In this episode, Ronan sits down with Stephanie Simbari and Elizabeth Kott, the hosts of “That’s So Retrograde” to discuss the importance of being okay with where you are. Then, what keeps them curious about wellness, how to follow your intuition, and why psychedelic therapies can play a cosmic role in your life. Plus, the three discuss how astrology has influenced Stephanie and Elizabeth’s business relationship, the ever-evolving idea of self, and compare traditional mental health treatments to psychedelics – like psilocybin and ketamine.
Check out “That’s So Retrograde” here:
1.51 - Where Stephanie and Elizabeth got their interest in astrology.
3.27 - How Stephanie’s astrology chart helped make sense of her traits and characteristics.
5.11 - How Stephanie and Elizabeth use their birth charts in their working relationship and their self-discovery.
8.30 - The intersection between pop culture and astrology.
10.05 - How Stephanie and Elizabeth got to where they are today.
16.26 - The effects of motivation by fear, especially amongst entrepreneurs.
17.37 - How Elizabeth transitioned into entrepreneurship.
19.50 - Stephanie’s struggle to let go of the identity associated with her past career.
21.45 - The difficulties and necessities of letting go.
25.07 - How your mindset affects your healing process.
28.28 - What Stephanie and Elizabeth have seen evolve in the wellness space over the past six years.
30.41 - Why Elizabeth believes there is such a hype around cannabis.
32.31 - Stephanie’s theory of why alcohol is accepted, but consciousness-expanding drugs are not.
34.00 - Stephanie’s take on ketamine.
36.50 - Following your instincts when it comes to psychedelics.
39.30 - Stephanie’s thoughts on Western medicine’s approach to mental health treatments.
40.56 - Elizabeth’s perspective on psychedelics.
43.00 - The effects of micro-dosing.
Stephanie [00:00:01] Many ways the status quo does not make people happy, there's so many unhappy people who are trying to live, especially in like the explosion of corporatization and the fuckin capitalism hell that we lived in or are trying to get out of. I think that that is something that people were like, wow, this is a very unsustainable way of living and psychedelics, and we are awakening tools that make you realize that you can build a reality to whatever thing is actually harmonious and in alignment with how our bodies want to live, how our souls want to live. And you can't hold down the human spirit forever. And I think in especially in a post COVID reality where we're going to need to rebuild so many structures of society, so many old systems have come burning down in our face. We're so disillusioned with the way that things have been for so long that these are tools that help us reimagine things. And I think that's why now is like the most amazing, potent time for these things, because. Because we need them.
Ronan [00:01:07] This is Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host, Ronan Levy. Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari have been coined the AbFab of the New Age and with good reason. The ladies of That's So Retrograde effortlessly merge pop culture and wellness as they seek out their most authentic selves, one mistake or mindful awakening at a time. And through it all, they graciously bring their listeners along for the ride. Stephanie is a Scorpio who's an actress, writer and comedian. She has a natural curiosity towards life and a love of oversharing. Elizabeth is a metro Detroit native who got her start in PR and fashion. She's a Taurus who's driven to educate the masses on all things wellness.
Ronan [00:02:05] My first question is I know the astrology signs, but I don't know anything about them. So where did you guys get your interest in astrology, such that you describe yourselves according to your astrological science? Because to me like that, that drives back to like nineteen seventies like mattio pick up line in a bar being like, what's your sign baby. So it's awesome to see it's been reclaimed.
Elizabeth [00:02:28] It is just that actually, we were just looking for a good pickup line.
Ronan [00:02:31] Oh awesome. Has it worked.
Stephanie [00:02:33] Mm hmm. Ronan what are you.
Ronan [00:02:36] I'm an Aries which means I believe I'm stubborn.
Stephanie [00:02:39] What's funny is that Aries, Taurus and Scorpio are all described as stubborn though. It's pretty common for like girls of a certain age to start being curious about it for some reason. And it's funny, you should bring up the 70s, because actually the astrology have now sort of is reflecting that time, but obviously in a more evolved way. But there's a lot of similarities to then and the consciousness is supposedly opening up to things like astrology more and more. And that's why you see it coming into the mainstream. But I think both of us just love it because. It's just this incredible tool and a map to understand yourself on a more deep level outside of, you know, just your family or your own experiences, kind of how you react to the world and in a certain way, why you might confront things in a certain way, why you might communicate in a certain way. It's just like a blueprint that helps you work with yourself to, I think, be really in your purpose more freely and harmoniously.
Ronan [00:03:41] Right. And have you found it's like it's consistent with who you are. And that's a question for both of you.
Elizabeth [00:03:47] Absolutely.
Ronan [00:03:48] Interesting.
Stephanie [00:03:49] I feel like it unlocked a lot. Like once I got the keys to my chart, it was like all these lingering questions that I had about myself or frustrations or, you know, you're in conflict with certain things and you're like, why am I like this? But I'm also like that these things don't they shouldn't co-exist. Like, once I got the chart, it was like, oh, OK, now I know how to work with these things in a way that is helpful to me and not frustrating to me.
Ronan [00:04:15] Can you go into that in more detail? Like specifically what what were those conflict points, if you can recall? I mean, I don't know how far back this goes for you, but if you recall about some of those things, because one of the things-.
Stephanie [00:04:25] Oh I recall.
Ronan [00:04:26] One of the things I like to do. And we'll get there, too, because this actually dovetails into nice conversation about psychedelics. It's like get into the meat of that. Like one of the things that I found really powerful in my life, even though at first I hated it, was when I went to like meditation workshops and all that kind of stuff and people talked about their meditation experiences. I was always like, this is so boring. I'm like, why do I care about what other people say? And then slowly but surely, I kind of dropped my guard, dropped my resistance and started paying attention. And when they offered their feedback and Irwin kind of gave his feedback and read on it, I was like, oh, that actually totally resonates with me and it's very meaningful to me. So I'm not going to be quite as judgmental about wasting my time. So, like, I think it's great when people are actually share a lot of detail and go into the specifics of what it means because someone out there would be like, damn, I had that exact dream last night or like, oh, I'm not signed and I have that exact conflict in my life. So, yeah, if you guys can open up a little bit more about the specificity of it, that'll be awesome.
Elizabeth [00:05:30] It's really been an amazing tool for Stephanie and I in our work relationship for the past six plus years that we've been working together. We actually have really interesting composite charts. If you were to take Stephanie's chart and my chart and lay them on top of one another, there's a lot of of synchronicities that have been explained to us over the years that are really interesting. And it kind of also I just feel I always like to look at a little bit of magic and things, and I just feel like it almost feels like our business partnership and our relationship is is deeper than just like the surface, and it's helped us through so many challenges as, just owning a business together and growing something and also starting a podcast, we started working on it seven years ago when the genre was completely different. So to be able to ride that growth of also not just the podcasting industry, but also the wellness industry that was in a completely different place than it is now, it's been really helpful for us to have this tool to understand each other, understand where we each are at individually, where we could meet together and grow and find common ground.
Stephanie [00:06:42] And on like a personal level, like what you're saying about the conflict thing as well as for me, this was like the revelation. Like I was always really sensitive as a kid. But then I would like speak out in this very aggressive way where I was like, wow, why do I always have to, like, act tough and then say something aggressive? But then really I'm like sensitive and secretly crying and like, really sad and like really want to be in harmony. But then I can't stop fucking saying things without thinking about them, you know, and like so and I learned, like, you know, I don't know if anyone listening knows about astrology, but it's like I learned like what my rising was, which is Taurus, which makes me seem very like together and very placid. But really, my moon is in Cancer and I'm a Scorpio, so I'm actually like just an emotional basket case. And then like my Mercury is in Sagittarius and that's like the foot and mouth placement where, like, you just are like fiery and can stop talking all the time. All these forces don't necessarily, like, make sense when you're a young person just trying to figure out who you are and what you're doing. And you're reacting and you're interacting and it's like it's confusing. And then once I learned all these things, I could whatever was the stimulus, obviously I'm not perfect. I'm still a human. Sometimes I say stupid shit that I shouldn't have said. Elizabeth knows that well, but it's like I have more of a loving relationship with those things so I can place my energy in the proper zone to know how to show up in a way that appeals to all these different facets of myself in a way that helps them work together. And isn't me being like, oh, why do I seem tough when I'm sensitive? Like, it's more it's OK for me to show my sensitive side, but I know that this other thing is always going to protect me in a way.
Ronan [00:08:18] Right. And I think that's awesome, because I know that there's a bunch of hyper rational scientific folks out there, some of whom may be listening who are saying like, it's all bullshit. And the truth is, it's like it doesn't matter. You know, at the end of the day, it's like you get into this debate, particularly in medicine, about like, oh, you know, that drug didn't work. It's all a placebo effect. It's like, oh, OK. Like, if it gives you the tools, as long as it doesn't replace, like, common sense and rationality, you know, it don't don't do something stupid because your star sign told you to do something stupid and you end up seriously hurting people.
Stephanie [00:08:53] Well, that's the funny, like pop culture thing where people are like, I did it because I was a Leo. And it's like, well, you know, you can't just use astrology to make an excuse for you being an asshole. You know, you have to still, like, take responsibility for yourself.
Ronan [00:09:06] What about you, Elizabeth? Have you seen things like that as well?
Elizabeth [00:09:09] Well, I actually need flash cards to remember all my different aspects. But I love learning about all of the signs and applying them to my own life. And I tend more to look to we have so, through doing this show, we're not only an astrology show, we just you spoke about kind of like blaming on on the stars. So that's really where the name stemmed from, That's so Retrograde, just like a little nudge, nudge, wink, wink at like what was in the lexicon at the moment. But our audience loves when we do astrology check in. So because of that, we've collected all these different astrologers, all speaking the same language, but interpreting it through their own lens. So that's just been really fun. And I'm more love just learning about all the different ways that astrology can be interpreted, whether it be through psychological, evolutionary, so that's more of my fascination, is just always hearing the information dissected and interpreted in just an interesting different way. And any little bit you can take away, which I always do, just feels really nice.
Ronan [00:10:25] How did each of you kind of end up here doing this?
Stephanie [00:10:28] I think that there's like a few different elements that kind of converged. The first is that when I was a teenager and actually pretty much through my whole life, I had like severe stomach problems, really bad digestive issues, acid reflux. Like my throat would close up and I was put on all these different medications. I was getting an endoscopy when I was like, you know, 14 years old or something. Like I was really in this medical system of digestive problems early on. So I ended up developing a condition called pernicious anemia because I went on an antacid that stripped my stomach of this intrinsic factor. And it really shifted my perception at a young age that and this sounds so silly now, obviously, that what you put in your body affects your body and that you can't just take medications at the behest of a doctor. If it's not actually working for you, you know, you will know very soon how it's affecting you. And this is my first lesson in my intuition versus what I'm being told by the medical community. And that's not to say that Western medicine doesn't have amazing qualities. But I think this was what really sent me into an alternative explanation because it was food and acupuncture and herbs that changed the course of my life. And so I think I was turned on to this. It wasn't called wellness, obviously, but I was turned on to this reality that, you know, it's for you to advocate for your own health and figure out what works for you. And I think so that's what like pinged that. And then on the spiritual side, I had experienced the death of like a few friends at a young age as well. And so that, like, fucked me up because I didn't I was like, whoa, life, death what? That's not something you're supposed to think about when you're 13 years old. Like, that's crazy. So I think my spiritual wellness journey started just as a convergence of life events and then moving to L.A., you know, becoming a yoga teacher like the classic, you know, path of an actress and then meeting Elizabeth in our conversations coming together, we were both curious about astrology and different modalities and different types of foods. And we both love to shop at Air1 you know. We were like we had a lot of these things in common.
Elizabeth [00:12:44] The classic connector,
Stephanie [00:12:46] Classic connector, overpriced organic grocery store. But I think that plus doing comedy, you know, becoming a professional speaker, knowing that speaking and communicating was in my path. Some things just come together sometimes. Right time, right place, right convergence of elements. And and the weird thing is, like Elizabeth was saying earlier when we started podcasting, this wasn't like a thing, you know, and really wellness wasn't the billion dollar industry that it has become over the last five years. So we were because of our individual and obviously, Elizabeth will speak on her life journey in a moment. But because of our individual life journeys and the timing of us coming together and the timing of these industries actually rising up, unbeknownst to us, it just all like happened in a cosmic way I feel where it was all the elements were conspiring for us. And I really believe that's because we were both coming from a very authentic place. We didn't get into this because we were trying to get something out or get somewhere with it. We were getting into it because of our own curiosity and our own connection to the elements of this world.
Elizabeth [00:13:54] So I started my career in celebrity, PR and fashion. So it was very surface. It was very focused on the exterior. I moved to L.A. right after I graduated Michigan State University, where I had studied PR and jumped right in like I the 12th day I was living in Los Angeles. I was the girl with the clipboard at the VMA after party, like it happened so quick. And I quickly learned kind of the behind the scenes of celebrity culture. And that pretty much grossed me out pretty quickly. And this was at the height of like US Weekly. And like all of those, you know, The Hills was on I literally that TV show. I don't know if you're familiar with it, but I actually like that was my actual life. Like, I worked in fashion PR and I rewatched it recently and I was like, that's crazy. Like, all the places that they were filming was actually where I was hanging out and all of that. So that was really kind of like a little looking glass into what my experiences were. And they were so surface and I checked a lot of boxes when it came to my goals in fashion, it was right when the digital fashion movement was happening. So new media was merging with fashion to bring this new access. And I was hired by Rachel Zoe, who is a very popular stylist, to build and develop and manage her online platform, which we decided was a daily newsletter. So I was like very young and very in my eyes, like living my dreams. Right. And then I got fired. And then I tried the agency world and I was miserable. And through that, I just started going deeper within to like, what do I really want? Who am I without all these glitzy glam surface titles that actually I learned meant nothing, and thank God I learned that at twenty six years old. Like what a gift to sort of have this rise and then fall and then try to figure out like where I was going to land. So that's actually really what brought me to question and deepen my curiosity and all of a sudden have this new zest for learning about things that that I had never quite gotten into previously. And on top of that. Truthfully, I had a pretty intense dependency on Adderall that was really challenging to work through, and so wellness became really, really, really important for me to just find my natural rhythm again and and not be dependent on anything to start my day other than myself.
Ronan [00:16:41] A couple of things, like one of the things like I know I have encountered in my life over the last few years was the stark realization of the truth of be careful what you wish for because you just might get it, as an entrepreneur, and I see it among many entrepreneurs, so many people are motivated to achieve and succeed. Part of it's motivated by that kind of ambition. But I think most of it is motivated by fear, like a terrible, like fear of like people realizing you're somebody that you're not. And so you're constantly trying to succeed. Hopefully your business succeeds and you make a lot of money to compensate for all the things that gets emotionally, internally, you lack. Like I know I've fallen prey to it and I see it in so many other entrepreneurs. And certainly I'm sure you saw a lot of that, you know, on your path until, I guess your epiphany around the age of twenty six. Was it a difficult transition? Because I know for me, like the sale of our last business, we were successful all of a sudden, like, oh, I'm a successful entrepreneur and now, like, I have a bit of money in my bank account, whereas before I was living paycheck to paycheck. But all the stuff that made my life challenging and the interpersonal issues and all that stuff that didn't go away, it actually became worse in many respects. And so did you encounter that at that point or did you find the transition a little bit more elegant once you realized the path you had been on may have been?
Elizabeth [00:17:59] I actually started my own online retail business brand after sort of the rug was pulled out from under me from from losing those a couple of jobs and realizing, you know what, I don't think I'm supposed to work for other people and really realizing that and then creating my own brand, which wasn't reinventing the wheel. But it was certainly kind of like a new model of resale and did that for four years, had created this beautiful project that allowed me to like exercise so many facets of my creative visions and then Steph and I started the podcast purely out of we had an opportunity. We said, yes, it happened. And then I just loved doing the show so much and it felt like this is what I'm supposed to be doing. This is how I feel like I'm of service. This this this is it. Like everything felt so good and I needed to heal myself. And also podcasting. I had a vision that I want this to be my job. But you weren't, people weren't going around saying they were podcasters for a living five years ago. That was just not a thing. So I had to let a lot of things kind of die off for a year and have it be OK that something that I created, which was Closet Rich, which was my resale company, I felt like I can't abandon my child. Right. And I had to really come to terms with the fact that it wasn't lighting me up, that it's OK to let that go. And also it was still fashion. It was still surface. And I was so interested in exploring and communicating about things that were more on the exterior. So it was hard. And I took about a year and I had to heal myself and I had to sort of just go quiet and dial it down completely so that I could really step into what my new dream was. And that was to have the show and to really turn it into a business which there was no roadmap for.
Stephanie [00:20:13] I would love to speak on this also because it's something that I really struggled with myself and Elizabeth and I had many conversations about this. Before, like when we had our true, like, individual careers, like when I was like doing stand up pretty much exclusively on the road, doing a show, whatever she was doing, Closet Rich and that was a thing. And this was this thing that we were building together. And I can remember sitting on the front lawn of the house in Silver Lake, where they lived Mike and Joey, her boyfriend, and someone I used to date, whatever, nobody cares about that. But we struggled with letting go of the identity. Right? Like like you're saying like it was something like becoming a comedian and working into that place was something that I'd put in so many man hours in and sacrificed so much. And it was there were moments of success and there was moments of glory, obviously, but there was a lot of hard times. And I had felt that I was kind of getting to a place where maybe the hard times wouldn't be so hard. And yet still I was like, oh, like, this doesn't feel one hundred percent what I'm supposed to be doing. But because I had built this character of Stephanie, the comedian, and this is what I do and this is how I live. And my whole identity was swirling around this world, letting go of that had so much judgment and fear attached to it. It was insane. I didn't know that that would happen because it wasn't totally aligned with me. And I knew that at the time. I still was like, what will people say when I stopped doing comedy, what will that mean for myself as an artist? Who am I without this, you know, version of myself that felt like something cool and something protective and something I don't know, like I was proud to be that person, even though that person wasn't really gelling with me in a way.
Ronan [00:22:02] Thank you for sharing that. Like, there's two things that really kind of stand out for me in that conversation. A is like I'm a person that's terrible at letting go, like when I start a project, you know, and I'm still in a couple of situations that every rational person would be like, get out of it and no good is going to come out of it. But like, you know, you've committed yourself so much to it that you're like, no, no, no. I like you know, I made an obligation to have, you know, and you're holding on to it and in part because it's somewhat attached to your identity. Right. But also, like just learning to let go of something that, you know, based on this conversation, I'm actually going to spend a lot more time thinking about it, because it's not one of those things that has been on on on my growth path. But it's I think it's a very powerful thing that I need to learn sometimes
Stephanie [00:22:48] Even in like the dynamic of like Elizabeth and I. You know, it's like we've had this show for six years. We've been working on it for seven years. It can't stay one thing forever. You know, it has to grow and evolve. And that's something that we've been talking about a lot recently where it's like, OK, we have this beautiful thing. We don't want to let it go, but we're different people than we were in the beginning. How can we reframe our dynamic and our relationship or this the context of us in this show and like let ourselves grow and let ourselves expand? I think that we all become so narrow minded when we're focused on something that we can't see that there's so much available to us, like inspiration, wise, energy wise, answers wise, outside of the way that we've kind of been operating to what you're saying, like nothing's good is going to come out. It's like sometimes stepping back and getting a new perspective will show you that, oh, I don't need to, like, destroy something or walk away from something or whatever. I just need to think about this in a whole new way.
Ronan [00:23:47] You know, last year at the beginning of the pandemic and everything was uncertain and unknown. And for me, like a lot of financial anxiety came up. Right. And it was like I had worked my entire first thirty seven years or so, forty years to succeed. I just hit a stepping stone and then like all of a sudden, like the entire stock market is off 40 percent. And all of this stuff that like I feel like I've worked my entire life for starts to disappear and the anxiety associated with it, just like ah I'm going to lose money, like it actually went deep into my soul of like this is going to be my identity because like rationally I was talking to friends the like. Yeah. So things get bad. Like you don't have money, you can sell your house, you can do this, you can do this, do that. But these were all the pillars or markers of success. You know that if I give them up, the fundamentally question, my sense of identity as a successful person. So it wasn't just about like the money went way, way different. It's one of the big challenges I think people face. And it comes back to a lot of the conversation about victimhood as well, like, you know, a lot of people and even you, Stephanie and Elizabeth, because you define yourself in a certain way, like as a child, like being sick as a child. Some people will continue to define themselves for that, for their entire future. And it's like, how do you let go of that? And that's I you know, even within Field Trip, I don't want anyone to be called a patient. I want them to be called a person because I don't want their identity to be identified or tied to being sick or needing help, because once you're starting from that framework, it's define the narrative for you. So I think it's really important to really think about this stuff. But there's also that tension of like. You don't want to deny people their trauma, you know, so how do you let people be victims without tying their identity to victims?
Stephanie [00:25:31] If you're sick and you keep telling yourself you're sick, you're never going to get better, you know, or you keep seeking treatment that isn't working. And it's like I've done this, you know, I had a really bad eye issue and I kept going to the same doctor over and over again. And I was like I kept telling myself, like, I don't think it's going to work. And it wasn't working. And it's like, so whatever you believe in your field is what becomes your field. And I think that that's something that people who are going through extreme medical challenges or extreme mental health challenges or whatever like really need to work on and understand, like the framework of what you say is so powerful. It's more powerful than you could ever imagine. So if you're ill, you have to wake up every day and tell yourself that you're well, like you have to do that. That's the only way that you're going to find the strength to get better.
Ronan [00:26:25] Tom Robbins once wrote, You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked? Have you risked disapproval? Have you ever risked economic security? Have you ever risked a belief? I see nothing particularly courageous about risking one's life, so you lose it and go to your heroes heaven and everything is milk and honey until the end of time, right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That's not courage. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one's clichés. And in this statement, I think Tom Robbins succinctly sums up one of the biggest reasons that people, particularly entrepreneurs, have such a hard time letting go. It seems to be part of our society that we identify with our professions. And for entrepreneurs and creatives, that tendency runs deeper. To let go of something that has been so central to your identity, can be extremely hard and brings up feelings of dread. The feeling that the person you once were no longer exists. In many ways, that is the biggest affront one can impose on their ego. The ego kicks, it screams, it fights the idea. Quieting the ego is actually one of the primary features of psychedelic therapies. When it's quieted, people are more able and more willing to change. The other reason people have trouble letting go is because of this sense that quitting is also tantamount to failure, which also directly speaks to our identity. But almost any entrepreneur will tell you that learning to fail is one of the most important skills one can have, as Tom Robbins also says: so you think you're a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What's wrong with that? In the first place, if you have any sense at all, you must have learned by now that we paid just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail, but fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure, seek it out, learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.
Ronan [00:28:45] Elizabeth, I'd be curious to know we haven't spoken about psychedelics yet and we will get there because that's the theme of this podcast. But what have you seen evolve in the wellness space over the last six or seven years that you guys have been doing this? How is it different now than it was when you started?
Elizabeth [00:29:00] Wow, it's been amazing to bear witness to and be speaking to it on a weekly basis for the past six years. I think the trajectory sort of goes like this. I'll speak specifically to drugs. We watched CBD just become a thing all of a sudden, like it went from not even in in the dictionary of wellness vernacular to all of a sudden it was everywhere. Stephanie and I go to these sort of like conferences back in before times. And I remember distinctly us going to like, you know, it was like a product summit sort of thing, and there just being three rows of CBD brands. And then, you know, that's when you're thinking, OK, this is coming onto the market. Also, we had known about the laws and had been having conversations on our show about the the shift in the legalities around that. And then that quickly evolved to cannabis, which has been such a wild thing to witness, those laws change in California and the industry that's formed around it and like the branding and the packaging and the evolving of what a cannabis shop looks like, and just witnessing all of that and speaking to owners of cannabis companies and we've talked about cannabis as it relates to sexual wellness for women, you know we really have been able to have some really rich conversations as it has evolved.
Ronan [00:30:35] Why do you think cannabis and CBD and now psychedelics have so powerfully attached themselves to a cultural zeitgeist? Like what? What about it? I mean, not that cannabis is great and CBD isn't great or anything along those lines. And certainly psychedelics are amazing. But I feel like there's something deeper going on here. I'm just curious to know and this is for for both of you, what do you think it's tapping into? What why is there such a powerful zeitgeist around this?
Elizabeth [00:31:04] I'll just speak to my own experience. I've loved cannabis since a teenager, and I always felt this weird stigma around it. And like this, I would say through college, like a little bit of shame. But yet I remember when I was studying in Europe and like this guy from Israel was telling me how everybody in Israel smokes weed and loves it. And and then I was like, oh, this is beyond my college campus. Like, this is something that people use all over the world. And obviously that was so naive for me to think otherwise. But it like opened my eyes to, oh, this is something everyone is using and not really talking about, and they're all like functioning members of society and doing wonderful things, and the stigma was so the opposite of that.
Ronan [00:31:53] Do you have any sense like why now? Like it was just like a function of time, or is there something like bigger going on here?
Stephanie [00:32:02] I do think it's a function of time. I think that there's a awakening, a collective awakening and a shift that's happening now that has been coming for a long time. And I just think that society has tried for a very long time to keep people in a certain consciousness that functioned under the rules that they've decided are the rules. Like why is it that alcohol is OK and weed isn't OK? That doesn't make any sense. Alcohol is a nightmare drug. Everyone hates the drunkest guy at the party. That's the worst person there. Like there's program after program after program dedicated to people who've destroyed their lives because of alcohol, because it's an untenable beast, if you take too much of it, it's just no way around that. It's hard to regulate that stuff. But that's something that the government is like good stuff because alcohol doesn't expand your consciousness. And this is like my own theory. I think that when anything opens your mind and makes you think freely, that's a danger to the status quo, because once people start seeing things outside of the way that things are operating, in many ways the status quo does not make people happy. There's so many unhappy people who are trying to live, especially in the explosion of corporatization and the fuckin capitalism hell that we lived in or are trying to get out of. I think that that is something that people were like, wow, this is very unsustainable way of living and psychedelics. And we are awakening tools that make you realize that you can build a reality to whatever thing is actually harmonious and in alignment with how our bodies want to live, how our souls want to live. And you can't hold down the human spirit forever. And I think in especially in a post COVID reality where we're going to need to rebuild so many structures of society, so many old systems have come burning down in our face. We're so disillusioned with the way that things have been for so long that these are tools that help us reimagine things. And I think that's why now is like the most amazing, potent time for these things, because because we need them
Ronan [00:34:10] To each of you, when were you first introduced to psychedelics? Maybe not so much on a recreational context, but in the terms of a context, as part of your wellness or therapeutic process.
Stephanie [00:34:24] I think ketamine still has a stigma around it, like until 2020. I definitely looked at it as like a weird party drug that I saw my friends doing and falling into k-holes. And I was just like, I don't understand what's happening. This doesn't seem fun. You're in the hole on the floor. But it was definitely like something that I had my own judgments around. And then it wasn't until I was given I think I told you this on our show. It was given a nasal spray, a ketamine nasal spray from a friend. But it wasn't until then that I really understood and for from my friend who had given me it, she had kind of educated man like why she got it and what she was prescribed for and what it could be used for. And so I dabbled. It's interesting when everything just kind of changed what you'll allow yourself to explore, because you're like, well, fuck it, like, everything I thought before is clearly wrong. So let me have an exploratory journey. And I am so grateful that I went through just I think I did it for like a month or maybe like a month and a half, like every couple of days, like experimenting, doing it, writing, like sitting. It opened up a space to express myself to myself in a new way, like to the point that we were saying before where we all kind of get locked into this identity and this understanding. If we're doubling down on who we are too much like, I don't know, we're not flexible and there's no space to grow and to change and to see things from a new perspective. And so for me, that was really a revelation because I have been taking psilocybin for years and of course, I love how I would feel what I did, mushrooms, you know, like at a party or even if I did a little microdose in my house and like, wrote a billion things like of course, like, I love that. But I had no idea that there was another substance that could kind of offer me a new perspective in a new way without necessarily taking me to like another dimension, because you don't always want to have a psychedelic experience. Sometimes you just want to open up and, like, explore things on a deeper level. And I feel like that's really what I learned through ketamine. And I, I did stop taking it because I felt I don't know, maybe you can tell me. I think I think my intuition was pretty correct where it's like I was hitting, I was hitting a different level and I was like, I don't think that this is where I need to be going, I think I've like gotten kind of what I needed to get from this experience. But a little bit of like, oh, I like it there better. And I never want to do that. I always want to like it here better.
Ronan [00:37:00] I think you're 100 percent spot on. And this is like what to me, what's so exciting about cannabis and psychedelics. And it goes back to the conversation about the narrative that people tell, which is with cannabis and psychedelics, because it's not it doesn't fit so nicely into our conventional western allopathic model of here's your drug, take it, you feel better, hopefully, you know, and that's the end of the equation. You have to be an active participant in this therapy, particularly with psychedelics still very much so with cannabis, because you have to triage and experiment and figure out what's right for you, because it's not just like a pill that makes you feel better. And so you've got to trust your intuition and you've got to say, like, hey, this is this is working for me or I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with it. And the truth is, is with ketamine, I mean, it is mildly addictive. And if you're taking it frequently, it can become addictive. It's not a very high risk drug of abuse, but it is a possibility. So if your instinct was saying, don't do it, that was absolutely the right decision for you.
Stephanie [00:37:57] I was feeling myself enjoying that disconnect a little bit. And like the anti anxiety and the feeling of like nothing can affect me in like I'm such an emotional person and like feeling like I need to connect and read people and have that interface, like energetically that that was what was kind of making me say, like, OK, like I did it with myself. I had this journey. But I don't want to be in a place where I'm disconnecting from interacting with people and like having that co creation energetically. And I think any time that you go too deep into yourself or you separate because it is like a dissociative. Right. So and I could feel that. And that's interesting. But it's also that's what I found to be problematic about like when I was prescribed antidepressants. So once it started to feel like that, I was like, OK, I've gotten what I need to get out of this.
Ronan [00:38:45] Life is full of modulations, right? Like antidepressants. It's like you take it and like that kind of viewpoint as you take it, potentially perpetually or until you feel better, like it's a binary one, two, or it's like life is full of modulation. Sometimes I'm really into meditation and psychedelics and sometimes I'm not. And sometimes I'm really into Chinese food and sometimes I'm not. And that's totally OK. But in most traditional scientific context, there's not a lot of space for that. So, again, I think it's an important thing to recognize as being like, yeah, that's that's totally right. And you may be like one day right back into like and now I want to be back in that space. And that's right for me. And I think that's totally cool.
Stephanie [00:39:26] I think I will. I think that, like what you're saying is true, it's it's an ongoing exploration and a journey. It's not like I did it once and I'll never do it again. It's like. No, like I'll probably want to try that again. That's something interesting to like. That always bothered me. Look, we all have mental health challenges. Life is life is difficult. Growing is hard. There's no map for any of us. We're all just trying our best. And I had ADD I was given Adderall like Elizabeth. And then once I was try to get off Adderall, my brain chemistry was all fucked up. So then they tried to give me these other pills and, you know, like I became a science experiment. And the thing that always irked me so much about any of the pills that were prescribed is that it was like what you said, like, OK, take this now and there's no end in sight. And I would wake up in the morning and just be like, wait. So I went like 20 something years, never having to take a pill to, like, get up in the morning. And now you're telling me that for the rest of my life, I'm hinging on this prescription that I need to fill like I've found that fundamentally flawed and so scary. And I'd be like, what if I'm on a desert island? You're telling me that I won't be able to think and feel without this pill because I can't get to a CVS pharmacy like. No, like, I want it to feel like I could do it myself. And it's not to say that, like, right, there's an acute if you're really depressed, you can have that acute treatment. But the ongoing element of it is very troublesome to me here.
Ronan [00:40:47] I hear you and I would feel the same way. You know, fortunately, I haven't had to experience that. But I say with like my stepson who started using Veniz, I think, to help him concentrate because he has ADD. And then, you know, he was in exams and he didn't have any use in Toronto and his doctor was in good health. And it was like a stress point, feel like, oh, my God, what am I going to do? It's like, well, it's terrible. Oh, my God, it just sucks. Like, there's no there's no good answer to it. And yeah, it would be something that would concern me as well. What about you, Elizabeth?
Elizabeth [00:41:17] I definitely have experimented more just like in the social setting since high school. I always liked to try whatever was offered to me. I never really felt I never had any, like, nerves around it. I was always just really curious and then, you know, end of twenty nineteen I put drinking down and I wish I could say it was for this big reason, but it just like wasn't really serving me, and I also had recently read a a load of studies around alcohol and the aging process, and I was like, no, we can't, we don't need that. So put alcohol down. And I think that since then, I've been experiencing like a different level of clarity and relationship with self that is sort of put me in like a really new, good, grounded place where now I feel really open and ready for psychedelic therapies in a way that I don't think could have been, wouldn't have been as beneficial or I wouldn't have been like all as all in if I hadn't have taken this past year plus to sort of find a new rhythm with myself. All of us are finding new rhythms with ourselves, with the COVID of it all. And cannabis has been amazing. I could sing a song about it and I've done a little bit of micro dosing of psilocybin and playing with that, just noticing mood and creativity and that sort of thing, but really excited too that there is all of these new opportunities to not only consume it, but talk about it and get information like it's not feeling like underground and scary anymore. We're seeing I think it's so much like attuned to the CBD and the cannabis popularity and accessibility that's happened over the years. Like, we're really seeing it with this. And I've spoken to investor friends who are who are always six years ahead of the trends. And it's all pointing to this. And what in the work you're doing, essentially.
Ronan [00:43:27] That's cool. Even with micro dosing, it can be very profound. I mean, people talk about psychedelics in the context of mental health, which is where the primary research is. And I think it's wonderful. But they have applications across a number of potential uses, you know they are potent antiinflammatory molecules as well. Apparently, some of the original uses for peyote was not just ceremonial and mental health, but also to treat wounds and all that kind of stuff. But I microdose occasionally to try and prevent migraines. But it turns out psilocybin is actually the best migraine medication I've ever taken. One hundred milligrams knocks a migraine now for me.
Stephanie [00:44:02] Well, oh my God, I'm going to tell my friend who has migraines that.
Ronan [00:44:05] Yeah, I've had great experience with it, like it is by far the best thing I've ever taken for it.
Stephanie [00:44:10] Elizabeth and I have this assistant and she's been struggling with certain, like body things. And I was like, I know this sounds insane as your boss, but I'm going to send you edibles and what you need to do is.
Elizabeth [00:44:22] Basically, we're the best boss.
Stephanie [00:44:23] Yeah. I'm like, what you need to do is take two of these edibles and, like, lay on your foam roller and ask your body to show you what's going on. And it sounds like silly and crazy, but these things are meant to help us and heal us and get us to a deeper level of ourselves. So I love that you're saying that and I'm going to pass on that migraine tip because I
Ronan [00:44:44] Yeah let know what the feedback is. I mean, maybe it's just me, but I found it to be very profound and helps me a lot. I'm fortunate I don't suffer terrible migraines and I know a lot of people get totally laid up by migraines and I can power through, but I much rather would not. And this seems to knock it out right in its flow. So on that note, I think that's really quite a lovely place to to leave this podcast. So I want to thank you so much for joining us today. It's been delightful chatting with you. If there's anything that people take from what we're doing with Field Tripping and even Field Trip, to me, it's like start being OK with where you are and start being OK with what you're feeling.
Stephanie [00:45:27] As the great Alanis Morissette once said, the only way out is through.
Elizabeth [00:45:31] She also, I think, said I have one hand in my pocket and the other one smoking a cigarette.
Stephanie [00:45:36] That's rght. So choose your own adventure with the Alanis wisdom.
Elizabeth [00:45:40] Totally. Ronan it was a delight. Thank you so much for having us. And guys, check out Ronan's episode of That's So Retrograde. We loved that combo.
Ronan [00:45:54] Although I have had the privilege of having some amazing conversations with some truly incredible people on this podcast, the one I had with Stephanie and Elizabeth in some ways may be the most important. Having had some time to reflect on it. And even though our conversation was truly all over the place, a central theme of everything we talked about was narratives, the stories we tell ourselves to define who we are and where we're going. Astrology was the frame of narrative that started the conversation. And in our modern Western hyper rational world, many of us are quick to dismiss astrology as at worst fraud and quackery and at best pseudoscience. But I think that may be the wrong lens against which to assess astrology, because there are many myths which we tell ourselves in our society that are equally as challengeable on an objective basis. The mythology of the entrepreneur as one: show me the characteristics of what makes an entrepreneur and I will also show you the characteristics of what makes for an Aries or a Torian or an Aquarian. Same goes for a doctor or a scientist or a Christian or a Wiccan. The point is that these are all narratives and they exist to help us define who we are, where we are going and what we value. Narratives come from the same place dreams come from, but because they're more coherent than dreams, more linear and refined, they're even more instructive. And to the extent we want to pull from one narrative or another narrative to help inspire us to course correct or make decisions in our lives or help us to believe something about who we are as individuals, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. As Tom Robbins says, our individuality is all that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole of society. But blessed in the twinkle of the morning, star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life's bittersweet route.
Ronan [00:48:10] Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host, Ronan Levy. Until next time stay curious, breathe properly. And remember, every day is a field trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping is created by Ronan Levy and produced by Conrad Page. Our researcher is Sharon Bhella. Special thanks to Quill. And of course, many thanks to Stephanie and Elizabeth for joining me today. To learn more about Stephanie and Elizabeth check out That's So Retrograde anywhere you listen to podcasts or you could follow them on Instagram @SoRetrograde. Finally, subscribe to our podcast and sign up for our newsletter at FieldTriipping.FM.