Don’t Try This at Home!

As a serious non-drug user, I always found the thought of trying LSD and mushrooms titillating, but terrifying. I wanted the experience and learning without what I perceived to be the risk of addiction or losing my mind. An article in this week’s NY Times titled “Hallucinogens Have Scientists Tuning In Again” gave me such a kick, and made me realize that I wasn’t totally wrong. What the article said reminded me so much of what coaching is about.

Apparently, under controlled conditions, scientists at Johns Hopkins and other universities are finding that patients who have taken hallucinogens have had a profound and lasting change to the way that they view themselves and the world. A fundamental and on-going change in perspective. One patient is quoted as saying, “It was a whole personality shift for me. I wasn’t any longer attached to my performance and trying to control things. I could see that the really good things in life will happen if you just show up and share your natural enthusiasms with people.” Wow! That is the sentiment that got me.

The idea resonated with me on two levels. First, imagine being able, in a short time, to get out of the ways of thinking that block us? The ‘stories’ we’ve told ourselves for years about how things are, what we can and can’t do? What a liberating change in perspective! And second, imagine really being yourself, “sharing your natural enthusiasms.” People spend so much time and energy creating masks. It’s counter-intuitive for most of us, but when we actually let our authentic selves show, we connect so much more easily. And, when the two work together: Being in a perspective of feeling powerful, plus really knowing your authentic self…the possibilities are endless.

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