#8 Accountability Partners | Ian McCall & Irena Marin

October 6, 2020

Share this:

Ian details how he got interested in martial arts, his experience growing up, and how he found success as an MMA fighter. (2:00)

Ian discusses how he used diet and exercise to help heal his young daughter’s rheumatoid arthritis – along with cannabis oil to control her symptoms. After witnessing her progress, Ian realized how psychedelic substance could help him heal himself. (2:40)

Irena discusses her upbringing in the former Yugoslavia – and recalls her grandmother – who would harvest and use mushrooms for their healing properties. (7:45)

While studying psychology Irena began to have childhood trauma flashbacks and discovered the depth of PTSD, trauma and sexual trauma she was carrying. (9:40)

Irena began to look for answers and found the power of psychedelics to help heal – which changed her view on traditional psychology. (12:40)

Irena realized that the root of her trauma could not be denied: her sexual trauma had pushed her into sexually compulsive behavior – which limited her ability to authentically engage emotionally with relationships. (14:40)

Ian discusses ‘The McCall Method’ (19:20)

The implications of trying to perform and what it means to be the first ‘psychedelic integration coach for high performance athletes’. (28:50)

Ian discuss the importance of positive male figures in his life, including various coaches, and his father. (31:50)

As parents, learning to ‘be here now’ through psychedelics is an example of a simple lesson that can be used for integration. (34:00)


Irena: [00:00:00] It did absolutely make me connect with the root of the trauma, it created such a truth in front of me that could no longer be denied. [00:00:10][10.7]

Ian: [00:00:11] I accumulated a lot of damage and I knew that I had to have healing from that, not just your average person where you have to do this more psychological healing or self healing. This was, I had brain damage and I was on suicide watch and it wasn’t a good place. [00:00:25][13.6]

Ronan: [00:00:31] This is Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I’m your host Ronan Levy, Ian McCall and Irena Marin are fighting trauma with psychedelic therapy. After experiencing violence from a young age. Both have managed to find self healing, and today they’re sharing their expertize with the world around them. Ian McCall is a retired MMA fighter who considers himself the first psychedelic integration coach for high level athletes and performers. After years of addiction to painkillers and discovered psilocybin as an alternative medicine to heal trauma. Since then, he has been championing the use of psychedelics as a way to heal trauma and enhance performance. He is currently working with UFC fighters as part of a study with UCLA to enhance the lives of professional athletes. Irena Marin had her own path to psychedelics. As a child, she experienced war and sexual assault firsthand. After immigrating to Canada and eventually the US, she completed her education. And today she is an instructor at UCLA and uses her experiences with psychedelics to help heal trauma incurred during childhood through the South Orange County Psychedelic Integration Circle. Together, Ian and Irena use psychedelics to accelerate healing from trauma and enhance athletic performance. [00:01:56][85.6]

Ronan: [00:02:04] Before we hop into it, given that I don’t know a ton about either of you, I would love to hear your individual stories. I heard and read in that you grew up as a fighter and kind of evolved into a professional fighter. And now on to a much different, maybe more evolved career is one way to potentially describe it. [00:02:22][18.2]

Ian: [00:02:22] I was born and raised here in Orange County. I don’t come from a place where you’d think would breed fighters. But I excelled at this because I was a prodigy sort of kid in that sort of thing. I had a penchant for violence and and martial arts at its essence. I broke away from that and became a little crazy for more than a little crazy for most of my life. But I excelled. I obsessed over it. From four years old to thirty four, I had an amazing career where I accomplished a lot of things, I became a world champion. Through there I put myself through a lot of trauma, whether it’s friends dying. I mean, in my best friend dying in my arms to drug addiction from 14 to thirty four. There was a lot of craziness going on. But the one time I became sober in that whole time, I became the best in the world at my craft. Having all that happen, I really was able to pull back and realize through psychedelics, through DMT specifically, it said, hey, the party’s over, it’s time to evolve. And I couldn’t break my addiction until I really understood how psilocybin works on that behalf. And I started to look at the biohacking. I have a daughter that is like everything I raised for myself for the first five years of her life while I was at the top of my career. And she had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. That I strongly believe is because her mother and I, she was gone. But I wasn’t any better. I was addicted. I was crazy. I was going through all these parts of my life. And I feel that the stress we put her under manifested as this disease and I healed her through diet and exercise was the first two things. So I started to put plans into this was six years ago, right around the time Sanjay Gupta came out with that thing. And people in my life at the time turned to me and was like why isn’t this little girl on this medicine. And I was like, oh, she already is. Cannabis was the main thing that I come from a father who was part of that world for a long time. I understood the power of it. And once I realized, hey, I fixed that little one, my pride and joy fixed her. It’s time to fix myself. And I went on a journey to fix myself through breath work, meditation, health, wellness. Diet and exercise have always been a thing of my life, but I started to add in these other modalities and start to add in psychedelics and peptides and whatnot and stem cells, all kinds of stuff to get through the addiction, psilocybin helped me do that and I went through micro dosing protocol for about two years straight. I had brain damage. I died of a drug overdose and put myself in a coma snowboarding, being just a crazy person. I was going big with everything and I accumulated a lot of damage. And I knew that I had to have healing from that, not just your average person where we have to do this more psychological healing or self healing. This was I had brain damage and I was on suicide watch and it wasn’t a good place. I’m so grateful I’m finally out of that spot and I can look back and go, everyone, you guys saw the fact that I wasn’t just great, I wasn’t just good as an athlete. I touched elite level. I beat the best people in the world. And I also fell from grace. So I look at people go, hey, if I can do it, anyone else can. [00:05:19][176.8]

Ronan: [00:05:21] There’s so much in there that I’d like to go into, but starting from the very beginning, you said you had a proclivity towards violence, even from a young age. Where do you think that came from? And certainly it seems like psychedelics could be a powerful tool helping you understand and unpack. Presumably that came from some level of trauma, whether childhood trauma or past life trauma that you carried through in your genetics and all that kind of stuff. So curious to know if you understand where that came from. [00:05:49][27.7]

Ian: [00:05:49] I’m still deep in my healing. It’s something I’m trying to figure out because I like to think my childhood was perfect. You know, growing up with a wealthy family on the beach in Orange County. It wasn’t. But my parents broke the cycle. I got kicked out of like five private schools in the area for fighting. I was tiny. People would say something. I beat them up. I felt validation in that. Now I like to think that since my parents did stop the cycle of trauma against their children, it comes from the collective trauma of what happened to them or previous generations. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is. I have a good idea, but it’s still something that I’m trying to figure out what brought out this warrior in me and that’s gone now. I don’t ever want to fight again. I’m going to hurt anyone that hurt me or myself. But I work with these athletes that they are fighter for a reason. They’ve been through something and they’re climbing into a cage to give and receive PTSD because you’re climbing in there and wearing your underwear and you’re fighting someone for blood money in front of everybody. And it’s this crazy, energetic thing that happens. And we’re not really taking into consideration that it’s burying this trauma more deep. I mean, we have to bludgeon this person half to death to win and to hug each other after and be OK with and then brag about it and talk about it, boast of it, feel so good about it. But it’s a crazy place. And I also have to keep these savages savages because they have to perform on this level. This is why they’re there. [00:07:06][76.4]

Ian: [00:07:07] It’s amazing to be witness even from a distance of watching your evolution. It sounds like you were very conscious about a lot of the things that were happening along the way, even if you weren’t necessarily understanding them. But seeing that evolution and the kind of arc of your story going from literally the most savage, I think is the word you used in terms of your fighting career to highly evolved and reflective. I’d love to ask you Irena to hear your story. It sounds like you’ve had your own crazy experience growing up in a war torn country and would love to hear your journey to get to this point as well. [00:07:40][33.8]

Irena: [00:07:41] You mentioned the notion of past lives and such. I don’t even have to look that far. I just have to look at it one generation back. I am literally the first generation of women people in my family that didn’t end up in the actual combat. I left the country as the country slipped into civil war and that was former Yugoslavia. But up until that point, it was a relatively happy childhood. So I did grow up feeling very free, unlike a lot of other countries around us. And I was able to explore a lot of things in my childhood music, including some of the psychedelics that were available at that time in that region. And I also watched my great grandmother, who was a healer and a shaman who was illiterate. Yet she was perfectly capable of picking any plant around and using it on people for healing properties. And it was magical watching these people go in with all sorts of disturbances and just watch her do her magic. And she did use a lot of mushrooms, by the way. She would send my great grandpa to the mountains who would come back with a giant sack of mushrooms. And we didn’t know as children what was what she would had us sort things out, things that would be used for animals, things that would be used for healing for people and for nutrition. So I was introduced to that world from a very young age. I started studying agricultural sciences. I was one of those crazy multitasking people. You know, as I said, it’s been a very happy childhood up to a certain point when that entire illusion of unity was just shattered. My sense of belonging to a place was shattered. I had to leave the country, immigrate to Canada, where I spent a beautiful decade nurturing my academic career, work career, had four children and ended up living this very fast, compartmentalized life. When I had to fill out these specific roles, had to be the mother and the wife and the academic and the business woman, and really run so many things in my life. And I did not use psychedelics for a big period of time, especially after moving to the United States and being in this new country where I had to prove myself, ended up teaching at UCLA, transitioning from the agricultural sciences to cosmetic sciences, and ended up teaching cosmetic sciences for a number of years, working in research and development, and then slowly realizing that I was starting to have a lot of flashbacks from my early years, a lot of flashbacks from traumatic years having to repeat the trauma. I grew up in the city where one of the major Nazi atrocities was committed in 1940s. Where a massive amount of children and adults were shot over the period of seven days and we as children had to go reenact that literally every year when we were in the elementary school, we were taken to the killing fields, almost made to feel what it was like to be walked out of the school in the middle of the class and taken to the killing fields. It was just a part of my life. [00:10:44][183.3]

Ronan: [00:10:45] Isn’t that so interesting, though, like we force children in that instance? And I could probably think of other instances like relive traumas, impose those traumas on kids as a defense mechanism. I understand the logic of it. Never forget all of these kind of things, but never forget is very different from making people experience the trauma. [00:11:05][20.5]

Irena: [00:11:06] So that was me, a frozen one, blocking out all of the feelings, focusing on that persona that had to be out there. And as I said, around twenty, fifteen, twenty sixteen that started to crumble as I started to realize the depth of PTSD, depression, trauma, sexual trauma, all of that that I carried inside. And I went deep into yoga and meditation at that time. That was my gateway to reconnecting with the psychedelic experience. I started to experience intense moments which are described by the scientific community like anything from Kundalini rising to the Enlightenment to the psycho spiritual awakening. And since that moment, I have gone on a mad quest to take any course that there was at the time on micro dosing to mycology, to psychodelic integration, to truly try to understand what is going on with the mind, even without psychedelics in the body. And then that has led me onto the path of actually using psilocybin and ayahuasca and other psychedelics to heal. I have had a very traumatic experience with ayahuasca that had opened up the floodgates of the sexual trauma. I have had consequences from that experience due to elaboration to the point where I did have to seek psychiatric help and really reevaluate how much of the traditional psychiatric help, cognitive behavioral therapy, MDR that’s recommended is actually helpful to a person without integration. [00:12:40][93.5]

Ronan: [00:12:40] If I can ask. And obviously you don’t have to provide specific details, but in the ayahuasca trip that you referenced, there is a general belief, and I think it’s true that there’s no such thing as a bad trip per say that there are only hard trips and easy trips and our trip can become a bad trip and create its own trauma, if not properly integrated. But outside of, I’m guessing, probably experiencing a lot of the sexual traumas in that trip. What else came through that experience that may have empowered you to go on the journey that you went on? [00:13:16][36.4]

Irena: [00:13:17] Those are really important questions. The experience itself, I guess being the type of person that I am, I have done complete research on everything and anything that can possibly happen before going into understanding what happens to the brain. I thought I’ve done all the research. I was so ready. [00:13:34][17.4]

Ronan: [00:13:35] You’re never ready for that? No way. Life always throws that curveball at you, right? [00:13:39][3.7]

Irena: [00:13:39] Absolutely. Absolutely. So the biggest negative, if there is a negative about it, I think it was really the way it was facilitated, the environment. And again, I hate to be negative about it, but I think we’ve all heard about inappropriate moments that can take you away from the full benefit of the experience. And I didn’t feel that facilitators who were there and the environment that was there was really conducive to that safety. That is super important for the experience. I didn’t feel that there was a guidance. But again, at that point, that was my analytical brain going through the list of what’s not right here. I’m not getting the information. I’m not getting the support. So it was that part that I deemed as a really negative lack of experience, lack of attention. It was a very tumultuous experience. It did absolutely make me connect with the root of the trauma. It created such truth in front of me that could no longer be denied. And I can give you a specific example to that related to the sexual trauma, since it has become a part of my past. At that point, I was dealing with a very specific issue of realizing that my sexual trauma has pushed me into sexually compulsive behavior, and it was even putting me in the dangerous situations to the point where I could not have a relationship. So I was separated at that point from my ex-husband and I could not engage in relationships. And yet the physical part of the sexual compulsion was there. And this is something that very few people even talk about it, how prevalent sexual addiction is. Among people of all ages these days, that’s made available with the Internet and the apps and especially female sex addiction. It’s a complete taboo and it’s a complete shameful issue. Yet my thing was to create those opportunities for sexual experiences only that did not involve any emotional involvement whatsoever. And I knew that was eating deep down on me. I could not understand why and how there was that disconnect. Going through the ayahuasca experience was the most revealing, was the most direct way of literally cutting off those patterns that are no longer serve you. [00:15:59][139.9]

Ronan: [00:15:59] There’s so many really interesting things. And what you said, one of those things that I think it’s important, it’s part of the rationale for this podcast, which is someone can tell you the same thing over and over and over again. And going back to what you touched on the very beginning, which is just a slight tweak of nuance, just a slight week of word, just a slight tweak of intonation can actually make it land an entirely different way. So even though you described it as a textbook example of a sexual trauma survivor becoming a sex addict or had sexual compulsions or anything along those lines, it’s like logically someone could tell that to you and you’d be like, yeah, it makes sense. But until it hits at an emotional resonance, it’s just in your head. Right. But then when you have that experience through ayahuasca, it can happen through meditation or whatever, and you see it for the full color of what it is and the full texture of it. And you’re like, oh, now I understand on like a true level. It’s it’s amazing how that happens. I know that happens in my life where, like, I have the same conversation with Irwin, for example, and he says the same thing, but like every once in a while just learns differently and everything shifts. [00:17:05][65.2]

Irena: [00:17:05] It’s interesting, the timing of it all. Around a month after that experience, I ended up meeting Ian. And we can talk a little bit more about that commonality of having had that element in our lives and meeting at that point of our lives and realizing that we can be each other’s accountability partners through this process of recognizing that we both shared that part of addictive behavior. It may come from a different place, but we do share it. [00:17:35][29.5]

Ronan: [00:17:35] And one of the things that you talk about as well kind of touches on a theme that’s coming up a lot. Some people talk about in the #Metoo movement is this idea of women as sex objects and men as performance objects. And in many ways, the two of you embody this perfect example of like women are taught to value themselves based on sex. Right. That’s what they’re for. And men are taught to value themselves based on performance and how much that gets baked into our psyches. To me, that’s kind of like the definition of chauvinism. It’s not about male and female persay, but more than masculine and feminine and the distortion of the tube and how psychedelics, at least for me and probably for more men, at least in my experience, helps men tune into the more feminine and integrate the masculine and feminine. And I’d be curious to see if you had that experience as well, of just tapping into a different energy and moving past this notion of women as sex objects as part of this experience. It certainly sounds like you have. [00:18:33][57.7]

Irena: [00:18:33] Completely agree with that. And that has been such a big topic of conversation between Ian and myself throughout this process of that sexual energy and masculine and feminine that how we’ve been both preconditioned and taught to believe to act and how much trauma that has created in our lives and being able to connect and being able to go deep with the heart connection not just through psychedelics, but this entire process of learning about each other’s sexuality and how that has acted out in our lives. It has also created a lot of moments of just looking at yourself, of how you are acting around others. [00:19:14][40.7]

Ronan: [00:19:15] Ian you mentioned the McCall method, I think you called it. A) curious to know what it is. Share is in depth as you’d like and, B) how did you come up with it, besides seemingly your own experience and path towards the point in life where you are right now? [00:19:30][14.9]

Ian: [00:19:31] Well, the McCall method is we made the website and then Irena goes, OK, that’s cool. But what is the McCall method? I was like, Oh, you got me OK, let’s figure this out. It is my take on whether you’re dealing with a couples therapy or you’re dealing with parental integration with psychedelics or performance. It all starts with helping you fix yourself as a person. It’s being able to fine tune the mental aspect of it. I don’t need you to stimulate your heart with caffeine to work out whatever I need to stimulate your brain and to teach people a good micro dosing protocol when it comes to performance. But it’s all with diet. Diet is a huge part of it. Medicinal mushrooms, culinary mushrooms with polysaccharides and beta glucins for the Corona stuff, for building your immune system, your your antiviral properties, to being able to biohack yourself with a simple smile and telling your loved ones, I love you, good morning, how are you beautiful? That’s a simple thing. We’ll give a chemical response to you the rest of your day and then you go from there into the performance, into the mindset, walking them through the fight itself from the walk to the locker room to the cage. What happens in that time? How you prepare and into the actual fight itself, being able to be in that flow that people say flow state, that’s a pretty broad term. And mind you, the UFC knows what I’m doing. They love what I’m doing. Jeff Novitzky, the head guy with UFC Drug Testing USADA, will call me and say hey you should be here this week and to talk to these fighters. And like, this is so cool. Under USADA drug testing. Psilocybin is not tested for and they’re OK with it because they know the benefits of it, whether it’s healing or protective. And then you get into that flow state, like I mentioned, where you have a heightened sense in every aspect. You know, every single sense is is heightened. If you read someone if you read an opponent in this matter, you can see someone’s posture, that you can hear their breath or you can see the micro aggressions in their body. Everything that’s going on, you hear their coaches better. I just help them figure out what’s best for them. You know, they’re going to do this anyways. Fighters are already doing it, athletes are already doing it, and no one talks about it. But I found out they’re doing it the wrong way. They’re not taking full advantage of it. [00:21:30][119.2]

Ronan: [00:21:30] I find many of the most successful people I know are driven by a deeper level of shame than most people I know. And that shame is what drives them so hard to succeed, because that success, at least the consensus reality that exists right now, is being sold as if you make the money. If you get the cars, you get the women, your life will be great and it’ll fill all the voids. And inevitably, they work really hard. They get there and the expression of be careful what you wish for because you just might get it till it becomes a reality, because they’re like, oh, I did all this work. I worked my ass off, you know, I sacrificed so much to get here. Now I got here and I’m still just as miserable as I was before. I’m still motivated by the same degree of fear and anxiety and all that kind of stuff. And so do you ever find that with the people you work with within the McCall method after going through this, they kind of get to the place being like, why am I putting myself in a ring about to get my head punched in for other people’s entertainment, literally for other people’s blood lust. One of the reasons for doing it all along, we’re trying to fill a hole in my heart that doing that kind of work and the fame and the notoriety and the money would never satisfy. Do you have people are like, yeah, no I’m done. You’ve opened my eyes to the idiocy of that equation I guess for lack of a better term. [00:22:46][75.1]

Ian: [00:22:46] This is a slippery slope where I tell people I need you to be a martial artist. That’s the key. We can achieve these things. And sure, we can make some money. We can make whatever crazy amount of money they’re now offering for fighters. We can achieve these things, but we can be a good person about it. We can be respectful. You want to play a little mind game with your opponent? That’s fine. Don’t cross the line. Play within the entertaining space, but understand that this is martial arts. We don’t have to say that stuff. You’re going to do this anyway because this is what you want to do. You’re here. But to keep them as savage is a big part of it. But you can still be a savage and not be tortured like I was. And that’s what I’m trying to teach because I don’t want them to not do this anymore because I love it. I love martial arts. I love that violence. I do because it’s beautiful to me. To me, it was art. And if these people choose this as a path, then they know what they’re getting themselves into. And I just want to make it safer for them because it’s not a safe sport. And again, I’m still formulating what really is the McCall method. How does this all work? Because I’m the first of my kind and I’m not going to life, it’s kind of lonely because I look at my friends who want to help me, I’m like, you got any ideas? And they’re like I’m learning from you. And I’m like, OK hold on, I’ll get back to you. Give me a few months. [00:23:59][72.9]

Ronan: [00:24:00] I mean, that’s all any of us should ever be doing. Like there’s an expression. Some people say there’s an end to certain things in life, death and taxes. But the truth is, is the only certain thing in life is growth. Right? Like we either choose it or it gets thrust upon us. But either way, it’s coming. And so we’re all on that journey. One thing you said that was interesting and I’m still trying to digest it because I can’t wrap my head around it and I’d really be interested and both your responses. But you said violence is beautiful. Now, for me, beauty is a transformative energy. And most people think that sounds a little too hippie dippy. And I’ll give a little bit of an example. But like, when you see something truly beautiful, like experience beauty in its truest sense, whether it’s like a rainbow that touches you like beauty isn’t about esthetics necessarily. It’s an energy. Right. You feel beauty, you understand it. Everyone understands it. Most people can’t stand in that for very long, like it’s too intense for most people and it’s transformative. Like once you’ve experienced that level of beauty, whether it’s art or in a moment or whatever it is, you can’t go back. You’re never the same person. It’s transformative in that respect and I’m trying to wrap my head around violence, which is certainly transformative as well as a form of beauty. And it’s something that I’m having trouble processing, to be quite honest. I think there’s something there like violence and beauty stand very close to each other. Right? They talk about like love and hate aren’t the opposite ends of the spectrum. They’re actually very close to each other on a loop because of the intensity of the emotion. Which keeps them close, but it’s very easy to cross over from love and to hate because they’re so intense, but they’re not opposites. [00:25:25][85.5]

Ian: [00:25:26] So it is human movement for a human movement is to see these individuals at the highest level of performance and to see them in these flow states and to be there to feel that is incredible. I wish I could have microdosed when I fought. They hadn’t figured it out yet. But to see the energetic output of these two individuals in front of everybody and no one doing it for a passion because it’s ingrained in their DNA, in their epigenetic it’s built into them to do this and they want to do it. It’s not like people try to kill each other or anything that no one wants. So these are people who signed up for this. So we have to look at it from that responsibility. It is art. It’s like ballet. There’s so much involved. There’s so many intricate as Joe Rogan says it’s the highest level of human problem-solving with dire fiscal consequences. I mean, you can’t die in that. We haven’t seen anyone die in the UFC yet, but you’re willing to put that much on the line for everyone’s amusement. But realistically, it’s not for their amusement. It’s for you, it’s your drive. It’s this drive that you have inside you to be the best at the hardest thing. [00:26:33][67.0]

Irena: [00:26:34] You know when you question the violence is a beautiful concept and you couldn’t quite wrap your head around it. I could completely relate to that because for years coming where I came from, I traditionally would relate violence to the war atrocities to that type of trauma and what could be beautiful in watching in a bunch of people and hands and adults hold hands before being shot and thrown into mass graves and meeting Ian and also going through my own healing path in the psychedelic space, I think my own view of what violence is and that whole dark and shadowy part of humanity that became just a little bit more real and became more capable of seeing what he’s seeing. And I think that’s really more of that intensity that you were talking about, having that intensity and having to deal with the athletes and being around them first the sounds like you said, watching the UFC fights from a very close place versus before watching them from home on on the screen has also changed something in me being able to hear those sounds and really experience that intensity. I could understand where that beauty lies in. And often I would wake up in the morning and see him watch these videos of animals brutally just ripping each other apart and watching those types of scenes. And I started analyzing some of those tendencies. And I’m thinking again why somebody like him, that savage brain needs to see those types of scenes. So that’s one side of it. But again, going back to working with athletes and their traumas and helping them go through the integration, preparation and post journey integration as well, I realize just how much I relate to that, how much I personally identify with that type of existence. Always having been very strong, all of us having to project that strong image and having to perform at the top of my physical and mental abilities, even though I wasn’t fighting in the ring. But I was standing in front of hundreds of people delivering scientific information or being on television, having to look perfect and really perform. It made me realize just how much those athletes go between that sympathetic parasympathetic face and how much they go between super performance and then shut down and nothing in between. And realizing that, again, what Ian is doing again, this title of being the first psychedelic integration coach for high performance athletes, I really viewed that as something that is incredibly exceptional in this space. Just being able to say that title, like you said, these things are important and this is a new field and we are all creating some of these new designations in the field that were not there before. So we are recognizing all we’re doing is recognizing the need for something that has been there and is increasing. [00:29:14][159.9]

Ronan: [00:29:19] It’s been said that the following things can enlarge the soul: laughter, danger, imagination, meditation, wild nature, passion, compassion, psychedelics, beauty, iconoclasm and driving around in the rain with the top down. And these things can diminish it: fear, bitterness, blandness, trendiness, egotism, violence, corruption, ignorance, grasping, shining and eating ketchup on cottage cheese. Despite Ian’s impassioned arguments, I can’t come to a place where violence is beauty. Beauty and violence share many characteristics. They’re powerful, they’re transformative. They have the capacity to deeply affect someone. They exist very closely to one another energetically, but they don’t overlap. Beauty is constructive. It’s conceiving, it enhances. Violence is destructive. It destroys, it can lead to positive endings, but it comes at a significant cost. It is an inelegant form of change, whereas beauty is an elegant form of change. Certainly there is beauty in the discipline that those who participate in violence demonstrate in their practice and their protocol. But that’s not violence. That’s beauty in discipline, its beauty in focus. It’s not beauty in violence. [00:30:46][87.2]

Ronan: [00:30:52] One question I did have is I understand that you guys do parental or parenting coaching as well, and this is something that’s really interesting to me because it’s a theme that’s come up among my friends recently is how a person’s sense of self-worth often is tied to the father figure because a mother is often received and seen as providing unconditional love. But the love of her father, I think children often perceive, has to be earned. And just curious to know what parental coaching looks like, how you approach it. And there’s any kind of advice for people like me, like I’ve got a four year old boy and a one year old boy that I love to death in the way you spoke about your daughter Ian was extremely touching and meaningful to me. And I’m always looking to improve. And I know I get short tempered and then I hate myself for being short tempered because they’re just kids and they just want to be loved. And then I feel like an asshole for both being short tempered and also not getting what I wanted to get done because I’m now irritated with myself and all that kind of stuff. [00:31:47][54.6]

Ian: [00:31:47] I had a lot of amazing male figures in my life. I did. And they’re all coaches. You know, whether it was my high school wrestling coach or my fighting coach or my dad, these people were great. But I was always striving to make them proud, like, look what your boy did, get a pat on the head just like yes! And to look at my daughter or any kid for that instance and just say, look, I don’t care what you do, I don’t want you to be a fighter. That’s crazy. But if you want to do it, do it. Whatever you have to do, be passionate, whatever you want to do not have to do whatever you want to do. Be passionate about it. You’re going to train like you’re the best in the world because that’s just how we do it, because I want you to get the most out of this experience. It’s about making yourself proud, because that’s what makes me proud, being a good person. That’s what makes me most proud. I tell my daughter, I’m like of course, we’re able to afford them certain things in life where she has access to a lot. But I’m like, you need to be a good person. You have to enjoy what you do. You have to enjoy helping other people do it, teach you. It’s about achieving that sort of credibility in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s swimming or snowboarding or whatever it doesn’t matter. Being able to be happy and be good about it and accomplish these things. And you have to learn to lose and learn to lose is about learning. That’s the thing you have to learn. If you do not learn from it, then you lose. [00:33:05][77.2]

Ronan: [00:33:05] Irena, do you have any thoughts on that? [00:33:06][0.6]

Irena: [00:33:06] Oh, yeah. Raised four children over the last twenty eight years of my life, so I’ve spent more time parenting than not being a parent this time. Parenting children. What advice can you give them, really going back to the good old Ram Dass. Be here now. That is it. And Dr. Gabor Mate would agree with that. So I’ve lived it. I’ve experienced it. I know I’ve been too busy in my life. I’ve lived way too much of a compartmentalized life, been everywhere, filling all the roles. So the best advice that I can give to parents now is really be present. And incidentally, psychedelics do allow us to do that better. They do allow us to be there, to be present, to be there and feel our children, because childhood trauma doesn’t have to be being hit or having a major tragedy in your life. It could just be lack of parental attunement, lack of that eye contact that the child needs and it could be very simple. Psychedelic integration for parenting or just advice for parenting could be as simple as that. And it could also get as complicated as really advising our friends, or other people who put their trust in us when asking for advice on how to be a better parent, what the psychodelic involvement. It’s also giving them scientific information about drug interactions and such, because what we’re finding out, especially here in Orange County and California in general, that a lot of parents are struggling with pharmaceuticals that are being given to children very early on. And we have situations of divorced parents and now COVID has even deepened that crisis and that loneliness now that shuttling children between the parents, who decides what medication they get, who decides what they’re exposed to is really problematic these days. And we’re finding, again, that a lot of people are finding so much help in just the psychodelic integration support circles. They don’t even have to take them. But just being there and talking to other parents and reducing that cycle of shame that goes with, oh, well, I’ve taken psychedelics and I feel like a much better person now, but I can’t tell my ex-husband or a husband or somebody else because I’ll be perceived as a bad parent. [00:35:11][124.3]

Ronan: [00:35:11] It’s a fine line. And certainly like this podcast in part is designed to try and help remove the stigma because obviously everybody on this conversation right now has strong belief, but I think remains open minded around the potential of psychedelics to create a profoundly positive impact on this world. I did want to finish off with two final questions that I’ll pose to both of you. The first is and I’ve asked this to everyone who’s been on the podcast, COVID as the great pause. It’s given people an opportunity and really given people an opportunity where all of the things that we historically distracted ourselves with have been taken away. And so for me, it’s been a period of profound growth, actually. And so I’m wondering, first question is, what if anything has the great pause done for you and what has come up for you during this time? And then secondly, the other question that we always ask is if there’s one person that you could force to go on a psychedelic journey right now, who would it be and why? [00:36:06][54.3]

Irena: [00:36:06] I can tell you that the second is so much harder because literally I’ve had a list of about five people over the last year that I wanted to put on the psychedelic journey. And of course, some of them are members of the family. Some of them are members of the former family. And that makes sense because, of course, we see the whole bit of psychedelics the change a journey can create in a person. And of course, I can’t help it. I just can’t help it. I have to say Donald Trump, I really do. But it’s purely for scientific purposes. I wouldn’t expect that he will stand any chance of having a change due to lack of integration. But COVID has definitely put a big pause on a lot of things in my life, in our lives and projects. But at the same time, it has absolutely revealed one of the biggest positives, which is community, community and back to communicating with people and being close to people and using multigenerational knowledge, listening to your children, listening to the elders, listening to every age and everybody’s perspective. So instead of making me more close minded and more withdrawn, it has actually made me incredibly open to everybody’s opinion and everybody’s input. [00:37:21][74.6]

Ian: [00:37:22] I have a huge crush on Dr. Bush. Zac Bush’s brain. Man crush? He said he’d never taken psychedelics. I’m like, oh my God, I want to do psychedelics with you. You’re so smart and I just want to hear you talk. But my dad, my dad, again, has told me stories of eating 15 peyote bugs out of the desert when he had hair down to his butt in the 70s that he’s been dealing with vertigo for the last seven or eight years. I need to try and help him fix his brain. As far as the great pause, sure. We live in a bubble. We’re successful individuals we’re still making money. We still have our things in order. And I see these people who are successful enough where they can still keep their lives together in that regard are all so much happier now. Everyone goes, wow, I’m like, yeah, you’re not out living that life at the office, just going through that craziness. We weren’t meant to live like that. There’s too much stimuli, too much information, too many people just dealing with it, being in a place where I’m comfortable not wearing some costume that I don’t need to wear like a suit or tie like people are realizing that all that stuff is so silly and we were just preconditioned to do it. We don’t have to do that. If you’re happy at home working like that, you could be in such a better place. And you can see a small group of friends, because right now, obviously, the virus is around. You can’t be around people. We have to socially distance. Everybody be good about that. Wear a mask but you can have your small group of friends. You can. And you can be around them. Just be safe and you can find happiness in the tribal living because there’s so many people in this world. We need a tribe, but not as a country or state or whatever or a religion either, have these small communities of people that think like you and so that you can grow as a whole. You can hear their perspective because you find you have ten people in your group in your tribe you’re going to hear way more than just you thinking about stuff. [00:39:08][106.3]

Ronan: [00:39:09] On that note, I want to thank you both so much for joining us. It’s a pleasure and honor, real honor to have you on board. The work you’re doing I think is fantastic and important and wish you continued success. And I would love to play a part in helping you succeed and achieve your personal mission. So if there’s anything we can do to help you along, your journeys both personally and professionally, please do not hesitate to ask and we’d be happy and honored to do so. [00:39:33][24.3]

Ian: [00:39:34] Thank you very much. [00:39:34][0.0]

Irena: [00:39:34] Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate it. [00:39:36][1.6]

Ronan: [00:39:41] After speaking to Ian and Irena, there were five key things that jumped out at me. First, psychedelics can help unpack trauma. They can expose us to the truths that we’ve buried so we can face them and begin the healing process. When Irena told the story of how her ayahuasca trip helped her to realize the sexual trauma she’d been carrying, it was clear that exposing ourselves to the root of trauma is one of the keys to understanding how to heal. Whether it’s opening our eyes to self-destructive behaviors or even understanding the reasons we act the way we do. Violence is not beauty. Both violence and beauty are powerful energies and great catalysts for change. And there is certainly beauty in the focus, discipline and intensity that MMA fighters demonstrate. But violence is never beautiful. It possesses no beauty. Consciousness expanding experiences can help people see their potential and be more comfortable in their own skin. If you do the work, you can involve yourself and that can lead to a happier, more fulfilling and better life. Ian is a perfect example of that. Our bodies can physically hold traumas. We see that commonly in people who are consistently in high stress environments such as MMA fighters. By processing these traumas and stresses, we not only help to heal our mind, but it also helps us to tap into our physical bodies as well. Finally, parenting is one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences in life. It’s not always easy, but if you follow a simple principle espoused by Ram Dass, be here now. You set yourself up to be the best parent possible. Much of the time, kids just need you to be present. Doing so and being present much of the time will help avoid many of the traumas that children face growing up. [00:41:36][115.0]

Ian: [00:41:43] Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I’m your host, Ronan Levy. Until next time, stay curious. Breathe properly. And remember, every day is a field trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping is created by Ronan Levy and produced by Conrad Page. Our researcher is Sharon Bhella. Special thanks to Quill. And of course, many thanks to Ian and Irena for joining me today. Let’s stay connected and keep this trip going. Subscribe to our new podcast. Tell us what you think about it and sign up for our newsletter at Fieldtripping.FM. [00:41:43][0.0]