Lately, I’ve been preoccupied with 2011. Specifically the latter part of the year–late summer, fall and early winter. I can feel it, smell it, taste it…like somehow, five years ago is right here with me today.

I was immersed in photography classes, selling fancy handbags at the mall. In love with a man who would never love me. Living in a cute little apartment in Houston, at the corner of Westheimer and the 610 Loop. (Side note: I met a woman several months later who I cared for deeply. For a brief time, she was a mentor and friend. She died suddenly on Christmas Day, 2012 and before she passed, we found out that years earlier, she had lived in that exact same apartment.)

2011 was also the year I discovered psychedelics, sitting with a close friend in my living room. No ceremony about it, just a couple of pills sourced from a neighbor. Two important things happened that night, under the spell of a mixture of MDMA and psilocybin:

1. I encountered, what I called (repeatedly, out loud) “The Holiest of Holies.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I remember feeling years of anxiety and PTSD melt away in one instant of awe and sacredness, ancient symbols dancing on the walls.

2. Somewhere deep into the journey, my friend quietly took my hands. Visions of vines began to ripple up from the floor and through his arms and body as he said, “The earth is your Mother, and she loves you.”

At some point, likely under that same spell or in the afterglow of another similar session, I wrote a poem which randomly crossed my path again today. Just a single verse, in badly translated Latin:

Hodie mundo vivit.
Oculi aperti sunt .
Universum canit audio cantus .
Interiora mea efferbuerunt absque liberis morior .
Moriatur anima mea fueris .
Mors terribilis , et decora facie.
Totum vocat . Antiquus redit .

Tempus est.

Today, the world is alive.
My eyes are open.
The universe sings, I hear its song.
My heart is free and I am dying.
Let my soul soar. Death is terrible, and beautiful.
The Whole calls. The Ancient returns.

It is time.

Reading this today transported me again, instantly: 2011. I likely keep going back because those months would be the last few before my world started to undergo more drastic, abrupt changes than I could count. Maybe there’s some part of me that’s craving that sweet, naive stability again…mushrooms and beer and “The Holiest of Holies” with friends on the weekends. A slightly boring, easy existence in my hometown. A feeling of mystery about the world, like there was so much I didn’t know, and so much I wanted to figure out.

I turned 30 that fall, brimming with curiosity about “The Meaning of Life”.  A year later, most of those questions (in their most simple sense) had been answered.

And here I am, at almost 35. Nostalgic, with the feeling that I’m reaching out for something again, like some of that curiosity has returned. There’s a question which comes up for me often these days, whether I’m looking up to the stars or the mountains, or within:

“What else is out there?”


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