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By Clinton Diong, U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran, 100% Disabled
A Marine’s Personal Odyssey
In the throes of post-service life, grappling with PTSD, depression and addiction, I found myself at a pivotal crossroads. Each day was a battle against shadows, a struggle to find a glimmer of light. Have you ever felt utterly lost, searching for something to anchor your drifting spirit and will? That was my reality. My journey into the world of sacred medicines and psychedelics began not out of curiosity, but out of sheer desperation when I was 33 and lost my family as well as everything I owned – a quest for anything that could offer relief from the relentless Hell-storm inside.
Sacred Medicines vs. Psychedelics – Two Sides of the Same Coin
In my early forays with psychedelics, I saw them as an escape hatch, a temporary respite from my demons. Nights blurred into mornings as I continued to drown in alcohol, seeking solace in the chaos of bars and the company of those who neither challenged nor inspired me. The psychedelics whispered truths I wasn’t ready to hear. Have you ever ignored a profound truth because it was too uncomfortable to face? It was a path of denial, not healing. The true distinction between sacred medicines and casual psychedelics emerged slowly for me. Sacred Medicines are about respect, intent, and willingness to embrace change. When I say Sacred, I am not referring to any specific religions or traditions, I am referring to it in the sense as a personalized guide to incorporate it into your life in a way that will help elevate you and help you possibly grow better. I have found through trial and error that Psychedelics become sacred when used not as a means of escape, but as tools for deep introspection and transformation. How often do we misuse powerful tools, missing the opportunity for true growth and healing?
Mind: Beyond Conventional Therapy
I treaded the waters of conventional therapy, but it was like putting band-aids on deep, unseen wounds. When psychedelics first entered my life at the age of 33, I hoped they would be a miracle cure. But instead of offering an escape, they held up a mirror to my soul. They forced me to confront the roots of my trauma, not just its symptoms. Can you recall a time when facing a painful truth led to genuine healing? Psychedelics, when respected and approached as sacred medicines, offered a path to confront and recontextualize my past, leading to profound mental and emotional liberation.
Body: The Symbiosis of Wellness
I learned the hard way that healing is not a one-dimensional journey. My mental scars were deep, but so were the physical ones. Neglecting my body was like trying to run a marathon with a broken leg. The shift came gradually – replacing a drink with a healthy meal, a night out with a morning jog. Each step, each healthier choice, was a victory, a reclaiming of my physical strength and mental clarity. When did you last consider the interplay between your physical health and mental well-being? True healing requires a holistic approach – nurturing the body to create a strong foundation for the mind and spirit to flourish.
Soul: The Path to Inner Harmony
Rediscovering inner harmony meant realigning my life with my deepest values, a challenge for any veteran re-entering civilian life. Sacred medicines became a bridge, guiding me towards a lifestyle that reflected my true self. It was about more than just surviving; it was about thriving, about finding peace and purpose beyond the battlefield. How often do you examine your life to ensure it aligns with your true values? This journey with sacred medicines is about that alignment – it’s about living authentically and wholeheartedly.
Psychedelics: Cautionary Tales and Wisdom
My journey with psychedelics began without guidance, leading me down a path of misuse and misunderstanding. These substances are potent, and their power can easily be underestimated. The line between use and misuse is fine yet crucial. Respect, education, and informed guidance are essential in navigating their potential for healing or harm. How often do we step into powerful experiences without fully understanding their impact or respecting their potential?
The Therapeutic Beauty of Psychedelics
Once I began to approach psychedelics with the respect and intent they deserved, my world transformed. Simple pleasures became profound experiences. A sunset was no longer just a sunset; it was a symphony of colors, a reminder of life’s beauty and impermanence. Music wasn’t just sound; it was an emotional journey. When was the last time you allowed yourself to fully immerse in and appreciate the beauty of a simple moment? Psychedelics, when used with reverence, can magnify the beauty in the everyday, turning ordinary experiences into sources of joy and wonder.
Proper Training for Harm Reduction
Embarking on this path without proper knowledge was like navigating a treacherous sea without a compass. The importance of education, understanding the nuances of each substance, and learning from the experiences of others cannot be overstated. How prepared are you to embark on such a transformative journey with the right tools and knowledge? This journey demands respect and understanding, not just of the substances themselves but of our own minds and hearts.
My initial journey was fraught with errors and misconceptions. However, it taught me the value of tailored education. Every individual’s experience with sacred medicines is unique, and understanding the interplay between these substances and one’s personal psychology is critical. How much more empowering would your journey be if it began with a wealth of tailored knowledge and insights?
Setting intentions for my psychedelic journeys transformed aimless wanderings into purposeful explorations. It’s about crafting a mental framework, a guide for the journey ahead. Have you experienced the transformative power of setting clear, positive intentions? Mindful preparation ensures that the journey with psychedelics is not just a fleeting experience but a meaningful exploration of the self.
Respecting the Medicine
Developing a deep respect for these substances involved delving into their rich history and cultural significance. They are not just compounds to be consumed; they are carriers of ancient wisdom and healing traditions. How often do we acknowledge and honor the deeper story and sacredness of what we use for healing?
A Veteran’s Perspective: From the Battlefield to Inner Peace
Transitioning from external warfare to internal peace was a journey of redefining strength and resilience. It required facing inner demons, embracing vulnerability, and transforming pain into growth and understanding. When was the last time you confronted your deepest fears and vulnerabilities with courage and openness?
The Unified Power of Sacred Medicines and Psychedelics
Approached with reverence, informed guidance, and clear intent, these substances can be profound tools for healing and self-discovery. They are more than mere substances; they are gateways to deeper understanding and profound personal transformation. Have you considered the immense potential that lies in changing your approach to these powerful tools?
This journey has been a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and its capacity for profound growth and healing. It’s a continuous evolution, an ongoing exploration of the self. How often do we recognize that our most challenging experiences can lead to our most significant growth? My exploration with sacred medicines has been more than a journey of healing; it’s been a reawakening to life’s possibilities.
Helping bring the mental health tragedies down to zero.
Drawing from my personal journey, I’ve dedicated myself to supporting active-duty military, veterans, first responders, and their families in finding effective treatments. This led me to establish “MorningStar Myco,” a premium mycology company focused on home cultivation of high-quality sacred medicines. Furthering this mission, I’m developing “The Fruit of Knowledge,” a comprehensive resource for information on Entheogens, psychedelics, harm reduction, and related treatment options. This initiative aims to not just aid healing in the armed forces, Veterans, First Responders, and the greater community but also potentially save lives, bridging the gap between essential knowledge and accessible care.