EP 032 | TRUE CLIENT STORY- Anxiety, Overworking, and Healing Food and Body Image Issues with Nicole

In our first TRUE CLIENT STORY series episode, we are sharing the remarkable transformation journey of Nicole Rigo. Nicole is a high-achieving registered nurse who recently initiated her plant medicine integration odyssey with psilocybin mushrooms earlier this year as a client in our Rise and Align coaching program. Facing chronic health issues that were being worsened by overworking, and feeling isolated and disconnected after Covid lockdown, Nicole began to have a blossoming suspicion that there must be more to life than rampant anxiety and dread. (Spoiler alert, there is MUCH more!) 

Feeling isolated and disconnected after Covid lockdown, she felt called to work with plant medicine so that she could begin healing food and body image issues. Today Nicole is sharing about how she is working with medicine to make peace with herself, be present, and enjoy her life. By day, Nicole works as a registered nurse, but in real life, she is a beekeeper, wild food forager, and sea nymph cavorting along the Carolina coast. We love working with Nicole and seeing her powerful metamorphosis, and she’s just getting started! 

This is our favorite episode to date, so we hope you enjoy it!


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Read the Transcript

Sinclair 1:41
We are here today with Nicole Rigo. Nicole is one of our current clients in our Rise and Align integration program. And she graciously has agreed to share her story of her journey with us today on the show. And so to tell you a little bit about Nicole, she recently initiated her plant medicine integration odyssey in response to her suspicion that there must be more to life than rampant anxiety and dread. And I know I can attest to the experience that she has figured out that that was correct, and that there is much more to life. And Nicole works as a registered nurse. But in her free time in real life. She’s a beekeeper, a wild food foragers and a sea nymph cavorting along the Carolina coast. We’re so happy to have you here with us. Nicole, thank you so much for your bravery and courage to come on and talk about psychedelics with us.

Nicole 3:15
Thank you for having me.

Sinclair 3:19
So, let’s get started by telling everyone just telling a little bit about yourself and your story of how you found yourself wanting to work with plant medicine.

Nicole 3:32
Yeah, so the long version, I guess is I just kind of had anxiety and depression, all of my life. I’ve been a workaholic, sometimes working multiple jobs or working hours, that would imply I had multiple jobs. Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to have a really great family. A close family also had good friends, but I tend to be an introvert. So my circle is small. And I found that my circle, particularly during COVID was sort of getting smaller and tighter. And I was working more and more because suddenly I was you know doing a lot more work out in my home. And I just kind of felt like all I was doing was working and I got really just terribly anxious about everything, my health, my life, where were things going, what was I doing with my time here on this planet? Did any of it matter? And my life was really very much focused on striving, like, what was the next thing the next thing so as soon as I finished one thing, what was the next thing I never even sat in the moment to enjoy what I had accomplished or things that were going on in my life and I was never able to really sit there and be present. I kept looking for that ghost in the machine. And it took me a really long time. But and also a really good push from the plant medicine to realize there is no is no ghost in the machine, the machine and the ghost and you know our lives were it’s all one thing, right our body, our mind, our soul, our spirit, our, our consciousness, it’s all one thing. So searching for that ghost was ultimately kind of something futile and took up a lot of space and, and made me feel hopeless a lot of times?

John 5:44
Well, first, I can really relate to a lot of what you shared. What had you tried before? That was like, other solutions? You tried to fix that field? Sure.

Nicole 5:57
Yeah. So I tried sort of the quote unquote, acceptable methods of fixing this problem. So I did a lot of therapy with countless therapists and I had a really hard time finding a good fit, they seem to be very focused on like, a very small portion of what I saw is the problem, right? Like, like, you know, weight control and eating. So okay, well, don’t eat after 6pm or something like that, and never really engaged with like, what is behind problem with, like, overeating, or what is what, what emptiness Are you trying to fill? Where’s the hole? What? Where did it come from? What what is it doing to, you know, where? How can we address the hole? Right? It was just, you know, stop filling it with food, why don’t you stop, you know, and it wasn’t really anything helpful. So, I’ve been on antidepressants, a number of different ones, you know, probably since I was, I think I started when I was 25 years old, I’m in my 40s now. And sort of sedatives to kind of take the edge off. You know, fortunately, I never went in for like, the hard drugs kind of thing. You know, I mostly self medicated with, with what was available, like over the counter kind of thing. So like, I couldn’t sleep, then it was some Benadryl if, you know, or maybe I was drinking too much. And, you know, a lot of times I was just trying to escape from from myself. So, you know, there’ll be periods of time where, you know, I might try to do something a little bit more, I don’t know, productive with treatment, like, try to exercise more, or try to spend some time in meditation, mindfulness, but I really had a hard time making those good habits stick. And it was very easy to slip back into sort of the habits that were harmful to my body and harmful to my brain, and not really helping me get anywhere. And I just kept doing the same things over and over and over again, until finally, I actually found your podcast and started to think, well, maybe there was another way. And you know, how to talk with Sinclair about you know, what, what might that other way look like? And so I’ve been working with Sinclair ever since. Yeah.

Sinclair 8:26
So what what led you kind of to look for the podcast where you were, I always wonder this, like how plant medicine calls people. So I’m wondering, like, you know, how long was it kind of on your radar before you decided to be like, um, this is actually something I’m going to take action on?

Nicole 8:47
Yeah. So last year, I read a book by Michael Pollan, I believe it’s called How to Change Your Mind. And I found that really intriguing. Like, I’m definitely the kind of person who’s left brained and like science, all the way kind of thing. So reading his book, you know, it wasn’t just like, oh, I had this trippy psychedelic experience. So, you know, everybody else should have a trippy psychedelic experience. And this more like, you know, how do these things work with our chemistry with our lives? You know, what do we need to do after we have our experiences and, you know, how do we integrate that into our life and so you know, I kind of let that sit for a while, probably at least six months, and then I was sort of surfing around looking for podcasts to listen to and, and I was definitely looking into things that might help me kind of get out of this sort of funk that I had found myself in I was just at a really hopeless point where I felt like what is the point of this? Why am I doing any of this? You know, What does my job matter? Like, I have a great family. And I can’t even be grateful for that. Like, I can’t be grateful for anything, I couldn’t be grateful for the smallest things or the bigger things in my life, I was just empty and sick. And, you know, I have some chronic illnesses and like those were eating me alive. And I just wasn’t getting any better doing what I was doing. So I thought I was thinking about it. And I thought, Well, okay, maybe there’s a podcast out there that’s, you know, can give me a little bit more information about what this might look like, if I were to start to work with psychedelics, because I definitely heard in the medical community that like, you know, they’re doing big studies, with psychedelics, particularly in people with chronic or terminal illnesses, or recalcitrant depression and things like that. And I thought, well, you know, maybe I can’t get into one of these trials, but maybe I can see what’s out there for me. And so I just happen to kind of stumble upon your podcast. And I just really felt like you were speaking directly to me. And I really liked the way that you were talking about the integration past the event, because that’s what really actually matters. And so when, like, the mushrooms or the iOS or whatever, they may open the door, they may show you something that you hadn’t seen before, in a different way. But really integrating that with your actual existence in life and day to day is something that, I think is really key to making it successful.

John 11:38
So have you had any experience with like, a plant medicine or psychedelic before looking to them for healing?

Nicole 11:46
I mean, other than smoking the occasional pot, that’s about as close as I ever got to plant medicine. And I’ll say that was totally recreational. You know, at one point, with my illness, I was having so much pain that I wasn’t sleeping at night, I, you know, couldn’t function at work, it was really bad. So I was actually using that to help me sleep at night. But as far as like, exploring consciousness, No, I never really had anything in plant medicine, no experience at all. So

Sinclair 12:20
I remember on our, I think it was our discovery call, which is like the call that I do with people when they’re, before they start working with us. But it’s sort of like, let’s get to know each other. And let me share about what we do. And really, it’s for me to learn about you. And I remember you were talking about like, Well, I think I’m interested in working with magic mushrooms, but like, I don’t really know how to source these or where they’re going to come from or whatever. And within like, the first probably month, or just a few weeks of us signing up with our program, you had mushrooms.

Nicole 12:55
They find you., don’t they?

Sinclair 13:00
I was I remember being like, I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but I know that something is gonna happen. And like, we’re just going to allow it to come and we’re going to start working on preparing you, you know, and yeah, I loved you were like, I have mushrooms! Like they just appeared. And I was like, yep, that’s how it works.

Nicole 13:18
Yeah, it was pretty amazing. That call that we had, because it was like, yeah, they exactly just like, appeared at the moment that I called upon them that, you know, I knew that I wanted to start there and see where it took me and see what the experience was like. And, and, you know, I feel like they are a very sort of gentle, playful way of getting initiated into the plant medicine world, I think. And, yeah, it’s just, it was just kind of amazing how, like, we’ve talked about this synchronicities seem to happen, right? Like all this stuff, just kind of lines up in the world when you’re paying attention. And so I really think that working with the plant medicine has really helped me to better start paying attention.

John 14:11
So what was the what was your first experience sitting with the mushrooms like?

Nicole 14:17
So it was very gentle. We did a little ceremony beforehand, as you guys had suggested, and you know, kind of called to the spirits, if you will, that, you know, may protect us and may help us along our journey. And, you know, I asked for at the time I asked for, you know, can I just please have a little bit more integration with my body? My body has always been an issue with me and you know, too fat, like, no self love. They’re just like a lot of kind of disgust that I couldn’t control. throw myself with eating and food and that kind of stuff. And, you know, it was really hard for me to ever kind of get that in line or figure out why I was having these issues. And you know, I always called it sort of my lizard brain, like, my lizard brain would light up, and I would eat the entire bag of Doritos or, you know, sit down and eat whatever was in front of me whether I liked it or not. And, you know, then I would sort of wake up after that experience and be like, Oh, I feel terrible. I’m, you know, this awful, I’m disgusted with myself kind of thing. So I wanted to start there to like, sort of start to appreciate my body a little bit more and take better care of it and learn to listen a little bit closer and not let that lizard brain take over everything and just sort of go on autopilot. Because I do think that like, a lot of my life, I’ve spent in a kind of drift state, not just with food, but with other things work. You know, just life in general relationships I’ve spent in a drift state, and I’m trying to become more intentional and more aware and more, more alive. So. So I told Sinclair this, and it’s kind of a, I don’t know, little, funny, awkward thing, but when, when I was having the mushroom experience, you know, first we spent, I did this with a friend and we went and spent some time out in nature looking looking at a lake and you know, sort of watching the birds and animals and watching the grass blow in the wind. And it was a really hot day. And all I wanted to do is like jump in that lake, but I didn’t because it’s probably full of goose poop and stuff like that. Definitely not a swimming lake. And so and then for part of the time, we went inside, and we just kind of spent time in separate rooms, just kind of with ourselves. And, you know, I actually got in front of a mirror and like, stripped down totally naked, and was like looking at myself in the mirror. And I was like, you know, I have the body of a goddess, like, I should not be abusing this body. Like I should do things that feed this body and love this body and stop telling myself that this body is flawed in some way. It’s not flawed. This is a goddess body, it does everything for me. And, you know, I, I feel like I need to take good care of it. And so that was a revelation for me, because never once in my life that I ever thought that way about myself.

John 17:40
Yeah. I mean, even just the even if we have had the thoughts having like, the form like emotional, physical, the, the energetic or spiritual, like weight of that thought, like register fully is like such a gift that the medicine can give us.

Sinclair 18:01
I’m like, about to cry, just hearing you describe this experience. I had a similar experience with Ayahuasca where I felt that love for my body and and it’s so heavy, the shame that you carry in your body and like being disome You know, you’re kind of disembodied, you’re sort of just living in your mind, and you’re living in your thoughts. And you’re, you know, when you do check into your body, you’re like, it doesn’t feel good in here. And to have that experience, just right away, I think has opened up so much for you just in how you’re relating to yourself on a daily basis. So, so that was like, your first experience. And so what happened after that, like, what was the what was the takeaway, like what happened in the next few days and weeks after that first experience?

Nicole 18:56
Well, I definitely dug into the work of the integration pretty heavily using your rise on the line guide online and having the conversations with you and like you know, some of the the integration exercises really took me hours and hours of like, digging in and deep thought which like I’ve never really been able to do before like it’s always been like, oh, I don’t want to look at this. I’m not not gonna I’m not gonna I’m gonna go do something else or you know, the stupid I’m not doing it. Even though I know it’s not stupid. It’s just, you know that that knee jerk reaction like this is going to be painful and so maybe I need to like walk away and so but this time I didn’t let myself and so digging in and like really thinking about okay, well what, what might have made me disrespect my body in the first place. And, you know, I can look back to a time when I was like a young teen and like, you know, I was, like, pretty, brutally, like harassed sexually by my peers, because, you know, I developed early and you know, everybody thought it was fine to violate my personal space violate my body to like, you know, like, groping at the bus stop kind of stuff. So, you know, like, this is, you know, 1011 12 years old and so hiding from that was something that was a survival strategy. And, you know, it’s something that definitely, like, left a mark. And so, you know, it’s not something I think about that often these days. And matter of fact, before I started doing the integration practice, I really hadn’t thought about it at all in decades. And, you know, now I realized, like, that definitely had an impact. And so all this time I’ve been trying to hide from that. And so digging into those kinds of things, as they come up, sitting with them, allowing them to be and paying attention to them, when they’re there is really, I think, key to this. So it’s definitely not an easy process, it’s completely different than, you know, if you’re like, just, you know, seeking like a recreational experience, which is totally fine. But it’s just a different thing altogether, I would, I would classify this more as, like true therapy. So the,

Sinclair 21:33
the work that you do to uncover so one of the things we talked about a lot is like, Okay, you have these symptoms, you have these negative feelings in yourself, you are feeling like life doesn’t feel good. And that’s the symptom. And I think that’s what brings people to the medicine a lot is like, I don’t want to feel this way anymore. And, you know, in western medicine, it’s like, okay, here, take these pills, the symptoms will go away, blah, blah, blah, which is not really even true.

Nicole 22:04
For them, they just hide, so it kind of like

Sinclair 22:07
suppresses them, but you’re not really doing the real work to heal it, which is going into that old you know, connecting the dots between Okay, I want to love my body, why did I stop loving my body because I you know, that you’re born loving yourself, you’re born in a state of being okay with yourself. And, you know, stuff happens to us as children where we’re like, oh, maybe it’s safer for me to hide under, you know, some extra weight, maybe it’s safer for me to hide my breasts and hide my my femaleness and hide my self, so that people are not grabbing me and touching me and harassing me. And coming to that realization and doing that deep core work. Because like, Okay, you were saying you haven’t thought about it in decades. But that doesn’t mean that your subconscious is not like using that as a program that’s running underneath the surface, you know, right. Like you learn something like that, when you’re a kid. That’s what’s, that’s the program that’s running. And so right, the medicine is really powerful to connect you to be able to bring that to the surface to feel the feelings and be like, does this serve me? Is this aligned? And then you get to decide as a conscious adult? Do I want this anymore or not?

Nicole 23:19
Right? Well, figuring out that, you have the choice, really, ultimately, the choice is up to you how you’re going to respond, or react to your experiences. I think that’s something that’s really critical to recognize and, you know, just kind of leaving old stuff on autopilot when it doesn’t serve you anymore. I mean, I really do believe that that makes you ill, I mean, I think that you know, so like six years ago, I got diagnosed with a life threatening diagnosis and you know, it kind of ground my life to a halt and I had to change things, how I was doing things in my life otherwise, you know, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. So I did but I don’t think I went far enough. You know, I think I was able to like kind of change some of the superficial things but in terms of like, taking care of my body a little bit better, but you know, as I started to feel better, it was so easy to lapse into those old habits and I really think that like you know, healing the mind and the spirit go along with healing the body and if you only do one of those things, you are not embracing your entire treatment basically, you know, you have to do it all otherwise it just you know, one thing you drop one thing and you have to go pick it up and when you pick it up you drop something else and it’s just an ongoing perpetuating cycle.

John 24:50
Yeah, I think like these experiences of, you know, whatever it is for people illness, addiction, disease, anxiety, depression, they’re all like Your spirits invitation into a new way of life. And we can stop pulling the thread when things feel better or like, well, and then another invitation comes to like, how far do you want to pull this thread and really go into yourself? So it’s exciting to see that you’ve picked up the thread and keep pulling of a spoiler.

Sinclair 25:21
The thread never ends. Forever. Let’s come, right, it’s like, that’s why we’re here is to grow and evolve and like, follow. It’s more like, you’re following this, this thread in Word path? Yeah, path into the light, or whatever. We say all different kinds of magical things about it, because it feels like I’ve

Nicole 25:49
learned that, you know, embracing the magic is a good thing. I mean, like I said, Super Science left brain here. That was something that I was like, Oh, I don’t know, is kind of woowoo. You know. But honestly, I mean, I was at the point where I just, I couldn’t see myself going, like, if there’s no point in life, and why am I still here? Why, why have I not killed myself yet, you know, there’s gotta be something or there’s no point in doing this. And, you know, let’s just get it over with. And so this was sort of like my rock bottom, my last resort. And, you know, now that now that I’m here, I’m just, I’m so grateful now for so many things that I could not be grateful for, even like, when we first started a couple months ago, and

Sinclair 26:41
I remember I said that you could not feel gratitude on our first call for any of the things I use, like for

Nicole 26:47
anything. And you know, not to say, I haven’t stepped in the spiritual dog shit along the way. Certainly have, and probably will, again, but but, you know, I really feel like for the first time in my life, this is the kind of, I don’t know, therapy coaching direction that I’ve been just longing for and searching for. And I just, I feel so much better. I can’t even I’m getting, I’ve leaned down on my antidepressants, and I’m almost off of them, which like, I don’t know, if anyone out there has ever tried to get off of an SSRI or an SSRI, or any of those drugs. But like, the, the withdrawal is so painful, as you’re you’re weaning down, especially if you’re not doing it slowly enough that, you know, you just feel terrible, you feel even more depressed, you feel like physically ill and like these brains app, things going on, it’s just, it’s really like unbearable. And so I feel like I’ve been trapped in these antidepressants. Since I was 25 years old. And, you know, now I can see the, the light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s just such a relief, you know, not to be dependent on these drugs just to like, barely exist, I feel like I’m starting to live again. And, you know, yet I’m not having these like horrible mood swing highs and lows that, you know, crush you. So

John 28:19
I like what you said about the being left brain. And it’s like, well, we only use our left brain, it’s only half the picture. So hey, it’s nice. To see you inviting the rest of the picture in. I’m also really curious, you had talked about like, well, both with the, the relationship to your body. And now as you’re talking about getting off the medication, kind of. Okay, so the Medicine showed you this thought pattern, this relationship you have with your body, this relationship you have with your thoughts, this pattern of thinking, what does it look like for you? Like, how are you practicing? And what does it look like when you’re trying to put a new pattern, a new program into place? And how do you navigate that when you’re going through something like getting off the medication? And having these ups and downs like how do you stick to the reprogramming? How do you remind yourself how do you practice making that choice?

Nicole 29:29
So I’ve tried to get into a routine of doing a little bit of meditation every day, it doesn’t have to be a lot. I don’t have to sit there for hours. I can just do it for 10 minutes, like take a you know, a few deep breaths and really just sort of get in there and meditate for just a few minutes and journaling, which I never thought I would do. I’m like, oh, that’s just a diary. I’m thinking like teenage girl I noticed off and like No, no I this is something that like I think I can do, and it doesn’t have to be something that like, you know, is profound it can, it can just be something that like, Okay, well today, I really, really, really enjoyed this cup of coffee, I’m so grateful for this cup of coffee. And I, you know, and I’m delighted that I got the experience of this. And it can be just something really simple like that. I try to move my body a little bit every day, and whether that’s like taking a walk, preferably out in nature if the weather allows, but it’s been really hot here lately. So I’ve kind of been trying to go inside a little bit more, or maybe a swim, or just even a stretch, something like that, just to kind of move a little bit. I’m trying to, like really pay attention. So when I start to feel like the shark eyes glaze over, and I’m wanting to eat like whatever’s in front of me, and you know, keep eating. I’m just like, Okay, wait, what, what’s happening here? Am I do I actually need this food? Am I hungry? Am I even going to enjoy this? Or is this just like, the path of least resistance, the easy way out. And, you know, I have been a little bit more successful in in kind of taking that step back and saying, I don’t actually want this right now, what, what’s happening here that’s making me think I want this and kind of digging into that. You know, for the first time in, I don’t know I least four years, I’ve finally been able to, like, engage a little bit in things that are fun, rather than just work, right. Like, I’m not just working and cleaning my house all the time, or, you know, that kind of thing, paying the bills. I’m, I’m actually like, trying to explore a few things. So like, you know, we, we can some sour cherries a few weeks ago, and that was really fun. And, you know, we picked them off the tree ourselves. You know, we did all the cleaning, we did all the pitting, which, by the way takes forever.

Sinclair 32:09
Those are delicious. We got a jar, and I feel so lucky. Because I’ve been set I save them and savor them like Yeah.

Nicole 32:18
Yeah, and then like, you know, I, I’ve had this like pile of fabric that I’ve wanted to do something with for, I don’t know, at least a year, and it’s just been sitting there. And I couldn’t even find my sewing machine because I had been put away for so long. I mean, I don’t know how you lose a sewing machine. It’s a pretty big brick, right, but I couldn’t find it in my small apartment. So I actually did find it and like now I’m working on you know, making curtains for my my office because my home office because it gets really hot in here. And if I could just, you know, take the temperature down a little. But it’s some something that’s like really satisfying. Rather than just like, going out and buying some curtains from I don’t know, Walmart or something like to make them myself and to know that like I put love into them. And, you know, I’m trying to craft my environment to be a little bit more conducive to wanting to be present. Because that’s always been a problem for me. So

Sinclair 33:18
I like crafting, crafting your way to health. Like, just having the, you know, when we’re young, or at least when I was young, I used to make like collages all the time, I would just sit in my room for hours and do stuff like, make art. And it’s like you got into adulthood. And I think I think COVID I’ve been thinking a lot about the lockdown. And like that period where everyone was kind of forced inside. And we watched so much TV and it was just like, this thing happened where everybody kind of got afraid of getting disappointed if things getting canceled. And I think there’s a long term thing that’s happening, at least with me where it’s like, I have been afraid to enjoy, I have been afraid to like put myself into things. And one of the ways that I like to do that too. And I encourage my clients to do it is like start creating art, whatever that looks like, like make curtains. You know, John is a painter and is always painting something just absolutely stunning. I’m not such a great painter.

Nicole 34:24
So either St. Louis.

Sinclair 34:27
But I have a list of all these projects and I’m like, Okay, I need to pick one and just, you know work on a little bit at a time. And so I’m happy to hear that you found your sewing machine because that gives me inspiration to like, work on my I’ve been doing a cross stitch for a while I need to get back to it. So tell us more. So you had your first experience with the mushrooms. So what happened after that? How have you continued to work with them?

Nicole 34:55
So I have had a few more experiences and And gradually started increasing the dose because I was looking for something more intense. I’m the kind of person that kind of needs to be clobbered over the head a little bit with some of the stuff. Like, don’t don’t be subtle with me, I’m not subtle with you. Like, get it all out there. Um, so, you know, what was kind of interesting to me is, I would often ask the question before taking the mushrooms. How is this what I need right now. And, you know, a few times nothing seemed to happen, like nothing, I don’t mean just like getting the the light show. I mean, like, nothing seemed to happen. And I was like, Okay, so maybe that is what I need right now, maybe, maybe it’s too soon, you know, maybe I’m asking the mushrooms to give me something and they’re like, you know, maybe you should slow down and see what you already have. And then, you know, once you work through that, then we’ll give you something else. And so that happened a few times, and then I sort of made it to like, the next, the next experience, and, you know, I took the dose and, you know, I just basically started by begging mushrooms, please just teach me something, just teach me something. And, you know, I was, I was sitting there, actually, on the beach, watching the waves roll in. And suddenly, you know, my dad was there next to me, and he had passed away in 2020, not from COVID, but it didn’t help the situation. And, you know, he and I were very close. And, you know, there were some sort of problematic parts of our relationship, particularly when I was younger, but as an adult, we were very close. And, you know, when he died, I didn’t even take any time off of work, you know, to, to mourn, to grieve. And so I was able to kind of open up, the grieving process was this almost two years later, and really sort of sit with it for a change. And so that that was the last time that I’ve worked with the mushrooms. And, you know, I’m still kind of working my way through that, because it was a painful time. And, you know, I’m a nurse, I was taking care of him and his final days, and it was not easy. I’m a relatively small person, and he was like, a six foot four, big guy and 250 pound guy, and it’s like, having to physically care for him was very difficult. In addition to like, just watching, like, my dad, the, my hero, my love of my life, you know, deteriorating in front of me. So processing that and learning to, to do that, and to see him again, was really very profound for me. So

Sinclair 38:04
I think that there’s a really powerful energy in allowing whatever feelings come up to be there as long as they need to be. You know, like, I think we rush through things, especially feelings. And that’s something that we really want to support you. And as far as like, if that’s all you get out of working with us, that’s perfect. That’s amazing. Because having the space that you need to grieve that loss in your life is huge. And just enabling yourself to open up to that and sit with it for however long it’s there is, you know, there’s no timeline that you need to meet to, how are you progressing through this program, you know, what we what we want to teach is tools to use wherever you are so, so that you have a process and you have a container and you have you know, some some things to reach for to help hold you in whatever your emotional processes and sometimes the emotional part of it is long, and that’s all good. It’s all good.

John 39:20
That’s a superpower you’re developing, like, the ability to sit with it. And the emotions are like, very much like water. Like if water is stale and stagnant and not moving, it gets really sick. You know, like, Algae grows and mosquitoes and bugs lay their eggs and it just, we all know that kind of

Sinclair 39:42
water and see that happening around where we live because it’s not raining and we’re in a drought and the water sources are becoming unsafe to like swimming holes are getting closed and stuff because that new, fresh water water is not coming through to kind of move things yet so

John 39:59
to Um, pull the dam back and allow everything to flow is really, even when it’s painful, it’s like, it’s, it’s very empowering to hear you talk about it that way like, well, that you’re allowing it and flowing with it and making that choice to, like, sit with things that you previously turned away from or hadn’t looked at in a while, or hadn’t given yourself time from so congratulations on your new superpower.

Nicole 40:35
Thank you, I really do feel like it is a superpower. And, you know, I think like, the difference between this journey or Odyssey that I’m on is that, like, compared with, say, like traditional CBT therapy kind of stuff is like, you know, they’re always looking for something like a SMART goal, it’s got to be measurable and time based, and that kind of stuff. I’m like, this stuff, you know, I’m not gonna finish it in a week, or whenever the health insurance says I have to finish it by you know, so. And this kind of gives me this space to explore it, and, you know, really kind of live in it and learn from it at my own pace. So that’s something that’s really important. I think.

Sinclair 41:20
It’s interesting, too, that I think we get an idea that, okay, like, my father passed, my father passed away in 2012. And, you know, I had my initial grieving process, but I did not really experience the full emotional wave that I needed for many years after that, until I started working with plant medicine. So there’s this idea that like, oh, well, that happened 10 years ago, five years ago, like, aren’t you over that, or, you know, shouldn’t Time heals all things? No, it just, like, pushes it into your subconscious, where it’s, you know, you’re not aware of it. And then it’s running the show. You’re like a puppet. And it’s like, oh, you’re, here’s this grief, like pulling all your strings, you know, and I really love that about plant medicine, that it’s like, here, this thing that happened to you, when you were five, this thing that happened to you, when you were 10, your father’s death, this needs your attention, this has been in here this whole time. And you can connect to it, you can, it’s safe to like, connect with it, to feel it, to allow it to move through you. Just like John said, it, like becomes this sort of stagnant, but very powerful energy that can cause disease. And so I love that about the medicine that it like, it’s kind of like a time machine, you know, it can take us back into these places where trauma happened, or, you know, unresolved grief, or whatever the thing is, that is under there and allow us access to it so that we can transform it and move on.

Nicole 43:04
Yeah, and it’s kind of interesting to me, like, if you were to ask me before starting this, you know, like, what is your trauma kind of thing. Like, I didn’t have a traumatic life, my, my childhood was great. It was very, like, run of the mill boring, like suburban, you know, kid who had loving parents kind of life. But then when I look back, you know, under this lens, I realized, well, yes, that that may be the story that I’ve told myself. But there’s also things that like, you know, really dug into me as a kid that like, you know, I never really processed and that kind of left me with these scars that I didn’t really realize were causing all these problems now. And so, learning to see those to say, Hey, I see you. And you know, we can talk but you don’t control me anymore is like a really big thing. So

John 44:04
I had a lot of like, I don’t know, meetings with these decisions I had made about well, this is like this, and this must have meant this. And I decided these things when I was a child. And really, you know, I mean, I’m much better equipped now to decide what this meant, or what this was supposed to teach me or how I’m supposed to interpret it or what does it mean for me in my life, and to go back and examine some of those beliefs and those like, pattern things and see them through the lens of an adult mind and say like, well, actually, that meant this to me, and it didn’t like, why why would I let five year old meat decide how to interpret that situation and then build the rest of my thinking. On top of that, like that’s the five year old me should decide the block which everything is built upon.

Sinclair 45:01
helps you like give love to your inner child, because we all have this wounded inner child. And you know, was it capital T trauma, like did something violent happen to you or these little T traumas are just as defining, they’re just as important and they take up as much space, you know, just because you didn’t have something tragic happened to you necessarily, that doesn’t mean that you nobody gets out unscathed. Right? Exactly. You don’t have to be run by your trauma, you don’t have to your trauma doesn’t have to be driving your current reactions and making you reactionary rather than, you know, calmly responding. So I’m wondering, you talked a little bit about this earlier about the woowoo. And yeah, I’m wondering, like, how has how have you opened to this sort of magical, spiritual, like, let’s talk about the spiritual part of your view of you, now that you are working with medicine.

Nicole 46:02
So I figured that everything that I tried in the past wasn’t working really well for me, otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten to this point to begin with. And so maybe I need to try something different. And, you know, maybe I need to have an open mind. And so you know, I have become very comfortable with things like energy healing, and you know, just kind of asking the spirit world around me or whatever is in the universe around me for help that I am not here alone that this is not the be all and end all of like my you know, flesh and blood body sitting in this chair, like there is more to us than that there’s more to the universe. And that and, you know, I’m I’ve definitely never been a religious person, sorry, recovering Catholic. And I really felt that there was like, a lot of shame associated with religion and a lot of things that were just like, you know, either ridiculous or enraging, like, you know, at least where I grew up, the Catholic religion was very, like, male oriented, and women didn’t have a lot of agency or rights, and it was something that just drove me up the wall. So I just kind of turned that into, like, kind of a disgust for anything spiritual throughout my life. But I, I’ve come to realize that like, it doesn’t, just because that’s the brand of spirituality that someone tried to sell me when I was young doesn’t mean that that’s the brand I have to subscribe to, as an adult, and there’s a lot out there. And this world, this universe is a really big open place. And we don’t understand a lot of what’s out there. I don’t think I’m smart enough to understand a lot of what’s out there, but you know, I’m willing to accept it, when it comes to me, I’m willing to, you know, really try to embrace the things that make me uncomfortable that might be good for me. And so, you know, a couple of my friends and I, we started having like a full moon ritual every month and like, you know, we, I mean, it’s a bunch of ladies who get together and you know, maybe we have a little food and a little wine and you know, talk about certain things in our lives and, you know, read some tarot card kind of things, and then, you know, maybe we howl at the moon and like, if you’re told me like, five years ago that I’d be doing this I’ve been like you or not but I have to say it’s been a very freeing experience and I look forward to it so much and I just I look forward to that sense of community and you know, I while I probably don’t have like a quote unquote, religion that I subscribe to at this point, I do feel like I am learning to be a spiritual being again, rather than shutting all that down.

Sinclair 49:07
That’s so beautiful. So how does that feel like how do you feel different now than when you started your journey which is not that long ago this has been a really pretty fast

Nicole 49:18
change Yeah, it’s only been a couple of months. So you know, I’m not to say that I won’t have some down downtime, but I I feel so much freer I feel so much more in control of like, how I respond to things rather than just pew reacting like when everything comes at me you know, trying to to like wall off myself and defend myself from everything. I’m actually like, letting some things in and putting boundaries like conscious boundaries where there should be some that you know, I need to like not, not take on other people’s problems, you know, Like, I’m definitely a people pleaser, much to my chagrin. And, you know, learning not to pick up other people’s stuff when it doesn’t belong to me is something that you taught me and something that like, has really made my life so much freer. Like I have my own garbage I’d pick up everybody else’s to like. So, you know, it’s something that like, I’m learning and still, like, sometimes I’m like, Oh, is this boundary breaking down, because you know, I want to make this person happy. And I’m, you know, that then if I just stand firm, and like, really just stay true to myself. And the boundary that I placed there, I’ve actually come to find that like, things tend to work themselves out, and probably in a better way than if I had, like, capitulated and tried to just smooth things over again. And like stuff that resentment down, which no doubt would be there. So I feel like it’s benefiting my relationships, and, you know, just helping me live in my own skin a little bit better. And I’m also kind of like, How did I not know how to do this my entire life? Like, why why aren’t we teaching people this? Yeah. So

John 51:24
how do you see your relationship with plant medicines like going forward.

Nicole 51:33
So, like I said, I’m not a subtle person, I’m usually someone that needs to be hit over the head a bit. And so I was thinking about expanding into other plant medicines or other natural medicines. So something like San Pedro is appealing to me. Because I think it’s probably sort of the next step, the next deeper experience. And, you know, because I have health problems, I need to like, make sure that that’s something that my body can accept and can, can work with. But I do see myself at the minimum, continuing along the path with mushrooms to see what else I can learn. And, you know, again, like not trying to rush the experience, like I don’t have to take mushrooms every week, or every three days, or, you know, even microdose, or anything like that, to get the benefit, like, they happens like once every six months, or something like that, that’s what I need, then that’s great. You know, as long as I’m continuing to learn, I honestly don’t think I’ll ever go back to not having plant medicine in my life. It’s just something that has been so beneficial to me. And it’s helping me be a better person in my relationships, it’s helping me feel happier, and just more centered in myself. You know, when I was before I started the plant medicine, I just, I hated my job. And I just thought, I’m going to die from this job. It’s just sucking the life out of me. And now, like, not every day is great at my job. But at least I can say, you know, I don’t have to let this XY or Z bother me anymore. Or, you know, I don’t have to take this personally, I can just I can do the work that I used to find a lot of joy and I can continue to do this work. And maybe the joy will be there. But if it isn’t, I can do something else. Like I’m I’m not completely useless outside of my job identity, which was a big part of my identity prior to this. And now it’s starting to kind of regress into the background a little bit as I develop more things that I can kind of connect myself with.

Sinclair 53:54
I really like your description of yourself as a sea nymph cavorting on the Coast

Nicole 54:02
I do like to cavort!

Sinclair 54:04
Let’s talk a little bit just about the work because I think this is something that a lot of us struggle with. I’m like raising my own hands. Because work can become it does become, especially if you do something that you really care about, it can become part of your identity. And even if you even if you don’t, it’s so much time that we spend doing work. So what are some of the changes that have happened as far as like, maybe boundaries that you’ve put in place around how you’re doing your work now?

Nicole 54:34
Yeah, so my, the organization I work for is a 24/7 organization. And so that means a lot of shift work, but it also means being on call a lot and you know, I manage a group of people and they’re all really smart people and I’m so fortunate to have this group but you know, being the person that I am, I slipped into this habit of micromanage Seeing and that’s not really what I wanted to do, but it just kind of seemed to happen, it was part of this autopilot drift kind of thing, like, like I had always done it this way. So I’m just gonna continue to do these tasks this way, because I don’t want to give it to somebody else. And they won’t do it the same way that I would do it. So control freak, and that was making me crazy, I was on call 24/7 People would be emailing me calling me texting me all the time, nobody was making decisions for themselves on behalf of the organization, because I, they honestly probably felt afraid to, you know, make a decision, and it wouldn’t have been the decision that I made. And then they would quote unquote, get in trouble, you know, by the boss. And so that would be something that just kind of self perpetuating was getting to be. I was drowning in that. And then I started to put up some boundaries. So you know, I, I split the on call time now where I actually have to be on call with someone else. So I don’t do it 24/7 365 anymore. And then I, I, I actually took the notifications for my email off my phone completely nice. And I respond, yeah, I know. They can text me or they can call me if there’s something like, you know, the places burning down kind of thing, like, and they need, you know, me in particular. And also when they call, I tend to like not answer on the first call, don’t tell them that. And I give it like a half an hour, and then I call them back. And usually in that time period, they have figured something out on their own, that is perfectly acceptable, it’s a solution. And so like me developing the trust in my staff to like, actually let them do their job, maybe they wouldn’t do something the exact same way I would do it. But most of the time, they do pretty well. And I don’t need to worry that like they’re gonna burn the place down, they’re gonna stop the fire, it might not be, you know, something that I, I would love. But you know, I can fix it later if it needs to be fixed, or I can let it go. And so like really kind of enforcing those boundaries and just like not being so available. And if I have to make like another connection here, which I’m just making now in my head, like, also being too available in personal relationships can be harmful as well. And so like that is, you know, just something that I’ve had to learn all my life, like people have called on me to do a lot. And I’ve always responded and maybe sometimes it’s better to not respond to the call and let people figure it out themselves. Because people are usually pretty smart and resourceful if you let them be. I love that.

John 58:00
I only had one last question for you. I know for myself and St. Clair and pretty sure for you. There was a time where you were thinking about the plant medicine, you’re like, Oh, my God, would I really do all that? That sounds scary.

Nicole 58:16
Oh, yeah, absolutely.

John 58:19
If you sitting where you’re sitting now, and having had all the experience and integration and everything could talk to that part of you that was on the fence at that time, what would you say?

Nicole 58:32
I would say it’s fully okay to be scared. And if now’s not the right time, then it’s okay to wait. And if you never do it, that’s okay, too. But, you know, this experience has been one of the most transformational positive experiences in my entire life. And I really encourage you to be brave, and jump in just a little bit and see what it does for you.

Sinclair 59:01
I mean, that’s beautiful, and very good advice. And also, it’s beautiful to hold space for the fear and the uncertainty and all that because it is a lot of work.

Nicole 59:14
It’s big work, as it is a lot of work. And like

Sinclair 59:18
trying to tell people not to be afraid of it is ridiculous. It’s like there’s a lot of fear. It’s there’s like the fear of of staying the same, and the fear of completely transforming and they’re both equally heavy.

Nicole 59:30
So what do you leave behind if you transform you know, if I’m not who I am now, what will I be? That’s something that’s really hard to wrap your mind around. But in the end, I’m glad I was brave and took a little jump.

Sinclair 59:46
Nicole, is there anything else you would like to share with our listeners today before we wrap up?

Nicole 59:54
Oh, that’s a hard one. I’ve just sort of like thrown it all out there. already, I think I would say, be brave, listen to yourself be present. And I don’t think you can go wrong, the whole That’s great 100%

John 1:00:13
right on that one.

Sinclair 1:00:16
Well, thank you so much for your time today, it was so lovely as always to speak with you. And it’s been a real honor to get to participate and be a guide in this process with you. And I’m so grateful that you found us and that we met. And now we’re getting to have this like, really exciting conversation with you today. So no,

Nicole 1:00:38
thank thank you for having me. I’m just so excited to be here. And you know, I’m really excited to be on this, this journey. And thank you for helping me it’s really been an amazing, amazing ride. Thank you.

John 1:00:53
Thanks for the cherries and the honey, you have the best honey.

Nicole 1:00:59
You’re welcome to follow or just, I just can some some zucchini yesterday, so maybe that’ll be headed your way as well. We’ll see how it turns out.

Sinclair 1:01:12
So if you’re interested in learning more about working with us and our risin line program, you can visit our website at mystical heart collective.com. We also have a group version of this program called Rise and Align Family. This is where we’re doing the entire program together as a group and we’re taking you on a retreat in Ecuador in November. The program starts October 7th. So find out more book your free alignment call and get to know if this is a good fit for you at mysticalheartcollective.com

Sinclair 1:01:44
thanks see you next time. Peace




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