I would love for you to just kind of explain what sort of shifts have happened in your life and that make you come to this place, made you arrive at all the work that you do today.
It has been a winding road, as you can imagine. Lots of highs and lows and deaths and rebirths. Well, as you can hear from my accent, I’m American. I grew up in the United States, and now I live in the south of France. And just to put it super simple, my childhood was pretty chaotic and actually quite dysfunctional. The family system that I grew up in and that impacted everything. I didn’t grow up with really visible abuse or anything, so I never actually knew that what I endured was a traumatic childhood. But I started noticing things in my 20s where I was having challenges in relationships and a lot of depression. And then in my early 30s, once I became a doctor, I was working in television. At the same time, I was really struggling with this compulsive need to prove myself. I never felt good enough.
And now, with hindsight, I can look back and see how all these little experiences with my family imprinted on me and really had me feeling like I wasn’t good enough and all of that. And about in my mid thirty s, I was invited to go to a shamanic retreat. I’m so grateful to this beautiful coach that saw me struggling, and she knew that I was like, straddling the line between traditional medicine and spiritual stuff. And so I went to Sedona, Arizona in the US. And it was my first shamanic experience. And the way that the guide explained how in Western cultures we are so neurotic, we have all this programming as contrasted to indigenous people where they have different rites of passage, but it’s all about becoming who you’re really meant to be. And it just struck me as so fascinating and so, I don’t know, inspiring that was when I stepped onto the shamanic path and I was then called to sit with the Great mother Ayahuasca.
And it’s really been over the last 17 years that I’ve leaned more to the shamanic side than the traditional medicine side and experiencing Ayahuasca and then psilocybin for my own healing journey. I mean, at first it was really just about unpacking my childhood and getting past the depression and all of the toxic thoughts and beliefs that I had. And then over the last five or six years, I’ve been able to add in psychedelics for my client work. Early in my medical career, I was running an intensive outpatient program, which is that one was designed for binge eating disorder. And then we started getting people with other sort of substance use disorders. And so we created this beautiful, holistic, interdisciplinary program. And I started really teasing out which patients had trauma in their background or what we call adverse childhood experiences. And it was the first time that I realized it didn’t matter what we put them through, whatever medication or diet, or even psychotherapy or surgery, if they didn’t have a fundamental love of their authentic self, then they might not get better.
As I’ve continued my path as a medicine woman, I’ve really focused on self love and post traumatic growth and psychedelic therapy and retreats just fit so perfectly.
Yeah. Beautiful. And I like it that you hear this call for connecting to that self love. And I think you have a sort of movement, right? It’s hashtag real self love. So how do you define real self love?
So, all on this Shamanic path, what I was able to discover in myself was all the ways I’d been programmed. So all of the masks and the roles and the hats that I was wearing, which made me feel so fragmented and never fully me, that is the constructed self or the false self. It’s the ego. I mean, we all have an ego and it’s there for our survival. But through a variety of experiences, I started to come into contact with what I call the authentic self. And it’s that essence of you, it’s the real part of you that goes beyond all the programming, at least in this lifetime. There may be Karmic programs, but it’s not tied to the ego, it’s not tied to a sense of survival. And that’s what I found. When people could connect to the real self, then they could realize that just because you’re here, you are worthy.
You don’t have to perform or do anything for love. Like, you are worthy of love, you are worthy of success.
And it’s so fascinating, right, how this notion of that, I’ve heard it so many times also from Shamanic practitioners, that says our weaknesses are our strengths, but maybe also even our strengths are our weaknesses. And I also know from your story that you have so many talents and you were pursuing many different careers right, in different fields of, what do you call it, operation in the arts, in filmmaking, being a medical doctor. So, yeah, to an outsider that seems like, wow, she’s set up for success or she must be enjoying all those things and therefore feeling more rich and more alive. Maybe. But is it true? Was it more of a burden for you?
Yeah, it’s got its highs and lows, and I think I was never diagnosed with having Add. But now I can see with more wisdom that this love of doing all these different things and being very impulsive is very typical of a neurodivergent kind of brain that I have. But you’re absolutely right. I found that having so many interests didn’t fit with the traditional paradigm. So a lot of people would look at me and say, well, I can’t understand you. Like, what are you? Are you this or are you that? It’s a very binary construct in the west for most of us. And that brought for me a lot of self loathing. Like, I literally had this feeling like, why can’t I just choose one thing? Why can’t I force myself into this box? Why can’t I achieve what other people think is healthy and good?
It took burnout, suicidality, really wanting my life to be over for me to hit that rock bottom and realize I have to live for me and in a way that is aligned with my heart and soul, which is.
And then you could reach the point where at some point, oh, this is what I have to show others. Or this is where I can show the way for all those who are in a similar situation.
Yeah, and you know, the thing about that is I’ve been talking about this recently. I didn’t know that was part of my dharma, my reason for being. I could see now, looking back, that since I was a kid, I was always kind of coaching others and trying to help people find their way and shine their light, which is a lot of what I do now in my work. But in 2014, I was teaching at the University of Monaco and doing this applied positive psychology course about become who you really are. And at that time I was invited to do a Ted Talk. And I had this idea of cleaning the slate because in America I had been on TV a lot and people knew me as this Dr. Andrea for Discovery and then Oprah and all these things. But after a few years in France, I realized I need to tell the world who I really I thought, you know, a Ted Talk, that’s a way to brand yourself and do it.
So I had this idea that I just wanted to tell the truth because when I was on TV before, I had to wear again all of these masks I had to fit in this box that the TV networks wanted me in. And so the idea was, I’m just going to tell people who I really am on stage once, and then it’ll be done. And then I can go on with my life from there. Okay. Little did I know that all of a sudden, I was getting just emails and direct messages and phone calls from people saying, your story is my story, and you’ve helped me realize that I want to break out and do what’s really calling to me. And again, I didn’t really know that this was part of my life’s purpose until a few years in, it became obvious, like I’m meant to be a teacher or ways how to connect with your authentic self and how to live that in a world that tries really hard to not encourage authenticity and individuality.
Yeah. Or when it does, it is in a sort of very constructed way. It’s still a persona. It’s like, oh, the persona of this person is so authentic. Like, a little bit crazy, but authentic kind of that’s so, you know, this, for me, is actually a nice segue into microdosing because very recently, there was a small study done in the Netherlands that showed microdosing makes people feel more authentic. So they actually rated themselves as, I’m having a more authentic experience of myself now. Yeah. Which I think it’s also something that we already knew here in this community, just working with people and from our own experience. But I think it’s one of the key it’s perhaps the key aspect of the main power of this practice, because once we’re more connected to our authenticity, we can really from there, we can set boundaries, we can go after what we really want.
We understand our needs better. It opens up some new perspectives that maybe weren’t just considering because were so busy trying to be another version of ourselves.
Yeah. I’m so curious to see this study because I’m wondering, did they check a box for that, or was this something that people wrote in like, I’m feeling more authentic? As a researcher, I’m super curious about that because I have found that there are a number of people, when they have a macro experience, that they truly get in touch with their authentic self, and they come out of that saying, okay, now I know who I really am, and I’m going to go be it. And I think for me, with microdosing, it was a more subtle shift in enforcing this sense of authenticity and promoting self care and boundaries and knowing what’s really right for me. But I do think that’s one of the pieces of magic that comes from magic truffles or mushrooms. No, really, I do. I feel like a lot of people tell me that they hear messages from the mushrooms or from the truffles about their body, about the way that they’re living and whether it’s coming from the mushrooms or it’s coming from their higher self.
It’s like we kind of get this guidance that’s saying this is a path forward, that if you choose to live it, you’re going to have a more authentic and rich and healthy life. And I find that it’s so helpful because even though we have so much information on the internet and all these conferences and biohacking this and all these opinions, you have this intelligence within yourself. And when you can tune into it, you can find your path.
Yeah. And isn’t this also what, in essence nature is? We are nature. Nature is that what acts by itself that is not forced but it automatically does that. And I think this is why, for instance, mushrooms or truffles but in essence most of the psychedelics are derived from a natural substance coming out of nature. Basically nature telling us to be more like nature, to be nature. Exactly.
Because we are. It’s like you were sharing your experience in Portugal with just learning to give like get out of the mind and get into the body and we are. We’re one with nature if we can only choose to tune.
Yeah, and I think that’s so beautiful. I mean, it is so simple. But at the same time, because we’re living in cities, working in offices with unnatural light, we’re working with devices, with computers all day, like all these sorts of things that make us think we need to pursue things in a different way, or that we need to pursue something, or that we need a very special approach to healing our traumas. But in essence it always comes back to do what nature does look at a tree instead of looking at other people and see how they’re doing it. The tree is just a tree not worrying about being a different kind of tree or growing fast enough or all those things. Yeah. Is there something else that comes to mind for you when working with psychedelics? Or maybe we can also talk about microdosing more specifically because you’re doing a lot of work with that and a lot of research on that.
When we’re talking about real self love and authenticity, do you see more ways in which it helps us reach that natural state?
Well, for me I think it’s probably always going to be hand in hand. I like macro experiences mainly because I’ve been treating trauma for 20 plus years. So a lot of the people that come, they need a macro experience to kind of cut through some of the drama.
Yeah. Why is that?
I think because what I’ve observed with people who’ve experienced trauma, including myself, there was stuff I didn’t even know that the mushrooms showed me that I was later able to confirm with my family. I think because the psyche is so good at protecting us, we can wall off memories, we can block entire portions of our life that I’ve heard when people start microdosing they start to get sort of almost like flashbacks and that can be difficult to manage. Whereas if you’re able to surrender and be in a safe space, either with a facilitator or a group retreat and have a macro experience to really let go of those ego defenses and get right to the core material. And sometimes that happens over time. Like, not everyone’s ready to go deep, but I find that helps melt things. It helps to accelerate seeing what we haven’t been willing to see, getting more familiar with our psyche, with all these different parts of us, the wounded inner child, your wounded toddler, your rebellious teenager.
And then I think when you supplement that afterward with a micro dosing regimen for a lot of people who have depression and anxiety, they’re going to notice. They feel a little bit better, which means you’re going to be more likely to do the things that are good for you, whether that’s journaling or meditation or yoga or breath work or sitting down with a therapist. And so it facilitates this process of peeling back the layers. And we all talk about neuroplasticity. Right? And we know that at least with a macro experience, we’ve got this neuroplasticity window that helps us build new neural networks, new pathways, and new habits. And I believe that we’re going to see that microdosing does that as well. Probably not as big an impact. But if you’re microdosing and then you continue to engage in these healthy behaviors and introspection, you have an ally there.
You have something that’s helping you. And so I feel like that’s always going to be a part of the way I see it for folks who are unpacking trauma.
Yeah, exactly. I also like to compare the two. And then micro dosing is just you have the volume is a little bit down, but you keep it on for longer, like the radio keeps playing at a low volume. And while you’re living your day to day life, so you also can really work with your insights and work with your awareness. There where it’s needed, right there where it’s happening.
I’d really like to spend some time talking about women because you’ve done a lot of research and you work a lot with women specifically, so maybe just in the first place. Why is that? What have you seen in women? Or is this something that comes from your practice as a doctor that women are of course, we are totally different creatures than men, biologically, emotionally, spiritually. Yeah, but what is it specifically? I just like to hear the specifics.
Yeah, it does come from my work as a physician, really, seeing how women have been underrepresented in research, for example, and then as a doctor, recognizing that you can’t treat a female patient the same way with certain medications, with certain approaches. Like biologically, we’re different. I think the other reason is because we exist in this patriarchal system where a lot of women have not been able to advocate for themselves, and so they need someone who’s able to advocate for them. And I think I got that from my mom being a little bit of a rebel and a rabble rouser, not afraid to stir things up. I think now having been in the trauma healing world for so long, I feel like the experiences I’ve had personally with unpacking my trauma, I can bring it to women in a different way, in a way that it isn’t cookie cutter.
And when I start looking at psychedelics across the board from all health conditions, there are a lot of health conditions that have not been well studied in women. When we get to psychedelics that drops off incredibly. And so what has been really curious to me is that during the pandemic I had gotten some truffles from here and it was the first time that I decided to do micro dosing. At that time I’d only done journey doses and I noticed over the course of the pandemic I was tracking my brainwaves. I have this EEG machine, I was really just tracking all of my symptoms and it was my doctor, Dr. Jill Stocker. I always have to give her a shout out because she was the one that was like don’t you realize that this is getting better and this is getting better. And I had just been entering into menopause and I hadn’t put it together that the microdosing was helping with some of the things that women often experience in menopause.
So going two years later I started to look at the literature and what we’re finding is that microdosing could potentially help a lot of women’s issues, not just menopause, we’re talking menstrual irregularity, stress, anxiety, PMDD, PMS. So for me now I’m realizing, gosh, this is something that can unlock so much for women. We can’t divorce it of the hormone conversation because a lot of people are not getting their hormones optimized the way they should. But when we can do that in combination with something that allows a woman to start unpacking all the ways we’ve been programmed to be silent, to be less than to put ourselves last, to always be caring for others. When you can start to unpack that with the help of microdosing, while you’re starting to feel better what I’ve seen is the results are incredible.
Yeah, it’s true. It is in essence. And these days I find it easy to describe it in this way as a holistic tool. But also it’s because we don’t always know the specifics, we don’t quite know exactly how it works and we just say like oh, it seems to balance whatever is imbalanced or oh it makes people feel better and that helps you optimize even further. But at the same time it’s doing these very important things and that’s what we’re seeing and starting to recognize now.
Yeah. And I’d love to be able to do some research and I’ve been talking to some colleagues about doing exactly that. The challenge is in most institutions their institutional review board has a hard time approving a study where you’re going to give someone a substance that they go home with. Normally in a research study, the person takes the medicine, they’re on site and with microdosing we want people to go home. So we would likely start with an observational study allowing women to fill out a survey. But the challenge is knowing what they’ve taken, the amount, the strain, even if they’re doing mushrooms, like what conditions it was grown under. But what I’d love to see is I’d love to see some research because one of the things that we know, particularly if we’re talking about menopause, when a woman gets on hormone replacement therapy, for example, we know that estrogen is doing good things to preserve cognitive function.
It increases brain derived neurotrophic factor BDNF. We know that can potentially help keep Alzheimer’s away. Well if you look at what psilocybin does, it also increases blood flow to the brain and BDNF and helps with cognition. So for a lot of women who experience this hormone depleted, memory working memory loss, some people call it brain fog. If we know that psilocybin can do that and if you happen to be on hormone replacement therapy, then you’re even getting a greater boost to me, that’s fascinating. So we have research on psilocybin, we do have research on hormone replacement. So if we could start to tease out, could mushrooms be helpful in the menopause? I think probably yeah.
And you published a paper about it that was kind of looking at what is the research that is already there on menopause right, but without being linked directly to psychedelics. So can you just explain what you found out?
Yes. So I did sort of a comprehensive review on some psychedelic research as well as other things like diet and meditation and mindfulness practices, and we found exactly that for some women who experience emotional challenges, there’s good evidence to show that certain psychedelics and even nontraditional psychedelics. Like you might even look at MDMA, for example, to be helpful. But anything from ayahuasca psilocybin, mescaline and LSD, there are research studies that can make this connection that whether it’s mood or it’s cognition, it’s getting better sleep, getting better sex, having better relationships, there’s this whole host of effects that psychedelics mediate that can be helping women across the lifespan. So whether you’re menstruating and you’re having menstrual difficulties, there is the potential that this could help. Whether you’re having menopausal symptoms or you want to prevent cognitive decline, there’s actually research that makes the link. Now we need to actually do research specifically with menopausal, women or women across these lifespans.
But that comprehensive review paper that’s out there, just google my name and you’ll find it. The case is pretty compelling.
Yeah, exactly. And it’s also almost like yes, if you’re curious to try it because you wonder if it may work for you, whether it’s dealing with menstrual things or with PMS, just try because it’s relatively safe and you’ll find out soon. Enough. Well, for some people, it does take a little bit of time, which I also find quite fascinating. For some people, it works on the first day of their first microdose. Yeah. Even. Yeah. We’ve we had so many cases like that, but we’ve also had cases where it took about three weeks and it was a gradual process, but then it became very clear, very significant, very impactful. As. Yeah.
Yeah. And I found that also women who have had long history of being on antidepressants, when they start microdosing, they’re able to taper off. Now, of course, you need to do this in supervision with your therapist or your psychiatrist, but that’s also showing promise. And it’s not one size fits all. I mean, we’ve all got different receptors and different sensitivity. But like you said, for some of us that first day, we’re like the lights have been turned on, like something has really shifted. That makes a big difference. So I’m really excited to start helping women discern what works for them because it isn’t one size fits all. You are going to have to titrate for yourself. And if you can stick with it, of course, we always have to give the disclaimer. If you happen to be on the bipolar spectrum with a hint of mania, even micro dosing is recommended with caution.
If you tend to be someone who has anxiety, whether that’s linked to past trauma or generalized anxiety, that too, you have to bear with the dosing. I’ve found some people, even just taking the tiniest bit will make them more agitated. So you’ve got to find your own sweet spot. But I think it’s going to show promise.
Yeah. And can you also speak to this is a topic I’m really not well versed in at all, but what we hear so often is women who say, I want to balance my hormones. I know that my hormones are out of balance. And I also understand that hormones, the way the levels and that it leads to other processes in the body, like the hormones are guiding many other processes in the body. But do you. See that it shows a similar promise. Using psychedelics or microdosing to balance our hormones? Or is that more of like sort of a byproduct that might also happen?
That is the big question. I don’t think that psychedelics are going to help balance hormones by themselves. None of our hormones work in isolation. What you just described is everything is working together. You can’t even isolate just one hormone and say, this is the one we’re going to replace. Just estrogen or just testosterone or just thyroid, because you have to take into account a woman’s environment, their stressors, their biology, what are the other hormones doing? But what I do think microdosing will help with is the sensitivity, because a lot of women have known, like you said, I know my hormones are out of balance, they’re out of whack. But unfortunately, a lot of people will go to their doctor and the doctor won’t check them or they’ll get a blood test and the doctor says, oh, well, you’re within the normal range. And the reality is, the way that Western medicine works is everything is plotted on a bell curve.
They’re doing this population study. And so, yeah, you may fall between the normal range, but what if you’re at the very low end of normal? It could beneficial for you to just have your hormones topped up a little bit, not to get you into hyper range.
Yeah, because it doesn’t say anything about how much you’re suffering that particular.
You have to look at the symptoms that go with it. You have to look at the woman with it. And so what I hear is a lot of women, they know, but they don’t know exactly which hormone. Like, what is the balance. It’s not like you can only treat one. You have to look at how they play together. But I think with microdosing, you’ll have a little more sensitivity and probably a little more agency to advocate for yourself, to say, okay, if you’re not going to test me, then I’m going to go to someone who will. And to start advocating for yourself to really get down to the bottom of it. I think when you balance your hormones and get them where they should be and you’re micro dosing for me personally, on hormone replacement therapy in menopause, it’s been a game changer, and that’s what I’m advocating for with patients.
I don’t think that just the micro dosing alone will solve it, because if your testosterone is just in the toilet and you’re losing strength and you don’t have the energy, you might feel better about it, but you’ve still got this physical body to deal with.
Yeah. And I’m actually looking just to see if there’s some time to talk about, because it is also very interesting. Right. I understand menopause as a process, we’re actually losing so much of our vitality, and that just shows in every way that the body is functioning right. It starts to lose those functions, whether that’s cognitive or muscle strength. And so it is something that should be taken much more seriously than it really is. And yeah, I’ve heard about hormone placement therapy, but I always thought it was something that, okay, they do this in the United States where there’s always people who are well resourced and who can experiment with those things. But when I started to hear about these processes and how deeply they affect almost every woman that goes through it and that it happens already at such an early stage of your life, I mean, you’re not close to death or so it’s like you still have 40 more years or more to go.
So I do really understand that this should have much more priority in all areas of health care.
And that’s the challenge. I think the challenge over here in Europe is most people are dependent on their national health system, and the national health system is not very likely to replace a woman’s hormones. Now, if you were a man and you went to your primary care doctor, your GP, and said, I’m feeling low or I’m having erectile dysfunction or whatever, more doctors would be likely to test and treat a man with hormones than they would for a woman, because they just say, well, it’s your age. It’s declining. But you’re right. In America, there are a lot of biohackers. There are people like myself and the doctors that I work with who are trained in what we call age management and hormone optimization. I think it’s a challenge because most people then do have to pay out of pocket. And the reality is, it’s not just about libido.
Giving a woman her hormones back literally, is giving her life and extending her health span, quite possibly extending the lifespan as well. So when you think about all of the mortality that’s associated with declining hormones, this should be a priority. And there are folks out there who are advocating for this change, and God willing, it’ll continue to happen.
Yeah, it’s about quality of life rather than just fixing whatever is wounded or healed or ill as what we see here in the regular healthcare system. Like, your complaints have to be real, and they have to be severe enough in order to be treated. Otherwise you just get sent home with a paracetamol or a simple painkiller.
And that’s what I’ve seen. And it just frustrates me living in France, because I hear women as they’re getting to menopause, and they’re like, yeah, my doctor just said that’s just the way it is. Try some natural remedies at the pharmacy for your symptoms. But they’re not thinking about the long term health. It’s not just about symptoms. It’s not just about hot flashes and vaginal dryness. There are internal health systems that are impacted by this lack of hormones. So I think with microdosing, people will start to advocate for themselves. I have clients who will fly to other countries to get their hormones because there are physicians who are willing to see and treat.
Yeah. Coming out of this topic of women’s health, well, are there any other ways in which micro dosing can specifically support women rather than men? Is there anything we haven’t talked about yet or anything you’ve seen that we should also mention here?
Well, we’ve talked about the self love piece. I think men need that too.
I won’t say it’s just for women, but I have found that with microdosing, women are doing better at connecting with their own needs and being willing to voice them. And I think that’s huge. I think we come from so much family and societal programming that makes us discount the fact that we have needs. And I think that’s different. And we’ve talked about it before, but I think it comes back to can I connect with my real, authentic self and can I start to advocate for myself? I think that microdosing helps in that way because once you start to feel better and you see things clearer, like you have a different perspective. And like you said, it’s tuning into nature. When we realize I’m a part of nature, I deserve to be thriving. Just like I would look at a plant and decide, oh gosh, it needs more water, we need to remove it from the sunlight.
Don’t I deserve that as well? And I feel like microdosing helps in that way.
Yeah, I feel also that’s how it helped me. That’s how it helped me move out of situations that were basically unhealthy for me. But I was just keeping up with it because I was conditioned and programmed to take whatever it takes and do whatever needs to be done or stay in whatever the condition is, and I would relativize it. I don’t know if that’s the proper English word, but I will say, oh, there’s other people who are worse off.
No, that doesn’t get you. So what you’re saying is very true. I think it comes down to not only self love, but specifically also self value. Valuing yourself as the most important person in your life or the most precious person. That how you would treat others. That’s how you can start treating yourself.
Yeah. And that’s the thing that I think psychedelics do, is they help us connect with self compassion. It’s easy for a woman to care for others and to just feel her heart beating for someone else. But when that gets reflected back to yourself and you start to feel compassion, like, I deserve this too, I think that can be a real turning point for people.
Yeah. And then comparing this experience to the experience that men may have I think you mentioned earlier that there are differences in the way or in the psychedelic experiences that men and women have. Is that something yeah. Can you talk about that? Because I’m not sure if that’s what were touching on right now, if that there’s something else in the way they experience subjectively, their experience.
Well I only have a few years of anecdotal experience here, no research studies but what my practice has shown me with men who are getting in touch with emotion or unpacking trauma. It is a slower process in that for many of the men that I’ve worked with anyway, the idea of getting in touch with their feelings has been a very difficult one because of their conditioning, because of their family, because of the long history of suppressing feelings. And psychedelics instantly for many people can put them in touch with feelings they’ve never felt before. But there’s this difficult link between intellectualizing and making sense of okay, now that I’m a feeling being, what do I do with that? And I think that what I’ve experienced with men who go into psychedelic retreats or even micro dosing is they’re very goal oriented. It’s not like I want to unpack my drama and trauma, it’s like I just want to better, I want to be less reactive or I want to be closer with intimacy, I want to be more creative.
Like it’s very goal oriented, very outwardly focused.
Yeah that’s the masculine also in its essence, right? In its nature. Yeah, it’s very interesting. That also definitely corresponds to what we’re seeing in our communities and in our six week programs where it may take a little bit more time. And also the men really need, I would say they really need that container the group community to see and hear from others how are they dealing with those emotions. So, yeah, first of all, to recognize them and connect with them when they come up, but then also to that whole integration part. And that’s where it’s helpful to be part of a group or to just not having to figure it out by yourself and not having to go about it mentally or intellectually. Because, of course, that’s usually what they know and what they’re sort of trained to do. And this is just a process of embodying.
Yeah and of course it goes for everyone. It doesn’t only go for men specifically.
But no, you bring up a really good point about the group aspect because I find that we’re social creatures and we heal in community, we recover in community and when you can be even on Zoom and start to hear someone else share their story and hear what they’re going through, we pick up on it. We have these mirror neurons that help us tune in, especially with a psychedelic on board. You’re tuning into empathy. And I find that whether you’re male or female, that group aspect is really crucial because we go through so many life changes where we feel like we have to do it alone, where we just sort of hunker down. And I’m going to just power through this. But one Saturday a month, I host something called the Sacred Psychedelic Saturday. And it’s for men and women around the world who just want to come together, share, learn.
It’s harm reduction. And the comments that I get back from people, men and women, but a lot of men are saying, wow, I thought I was the only one. And so when you get to hear and be with a group, it just brings a whole another level of healing.
Yeah, yes, totally. And it seems also something that kind of got lost in our society as we got increasingly individualized. And I saw it also. I noticed it much more even during the pandemic when everyone was asked to stay in their home. Yes. Just how easy it is to get even more disconnected and that it becomes almost like a very special thing to be with others and to be open and transparent about how you feel. And also I’m surprised sometimes that in the programs that we do and in our community that people sometimes they go a bit with a little bit of shame or awkwardness around. Yeah, this is the first time I’m going to open up to a bunch of strangers, basically. And it’s beautiful that it’s happening now, but it also makes me a little sad that we’re not doing that on a massive scale all the time.
Yeah. But hopefully we’re at a shifting point. At least that’s how I look at it when I see the people that come to our community calls they’re starting to normalize, having open, honest conversations and the more we normalize that I let people see what that looks like. To share with your family. Of course, some people’s families, they don’t want to hear about it. But imagine if you got to grow up in a family where both your mother and father were able to talk openly about their feelings, about their past, about what their hopes and dreams are without having to hide it in shame.
Yeah, absolutely. Do you have a vision for the future or you’ve been working on many projects and are working on many projects that all seem to evolve and also come to all these areas that we’ve talked about. Yeah, I’m curious. And also you worked a lot within the medical paradigm and yeah, I think there is also a lot of work to do with and by those who are healers or who want to basically help people heal in whatever sort of way or modality. So yeah, I know this is kind of like two questions in one, the future of healing and maybe general future visions or projects that you have.
Thank you for the question. Yeah, actually these dovetail together in my experience with working with people with addictions and eating disorders. Something evolved in my practice and it’s called the cornerstone process. A lot of people who are going through burnout or recovery or a midlife crisis or intense loss, they find that it’s like going through the dark night of the ego. A lot of people call it the dark night of the soul, but it was interesting. I went back to San Juan de la Cruz, or St. John of the Cross, who wrote the original poem, and it was called Nocecura Just Dark Night. He never said dark night of the soul. Somebody else added that. But in that dark night, we’re kind of feeling completely lost. Like our sense of self is starting to crumble. We’re not quite who we’re about to be. We’re kind of afraid to let go of who were.
There’s all this turmoil, and what I found with people who were detoxing from substances is they just needed to know that there was a process that they were going to get through to the other side. And what I discovered is it’s not the dark night of the soul, it’s the dark night of the ego. It’s the ego that wants to hold on to the known. It’s the ego that wants things to be familiar, that wants things to be predictable and to be in control. And when that ego is losing that control, that’s when we feel all of this turmoil. But if we can learn to surrender knowing that this is the dawn of the soul, that’s what most of us find. When we hit rock bottom, it’s our soul that starts to cry out and say, there’s another way. Let me have a little bit more room here to live and to shine.
And so working with this cornerstone process, this five step framework, which is a biopsychosocial spiritual paradigm, it really helps people make sense of that dark night journey. And what I’m now doing is being able to teach that in a training and apprenticeship program, teaching it to the general public. I published it in a book a few years ago, and that’s what I think is a really great way forward. So for the psychonaut who is just on their own trying to make sense of their past and where they want to go, this framework can help. And for people who want to facilitate or be an integration coach or just understand how to help someone go through that dark night, the cornerstone process is there. So that’s part of what I’m looking forward to, is doing this training and certifying other people, or at least making it available so that people know that for those left brained control freaks, it’s kind of just nice to know everyone goes through this process.
You’re going to get through it. The dark night doesn’t last forever. And if you have to have some sense of control, well, here are a few steps that you can focus on that are actually going to be helping you lean into that light that comes in the dawn.
Yeah, I really felt that one when you said it because I really know that feeling so well of being completely disoriented. Right. And then you start to doubt if there is another side or I’m ever going to get through this. And then, if so, how? What can I hold on to? There is not much anymore because that’s all just crumbled off. But that the soul has always can come forward with this calling and that’s our nature. Again, nature. You cannot prevent that from happening. But it’s beautiful that there is a process and that also the ego can then find its way again. Of course, I’ll never fully get rid of it, but it can be there then to help us and be our servant exactly in the process.
Yeah, and that’s what it’s designed to do. The ego is designed it’s a social construct, it’s a construct of our environment that’s geared towards our survival. So what if you worked with it as an ally? So part of what we do in our training is shadow work. Like really finally getting to know what’s lying in the shadow, what has been causing all of these compulsive behaviors and emotional reactions and these toxic beliefs. Because when you start to make peace with what’s in the shadow, then you can use it. So earlier you talked about your gifts could actually be a curse or I knew that in my own case, I used to curse myself for being such a perfectionist because I would spend so much time doing way too much research. Back in the days when I was doing PowerPoints, my slides were always way too packed.
It was like it was overkill. But through the process of making peace with my perfectionist and understanding where she got programmed and that she was actually trying to keep me safe from the abuse that I got in childhood, then I could start to rely on her, but in a different way. And instead of striving for perfection, now we just do things with excellence and we can let things ease off a little bit. And it’s about really finding these ways to interact with the shadow without cursing it and banning it and trying to exterminate it because it doesn’t work. That creates anarchy within.
Yeah, it’s not that black or white. It’s like using a little bit of what you need in that moment. I just take a bit of my perfectionism because I know exactly what it’s good for. And sometimes also I think we can, and I do find it’s difficult sometimes, but see it all in a more playful way. Like we have all these different versions of ourselves, let’s just play with it a little bit more and in that way explore them and see what works or what doesn’t. But I think, again, this is also a bit of a conditioning of our society. Like we’ve always have to strive for the best or for some sort of minimum level, which is why some of these other sides may not get developed because they weren’t interesting enough or present enough. So yeah, there’s this whole.
I’m glad you brought up play because psychedelics, I think, do return us to a brain wave pattern and a brain state that is more like a childlike wonder. And if you could bring an aspect of play to working with these parts of the psyche, I think for me at least, that was a key pivot point for me in the last couple of years was okay, I need more joy. Treating trauma for 20 years can be very heavy and then going through my own trauma healing journey very heavy. And one of the things that came was like you need to have more play. You need to shift for me personally and so psychedelics are a great way to do that to shift your brainwave state to say, okay now how could I look at this with a little more playful energy? And for me it’s usually through creativity that I find it.
Yeah. Then there’s so many different forms of play and it’s also different for everyone. But I fully agree that psychedelics can help us feel them and connect to them. Yeah. And that’s probably what they’re here for.
Connecting us back to our nature.
Yeah. I feel we’ve been talking for quite some time already so let’s bring the conversation to a close. I just want to ask you if there’s anything else that you feel important to share or something we haven’t touched upon or something that you just maybe want to reemphasize before we close.
Yeah. One of the other things that for me is really important right now is how we can be consciously using psychedelics to improve the way we work now. Not in this ego aggressive capitalist like I want to improve my performance and productivity. What I’m seeing in my community is a shift for people who want to use I get a lot of people around midlife so it’s like from midlife forward I want to use my life more purposefully. I’m not ready to retire so how do I do work differently? And I find that psychedelics can really help with connecting us with a sense of purpose and translating that into how do I want to be. Whether it’s entrepreneurial work or it’s volunteer work or it’s something in the community and that’s one of the things that I think is really important. It’s allowing us to shift the consciousness of how we show up when it’s tied to a sense of career or you know, this fall we’re doing a retreat here in the Netherlands called Visionary Leadership.
And with that we’ve got folks who are coming through midlife crises who are pivoting, we’ve got folks who’ve coming from burnout and it’s this perfect rich opportunity to really say how do I bring all of my gifts and talents to a way that’s meaningful and also meaningful in the world but it’s not all tied to money.
No. Yeah. And it doesn’t have to fit in the old ways and the old systems that eventually create more burnouts and more illness than wellness. Yes, this is a very important one. And I also really hope that we see this shift happening on a larger scale in the next years and decades. Because I feel like also we are already seeing this shift. But still there are so many people who feel like they don’t have a choice or they say even around leadership, they would say, yes, but I’m not a business owner or a top level manager. So leadership is I guess it’s not for me. And I also felt that really strongly like no, actually it is for everyone.
Because you’ve got to be the leader of yourself instead of being driven by others. It’s this sense of internal leadership, a leader in your family, super critical. And I think that right now there’s a lot of popular culture of people who go sit with a great medicine and then they have some business epiphany and they create some big success and that’s fine if that was their destiny. But I think a lot of other people are starting to wake up to realize that psychedelics can also amplify your ego. So if you’re completely capitalistic and focused on money, that might get amplified and come out of it. And there’s still other people who are realizing, wow, I’ve had this experience, and I’m now looking at my whole life, and all that I’ve put into business and all that I’ve been striving for is not where it’s at.
And they’re looking at shifting. And I think that when we can tell more stories like that rather than just the Silicon Valley or tech startups, I think that will be helpful for people over the long.
Yeah, and thank you for phrasing it this way, tell more stories like that. So yeah, the power of stories is so tremendous and I think that’s something that can really yeah, inspire people and they can resonate with it and it’s such an important step. Well, and it will always be an important step no matter where in the process we are, whether that’s linear or not doesn’t matter.
Well, thank you for bringing up stories because the one thing we haven’t talked about is I’ve published two books this year that are really important because they’re stories. We’ve got 40 different stories in these two books. One is called Sacred Medicine, the psychedelic hero’s journey. And the other is the top ten traits of highly resilient people. And these books feature stories from people all over the world. One of them is Dutch Elsa Regan who has shared a beautiful story about how psilocybin truffles really impacted her motherhood journey. Super amazing. But when you start to read these stories, it does give people a sense of hope that whether you’re sitting with medicine or you’re going through a shamanic experience or your own dark night, when you read a story and you realize there is light on the other end, there is this dawn of the soul.
It helps to de-stigmatize these crises that we go through. It helps to give hope, especially when you’re facing something in the dark all by yourself. Whether that’s suicidal thoughts or a sense of hopelessness, these books are really helping people to have hope again.
Yeah. Well, thank you for bringing that up. And also, we’ll put this in the show notes. And basically, I just want to thank you for all the work that you’re doing because you’re making so many stories public, including your own. Your retreats are accessible. So you make so much of this healing work available to people who really can benefit from it and who are open to it. And it all creates I think it’s creating quite a massive wave. So thank you for thank you. Yeah. Being that soul who’s bringing that to the forefront. Yeah, just really brief. We will put everything in the show notes, but how can people connect with you or find out about your work if they want to go to one single place or one single channel?
Yeah, I’m online all over the place, so you can visit Conscious Evolution Live for my podcast. We’d love to have you on, by the way, and you’ll find out our retreats there. Yeah, that would be a great way. Or you can look me up. Deuswandrea.com.
Okay. Thank you, Andrea.
Thank you. I so appreciate it.
Yes, me too. Me too. And to you, our dear listener. I hope this podcast was inspiring and nourishing for you and you learned something from this conversation. Let us know in the comments what resonated with you. And thank you for exploring microdosing with us today.
01:03:42 Microdosing Institute
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