Supporting a Psychedelic Journey

I recently got back from Amsterdam where I had the privilege of working with Amanda Gelender and Nikolitsa Paranomos of Psychedelic Exploration to explore my inner psyche and work through some personal blockers. At some other point, I will talk about the amazing experience that I had and its impacts on my daily life. Right now though, I want to talk about the different things that I felt led to me having a great experience.

From what I understand, everyone’s experience with psychedelics is a bit different. Psychedelics make you highly suggestive, meaning that the experience is built from everything that you’ve learned about psychedelics through media and study, from things within your own subconscious, and also what you absorb from the environment around you. This is why it’s so important to work with guides that you trust and be in an environment that is congruent with what you want to accomplish.

Amanda and Nikolitsa are experts in creating an environment that is both extremely safe and caring and a rich source of exploration. Here are a few of the items that they used to make the experience so meaningful.

Plants – Lots of them, especially ones in bloom. I liked that there was a mixture of plants growing inside and outdoors as well as some cut flowers that Nikolitsa arranged super beautifully.

Music – Amanda and Nikolitsa played all sorts of music for me through a set of Sonos speakers which felt like they were just wrapping me in warm instrumentation. Having the music portable was extremely helpful as it allowed the experience to continue no matter where I wandered.

Bath – At one point, Nikolitsa drew me a salt bath surrounded by candles and cut flowers. Being able to sit in a bath surrounded by such beauty definitely helped me get through the most intense part of the experience. I feel that it also helped to deepen the state of the experience as the immaculately curated atmosphere was deeply felt. I imagine that an herbal bath that is gently aromatic might enhance the experience further.

Bathrobe – The desire to be nude was overwhelming and my capability to maintain some modicum of professionalism was deeply diminished by my inebriation, so I was extremely thankful for a cozy bathrobe that I could wear as I got out of the bath and relished the rest of the experience.

Art Supplies – While Nikolitsa did most of the arting during my experience, I very much enjoyed watching her create. I sense that if I was in a different mood or if I was a person who took to art more intuitively, the ability to create art myself would be quite healing.

Soft Towels – I noticed that Amanda and Nikolitsa had lined all cushioned seating surfaces with very soft towels. While I suspect that this was largely for ease of clean-up, it also served to create an extremely comfortable space.

Weighted Blanket – At one point, Nikolitsa offered me a weighted blanket which was super thoughtful. While I rejected it in the moment, I can imagine that it would be quite helpful in grounding someone.

A Cozy Outdoor Space – Amanda’s rooftop garden was just perfect. It was just as cozy as the rest of the apartment but with access to the sky. Watching the clouds and being able to see the city was amazing. The makeshift seating area was so cozy and comfortable and the space was also small enough that I felt incredibly safe and secure.

Herbal Eye-pillow – I don’t know if this is something that Amanda and Nikolitsa have, but the books that I’ve been reading about psychedelic trips often recommend a blindfold or an eye-pillow to help the explorer turn inward more readily. Adding aromatic herbs to this eye-pillow could help to enhance the experience further.

Snacks! – Everyone who knows me also knows that I love snacks. I was pretty much in heaven with the variety of healthy snacks that Nikolitsa made for us. While my appetite was suppressed during much of the experience and into the next day, I found the candied nuts especially helpful for tolerating the slightly weird taste of the truffles.

Herbal Tea – Tea is especially helpful for nausea which can occur in the beginning of the experience. Nikolitsa made some fresh herb tea that was especially delightful. Would recommend having a ginger decoction on hand to handle stronger nausea though.

Multiple Guides – Having both Amanda and Nikolitsa around was very helpful for me as they represented different complimentary aspects of the self to me. I’m sure that it was also helpful for them as they could split the tasks of being with me/keeping an eye on me with curating the functional and environmental part of the experience.

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