I DRANK A THIMBLE FULL OF FIRE, and I’m never going back.
Occasionally life or a unique experience will shake all of your foundations. Years ago, I was battling chronic pain and sorting through the rubble of my previous athletic career. Surgery after surgery and injury after injury had essentially left me severely disabled. I traveled with a cane or a crutch and wasn’t capable of walking more than about 400 meters a day before having to shut down standing.
This was the most trapped I have ever felt in life. After 8 surgeries on my right knee, I had submitted to the idea that this was the new normal. I had no idea how I was going to survive like this. Much of my ability, confidence, identity, and happiness was tied to my physical abilities. Without being able to do, go, compete, train, or exhaust my constantly hyperactive mind, I was completely lost in who I was or where I was headed with my life.
This fear was real and was a rock bottom for me. I could see a very clear and realistic path ahead of me. It wasn’t going to be the life I dreamed about. I guess part of me had believed that when I was done competing and traveling, it would be time to settle down and fit in better with the standard life approach: find a job, get comfortable, and occasionally get a break from the monotony to take a short vacation once a year (most likely to the same place with the same people).
This terrified me way more than never competing again. I started to experiment on anything I could do to change how I felt about pain and my life. If I could find something that sparked a small change in the direction I wanted, I knew I could do the consistent work to make the change needed in me. I didn’t know how this would go, but I was open to trying anything.
I began dabbling in plant medicine. First with cannabis to alleviate chronic pain, which it did and has done an excellent job of. More than that, it changed how I think. It changed my perspective. It allowed for more creative thinking. It gave me a new lens to see everything through.
From there, I found mushrooms (psilocybin) and started experimenting with this tool. If I think back to what I knew about psychedelics before experiencing them, I was always curious. There was going to be a very slim chance I was going to get out of this life without “needing” to know what’s on the other side of this looking glass.
My first experience was with a group of friends in my backyard. I found myself free of anxiety and pain for the first time in three years. I found empathy for everyone around me. This perspective shift not only helped while I was using, but it stuck with me for a few weeks. I had been changed. Seeing things from a brand new perspective removed the fog of fear and pain.
This opened me up to wanting to know more and has led to many more sessions over the last 5 years of my life. This included daily micro-dosing for the last couple years (0.15 grams daily). I have found that this works the best for me when coupled with a larger, more intentional session about once a month. This is a bigger session I treat as therapy (3.5 grams regularly and up to my biggest of 11 grams). I have found that this allows me great ability to effectively and efficiently process challenging experiences. It was essentially to recalibrate my compass toward my overall life intentions. This allows me to think of concepts critically and figure out how to take steps to integrate more abundance and gratitude into my life.
I digress. I’m not sure I can think of a bigger light bulb moment in my life than that first experience. This is what has led to my personal philosophy of living with radical accountability and responsibility for all the good and bad in my life.
The pain I was in was from the decisions I made. I chose to compete to become the best in the world. This is not a safe and healthy pursuit. If you are interested in finding out the edges of your ability, you’re going to overshoot sometimes and fail …comes with the territory. This allowed me to shift into the perspective that going forward, it is all on me. Happy or depressed, in shape or not, around people that inspire me or not, it was all on me to manage.
This rebirth was something I realized and knew I had to lean more into. This was for sure the tool for me that opened my eyes to all the actual possibilities in front of me. I understood and owned that nothing is impossible and I can do anything.
Just like becoming the best in the world at Highland games, I set out in life with the same fire. Decide the goal, then figure out what skills needed to be acquired to accomplish it. For sports, I had traveled and built relationships with strength coaches around the country that shaped my training and athletic career. I thought, what if instead of athletics, I sought out teachers who handle other sides of the battle?
5 years later, my life resembles nothing like it did previously. All the things that brought me the most joy from competing, I was able to boil down and still chase. Progress, consistent effort required, information to be learned and understood, and a willingness to be very uncomfortable in this pursuit turned me on again. I want to master my mind, my machine, and my voice to the best of my ability.
Change can be brought about by an infinite amount of catalyst. This catalyst is nothing more than a spark of motivation or inspiration. Both of these tools are temporary unless action is put into place.
For me, I knew I would never be going back. I could never pretend that I wasn’t in control anymore. I know I’m the only person in control of my life today and my future. I love the opportunity to figure it all out.
The point of all this isn’t to push you in any direction. Personally, I think everyone (let me repeat EVERYONE!) would benefit from some more awareness of their own bullshit and a willingness to look at it in a nonjudgmental way. When you get hit in the mouth by an obvious invitation to change, buy the ticket and take the ride.
It’s your life. Build what you dream about with all that your soul can manage. Time is ticking. Will you take on your dream, or continue to wait for permission to do so?
The only person keeping the gate locked is YOU.