One month ago I got multiple calls and text messages from my mom stating a police officer was urgently trying to get ahold of me. Knowing my US number is no longer in service I assumed the officer first tried my personal number and then used an old emergency contact of my mom. Why was an officer trying to contact me? My mind instantly went to a concerning thought: one of my old clients had successfully ended their own life. During the past year I have worked with people who regularly had suicidal thoughts and sometimes plans. When hearing a police officer urgently needed to chat with me, my mind went straight to one of the worst case scenarios.
Fortunately the whole call was a scam for money and no authorities actually needed to talk to me. These scammers are getting absurd y’all!! The ‘Sargent’ was being passive agressive and thats when I ask for his badge number, and when he hung up on me. My mom called the local Durango police station, the station reported that this incident is actually an ongoing scam in Durango. I felt instant relief that I wasn’t about to hear about a person ending their own life. THANK GOD and this moment for me highlights how big of a concern mental health is within my work and society in general. According the the US national institute of mental health death by suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 10-34 years old in 2019. I have a-lot of hope and the sobering reality is suicide rates in the US are only rising. My plea is that we need integrate new strategies for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and the other plentiful mental health concerns.
My plea focuses on the world of mycology and how mushrooms can be one of the many answers to our worlds most pressing issues. As per the title of this blog, I do not think that magic mushrooms or psilocybin (active compound in magic mushrooms) are the only answer in our world rather an answer. An answer on a list of alternative modalities for people who want to try something different. I’m trying to write this blog in a way that is digestible to my friends and family back in the US & around the world. So, if you have questions or want to have more in depth conversations about this, I would love to chat more too 🙂 You can find me on whatsapp with my US phone number.
I’ve been working in the mental health field for around five years now. I’m still learning daily from podcasts, trainings, and the clients I work with. My perception of the mental health crisis is coming directly from people who I work with expressing their own lived experiences, my own experience with PMDD, research in grad school, internships and jobs now in this field. I want to acknowledge this lens that I am coming from as some of you reading this have different upbringings, religion, values and possible differing opinions about psychedelics.
I believe for us to have a healthier society we need distinct shifts in general from working 40 hours a week, being indoors so much, being disconnected from our emotions and bodies. These all contribute to why we have a mental health crisis happening and introducing psychedelics won’t fix all these systems that already surround us. Psychedelics are one path to altered states of consciousness, some other paths that I believe would lead to healing are through meditation, yoga, breath-work and ice baths. Each one of these practices takes a-lot of time, dedication, and discipline. It is a privilege for many people to have so much time and practice to get into a clearer head space and its hard to change patterns. In my perception mushrooms are a much more assessable way for people to connect to something bigger than themselves in a shorter period of time comparing it to the methods above.
How can people around the world feel more connected to community, nature, and themselves? My answer is mushrooms. Dosing with psilocybin in a therapeutic setting and with an empathises on intention setting before and integration work after. For me stepping into this field looks like starting my own psychedelic integration coaching business. Its call Jo’s Journey Work- currently in process of creating my website & starting off with a few coaching clients abroad! Staying tuned into Oregon and how I can start using psilocybin as a therapist around January 2023. I’m moving my things from Durango to Bend OR so I can be set if I want to move there in a year.
I believe much more research, training and advocacy needs to be put in place to make this track work for those around the world and be covered by insurance. This means concentrating on access, regulations of who have access to medicine, set, setting, intention and integration. Luckily MAPS (multidisciplinary association for psychedelic studies) is doing a-lot of trials in the US to work on advocacy and research.
Over the path month I’ve dove into mushroom culture by moving into an ‘intentional mushroom community’ called the Fungi Academy. I’ve taken a 6 day mushroom cultivation course and lived with 20 other people while sharing one hot shower, cooking communal meals and sang to a river almost daily. Yes one could call this a commune 🙂 Yesterday, the mushrooms I’ve been cultivating in a tub it my room got the third set or ‘flush’ to come in. I get to check in with them everyday and watch them grow. I can officially say I am in love with fungi, mycelium and mushrooms of all kinds ❤
I’ve been having a hard time writing this because I feel like its my manifestation to the world currently. Three years ago I was writing a senior thesis paper on psychedelic assisted therapy in grad school and now it feels like its time to take the next step into the psychedelic arena. People have their own reactions to the word ‘mushrooms’ whether that goes straight to food or to the world of magic mushrooms and psychedelics. I am talking about both and much much more– from helping the earth rejuvenate after all the poison we have put on it, to using fungi as medicine- to helping people zoom out of their life and feel more connected to the earth and nature. Here are a few suggestions of media to consume about how mushrooms can help all of us:
#2: Go on your netflix account and watch ‘fantastic fungi’; wonderfully made film about the world of mycelium, fungi and mushrooms
#3: This one is a bit more time consuming but read/ listen to on audio book Michael Pollan’s: How to change your mind. This goes over a major history of psychedelics and why they stopped research in the 70’s when the war on drugs started- also in depth therapeutic effects on the little research that has been done in the last decade.
While I’m nervous to start my own company & venture into the world of psychedelic journey integration there isn’t anything else I would want to be doing. Cheers to this new path and working with people on integration before and after a ceremony or journey. This feels like important work that is missing currently from the psychedelic journeys that are already happening every hour all around the world. Up top is my logo so far! Your reaction could also be wait whos Jo? If so, I’ve been going by Jo while traveling. This name feels like it fits more with myself currently, feels playful and easy to remember as I meet so many new people. Ally has been honoring my dad’s mom Alice for the past 28 years. Now I would like to honor my mom’s side lineage from her mom Josephie. My middle name is simply just Jo so it was an easy switch from my first name to my middle name. I’m not particular if you change what you call me, Ally or Jo, or Ally Jo 🙂 All the same, love you guys! I’ll be home for a few weeks soon going to Michigan, Colorado, Oregon and Florida!