One of the most common concerns we hear from guests is, “What if I have a bad trip?”.
This extremely common question often comes from those who have not experienced psychedelics before or those whose experience is in the realm of recreational psychedelic use.
While a “bad trip” is not impossible to have (although the definition of a “bad trip” can be rather ambiguous), there’s a difference between a “difficult trip” and a “bad” one.
Everything about your trip-and whether you would consider it to be bad or good – can definitely be under your own control. If you go into it with an immense feeling of anxiety, discomfort, and lack of intention, you may be setting yourself up for a rough road ahead.
On the alternative, if your expectations are all rainbows, laughter, and sacred geometry, you may be left disappointed.
There’s a balance. That balance is created by your setting, your intention, and your company during your trip.
First things first: Emotional and Physical safety
Your physical and emotional safety can be defined by having a private location that is guaranteed to leave you left unbothered by outsiders. Emotionally, find ways to be in the truth about your current mental and emotional state as it’s vitally important that you surround yourself with trusted friends or leaders.
If you can have someone sober near you, that is ideal.
All of these elements of safety allow you to fully let go and fall into the experience. Not worrying about controlling your outside environment during the trip, which is often where the anxieties come from, will at least ensure you don’t add outside pressure to the journey taking place inside.
The key to setting an intention with this mystical medicine is being completely open to feeling all of your emotions: sadness, joy, despair, grief, numbness, confusion, elation.
The more you welcome the waves of emotion, both emotionally and physically, the better the release and the more clarity you’ll feel after.
It’s so important to give yourself grace and kindness, especially when you’re coming down off of the immediate effects. Your nervous system tends to be a bit overloaded and it can be heavy for your body and mind to process all in one sitting.
You may find yourself still going back into the mental space in dreams that night or even during journaling the next morning. This is completely normal and we encourage our guests to work through those feelings just as they would any emotions they felt when the medicine was active.
The integration process can take weeks, months, or even years to fully unpack. To truly understand all of the lessons and messages received during the trip, you have to be patient with yourself. Over time, your mind re-processes the new realizations and breakthroughs you may have had in such a short period of time of the trip.
Those of us with some experience, have experienced trips that were centered entirely on grief and shame, or sadness and desperation, which were not comfortable emotions to feel at such an amplified level. However, when we allowed ourselves to fully surrender to those emotions, they released and revealed a stronger person underneath.
Taking a moment at the beginning of your journey to meditate, pray or otherwise acknowledge the sacred space of the mushrooms can go a long way of setting the space for an intentional, beautiful trip. Some may call it “woo-woo”, but if you can acknowledge that psilocybin is mystical, mysterious, and ineffable, then you will be setting yourself up to receive all of the wonderful things the medicine has to show you. Allow yourself to know that you don’t know everything.
Play beautiful, peaceful music, if any, and treat yourself with extreme kindness and compassion. The initial journey may only last 4-6 hours, but this magical medicine continues working on you long after those feelings of a “trip” wear off.
Making a small altar with any special or sacred items also serves as the energetic container for any release which might occur while you’re feeling those deep emotions.
It’s important to remember that a “difficult trip” is not the same as a “bad trip”.
Our leader Amanda often says that if we “suspend our skepticism and disbelief” about what the mushroom experience is supposed to be, and let the medicine do exactly what it needs to do for your situation – we can allow ourselves to get exactly what is needed from each trip, at that moment in time. Nothing more and nothing less.
By letting go of those expectations, you open yourself to the possibility of experiencing a trip that isn’t defined as simply “good” or “bad”, but one that opens you up to living a life you never could have imagined.