Can Ancient Plant Medicine & Modern Science Raise Your Emotional IQ?

Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and each day new advances within the digital space expand the potential for human knowledge and development. However, despite all of the technological advances we are making, it seems that with this same speed of connection, there is simultaneously a disconnection, as we are struggling with maintaining our emotional wellness more than ever before.

Over the last 15 years, from Facebook, to iPhones, to Genome editing, to robotics, we have experienced a momentum in development and discovery never seen before in history. Yet, in spite of all of this “evolution”, and according to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. And, more than 260 million people are living with anxiety disorders – and many live with both.

How can we be so far advanced in our technology and have access to endless amounts of knowledge but at the same time, are struggling to understand our innermost feelings? Why has it become so difficult to maintain a sense of peace and happiness? Why do so many people report feelings of loneliness and disconnection when social media allows us to constantly be in touch?

As science has proven that our day to day existence – including our physical and mental health – is absolutely impacted by the way we feel, the importance of our emotional wellness, and our ability to manage it, is more and more obvious. This lack of ‘emotional intelligence’ can have devastating consequences to our overall experience of life.

Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer coined the term ’emotional intelligence’ in 1990 describing it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”.

Emotional intelligence is a popular point of discussion in the corporate world. If you’ve ever taken a personality quiz when interviewing for a job, you would be very familiar with how many employers use tests like the Myers-Briggs or the DiSC to determine not only how a new employee will fit within the culture, but how best they can be managed to ensure maximum productivity and output.

But how much can these tests really tell us when it comes to the feelings we experience, and the emotions we have to live with each day. Plus, if someone is suffering from depression, how much does their DiSC score really matter? Turns out that it does. According to an article in Canada’s Globe and Mail, people with low emotional intelligence are twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even thoughts of suicide.

Since the 1800’s when HP Blavatsky released The Secret Doctrine, and into the 1920’s, when Paramahansa Yogananda brought meditation and the yogic to the states, Americans have been looking to ancient spiritual practices to improve their understanding of themselves and the world around them. According to a Pew Research study from 2017, 27% of adults in the United States say they think of themselves as spiritual but not religious, up 8 percentage points in five years. And many of these people are traveling outside of their country of birth to experience an awakening that they cannot find at home.

This awakening is more important than most of us realize; many people look for an awakening in response to a lack of fulfillment, a feeling of disconnection, and an experience of hopelessness – all hallmarks of depression. Depression has been linked to a 67% increased risk of death from heart disease and 50% increased risk of death from cancer. Depression, and other mental health disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. But why aren’t people just taking antidepressants and calling it a day?

According to a recent article in the New York Times, antidepressants are only modestly effective when it comes to dealing with depression; they show strong positive result in the first two months of treatment but may not be effective for anything that falls short of a major depressive episode. And what this means is that those wanting to improve their well-being must look for other ways to improve their suffering. And this is where treatment for depression, emotional intelligence, and spiritual enlightenment meet.

According to Stephen Ilardi, the Author of “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs”, depression is a ‘disease of civilization’. Thanks to lifestyle factors, including smoking, alcohol, and a lack of exercise, depression is epidemic in the industrialized, modern world while largely non-existent among modern day aboriginal groups.

We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life.
– Stephen Ilardi, PhD

So, what did our ancestors do to change the neurochemistry in their brains to prevent depression and anxiety? In ancient and indigenous cultures, plant medicine was practiced to help those struggling to remember their sense of oneness. When we think of plant medicine, many people automatically think of Ayahuasca, and while studies show that Ayahuasca has a positive effect on depression, grief, and anxiety – the world of plant medicine extends far beyond this particular medium. It’s not necessary to travel to the jungles of Peru and go through a deeply challenging shamanic-style journey. There are also other naturally occurring medicines that are easily and readily available, and can support emotional healing and wellness –  and have an extraordinary effect on emotional intelligence.

In the South Pacific, kava (Latin name Piper Methysticum) has been used for thousands of years as a ritual and celebratory beverage. When they arrived in the 1700’s, Christian missionaries worked tirelessly to stop the use of kava, likening it’s mind and heart-expanding properties to the abuse of alcohol. But they couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Kava was and is used by indigenous peoples to reach a higher state of consciousness – and it was this effect that most likely drew the criticism of the Christian missionaries. Kava played – and still plays – a significant role in social gatherings in the South Pacific. It is consumed at events such as weddings, funerals, naming, and healing ceremonies with the express purpose of bringing people together. Once a group of people drink kava, it is accepted that they are one.

Unlike alcohol, kava is non-addictive, non-inflammatory, and does not affect blood sugar levels. And, contrary to the experience of indigenous peoples who have used kava for centuries, there are modern-day claims that kava is harmful to the liver – but this has not been proven and is thought to be a myth perpetuated by the pharmaceutical industry.

One of the original studies on kava’s effect on the liver, done by Merck, conveniently overlooked that that the study’s participants were also consuming alcohol and prescription drugs that are metabolized by the liver, possibly – and actually – causing the damage. There was also evidence that the kava extracts used in the study had been made with leaves, stems, and bark peelings of the plant. These contain toxic alkaloids and would never have been used in traditional kava preparations because it was known they could result in poisoning.

In fact, a Duke University study – and it’s not the only one – shows that kava is an effective therapy for anxiety while causing little or no side effects. Both Ohio State University and the South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy conducted animal studies and found that not only was kava non-toxic to the liver, but may even protect the liver. And, those who use kava don’t experience an effect on blood pressure, heart rate or sexual function – one of the major issues with the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) routinely prescribed for depression and anxiety.

A recent article in Rolling Stone reveals that kava bars are growing in popularity all over North America. Although kava is being ‘sold’ as an alternative to alcohol, it’s effects go much deeper than relaxation after work or getting a ‘buzz’.

Beyond a feeling of relaxation, kava users report experiencing enhanced visual acuity, seeing brighter colors, and more ease in conversation. Anecdotally, kava has a reputation of being able to open blocked ‘chakras’, supporting the healing of emotional wounding. Unlike prescription drugs that manipulate neurotransmitters, dulling out undesirable feelings (and can have devastating effects on said neurotransmitters with long-term use), kava’s kavalactones create a mild state of euphoria, relax the body, and act as a mild sedative without causing drowsiness. And, because kava isn’t technically a hallucinogen, the euphoric state doesn’t cause a feeling of separation from reality. This creates an ideal situation in which to see aspects of our lives – and the people around us – through a softer lens. Compassion and empathy for ourselves and others is fundamental to our ongoing development and evolution. Through compassion and empathy, we can increase our awareness, our openness, and our connection – and our emotional intelligence can’t help but be positively impacted.

Kava can be consumed in a tea or as a supplement – taking it in capsule form may be more desirable for those who wish to avoid its ‘earthy’ flavor. Your kava should be organic and pesticide free and must contain only the root. A company called Limitless Life makes the kava-based, emotional support supplement AVA, using only sustainably grown, organic kava. AVA’s plant-based formula naturally supports emotional wellness allowing you to safely, conveniently, and effectively experience all the benefits of plant medicine. AVA causes no harmful side effects, damage to neurotransmitters, or tolerance build up. And it can be combined with a movement practice, including yoga, to enhance physical and mental benefits.

The path to greater emotional intelligence and healing is a life-long journey. There are problems that can’t – and won’t – be solved by technology. But if we are willing to unplug so we can hear the wisdom of our ancestors, we can find nuggets of wisdom that will bring us back to the wellness inherent in all of us. If we are willing to slow down, be still, and listen, all that we need to live rich, fulfilling lives, is available to us from mother earth.

 

The Real Hidden Meaning Behind The Starbucks Logo? Why Would They Pick A Two Tailed Mermaid?

A few years ago Starbucks’ decision to stay “holiday neutral” on their cups this year has been a point of contention and a heated conversation over the past few days, agitating many to believe that this decision marked an intentional “war on Christmas” (see: Red Cup Controversy).

They were criticized this year as well.

According to Jeffrey Fields, VP of Starbucks, the concept was for the holiday cups to be a blank canvas, allowing customers to create their own stories, “inspired by the doodles and designs that customers have drawn on white cups for years.” “In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs,” Jeffrey explained. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

Yet the whole “red cup” controversy starts to look pretty silly when you take into account that Starbucks’ logo (which emblazons every cup) has been actually highly esoteric in nature from the beginning.

While The Little Mermaid portrays Ariel as a quirky, curious beauty with hopes of exploring the world, according to Greek mythology, mermaids, or sirens, were predatory seductresses that would seduce sailors with songs and promises of sex — and then kill them.

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The original Starbucks logo had a twin-tailed mermaid, known as Melusine. According to Wikipedia the tale of Melusine is as follows:

The tale was translated into German in 1456 by Thüring von Ringoltingen, the version of which became popular as a chapbook. It was later translated into English c. 1500, and often printed in both the 15th century and the 16th century. A prose version is entitled the Chronique de la princesse (Chronicle of the Princess).

It tells how in the time of the Crusades, Elynas, the King of Albany (an old name for Scotland or Alba), went hunting one day and came across a beautiful lady in the forest. She was Pressyne, mother of Melusine. He persuaded her to marry him but she agreed, only on the promise — for there is often a hard and fatal condition attached to any pairing of fay and mortal — that he must not enter her chamber when she birthed or bathed her children. She gave birth to triplets. When he violated this taboo, Pressyne left the kingdom, together with her three daughters, and traveled to the lost Isle of Avalon.

The three girls — Melusine, Melior, and Palatyne — grew up in Avalon. On their fifteenth birthday, Melusine, the eldest, asked why they had been taken to Avalon. Upon hearing of their father’s broken promise, Melusine sought revenge. She and her sisters captured Elynas and locked him, with his riches, in a mountain. Pressyne became enraged when she learned what the girls had done, and punished them for their disrespect to their father. Melusine was condemned to take the form of a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. In other stories, she takes on the form of a mermaid.

Raymond of Poitou came across Melusine in a forest of Coulombiers in Poitou in France, and proposed marriage. Just as her mother had done, she laid a condition: that he must never enter her chamber on a Saturday. He broke the promise and saw her in the form of a part-woman, part-serpent, but she forgave him. When, during a disagreement, he called her a “serpent” in front of his court, she assumed the form of a dragon, provided him with two magic rings, and flew off, never to return.[1]

Beyond the tale of Melusine and the mythological mystery of the mermaid, the other gods of the sea are amongst the most powerful in history, as water represents the power of creation which can both give, and destroy life.

For example, the Christian iconography of the fish symbol is associated with Jesus — and although it is believed to be in relation to his statement to “Peter and Andrew that if they followed him, He would make them fishers of men” —  this mythology, too, dates back even before the Bible, and is actually relating to the Dagon god (or “fish god”) of the Philisitines.

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From SeedofAbraham.com:

‘Dagon is the diminutive of dag, and signifies ‘little fish;’ not so much, however, in reference to size, as to the affection entertained for it; so that some would render it, ‘dear little fish.’ The Babylonians believed that a being, part man and part fish, emerged from the Erythraean Sea, and appeared in Babylonia in the early days of its history, and taught the people various arts necessary for their well-being. Representations of this fish-god have been found among the sculptures of Nineveh. The Philistine Dagon was of a similar character.’9

Whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, it is important to see beyond the symbols and the mainstream narrative which suits our cultural conditioning in order to find the root of what is (or was). Holidays are their own mythology (see: The Psychedelic Origin of Christmas), and history can be like the game of telephone at times, as stories get altered to suit the needs of those in control of what is written.

What you choose to believe is personal to you, and a cup shouldn’t dictate or deter your celebration. Whether the cup is red, purple, green, or decorated in Christmas design, the spirit of the holidays is within you, nobody else, and regardless, year round, the mermaid still will be on the Starbucks cup – luring people to pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee with her siren songs.

7 Ways To Naturally Increase Your Mood & Vibrational Frequency

Within the spiritual community, terms like “raise your vibration” and “elevate your frequency” seem to circulate many conscious conversations. These terms can be taken in a literal sense, as you can literally feel when someone has a low vibe, or a dense frequency, as these circumstances usually lend themselves to less than ideal experiences. On the flip side, when you are feeling good, or a situation is really “light” and vibing high, the same ripple effect of consciousness happens within the space you occupy — and the feelings of goodness can be felt by most anyone who is open to receive that higher state of consciousness.

In today’s world it’s sometimes hard to maintain that high vibe. Time seems to move faster and faster each day, and the pressures of society and structure can take their toll. Life moves by quickly, and if you are unaware, it can drag you down to a bad mood, no energy, low vibration pit. Below, I’ve created a list of seven ways to “hack consciousness” and increase your mood and vibration naturally, so when the low vibe days manifest, you’ll be fully prepared to face the darkness with inner light. 

Drink Water

“Drink water” is a cliche of the health, mood, and wellness world. Some people scoff because it’s kind of like Mood Boosting 101. “Drink water” is a common piece of advice because it’s amazing and it’s seriously easy to do. Drinking water is building a foundation you can build your mood upon. No matter what else you try to do to raise your mood and vibration, it’s not going to work if you’re dehydrated.

Your body needs water, and unfortunately most people don’t give it enough. We replace water with sports drinks, heavily caffeinated coffee, and even fruit juice, which is riddled with high fructose corn syrup and so much unnecessary sugar. When you’re dehydrated, your muscles are tenser, your heart has to beat a little harder, you’re more prone to hunger, and more likely to grab a super-processed snack. Your body isn’t nourished, you don’t feel your best, and the cycle continues. Drink water. Start in the morning when you wake up and sip throughout the day. If you want to add a little “zing” to your H20, add some lemon and cayenne pepper to spice things up, literally.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Dancing your heart away forces you to exist in the present. You have to match your body to the beat. It also raises your heart rate, increasing blood flow and fighting stagnation. You breathe more deeply, and a rush of oxygen always increases the feel good chemicals in your brain. Moving your body eases minor aches and stiffness that you may not even have been aware of. All these factors combine to make you feel like a new person when the song ends.

Pandora has curated different stations to match your musical needs when you want to get your groove on. We recommend finding something nostalgic and light — as the nostalgia and whimsy may bring an extra little smile when you’re dancing by yourself.

Meditate

High energy doesn’t always mean a high vibration. Nervous energy and anxiety can deplete joyous feelings, but mediation is a great way to boost your mood when you need to let go of negative energies. Establishing a meditation routine will make it easier to slip into this state when you need it.

The three main types of meditation that you may want to consider adding to your daily high-vibe routine are Mantra, Mindfulness, and Visualization.

Declutter Your Space

Having a clean house can help bring about a feeling of a higher frequency, as a clean desk reflects a clean mind. Decluttering is all about letting go; it’s not just putting things back where they belong, it’s also about letting go of what you don’t need. It’s being grateful, and valuing what you do need. If an object brings you joy, it’s an object that should stay in your space. However, if an object is auxillary and just occupying unnecessary room —let go so you can let more clean energy flow.

Go to the Sauna (or Participate in a Sweat Lodge)

Sweat it out! Spending the day at a spa (sauna) has a multitude of health benefits that help raise your vibe, including the ability to combat fatigue and depression, and help with cardiovascular health. Google saunas or spas in your area to find a space where you can detox and enjoy the day!

 If you have a connection or an option to participate in a Native American Sweat Lodge ceremony, this is yet another great way to clear energetic debris, raise your vibe, and clean your aura of anything negative, while sweating out toxins within a spiritually safe environment.

Take an Ice Bath

Wim Hof has become famous (infamous) for his mind over matter meditation techniques, which have allowed him to hold 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures. He is known as the “Ice Man,” as he can swim comfortably in freezing cold water and sit in ice baths for hours at a time!

The cold exposure technique is not just something for the daredevils among us; there’s actually a lot of supporting data for the benefits of cold on the body. Cold exposure is believed to aid in fat loss, increase life span and circulation, reduce pain, strengthen the immune system, and more!

While learning the Wim Hof method takes some time, for a quick dose of the benefits of cold, we recommend taking a cold shower as a way to up your vibe without fully diving too deep.

Try Natural Supplements

All these tips have to do with changing the state that you’re in. Through deliberate action, you alter the contents of your world, raise your vibration, and fine tune your mood. Another way to “fine tune” is to use natural supplements to increase your awareness, and allow new levels of consciousness to help create a brighter/better reality.

One of the best supplements I’ve happened to come across through my exploration of “consciousness hacking” and seeking natural ways to become a fully optimized version of myself is an all-natural, plant-based supplement called Katy.love. KATY is a scientifically calibrated, all natural supplement that gives your brain what it needs to be able to manufacture dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. It nourishes your body and mind, enabling you to be (and feel) happy, fulfilled, and inspired in a completely natural way, without any side-effects.  

Raising your vibration requires a deliberate and actionable plan when stress tries to kill the vibe. By taking action and finding sustainable ways to control your mood, you can actively participate in a better reality for yourself and those you spend your time with. Meditation, dancing, decluttering, sauna, ice baths, hydrating, and supplements can all naturally get you to that awe-inspiring level of awareness, and one way isn’t necessarily better than another. 

Find what resonates best, put it in your spiritual toolbox, and allow that tool to carve a better feeling world.

The Reality of Truth: An Enlightening Journey Into Different Levels of Consciousness (Documentary)

We are living in a time that is equal parts chaos and creativity, as the world around us is changing at an-ever increasing rate. Politics, society, and culture as we know it are in the midst of an unprecedented evolution, which seems to be happening due in part to a massive paradigm shift.

As many feel called to begin looking inward for answers, the exploration of our consciousness and our curiosity about a greater reality (beyond what is visibly seen) are showing us that history may not be exactly what we’ve been told.

Renaissance periods happen after a time of great darkness, and our modern renaissance seems to be following this cyclical pattern. As things “seem” to be getting darker, those with the light within them are shining even brighter, and searching for answers beyond the veil of corruption. Some believe that our modern renaissance is a psychedelic one, with the psychedelic experience being an initiation into higher consciousness, creativity, and illumination. This new illumination provides a new type of clarity for the lens with which we view reality through.

“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.”

? Terence McKenna

A new documentary called The Reality of Truth follows the journey of Zappy Zapolin, a wisdom seeker looking beyond the veil as he searches for a deeper understanding of consciousness and the role of psychedelics and spirituality. He is curious to access the tools available for us to understand the world(s) and various realities around us, and reveal the metaphors that may have been hidden in plain sight for centuries in various religious texts.

“Could part of the religious experience have to do with plant sacraments?” 

The story begins with this question, and synchronicity allows the answers to become manifest as Zappy interviews various thought-leaders including Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Marianne Williamson, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and Foster Gamble (to name a few) — then journeys to Peru with Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and the Furious) to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony.

All experience eventually culminates with an eye-opening revelation of truth, and a new understanding of our roles in creating a new world, through healing, and harnessing our power as creators and spiritual beings.

The film is available to watch for free on YouTube, and is a delightful and eye-opening journey! Watch below, and share your thoughts!