Dr. Katherine Lawson is  a Mind Body Medicine practitioner who is deeply interested in therapies, like dream work, that stimulate one’s capacity for self-knowledge and self-healing through self-care. She focuses on the interactions between the brain, mind, body, and personality, and the powerful ways in which mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors affect health and happiness

Dr. Katherine has been looking at dream work, mysticism and psychedelic experiences for almost two decades as a way to help people experience whatever healing and growth is available to them.

Now her biggest work revolves around helping people prepare for psychedelic experiences and in training them how to integrate those experiences into their lives (post the properly guided psychedelic event) for true healing from trauma and complex trauma.

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In our conversation, Dr. Katherine explains the overlap of dream work, psychedelic work and the practice of embodiment. We also got into aging in an empowered way.  

The science is that when your body understands something it sends a message to your brain that changes the way that your brain is wired to respond to certain events. With certain psychedelics, administered at the correct dosage, your brain can no longer hold the space for shame and judgment which frees you to more fully embody and understand yourself. 

If you’re ready to learn more about psychedelics as well as what it looks like to age empowered and to let go of hard things, listen to episode 396 now!

In episode 396 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:

  • [1:12] How Dr. Katherine communes with God
  • [4:10] Overcoming the fear of death
  • [5:30] Transitioning out of religion and into a broader view of God
  • [9:22] The power of fear in our lives and learning to surrender
  • [12:41] The tension of opposites and the affect the COVID-19 pandemic had on society
  • [14:02] An introduction into Dr. Katherine’s work in dreamwork, mysticism and psychedelics
  • [14:16] Empowered aging – what does it look like and how can it be done
  • [20:12] Properly preparing for psychedelic experiences
  • [21:04] The reasons people are turning to psychedelics for healing
  • [33:50] The different intelligences/natures of psychedelic medicines
  • [37:05] The dual state of consciousness that comes from taking psychedelic medicines
  • [42:34] The benefit of psychedelic therapy over more traditional talk therapy
  • [43:36] Scientific reasons for why psychedelic therapy works when under the proper care
  • [48:32] Three major life events that caused Dr. Katherine to make a major shift in her life
  • [52:16] Putting a dent in grind culture

    Resources mentioned by Elizabeth in episode 396 “Embodiment, Dream Work and Psychedelic Experiences with Dr Katherine Lawson“:

    Quotes from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast:

    • “I’ve been looking at dreamwork, mysticism, and psychedelic experiences for almost two decades now, the overlap and how it affects humanity, the indigenous roots, the whole thing.” [1402:59] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “We don’t have to wait til we’re dead to be the good ancestors, how about we do it while we’re alive.” [15:24:94] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “Who the F are the mothers leaning on?” [17:21:74] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “The psychedelic revolution is not coming, it’s already here.” [20:41:48] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “I’m just hoping that with whatever I’ve got that I can lend a little framework for people so that they can get whatever healing is available to them, whatever growth is available to them out of these medicines and not hurt, and not lost and not deceived.” [28:01:62] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “For healing, trauma, and complex trauma, mushrooms and MDMA should be available to everyone.” [36:1457] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “You get work done that you remember and that you an even practice afterwords and it’s embodied and it’s symantec and that makes it more lasting.” [37:51:16] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    • “The science is that when your body understands something, it sends a message to your brain that changes the way that your brain is wired to respond to certain events.” [43:36:84] Dr. Katherine Lawson

    How was this episode for you?


    Was this episode helpful for you today? I’d love to know what quote or lesson touched your soul. Let me know in the comments below OR share the episode on Instagram, tag me your stories @elizabethdialto, or send me a DM!


    About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto


    Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

    In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.

    If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussion on Instagram here.


    Transcript for Episode 396 “Embodiment, Dream Work and Psychedelic Experiences with Dr Katherine Lawson:


    – Wait, do you prefer to be called Dr. Katherine? I like saying that.

    – You should say it by all means. I enjoy hearing that because actually finishing the doctorate during the pandemic was so effing anti-climatic, I can’t tell you. It was kind of like, yeah, well, no graduation, no nothing. It’s like, I guess I’m done. I actually sometimes won’t even respond to it cause I’m like, who are we talking about, but whatever you feel comfortable with.

    – I like to give respect. I mean, if someone’s any kind of doctor, I think it’s a really big deal. You went to school forever and people should call you doctor. So the question I have been opening up with, it’s kind of like a tripod of questions where essentially it all points back to how do you relate to God? So I love to know what people call God, how you currently commune with God and what is your current relationship to God? So I toss him out there as all three so you could do with them whatever you want.

    – Wow, so you just dive right into the shallow end.

    – That’s what I do.

    – So I have dipped my toe into just about every religion you could possibly imagine. And as a result, as I think happens with a lot of people, I’ve just come up with my own, landed on what feels spiritual, connected, divine to me. And so, I use God and goddess interchangeably, and I kind of think about it as all that is. I think that God is us and we are God, but I do believe that there’s something, some kind of divinity, some kind of something out there in the universe that well being a part of us is also more than us. And I do actually fall into the school for selfish reasons or not of believing that that energy is beneficent. I feel supported by it. And I feel like it holds a lot and it’s there if I need it and it’s there if anyone else needs it. I have a hard time imagining my life without this presence of God in me, around me, for other people. It’s so much a part of my worldview, my existence, why I exist, and I have a damn good imagination and I can’t imagine my life without it at all.

    – I’m so with you on that, and I’ve been asking people this question all year, and I think you’re the first person that said that, but it’s such a good point. Like, it just feels like it would go from like at the end of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy like goes into technicolor or whatever, or the beginning I guess, she goes from black and white into technicolor when she gets to Oz, that’s what it would feel like going back to black and white to me.

    – Another way that it would feel like to me is when I was younger, considerably younger, and I didn’t have a relationship with God or understand God, I was freaking terrified of dying. Like I was kind of possessed by a fear of dying. I would think about it and I had a physical feeling like my heart froze in my chest. Like it was all so scary. And I feel like I go back to that frozen heart, just absolutely is the opposite of what God is to me.

    – This is making me think of… Sorry, I had my eyes closed. I didn’t realize you were still talking. Sometimes I listen better with my eyes closed. Not always great to see if someone’s still saying something. Many years ago, what year was this? It was the year… I believe it was right around Hurricane Sandy so it had to be the end of 2012. I was still living in downtown Manhattan. And my mom’s Aunt Fran, who was her godmother passed away in Brooklyn. And I couldn’t get to the funeral. It was literally just like getting from Manhattan to Brooklyn because of the storm had been a whole thing. And my mom was really upset and this comes from like a Catholic perspective. But at that point I had already like, kind of transitioned out of religion into more like a broader, more spiritual, mystical concept. And especially around like death and dying and people and how, just because someone’s gone, they’re not gone, like they’re still around and all these things. And I just remember feeling like it… I understand how important that ceremony is for some people. And for me, I was like, I just don’t feel the need to attend that because a death of the physical is a birth into the new relationship we get to have with these souls and I didn’t say that to my family because that would not be… It’s just not kind to throw shit like that at people when they’re grieving, but it’s so interesting like what you were saying. This relationship to bigger things, to harder things, to more challenging things. I can’t imagine how people navigate those things when they don’t believe that there’s something much larger, mysterious and benevolent holding them or holding all of it together somehow.

    – It’s at the heart of belonging too. And so, yeah, it’s amazing how easily like I can remember that feeling and how it’s far away. And I’m just really grateful that the course of my life opened up better options than that for me.

    – And how did you discover the better options from that place?

    – I mean, we’d have to have a lot of time because it keeps happening, I was eight years old. So it started happening in little ways and big ways. My history as a child and onward is like nightmare stuff, like super trauma, super chaos. So one of the ways I think is that I lived, I lived. But there are so many ways that have happened throughout my life. I’m 58 years old and things happen… Probably something happened yesterday that reminded me that the divine is all around and including in me. It’s taken with a little bit different kind of perspective, age gives you perspective, but experiences that I’ve had with the dream world, mystical experiences that I’ve had, psychedelic experiences that I’ve had, religious experiences that I had, even though I’ve abandoned a lot of those things that I dip my toe in in a quest really to know, I got something out of it. And so I think we’re reminded all the time and now it feels like a surrendering process. The older I get, I think that my final moment will be having absolutely surrendered to it and then I become with it in a different way. And that frozen heart that I was talking about from way back, that’s the opposite of surrender.

    – Totally, cause that fear just makes us wanna control everything. This is amazing. Thank you for sharing all that. I love and during the pandemic, one of the things that I really like just sunk into and let be kind of the core of my identity is being a mystic. And I got to see, I like to observe and really watching how some people were reacting and responding and behaving during the pandemic. I was like, wow. Like one of the things I always say is you never know who someone is until there’s a conflict, like in any kind of relationship, whether it’s personal, professional, romantic. And I feel like on a societal level, we got to discover who people really are because there was like the ultimate conflict, like the ultimate threat, like so much that none of us have ever dealt with before, especially in the age of social media where anyone has a microphone about it. So it is just really fascinating to me to see people who I actually thought were quite connected to God who like talk about it, who come forth as very like religious or spiritual or whatever. In some cases, being the people having the biggest meltdowns, being the shittiest to other human beings, it was just wild.

    – People really… I think when people talk about the psychospiritual language of the veil thinning and people talk about that and it’s like this beautiful transition. And actually it’s when we get to see what’s really what, and it’s not necessarily pretty at all. And for sure that’s what was going on during the pandemic. I mean, at the very beginning, I did some really crazy things. Like not crazy like hurtful, but like just like panicky. It was pretty weird for all of us and I never imagined it… Like I said, I’ve been alive for a while. I never imagined it in all of my lifetime that that would happen. That we’d all be like, and you can’t go out. And this person that you live with who you’re used to leaving the house every day waving goodbye, they’re gonna stay here with you.

    – All day, every day.

    – You think you’re a good parent. How’s about you stay with your kids all day every day? You wanna see yourself, here you go. It was crazy. It’s still crazy, it’s still crazy.

    – What do you think is still crazy?

    – I think that there was enough of… We took enough of a shake that there are parts of us that wanna go back to normal and parts of us that are like, there is nothing normal. And so there’s that kind of cognitive dissonance. Inside of us, in Jungian terms, I call it the tension of the opposites where we want to go back and we want everything to change and we’re waiting for whatever that transcendent function is, whatever’s gonna come up out of the middle and we’ve never been here before.

    – And so this goes back to that thing you were saying about like that frozen heart and the control, because when you’ve never been somewhere before, there are no maps. And people really wanna know that the way they’re doing it is right and best, but we don’t know what that is, that’s hard.

    – This is when the surrender process comes in really handy.

    – Seriously, big time. You do all these different, cool things. What’s your favorite part of what you do to talk about? Or what do you like most lit up about and excited for right now in your work world?

    – I’m gonna say two. Three, I’m gonna say that the dream work is my foundation. It just, it’s a part… If I was to make a religion out of my thing, my way of being in the world, like that’s like the heart of it. And so that underlies everything. And I’ve been looking at dream work, mysticism and psychedelic experiences for almost two decades now, the overlap and how it affects humanity and the indigenous roots and the whole thing. So that’s the foundation. So here’s the two things that I’m most lit up about right now. One, empowered aging. I get so excited. I feel like my skin is electrified. I feel all the other women who are near around my age and older, who are similarly feeling called, who are similarly rejecting patriarchal, ageist, sexist, ableist, blah, blah, like all the ideas that are utterable shit about aging. They’re feeling the rejection, they’re feeling activated, grown or archetypal, matriarchal energy in themselves. And I love just banging the drum for them and just calling them in and just telling them how needed we are. Like we don’t have to wait till we’re dead to be the good ancestors. How’s about we do it while we’re alive? So that one, that one is like, I’m on fire for that.

    – I love that and that’s how I found you because our mutual friend, Heather Lindeman who’s been on the podcast and Heather is a dear one of mine for many years now, I was like, I need someone like grown-ish. I just like crave elders, and someone who is like, you’re saying, rejecting. I refuse to age like this. As I get close to 40 and I’m so pissed that I’m not even 40 yet, I want people to look up to who are like, no, F all of that. This is how you do this. This is how you march on in your life and enjoy, and use this incredible gift that you get to keep on living.

    – Cause I lived. And that’s what I was saying about one of the best ways that I know cause I lived and I’m still living and experience. And the thing is that, and I want you to hear this cause it’s in me and it’s through me and I’m talking to so many women, we are hungry to be leaned against. We’ve been relegated to invisible, embarrassing, hag-like, silly. I mean all these things in truth, we’ve got roots and branches and we’re like, come on sisters, we can hold you, like we’re here. And so I hear what you’re saying a lot, like there’s a lot of talk about the mothers, the movement from maiden to mother and the mothers. Who the F are the mothers leaning on, who? And you know what I mean by mother, you don’t have to have a baby. It’s just insane that we’ve been relegated to the shadows and we’re powerful and steady. And we see through the bullshit and we speak truth to power and here we are. And then there’s all these women who need us and it’s really just gonna be a matter of… The first time we ever talked about getting into the whole empowered aging thing, it was actually, I think you know her, Sarah Durham.

    – Sarah Durham Wilson.

    – Yes, she and I were talking and she said, you have to do something about this. And she actually is the one who lit the fire under my butt to do my first empowered aging workshop. And the truth is that I can’t stop now.

    – Great, she was on the podcast earlier this year. Thank you, Sarah.

    – And when I talk about this and when I have visions about this, which I have visions about a lot of things and I close my eyes a lot too, I see a white haired army. Like they are like fierce and I see them.

    – Oh, that makes me wanna cry.

    – Yeah, I feel them, I feel them. It makes me wanna cry too.

    – I love that, I want a white haired army.

    – We’re here.

    – You’re right, cause this mother phase and that’s why I like about Sarah’s work. I love talking about like the arche bowl, like the maiden to mother. I’ve been a mother for many years and I don’t have kids and one of the reasons I don’t have or want kids is so I can help mother the mothers of kids. Like I love being an auntie, I love being in my friend’s villages and having all these little nieces and nephews, one biological and the rest, just my friends’ kids. But yeah y’all, who’s holding the mothers. I love it, thank you. The freaking white haired army. So empowered aging, you said dream work is the foundation of everything and then there’s empowered aging and then what’s the other thing?

    – The other thing is that right now I am developing a training where I want to train psychologists, social workers, coaches, and really, whoever the heck else wants to take a training, to help people who wanna take psychedelics. They need to be properly prepared and they need help integrating and I’ve designed a very specific way of helping them integrate their experiences. That’s a lot like the dream work because all of my studies and experiences say dreaming in these psychedelic experiences have a lot in common. So I’ve developed a very particular method of helping people integrate their psychedelic experiences and a way of helping people prepare and look, the psychedelic revolution’s not coming, it’s already here.

    – It’s here, big time.

    – Our medical system is broken, just like broken. The socioeconomics of it, the training of practice, like it’s just broken. I would love to say, everyone’s gonna come to these medicines out of some kind of psychospiritual calling. No, people are gonna come out of effing desperation and they are coming out of desperation. And if they’re not prepared properly and they don’t get the proper integration, there’s pitfalls. And so I wanna talk about ethics and I wanna talk about setting. And so I’m designing this program, this training program for people who wanna help people who come to them and say, hey, I’m thinking about taking some mushrooms or I’m thinking about DMD or I’m thinking about LSD or all the different things, which are all great in their way done in the right way. They don’t go, well, I don’t know anything about that, sorry. I want them to know something about that. So that’s the training I wanna develop and I wanna bring my depth psychological training to it and my doctorate is in mind body medicine, I wanna bring a holistic and I wanna bring my life, which has looked at everything from voodoo to evangelism, and respect for the indigenous roots of this stuff. And so I’m working on that and that’s like my big work right now is I want to make that available for people who wanna help.

    – I love this so much for a couple different personal reasons. Number one, this thing about being prepared. When I lived in Southern California, specifically San Diego, it was in north county San Diego, has a lot of similarities to the bay area in that a lot of like Burning Man people, people who really fancy themselves, like I’m putting this in air quotes for anyone who’s listening, not watching, like conscious spiritual people. There’s a lot of people who like say those things and talk the talk and wear mala beads and whatever else they wear and look away, but are not integrating anything and are not prepared for these peak experiences that can occur when you engage with psychedelics or plant medicines or whatever. And I dated one of those people. I remember literally I was talking to someone about this the other day, cause she had an experience with someone she dated. I remember summer of 2014, waving goodbye to him as he went to Burning Man and something in me knew I would never see that person again and I didn’t. He came back, he had done so many combinations of God knows what and something had happened. Like to this day, like I still will never know if it was like a chemical imbalance or a psychotic break or what, and then he was, and I didn’t know this for months and I was living with him. Again, I’m putting this in air quotes because no one was monitoring or helping figure out dosage was microdosing LSD and it just felt like constant, like these swings up and down, I was like, I don’t know what is going on. Like I’m not a psychologist. Is this a personality disorder? Is this just trauma work and I don’t know, but to be under the roof with it was actually quite traumatizing for me as a highly sensitive person and also just like the behavior of that person and also in that community, I would just see so many people. Everyone was like going to Peru to do ayahuasca and then they would come back and regale you with the stories of the experience and I would always watch a couple weeks, a couple months later, was their life any different? Were they behaving any differently? Was anything better and far more often than not, it wasn’t. And so I think this prep, this integration, making sure people have the psychological infrastructure to even touch those peak experiences is so valuable.

    – Yeah, I mean, I’m hearing about people who are doing five, 10 ayahuasca sessions in a row and I’m like, huh, that’s really interesting, why, why? And I just leave that there.

    – We have living room shamans now. A lot of people are going to Peru, they’re going… I went on a date with someone a couple months ago who was just telling me about this ayahuasca weekend he went to. It sounded like a fucking retreat and I was like, oh my goodness. And listen, I know that there are deep practitioners and amazing space holders, but I have to believe that those who are aren’t packaging up ayahuasca weekends. Maybe, maybe not, but the way he talked about it, I was like, ooh, just made me very nervous.

    – And here’s the thing that also is happening. There are a lot of good intention and capable people of administering and sitting with these medicines and they are so bombarded by the need, they have wait lists for three years and they want someone else to help. They aren’t necessarily prepared to say based on these previous psychological issues that you’ve had, I don’t think that this is a good time for you to do this. They’re being stretched and stressed. And so I have so much hope for what can happen in the world with these medicines. Like I have really personal experience, family members, myself that have done incredible healing that I know as a talk therapist, I wouldn’t have been able to get through for two, maybe three years. And that’s incredible cause hurt people hurt people. And there’s a lot of hurt people out there right now hurting people. And if we could get them faster, deeper, wiser kinds of help like that, I mean, it could change the whole world, but like big pharma’s just sitting right there waiting to take control of this and people are desperate and growing mushrooms in their closet and there’s just like all this stuff. So I’m just hoping with whatever I’ve got, that I can lend a little framework for people so that they can get whatever healing is available to them, whatever growth is available to them out of these medicines and not hurt and not lost and not deceived.

    – I have a couple of friends right now who are facilitators and practitioners and healers that are being called to work with people specifically with mushrooms, and I’m like, yes, people should get to sit with these folks who have been holding space for people in other contexts for so long, so amazing. Did I tell you at any of the times that we’ve talked about my accidental mushroom experience in 2020?

    – I don’t think so.

    – I ate a piece of chocolate in a friend’s fridge that I didn’t know was mushrooms.

    – That’s always, and that’s the other thing and I’ll talk about this in the whole preparation thing. Like a lot of these drugs now are being packaged in ways, the whole dosing thing. Again, this could go on forever, but yeah, you can eat a piece of chocolate and the next thing you know, you’re tripping. Like what do you do with that?

    – Well, I was so lucky and this is… I love the way life works because in retrospect, that was coming for me no matter what, because my friend had like made a video tour of her house, I was gonna be staying at my friend’s house and I was getting there because it was like high COVID times. This was like August 2020. So like they had quarantined so then they could go visit her parents so they left before I got there so we wouldn’t overlap. And then it was so funny. But when she told me… When she was like showing me like the kitchen and the fridge, she’s like, and these chocolates are magical. And because I didn’t have the lingo, I didn’t realize that that was her way of letting me know that it was mushrooms. Like the word magical to me meant these chocolates are delicious and you need to try one. And then her partner had actually drawn on the lid, like wrote something on the lid. But what happens when you open a lid, you like put your hand on it. So I didn’t see it. So there were literally two unclear warnings. So like that was going to happen, which was so funny and like an hour later, I’m in the shower and I’m like uh-oh, what was in the chocolate? But their house was like such a temple. So I spent like the first 30, 40 minutes or who knows in mushroom time, it could have been an hour or two seconds, like scurrying around the house to find little items, to make an altar so I could set some intentions. And I actually texted Heather, my brother and one other person, I was like, so this is happening. If any of you wanna just like say some prayers for me. And I just surrendered and it was this incredible experience that I never would’ve signed myself up for, but obviously needed to have.

    – And there are distinctions too, because there are really… There’s that kind of set and setting and accidents and things. But there’s also like really therapeutic ways to approach these. Like you can go in and be like, I’m tired of continuously acting this way in my relationships and I would like to see what’s underneath it and how I’m sabotaging my relationships. I’m tired and you can ask, and this is the same thing I say with the dreams. You can ask, you have to be ready and it’s not always what you want, but you can ask and you can ask for healing and you can ask for growth and that whole process when you’re in it, that’s something that also, you need like a really gifted and called kind of person to sit with you and hold you to your intentions and exploring those instead of going and taking a three hour shower. And that’s where I’m staying out of that lane. That’s not my lane. I wanna train people to help people get ready and I wanna train people to help people integrate and whoever they go to to find their medicine and have their experience. That’s not the thing that I wanna offer, but that’s something also that I will emphasize in the preparation, it’s really, really important. And like, you are somebody who could do it by yourself, but not everybody can do it by themselves.

    – I have since had a facilitated experience that was amazing. Like to have the space held with the medicine, game changing.

    – Life changing.

    – So how do I wanna phrase this? I’m super curious cause so you mentioned some other things, obviously that’s mushrooms. So for anyone who’s like kind of unfamiliar, this is cool. I’ve never had a chance to ask anyone this before. For anyone who’s kind of unfamiliar with these different psychedelics, would you be able to give kind of like an overview, like DMT, LSD, mushrooms, ayahuasca, what’s kind of like the different intelligences or the different nature of these different medicines?

    – They’re gonna get that in my training.

    – I don’t mean like a training, but if there’s like a 90 second, like why someone might want this one versus that one?

    – Well, there’s like personal… Depending on what someone’s psychological history is, they may or may not wanna do different ones like LSD or ayahuasca. How much time you want to put into something, what kinds of questions and intentions you’re bringing to it? Like, there’s something called the toad. It’s like five AODMT, whatever it is. It’s amazing, it’s really amazing and it’s kind of like ayahuasca except that it only lasts 20 minutes. But they call it the God molecule because you definitely reach an expanded state of consciousness. Like all of these are about that. Excuse me, at a certain level, it’s about getting out of your own way, it’s about losing your habitual consciousness and all the onion peel layers of crap that we have on all over ourselves based on living here and now. And it’s about getting in touch with a more unified field and view of humanity. All of them pretty much are gonna give you that. So the differences are really gonna be more about your intention, who’s gonna hold you and how, set and setting, what you’re called to. That makes a difference too. Like what are you curious about, what feels… Because there are really amazing experiences that you can get out of all of them. I will say, not as someone who has studied, I don’t know if I’ll call myself an expert, but I’m an expert in my own life. I can say that based on people that I’ve worked with and guided in my own experiences for healing, trauma and complex trauma, mushrooms and MDMA should be available to everyone. With MDMA, and again, these things have to be really held, especially if you’ve got complex trauma that you’re trying to work through. But like, this is why I want psychotherapists to learn about the two sides of this, because maybe they can help people. But MDMA, when you’re under the influence of a pretty good dose in a therapeutic setting really doesn’t… Your brain doesn’t really have the capacity for shame or judgment. Imagine the healing. Imagine the places that people could explore, that they can’t explore because of all of the protections that have been put in place, all of a sudden with the right person and this particular psychedelic in your system that you can, that you can visit, that you can heal, that you can remove the shame from, and you don’t forget. So most of these experiences, they’re not like an alcohol blackout that you do crazy things and then you don’t remember what happened. It’s a dual state of consciousness. Just like the dream work, again, there’s so much overlap and you get work done that you remember, and that you can even practice afterwards and it’s embodied and it’s somatic and that makes it more lasting.

    – Yeah, that’s amazing. So I have complex trauma and in the facilitated experience that I did, one of the pieces that I’m happy to share was I was laughing hysterically for 10 minutes because I was literally being shown these like attachments and these little, like, it was just being illuminated for me, all these things that I actually don’t need to care about, that I don’t need to be attached to and even little like whys, like you don’t always get to know why certain things happen, but I was enlightened with a few reasons why, for certain things that I was like, ah, this is hilarious. Like for whatever reason, it struck me as just like hilarious how some of the hardest shit for me to let go of with all my conscious tools and my consciousness, like, I like how you said dual consciousness. So like in this expanded state, but still my regular consciousness, hasn’t gone anywhere being like, oh, and for whatever reason, it just struck me as like hilarious, cause people are so hilarious. Like it’s actually so predictable, but it’s also so unbelievable at the same time that we really confused the shit out of ourselves at each other. So just like having all of that kind of illuminated for me around a couple of things, I was just rolling. And again, in the warped time, it felt like two minutes. But afterwards my people were like, no, it was 10 minutes. It was 10 minutes straight that you did not stop laughing.

    – And that actually happened to me the first time I ever took ayahuasca. I just rolled over all the things I thought were so earth shattering and important and traumatizing or at least important and I just laughed. So I can totally relate to that. On the other hand and I’ve shared this recently in a podcast, so I feel okay saying it. So I have complex PTSD. I have childhood sexual trauma in my background and I’ve done a lot of work to heal it and that’s work that goes on for a lifetime. But recently in a therapeutic, psychedelic setting, I was able to… I had done a lot of healing without ever remembering this specific event. My psyche had allowed me to acknowledge that the event happened so that I could empathize and love and heal with myself and my child. But during this particular journey, I actually was able to revisit the event, which I never thought I would do or want to do and come in… So the child me that this terrible thing was happening to was there and I was able to come in as my adult me with a big ass sword and just. You better believe it was some kind of amazing. Still, still I say that and I’m like, all of a sudden, like parts of you that freeze there. Even if you’ve been freeing yourself for your damn whole life, like can come away cause they see like that dude’s dead, you’re like he’s dead. And that is, I mean, I’ve been able to do that kind of work with people psycho therapeutically, just talk therapy. On average, you know how long it takes, three years. From the first time a person who has that kind of trauma walks in the door to the point that we can get that kind of healing, three years. That session was probably four or five hours.

    – It’s amazing and I’m feeling through that share, I really am feeling like what you keep saying, the overlap between the dream work and this work cause something that’s happened for me over the years, several times in my dreams that I cherish is an opportunity to just lay into people who have harmed me, just scream at them, just say all kinds of shit I would never actually say to another human being, but in the dream space where air quote wasn’t real. And then you wake up, I woke up feeling like, wow, I got to say all the things and it was just so cathartic. This happened to me with four different people in my life.

    – So Elizabeth, this is where I think our work overlaps the most because the reason that I think that it’s so cathartic, even when you’re awake is because there’s an embodied piece to it. For the people who need science, that’s where it is because the science is that when your body understands something, it sends a message to your brain that changes the way that your brain is wired to respond to certain events period. And so this is why when I guide people to share embodiments with dream images, or this will be a part of the integration of psychedelic experiences, the program that I’ve developed, the embodiment piece they’re being given, and you are being given in your dreams, an opportunity to process things in an embodied way. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re even making noise out loud in those dreams. And so, yeah, we’re so resourced. That’s where I land all the time as I talk about this stuff, the mystical stuff and the dream stuff and the psychedelic stuff. We’re just so resourced.

    – I love that and this is why I love embodiment so much. I just opened up a container at the time we’re recording this, I think it’s like about maybe a month before the interview comes out, but I just opened up my self love immersion yesterday and one of the things I was saying to the women is do the embodiment practices because you might not know what you’re moving, but I promise you you’re gonna move shit. And then you’re gonna feel differently and thank you for giving that like scientific, when your body understands something, it sends a message to your brain so your brain can now respond to things differently or function around this thing differently. It’s just so amazing and all these other things, I forget, are you a Virgo too? Did we discover that?

    – I’m a Virgo.

    – So this is why we love this too cause this shit is efficient. It’s so efficient.

    – And also like knowing that there are resources and you can go there and get them, it’s like–

    – So practical, it actually is. As miso and esoteric as it is, it’s quite practical.

    – It’s quite practical. And I laughed because I went and I got the masters and I went and got the PhD and the rest of my life is gonna be about unlearning everything I have. It really is.

    – It’s funny, I started a masters. It spit me out in three months. I didn’t even finish the first semester. I was like, I’m not doing this. Life like took me, put me somewhere else and went, this would be a better path for you and I was like, twist my arm, fine. I won’t spend another, however many tens of thousands of dollars to get this. But I believe, and I’m pretty sure you would probably agree, but let me know if you don’t, that nothing is a mistake.

    – No, I’m not in any way, shape or form saying it was a mistake to do those things, it was a practice. And, and, not or, and now I need to forget a lot of it and get out of my own way and just allow until I allow myself right into the ether and hopefully that’s gonna be like 40 years from now cause I still have a lot to do and I’m excited about a lot of things as you can see.

    – That’s amazing. So complete topic change. Did you tell me you were moving to Spain? I’m so jealous, where?

    – Barcelona, I’m moving to Barcelona in two years. It is a shift that actually is a good one. So for the past three years, I’ve been laser focused on buying a property not in Barcelona, in this incredible place called Cadaqués, Spain and opening a dream sanctuary and a wellness retreat. And I was just like, that’s what I’m gonna do and I’m gonna figure out how to raise funding and I’m gonna get my pitch deck and I was like ready to go. And right around Christmas time last year, I had kind of set up funding, found the property, had like all the excitement around me. I was ready to go. I had done it essentially. And three things happened. I had a health scare and I’m a cancer survivor and I’m fine, but it scared the hell outta me. And it was the first time that I really had to come to terms with you know what, you crazy. You’re not ever gonna be the same as you were before you had cancer so cut it out. This much life left, like take care of yourself. Two, my relationship was already suffering from my trying to do this thing. And it really hit me that if I marry this business, my marriage probably won’t survive. There was that. Three, I was teaching the embodied imagination stuff. I mean, not embodied, the empowered aging stuff and I realized from age 60 to 70, if I do this, I’m gonna be working my ass off. This is like a hotel business, I’m gonna be working so hard. And all of a sudden I was like a bride with cold feet. And my inner child kind of took part in this too, because there was this thing, like why do you have to keep doing the next really fucking hard thing, Katherine? You don’t have to, you don’t have to. You’re gonna be holding to these clients and be holding to these investors and you only have so much life left and you got a great husband and in that moment, I was literally, it was the morning I was going to have a meeting with someone who I was paying well, to help me get the whole thing going. I got on a Zoom with her, tears running down my face and I said, I’m not gonna do this.

    – Oh my God. How did it feel, was it so liberating? I mean, I understand how hard, but like ultimately was it just–

    – So hard on the one hand to get the words out of the mouth, I’m not gonna do this. That was the hard part. After that, my feet still aren’t touching the ground.

    – That’s amazing.

    – Because I sent myself the message you don’t have to do the next hard thing. My new mantra is about grace and ease and I still wanna do big things. I still am passionate, I still have a calling, but geez, like buying a big old piece of land and turning it into a hotel? And I really didn’t get it. Up until that moment that I said, I’m not gonna do this, I really didn’t get it. But I love Spain and I still believe that I can live out my calling to offer dream sanctuary all over Europe. I just can go to places that other people were in. And it’s also just about like being a crone who’s like, yeah, I can just go do, be, joy, live, love, adventure, like I’m just doing it and I have a great partner and yeah, I’m moving to Spain in two years.

    – Oh my God, Spain is my favorite country. I love it so much, that’s amazing. And I love that finding the ease. In 2020, I picked my four words for the year were miracles, grace, ease and flow. And what a year to be leaning into miracles, grace, ease and flow. So I’m with you on that. I love like why we do not need to go the hard routes.

    – I do think that the pandemic did put a dent in grind culture, cause we were stuck at home and that’s good. That feels really healthy to me.

    – And I was actually talking to a friend about this the other day, how pre-pandemic, it was easy… It was like this like kind of daunting thing for people to request if they could work remotely even like one or two days a week and often something that would get rejected, but now no one can reject it because people had to do it and the world still went on so people know it works. I have a friend who works for a production company in Los Angeles and they keep asking so you gonna come into the office this week? She’s like, no, cause she did her job just as effectively for two years without going in and she’s like, why would I go back? Why would I wear regular pants again?

    – So that piece is great. There were some chinks taken out of the whole colonialist playbook.

    – And obviously we know that not everyone had the luxury during that time of having a job that could be done remotely. So of course we’re speaking about things that could be some things will just always be hands on.

    – I should just preface everything that I say, and I’m speaking out of a position of incredible privilege.

    – Yes, yes, yes, yes. Anything I didn’t ask you that you were like, hoping we would talk about and we didn’t get to it?

    – I just love talking to you because it doesn’t feel like being interviewed, it just feels like fun and we’re interested in the same things or similar things. I wanna share with you how giddy I am about the fact that when I was finishing up my PhD, I was like, I wanted to gift myself when I finally finished it with this trip to Egypt that my friend Dee does. She takes people on these sacred initiation tours of Egypt. She’s a high priestess, she’s been doing it for 16 years. She is amazing, like all that. And I didn’t do it for myself, but I really have always had my eyeballs on it. And a few months ago, she invited me to go on the tour as a co-facilitator leading dream sanctuary for the people who are on the tour, who are doing all these initiations as they go through all the sacred sites. So I’m gonna be going to do that in September for two weeks. There’s five spots left.

    – That is amazing.

    – So I hope you don’t mind if I said that.

    – Please, I was thinking about, you and my friend Asha, who’s also been on the podcast, are both leading trips to Egypt, which is a place I am so called to go to. And for whatever reason, the timing and whatever, I’m like these are not my trips and this is not the year, but it’s poking at me. So maybe you’ll keep doing that.

    – It needs to be that. I hope I keep doing that. I mean, Dee is really leading it. I just feel so, so, so lucky to be going and I’m gonna bring my all for those people who wanna have the dream sanctuary experience too.

    – Oh my goodness. And I mean, that just really sounds incredible because I do, I have friends who have gone and who have actually shared the experience like the dreams they were having when they were there.

    – I’m so excited.

    – We’ll have to catch up after that because that is gonna be happening. Where do you want people to go to find you if they wanna know more about all of these amazing things that we have been talking about?

    – Dreamsheal.com.

    – Love it and your Instagram is just Dr. Katherine Lawson.

    – Yep, @DrKatherineLawson.

    – And we’ll put all this… Will be in the show notes as well. Thank you so much. I’m so glad we got to do this.

    – Is there anything I can do for you?

    – This was it. Thank you for your time, for your wisdom, and really like, I don’t know that I knew that you were 58. Like I just cherish being able to speak with people who have been on the earth longer than I have and do this kind of work cause it’s so hard and you all started before it was like a relatively acceptable thing to be doing. You had to go through hurdles that I don’t… We all have hurdles, but you’ve had to go through things that I did not have to. And part of why I don’t have to is because you all did it, so thanks.

    – We’ll have another talk about what it’s like trying to do things when you’re talking about woo and you’re attractive in brown.

    – Let’s go there another talk.

    – Interview number two coming 2022. I will talk to you about that privately in sessions and then we could talk in the podcast.

    – Reach out, reach out.

    – Amazing, I will talk to you again soon. Thank you so much.

    – Thank you.