july 8th, 2021
OF THE PSYCHEDELIC LEADERSHIP PODCAST
Life is Happening For You Not to You
with Drew McManus from SATSANG
Laura Dawn drops in with Drew McManus from Satsang to talk about life, music, psychedelics, trauma and creativity.
About This Episode:
In this conversation, I drop in with the lead singer of Satsang Drew McManus to get to know the man behind the music.
We talk about the role that psychedelics and plant medicines have played in Drew’s life. We talk about creativity, inspiration, and what it means to dedicate ourselves to our purpose with discipline and devotion yet levity, lightheartedness, and humor.
Drew shares his upbringing in an abusive house and the journey of re-writing the narrative of trauma, and we talk about how plant medicines can help us reframe these deeply challenging experiences from the narrative that they are happening to us into a new narrative that they happen for us.
Drew shares his perspective on this time of division, some challenging experiences he went through online, and how the answer through these times is kindness, compassion, and non-judgment.
Explored in this episode:
Episode #31: Drew McManus Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, so nice to have you on the show. Drew, thanks so much for meeting with me today. It’s such a pleasure. You know, I’ve been listening to your music for years now. And so it’s really an honor to be able to have a real-time conversation with you and learn more about the man behind the music.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, I’m so grateful for you having me.
Laura Dawn: So maybe we could just start, you know, this is The Psychedelic Leadership Podcast. Maybe the starting point for this conversation is exploring the role that psychedelics have played for you and your life, especially you know where you’re at right now. You’re launching a new album. That is so exciting. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. Yeah, let’s maybe just start there.
Drew Satsang: Well, they’ve been a part of the story since puberty, but it was, you know, when I was young, I had a very Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey. I always, the catchphrases that I used Hunter S Thompson and The Grateful Dead is my moral compass for a long time. So when I was young, you know psychedelics, it was just a really playful, exploratory thing. And I was exploring music, I was exploring you know, lots of different literature and counterculture and all of its facets. So it was just always kind of present, you know, I was pretty drawn to them. But I feel like a huge turning point for me as, you know, I was a pretty severe alcoholic and struggled with a lot of different addictions. And I would, I went to treatment, I did the AA thing and what kept happening was I would be sober for a few months, and then I would relapse and then I’d be sober for a few months and then I’d relapse. And when I was sober was just kind of this white-knuckling. You know, like doing everything I could not drink. There was no like homeostasis.
And I had come upon, I was listening to Terence McKenna lecture. While I was cleaning, this little shitty apartment that I lived in, and I’ve loaned a friend of mine, a piece of climbing gear that he had, lost on a climb, he had to bail on the climb with it. And I was just like, you know, man, pay me whenever it was. Listen to this, Terence McKenna lecture weeks later. And, you know, he was advocating the use of five grams of mushrooms by yourself in the dark. Well, when my friend that had lost a piece of climbing gear, hit me up and said, Hey, man, I don’t have any money, but I just come upon an ounce of mushrooms, would you like to come over and just grab a handful of them? So I said, you know, the timing of it was pretty weird as I was like, had just listened to that. That part of the lecture. So I said, Ye, and I ate them. And it was both the best and worst night of my life, It wasn’t a pleasant experience. But I’ve not drunk alcohol since that night, I confronted my childhood, I came from a really abusive, traumatic upbringing.
And I think it was the, I look at it as the beginning of me going, Okay, here’s this cycle, this familial cycle that I’ve been in. And it’s time to get to work. So ultimately, I, whether it’s the story of a sad song, or me as a man, or me taking my role as a parent, can kind of trace everything back to that night. So since then, I’ve used them quite a bit more responsibly than I did that night. But it’s a really interesting thing because everything for me kind of comes back to that evening.
Laura Dawn: That’s wonderful. And, yeah, there are so many questions that I want to ask you, you know, do plant medicines play a role in your music and your creative process. Are they a source of inspiration for you?
Drew Satsang: Yeah, I think they’re kind of an inspiration to me. And everything that I do, you know, as I said, I’m a pretty strong advocate of responsible use now. Whereas previously, you know, responsible is the furthest thing from my mind, but yeah, to me, it’s this plant medicines are just always a reminder to me that I’m not my body. And more recently, the experiences that I keep having is just how serious what I’m doing is, how serious this music thing is. And that I was chosen to do it, you know, and that was during this last Iowaska ceremony that I did. That was the big takeaway of like, oh, man, this isn’t just something I’m doing. This is like my divine purpose, this is what I was put here to do. And all of the heavy responsibility that comes with it, but as well as the ridiculousness that comes to it, but yeah, to answer your question, in short, yeah, I feel like, directly or indirectly, I feel like plant medicine is kind of a part of everything that I do.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, like more integrated into all aspects. Yeah, I’d love to just talk about the musical journey. I mean, I found you through the album, The story of you that played a really big impact in my life. I love that album. What was the turning point for you where things really shifted in your music, and you were like, Okay, I’m dedicating my life to this?
Drew Satsang: Well, I had been toying around with it for some time, you know, of wanting to do it since I was a kid, you know, it was always what I knew I wanted to do. But you know, as you get older, you have to get a job. And you have to do all the things to maintain your life. And post, soon after that, that mushroom trip, I took a trip to Nepal. And when I was in Nepal, the goal of the trip for me was, or the pinnacle, I guess you could say was to get to the top of this past called Renjo Pass, it’s 20,000 feet. But at the top of that, you can see Everest, you can see all of the tallest mountains in the world. And when I got up there, I wrote what later became the thrill of it all. And on the walk down that day was when I just started being like, okay, man, well, Renjo Pass is, as the official middle of the trip, right was like, Okay, well, now you’re at the halfway point of the trip.
So the realization of like, dude, you have to go home, kind of set in. So they just, I was, that whole walk down that day was just like, Okay, well, shit, what am I going to do? And, you know, by the time I made it to the monastery was like, what’s music? Dude, it’s always been music. So I spent the second half of that trip really kind of mapping out what that was going to look like. And, yeah, I pretty much just made the decision, like, I’m going to go all in, there are parts of it that are going to suck, you know, people are going to tell me that it’s not going to work, I’m going to think it’s not going to work. But ultimately, it’s what I have to do, though, just, Nepal was the big Yeah, it was the big turning point. And then when I got home, and I just went right to work.
Laura Dawn: How do you balance the sense of discipline with devotion, you know, that it really does, like, takes so much discipline and to show up and as an artist, as a creative, there is this notion that, you know, we have to dedicate to the craft, and how is that path of discipline and really, like spiritual devotion, in a sense been for you?
Drew Satsang: Well, you know, I think, for me, music has given me everything, you know, whether like, you know, the super tangible things, right, like, it keeps my family fed and, in a house, and, you know, I have a truck and a motorcycle, and you know, it pays for daycare. So there are all those tangible things, but then on the more like meta side of it. It has just always been there for me, you know, whether, you know, yeah, whether my dad had just kicked the shit out of me, or I was homeless or strung out, or going through a breakup, you know, Music has always been there. So I think there’s a conscious and a subconscious thing where I’m just always showing up for this thing that’s never left my side. And then I also realize just what an insane gift it is, to call music. My job.
So it’s, although it is a lot of work, and I pride myself on discipline in all areas of my life, it’s kind of easy to show up for it. You know, it’s given me everything, you know, music is it’s given me everything. My worldview, my, like I said, the tangible and intangible thing. So it’s I’m just constantly paying it back. You know, it’s how I look at it. I’m just we’re it’s a reciprocal relationship. The more I give it the more it gives me.
Laura Dawn: Right? And I know you dedicate yourself to Jujitsu as well. You dedicate your discipline on the mat. I know what that’s like, I’ve also was raised as an athlete. And so I’m just curious though your like inner relationship to discipline? Is it critical? Is it soft? Is that compassionate? You know, like, Where’s that line of like, drill sergeant versus like, this is my love.
Drew Satsang: It’s funny, I don’t know where that line is. I would say it’s pretty critical. I find great power in you know, opening up my eyes at 5:30 in the morning, when the alarm goes off and going fuck, dude, I just want to go back to sleep. And going, No, get your ass out of bed, drink the water. Go to the bathroom, go to the gym. How I feel after I do that is it’s just like, okay, man. It’s 7:30. And I’ve already conquered something. And I’ve already conquered myself, you know, but that little voice that says No, stay in bed. Take the easy route, relax. You know, by 730 in the morning, I’ve already taken that voice and smashed its face into the dirt. So I feel like I start my day with a victory. I’ve already won. So, yeah, it’s not very kind. My inner voice is not very kind. But I appreciate it. I appreciate it. It’s not an abusive voice. But yeah, it’s definitely not. It’s not graceful. You know, yeah, it’s pretty, pretty hard. But I, again, I just, I look at the value. And the blessing that it is to have enabled body and how many people wish they could roll out of bed and go lift weights or wish they could go punch and kick their friends or wish they could grapple. So I just don’t want to waste that blessing. So yeah, much like music. I’m like, dude if I was given this able body, who am I to not go push it to an extreme every day?
Laura Dawn: Yeah, so from this time in Nepal, you know, and people have no idea, you know, what it really takes on such levels of discipline to achieve any kind of critical threshold of success. So it’s like, you hold this vision of being successful having a certain level of influence, touring, you know, having a critical mass of listeners for your music, and then you hit that threshold, you know, and then one day, you’re like, wow, okay, I’ve arrived. And now you’re very much in that in that place. You know, I think you’ve had, gosh, how many millions of views or listens on Spotify, which is just, oh, incredible. And so being where you’re at now, and looking back, you know, what have you really learned on the journey? And what would you tell yourself with what you know, now, and for the people who are really taken that climb? Right now? What’s your best advice for yourself in the past, from your future self?
Drew Satsang: To keep going? You know, first I think you got to always be honest with yourself, you know, like, I love martial arts. But I have no delusions of grandeur that if I were to try and make a run as a professional fighter that it wouldn’t go well. So I think having like a realistic view, but for me, there’s, you know, especially with music, there are all of these phases that feel impossible, but they’re never going to end right. Like, when I first started touring, it was playing three-hour bar gigs, to people that weren’t even paying attention to me. And I always just had the mantra of this is just the phase that you’re in. This is just part of the story. So there’s a lot of short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. And I think we live in a culture that demands immediacy, right, that says, Well, I want to be a successful musician, so it should happen. And, and people point to the stories of, you know, a Justin Bieber, someone that’s like, well, this kid just put stuff on YouTube. And then he became the biggest star in the world. And it’s like, Yeah, but for 99.9% of artists, that’s not how it goes.
So I’ve just always had the very, like 70s Rock and Roll viewpoint of my career, which is no man, we’re going to grind, and we’re just going to tour and make good records. And some of the records might do well, some of them won’t. And that it’s all just part of the story. You know, this is I want to do this music thing. Like I feel like I’m just getting started. Like, to me, the new record feels like the beginning of my career, like the rest of it was just like building this foundation. And now I feel like I just found myself. So there’s no you know, the end goal is to Do it forever. There’s no like, Okay, well, once I want a Grammy, or I’m here, then I’ve done you know, there’s no Renjo Pass, if you will, it’s just like, no, the goal is to just be able to continue to do it forever. So yeah, to me, the advice is to zoom out, you know, and just look at everything as a phase, whether it’s with Music, or Martial Arts or Yoga, you know, I think Yoga is a big one that I always think of, you know, or feel like, well, I can’t do yoga, because I’m not very flexible. It’s like, Well, yeah, you dummy. That’s why you do yoga. It’s like, and I think, you know, I’m the guy that’s in yoga class that, like, looks around and it’s like, holy shit, how are these people doing this stuff?
And it’s like, well, they do it all the time. So it’s like, that persistence, and that, discipline of showing up and just being like, Okay, I’m playing the long game. So, you know, today is just another day in the story, rather than, you know, in the comparison game, I think that’s another one that really gets artists. As you’re looking around, and it’s so easy to go, Well, I think I’m better than this person at this craft, and why are they so much farther ahead than me? It’s like, well, because that’s their story. And yours is yours. You know, but persistence, I think it’s just the biggest one, it’s just not quitting. You know, so many people quit when it’s hard.
Laura Dawn: I also, whenever I think about this for myself, I always think, you know, tell my younger self to just like, enjoy where you’re at, enjoy the phase, you know, it’s just like, there’s always such as a just desire to be five steps ahead, you know?
Drew Satsang: Well, it’s, it’s funny. So I grew up, I always point to this story. Like, you know, I grew up such a huge Michael Franti fan, because I love Folk music. I loved Punk Rock, I loved Hip Hop, and he was just a perfect fucking amalgamation of all of those things. You know, his album Yell Fire changed my life. So if you would have told high school me that I would do, you know, an entire year on the road with Michael Franti, and he would become a dear friend. I would not have believed you. But when I look back at that summer and 2017 of touring with him for a whole year, I wasn’t present for any of it. I was stressed out about Okay, well, we’re playing in DC. I wonder if we’re going to sell tickets when we come back to DC by herself? Are these people even going to like us? Like, how many new fans did we win? What are we going to do when this tour is over what’s next? What’s next? And oddly enough, Franti, and I would sing every night would sing a song together called Enjoy Every Second. And that was the name of the fucking song. That was the chorus of the song Enjoy Every Second. And I didn’t, I wasn’t present for any of it.
And now that I can look back on that and go, fuck, dude, you weren’t even there for that. It was literally the turning point of my career was going on tour with him. And I wasn’t even there for it. I was so stressed out about what was coming next. So I won’t do that anymore. You know, I’m just here. I’m here now. I’m fucking here for all of it.
Laura Dawn: How was this album different for you?
Drew Satsang: I think the biggest thing was I haven’t been left the fuck alone in a long time. And COVID pulled the ebrake on our industry. And I know it was really hard for some people. It wasn’t hard for me, it was the greatest blessing in my life. I have lost pretty solid touch with who I was outside of music, you know when you’re touring. As much as we were touring, and constantly working on a new album and constantly trying to build this thing. I wasn’t Drew, anymore. I was Satsang. I was this entity and this product and this thing. And I really just wanted to be a guy again, you know, I wanted to be a dad. And a fighter, and a fisherman and all these things that I was before music took over. So for me, it was kind of a return because the story of you was written during Nepal and all of these outdoor escapades before anything was anything I was just writing songs because I loved writing songs and I was just telling my story. And this new record is that, you know, there was no plan, there was no like, narrative, you know, I wasn’t trying to do anything other than just be who I was. And I feel like I lost that for a few years in the middle of this whole thing. So, this record is such a big deal to me because I just feel more myself than I’ve ever been.
And with this time off, I was going to therapy, I was using psychedelics again, I was getting out on the river, I just became a guy, again, you know, just a guy, rather than, you know, Satsang, I just got to be Drew again for a year. So all the music just came from this really centered place, you know, of love, and home. So it just feels really good and pure.
Laura Dawn: Do you still struggle with, I mean, this process of like, coming home to yourself, I heard you, I think it was an on YouTube video that I watched where you were saying, you know, you felt like at a certain point that you were playing the same songs and that you had this like expectation from your audience to create certain kinds of music, and that put you in this box and this process of just stepping into like, owning your authenticity. And like, you know, I want to ask you about what that means to you. And also like this fear of being seen, like, do you still experience a fear of like, wow, people are going to see who I really am? And will they still love me? You know, as this person that I am?
Drew Satsang: Yeah, and no, you know, as an artist, there’s always this fear of like, are they going to like what I made. But as a person, no, I’m pretty fearless now. I used to have this weird, unwavering desire to be understood. And in the last year, I really lost it. I don’t really care to be understood anymore. You know, the whole thing when we were making this record was that the label was really cool. And they let me do pretty much whatever I wanted. And I had grace and the man that made this documentary that we’ve chopped up into these episodes, and that takes all of our pictures. He’s a dear friend of mine. And he just came and lived with me for three weeks. And then came and hung out with us while we made the record. And the goal was, how I just want to show everyone who I really am. So if they don’t like me, they can just stop listening now. And if they do, then they’ll become more invested, you know, they’ll go okay, I really vibe with this dude. So I really want to listen to his music now. The goal is for me to just show who I am and then land just be 100% vulnerable. And you know, I meet people all the time that you know, being an artist is a tricky thing, because people’s only way to relate to you, they don’t know me, so they’re just listening to the music.
So they have the story in their head of who I am, you know, so when they meet me, they have this idea of who I am. And I wanted to make the film to show because I always it was a joke in the van of like, if people on the road that I met knew that, you know, I was spending the day before that showed an MMA gym, you know, fighting all day, and lifting weights, and then, you know, on my break in between tours, I was going hunting. And you know, if they knew who I was, they would be it would be such a trip. So he has so the goal is to just show everyone who I am. But yeah, to answer your question, is an artist Yes, because I don’t think that’ll ever go anywhere. It’s such a scary thing when you make a record because that’s always the thing in the back of your head is like fuck. What if they don’t like it? No one listens to it. But as a person no, I don’t really care if people get me or don’t.
Song: When I no longer fear the unknown because I know what I am here for, I keep on trading on my own path. Keep on Learning from my present and past, I no longer need validation because my story is long, and I know that I have lessons to learn. Keep my eyes open each step I earn. No need for me to feel alone. Because I got a place that I call home, every single road travel, every single new place, I come back home they accept me with grace when I know that I was meant to be here. And I know that I was born into fear, but I was there down in the lion’s den. Because I know in my heart, I am one of them. They realize in the facets of everything that we see, that are telling us to be scared, we know we are always free. I’, letting go of the things that don’t serve me anymore. Because I am holy and sacred and righteous, and I deserve to be here and so do you. Said I deserve to be here.
Laura Dawn: What has been the key takeaway from them the medicines in this year, as you’re working in therapy and working with plant medicines, what would you say is like the big, big messages, the big downloads that you’ve been receiving?
Drew Satsang: Well, so I had never done Iowaska before. And I went down a couple of months ago and sat in the ceremony. And it was you know, 1000 times more than what I thought it was going to be. You know, the big download night one was, we all come from purity and love. But we live in a world that is designed to make us forget, because if we forget then we become distracted, and inside of that distraction, there’s lots of money to be made. So there was this huge wave of like, I was being shown all of this beautiful thing. I had a moment where I was like back when my son was born. And that moment when Malachi was born, that just heart exploding love and then playing music on stage and then laying a bed of all these beautiful things. And then it got really dark. Because this voice kept saying. Do you remember it, do you remember it? And I was like, Oh, yeah, I remember all of this. And then it was like, Well, why do you keep forgetting? I was like, Oh shit, I don’t know, you know, why do I keep forgetting that this is where we come from.
So night one of the ceremonies was just this big, huge reminder that it’s all love. And that we have to Remember To Remember. And so that’s the big thing. For me. That’s my mantra now remember to remember. And night two was, diving into this whole purpose thing and this music thing. And then it didn’t belong to me anymore. And that it wasn’t this thing I was doing, it was a calling that I was answering. So it was this big heavy download of what a responsibility it was and how serious it was. And, you know, I hadn’t played shows with the full band. And we knew we were going to red rocks and doing all that. So that came up really heavy. And I was really scared about being seen again. I am coming out of this hibernation having to go back on the road and back on stage and being the center of attention again. And it scared me. But I think the big takeaway was that this thing isn’t? As I said, it’s not a job. It’s not a that’s what I’m here to do. So that I have to answer it, I have to answer to that calling. So means showing up when I don’t want to show up. Sometimes it means doing things that I might not want to do that are for other people. And then it’s a role of service and that the more I show up for that service, the more that service will show up for me.
I mean that’s really it for me is that everything is love. That’s where we come from, that’s where we’re going. And then I’m actually inside of my purpose right now, which is like I think a human. That’s like the ultimate thing you know, there’s like this great heartbreak of people searching for their purpose and going What am I here for? What am I here for and what a fucking blessing that I know. And not that I’m not just that I know what my calling is, but that I’m in it, you know? So I’m really excited. You know, and for me, that’s just it is why I’m so grateful for plant medicine is that veil of those things that I’ve mentioned before, right? The distractions? I mean, you know, no one pulls up Instagram when they’re in the middle of, you know, a psychedelic experience. Like, no, you can, you know, that that’s bullshit, you know, no one wants to watch the news, because you know that that’s not it, you know. So I’m forever grateful for those medicines just kind of calling me back to the fire, as it were, to sit with what is really real.
Laura Dawn: Have they helped to sort of fine-tuning your perception field of awareness into more like energy and frequency and subtlety? Have you noticed a shift in sort of, like, where that the whispers of inspiration come from? And like what to pay attention to? And where to direct your focus to sort of nourish your vessel, your creative vessel? I mean, has that shifted at all?
Drew Satsang: Yeah, you know, on a good day I’m really in that I would say a big thing that it’s given me as compassion instead of judgment. I’m not good at that every day. But on the days that I’m in tune, I am, you know, that was another big revelation I had during the ceremony. You know, my wife is a psychotherapist that specializes in trauma. And I realized what her superpower is she doesn’t see angry person yelling at her, she sees the unheard child and the adult yelling at her, you know. So I definitely feel like I have an insight into what real compassion looks like. And if you’ve ever been to an Iowaska ceremony and nobody’s there for a good time. Everybody’s there to do work, you know. And, you know, I was gone back and forth. The second night, between crying and laughing because I would look around and there you know, there’s a mechanic a stay-at-home mom, a shitload of soldiers. Just all of these different walks of life, that we’re trying to heal, you know, that we’re there to heal, and work.
And what overwhelmed me and completely break my heart that the world is hurting so much. But then I’d be filled with this joy and this laughter of like but look at us all our titles. And what we do in the world doesn’t matter because we’re here doing the work. And that’s the most beautiful thing in the world. So it’s given me compassion, of that age-old thing, right, that everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. And hearing people open up and share what they were going through. It’s just like, you know, maybe Yeah, makes me tear up right now just thinking about it, that it’s like, your mechanic could be being rude to you because his son died last week, you know, and you have no idea, you have no idea what people are going through. So really, it’s given me this kind of sustained state of compassion, which is something that I used to lack. Because I think I had such a hard life that the way I related to the world is, you know, well, life’s hard, get tough. You know, we all got shit, rather than like, Oh, my God, you know, like, everyone’s going through this thing. And all they need is a hug most of the time, you know.
Laura Dawn: I mean, everyone’s just trying to make sense of what it means to be alive on this planet right now. There was a quote that I saw recently that I had posted something, it was something along the lines of like, the more you know, someone’s story, the more your judgments of them fall by the wayside. You know, it’s like, the more you get human and that’s this time we live in such a time of division, where we’re just like hurling at shit at across the ridge. You know, where it’s such a time of separation. And I do truly believe that plant medicines are here to build bridges, you know, to mend these times of division. And compassion is such a big part of that, like refraining from judgment for just a moment to see the humaneness in all of us.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, you know, Michael Franti says, I think that everyone would love every person they need if they heard their story, you know because unless you know someone’s whole story, you just don’t have context. Like you said, I think, you know, people life is so hard. And it’s so unforgiving at times. And if you grew up as I did, you’re surrounded by no empathy. So your worldview and your prefrontal cortex are formed under the constant threat of violence and this belief that no one is here to help me. No one’s coming to save me. I’m an island. I am you know, it is me. I’m this fucking thing. And I go into the universe which to think of yourself as the center of the universe is just the wildest thing in the world. It’s such a silly way to go through life. But typically that’s what we see with people that are hurt. They feel like life is happening to them. You know, they’re not an active participant everything is just happening to them.
And, again, I think that’s what’s so magical about psychedelics is they zoom out and they go, No, it’s happening for you and with you, not to you. So you get to be a part of this dance rather than a collision all the time, you know. But we also live in a time you know one thing that I always that I see a lot of is. We’re losing a lot of community, especially what we saw during COVID Was everyone was isolated. So you mix that with the political shitstorm that was happening, and it will go. People were stripped of any sense of community, so they started finding their community and validation online of, you know me and my phone or me and my computer that’s how I’m interacting with the world, which is a scary, scary way to interact with the world. And like you’re saying. It’s very easy to say mean things to someone on a computer, very easy to hurl shit at someone through a computer or a phone, because my friend Mark Murphy the lead singer of Wiki Foot, broke this down really well, he said, When you stand up to a bully, or you stand up for something that you believe in, to somebody’s face there’s an endorphin rush. Because inside of your body, you know that when I say this, this person could adversely react, and maybe they hit me in the face, so there’s some mild threat of violence or confrontation there.
So the endorphin rush that happens when you stand up for your point and stand up to the bully is because you’re facing this threat of violence and saying well, I’m speaking on behalf of righteousness. In the face of adversity and what the computer does is it gives people the ability to say their thing, without any sort of threat, you know, there’s no threat of actual confrontation or violence there whatsoever but they still get the endorphin rush. So whether we see that, you know, enveloping it through, Kancil culture, or through extremist politics, it’s just an absolute shit show and we’re in, I’m quite fearful of, where this thing is going to lead us, you know, this validation via the internet, because it’s a weird thing, it’s a weird place to go to look for validation. And it’s quickly becoming the new norm.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, I was recently reading something that someone was writing about statistics in terms of like reactivity when people read like a comment versus when you hear someone’s voice, and that when you hear someone’s voice it actually is much easier to act, to connect with them but when you read you just like imbue what you’re reading with your
Own fucked up narrative that’s angry and, you know, and that it’s so much easier to just like throw shit at each other just because everyone’s like, angrily writing and like commenting on the things that we don’t you know, agree with and it’s just, and I even see it in the psychedelic space.
Drew Satsang: Well there’s no facial expression, there’s no tone.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, it’s so interesting and so, you know, when you see that, so how have you, how do you like to stand up for the things that you believe in from a place of kindness and not from a place of anger, you know, I mean people look up to you, you’re an influencer, I mean there’s no doubt about that. So it’s like how much responsibility do you feel to stay rooted in center and kindness and communicating from a place of like nonjudgment?
Drew Satsang: Well I think the big thing is, I had a really interesting experience this year because I throughout the course of the election, and all of that, you know, since this time last year, I made it a point to make my public opinion that we should talk to people that we disagree with. Because I previously was on the camp of if you’re a Trump supporter I don’t have anything to say to you, there’s nothing you could tell me that would justify you voting for that psychopath. And through both Jujitsu through just living in Montana. I started seeing that I really connected with and loved a lot of people with different political views than me. Because politics makes up a pretty small portion of conversation if you’re keeping it to parenting. What do you like to do with your time? What’s your dad like, you know, what kind of food do you like? When we keep the conversation and things that matter. It’s pretty easy to get along with most people.
So I made it. I made a huge point to make my voice one of challenging people to talk with people that they didn’t agree with. So, in that I had JP Sears come on my podcast, who by the way is one of the sweetest human beings on the planet. I agree, with some of JP’s stuff. I don’t agree with all of it. But my thing was, you seem like a sweet enough guy. Why don’t you come on the podcast, and, you know, we hit it off, I really enjoyed talking with him and when I posted his picture in that I had had him on the podcast, the hate that followed for a couple of weeks there I’d never been. I had never really been reamed on the internet before. And it was pretty hard. And it challenged a lot of my beliefs because there were things said to me by people. I was just watching people hop on it’s like folks at some bandwagon right, some of them were people that I’d helped that I called festivals on their behalf to get their band booked, that I’d let open for us. People that I had been really kind to that were getting there like social merit points by hopping on this, fuck me bandwagon.
Also, you know, as someone that’s fairly skilled in violence, I just grew up in a place where you had to answer for most of what you said, I just couldn’t comprehend it because I was like, Man, if I were standing in front of you, not on any planet at any time would you say that, but because you’re 1000 miles away behind your phone, you feel completely comfortable saying that. So is this weird internal battle of, you know, the Eastern philosophy and my brain being like, they know not what they do, why would you give this any attention whatsoever that’s clearly their hurt, this is them this has nothing to do with you. You know, and then from the kid from the Dogpatch in Des Moines, that’s like, Okay, well, next time I’m in Minneapolis, I know where you work and I’m going to pull up we’ll see what you got to say.
So it was a tricky thing for me, but ultimately was, you know, and oddly enough the person that really talked me through it was JP, where he’s just like, oh man, you know, I just couldn’t imagine hearing someone say something that even if I disagree with, I’d be like okay well I’m done listening to you. I’m not going to listen to your podcast anymore because I clearly, you know, I don’t vibrate with what you’re talking about. What I wouldn’t do is then make it my life goal for two weeks to try to destroy you, You know, that’s a weird dark thing. But again, like we’re saying you know I think it just says a lot about where we’re at as a culture and then I really moved again after especially after the Iowaska thing. It just moved me in such a place of compassion because I was like, think about the hurt living within someone that goes, Okay. You know, I’m going to smash this person because I disagree with them, I’m going to do everything I can to ruin their life, you know how crazy is that you know like, yeah.
Laura Dawn: Right. I love how Bernie Brown puts it, you know, she says something along the lines of, when you know you have to realize that when you’re taking aside you inevitably become like the people you’re fighting against, you know, being so anti-Trump is the same as being so anti-Biden, you know, it’s like the same thing, it’s the same thing and, and we do, we actually need to rise above and I’m actually, I’ve been studying Eastern philosophy for about 15 years, and I, one of the things I love about Eastern philosophy is that they sort of break down the somatic awareness of trigger I mean in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage anyways. There’s this notion of this whole teaching that’s called Shumba, that when we get triggered there’s like a visceral contraction that happens and, in that contraction, it immediately creates separation. What’s your growth edge for you that you’re witnessing right now that you’re working with in terms of being triggered by what you see whether it’s personal in your family or beyond in your community on social media, what’s like your edge right now?
Drew Satsang: You know, a huge thing for me is that I’m not going to become emotionally attached to the opinions of people that don’t know me, which seems like such a basic idea but it’s such a hard one when you’re a public figure. I mean, that’s a huge one for me is like not, you know, being able to take that breath and go okay well this person knows absolutely nothing about me, therefore, their opinion of me means, nothing, because they have no base, there’s no you know there’s nothing there. You know and two, to be blunt that my opinion really doesn’t mean shit, neither does yours, you know, and my opinion on a given subject isn’t going to change the subject. So it’s like, well I can have an opinion. I think those discussions. That really deep dive on any given issue, that it’s important to kind of talk about them with trusted people, you know that isn’t going to go. You know everything to me is so nuanced, you know like, I’m sorry I guess this is a rather controversial one but it’s the one that’s like, in my brain at the moment is this like, let’s just read I’m extremely pro LBGTQ IA plus however many letters there is attached to that thing now like I think if a person wants you to identify as whatever you want and you have my full support and protection.
I’m a big proponent of personal freedom, and I think you can do whatever you want with your human life. Now, where this one gets tricky is there is a swimmer, that was previously identifying as a male that in 2018 was ranked 277, and 2019 was ranked 300th And then, is now identifying as a female and just won a national title. And I thought to myself I go fuck dude. Imagine if you were one of those female swimmers that have been training your whole fucking life. And then this person goes well I’m now identifying as a female so I’m taking this world title. And so I don’t have a horse in the race but I just using that as an example where it’s like, someone can take that out of context of that soundbite of me just saying that well this person identified as a female and then went stolen national title, and say see he’s anti-trans, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
So we just live in this time where we’re losing nuance and it’s like, you know if someone says they’re pro this that it means all of these other things about them it’s like well no, maybe they’re just Pro that, you know. So for me, I just try to keep a really nuanced outlook on everything, and not have a solid opinion because I’m always I’m open to the notion of and this I think the other great gift of psychedelics. I’m open to the notion that I’m completely full of shit about anything at any given time, you know, psychedelics, do a good job of showing you that. Whether you want them to or not. So, yeah, you know I just try not to have a public opinion about anything other than like love is good and we should be nice to each other.
Laura Dawn: And take psychedelic safely.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, and that people at the end of the day, everyone just want to feel loved and feel safe. So we need to create a world where that is the goal, you know, and extremism is not the route. Compassion is the route, you know.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, and it’s all a narrative, you know, we’re all just telling each other stories that we just happen to believe to be true. I mean, and then when you look at psychedelics and like Dr. Robin Carhartt Harris’s, you know the hypothesis of the Rebus model. Rebus stands for Relaxed Beliefs Under Psychedelics. So what does that tell you, you know, that like we’re shaking up our models and we’re like okay maybe there’s this story or this story, that’s possible? And yeah, I mean, there’s just so much there’s so much we could say about that.
Drew Satsang: Well I think there are these opportunities and the way that I see psychedelics going with, the expansion of mats and all the work that Dell is doing to legitimize these things that we’ve all been saying for the dawn of time, which is, you know, the narrative that psychedelics are going to leave you, mushy brained nutjob, and it’s like now pretty much all of the greatest art in the world is coming from psychedelic advocates and that’s just real. So it’s like, you know, I think we’re moving in a direction whereas these things become more legitimized. We’re going to see a big paradigm shift where you know the joke or a weekend of the ceremony was like dude, what if this was the final step to taking public office, like okay, you’ve done it, you got the votes. Now you have to go to a retreat, you know, and it’s like, or if there was, you know, an MDMA assisted debate, where he had two presidential candidates debating each other under the ultimate blanket of compassion and understanding, you know, where it’s like, Okay, you guys are each going to take, you know, half a 10th of a gram of MDMA before the debate starts and you have to listen to the other person, you got to hear them.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, I love that. I actually on my website, two months before the elections I wrote 10 Science factor reasons why we should spike the Presidential punch and looking at actual, you know, research that psychedelics do enhance empathy open-mindedness. I’m actually pursuing a master’s in science right now in a program called Creativity Studies and Change Leadership. I’m writing my thesis on the overlap and intersection between creative problem solving and psychedelics so it’s creativity in psychedelics so it’s a big topic for me and the notion of open-mindedness you know, the five big personality traits. One of them is openness. Openness to Experience, very highly correlated with creative thinking with creativity with aesthetics imagination. And there’s a huge correlation between even one psilocybin journey can fundamentally change your personality trait known as openness, which actually normally becomes more narrow and rigid as we get older, so it’s and then that’s that part of the narrative of the story of me which actually really want to ask you about unless I think you want to chime in and say something to this before I ask you this question.
Drew Satsang: Well, no I was just going to say, you know, I meet people all the time, that have these stories of, you know, I graduated college I married the girl that I was dating in college, and I got the job. You know I did the thing that I was told that I should do. And at 40, I was terribly unhappy and insert a psychedelic experience. Fast forward five years I’m in super good shape I’m no longer with my wife, I know who I am, and reading different books, I’m on this journey of self-discovery. And I think that so important right that it’s never too late to figure out who you are. And like you’re saying I just think psychedelics is such a shortcut, where it’s like, there’s no to me that’s why I always go back to them is because there’s this veil of bullshit. That just gets pulled off, like there’s no hiding from yourself in that experience, it’s like those medicines are going to show you who you are, whether you want them to or not. And the only answer to that problem. For me, the only thing that makes that great fear, during that experience subside is okay well I guess I’ll work on that, you know, and to me, that was the magic Iowaska, right. Is there’s this like soft gentle hand on your back that’s showing you these things that just goes okay buddy, you know, when you leave here, you got to get to work on this thing, you know? Yeah, I think that’s yeah, I would like to read that when you’re done with it because that’s probably one of the most interesting things in the world to me.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, me too, I mean that’s why I like talking to artists and creatives for this podcast too, you know, I like the topic of psychedelic psychotherapy but it’s a little bland for me you know I’m really curious about like, where do you source inspiration from like this muse, this like notion of something that comes from something greater than ourselves and, you know, what’s that relationship to the source to the creator to the energy that moves through us and out into the world that we literally like physically create with. I mean it’s by definition what it means to be human. It’s our birthright. And I feel like we’ve lost this whole notion of that is our birthright, that that is what makes us human, and I feel really passionate actually around changing the narrative around creativity because there’s like this whole notion that like you’re either creative or you’re not. And I was one of those kids who I was told by my teacher, you’re never going to be an artist because you can’t draw Honey, I’m sorry, you know, and then I was told by my math teacher in grade three, you’re never going to be good at anything to do with numbers because you can’t do the math on here, it was just like, fuck.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, you know Jackson Pollock wasn’t a very good drawer, either. And he made it swing pretty well, you know, it’s, you know yeah, it’s such a funny thing, I think there’s, I think we’re more and more, you know, given all the bad things that we’re seeing in society I think more and more that the access to information, people are more curious than they’ve ever been. Which I think is going to lead us to some neat things. You know I can sometimes, you know, I went to the grocery store, the day after the ceremony. And I got back to Dell’s house, and I was like, I think we’re fucked, man, like all these people do they don’t know, you know like, they don’t know what we know man. And I had a conversation with my friend Aubrey about it. And Aubrey goes yeah man well the only thing you can do is just live in a way that shows them because it’s like you never know who’s watching, you know, you never know someone might be watching you, and then just go fuck man I want to live my life like that I’m getting a fucking motorcycle and eat mushrooms, you know. So it’s, I think that’s it because that’s the one part of psychedelics that can kind of break my heart sometimes. As you come back from these extremely regulatory experiences and then you go back out into the real world you see everyone else just kind of slugging along in their neat suit not asking any questions and it’s kind of a bummer.
You know what I think it’s important to remember that, you know, everyone’s just where they’re at. And again yeah that life is hard, so it’s like that compassion and really, you know, I spent a lot of my life trying to tell people how to live, you know, how they should eat what they should be reading. You know how they should view the world. And one conversation that I have been having with our kids a lot, our two older kids. One graduate next year and one will be a sophomore. Is that something I was never told and something that you were never told judging by what you just told me is that Happiness is the currency? And then we’re looking at how we want to model our lives. That shouldn’t be, well, what’s going to get you the lowest interest rate on your mortgage and, you know, what’s the safest neighborhood and all of these bullshit things that they try to tell you it’s where would you be happy as if you’re fucking happy, you know, in a 12 by 15 room, in lower Manhattan, then maybe that’s your vibe, or if you’re happy in a cabin in the woods with one other person maybe that’s the vibe that happiness is the currency. So, I think the more that we can exude purpose and happiness and joy, the more people will win to the team. You know, I want to recruit by example. You know I’m done telling people how to be and how to live, you know, advocate freedom and choice. That’s it.
Laura Dawn: What came to mind earlier when you said the big download from Iowaska was like this is serious business this is your path. I always like to balance I was like, that’s why this whole notion of like devotion with discipline, it’s like it’s serious, and we should like really hear and listen to the call but also like hold it with like lots of humor, you know, lots of levity and not like squeeze the shit out of it but just like, okay, like this is like my spiritual path I’m going to like dedicate to this, and I want to like smile and make other people laugh along the way and just like also bringing that and I think that’s actually a big part of like psilocybin medicine you know Iowaska tends to be like a little bit more serious that like psilocybin is like, Oh yeah, like this is such a big fucking cosmic joke, like, of course, it is.
Drew Satsang: Yes. Well, I have that, you know, with my band, I think, you know, don’t. I think we probably laugh more than any band in existence. A, we really love each other but every one of them in my band is so damn funny. It’s you know, most of our days were just laughing and at the end of the day you know every once in a while, my manager who’s, one of my dearest friends, you know, we have these moments all the time. You know we were standing on a side stage at Red Rocks getting ready to go out and he leans over, and he goes, Man, we’re just getting away with fucking murder. This is what we do, this is what, you know, like, Dude, you write songs in a notebook, and you get to go find your best friends in front of a shit ton of people and like that is something that I never take for granted. And to me that’s the levity in it as well, I take it very seriously, at the end of the day. I’m singing songs. I get to do my favorite thing in the world. You know, and that’s how I make ends meet, is by doing my favorite thing. Yeah, and that humor aspect is so important. You know and I and like you said, I think that is totally true with psilocybin, where it’s like, yeah, I mean you can’t help but laugh when you’re like look at us all, we’re just out here in our neat suits bumping into each other trying to figure shit out and we take it so seriously, you know, it’s really just a goof.
Song: I feel it coming on today. I a bit too long I’ve been away. When I get home, I’m home to stay. Because I don’t know any other way. So I let go see what’s next, heavy on the smile light on the pressure. Light on the rest what we aim to do shining pride, yeah shining through. Traffic jams and broke streetlights. Sing for a show, sing for my life. Sing for the joy to play through the pain. Wake up tomorrow we do it all again. I say we might fall for a minute, we won’t hit the ground. Isn’t that just the way it goes to bring it all back around? Those to the grounds no feet in the beat, heart in the clouds, and my head in the streets. Well, I’ve found, that it all comes back around.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, I’m curious, like what is your narrative around your creative process do you like to work on songs did they just pop out of you like where do you source inspiration from like, tell me all the things?
Drew Satsang: I’m very, very blessed. I think of my creativity I don’t know where these songs come from. I just have a deal with it that, whether it’s in the middle of giving my son a bath or stuck in traffic or whatever it is, When they come, that I will stop immediately. And answer. And it’s so damn inconvenient at times. You know I have this thing where I was like, just literally two days ago, was telling my wife like fuck man ever written a song in a couple of weeks like there’s always this weird quiet fear of like Did it turn off, is it not coming back. And then I’ll write three in one day. So it’s like, I just didn’t kind of, I mean I pick up my guitar every day and fill around with it just in case. But really, I mean I’ll go a week without touching my guitar, and then a song will just come. I’ll just start singing it in my head and then I go figure it out and then it writes itself in two minutes and then boom, all the good ones come that way. I feel like if I work on something for more than 10 minutes, I tend to just throw it away, because it’s me, it’s not the thing. So whatever this weird cosmic Muse is no it’s just like one thing and then every once in a while comes and knocks on the door.
Laura Dawn: I love that narrative, are you familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on creativity, and she, tells this story I mean it’s a few years old, but she wrote Big Magic and I love her narrative around creativity, and she talks about this old school poet this woman. I don’t know if she’s still alive and I can’t remember her name but she would talk about that, that she would be out in the fields and she would hear the poem coming on the wind, and it would strike her and she’d run as fast as she could, over the hillside to grab the pin and catch it by the tail and sometimes the poem would come out backward from end to start, and I just like I love that it’s just like there’s some creative force and do you feel like you have to like tune into it like what’s that feeling what’s the like frequency the feeling that you get when you’re like oh it’s coming?
Drew Satsang: It’s pretty cool because it’s usually like I said it happened so fast, You know for me to bring it full circle, I like, I have figured out. If I am exercising, six days a week, if I’m waking up and going to the gym, if I’m eating right, I’m drinking the water. I’m doing all the things and I’m making time to close my eyes and breathe. And I stay in this disciplined practice of how I live my life. That Muse tends to show up more. Yeah. So it’s like, I, which is a special thing right and I think it’s another cool thing about psychedelics right is they’re always kind of, if you’re using them sporadically, you’re always kind of tied to this weird ethereal like you’re human, but you’re not taking being a human too serious because you know you’re part of this grander thing and that really your spirit is the thing, and that you’re just kind of in this vehicle in this weird experience. So I try to just stay ever so slightly tethered to the ethereal but keep a very disciplined human experience. And, and then the song. They just come, they just come in and it isn’t a battle and like you know I was telling my wife that I was like man I think I’m going to rent this winter in the dead of winter, I’m going to rent a Forest Service cabin and just go hang out in the woods for like four days without any service and write.
She called bullshit right away she goes. That’s not how you write, she goes, you’d sit in that fucking cabin for two days to get bored and come home. You know, there’s nothing’s coming, so it’s like if I sit down and I’m like Alright Drew write some songs like that never happens. That’s just not how it works for me. And I think, you know, I think it’s cool that other artists can do that and be like okay we’re going to go in the studio and I’m going to write this record, but it’s like, for me, I’m trying to only pull from that other place, you know, I don’t want to insert too much of myself into this shit I’d like to keep pulling from whatever that special thing is because then I think it just gives the music this cool thing where I can be like well I can’t really take credit for it I mean I show up for it and I answer when she calls but ultimately it’s her. I don’t know what this fucking thing is, but I’m just the one that picks up the phone.
Laura Dawn: Right, that’s such a similar narrative that I have too is like my body is a creative channel to create a vessel and if I show up to nourish it dedicate to my morning practices, I sleep well I eat well when I feel good. I’m more receptive I’m more in tune to receive. And I think that’s a big part of it. Have you ever written a song? I mean, it sounds like you were mostly working with psilocybin and then recently had your first Iowaska experience is that right.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, I’m a big, big fan of LSD too.
Laura Dawn: Oh yeah, me too. Okay cool, we’re all on the same page. Yeah, but you know with the medicine it’s like it’s so amazing that I see so many people who have never played music before and then they’ll sit with their first Iowaska ceremony, and then within three months they’re popping out music and like literally singing songs I mean that was the case for me, I never played music and now I write music on my guitar, but it only comes through when I’m in the medicine space, and I’ve had these experiences where I’ll write a song and then two years later I’ll play it for myself in a solo set in a ceremony that I’m holding for myself, and it will be the song for my medicine for my healing at that moment like two years later I’m like wow my past self literally sent my future self is healing that needed to happen has that has anything like that ever happened to you?
Drew Satsang: Yeah, you know I had a song. Come to me my friend David, his ceremony it was me my friend Justin and David and Justin was having a hell of a time, and David reached over and put his hand on the back of his head, and I heard him whisper every storm runs out of the rain. And it was just like, just set me on fire so I was like looking around this room, and this line, every person can return from pain, as every storm runs out of brain. I remember to Remember and surrender because we come from love. So that one I still haven’t done anything with but that couplets there and just as you were talking, I was like maybe the next record we do this very weird sounding intro and I just say this rather than singing it, you know, so it’s like, I don’t think I process things as they’re happening as an artist. Anyway, I feel like life throws me these little things like this song that I wrote the other day, my good friend Brady who is building me a motorcycle right now. He’s one of the most interesting characters ever. He runs a clothing company called Go Fast, Don’t Die. But he’s a brown belt in Jujitsu, he races motorcycles all over the world but, he has this thing with Harley so if he’s doing a desert race, he’ll fucking turn a Sportster into a desert racer but anyway. And he also is just the most beautiful man ever he’s just like this gorgeous.
He looks like a fucking movie character, and he lives his life as such. So we’re rather drawn to each other because I think we’re both quite enamored by the other one of like look at this, I’m doing this thing. Anyway, he just lost his cousin, and when Brady and I first connected was I was there when he got his brown belt. That was when we first kind of talk. But we both carry the coin of Memento Mori, which means remember you’ll die. Right. We’re both big fans of the Stoics, and I thought that was so weird that he carried that coin with him. So weird, he’s like dude I raced motorcycles like my mortality is in my face quite a bit. But he just lost his cousin. And we were just kind of talking about it and it dawned on me that I was like oh shit well two days ago is the anniversary of my sister’s passing.
And I just kind of was thinking about Brady and how he lives his life and how I live my life and how subconsciously we’re both very aware that we’re going to die, you know, so we’re trying to make it pretty cool. And out of nowhere that song just came, I and my wife were in the middle of giving our son a bath and I was just like, I have to go. It’s happening. I was like run into the other room and write this song. So it’s like for me. Also, the funny thing with the coin to relate it to what you’re saying is like, you know Iowaska confronts you pretty quick with the fact that you will die, you know, And it kind of shows you what’s in store for you. And during my, Iowaska experience I was clinching that memento mori coins so tightly. And when I kind of came back to my body I opened my hand and it’s flipped over. And on the back of the coin, It says, you can leave here at any time. And so it’s weird, I thought it was like well though, that’s coming out at some point, you know. But yeah, I’ve never been, I’ve never written anything in the psychedelic space. It just seems too much, it seems too hard. I won’t, me I think life is just giving me these little nuggets that store and then the muse will like, pull it off the shelf and hand it to me at a later time.
Laura Dawn: I love that. Yeah, I usually write songs, just like on the last third of my journey. I’ll open the space and then I’ll kind of play with a couple of ideas to kind of plant and like prime my brain in the psychedelic space, and then when I come out, I usually pick up like a nugget or two from like the opening before I was, you know, in the journey space, and then I’ll be like, Oh, let’s see, there’s something there, but it’s always just amazing that the more I get out of the way, the more I can receive. Really.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, yeah, that’s what’s so weird to me is, I mean, you know, different strokes for different folks but I, lyrics are so important to me, right, like there’s a lot of really good jazz bands, and the lyrics are just like gobbledygook like they’re looked at as fillers, you know, where it’s like okay well we have this really beautiful piece of music, you know, like fish. You know, it’s just all these goofy things thrown onto this beautiful music and I’m like, I just don’t look at music that way I think the words are so important because it’s like, man, like I think of the song I Am, the number of stories that people share with me relating to that song. It’s just so crazy to think that you could be a vessel for something that might save somebody’s life. You know, so for me, that’s always the goal and that’s why I only try to pull from that place that you’re talking about which is this like no, this isn’t me I’m just kind of like transmitting this thing, that’s what I think that’s so important because, to me, music is like, make sure it’s a good time at all, but it’s like you know it can really be a vessel to change people’s lives, you know, that’s always what it’s been for me and music has saved my life so many times.
Laura Dawn: Also with Iowaska specifically I’ve noticed that the way that I see frequency has really changed like the way that I understand resonance. And when I hear music that is resonant with my body, you know like when I listened to the story of you, I was like wow that’s really resonating with something deep within me and paying more attention to that and seeing you know that synesthesia, of like seeing frequencies has been definitely a big part of my journey with that medicine, specifically.
Drew Satsang: What was interesting for me as a music person, you know, my biggest fear of the ceremony wasn’t the compound itself it was the. Okay, so we’re going to be on for seven to eight hours, and this woman is going to be singing the whole time. You know, I was like oh fuck, that’s going to get old because I just like in my head I was like okay, you know, if I were in a room on psilocybin or LSD and someone was like singing all the songs in a different language I would eventually get to the place where I’m like, Yo, you got to shut the fuck up as I got, you know what I mean I got to drop in here. And what was so crazy about the Iowaska ceremony is the woman that was facilitating who I’m pretty sure isn’t from this planet. She would stop and I would hear her take a drink of water. And I’d be like, no, no, no, no, no, stop what are you doing, keep singing like don’t stop singing. It became a thing because Ikaros the songs were what was tethering me, to my experience, and when that music would stop who would like to pull the ebrake on what I was experiencing I was so relied upon her voice as the school bus, you know, taking me through my thing.
Yeah, yeah man that was a, it’s so funny too how the thing that also keeps me forever intrigued with psychedelics is in the throes of night one, I said to myself, not only am I not doing this tomorrow, but I’m probably going to leave as soon as this wears off, I’m going to get in my truck and go home tonight. And by the time we were sitting in a circle on day two I was like man I don’t want to drink that shit again like I don’t. And I wasn’t alone in that there was a few that had that conversation together, like, Dude, I don’t want to drink that shit again. Like I’m good I think I got whatever I came here for, and boy am I so grateful for night two, You know it’s a completely different ride, you know it’s a completely different set of downloads and I just think that it’s so funny, it’s just like, for me, they’re just important reminders, and for me, that’s why psychedelics will forever be a part of the story and a part of my life is.
They just keep me tethered to that ethereal, where they remind me that this whole human thing, it isn’t as serious as we’re playing it out. It’s the work they’re in that serious, you know, and that they’re just such great tools for remembering, you know, remembering the shit that really matters, because like I said you know no one ever on psychedelics has been like, Man, my bond doesn’t look as good as it should, you know, it’s like that’s just not the shit that comes up it’s like, Man, I could be way nicer to my kids, I could give my son way more grace, you know.
Laura Dawn: It’s never like, oh I wish I were like a little angrier about that really inconsequential thing that doesn’t mean anything.
Drew Satsang: Totally, I could have come up with such a better rebuttal to that Facebook comment.
Laura Dawn: Exactly, yeah, I’m so curious like how is your narrative around trauma changed. Is your father still alive?
Drew Satsang: Mm-hmm. Yeah, unfortunately. I say that with minimal levity. Yeah, he is, you know, I think, you know, it’s interesting for me because my, I wasn’t raised by my biological father is a very fundamental Christian, who I try to maintain, you know, the best relationship that I can with. I haven’t talked to my stepfather that raised me and abused me every day for 16 years I haven’t talked to him in some time. I think I’ve forgiven him. And in a weird way, I’m kind of grateful for him because I don’t know who I would be in my story not be exactly what it was, I don’t know that I’d be the person that I am I know for certain, I wouldn’t be. So I’m kind of grateful for all the abuse and the trauma that I experienced you know it turned me into a pretty cool cat. I think there’s just a weirdness. When I think about it when I really dive in on it. I’ve just like, I can’t believe it was my life. And then every once in a while, these memories come up and I’ll have to call my brother and be like Dave was that real and he’s like yeah man that one was real, that happened. See I don’t remember what your question was, but yes, he is still alive and not in the greatest of health from what I understand he’s an alcoholic. So, he’s not doing great.
Laura Dawn: So do you remember the shift for you to go from, you know, was it the narrative of like, Fuck you, I hate you. Why did you do this to me to like Wow, thank you for that? You made me who I am, that’s a pretty big narrative shift.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, you know I think the biggest takeaway of that epic psilocybin journey that kind of started the whole thing was, that’s kind of the mantra for my life is that this thing has happened for me and that to me that it was the first time I went well maybe this incredible hardship and trauma happened to prepare me for this grand rest of my life. You know when I saw my other siblings, you know, my sister, drank herself to death before she was 40, and she was stuck in that cycle that this happened to me, I’m the way I am because of my dad there was no personal choice in thereof, well, what if I change the fucking narrative and what if I take my power back and I go, No, you know, I’m going to use this as fuel, I’m going to use this as, you know, a superpower that you can’t hurt me. You know you can’t hurt me I’ve been hurt too much, you can’t hurt me, I’m unhurtable.
So yeah, for me, like I said everything kind of goes back to that one night, but that was the big gearshift was whoa what if this all happened to prepare me, you know, and I used to do this weird thing when I was a kid, you know, my dad would kick the shit out of us, and I’d go and sit in my room and cry. I remember I close my eyes really hard, and I go fuck I wish I could just be 25 for some reason in my head that I had a 25 I’ll have to work some shit out and I’ll be, you know well on my way, which oddly enough was kind of when I made the decision to start doing music seriously, but I just look at my life now and how beautiful it is and what a gift it is. And I go back to those moments of that kid closing his eyes, and there was just a knowing in there, I knew that I was going to be okay, you know, and I think one thing that was special about me when I was a kid was, I never internalized, what was happening to me I never went.
My dad is kicking the shit out of me because I’m worthless because I’m not good enough because I’m not smart enough, I always was. Oh, he’s a crazy alcoholic, so that’s why he’s doing what he’s doing, you know, I didn’t take it personally if you will, you know, there was never an inward thing that I thought something was wrong with me, I very much knew there was something wrong with him, which in most crazy trauma stories it’s not that way right, it’s people take on the belief of that abuser, that says yeah I’m not good enough I’m flawed, and that’s why they’re doing this to me I never had that.
Laura Dawn: Where’s your, you know, I like to frame it as like what’s at the center of your altar for your own prayer for your own healing right now, where it’s like your growth edge around your own sort of next evolution of deepening into wholeness and to healing?
Drew Satsang: Man, I’m trying to get softer. You know, I’ve heard myself pretty damn well. And, you know, the further I go down to the martial arts worm hole. It’s Will’s a great joke, my coach and dear friend. He says the more dangerous we get the nicer we become, you know, I just, for me I need to walkway more in that compassion than we talked about I’m so judgmental, I think we all are as humans, but you know I beat myself up pretty good at the end of the day, sometimes I’m like dude, you know, you make these snap fucking judgments and you’re not seeing past the thing like that superpower, my wife has I was talking about, I’d say at the center of my altar right now is seeing past the thing and, seeing the real thing as I like to get better at that, and do it in real-time rather than in retrospect, you know, to be able to be being yelled at or whatever the thing is, and see past the thing and go oh man that’s your dad or whatever if that’s your thing, that’s not you. I’d like to be able to do that in real-time. So that’s the big one for me right now.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Shogun Trumper Rinpoche Shay’s teachings, he’s the Shambala lineage. He always talks about you know taking your seat in the center with a strong back and soft front, you know, strong back. The soft open front and then a lot of what Pema talks about, like the trigger, there’s actually like a somatic association to softening. It’s like when you feel the trigger and you want to contract it’s actually like going into the middle of it and like softening and relaxing it open, seeing like zooming out seeing the bigger picture, like, oh we get so narrowly focused on like holy shit, this person is like doing this thing but it’s like okay, it’s like the somatic association to the softening. But
Drew Satsang: Yeah, that’s definitely the next step for me, you know I used to just react. You know in the past year I’ve gotten pretty good at going. I’m about to react. So I’m going to walk away right now, I’ll circle back. Yeah. Which I think is a strong step one, you know, for me it was a huge thing because I used to just react, and then have to apologize or explain my reaction. So that’s definitely the next phase for me is being able to at the moment go to soft in and zoom out, you know, because where I’m at right now is the, okay. I can feel a visceral response and a reaction that will be unfavorable following so I’m going to walk away. And then I have to go sit by myself and do that it’d be nice to be able to just do that at the moment, you know.
Laura Dawn: I was curious to ask you about, just like, it’s so palpable how much you love the lands of Montana. When I was watching some of your videos and just about this album and yeah, what is the role that the land that Montana plays for you in your creative process and you’re coming to the center and you’re like connection to the news in your life and your love and devotion to this path, What is Montana plays for you?
Song: Land of the mountains where summer sees snow. The wind carries memories to where I don’t know. On a rocking river where the time it gets slow. These are the places I’m from that I go. These are the places that I’m from that I go.
Drew Satsang: These mountains. When I was getting sober. They were really cut all that I had, you know, I didn’t really have any friends. You know when you quit drinking you find out pretty quickly, you have a shitload of acquaintances and not a lot of friends. So I spent a lot of time in the mountains by myself. So there’s that connection to them, they’re like this old therapist that never goes away you know that I get to maintain a relationship with.
Two you know I think what makes Montana so special is there’s a lot of beautiful states in America that have mountains, you know, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, but they’ve been pretty well polished? They’ve been pretty well populated, and Montana has this toughness and this ruggedness to it. It feels otherworldly at times, you know there are places in the state that you can go stand that are. Yeah, you can almost be certain no one’s ever stood there before, or if they have not in a very long time. So there’s something very wild and untamed about it still, and, you know, my prayer is that it stays that way forever.
Laura Dawn: That’s beautiful. I feel like you’re describing how I feel about the Big Island. This is like rugged beauty, it’s just like this is actually like the newest Earth on the planet but it’s still ancient and it’s like
Drew Satsang: Where out on the Big Island are you?
Laura Dawn: In Lower Puna.
Drew Satsang: Oh you’re in Puna, dude I have such a special connection to that place we went, and I was there for about three weeks. And everyone was kind of like warning me about Puna, like well it’s you know it’s pretty rough, you know, and I don’t know maybe it’s just the Montana and maybe, but I didn’t want to leave I Kona wasn’t for me, Hilo was not really for me. There was something about that Puna area that I really liked, you know, Alaska is similar to where it’s like you meet really nice people and you’re like, either that dude’s a rugged individualist or he might be on the run for murder. I don’t know either way he’s nice, you know, there’s something cool about that.
Laura Dawn: Yeah, I’ve traveled all over the world but this island really called me and the moment I stepped foot on this island I was like, oh right, this is home. And I feel like there are people. Yeah, people, I feel like either get crazier here or, you know this is like really high poverty rates here I got here it was like the most abundant I’ve ever been in my life, it’s just like literally we’re on top of so much magma flowing up from the center of the earth like right underneath us. That’s a lot of energy. So I think it’s like, it can either spin you out, it’s either you get toppled by the wave or you actually catch the best wave of your life here. You know and like really taught me what it means to actually, first of all, make peace with impermanence, channel a lot of life force energy into a vision that you want to create and what it means to like to be on this as the spectrum of like creation versus destruction it’s like the same coin different sides of the same coin. You know, went through the lava flow two years ago it was super intense.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, yeah, I actually wrote Remember Jah and that’s where Trevor and I first met. Oh yeah, it was actually yeah, a conversation he and I had of Uncle Roberts.
Laura Dawn: Oh, that’s just down the road from me.
Drew Satsang: Nice, yeah.
Laura Dawn: Oh, sweet. Awesome. Is there anything else that we didn’t touch on that you wanted to add to this conversation?
Drew Satsang: No, I just hope everyone likes the new record. I sure like it. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever made. So I hope everybody’s enjoying it. But yeah, you know I just would encourage everyone to do you know my whole vibe right now is writing, you know like you just said the way if I just am. I have no agenda with my music or my art. Right now I’m just kind of riding it or letting it ride me, whichever way that may be but I’m. Yeah, I just am. I’m at the best place that I’ve ever been. And I think more good art is going to continue to come from it. Yeah. And then I just hope everybody’s here for it.
Laura Dawn: Awesome, thank you so much. I love the new album highly recommended. And I’m so curious actually total random so is it like when people listen to your music on Spotify is that financially beneficial or do you prefer people to buy your album I mean obviously, it’s better if people buy but how does that work with Spotify?
Drew Satsang: Yeah, no I just, I do all right from streaming, you know, is actually yeah why I was so blessed to just kind of chill. During COVID I wasn’t really in such a panic. But really, I don’t even care, man. Just knowing that people are listening to it, like, yeah, I don’t whatever platform anyone wants to listen to it on just listen to it by linear lives and make stories with it, you know, like, to me, that’s the coolest thing ever. It’s like, you know if it can be a soundtrack for something, you know, I still tell Trevor all the time, he is one of my best friends, it just seemed like dude, you have no idea your album. Every time. Every place everywhere. I think that’s what’s called like do that was when I was in Nepal, it was all I listen to, you know, I can’t hear those songs and I go to that place. Yeah. However, anyone wants to listen to it, Let it be a soundtrack for whatever you’re doing.
Laura Dawn: That’s so wonderful. Any parting like words of advice words of wisdom.
Drew Satsang: Just keep it real and be nice to people. Just keep it real and be nice to people. That’s the best I got right now.
Laura Dawn: That’s pretty damn good actually
Drew Satsang: Thank you so much for having me on, it was a delightful conversation.
Laura Dawn: Thank you so much, Drew, I’m grateful to have this time with you. Your music is played a big inspiration in my life as well so thank you. It’s woven into the story of my life.
Drew Satsang: I’m glad we got to connect. We’re talking about coming out there. So once everything is fully, calmed down. I will definitely make sure that our agent gets a stamp of approval.
Laura Dawn: That would be great. Yes, come visit. Yeah, that’d be awesome.
Drew Satsang: Yeah, well, we’ll talk to you soon thank you so much for having me.
Laura Dawn: Okay Thanks Drew, aloha.
Hi friends, thank you so much for tuning into another episode of The Psychedelic Leadership Podcast. If you’ve been enjoying the show, I would so appreciate it if you would share it with a friend or share one of your favorite episodes on social media, or subscribe, wherever you listen to podcasts. If you’d like to leave me a review, I am now sharing iTunes reviews on my social media on Instagram @ Live Free Laura D and I am tagging people’s accounts and giving some shout outs to the people who have been leaving me reviews, so if you’d like to hop on to iTunes and leave a review and just send me a DM on Instagram @ Live Free Laura D, I would be happy to feature you in one of my Instagram stories. If you’d like to be in touch with me about anything at all, please feel free to reach out through my website @livefreelaurad.com. So I’m going to be leaving you with one of my all-time favorite songs by Satsang called Remember Jah. And as Drew just mentioned, you know, I just found out that this song came through for him just down the road from me, here in Lower Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. So that just makes it a little more special. Once again, my name is Laura Dawn and you’re listening to The Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.
Satsang has been actively touring and releasing music for the better part of the last decade. Selling out shows in all corners of the country while carrying the message of perseverance, positivity, accountability, hard work, and activation. Having overcome childhood abuse, addiction, and poverty Satsang has made its mission statement to always get better; physically, mentally, and spiritually… rooted in the belief that life happens for us and not to us, and it’s up to each individual to make the decision to grow. Based in the mountains of SW Montana, Satsang is also an active part of the MMA community and a practitioner of both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
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Laura Dawn rocks her Psychedelic Leadership Podcast with so much style and grace! Her guests are innovative thought leaders and she asks them the most illuminating questions. She shares a wealth of knowledge and inquiry as well as her passion for the arts and music. I always appreciate how LD conducts herself.
Each time I tune into an episode I get chills all over my body! This podcast is my personal new favourite, I’ve expanded my awareness around these topics so much just tuning into these conversations, from each episode I walk away with a new teaching! Im also deeply appreciative of the way Laura Dawn structures her episodes and interviews.
The psychedelic leadership podcast is blowing my default mode network!!! Episodes include revolutionary science, as well as practical steps we can all take to creatively make change to help heal the planet and ourselves. Laura Dawn is an amazing speaker, and most definitely a thought leader.
I am absolutely hooked on this Podcast. Laura Dawn presents her topics and guests in a stunningly beautiful, heart centered format while weaving in the most relevant topics in psychedelics today.
Laura Dawn’s experience and service to the healing journey is a recipe for humanity, through modern science, plant medicine and ancient wisdom is amazing. She attracts the best of the best leaders in the space of science, psychedelics and spirituality, I love every one of her podcasts. Thank you LD!
Wow what a powerful lineup of speakers and guests sharing profound experiences and wisdom. So relevant to our times and not just with plant medicines and psychedelics but with just being a human being in these changing, evolving times. May we all grow together. Thank you Laura!
I’m obsessed with this podcast and I’ve listened to every episode. This is the kind of podcast that has the potential to change humanity if we all listen to these interviews and Laura’s wisdom.
About Laura Dawn
Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.