Life has you. Life wants you. Life is you. You can let go.

It is August 2017.
I am in a dark converted barn somewhere north of Toronto.
I know no one.
We are sitting in a circle.

One by one we approach the front of the room and a man pours us a personalized amount of a brown syrup into a shot-sized glass.
The man jokes with me about the color of my socks – they are blue and I am wearing all white.
The syrup tastes like what I imagine a rotting carcass to be.  It’s gritty and about as heavy as molasses.
I go back to my seat.  In about half an hour the chants begin.  And in about an hour I am vomiting ferociously into the yellow bucket I purchased and brought on instruction of the organizer.
I hadn’t eaten much that day yet still endless amount of decrepit substance came out of me. Purge after purge.
I see visual patterns that are typically psychedelic.  I see images of candy.
In the midst of it all deflation sets in.

This is Ayahuasca?

Another great life disappointment to add to the list.
This is ridiculous.
I had come looking for spiritual realization. Instead I vomited and saw tie dye.

I go home.  The next morning I wake up and I am alive.
Not just breathing.
I want to live like nobody’s business. I want to squeeze every last drop out of every moment. I want to jump and dance and swim and fuck. I want it all.
And right there in the head to toe shock of energy I recognized it – aliveness.  What had been missing for decades. And I hadn’t known it.

Upon that recognition I knew these medicines were our path.
I had been “working on myself” my whole adult life.  A childhood of in trauma that bred adult trauma.
I had been in therapy for years and had become a therapist. I meditated intensively. I read everything I could get my hands on.
My working on myself didn’t go much further than “get me out of pain”.

It was all about the externals – a relationship, money, work, home. I had been extremely successful in the financial markets. I had a relationship with someone I loved deeply. And yet I felt completely empty.
And though over time what I wanted in the areas of relationship, money, work and home changed, the fundamental fact of looking for satisfaction in them didn’t.
I didn’t have any concept of what life could feel like from the inside.

Until that ceremony.
And all I knew after that ceremony was that I wanted more.
For two years in ceremony after ceremony I purged, released and was ultimately reborn.
There wasn’t a ceremony in which I didn’t want to go home in the middle. It was hard hard work. I engaged in intensive healing work outside of the ceremonies through somatic therapy and deep healing of my sexuality in particular.

I began to dance like I had never danced.
I began to live.

Until one day the person on the planet who knows me best and has seen me at my very very worst said, “you’re not the same person. You’ve completely rewired yourself.”

Steve Jobs said LSD was one of the most important things he experienced in his life.
The ability to fully be who we are is the antithesis of how we are raised. And this is doubly true for women.
For thousands of years women have offered psychedelic medicine in sacred ceremony.
The fact that we are now afraid because of a war on drugs that is racist, unscientific and unjust is yet one more layer of the crack at the heart of our culture.


These days I work with psilocybin – the psychoactive ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. These mushrooms grow and are grown all over the world. They thrive and are not threatened. They are affordable and the momentum towards legalization is strong.
Although a small portion of journeyers with psilocybin experience nausea most experience profound shifts without the intensity of ayahuasca. Psilocybin is gentler and the journeys are shorter.

There are two main approaches to working with psilocybin – microdosing and macrodosing.
Microdosing involves taking a sub-perceptual dose twice a week for eight weeks.
Macrodosing involves taking a larger dose – this results in sensory immersion for a period of 2-4 hours and supervision/facilitation is required.

Both practices can results in life-changing shifts with the following elements:
An intention.
A clear container of where, when, how, etc.
Integration of the experience into daily life.

All three elements must be present.

I met ayahuasca with the intention of having a baby. (Intention)
I attended a ceremony with a trusted and experienced set of shamans. (Container)
When I experienced the aliveness of ayahuasca I did two things: I booked a trip to Peru to go deeper and I joined an intensive somatic therapy program.

I worked hard. I made difficult life-altering choices over and over again in support of my aliveness.
I felt a lot of feelings. I took risks. (Integration)

And now, though I do not mother living children, I birth change on the planet. And most importantly I understand that the outcomes are vastly less important than my relationship to them.

My life is fundamentally altered and while my healing deepens and continues I will never again be in the thralls of feeling cursed and desperate because now I understand that what I “have” in life is just not the point.

It’s taken a lot of emptiness, failure and loss to get here. And I am honored to support the healing offered by these mushroom teachers. If you had told me this a decade ago I would have laughed and made fun of people who do this work. That’s the unflattering truth.

Know this:
Life has you.
Life wants you.
Life is you.

You can let go.

Alison Crosthwait

Microdosing for self aware leaders to accelerate inner work.
Trained Therapist | Guide | Speaker