FINDING WONDERLAND - A SERIES OF WOMEN'S PERSONAL STORIES
TO DESTIGMATIZE AND NORMALIZE THE USE OF PSYCHEDELICS
Wonderland #3 Audrey Dupuy
The purpose is always the same, the journey and result never look alike.
I did not know what to expect when I first started holding plant medicine ceremonies for myself. I’ve been doing talkative therapy for years, read countless self-help books, done alternative types of healing (shamanic, energetic...) and I can see tangible results in how I feel about myself and into the world compared to before; yet it does not seem to be proportional to the amount of work I have put into my healing so far.
One day, I came across a documentary speaking about the healing potency of mushroom medicine and I felt called to give it a try. I’m not one for intoxicating escapes (anymore) and until that day, the few times I had heard about those powerful plants was only in party-like set-ups so I just had never tried.
Anyhow, the decision was made: I wanted to work with those healing helpers, for myself but also to be able to foster healing for others eventually. So, I did lots of research and began building relationships with the divine mushroom spirits.
Yesterday was ceremony day. I had prepared meticulously as per my usual: focused on organic foods the few days prior, drank lots of water, cleansed my space and myself, set up The Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Research playlist on my Spotify, meditated and so on. I then put the medicine to infuse in tea while setting my intentions. I like setting intentions prior to journeying, asking the medicine to point me in a particular direction and see what comes up.
Sometimes it can be as simple as “Show me what needs healing today” and sometimes I have a more specific request which was the case yesterday, but we’ll get back to that later.
Here I am sipping my tea, comfortably seated on the couch, writing down my intentions and keeping myself in a relaxed state to ease the transition on my body and mind. But wait, I forgot to start the playlist. Oh no, Spotify is down. I try and try and try again, nothing to do, phone, computer, logging in and out, delete the app, reinstall the app, technology is against me and I just have to face it; what was working 10min ago is no longer and I’m going to have to improvise. I could not put my hands on this playlist on any other platform so I ended up on Youtube selecting a 3h33 min music video oriented towards mushroom journey. I know my journey is going to be longer than that but I just have to go with the flow.
The sun is out after 3 days of heavy rains and I go wander around in the little forest by my place. I find it grounding to be amongst the trees while ascending into a higher state of consciousness, looking above at the soft white clouds drifting away. I can slowly feel the medicine kicking in and the music is perfectly appropriate. My body often partially shuts down when journeying, she gets cold and tired and just wants to be cozy and rolled up in a blanket so I’m heading back home to give her the rest she’s asking for.
I am no expert in mushroom ceremony yet, but this journey feels different, I don’t see the colorful kaleidoscopes when I close my eyes as I usually do, I don’t feel as disconnected from my body as I usually do, yet, I can feel that the medicine is active. I am lying in bed, headphones on, listening to that artist making what was online-live-music several months ago. There comes a first wave of emotional release through tears. I don’t know what I’m crying about, it’s not overwhelming, and it goes as quickly as it came.
A conversation with my higher-self follows. She’s confirming that this man I went on two dates with is not for me, that I don’t need more time to bond and that I need to stop trying to make it work so hard with men whom I seem to have stuff in common with. I agree, and ask why I am making it so hard on myself, pushing so hard for things to work with people I’m not necessarily attracted to.
She answers that while I’ve already done a lot of work on this, I still have layers of shame and guilt around sexuality that I need to shave off. It’s ok to take my time, she says, sexuality is beautiful and bountiful.
She tells me that the traumatic experiences I went through as a child, as a young adult and later as a fully grown woman were heavily harmful but that the shame and guilt came from the lack of support, the judgment and the minimizing expressed by the people who were supposed to protect me, believe me, and bring me justice.
At this point I start thinking that this is my message for today and that it’s what I need to explore but I am far, so far from the truth.
My body calls for going to the washroom again. There comes another big wave of emotional release. I start crying, a lot. I feel a growing pain in my chest and stomach, knots in my throat. I’m full-on bawling at this point and I want to make sense of what is happening to me but I just can’t.
Heading back to my bed, still sobbing, I stop in the middle of my living room and look at the picture of the divine that’s hanging above my couch. I find myself saying “Why can’t you love me? Why can’t you love me?” over and over again while sobbing. I’m still standing there, trying to see love in the eyes of that divine figure, crying some more and my question then becomes “Why can’t I feel your love? Tell me, why can’t I feel your love?” and then turn into “Why can’t I feel loved?”. I can’t feel loved. I can’t feel loved. I can’t feel loved. This cruel mantra is stuck in my head and I have no way around it.
I need a hug, I need a loving hug, I need to feel love, somehow, somewhere, and I’m freaking out because I have no idea how.
I’ve always journeyed alone so far. I make sure I have a safe contact available in case of need but I’ve never had to call them for support until today. I’m barely 3h in, crying non-stop with the deepest pain in my heart for a solid half-hour and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. So, I call my friend and ask her if she can come over for some time.
She needs a good 20-25min to head over but I can’t wait alone any longer so we stay on the phone. She talks to me about her day and what she’s doing and it takes my attention off of the pain. I listen to her while doing breathing exercises and I can feel that I’m always on the edge of bursting into tears again but I manage to keep it under control somehow.
Finally, she opens the front door and walks toward the couch where I’m cuddled up in a blanket. As soon as she gets close to me, I wrap my arms around her legs just before the tears rush out again. She softly pets my head. I’m crying like a river is overflowing through my eyes. There is so much pain inside me, so much pain. After a few minutes she sits down beside me but I need to hug her a little longer so I do. Crying hot tears on her shoulder I hear myself say: “Why couldn’t she love me? Why couldn’t she love her own child? Why couldn’t my mother love me?”
This is it. My big break through. I can’t feel loved. Ever. I suddenly realise I have NEVER felt loved. I know that some people love me, I know that some people have loved me, I’m sure my mother does love me in her own ways, my mind knows it and yet, I have never truly FELT loved in my body and in my heart. Neither as a child, nor as an adult; I don’t know what feeling loved feels like.
This realisation is devastating. At that moment, I am not that 33-year-old woman who’s been healing the shit out of herself for over 2 years and has so many deep insights about why she is who she is and what to do to become who she wants to be. At that very moment, I am a 6 or 7 years old little girl who's never felt loved by the only person she truly needed love from. I am that 7 yearold child who is seriously considering suicide because she feels like a burden in everybody’s life and can’t seem to find any good reason to stay alive.
I ask my friend if I can hold her hand while we speak. I’m still deep in my journey but I manage to ask her if that’s ok for her to be there for me right now, and apologise for putting her in an uncomfortable position. We have been friends for a long time, we know each other well and it’s definitely not the first time she sees me crying but physical touch has never been part of our friendship. I mean, who cuddles with their friends while hanging out? Is that even a thing? But she doesn't mind, and so we hold hands, cooped up under the blanket.
I talk, she listens, asks questions, gives advice. I can’t make eye contact during that time. I am still that small child, frightened, sad, and eye contact doesn’t feel safe. Or maybe I’m slowly getting back into conscious adult me and feeling seen on this level of vulnerability does not feel safe either.
I am explaining to her that it’s the first time that journeying feels so overwhelming. I go through the steps of my ceremony, as if I was trying to find a reason to justify the intensity. I tell her that I had written my intentions down but can’t seem to remember them so I grab my notebook to read them out loud.
“Please, show me what is the most painful in my heart so that I can heal it”
Well...I kind of asked for that one alright. Now I know. The most painful thing in my heart is the fact that I have never ever felt loved by my mother, which caused me to never ever be able to feel loved by anyone else.
I know the root now, I know where it’s coming from, and I don’t know yet how to heal it, but I have something to work with, I have somewhere to start.
Born and raised in France as a product of materialism and patriarchy, Audrey reconnected with her divine feminine nature through different types of inner work and healing on Native American lands (aka Vancouver Canada).
Shamanic priestess in the training, she loves working with plant medicine to create healing momentum and shares her personal experiences to spread awareness on the powerful potency of mushroom medicine.