Psychedelics and the steps I take on the journeys to the core of my being

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This article is part of our Finding Wonderland long stories. Finding Wonderland is our unique series on women's personal stories to destigmatize and normalize the use of psychedelic substances. This is the story of Iulia Rusu.


draw traditional japanese art
Artwork: WangJia

The calling


My eyes were closed. I was standing on a log, engaging in an intense inner dialogue whilst the sun’s rays were caressing me. My arms were hugging my body, and suddenly, I felt whole. A voice inside my head kept on telling me, “It is okay. You are okay. You have so much love inside you.”


These are the words that stayed with me. I keep hearing them every time I find myself going over insignificant thoughts and old fears. Being raised in quite a restrained society, love and kind words were not so familiar to me. I didn’t know how to express my thoughts and feelings freely and how to accept myself.


I used to feel that I needed to behave the way the world wanted me to, to fit into a pattern that was not mine. I was constantly working on my persona, struggling to avoid toxic and unnecessary thoughts and relationships. I had never learned how to create my own space where I could feel cherished and appreciated. And if I, seldomly, did feel these feelings, they seemed fake.


Until they came along and healed everything I thought was wrong within me. I learned that there was nothing wrong with me. It was just challenging to exist within a system that was not built to encourage the self's development and support a spirit like mine.


What if my strangeness was my brilliance?


Psychedelics, and, in particular, psilocybin, hastened my process of healing significantly. I'm not a heavy user, as I have come in contact with it only a couple of times. But I have always approached it with an open mind, and it has been highly gentle to me; the kind of gentleness you feel when you let someone in who takes care of you in the most delicate way.


“Higher worlds that you uncover Light the path that you want to roam.” – T. Hall


When I go on a trip, I enjoy having my own world and ideas to taste. I go out there, feel everything at once, get enlightened by the truth that lies within me, and then go home, to reflect on what I have experienced. I keep track of my thoughts by writing them down and talking out loud, integrating the world that was presented into my own self. That inner voice, directing me in the depths of my being that I needed to see. Truth and beauty vibrating at once, feeling unbelievably real. The sun on a cloudy day, the rain on a summer day, the hug from a loved one, the smile from a stranger.


I watch the sunrays cover the grass. It’s just so pure, so magical. Suddenly, the world makes space for love and acceptance, which I have been seeking all along. That’s when I understand; we see in the world a reflection of our souls.


Have I ever felt this real before? Have I just been reborn? I sense that excitement of living moments for the first time, constantly. At times, I feel so much beauty within my whole being that tears drop down my cheeks, my entire body trembling in awe.



The longing


Everything I had experienced in my life so far, from intense human interactions to lively journeys, felt insufficient. I had always been longing for something more profound. A place where love grows and heals. Something I did not know how to define exactly. I always felt there was more to life; I just did not know how to reach it. Until I felt it genuinely within myself.


Psilocybin opened different worlds. It allowed me to see everything clearer: myself, life, and path, worrying less about the uncertain future and being in the now. I found this connectedness, a feeling of belonging to something greater, beyond my understanding. I'm not a separate self from the universe, people and nature anymore. I feel light and warmth, and I simply accepted that all things in life have a larger purpose.


draw woman facing herself
Artwork: Victo Ngai

The journey


If I would tell you that you have the chance to awaken all the life that flows within you, but in exchange, you must lose your present self, would you do it? In the process, you must die before you reach the final point. You will lose the bound of many selves entirely until you return to the root of your own soul. The journey is about unlearning what you have learned your whole life and learning it differently. See if it still fits your values and beliefs. Remember: unlearning is still learning.


This incredible process of recognizing my thoughts and checking if they were still resonating with me was utterly essential throughout my healing process. I learned to perceive what authentically belonged to me and whatnot. This enabled me to see the world exactly as it is, myself included.


I was guided to let go of useless thoughts and transform them into colours, poems, songs, and talks. Everything beautiful and necessary to feel at home. Once I let go, I realized how easy it was, as everything I need for letting go is already within me. That’s the beauty of it. It is all in our own power.

Suddenly, I discovered the space within me to allow the love, the excitement, and the energy to come in and celebrate our existence together. I felt immense gratitude for being alive, not only during the journey but for the rest of my days after it.


Now I wake up daily, take walks in the park, watch the sky, hear the birds humming, see people biking, running. I smile at the world, and sometimes, the world smiles back at me. I allow myself to feel as much as I can, and I have an endless appreciation to sense the life and the beauty around me.


“Keep on knocking ‘til the joy inside opens a window

Look who’s there”- Rumi


I remember how years ago, the 16-year-old me did not have any excitement in waking up to a new day. The thought that I had to live another day was just tedious, and I simply could not see any beauty in the mundane world, nor in myself. But now I discovered a light within. It energetically engages in the self-healing journey, delving into the depths of my soul in such a way that by just being, I bring a positive transformation into the world. The same stream of life that runs through my veins runs through the world and dances in rhythmic steps. I acknowledge that I am no longer my judgments or emotions. I am life itself. I am the soul in which all things arise.


Every thought, every action creates ripples through our only infinite field of consciousness. We are far more powerful than we realize. The thoughts we guide are full of our energy and emit unique vibrations from within. The decisions we make have more significant consequences than we can ever perceive. We can manifest complete awareness of the present and the power to influence it.


Somehow, I find resources of understanding, acceptance and embracing in myself. I am aware of the world in its divine truth, and I feel the mystical connection that unites us


Personal journal notes from a trip


“We forgot to walk confidently on Earth. We must remember what we really are, in our purest essence. We created a nice home for ourselves, but do we ever stop and hear the life knocking?”


I'm Iulia Rusu, a 20-years old student. I value kindness, harmony and innocence. I enjoy sitting in the sun all day and listening to music while journaling my observations of the world that surrounds me. Sometimes, I just get out of the house, and I follow the sun with no clear destination.


I consider myself a dreamer. Usually, I let my mind wander in places where I can see all the good we can bring into the world. I am inquisitive about this life experience. I have invested much of my time in self-development. I enjoy learning to deal with myself most appropriately and gently - a continuous process of self-awareness and self-discovery. I am this constant observer of myself.


Psychedelics took away everything that did not truly belong to me. They helped me see and accept myself as I genuinely am. And it was beautiful.


Besides my studies, I'm interested in social movements on women’s and children’s rights. I dream of playing an active part in bringing more acceptance and kindness into the world by taking part in global social movements.