May 12th, 2022

Episode #52

OF THE PSYCHEDELIC LEADERSHIP PODCAST

Sacred Activism, Spiritual Resilience and Co-Creating Cultures of Belonging with
Hanifa Nayo Washington

Hanifa Nayo Washington and I discuss the topics of sacred activism, spiritual resilience and building community rooted in equality, integrity, and embodied leadership.

It is a sacred privilege to be alive, to be conscious, to be aware, to create in this world
Hanifa Nayo Washington
Hanifa Nayo Washington

Listen:

About This Episode:

How do we as leaders cultivate a deeply caring, resilient, just/equitable, and loving community? Perhaps the answer lies in “sacred activism”. I brought on sacred activist, Hanifa Washington who has been working at the forefront of mindfulness, place-making, and social justice to cultivate organizations, gatherings, spaces, and experiences rooted in the values of beloved community.

As the Co-founder and Organizing Principle of One Village Healing, an online BIPOC centered healing, resilience, and psychedelic wellness space, and the Fireside Project, a nonprofit that is creating systemic change in the field of psychedelics in three key domains: safety, diversity, and equitable access, Hanifa knows how to lead courageously with her heart in collaboration with plant medicine, inner guidance, and her community.

In this episode, I ask Hanifa about how to embody sacred activism and spiritual resilience. You will learn how to truly be there for someone else through deep and reflective listening. We explore our relationship with power, how to utilize our energy in conscious co-creation, and how to work with rage in a healthy way. 

Hanifa is the Co-founder and Chief of Strategy at Through their Psychedelic Peer Support Line, Fireside Project has created a nationwide safety net that has substantially decreased 911 calls and hospitalizations while democratizing access to free high-quality care. The line has supported thousands of callers since launching in April of 2021.

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Spiritual resilience
  • Sacred activism
  • Culture of belonging
  • Community
  • Psychedelic integration
  • Peer-to-peer support
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Somatic awareness
  • Spiritual daily practices
  • Burn out prevention
  • Conscious Co-creation

Links &

useful resources
  • Hanifa's Website
  • North Star Pledge Non Profit
  • Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines
  • Beyond Diversity Workshops
  • Ancestors project Anti-racism Workbook
  • FREE 8-DAY Microdosing course
  • 4 MUSIC PLAYLISTS FOR PSYCHEDELIC JOURNEYS & BEYOND

Download My Free Guide to Psychedelic & Plant Medicine Integration

PSYCHEDELIC PODCAST

Episode Transcript

Episode #52 Full Transcript: Sacred Activism, Spiritual Resilience, and the importance of Cultivating Beloved Community with Hanifa Nayo Washington on the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

My name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to episode #52 of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast featuring this powerful conversation with social entrepreneur, sacred activist and co-founder of the Fireside project, Hanifa Nayo Washington. 

 

Hanifa Nayo Washington, is a woman of many talents and she is a powerful role model for embodied leadership in the psychedelic space. Her leadership is clearly rooted in integrity, equality, and her leadership is heart centerd, she is kind and caring, which is something I love about Hanifa.  

 

Hanifa calls herself a sacred activist – a topic we’re going to be diving into today –  and she’s been a healing justice practitioner with 20 years of values-based nonprofit leadership experience, 

 

Hanifa is the Co-founder and Chief of Strategy at Fireside Project a nonprofit that is creating systemic change in the field of psychedelics.  

 

And if you’re not yet familiar with Fireside Project it  is the first Psychedelic Peer Support Line, and they also have an app now, which is incredible. And what they have essentially done is created a nationwide safety net that has substantially decreased 911 calls and hospitalizations while democratizing access to free high-quality care. The line has supported thousands of callers since launching in April of 2021. 



I had Hanifa’s co-founder Joshua White, who’s also a dear friend, on the show a while back – that was episode #33, and that conversation was more focused on the Fireside project and what they are doing. 

 

And if you haven’t yet listened to that episode, I highly recommend giving it a listen, not only because Fireside is such a valuable resource, but because they are also a great example of visionary leadership and creating something unprecedented, that didn’t yet exist in the space, and filling a really important need. 

 

And launching big initiatives like this, is not easy, I’m in the middle of launching an unprecedented initiative as well right now, called Grow Medicine, which is why we need spiritual resilience. 

 

And these topics of sacred activism and spiritual resilience and building community are so important right now, and that’s why I wanted to bring Hanifa on the show. 

 

And the more I learn about Hanifa, the more I’m just so in awe of and impressed by this kind and caring human being. She’s also a facilitator, reiki master practitioner, and a creative, she’s a musician, digital designer, and works at the intersection of mindfulness, place making, and social justice to cultivate organizations, gatherings, spaces, and experiences rooted in the values of beloved community. 

 

Hanifa is also the Co-founder and Organizing Principle of One Village Healing, an online BIPOC centered healing, resilience, and psychedelic wellness space.

 

Hanifa also released her 3rd album called Mantras for the Revolution where she offers these soulful, connective, kirtan-style, songs as a collective practice, coming together to use our voices as medicine in this time of revolution that is both- within us and around us.

 

At the end of this episode, I’m going to leave you with one of her heart-felt mantras so you can tune into this frequency and prayer for peace. And if you would like to support Hanifa in her creative endeavors, you can find a link to purchase her album Mantras for the Revolution by going to lauradawn.co/52 where you can also find links to her website and social media,  and all the other wonderful resources mentioned throughout this episode. 



Before we dive in, just a couple of quick announcements. We are weeks away from the launch of Grow Medicine. 

And through a partnership collaboration, grow medicine is now a project of the Indigenous Medicine Conservation fund, supported by RiverStyx Foundation and Dr. Bronners. 

And Grow is essentially an easy-to-use mobile-friendly donation-based platform for the psychedelic and medicine community to step into right relationship and give back to the traditional knowledge holders from which these medicines come. And we are featuring different indigenous-led non profit organizations for each of the 5 keystone medicines, so ayahuasca, peyote, iboga, sacred mushrooms and Bufo. 

 

And it’s also an education-based platform where we’re helping to broaden our awareness and deepen our understanding around plant medicine conservation. 

 

And our official launch date is May 31st, and if you’d like to support that launch and learn more about what we are doing, you can go to Grow Medicine. Com – and our new landing page is up and it’s looking so so so gorgeous. So please check that out, and we just got our IG account up, so please follow @ supportgrow medicine. 

 

I’ll actually be announcing the launch of Grow Medicine in Switzerland at the Psychedelic House in Davos in less than a couple of weeks. And I’ll actually be seeing Hanifa and Joshua there who are also speaking and those talks will be streamed for the Psyched Conference, and I’ll include a link to that in the shownotes if you want to tune in to that. 

 

https://www.psyched.studio/conference-2022

 

Then after Davos, I’ll be flying right to Colorado for the Arise Music Festival, the weeked of May 27th and 28, 29th, – and there are still tickets to that available, and I have a special code if you want to come join me and get 15% off your ticket, I’ll link to that as well. And I’ll be offering a keynote on Psychedelics, Creativity and Visionary Leadership – my favorite topic to speak on. 

 

so lots coming up for me, and then right after Arise we’re in launch mode for Grow the first 2 weeks of June. And then I’m going to need a vacation y’all, so I can practice spiritual resilience. 

 

Alright friends, as always, thank you so much for continuing to tune in, without any further ado, here is my conversation with this wonderful Hanifa Nayo Washington. 

 

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Yeah, it’s so nice to be able to drop in with you today. Hanifa, I was just looking at your website and, oh my gosh, I love this photo of you on the cover of your site. It’s just gorgeous and the dress, and just, it’s such a powerful statement where you point to the work that you do. And I love these three terms that you use on your websites, sacred activism, spiritual resilience, and cultivating beloved community and community of belonging.

 

And these are three topics that I would love to dive in with you 

 

today. Awesome. Well, I’m so happy to be here with you today and to get into the juiciness of this, that photo is like a once in a lifetime photo. And just a really quick story about that. I was I lived in new Haven for many, many years.

 

I just made a move out to Oregon. But I won a, an arts award from the city and it came with a photo shoot. And so there I lived there that was in 2018 or 17, I think was 18. And so my very good friends where the photo studio that was selected to do the photo shoot. So I had gotten that dress and I hadn’t worn it yet.

 

And I was like, what am I ever going to wear this dress? And so I was like, oh, this is, this is it. And so I was doing my photo, you know, they do your makeup. And then my friends, you know, they were shooting. So it was, I was very comfortable and they were playing. Just really amazing music. And I remember this, that, that photo is toward the very end of the shoot.

 

And they had put on living my life, like it’s golden by Jill sky. I was like in the group and I literally then like, began to feel. And welcome my ancestors into this space. And so literally I could like fill them, filling up the room and all around me. And they were so proud and I was sort of like twirling and they had this fan on and I was just like there for my ancestors and like listening to Jill Scott.

 

And it was like this really powerful moment and it was captured. And so whenever I see that photo, I’m just like, it fills her with so much joy also. And I think like, it’s just like, that’s my ancestors. You’re seeing me like fully up in my ancestor. So I was wanting to like, share that. I love 

 

that. I mentioned your photo.

 

I mean, you can really tell that there’s something profound happening in that moment. And music does that for me too. Music has such a way of just moving the spirit and then that opens up that channel. And that’s when you know, all of our ancestors can actually really stand behind us and also the generations to come before us.

 

Yeah. And you are such a living embodiment of sacred activism in action with the work that you’re doing with fireside and also the work that you’ve done in the past. And for people listening to this who, yeah. Maybe we can start with just like your definition and how you think about sacred activism. And maybe I’ll just set a little context here for people who listened to my solo episode on leveraging psychedelics to shape and mold our sense of identity and habit change really follows identity change, and actually the sense of spiritual resilience and sacred activism is kind of a very powerful narrative to embody as a sense of identity.

 

So I kind of wanted to frame it that way. Sacred activism as a sense of this is who I am, and this is how I’m showing up in the world. 

 

Yeah. Ooh, I love that, Laura. This is who I am. And this is how I’m showing up in the world. And I really think at the core of that and how I anchor into sacred activism is, is through, you know, practices that bring deeper spiritual awareness that bring more healing that bring more justice for equity.

 

And all of that is so much steeped in my relationship to power and this concept around conscious co-creation. So for many years, I’ve worked with a group called CEIO which stands for co-creating effective and inclusive organizations slash organizers. And at the core of that work is the sense of not only just understanding what conscious co-creation.

 

But practicing it and being it. And so when we, we kind of use this, I hear this word used a lot kind of thrown around in terms of like co-creation co-creation, let’s, co-create this co-create that and Coke conscious co-creation isn’t collaboration, right? It is about consciously being aware of how am I using my power, my energy, my life force in this moment.

 

And in this moment, and in this moment, and in this moment how am I bringing my gifts How am I holding people accountable? How am I saying the things that need to be said, how am I sitting in silence? How am I, how am I making this happen? And so I think that for a long time, like I was acculturated to be silent, you know, to always speak when spoken to, to just sort of be the helper.

 

And there’s a lot of conditioning, you know, that I’ve been undoing a growing awareness around and so around my relationship to power. And so when I think about. Being a sacred activist. It’s really like I take every moment, every interaction like with such heart and sacredness, because it is, it is a sacred privilege to be alive to be conscious, to be aware to, to create in this world.

 

And so I think about the injustices and the imbalance of power and also how other people have been acculturated and unblinded. And so I feel it is my duty sacred duty responsibility to be in this world, supporting others, to understand their relationship to power to create spaces. Awareness and healing where folks can tap into to enter their sense of self and to their source into their remembering.

 

Right? And so to me, that is what it’s central around. Like when I say I’m a sacred activist, it’s about understanding the sacredness of life, understanding my responsibility to other, to, to ensure that folks are healing and safe and have the tools that they need because we need, we need each other.

 

It’s a, it’s a back and forth. It’s a back and forth. And so again, within the sacred activism for me, It’s not about like, I’m trying to be famous or I need to make excellent of dollars. It’s not a career path. It’s a, it’s a way of living. 

 

I love that you framed it as understanding a relationship to power.

 

I think that that is actually really powerful. And I’m curious if we can get actually really practical here for people listening to this and they’re thinking to themselves, okay, how do I become more aware to my relationship to power in this moment? I mean, I immediately think of leadership development training, which a core foundation of that is actually training in emotional intelligence.

 

And in those sub categories, there’s actually four big categories of emotional intelligence. And we can look at, you know, self-awareness and embodiment practices, but I’m curious, how do you teach people and what are like the practical invitations tools that we can actually share here for people to start becoming more aware of?

 

What is their relationship to power. 

 

Yeah, I love this. I, I think kind of a weird way that I inroad to it is actually around gratitude. So I think that if we can begin with understanding what we’re grateful for then we can begin to understand our relationship, to gratitude our relationship to that feeling of wholeness that often gratitude evokes.

 

And then that can lead to the like, like, why am I grateful for this? And how did this happen? What all had to, I had to coalesce for me to have this experience. And so, and it gets people into the heart center and then thinking about, well, what is it about this thing that I’m grateful for, that I want to remember, or that I want to live on or have a legacy?

 

What is it about this experience that I want to share with others? And then how do I, how do I do that? Is it through storytelling? Is it through writing some sort of creative way? Is it through something that I, you know, creating an experience? And so bringing it down from the sort of concepts like into the heart center, like how does it make you feel in your body?

 

Bringing people into the awareness of how gratitude and love, because that’s, what’s behind it all sits in the body. And then you can begin to ask, you know, what is, what is keeping you from being in gratitude at all times? What are the things that are removing you from that sense of gratitude and and love.

 

And so identifying sort of that feeling first and the notion of that, those super important to me and then moving people into, okay. You know, as Ruby sells famously said, where does it hurt? Like where is the pain? Where are the blockages? Okay. Let’s ask some questions about that. So really kind of probably be able to, through some journaling is a good way to begin.

 

So it’s like, what are you grateful for? What does love feel like in your body when you think about the things you’re grateful for now? Why aren’t we in that energy all the time? Oh, this, this, and this, I’m busy doing this. Okay. Then we can begin to see where some of the cycles might be. Some of the patterns, some of the conditioning where we have internalized things.

 

And I, I, I do a very sematic practice. So bringing people back into the breath and the body doing a body scan, you know, from head to tell where’s the tension. Okay. Where, where do you kind of cry? Your body is always giving you data and information. And then being able to sit with that and to meditate and to continue to ask that to sort of explore where, where the pain is.

 

And then I think that it’s about this, you know, really getting deep in here because it’s really all about starting with yourself and to start with yourself and then it’s about, okay, how can I then help or reflect back or hold for others, but we have to start with self inquiry and masters. That’s where it begins.

 

And it’s a continual practice it’s never going to just end, like, and that’s a really big thing that I am super clear about with folks that I work with. And for myself, the moment that you feel that you’re above the work, that you don’t have any work to do, like you’re failing and you need to pause and recover.

 

Like that’s just the truth. So I think there’s a lot of self inquiry reflection. There’s, you know, taking time, you know, so I became a Reiki master maybe four, five or six years ago. And, but I’ve been studying it for longer than that. And so those first three years, I didn’t practice on anyone. I would practice on myself.

 

It was, it was my own. Spiritual practice that I got to, you know, know what was going on with me, my assistance, how this, how my energy can support, can support this body in this spirit. And then I began to slowly bring on other people who either came to me or what did it, I wasn’t sort of like, you know, flashing the kind of like I’m here, come get, you know, so it’s like, I feel like these practices for for wholeness must come from a super organic and inward place first, like start a whole, right.

 

And then build out from there. And I think that also choosing something really distinct that you can, can have a positive effect on, I feel like it’s super important to you. I think. We can often have like really, you know, especially with Instagram and all these things, we see everyone doing these big things or whatever is always happy.

 

And it’s like, you can just really hold space for a friend or you know, donate or go do some volunteering work. You can you know skip a meal and then donate that money to something that feels worthy, like change and systems change, work start from a thought, just like anything else like that, that started the mind and moves outward.

 

So I would also encourage people to like start small. So like, don’t feel like you have to go start a whole organization or give tons and tons of money or spend hours and hours and hours. It’s about just like in medicine work it’s about intention. So setting your intention and that can, that can be you know, like a mustard.

 

So those are the things I share on that. And I, I feel like to me, there’s this sort of infinity loop, you know, when I talk about sacred activism and then spiritual resilience, they are like kind of melt into each other. And so when you are living your life to anchor more love on the planet when you are here to change or more or create new systems alongside the ones that are crumbling.

 

This is really intensive, hard work, right. It’s very it’s very different from sort of sort of technical work or work. That’s like not involved with like critical transformational change. And so it requires right then different ways of being in different tools for your resilience, because you are waking up every day.

 

In this world and this system that is not built to support those types of changes. And so you’re not only getting up and making the change again, starting within the self and then building out you are then subject to the crunch and the drain and the Decompartmentalization and the disconnection you know, systems.

 

And so we have to then have practices that give us the resilience to get up every day in this system, dealing with those forces, as well as laying the new track. And then being in balance. Right. And so I think that just by having strong spiritual practices and that could look like a range of things.

 

It’s not a, you know, I’m not preaching right. For some people it’s like, I get up, I drag, I do my thing. I pray, I eat this certain thing, whatever it is, whatever your practices are that give your body and spirit the resilience to keep going. And I think for me, it looks like a deep to a deep, a lot of prayer and you know, medicine where cause also were helpful for me in the transmuting of the stuff that’s that I’m sucking up from the world as it is.

 

And sort of the, not the, just medicine where counseling can transmute, that helps me to transmute that energy and that suck back to potential. And so I think that spiritual resilience also looks like having the difficult conversations you need to do. With people, it looks like rest. I will say that again.

 

It looks like rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, so much rest. And that’s for me, like one of the biggest things I’m learning now, I’m just like, oh man, I just have to rest. Like you just do. And so I think that spiritual resilience also looks like silence. It looks like unplugging from all of the things and spiritual resilience is also, I find being able to commune with people, you know, to be an integration and of life, to be able to process whether that’s like maybe for you as therapy, maybe for you it’s to talk with your girlfriend or, you know, go into a church group or something.

 

But I feel like community connection and integration is, is a super part of of integration of spiritual resilience as well. And so then when you have more of that, you’re not only then like broadcasting that to the world and people are seeing and feeling it coming from your essence, it isn’t fueling you to this.

 

To go back out into the systems, to face the world, to also begin to transmute and change those systems a little bit at a time. And I have found personally, like when I’m not practicing the things I know I should for my resilience so that I can keep going and I not only keep going, but then pro you know, provide for myself and others.

 

Yeah. You know, you burn out, you get sharp with people, you know, all the things begin to come on, balanced, doing things that aren’t healthy for the body saying yes to everything not sleeping. And that’s what to me, healing is about this constant, constant having awareness, which leads to more understanding, which leads to the medicine, which leads to integration.

 

And again, medicine is not just medicine, but it’s nourishing, nourishing your body. It is going out into the woods and connecting with nature. You know, medicine is not, not at all. Things that we ingest for care. But yeah, I know it kind of went up there. 

 

Oh, that’s great. I love that you have this infinity metaphor between sacred activism and spiritual resilience.

 

I really get that. I really appreciate that. I want to highlight a couple of words that you said that were really powerful. I love that you start with gratitude and you use the word self-mastery and also the word transmute. And I want to frame this now within the context of, of sacred activism and the plant medicine and psychedelic space.

 

And I really want to ask you about this. Notion of anger and how we work with anger. It actually is a powerful force. So when we were talking about, you know, your relationship to power, I thought actually anger is really powerful. And I love that you start with gratitude and you use this word transmute because the reality is is that there are so many injustices in the world and it can make people really angry.

 

And I actually, when I think of sacred activism, the first thing I think of is this notion of social justice warriors. That actually doesn’t really feel good in my body because I have been attacked by people, actually very maliciously attacked by quote unquote, social justice warriors in the psychedelic space.

 

And I know that it comes from a place of deep care. And being the recipient of that kind of hate and anger, it’s really an intense experience. And I really ask myself, okay, is this the pathway towards healing? You know, and I’m so curious, just your thoughts and the framing around how do we channel anger in a healthy way.

 

And I’ve heard Bernay brown talk about the difference between actually anger, being something really powerful that we can channel that energy within us. But then it’s also a force that if you throw at other people, it can actually cause a lot of damage and hurt. And you mentioned transmutation, and I’m curious if that’s what you’re talking about, these injustices, where we just feel so disheartened with what is happening with the power dynamics in the world, and then how we, how do we work with anger as a healing force and a force towards real equality and sustainability and in the direction of what we want rather than contributing to more of what we don’t want, which is division and opposition.

 

Absolutely. This is a really important topic. I think that you’re absolutely right. Anger, certainly fuels and can fuel change and systems change work. I think that when we, and this is again, coming back to sacred activism, Decide. Okay. I’m going to go try to do this work or pick the topic you want to work on, but you haven’t done your inner work on your end.

 

You’re not aware of where your blind spots might be or where some of your, where your trauma systems are. We can transfer that energy into the work that we’re doing. We can literally replicate the systems of oppression in the work that we’ve set out to do that we think is good in the world. But what will happen is because we haven’t done our work or disconnected from that loop or the infinity is that we just keep crashing violently on the ends and then going back to the other side.

 

So, and we short circuit. So we see that a lot in organizers. And so this work, the question is about. Okay. Yeah. How am I replicating the systems that I’m actually trying to change? Because that is literally the definition, what they say madness, like doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting, you know, a different results.

 

And so you can’t, I think that you cannot be an effective activist without bringing the sacred into it. If we, if we forget the sacred what we’re going to see are, are the, are the trauma systems and often you’ll see the undercurrent of that is anger. And we know that beneath anger is hurt sadness and disconnection.

 

And so I think that, I think that it’s really important for anybody doing really big work out in the community to to think about, okay, what are some of the practices I can begin to? If I’m not doing even a five minute body scan a day or meditating for two or three minutes, and then building from there, having these practices is going to help folks not burn out, but also to not like what, you know, like bleed on other people literally.

 

And so I think that it’s unfortunately a common thing, you know, that I, that I see in the, in the world of activism and with activists and people who, who are those things, but might not call themselves that. And these are often people who have big traumas from childhood. These are people who then like, are really big people pleasing.

 

They wouldn’t call themselves that, but that they are categorized in that, in that degree where they’re always putting others first, they’re always putting the action first. They’re always putting, you know, the fight first. And this is something I think is also like ingrained in us from this culture, from this capitalistic culture and that those notions, like, if you don’t do the work and you’re not aware, again, those things will bleed into your social justice work.

 

You’ll literally begin to replicate courting power, right. And becoming literally like Thai radical to some degree, some folks where you will begin to create a pecking order right. Within your social justice organization. And so I think a lot of. Takes time and people feel like they don’t have time. We don’t have time.

 

People are dying in the streets. Like people don’t have food, you know, like, so I think that there’s a real disease, like within the social justice movement, because we’ve been conditioned to go fast and hard to not take care of ourselves, to, to ignore our needs and to have no spiritual practice. And it’s all about like producing right.

 

And getting the action done and getting the names on the petition, kind of at all costs. And I think that that culture really needs to change. Wow. 

 

I mean, I even hear people say, but sacred rage, it’s sacred rage. I I’m validated in expressing sacred rage. 

 

I think that people, you know, will do what they need to do.

 

And I think that there’s, there’s a place for rage. Absolutely. There’s a place there’s a place for rage and anger within, within. Movement. Right? Cause it’s this all about liberation. This is, we’re all trying to get toward everybody being free all the time. Like all of these different movements. And I think that I would be remiss to say that, like you can’t pay, you can’t have rage or be angry, but if you don’t have a spiritual practice to channel that they can, it can be, like you said, it can be really, really dangerous and also unpredictable.

 

And so I think that that there’s ways to, you know, just think of myself. I think that, you know, I have a lot of anger and disappointment and I think that being able to, to sit with it in a sacred place and to, to express it through movement, to, to scream right. To, to whatever art like to know that I have it.

 

I have been working with a spiritual teacher for a little while and you know, she’s really trained me to like, listen to what I call the deans, right. When Spirit’s like, Hey. You’re doing that thing. Hey, go do this. Like, here’s your assignment. And four months in once a month and once a month, it was like, you need to go paint.

 

And I was like, I’m not a painter. Like, I’m a paint. Like, it’s just not my thing. And so it was like, you need to paint. And so, okay. So finally months later I got all the equipment and I got the biggest canvas. I was like, why would I do this in a two day? I got like four by 4k, this all these paints and brushes and whatever.

 

And I just like dropped it and put my headphones on and listen to music. And all of this anger came out. I was so angry. I was just, I had no idea that that was just so just under the surface. And I painted like a mad woman. I was just like, ah, over and over and came to this really amazing thing. And it has such a charge even when, like I look at it or walk by and it’s like, I can feel that energy coming off.

 

And so I think there’s ways to funnel, channel transmute, these emotions. Such as rage and anger. And again, underneath that though, is, is the feeling of disconnection is the feeling of hurt and deep sadness. And so I think that, again, this culture, like okay’s anger and rage, like it’s a part of like what we do and it gives us validation, but we don’t talk about sadness.

 

We’re sad by ourselves. Right. But it’s okay to like flasher anger out it somewhat. And so I think there’s, there’s just like deep cultural things that question here, but I believe that meditation plant medicine work has really helped me transmute. And I mean, literally taking those emotional, those emotions such as anger and range being with them.

 

So not running away from them, but like being in it, being in the uncomfortable heats of that, and then moving it through interning literally through breath, through movement, turning it back into potential. Cause that’s where it goes back. So then, because that’s all means mine, but it’s eating me up, right?

 

The anger, rage, isn’t hurting anyone else. It’s really destroying my own systems and, and my wholeness and it’s within me. And then I can recognize it, be with it and then little by little, literally through breath and movement and through whatever medicine does shit, like ask for that, to be transmuted back into potential that is within me and it’s calm and it’s a constant practice, right.

 

Again, I really try to help raise up the message that like healing is infinite. It doesn’t just stop. It’s not like, okay, this thing happened. And then now I’m all healed and done. It’s actually. This process, right? That I call AMI. So it’s like, Hey, you’re aware. And I feel like medicine work practices, but also breath work and somatic work, help us to be aware of what we’re angry about and where the pain is and where it hurts.

 

Once you’re aware, then you can do something about it. And so then for you is understanding it or you can research and poke at it and try to ask, well, where did this start? And when does it end and how, when does this, what are the things that flag it, or like make it flare up. And when you have bread understanding, you then can know what medicine is needed at that time for that, maybe it’s a ceremony.

 

Maybe it’s a long walk in the woods. Maybe it’s some rats maybe it’s painting, right. Maybe, maybe it’s you know right. Having that difficult conversation that you’ve been avoiding, or you didn’t even know you had to have maybe it’s giggling, you know, with, with, with your bestie you know, getting some sun like, so then you.

 

The I so a new and I integrate that medicine experience. Right? And then once you integrate, you have more awareness, better understanding, more medicine, more integration. So I really think that it’s important. And I think it helps ease this tension of like, and it’s counter to the system. I’ve got to heal.

 

Now I’ve got to heal on a timeline. And if I don’t, I have failed in some way. And so I think part of the trades meeting process too, is that it also it’s it’s it takes time. It is not something that’s like, oh, I did it. I watched a ceremony and then I’m transferring it to everything. And Right. It’s actually, this goes along this gradient.




I really appreciate that. Yeah. And it’s not like I don’t feel enraged myself. You know, about the atrocities that are happening, especially inequality and the way that we’re not fully embodying benefit sharing yet in the medicine movement and the psychedelic movement and the way. A lot of indigenous medicine holders and these traditional wisdom keepers are living in situations where they actually really need a lot of support.

 

And I actually find that I, I associate and identify more with, with the feeling of grief. Like I go through these deep feelings of, of processing grief, but I’ve learned over the years that if I am trying to accomplish a mission and I have a conversation with someone and I’m angry that it immediately creates a gap and a separation and it makes my mission harder.

 

And I really believe that. We’re doing this medicine work and we’re not able to show up in the embodiment of clear kind communication. We can be strong and clear in our communication, but if we’re not embodying the sense of kindness, I’m like, what are we doing? Y’all like, why are we doing our work here is like, what is it all for?

 

If we’re not able to actually be kind in a moment that we’re being called to actually have a conversation about something that we care about and what we take a stand for and what we believe in? 

 

Oh, no, I, I definitely feel you there. And I think like you know, like that you said you can be clear and bold and, and kind all at the same time.

 

And I think behind kindness, right? This is going back to conscious co-creation this is about understanding your power. And so there’s a choice, right? So. You know, obviously speaking and listening are two of the most powerful things in this world as human beings. And, and there, and there’s, there’s a lot of power dynamics about speaking and listening.

 

And so I think that if you’re choosing right to, like, you’re saying to have come from a place that’s not from the heart. And that is you know, you’re consciously choosing to be sort of like inflicting in this way. That is the defeats. It defeats all it defeats the potential relationship and the potential of what could happen.

 

It’s just sort of deadens it because it creates disconnection. And I think sometimes also I think sometimes people are unaware, right. Also of like how their words are coming up. I think some people are, are naturally unaware and need awareness, you know? So being able to call people in when it’s like, well, when you say this, this is landing on me in this way.

 

Some people can hear that. Some people can’t, but I, I think you’re absolutely right. That kindness is not antithetical to being clear about. They actually can go together quite a while. 

 

Yeah. It’s been really just in my field of awareness and I just really hope that we keep evolving, you know, in a good way collectively.

 

I actually really think that what you just said and what we’re talking about here, points back to this notion of self-mastery. You said that earlier before, and I love that word mastery. It’s like really, we need to be on the path of becoming more aware and more self-aware of the way that we get triggered and not coming from that triggered place or that wounded place.

 

And you’re right. There’s just, it’s such a juxtaposition because it takes. Even more effort and more awareness for sacred activists to slow down because of all the construct that you just mentioned earlier, that scaffolding that’s like pushing people towards doing an acting and getting the things done.

 

And yet this notion of not reacting and not coming from a triggered place requires to slow down and listen. And that’s an enormous amount of mastery that is 

 

required. Absolutely. And I think that there’s actually a sacred activist in all of us. And I almost want to treat it like a word sometimes like your sacred activism right now.

 

Like I think that it’s not necessarily like, oh, there’s some people who are sacred activists, but others aren’t, it’s actually a decision point from moment to moment. Like if you want to be engaging in that. And I think a lot I would categorize many people are doing sacred activists work and moving in that path you know, from, from day to day, And it doesn’t necessarily need to be.

 

Yeah. Like, okay, I’m going to wake up and be like, I’m going to take your doctor today or, or, or not. It’s again, I do feel like it is a choice, a little filling lifestyle choice, just like one way, you know, it’d be a healthy eater or you know, be someone who’s like aware of environmental trust that he’s, I, I think we can, we have, we all have the tools to be sacred activists everyday.

 

Yeah. And so I, I think that when I think about the, the process of self-mastery again, I think this awareness is such a big part of it. And it’s also being able to sit with failure, being able to sit with failure. And I know some people were listening to right now saying the word failure, like consultants, super achy, like, and just, oh, just let’s discuss.

 

But we can withheld failure. It’s like literally we can’t learn and become better. And so self-mastery and understanding, understanding our relationship to failure and being with our failures is critical when it comes to being a master of the self, because you are literally looking at, okay, when was I off the mark?

 

When was I not in my center? When, when, when, when did I fail today? And I think we always want to have this this notion that this narrative that we’re putting out, it’s like, I’m amazing. I do everything amazing. And it’s like, yeah. And you also fail amazingly. And so, and we all know like, it is how you learn from that.

 

What did you learn from? And if you don’t learn, then that’s a conscious choice and that’s actually harmful and dangerous to you and other people. But to me, self-mastery at the core of that is being able to sit with our failures and. Honestly sitting with them. So like sitting and being like, yeah, I felt I really messed that up or I lost it or this pattern came back.

 

I thought I was done with that. Okay. Let’s sit with it. Let’s let’s have, we have our awareness that what can we understand? What’s the medicine that’s needed and how do I integrate? And it’s over and over and over again. And so if we run from our failures or sweep them under the rug, don’t talk to other people about them.

 

We’re not doing self-mastery is far a far long, long road. Yeah. It’s 

 

like sitting in the middle of discomfort without immediately trying to exit the present moment. And that’s what medicines help us do. They really help us sit in the middle of the fire in the middle of the discomfort and, or there’s nowhere to bolt.

 

You’re like, I can’t run away from this. Where’s my knee-jerk reaction of like reaching for the food or going for the thing to just avoid 

 

feeling exactly boy feeling. I think that that is so right. And then when I think also about this notion of, of listening and the powerful something, and this notion of like allyship in the sacred, in the healing movement and all in all of the movements, I think about like that is so central.

 

I, I think just being able to sit with someone in their discomfort and pain without being like, okay, we’re going to start a coalition or we’re going to start this business, or we’re going to, we’re going to do this. We’re going to do duty to do, to do. To be able to be, to be able to sit with someone else in their pain and discomfort without wanting to do anything without wanting to change what they’re experiencing or feeling in the moment without wanting to fix is the biggest practice that any ally, you know, could do to any peer could do.

 

It is to just literally be with, be with, be with that person. I see a lot of folks in the space and in social justice spaces and transformational change spaces like wanting to, not that we shouldn’t do, we should definitely get to the doing because that’s so important. But if we just road bump like over the pain, it is, it is also w w w it is telling that person that.

 

You don’t want to be with them. And that part of them is not desired. Like we don’t, we just want to do the action because that makes us feel good. It makes us look good. And so there’s actual disconnection that’s created by trying to fix really quickly. And also there’s, there’s trust. That’s not built.

 

I really have, I see that over and over and over again, you know, folks wanting to like, what can I do? What can I do? What can I do, you know, asking and not doing a lot of listening and not just doing a lot of holding to doing there’s you can always get to actions, right. But being able to hold that space and to be in silence, even to be with someone in their pain is the most powerful thing.

 

Hmm, I love that you just went there cause we’re really building a bridge at the core of a lot of pain. Is this feeling of not belonging? And I’d love to build this bridge from the work that you did at your last organization, CIO into what you’re doing now at fireside, because what you just described to me also sounds like the peer support work that we’re doing, and a lot of people do come to medicines because they are healing trauma.

 

What you’re doing at fireside is essentially training people to hold space for people who are going through difficult experiences. And it seems like this training can also just be applied to what you just said for people who are going through difficult experiences with trauma without medicines.

 

Absolutely. I think peer support is such a powerful practice and. I think often it just gets overlooked. I don’t think we lifted up enough or talking about it enough in our society. There’s a lot of power in being with somebody right. And practicing these skills in terms of the article in space that are practical for, for anybody.

 

We should, I think we should all, you know, have, have these skills and practicing skills of, you know, reflective listening of asking questions from a reflective space. So instead of asking questions out of your own personal curiosity, what questions can you ask that brings that person more present to the moment?

 

So what they’re feeling to what’s what’s happening now? How can we sit in silence? What does it feel like to just sit in silence with someone else and to let them know you’re there and that they’re leading the way. And I, I think like when we think of the principles of psychedelic peer support, you know, the Zendo project has been around for a decade and this notion of, you know, again, beat like.

 

Somewhat, we’re not guiding people. And I think that when it comes to the psychedelic peer support line, you know, we’ve trained over a hundred volunteers at this point and we’re on the way. And I think a lot of people come into the four day training, initial training with this idea of, okay, we’re going to like therapy therapist, right.

 

We’re going to learn all the techniques for like these magical techniques. And it’s just not like it’s very logical. And so we are, our pillars are so like relied so heavily on reflective listening, which means I’m listening to you from this heart space. I’m not, I’m not coming from a place of judgment and I’m reflecting back to you what I’m hearing and what I, what I, what I am feeling as you’re, as you’re, as you’re sharing, noticing, you know, literally like a beautiful mirror.

 

And it feels super awkward at first. Want to fix because that’s our first as human beings, like we’re nurturers, we want, we want to fix. And so fixing again, moves the person away from what they’re feeling now, and it puts you in charge, right? So there’s a power dynamic when we are listening and reflecting back, we’re taking ourselves as much out of the picture.

 

We are becoming as equal as possible. And I think that there’s yeah, there, as, as we practice this with our volunteers and during the training, right. They become more and more comfortable with this. And as they go into the, your service on the line really practicing that first, like as the most practical tool.

 

And then, you know, obviously we’re always checking for safety right of first, but then we really lean on those, the tool of reflective listening, and then reflective questioning and you know, normalizing, validating yeah. Really allowing a caller or the person you’re holding space with to decide the direction of what happens and also the pace, right?

 

Again, we come, we’re always having them cover them. And it’s amazing if you just allow the person who you’re supporting to lead the way they’re going to move at the pace that feels best for them. And so offering this choice point, I think in this type of care, super important, I think that also peer support really pairs beautifully in the medical model and needs to have more space within it.

 

And because the more you also give choice and create opportunities and a culture of choice, you’re sharing that power dynamic. You’re not just prescribing and saying, oh, you need to do this. You need to do that. It’s okay. You’re fine. We’re going to get you to do this breath work, and you’re going to go over here and then I’m going to, I think you should meet this person in the.

 

Go do 10, 10 reps of this, but it’s, it’s, it’s taking your directives out of the way and allowing you to share that space. And it is, it is safe. It is a sacred exchange. And so I think that I carry a lot of my practices from CIO’s, you know, into the work that I do with fireside project and really through our training, really try to instill, you know, self-care at normalizing that.

 

So really teaching and modeling around what it is to create a trauma informed space. So allowing for breaks, right? Allowing for plenty of time for questions, but also, you know, doing some mindfulness activities. Doing some breath work sitting in silence and then encouraging people to have a self care plan around their shifts on the line.

 

So folks worked for a year on, on the line as a volunteer, they work like the same four hour shift every week. And so really encourage people to have a re like rituals, if you want to call it that, but a practice around before, during, and after your shift, what are you doing for your self-care? Because again, you can be absorbing people’s stuff and it’s work.

 

It’s a muscle that you’re using. And so how are you re self-regulating? So encouraging people to whatever things I need to have around them, you know, that feel good for them, but also doing some grounding and breath work exercises before, during and after. And then have been willing to really release after your shift to not take anything with you that you don’t want to.

 

And so that’s super important. And then we also do. A whole section on a culture of belonging. And so these, this is some of the work that I’ve done in the past lab, but brought some pieces of it in to this, to our four-day training and into the culture of fireside, honestly. And so you know, doing the north star punch has this wonderful notion around doing the inner work.

 

And so I see cultural belonging as bringing the inner work into work. So being able to sit in the collective practice of awareness building and transmuting work is that’s why cultural belonging is it’s really rich. So we go into talking about understanding the systems and how they might be showing up in us and how those dynamics could affect how we show up with the color, how we show up with each other.

 

So beginning to do work around, you know, understanding our, our trigger points, understanding some of our, you know, self-defeating patterns. Some of the untruths patterns beginning to understand, okay, how have I been conditioned from the different circles? So it was from the people who I grew up with, what things was I sort of conditioned, what has society told me?

 

You know, what are the groups that I belong to that might have some conditioning and also understanding that right. People have trauma and that they are picking up those trauma trauma patterns from those various circles of identity. You know? So from the family, from the groups, from society and begetting, helping folks be begin to understand some of the truths that they might be living that are actually based in untruths.

 

And so we do some reflective activities and it’s a lot of like listening and sharing stories, sharing. Then we’ll do some meditation and trauma and not trauma, but somatic release work. So there’s. Sessions, there’s sort of a section of six sessions that I do, but during the four-day training, the volunteers experience that sort of first core session, which is great.

 

And I think that again, trying to do work supportive work for others without doing your inner work, you’re, you’re going to, there’s going to be some cognitive dissonance. And so I really believe that helping people to understand their power and in every moment is critical for not only providing an excellent service, but I feel that we’re also, you know, in, in the business, if you want to say that I’d like you to help him to develop people at fireside project.

 

So not, not just the folks who are calling in, but also our volunteers and. 

 

That’s amazing. I mean, at the heart of it, you, if you cannot sit in your own discomfort, how do you hold space for someone else’s discomfort, 

 

right, exactly. That’s the end of the day, that’s it, Laura. 

 

Yeah. And I love that you’re doing peer support training.

 

I really hold the vision, especially just how rapidly psychedelic compounds are entering the mainstream. We need to raise the entire bar of peer support, psychedelic literacy right now, just basic information and basic training for our culture to know. Okay. Especially more and more people are starting to have these experiences by the millions at this point.

 

And it needs to be part of our just basic educational learning. 

 

Absolutely. I totally agree. And we are going to be launching a sort of public facing training in the next year called psychedelic citizens. And so this notion around how can we all be, you know, psychedelic citizens, like you’re saying, there’s, there’s some of this knowledge and practices that all people need to know.

 

And that those practices are also transferrable, right? So it’s not just only when people are having psychedelic experiences and after them, these are skills that are just great for everybody to have to deal, to hold space for anybody. And so I think that this training is going to be we’re toying with either a one day or two day, or there could be an option where we do one day and a two day, and you can do either to become a psychedelic citizen, you know, what do you do?

 

What do you need? And so there’s this kind of analogy I say, that’s like, you know, you learn CPR because it could save a life and you never know who, or when you might need to, to be able to use that skill. And I think that’s very similar with, you know, the art of holding space and psychedelic. Everyone should be trained on these basic things, because you never know when you’re going to need that skill.

 

The core components to being a psychedelic citizen are understanding the tools for holding space while somebody is actively in an experience. And also afterwards it’s also about understanding sort of the basics of, of psychedelics some of the basic psychedelics and their arc of experience. It’s also about what do we do, we need to interface with refugee services during a time when someone might be active with tripping or afterwards it’s also about right, how do I ground and take care of myself while I’m also providing this care?

 

And you know, what are also some of the sort of critical core resources out here? You know, we think about Airwood we think about dance safe, you know, we think about we think about Zendo site, all about support, like where it was sort of like arming people with as much resource that they can like lean on and do their own research.

 

As well as giving them the skills to, in the real moment provide, you know, care and, and support for folks. And also when someone is in their, you know, their own practice really beginning, you know, this training is also about really lifting up, like, what is integration? What does it look like? What are, what are some of the ways it happens?

 

Why is it important? You know, and the support line about about a little over 50% of our calls are integration calls or when folks are processing after trips. And so we are finding that like actually, you know, having a psychedelic experience and not integrating can, can actually be harmful in itself.

 

So not only is there harm reduction or risk reduction of providing support during some of those experiences. Important and reducing risks. Having that integration afterwards is equally as important and reducing potentially reducing harm. 

 

I love that analogy of CPR. It’s like, you might never know when you need it.

 

It’s such a good way to be thinking about psychedelic literacy. I really think that we need to be collectively as a culture, really pushing that and thinking about how we integrate it and you guys are leading the way. So it’s, it’s amazing to watch your journey as well. Yeah. I’m so curious if your curriculum addresses what maybe white folks need to know about holding space or doing offering peer support for BiPAP community.

 

It does peer support look the same regardless it’s still active or reflective listening, or are there core principles that you educate people around? Yeah, that’s 

 

a really great question, Laura. We haven’t really created that curriculum yet. I think that’s coming. We are actually. We just launched this big initiative with fireside and this like affinity peer group.

 

So, so it’s affinity peer integration services. And so this is our kind of first attempt and looking at an understanding that identity matters and right. Choice and power sharing matter. So what does that look like in practice? And so we just kicked off this initiative. We just brought on literally just brought on 40 people that we’re going to be trading it to be affinity peers.

 

And so what this looks like is that starting on June 23rd, if you are coming from any bi-pod community military veterans, as well as transgender folks will be able to call the line on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from three to 7:00 PM Pacific time and request to speak to an infinity peer. And an affinity period, that’s in one of those groups for integration support.

 

And so we know that yeah, things come up during experiences. I can only have experiences. And when we’re processing, it is can be monumental to have somebody who shares part of our identity. Based on what we’re integrating, you know, sometimes like you were saying, a lot of trauma things come up during psychedelic experiences things that we want to push, you know push through, but also like to look at and dissect and understand.

 

And so I think for us being able to offer a peer that can empathize more deeply with that person’s lived experience. There’s a greater potential for. Right. Greater understanding, more release, more comfortability on being able to be more vulnerable. And because we, we just understand that representation matters and that there are systems of oppression at play.

 

And so but peer support is tricky support, so you can anybody right. Can support any anyone. And we know that when you add an affinity layer, meaning like likeness that allows her that experience to be a little even deeper. So I think at the core, when we’re talking about psychedelic peer supportive peer support, the art of holding space, emotional support, all the tools.

 

Are the same, there’s no like different tool. Like if someone is a correlated as wide and there’s someone who’s been acculturated as black and there’s a peer support experience happening there. There’s, I wouldn’t say at this point, there’s like a different way. The sort of white volunteer to do with a black color or vice versa.

 

I think the tools are very core and so much of it is about getting out of the way. And I think that there is that inner work piece right. Becomes so clear or can become really clear the practice of it, to understand whatever biases we might have really consciously or unconsciously that we might be energetically projecting in the tone of our voice.

 

That’s a good patient, have a voice. And so. Being able to be aware of those things feels important potentially. But I, I would, at this point, I think we want to see how the affinity peer program goes to also observe it, to be able to collect some information around, like, how does this really impact the quality of service or the potential of the integration experience?

 

What are some of the things that people use and do insights? So there’s a lot that we just don’t, we haven’t explored, we don’t know yet, but I think that if there’s just someone out there like, or even as we get into on a psychedelic citizenship training, I think that we would also point people to curriculum that’s already been created.

 

And some of the other trainings that are out here, so to Kern is doing tons of work around this. As well as ancestor practice has a lovely workbook around. Yeah. Basically like anti-racism in psychedelics. And so that’s something I would, you know, but. Since our volunteers, as well as a part of our training.

 

I’m curious if we can get a little specific for people listening just around reflective listening. Can we like unpack an example? Let’s say I’m calling, I’m having a very vocal. Maybe let’s just use the, the example of I’m channeling, a lot of rage and anger. I feel like I need support moving through it and I call fireside what would be an example of, of a process that appear support could help me with moving through that experience?

 

Yeah. Yeah. I’m almost tempted to say that y’all doing a role-play cause we actually do a lot of role playing during our training. But the so much of it, Laura is about listening and reflecting. So if you were like, I’m really freaking pissed off about whatever the thing is. And I were just sort of like, you know, allow you to say your piece, if it feels like there’s a moment in there where you’ve got.

 

I might jump in, but sometimes I will just like sit back and do some  and see if the person will keep going. A lot of the time people want him to sort of vent and like go off. And then I would say, you know, something I would say is like, I feel, I feel like you’re really angry and like, you have a lot of range and that’s okay.

 

It’s totally normal to have this, these emotions. Do you want to speak more about what in particular, has you angry and upset right now, but the person go off and then if it feels like I want to literally reflect back a piece of what they’re saying. So not just like, here are the emotions that I’m picking up on, but if I want to say, okay, I heard you say just now your partner did X and it made you feel like this.

 

And I’m curious if this is something you want to talk more about. Right? So again, ask open-ended questions and allow that person to really guide. Where it wants to go. What I wouldn’t do would be like, you know, I’m so sorry that you’re angry. Let’s do some breathing exercises right now. Let me take you away from how you’re feeling.

 

I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t do that. Maybe toward the end of the cough, it felt like the person was in a more decompressed space and they wanted it again, always ask, Hey, you know, we’ve just been talking for a while. Do you feel like you want to do, do you want to do a breathing exercise with me? Something that I do when I kind of let off, you know, whatever this is something that’s been helpful for me.

 

Would you want to practice that? They could say no. And that’s when you want to give choice. So yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question book. Yeah, 

 

that’s great. Yeah. I’m curious. How many calls have you received through fireside at 

 

this point? We are at twenties 2,600 calls at this point.

 

So celebrate our one-year anniversary. Probably actually over that, we’re probably closer to 2,800 at this point. 

 

That’s amazing. What would you say is the most surprising thing that you’ve learned through this process in terms of all the data that you’re receiving? 

 

I think early on, I was surprised like how many people were integrating.

 

I, yeah, that’s continues to surprise me. And I think that biggest thing too, is I think it’s like 87% of our callers are like this. When they, when they called it, was it the first time that they had done psychedelics. So there, there are more people calling that are so active users as opposed to first-time people or folks who’ve never, who have never experienced a psychedelic.

 

Which is data for us, that information for us, because it means we need to do a better job, getting out to people who like are coming in new to psychedelics. And so it’s like, well, where do, how do we find those folks? And let them know, like, please say our number and please call us. And then I think I think beyond the data, Laura, what I find so surprising.

 

And so dear to my heart is cause we ask our we’re sending survey star volunteers all the time. They probably like are just like, if you send me another freaking survey, but we want to know their experience, right? We want to know like, what can we do better? What are you enjoying? And you know, people are just like, I love this community.

 

I have found a community. So it’s still worth asking them like, well, what’s the most enjoyable thing. And you would think people would say being able to have as powerful integration cars, I was going to help someone. They were actually tripping, but people are saying like, I’m so happy that I’ve found a community, you know?

 

And I’m connecting with people who have like interests and I’m learning. Yeah, that’s been this beautiful, beautiful surprise. And what do you 

 

think that you’ve really learned about yourself in terms of leadership as you’re leading this incredible initiative in the space, what have you really learned about leaders?

 

I’ve learned. I’ve spent so many years working in a particular community on doing particular work with particular people who are very seasoned right. In facilitating. And you’re doing this hard work and practicing living in conscious co-creation. And I realized that I was kind of in this bubble right.

 

For a long, long time. And so working with people who don’t come from that sort of field, but also then like bringing that, like, I feel like I’m bringing this sort of knowledge and practices out into this, into the, into the psychedelic space, within an organization. And so not as like a facilitator, but like literally with like staff and volunteers, it’s a different experience.

 

And it’s been, I feel like talk about mastery. It’s like, okay, can you find out how you have done this work with organizations for years now, you’re coming into a new space, a new field of psychedelics. How do you begin to lay these roots down and teach about conscious co-creation and teach about power dynamics and teach about healing and self care outside of this space that you’ve been so familiar in for so many years that I think like it’s very joyful to do it.

 

And it’s also, it’s a, there’s a recalibration that I’ve had to do. Like, oh, this person doesn’t just know this, like this person, whether it’s a coworker or a volunteer, it’s like, oh, this is jargon to people that have no idea what I’m talking about. So being able to translate. And to be able to teach, right?

 

When you are teaching something, that’s definitely part of mastery. And it’s been a wonderful journey into being able to break these concepts down, model them, and in a way that there’s an uptake and people are like, get it. And I think that it’s also, it’s a long game. So I’ve been able to, I have to be able to remind myself that like, yeah, after two years, like there’s only so, so much that can be like transferred or the time that I have to be able to be in these practices and the practices is limited.

 

And so there’s, I’m learning about like, yeah, not beating myself up or it’s like having more patience with the process. And also I think something I’ve learned about my leadership style is that I am, you know, I’m like a natural facilitator and naturally sort of pull back and listen to that. And so being able to unzip and like move more into speaking, you know, not being in an observer because that’s just like where I naturally sort of fall in, but I’m very lucky.

 

I feel to have such a great partner and leading FireSIGHT with Joshua, because we’re literally like polar opposites in like how we, like our operating systems are just very different, but they, but they weave very well together. So I love that. He’s like very, you know, in, especially in group settings, like out like talking to people and connecting and all that, and I’m definitely more of, I felt like I’m here, I’m holding the space, I’m observing.

 

And you know, so I think that the. This question is sort of got me, like take them a little bit, cause I’ve been, you know, doing some, just sort of reflecting on the past two years, almost of co-founding fireside and where, where we’re at now, everything I’ve brought into it, Laura. So there’s like all the parts of myself I’ve been able to bring and it just feels so good.

 

So like, you know, I’m a graphic designer, not by, I didn’t study it, but I’ve just picked it up. This deskilled apple along the way. So to see, you know, like I designed our app and our website and our logo and brand and social media for the first year and a half and to sort of see the impact has been really awesome.

 

And I think being able to really like celebrate those things as well. So celebrate all these different parts of myself as a facilitator, as an organizer, as a strategist, as a designer to be like, yeah, great job. You know? Cause I think often I’m so used to just like going, going, going to like supporting other people and being cheerleaders for others.

 

I forget to celebrate myself. I’m changing that habit and it’s, it takes, it takes work. But I try to try to celebrate and reflect and be grateful for the work that I’m doing. Like every week in a little ritual that I do. And it’s been really lovely. 

 

Hmm. That’s amazing. You are truly a multifaceted powerhouse of a woman leading in this space.

 

So thank you so much. I just wanted to ask you one more question, because this is the first time I’ve actually heard this like actual field of conscious co-creation in like an industry and an organizational industry. So do you do trainings on that? Do you know other people who do trainings on that? How do people learn more about 

 

that?

 

Yes. So my she’s a master teacher is what I would call her. And then her name is Neo new span. And, and she runs a project called beyond diversity, 1 0 1. The website is like BD one oh one.org. And, you know, the notion of that is like literally moving beyond, right. Diversity one-on-one. So this is, so this training, isn’t about the sort of cookie cutter training.

 

It’s about moving beyond that. And so it’s a five day intensive training that they do. And I’ve gone through that training many times, actually probably seven or eight times both as a participant and as a sort of a sort of helper intern. And every time I’ve done it, like something new is rebuilt. And so I think everybody, I just feel like it should be a core curriculum for everybody in the world.

 

So it’s called beyond diversity 1 0 1. It’s fantastic. And she really creates a container and then it’s like 20 or 30 people in each training. And it, you really began to being yourself and began to understand, yeah. How, how are you using your power? How, how are you. Blocking your, you know, what am I say, blocking your blessings?

 

How are you putting yourself up on the auction block? Right? So this is one of her famous quotes, but one of them up to use Howard, how are you, you know, honoring, you know, your people, your ancestors and your. How are you disconnecting? Are you becoming other, are you hiding? So it’s a super powerful, very multi-disciplinary approaches in that training, a lot of somatics and a lot of body discussion, you know, creativity.

 

It’s a really powerful training. I would invite everybody to, to at least do it once. I really 

 

appreciate that. Thank you for sharing. I’m curious if you are open to ending on a, I’ll use the word prayer here or sharing a vision, you know, when we think about this notion of like the identity of a starving artist, for example, and I just like really want to repattern that narrative and you kind of pointed to this earlier in terms of sacred activism, that there’s this old template in terms of what it looks like.

 

And if you could paint a picture of the ideal version of sacred activism in the affinity signed this infinity sign with spiritual resilience and culture of belonging, like what would you paint as the picture of healthy, spiritual activism and sacred activism? 

 

Ooh, that was a big one. Clara D yeah, I, I see.

 

A world where we are connected, aware of our connection to each other, and that we are in deep gratitude and fierce protection of that connection and that we live our lives, each breath in sacred reverence to each other, to this earth, to all of the forces on this earth, that we sit in reverence and humbleness to those forces.

 

I see health for all people because they have the care and the systems of care that honor their choices and that understand their suffering and pain and allow for suffering and pain to be normalized. And. I I see, I see, I feel like I’ve been there. I’ve seen this world and I want us all to be there, to, to grow old there, to do the things each day in relation to ourselves and to each other that build the road to this place.

 

And that it’s work. That is joyous. It is work. That is life-giving and it is a commitment to not only our individual lives, but to all of us, for us just to hold that vision 

 

holding that vision with you, feeling it in my heart, seeing it in my mind and holding the prayer that we can enjoy the ride and the pathway there enjoy.

 

We have such limited time on this planet. Let’s bring more laughter in these medicines are showing us how to do that. 

 

Well, 

 

thank you. I so appreciate you.  oh my goodness. I love getting to know you more and just listening and soaking up all your wisdom. You are just really a special human. So thank you so much for all the work that you’re doing, and it really is an honor to get to know you and to share this space with you.

 

Thank you so much for this beautiful, beautiful platform and your wisdom and clarity and enjoy. It’s been really an honor to have this time today. Thank you.

 

Laura Dawn: Yeah, it’s so nice to be able to drop in with you today. Hanifa, I was just looking at your website and, oh my gosh, I love this photo of you on the cover of your site. It’s just gorgeous and the dress, and just, it’s such a powerful statement where you point to the work that you do. And I love these three terms that you use on your websites, sacred activism, spiritual resilience, and cultivating beloved community and community of belonging.

And these are three topics that I would love to dive in with you 

Hanifa Washington: today. Awesome. Well, I’m so happy to be here with you today and to get into the juiciness of this, that photo is like a once in a lifetime photo. And just a really quick story about that. I was I lived in new Haven for many, many years.

I just made a move out to Oregon. But I won a, an arts award from the city and it came with a photo shoot. And so there I lived there that was in 2018 or 17, I think was 18. And so my very good friends where the photo studio that was selected to do the photo shoot. So I had gotten that dress and I hadn’t worn it yet.

And I was like, what am I ever going to wear this dress? And so I was like, oh, this is, this is it. And so I was doing my photo, you know, they do your makeup. And then my friends, you know, they were shooting. So it was, I was very comfortable and they were playing. Just really amazing music. And I remember this, that, that photo is toward the very end of the shoot.

And they had put on living my life, like it’s golden by Jill sky. I was like in the group and I literally then like, began to feel. And welcome my ancestors into this space. And so literally I could like fill them, filling up the room and all around me. And they were so proud and I was sort of like twirling and they had this fan on and I was just like there for my ancestors and like listening to Jill Scott.

And it was like this really powerful moment and it was captured. And so whenever I see that photo, I’m just like, it fills her with so much joy also. And I think like, it’s just like, that’s my ancestors. You’re seeing me like fully up in my ancestor. So I was wanting to like, share that. I love 

Laura Dawn: that. I mentioned your photo.

I mean, you can really tell that there’s something profound happening in that moment. And music does that for me too. Music has such a way of just moving the spirit and then that opens up that channel. And that’s when you know, all of our ancestors can actually really stand behind us and also the generations to come before us.

Yeah. And you are such a living embodiment of sacred activism in action with the work that you’re doing with fireside and also the work that you’ve done in the past. And for people listening to this who, yeah. Maybe we can start with just like your definition and how you think about sacred activism. And maybe I’ll just set a little context here for people who listened to my solo episode on leveraging psychedelics to shape and mold our sense of identity and habit change really follows identity change, and actually the sense of spiritual resilience and sacred activism is kind of a very powerful narrative to embody as a sense of identity.

So I kind of wanted to frame it that way. Sacred activism as a sense of this is who I am, and this is how I’m showing up in the world. 

Hanifa Washington: Yeah. Ooh, I love that, Laura. This is who I am. And this is how I’m showing up in the world. And I really think at the core of that and how I anchor into sacred activism is, is through, you know, practices that bring deeper spiritual awareness that bring more healing that bring more justice for equity.

And all of that is so much steeped in my relationship to power and this concept around conscious co-creation. So for many years, I’ve worked with a group called CEIO which stands for co-creating effective and inclusive organizations slash organizers. And at the core of that work is the sense of not only just understanding what conscious co-creation.

But practicing it and being it. And so when we, we kind of use this, I hear this word used a lot kind of thrown around in terms of like co-creation co-creation, let’s, co-create this co-create that and Coke conscious co-creation isn’t collaboration, right? It is about consciously being aware of how am I using my power, my energy, my life force in this moment.

And in this moment, and in this moment, and in this moment how am I bringing my gifts How am I holding people accountable? How am I saying the things that need to be said, how am I sitting in silence? How am I, how am I making this happen? And so I think that for a long time, like I was acculturated to be silent, you know, to always speak when spoken to, to just sort of be the helper.

And there’s a lot of conditioning, you know, that I’ve been undoing a growing awareness around and so around my relationship to power. And so when I think about. Being a sacred activist. It’s really like I take every moment, every interaction like with such heart and sacredness, because it is, it is a sacred privilege to be alive to be conscious, to be aware to, to create in this world.

And so I think about the injustices and the imbalance of power and also how other people have been acculturated and unblinded. And so I feel it is my duty sacred duty responsibility to be in this world, supporting others, to understand their relationship to power to create spaces. Awareness and healing where folks can tap into to enter their sense of self and to their source into their remembering.

Right? And so to me, that is what it’s central around. Like when I say I’m a sacred activist, it’s about understanding the sacredness of life, understanding my responsibility to other, to, to ensure that folks are healing and safe and have the tools that they need because we need, we need each other.

It’s a, it’s a back and forth. It’s a back and forth. And so again, within the sacred activism for me, It’s not about like, I’m trying to be famous or I need to make excellent of dollars. It’s not a career path. It’s a, it’s a way of living. 

Laura Dawn: I love that you framed it as understanding a relationship to power.

I think that that is actually really powerful. And I’m curious if we can get actually really practical here for people listening to this and they’re thinking to themselves, okay, how do I become more aware to my relationship to power in this moment? I mean, I immediately think of leadership development training, which a core foundation of that is actually training in emotional intelligence.

And in those sub categories, there’s actually four big categories of emotional intelligence. And we can look at, you know, self-awareness and embodiment practices, but I’m curious, how do you teach people and what are like the practical invitations tools that we can actually share here for people to start becoming more aware of?

What is their relationship to power. 

Hanifa Washington: Yeah, I love this. I, I think kind of a weird way that I inroad to it is actually around gratitude. So I think that if we can begin with understanding what we’re grateful for then we can begin to understand our relationship, to gratitude our relationship to that feeling of wholeness that often gratitude evokes.

And then that can lead to the like, like, why am I grateful for this? And how did this happen? What all had to, I had to coalesce for me to have this experience. And so, and it gets people into the heart center and then thinking about, well, what is it about this thing that I’m grateful for, that I want to remember, or that I want to live on or have a legacy?

What is it about this experience that I want to share with others? And then how do I, how do I do that? Is it through storytelling? Is it through writing some sort of creative way? Is it through something that I, you know, creating an experience? And so bringing it down from the sort of concepts like into the heart center, like how does it make you feel in your body?

Bringing people into the awareness of how gratitude and love, because that’s, what’s behind it all sits in the body. And then you can begin to ask, you know, what is, what is keeping you from being in gratitude at all times? What are the things that are removing you from that sense of gratitude and and love.

And so identifying sort of that feeling first and the notion of that, those super important to me and then moving people into, okay. You know, as Ruby sells famously said, where does it hurt? Like where is the pain? Where are the blockages? Okay. Let’s ask some questions about that. So really kind of probably be able to, through some journaling is a good way to begin.

So it’s like, what are you grateful for? What does love feel like in your body when you think about the things you’re grateful for now? Why aren’t we in that energy all the time? Oh, this, this, and this, I’m busy doing this. Okay. Then we can begin to see where some of the cycles might be. Some of the patterns, some of the conditioning where we have internalized things.

And I, I, I do a very sematic practice. So bringing people back into the breath and the body doing a body scan, you know, from head to tell where’s the tension. Okay. Where, where do you kind of cry? Your body is always giving you data and information. And then being able to sit with that and to meditate and to continue to ask that to sort of explore where, where the pain is.

And then I think that it’s about this, you know, really getting deep in here because it’s really all about starting with yourself and to start with yourself and then it’s about, okay, how can I then help or reflect back or hold for others, but we have to start with self inquiry and masters. That’s where it begins.

And it’s a continual practice it’s never going to just end, like, and that’s a really big thing that I am super clear about with folks that I work with. And for myself, the moment that you feel that you’re above the work, that you don’t have any work to do, like you’re failing and you need to pause and recover.

Like that’s just the truth. So I think there’s a lot of self inquiry reflection. There’s, you know, taking time, you know, so I became a Reiki master maybe four, five or six years ago. And, but I’ve been studying it for longer than that. And so those first three years, I didn’t practice on anyone. I would practice on myself.

It was, it was my own. Spiritual practice that I got to, you know, know what was going on with me, my assistance, how this, how my energy can support, can support this body in this spirit. And then I began to slowly bring on other people who either came to me or what did it, I wasn’t sort of like, you know, flashing the kind of like I’m here, come get, you know, so it’s like, I feel like these practices for for wholeness must come from a super organic and inward place first, like start a whole, right.

And then build out from there. And I think that also choosing something really distinct that you can, can have a positive effect on, I feel like it’s super important to you. I think. We can often have like really, you know, especially with Instagram and all these things, we see everyone doing these big things or whatever is always happy.

And it’s like, you can just really hold space for a friend or you know, donate or go do some volunteering work. You can you know skip a meal and then donate that money to something that feels worthy, like change and systems change, work start from a thought, just like anything else like that, that started the mind and moves outward.

So I would also encourage people to like start small. So like, don’t feel like you have to go start a whole organization or give tons and tons of money or spend hours and hours and hours. It’s about just like in medicine work it’s about intention. So setting your intention and that can, that can be you know, like a mustard.

So those are the things I share on that. And I, I feel like to me, there’s this sort of infinity loop, you know, when I talk about sacred activism and then spiritual resilience, they are like kind of melt into each other. And so when you are living your life to anchor more love on the planet when you are here to change or more or create new systems alongside the ones that are crumbling.

This is really intensive, hard work, right. It’s very it’s very different from sort of sort of technical work or work. That’s like not involved with like critical transformational change. And so it requires right then different ways of being in different tools for your resilience, because you are waking up every day.

In this world and this system that is not built to support those types of changes. And so you’re not only getting up and making the change again, starting within the self and then building out you are then subject to the crunch and the drain and the Decompartmentalization and the disconnection you know, systems.

And so we have to then have practices that give us the resilience to get up every day in this system, dealing with those forces, as well as laying the new track. And then being in balance. Right. And so I think that just by having strong spiritual practices and that could look like a range of things.

It’s not a, you know, I’m not preaching right. For some people it’s like, I get up, I drag, I do my thing. I pray, I eat this certain thing, whatever it is, whatever your practices are that give your body and spirit the resilience to keep going. And I think for me, it looks like a deep to a deep, a lot of prayer and you know, medicine where cause also were helpful for me in the transmuting of the stuff that’s that I’m sucking up from the world as it is.

And sort of the, not the, just medicine where counseling can transmute, that helps me to transmute that energy and that suck back to potential. And so I think that spiritual resilience also looks like having the difficult conversations you need to do. With people, it looks like rest. I will say that again.

It looks like rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, so much rest. And that’s for me, like one of the biggest things I’m learning now, I’m just like, oh man, I just have to rest. Like you just do. And so I think that spiritual resilience also looks like silence. It looks like unplugging from all of the things and spiritual resilience is also, I find being able to commune with people, you know, to be an integration and of life, to be able to process whether that’s like maybe for you as therapy, maybe for you it’s to talk with your girlfriend or, you know, go into a church group or something.

But I feel like community connection and integration is, is a super part of of integration of spiritual resilience as well. And so then when you have more of that, you’re not only then like broadcasting that to the world and people are seeing and feeling it coming from your essence, it isn’t fueling you to this.

To go back out into the systems, to face the world, to also begin to transmute and change those systems a little bit at a time. And I have found personally, like when I’m not practicing the things I know I should for my resilience so that I can keep going and I not only keep going, but then pro you know, provide for myself and others.

Yeah. You know, you burn out, you get sharp with people, you know, all the things begin to come on, balanced, doing things that aren’t healthy for the body saying yes to everything not sleeping. And that’s what to me, healing is about this constant, constant having awareness, which leads to more understanding, which leads to the medicine, which leads to integration.

And again, medicine is not just medicine, but it’s nourishing, nourishing your body. It is going out into the woods and connecting with nature. You know, medicine is not, not at all. Things that we ingest for care. But yeah, I know it kind of went up there. 

Laura Dawn: Oh, that’s great. I love that you have this infinity metaphor between sacred activism and spiritual resilience.

I really get that. I really appreciate that. I want to highlight a couple of words that you said that were really powerful. I love that you start with gratitude and you use the word self-mastery and also the word transmute. And I want to frame this now within the context of, of sacred activism and the plant medicine and psychedelic space.

And I really want to ask you about this. Notion of anger and how we work with anger. It actually is a powerful force. So when we were talking about, you know, your relationship to power, I thought actually anger is really powerful. And I love that you start with gratitude and you use this word transmute because the reality is is that there are so many injustices in the world and it can make people really angry.

And I actually, when I think of sacred activism, the first thing I think of is this notion of social justice warriors. That actually doesn’t really feel good in my body because I have been attacked by people, actually very maliciously attacked by quote unquote, social justice warriors in the psychedelic space.

And I know that it comes from a place of deep care. And being the recipient of that kind of hate and anger, it’s really an intense experience. And I really ask myself, okay, is this the pathway towards healing? You know, and I’m so curious, just your thoughts and the framing around how do we channel anger in a healthy way.

And I’ve heard Bernay brown talk about the difference between actually anger, being something really powerful that we can channel that energy within us. But then it’s also a force that if you throw at other people, it can actually cause a lot of damage and hurt. And you mentioned transmutation, and I’m curious if that’s what you’re talking about, these injustices, where we just feel so disheartened with what is happening with the power dynamics in the world, and then how we, how do we work with anger as a healing force and a force towards real equality and sustainability and in the direction of what we want rather than contributing to more of what we don’t want, which is division and opposition.

Hanifa Washington: Absolutely. This is a really important topic. I think that you’re absolutely right. Anger, certainly fuels and can fuel change and systems change work. I think that when we, and this is again, coming back to sacred activism, Decide. Okay. I’m going to go try to do this work or pick the topic you want to work on, but you haven’t done your inner work on your end.

You’re not aware of where your blind spots might be or where some of your, where your trauma systems are. We can transfer that energy into the work that we’re doing. We can literally replicate the systems of oppression in the work that we’ve set out to do that we think is good in the world. But what will happen is because we haven’t done our work or disconnected from that loop or the infinity is that we just keep crashing violently on the ends and then going back to the other side.

So, and we short circuit. So we see that a lot in organizers. And so this work, the question is about. Okay. Yeah. How am I replicating the systems that I’m actually trying to change? Because that is literally the definition, what they say madness, like doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting, you know, a different results.

And so you can’t, I think that you cannot be an effective activist without bringing the sacred into it. If we, if we forget the sacred what we’re going to see are, are the, are the trauma systems and often you’ll see the undercurrent of that is anger. And we know that beneath anger is hurt sadness and disconnection.

And so I think that, I think that it’s really important for anybody doing really big work out in the community to to think about, okay, what are some of the practices I can begin to? If I’m not doing even a five minute body scan a day or meditating for two or three minutes, and then building from there, having these practices is going to help folks not burn out, but also to not like what, you know, like bleed on other people literally.

And so I think that it’s unfortunately a common thing, you know, that I, that I see in the, in the world of activism and with activists and people who, who are those things, but might not call themselves that. And these are often people who have big traumas from childhood. These are people who then like, are really big people pleasing.

They wouldn’t call themselves that, but that they are categorized in that, in that degree where they’re always putting others first, they’re always putting the action first. They’re always putting, you know, the fight first. And this is something I think is also like ingrained in us from this culture, from this capitalistic culture and that those notions, like, if you don’t do the work and you’re not aware, again, those things will bleed into your social justice work.

You’ll literally begin to replicate courting power, right. And becoming literally like Thai radical to some degree, some folks where you will begin to create a pecking order right. Within your social justice organization. And so I think a lot of. Takes time and people feel like they don’t have time. We don’t have time.

People are dying in the streets. Like people don’t have food, you know, like, so I think that there’s a real disease, like within the social justice movement, because we’ve been conditioned to go fast and hard to not take care of ourselves, to, to ignore our needs and to have no spiritual practice. And it’s all about like producing right.

And getting the action done and getting the names on the petition, kind of at all costs. And I think that that culture really needs to change. Wow. 

Laura Dawn: I mean, I even hear people say, but sacred rage, it’s sacred rage. I I’m validated in expressing sacred rage. 

Hanifa Washington: I think that people, you know, will do what they need to do.

And I think that there’s, there’s a place for rage. Absolutely. There’s a place there’s a place for rage and anger within, within. Movement. Right? Cause it’s this all about liberation. This is, we’re all trying to get toward everybody being free all the time. Like all of these different movements. And I think that I would be remiss to say that, like you can’t pay, you can’t have rage or be angry, but if you don’t have a spiritual practice to channel that they can, it can be, like you said, it can be really, really dangerous and also unpredictable.

And so I think that that there’s ways to, you know, just think of myself. I think that, you know, I have a lot of anger and disappointment and I think that being able to, to sit with it in a sacred place and to, to express it through movement, to, to scream right. To, to whatever art like to know that I have it.

I have been working with a spiritual teacher for a little while and you know, she’s really trained me to like, listen to what I call the deans, right. When Spirit’s like, Hey. You’re doing that thing. Hey, go do this. Like, here’s your assignment. And four months in once a month and once a month, it was like, you need to go paint.

And I was like, I’m not a painter. Like, I’m a paint. Like, it’s just not my thing. And so it was like, you need to paint. And so, okay. So finally months later I got all the equipment and I got the biggest canvas. I was like, why would I do this in a two day? I got like four by 4k, this all these paints and brushes and whatever.

And I just like dropped it and put my headphones on and listen to music. And all of this anger came out. I was so angry. I was just, I had no idea that that was just so just under the surface. And I painted like a mad woman. I was just like, ah, over and over and came to this really amazing thing. And it has such a charge even when, like I look at it or walk by and it’s like, I can feel that energy coming off.

And so I think there’s ways to funnel, channel transmute, these emotions. Such as rage and anger. And again, underneath that though, is, is the feeling of disconnection is the feeling of hurt and deep sadness. And so I think that, again, this culture, like okay’s anger and rage, like it’s a part of like what we do and it gives us validation, but we don’t talk about sadness.

We’re sad by ourselves. Right. But it’s okay to like flasher anger out it somewhat. And so I think there’s, there’s just like deep cultural things that question here, but I believe that meditation plant medicine work has really helped me transmute. And I mean, literally taking those emotional, those emotions such as anger and range being with them.

So not running away from them, but like being in it, being in the uncomfortable heats of that, and then moving it through interning literally through breath, through movement, turning it back into potential. Cause that’s where it goes back. So then, because that’s all means mine, but it’s eating me up, right?

The anger, rage, isn’t hurting anyone else. It’s really destroying my own systems and, and my wholeness and it’s within me. And then I can recognize it, be with it and then little by little, literally through breath and movement and through whatever medicine does shit, like ask for that, to be transmuted back into potential that is within me and it’s calm and it’s a constant practice, right.

Again, I really try to help raise up the message that like healing is infinite. It doesn’t just stop. It’s not like, okay, this thing happened. And then now I’m all healed and done. It’s actually. This process, right? That I call AMI. So it’s like, Hey, you’re aware. And I feel like medicine work practices, but also breath work and somatic work, help us to be aware of what we’re angry about and where the pain is and where it hurts.

Once you’re aware, then you can do something about it. And so then for you is understanding it or you can research and poke at it and try to ask, well, where did this start? And when does it end and how, when does this, what are the things that flag it, or like make it flare up. And when you have bread understanding, you then can know what medicine is needed at that time for that, maybe it’s a ceremony.

Maybe it’s a long walk in the woods. Maybe it’s some rats maybe it’s painting, right. Maybe, maybe it’s you know right. Having that difficult conversation that you’ve been avoiding, or you didn’t even know you had to have maybe it’s giggling, you know, with, with, with your bestie you know, getting some sun like, so then you.

The I so a new and I integrate that medicine experience. Right? And then once you integrate, you have more awareness, better understanding, more medicine, more integration. So I really think that it’s important. And I think it helps ease this tension of like, and it’s counter to the system. I’ve got to heal.

Now I’ve got to heal on a timeline. And if I don’t, I have failed in some way. And so I think part of the trades meeting process too, is that it also it’s it’s it takes time. It is not something that’s like, oh, I did it. I watched a ceremony and then I’m transferring it to everything. And Right. It’s actually, this goes along this gradient.

Laura Dawn: I really appreciate that. Yeah. And it’s not like I don’t feel enraged myself. You know, about the atrocities that are happening, especially inequality and the way that we’re not fully embodying benefit sharing yet in the medicine movement and the psychedelic movement and the way. A lot of indigenous medicine holders and these traditional wisdom keepers are living in situations where they actually really need a lot of support.

And I actually find that I, I associate and identify more with, with the feeling of grief. Like I go through these deep feelings of, of processing grief, but I’ve learned over the years that if I am trying to accomplish a mission and I have a conversation with someone and I’m angry that it immediately creates a gap and a separation and it makes my mission harder.

And I really believe that. We’re doing this medicine work and we’re not able to show up in the embodiment of clear kind communication. We can be strong and clear in our communication, but if we’re not embodying the sense of kindness, I’m like, what are we doing? Y’all like, why are we doing our work here is like, what is it all for?

If we’re not able to actually be kind in a moment that we’re being called to actually have a conversation about something that we care about and what we take a stand for and what we believe in? 

Hanifa Washington: Oh, no, I, I definitely feel you there. And I think like you know, like that you said you can be clear and bold and, and kind all at the same time.

And I think behind kindness, right? This is going back to conscious co-creation this is about understanding your power. And so there’s a choice, right? So. You know, obviously speaking and listening are two of the most powerful things in this world as human beings. And, and there, and there’s, there’s a lot of power dynamics about speaking and listening.

And so I think that if you’re choosing right to, like, you’re saying to have come from a place that’s not from the heart. And that is you know, you’re consciously choosing to be sort of like inflicting in this way. That is the defeats. It defeats all it defeats the potential relationship and the potential of what could happen.

It’s just sort of deadens it because it creates disconnection. And I think sometimes also I think sometimes people are unaware, right. Also of like how their words are coming up. I think some people are, are naturally unaware and need awareness, you know? So being able to call people in when it’s like, well, when you say this, this is landing on me in this way.

Some people can hear that. Some people can’t, but I, I think you’re absolutely right. That kindness is not antithetical to being clear about. They actually can go together quite a while. 

Laura Dawn: Yeah. It’s been really just in my field of awareness and I just really hope that we keep evolving, you know, in a good way collectively.

I actually really think that what you just said and what we’re talking about here, points back to this notion of self-mastery. You said that earlier before, and I love that word mastery. It’s like really, we need to be on the path of becoming more aware and more self-aware of the way that we get triggered and not coming from that triggered place or that wounded place.

And you’re right. There’s just, it’s such a juxtaposition because it takes. Even more effort and more awareness for sacred activists to slow down because of all the construct that you just mentioned earlier, that scaffolding that’s like pushing people towards doing an acting and getting the things done.

And yet this notion of not reacting and not coming from a triggered place requires to slow down and listen. And that’s an enormous amount of mastery that is 

Hanifa Washington: required. Absolutely. And I think that there’s actually a sacred activist in all of us. And I almost want to treat it like a word sometimes like your sacred activism right now.

Like I think that it’s not necessarily like, oh, there’s some people who are sacred activists, but others aren’t, it’s actually a decision point from moment to moment. Like if you want to be engaging in that. And I think a lot I would categorize many people are doing sacred activists work and moving in that path you know, from, from day to day, And it doesn’t necessarily need to be.

Yeah. Like, okay, I’m going to wake up and be like, I’m going to take your doctor today or, or, or not. It’s again, I do feel like it is a choice, a little filling lifestyle choice, just like one way, you know, it’d be a healthy eater or you know, be someone who’s like aware of environmental trust that he’s, I, I think we can, we have, we all have the tools to be sacred activists everyday.

Yeah. And so I, I think that when I think about the, the process of self-mastery again, I think this awareness is such a big part of it. And it’s also being able to sit with failure, being able to sit with failure. And I know some people were listening to right now saying the word failure, like consultants, super achy, like, and just, oh, just let’s discuss.

But we can withheld failure. It’s like literally we can’t learn and become better. And so self-mastery and understanding, understanding our relationship to failure and being with our failures is critical when it comes to being a master of the self, because you are literally looking at, okay, when was I off the mark?

When was I not in my center? When, when, when, when did I fail today? And I think we always want to have this this notion that this narrative that we’re putting out, it’s like, I’m amazing. I do everything amazing. And it’s like, yeah. And you also fail amazingly. And so, and we all know like, it is how you learn from that.

What did you learn from? And if you don’t learn, then that’s a conscious choice and that’s actually harmful and dangerous to you and other people. But to me, self-mastery at the core of that is being able to sit with our failures and. Honestly sitting with them. So like sitting and being like, yeah, I felt I really messed that up or I lost it or this pattern came back.

I thought I was done with that. Okay. Let’s sit with it. Let’s let’s have, we have our awareness that what can we understand? What’s the medicine that’s needed and how do I integrate? And it’s over and over and over again. And so if we run from our failures or sweep them under the rug, don’t talk to other people about them.

We’re not doing self-mastery is far a far long, long road. Yeah. It’s 

Laura Dawn: like sitting in the middle of discomfort without immediately trying to exit the present moment. And that’s what medicines help us do. They really help us sit in the middle of the fire in the middle of the discomfort and, or there’s nowhere to bolt.

You’re like, I can’t run away from this. Where’s my knee-jerk reaction of like reaching for the food or going for the thing to just avoid 

Hanifa Washington: feeling exactly boy feeling. I think that that is so right. And then when I think also about this notion of, of listening and the powerful something, and this notion of like allyship in the sacred, in the healing movement and all in all of the movements, I think about like that is so central.

I, I think just being able to sit with someone in their discomfort and pain without being like, okay, we’re going to start a coalition or we’re going to start this business, or we’re going to, we’re going to do this. We’re going to do duty to do, to do. To be able to be, to be able to sit with someone else in their pain and discomfort without wanting to do anything without wanting to change what they’re experiencing or feeling in the moment without wanting to fix is the biggest practice that any ally, you know, could do to any peer could do.

It is to just literally be with, be with, be with that person. I see a lot of folks in the space and in social justice spaces and transformational change spaces like wanting to, not that we shouldn’t do, we should definitely get to the doing because that’s so important. But if we just road bump like over the pain, it is, it is also w w w it is telling that person that.

You don’t want to be with them. And that part of them is not desired. Like we don’t, we just want to do the action because that makes us feel good. It makes us look good. And so there’s actual disconnection that’s created by trying to fix really quickly. And also there’s, there’s trust. That’s not built.

I really have, I see that over and over and over again, you know, folks wanting to like, what can I do? What can I do? What can I do, you know, asking and not doing a lot of listening and not just doing a lot of holding to doing there’s you can always get to actions, right. But being able to hold that space and to be in silence, even to be with someone in their pain is the most powerful thing.

Laura Dawn: Hmm, I love that you just went there cause we’re really building a bridge at the core of a lot of pain. Is this feeling of not belonging? And I’d love to build this bridge from the work that you did at your last organization, CIO into what you’re doing now at fireside, because what you just described to me also sounds like the peer support work that we’re doing, and a lot of people do come to medicines because they are healing trauma.

What you’re doing at fireside is essentially training people to hold space for people who are going through difficult experiences. And it seems like this training can also just be applied to what you just said for people who are going through difficult experiences with trauma without medicines.

Hanifa Washington: Absolutely. I think peer support is such a powerful practice and. I think often it just gets overlooked. I don’t think we lifted up enough or talking about it enough in our society. There’s a lot of power in being with somebody right. And practicing these skills in terms of the article in space that are practical for, for anybody.

We should, I think we should all, you know, have, have these skills and practicing skills of, you know, reflective listening of asking questions from a reflective space. So instead of asking questions out of your own personal curiosity, what questions can you ask that brings that person more present to the moment?

So what they’re feeling to what’s what’s happening now? How can we sit in silence? What does it feel like to just sit in silence with someone else and to let them know you’re there and that they’re leading the way. And I, I think like when we think of the principles of psychedelic peer support, you know, the Zendo project has been around for a decade and this notion of, you know, again, beat like.

Somewhat, we’re not guiding people. And I think that when it comes to the psychedelic peer support line, you know, we’ve trained over a hundred volunteers at this point and we’re on the way. And I think a lot of people come into the four day training, initial training with this idea of, okay, we’re going to like therapy therapist, right.

We’re going to learn all the techniques for like these magical techniques. And it’s just not like it’s very logical. And so we are, our pillars are so like relied so heavily on reflective listening, which means I’m listening to you from this heart space. I’m not, I’m not coming from a place of judgment and I’m reflecting back to you what I’m hearing and what I, what I, what I am feeling as you’re, as you’re, as you’re sharing, noticing, you know, literally like a beautiful mirror.

And it feels super awkward at first. Want to fix because that’s our first as human beings, like we’re nurturers, we want, we want to fix. And so fixing again, moves the person away from what they’re feeling now, and it puts you in charge, right? So there’s a power dynamic when we are listening and reflecting back, we’re taking ourselves as much out of the picture.

We are becoming as equal as possible. And I think that there’s yeah, there, as, as we practice this with our volunteers and during the training, right. They become more and more comfortable with this. And as they go into the, your service on the line really practicing that first, like as the most practical tool.

And then, you know, obviously we’re always checking for safety right of first, but then we really lean on those, the tool of reflective listening, and then reflective questioning and you know, normalizing, validating yeah. Really allowing a caller or the person you’re holding space with to decide the direction of what happens and also the pace, right?

Again, we come, we’re always having them cover them. And it’s amazing if you just allow the person who you’re supporting to lead the way they’re going to move at the pace that feels best for them. And so offering this choice point, I think in this type of care, super important, I think that also peer support really pairs beautifully in the medical model and needs to have more space within it.

And because the more you also give choice and create opportunities and a culture of choice, you’re sharing that power dynamic. You’re not just prescribing and saying, oh, you need to do this. You need to do that. It’s okay. You’re fine. We’re going to get you to do this breath work, and you’re going to go over here and then I’m going to, I think you should meet this person in the.

Go do 10, 10 reps of this, but it’s, it’s, it’s taking your directives out of the way and allowing you to share that space. And it is, it is safe. It is a sacred exchange. And so I think that I carry a lot of my practices from CIO’s, you know, into the work that I do with fireside project and really through our training, really try to instill, you know, self-care at normalizing that.

So really teaching and modeling around what it is to create a trauma informed space. So allowing for breaks, right? Allowing for plenty of time for questions, but also, you know, doing some mindfulness activities. Doing some breath work sitting in silence and then encouraging people to have a self care plan around their shifts on the line.

So folks worked for a year on, on the line as a volunteer, they work like the same four hour shift every week. And so really encourage people to have a re like rituals, if you want to call it that, but a practice around before, during, and after your shift, what are you doing for your self-care? Because again, you can be absorbing people’s stuff and it’s work.

It’s a muscle that you’re using. And so how are you re self-regulating? So encouraging people to whatever things I need to have around them, you know, that feel good for them, but also doing some grounding and breath work exercises before, during and after. And then have been willing to really release after your shift to not take anything with you that you don’t want to.

And so that’s super important. And then we also do. A whole section on a culture of belonging. And so these, this is some of the work that I’ve done in the past lab, but brought some pieces of it in to this, to our four-day training and into the culture of fireside, honestly. And so you know, doing the north star punch has this wonderful notion around doing the inner work.

And so I see cultural belonging as bringing the inner work into work. So being able to sit in the collective practice of awareness building and transmuting work is that’s why cultural belonging is it’s really rich. So we go into talking about understanding the systems and how they might be showing up in us and how those dynamics could affect how we show up with the color, how we show up with each other.

So beginning to do work around, you know, understanding our, our trigger points, understanding some of our, you know, self-defeating patterns. Some of the untruths patterns beginning to understand, okay, how have I been conditioned from the different circles? So it was from the people who I grew up with, what things was I sort of conditioned, what has society told me?

You know, what are the groups that I belong to that might have some conditioning and also understanding that right. People have trauma and that they are picking up those trauma trauma patterns from those various circles of identity. You know? So from the family, from the groups, from society and begetting, helping folks be begin to understand some of the truths that they might be living that are actually based in untruths.

And so we do some reflective activities and it’s a lot of like listening and sharing stories, sharing. Then we’ll do some meditation and trauma and not trauma, but somatic release work. So there’s. Sessions, there’s sort of a section of six sessions that I do, but during the four-day training, the volunteers experience that sort of first core session, which is great.

And I think that again, trying to do work supportive work for others without doing your inner work, you’re, you’re going to, there’s going to be some cognitive dissonance. And so I really believe that helping people to understand their power and in every moment is critical for not only providing an excellent service, but I feel that we’re also, you know, in, in the business, if you want to say that I’d like you to help him to develop people at fireside project.

So not, not just the folks who are calling in, but also our volunteers and. 

Laura Dawn: That’s amazing. I mean, at the heart of it, you, if you cannot sit in your own discomfort, how do you hold space for someone else’s discomfort, 

Hanifa Washington: right, exactly. That’s the end of the day, that’s it, Laura. 

Laura Dawn: Yeah. And I love that you’re doing peer support training.

I really hold the vision, especially just how rapidly psychedelic compounds are entering the mainstream. We need to raise the entire bar of peer support, psychedelic literacy right now, just basic information and basic training for our culture to know. Okay. Especially more and more people are starting to have these experiences by the millions at this point.

And it needs to be part of our just basic educational learning. 

Hanifa Washington: Absolutely. I totally agree. And we are going to be launching a sort of public facing training in the next year called psychedelic citizens. And so this notion around how can we all be, you know, psychedelic citizens, like you’re saying, there’s, there’s some of this knowledge and practices that all people need to know.

And that those practices are also transferrable, right? So it’s not just only when people are having psychedelic experiences and after them, these are skills that are just great for everybody to have to deal, to hold space for anybody. And so I think that this training is going to be we’re toying with either a one day or two day, or there could be an option where we do one day and a two day, and you can do either to become a psychedelic citizen, you know, what do you do?

What do you need? And so there’s this kind of analogy I say, that’s like, you know, you learn CPR because it could save a life and you never know who, or when you might need to, to be able to use that skill. And I think that’s very similar with, you know, the art of holding space and psychedelic. Everyone should be trained on these basic things, because you never know when you’re going to need that skill.

The core components to being a psychedelic citizen are understanding the tools for holding space while somebody is actively in an experience. And also afterwards it’s also about understanding sort of the basics of, of psychedelics some of the basic psychedelics and their arc of experience. It’s also about what do we do, we need to interface with refugee services during a time when someone might be active with tripping or afterwards it’s also about right, how do I ground and take care of myself while I’m also providing this care?

And you know, what are also some of the sort of critical core resources out here? You know, we think about Airwood we think about dance safe, you know, we think about we think about Zendo site, all about support, like where it was sort of like arming people with as much resource that they can like lean on and do their own research.

As well as giving them the skills to, in the real moment provide, you know, care and, and support for folks. And also when someone is in their, you know, their own practice really beginning, you know, this training is also about really lifting up, like, what is integration? What does it look like? What are, what are some of the ways it happens?

Why is it important? You know, and the support line about about a little over 50% of our calls are integration calls or when folks are processing after trips. And so we are finding that like actually, you know, having a psychedelic experience and not integrating can, can actually be harmful in itself.

So not only is there harm reduction or risk reduction of providing support during some of those experiences. Important and reducing risks. Having that integration afterwards is equally as important and reducing potentially reducing harm. 

Laura Dawn: I love that analogy of CPR. It’s like, you might never know when you need it.

It’s such a good way to be thinking about psychedelic literacy. I really think that we need to be collectively as a culture, really pushing that and thinking about how we integrate it and you guys are leading the way. So it’s, it’s amazing to watch your journey as well. Yeah. I’m so curious if your curriculum addresses what maybe white folks need to know about holding space or doing offering peer support for BiPAP community.

It does peer support look the same regardless it’s still active or reflective listening, or are there core principles that you educate people around? Yeah, that’s 

Hanifa Washington: a really great question, Laura. We haven’t really created that curriculum yet. I think that’s coming. We are actually. We just launched this big initiative with fireside and this like affinity peer group.

So, so it’s affinity peer integration services. And so this is our kind of first attempt and looking at an understanding that identity matters and right. Choice and power sharing matter. So what does that look like in practice? And so we just kicked off this initiative. We just brought on literally just brought on 40 people that we’re going to be trading it to be affinity peers.

And so what this looks like is that starting on June 23rd, if you are coming from any bi-pod community military veterans, as well as transgender folks will be able to call the line on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from three to 7:00 PM Pacific time and request to speak to an infinity peer. And an affinity period, that’s in one of those groups for integration support.

And so we know that yeah, things come up during experiences. I can only have experiences. And when we’re processing, it is can be monumental to have somebody who shares part of our identity. Based on what we’re integrating, you know, sometimes like you were saying, a lot of trauma things come up during psychedelic experiences things that we want to push, you know push through, but also like to look at and dissect and understand.

And so I think for us being able to offer a peer that can empathize more deeply with that person’s lived experience. There’s a greater potential for. Right. Greater understanding, more release, more comfortability on being able to be more vulnerable. And because we, we just understand that representation matters and that there are systems of oppression at play.

And so but peer support is tricky support, so you can anybody right. Can support any anyone. And we know that when you add an affinity layer, meaning like likeness that allows her that experience to be a little even deeper. So I think at the core, when we’re talking about psychedelic peer supportive peer support, the art of holding space, emotional support, all the tools.

Are the same, there’s no like different tool. Like if someone is a correlated as wide and there’s someone who’s been acculturated as black and there’s a peer support experience happening there. There’s, I wouldn’t say at this point, there’s like a different way. The sort of white volunteer to do with a black color or vice versa.

I think the tools are very core and so much of it is about getting out of the way. And I think that there is that inner work piece right. Becomes so clear or can become really clear the practice of it, to understand whatever biases we might have really consciously or unconsciously that we might be energetically projecting in the tone of our voice.

That’s a good patient, have a voice. And so. Being able to be aware of those things feels important potentially. But I, I would, at this point, I think we want to see how the affinity peer program goes to also observe it, to be able to collect some information around, like, how does this really impact the quality of service or the potential of the integration experience?

What are some of the things that people use and do insights? So there’s a lot that we just don’t, we haven’t explored, we don’t know yet, but I think that if there’s just someone out there like, or even as we get into on a psychedelic citizenship training, I think that we would also point people to curriculum that’s already been created.

And some of the other trainings that are out here, so to Kern is doing tons of work around this. As well as ancestor practice has a lovely workbook around. Yeah. Basically like anti-racism in psychedelics. And so that’s something I would, you know, but. Since our volunteers, as well as a part of our training.

Laura Dawn: I’m curious if we can get a little specific for people listening just around reflective listening. Can we like unpack an example? Let’s say I’m calling, I’m having a very vocal. Maybe let’s just use the, the example of I’m channeling, a lot of rage and anger. I feel like I need support moving through it and I call fireside what would be an example of, of a process that appear support could help me with moving through that experience?

Hanifa Washington: Yeah. Yeah. I’m almost tempted to say that y’all doing a role-play cause we actually do a lot of role playing during our training. But the so much of it, Laura is about listening and reflecting. So if you were like, I’m really freaking pissed off about whatever the thing is. And I were just sort of like, you know, allow you to say your piece, if it feels like there’s a moment in there where you’ve got.

I might jump in, but sometimes I will just like sit back and do some and see if the person will keep going. A lot of the time people want him to sort of vent and like go off. And then I would say, you know, something I would say is like, I feel, I feel like you’re really angry and like, you have a lot of range and that’s okay.

It’s totally normal to have this, these emotions. Do you want to speak more about what in particular, has you angry and upset right now, but the person go off and then if it feels like I want to literally reflect back a piece of what they’re saying. So not just like, here are the emotions that I’m picking up on, but if I want to say, okay, I heard you say just now your partner did X and it made you feel like this.

And I’m curious if this is something you want to talk more about. Right? So again, ask open-ended questions and allow that person to really guide. Where it wants to go. What I wouldn’t do would be like, you know, I’m so sorry that you’re angry. Let’s do some breathing exercises right now. Let me take you away from how you’re feeling.

I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t do that. Maybe toward the end of the cough, it felt like the person was in a more decompressed space and they wanted it again, always ask, Hey, you know, we’ve just been talking for a while. Do you feel like you want to do, do you want to do a breathing exercise with me? Something that I do when I kind of let off, you know, whatever this is something that’s been helpful for me.

Would you want to practice that? They could say no. And that’s when you want to give choice. So yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question book. Yeah, 

Laura Dawn: that’s great. Yeah. I’m curious. How many calls have you received through fireside at 

Hanifa Washington: this point? We are at twenties 2,600 calls at this point.

So celebrate our one-year anniversary. Probably actually over that, we’re probably closer to 2,800 at this point. 

Laura Dawn: That’s amazing. What would you say is the most surprising thing that you’ve learned through this process in terms of all the data that you’re receiving? 

Hanifa Washington: I think early on, I was surprised like how many people were integrating.

I, yeah, that’s continues to surprise me. And I think that biggest thing too, is I think it’s like 87% of our callers are like this. When they, when they called it, was it the first time that they had done psychedelics. So there, there are more people calling that are so active users as opposed to first-time people or folks who’ve never, who have never experienced a psychedelic.

Which is data for us, that information for us, because it means we need to do a better job, getting out to people who like are coming in new to psychedelics. And so it’s like, well, where do, how do we find those folks? And let them know, like, please say our number and please call us. And then I think I think beyond the data, Laura, what I find so surprising.

And so dear to my heart is cause we ask our we’re sending survey star volunteers all the time. They probably like are just like, if you send me another freaking survey, but we want to know their experience, right? We want to know like, what can we do better? What are you enjoying? And you know, people are just like, I love this community.

I have found a community. So it’s still worth asking them like, well, what’s the most enjoyable thing. And you would think people would say being able to have as powerful integration cars, I was going to help someone. They were actually tripping, but people are saying like, I’m so happy that I’ve found a community, you know?

And I’m connecting with people who have like interests and I’m learning. Yeah, that’s been this beautiful, beautiful surprise. And what do you 

Laura Dawn: think that you’ve really learned about yourself in terms of leadership as you’re leading this incredible initiative in the space, what have you really learned about leaders?

Hanifa Washington: I’ve learned. I’ve spent so many years working in a particular community on doing particular work with particular people who are very seasoned right. In facilitating. And you’re doing this hard work and practicing living in conscious co-creation. And I realized that I was kind of in this bubble right.

For a long, long time. And so working with people who don’t come from that sort of field, but also then like bringing that, like, I feel like I’m bringing this sort of knowledge and practices out into this, into the, into the psychedelic space, within an organization. And so not as like a facilitator, but like literally with like staff and volunteers, it’s a different experience.

And it’s been, I feel like talk about mastery. It’s like, okay, can you find out how you have done this work with organizations for years now, you’re coming into a new space, a new field of psychedelics. How do you begin to lay these roots down and teach about conscious co-creation and teach about power dynamics and teach about healing and self care outside of this space that you’ve been so familiar in for so many years that I think like it’s very joyful to do it.

And it’s also, it’s a, there’s a recalibration that I’ve had to do. Like, oh, this person doesn’t just know this, like this person, whether it’s a coworker or a volunteer, it’s like, oh, this is jargon to people that have no idea what I’m talking about. So being able to translate. And to be able to teach, right?

When you are teaching something, that’s definitely part of mastery. And it’s been a wonderful journey into being able to break these concepts down, model them, and in a way that there’s an uptake and people are like, get it. And I think that it’s also, it’s a long game. So I’ve been able to, I have to be able to remind myself that like, yeah, after two years, like there’s only so, so much that can be like transferred or the time that I have to be able to be in these practices and the practices is limited.

And so there’s, I’m learning about like, yeah, not beating myself up or it’s like having more patience with the process. And also I think something I’ve learned about my leadership style is that I am, you know, I’m like a natural facilitator and naturally sort of pull back and listen to that. And so being able to unzip and like move more into speaking, you know, not being in an observer because that’s just like where I naturally sort of fall in, but I’m very lucky.

I feel to have such a great partner and leading FireSIGHT with Joshua, because we’re literally like polar opposites in like how we, like our operating systems are just very different, but they, but they weave very well together. So I love that. He’s like very, you know, in, especially in group settings, like out like talking to people and connecting and all that, and I’m definitely more of, I felt like I’m here, I’m holding the space, I’m observing.

And you know, so I think that the. This question is sort of got me, like take them a little bit, cause I’ve been, you know, doing some, just sort of reflecting on the past two years, almost of co-founding fireside and where, where we’re at now, everything I’ve brought into it, Laura. So there’s like all the parts of myself I’ve been able to bring and it just feels so good.

So like, you know, I’m a graphic designer, not by, I didn’t study it, but I’ve just picked it up. This deskilled apple along the way. So to see, you know, like I designed our app and our website and our logo and brand and social media for the first year and a half and to sort of see the impact has been really awesome.

And I think being able to really like celebrate those things as well. So celebrate all these different parts of myself as a facilitator, as an organizer, as a strategist, as a designer to be like, yeah, great job. You know? Cause I think often I’m so used to just like going, going, going to like supporting other people and being cheerleaders for others.

I forget to celebrate myself. I’m changing that habit and it’s, it takes, it takes work. But I try to try to celebrate and reflect and be grateful for the work that I’m doing. Like every week in a little ritual that I do. And it’s been really lovely. 

Laura Dawn: Hmm. That’s amazing. You are truly a multifaceted powerhouse of a woman leading in this space.

So thank you so much. I just wanted to ask you one more question, because this is the first time I’ve actually heard this like actual field of conscious co-creation in like an industry and an organizational industry. So do you do trainings on that? Do you know other people who do trainings on that? How do people learn more about 

Hanifa Washington: that?

Yes. So my she’s a master teacher is what I would call her. And then her name is Neo new span. And, and she runs a project called beyond diversity, 1 0 1. The website is like BD one oh one.org. And, you know, the notion of that is like literally moving beyond, right. Diversity one-on-one. So this is, so this training, isn’t about the sort of cookie cutter training.

It’s about moving beyond that. And so it’s a five day intensive training that they do. And I’ve gone through that training many times, actually probably seven or eight times both as a participant and as a sort of a sort of helper intern. And every time I’ve done it, like something new is rebuilt. And so I think everybody, I just feel like it should be a core curriculum for everybody in the world.

So it’s called beyond diversity 1 0 1. It’s fantastic. And she really creates a container and then it’s like 20 or 30 people in each training. And it, you really began to being yourself and began to understand, yeah. How, how are you using your power? How, how are you. Blocking your, you know, what am I say, blocking your blessings?

How are you putting yourself up on the auction block? Right? So this is one of her famous quotes, but one of them up to use Howard, how are you, you know, honoring, you know, your people, your ancestors and your. How are you disconnecting? Are you becoming other, are you hiding? So it’s a super powerful, very multi-disciplinary approaches in that training, a lot of somatics and a lot of body discussion, you know, creativity.

It’s a really powerful training. I would invite everybody to, to at least do it once. I really 

Laura Dawn: appreciate that. Thank you for sharing. I’m curious if you are open to ending on a, I’ll use the word prayer here or sharing a vision, you know, when we think about this notion of like the identity of a starving artist, for example, and I just like really want to repattern that narrative and you kind of pointed to this earlier in terms of sacred activism, that there’s this old template in terms of what it looks like.

And if you could paint a picture of the ideal version of sacred activism in the affinity signed this infinity sign with spiritual resilience and culture of belonging, like what would you paint as the picture of healthy, spiritual activism and sacred activism? 

Hanifa Washington: Ooh, that was a big one. Clara D yeah, I, I see.

A world where we are connected, aware of our connection to each other, and that we are in deep gratitude and fierce protection of that connection and that we live our lives, each breath in sacred reverence to each other, to this earth, to all of the forces on this earth, that we sit in reverence and humbleness to those forces.

I see health for all people because they have the care and the systems of care that honor their choices and that understand their suffering and pain and allow for suffering and pain to be normalized. And. I I see, I see, I feel like I’ve been there. I’ve seen this world and I want us all to be there, to, to grow old there, to do the things each day in relation to ourselves and to each other that build the road to this place.

And that it’s work. That is joyous. It is work. That is life-giving and it is a commitment to not only our individual lives, but to all of us, for us just to hold that vision 

Laura Dawn: holding that vision with you, feeling it in my heart, seeing it in my mind and holding the prayer that we can enjoy the ride and the pathway there enjoy.

We have such limited time on this planet. Let’s bring more laughter in these medicines are showing us how to do that. 

Hanifa Washington: Well, 

Laura Dawn: thank you. I so appreciate you. oh my goodness. I love getting to know you more and just listening and soaking up all your wisdom. You are just really a special human. So thank you so much for all the work that you’re doing, and it really is an honor to get to know you and to share this space with you.

Hanifa Washington: Thank you so much for this beautiful, beautiful platform and your wisdom and clarity and enjoy. It’s been really an honor to have this time today. Thank you.



 

Hi Friends, thank you SO much for tuning into another episode of the psychedelic leadership podcast. It’s because of you that I’ve now passed 100,000 downloads, and what a wonderful journey it’s been.  

 

If you’ve been enjoying this show, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and  I would so appreciate it if you could leave me a review on Apple Podcasts. 

And if you’re not yet following me on Instagram, I’m going to be sharing all of my upcoming travels and events in my stories over the next month, and you can follow me at Livefreelaurad 

 

As always, there were quite a few resources mentioned throughout the show, and you can access all of them by going to lauradawn.co/52. 

 

I’m going to leave you with one of Hanifa’s soulful kirtan-style songs called River from her album Mantras for the revolution. 

 

Alright friends, once again, my name is Laura Dawn, and you’re listening to the psychedelic leadership podcast, until next time.

Hanifa Nayo Washington

Hanifa Nayo Washington

BIOGRAPHY

Hanifa Nayo Washington, she/her/hers, is a social entrepreneur, sacred activist, digital designer, and healing justice practitioner with 20 years of values-based nonprofit leadership.

Hanifa, a facilitator, reiki master practitioner, musician, and creative, works at the intersection of mindfulness, place making, and social justice to cultivate organizations, gatherings, spaces, and experiences rooted in the values of beloved community.

Hanifa is the Co-founder and Chief of Strategy at Fireside Project a nonprofit that is creating systemic change in the field of psychedelics in three key domains: safety, diversity, and equitable access. Through their Psychedelic Peer Support Line, Fireside Project has created a nationwide safety net that has substantially decreased 911 calls and hospitalizations while democratizing access to free high-quality care. The line has supported thousands of callers since launching in April of 2021.

Hanifa is also the Co-founder and Organizing Principle of One Village Healing, an online BIPOC centered healing, resilience, and psychedelic wellness space.

In 2017 Hanifa released her 3rd album Mantras for the Revolution. Hanifa offers this soulful, connective, kirtan-style, collective practice as medicine in this time of revolution that is both- within us and around us.

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This Episode of the Psychedelic Leadership Podcast features a song called “River” by Hanifa Nayo Washington

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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.