#18 Cosmic Engagement Officer | David Bronner

December 21, 2020
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  • David details his own profound experiences with psychedelics and his family’s origin story of ‘Dr. Bronners’ Soap Company (2:20)
  • David discusses his exposure to cannabis and how it was his first time reconciling with the war on drugs (5:10)
  • David talks about his personal growth using psychedelics’ as a young adult (7:43)
  • David reveals how faith traditions have helped him tap into the divine – and using medicines with intention (10:00)
  • What does it mean to be a ‘Cosmic Engagement Officer’ (13:00)
  • Ibogaine experience and images of his father, grandfather, and his childhood home (14:00)
  • David talks about his support for Tom and Sheri Eckhart and Measure 109 in Oregon to bring safe and well-structured access for psychedelic healing with professional standards and safety programs (19:00)
  • Addiction is not a crime – it’s a health problem with underlying trauma. Jail will not help someone sort out their lives (22:40)
  • What it means to ‘spiritually by-pass’ (23:30)
  • David shares his hopes for Washington State: beyond decriminalization and toward legal safe supply – but it’s a complicated issue. Other advocated groups and strategies are discussed. (25:00)
  • David discusses his essay ‘Death & Life’ and creating the ‘ReFoamation’ experience at Burning Man 10 years ago (29:30)



David: [00:00:00] You know, I think, first of all, I mean, I do support decriminalization and access to medicine however, we may see fit as far as in the home, in a forest or a concert or whatever, but also recognizing these are very powerful medicines and especially for psychedelically, naive people, that we really need safe, well-structured access. [00:00:20][20.0]

Ronan: [00:00:26] This is Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host, Ronan Levy. David Bronner is the CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. And by CEO, I don't mean chief executive officer. I mean cosmic engagement officer. And after listening to this interview, you'll understand why. Dr. Bronner's makes organic soap and personal care products that you'd recognize from store shelves and that have been used in homes across North America for generations. His grandfather, Emmanuel Bronner, founded the producer in the 1940s, and it continues to be run by members of the family today. The business produces socially and environmentally responsible products. And through it, David has become an activist who's donated millions to important causes like fair trade, regenerative farming, schooling, rural women's health, plastic pollution and, of course, access to psychedelic healing. But look beyond the suds, foam and family tree, and you'll encounter a special individual who's truly trying to build a better world and make sure we don't leave a big mess behind. David is the perfect guest to join us for the last episode of 2020, and he shares some of his passions, cosmic principles and of course, a few epic trips. Welcome to Field Tripping, David. [00:01:52][85.7]

David: [00:01:53] Thanks for having me. [00:01:53][0.5]

Ronan: [00:01:57] Let's hop right into it. You and I were chatting last week and we started down the conversation. I think I had asked you about how you kind of got into the psychedelic sphere. You're definitely one of the most vocal advocates for psychedelic renaissance that's happening right now and certainly one of the biggest donors from a philanthropic perspective to advancing drug reform and advancing the cause of legal access to psychedelics, at least for therapeutic uses. Tell me where this all came from. [00:02:25][28.5]

David: [00:02:26] I've had, I think, like everybody in this field, some very profound and powerful life changing experiences. Growing up I was raised Christian. My granddad's Jewish. When he came to the States. I mean, it's a long story, but he came over in twenty nine for the dimensions of Hitler and Nazism, were apparent more just out of generational clashes with his dad and uncles who were running a soap business there, wanted to forge his own, that he was increasingly desperate to get his family out. Two sisters got out. His parents, like a lot of Jews, stayed until it was too late. The factory was arianized and they were deported and killed shortly after. And my grandmother, my dad's mom died when he was very young. So my grandad's wife was in and out of the hospital and died in I think forty four. So he's going through this immense tragedy. His answer to the serge response was to intuit and to have some pretty mega, spontaneous, mystical experiences of the of the light and love, the sensual, mystical heart beating in the center of all faith traditions. And when they're not making idols of their beliefs and demonizing each other, that they're all pointing at the same transcendent mystery of love and source energy, and that in a nuclear armed world, the next Holocaust, if we don't realize our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides, we're going to all perish. And he felt he had been called on this mission to proselytize and went around the countries sermonizing. And selling his family soaps on the side. And word got out cause this is pretty gosh darn good soap. So people started coming to just get the soap rather than hear what he had to say and he started putting his message on the bottle. And that's like the famous Dr. Bronner's label. It's the one true religion of love at the heart of all faith traditions. And he's trying to show how Jesus and Moses, Muhammad and Buddha are all kind of on the same wavelength. So my granddad basically put his kids in foster homes to go well he went out on his mission and financially supported them and checked in once in a while, but was pretty absent. And my dad had a lot of anger basically associated with the kind of cosmic vision my granddad was with bailing on his parental responsibilities. So my dad was more or less atheist growing up, which I didn't know till I actually rejected my Christian faith at the age of 13, but at the age of 13 you know I was questioning and was like God so loved the world, why did he send his one and only son, to the one spot. What about Chinese and other planets and stuff? But then in college, I was a biology major at Harvard. I was playing football and rugby and going to the bars and drinking. But at some point in my sophomore year just started realizing how much better it was to just hang out and smoke cannabis with my my roommates, listen to the music have way high vibrating conversations and you know this is way better. And I'm just starting to really question, you know, like, how could we possibly be making marijuana illegal and alcohol legal? It's not, no question what's better. Started to really question authority. As a biology major, I was kind of getting downloaded, this kind of implicit reductionist world view and in my philosophy classes as well, postmodern relativism, but human consciousness is basically epiphenomenal of evolutionary and physical processes and it's not that interesting. And you know I was like, well, what about what those processes? So I was kind of primed for my first mushroom experience in junior year. And I remember just looking down on my arm and thinking, what does it mean at a quantum level that I'm not different from the world? And just like one continuous energy, like I'm like a river of energy and I'm not even the same stuff like month to month like blood or water, and that I'm in this dynamic interchange and flow and cycle with the world out there and it's not dead or whatever. It's it's alive and I'm part of it. So after college, I was in Amsterdam at a Europass, but once I got to Amsterdam, I intersected the ninety five cannabis cup. And this is like the epicenter of cannabis culture. So I was in the swamp with this international cast of activists and artists and such a dope scene, and it was going really deep. I was just like, having some really powerful experiences. I'll tell a story in my squat where a couple of hippie vegetarian cats and they were part of a church in Arkansas that had been formed our church in nineteen ninety three with cannabis as a sacrament and as a First Amendment challenge to the drug war. And of course in nineteen ninety three in Arkansas, that wasn't going to work out and they got busted up and these guys were facing ten years to life if they step foot back in the US. And I started to just realize like what kind of country would do this, you know, what the hell? And just really waking up to the drug war being an important sense of religious war in the Sacramento people in these psychedelics and cannabis are what can help wake us up and make us better and solve the world's problems. And this is not the problem. With the mega mega experience. It was in Amsterdam. I was in a gay trans club at a crisis point of my then relationship. Things came to a head in medicine space of LSD and MDMA and my girlfriend at the time and then became my wife. We were at this crisis point, I realized in medicine that whatever it was I had on my side, it was really all about me being jealous and stupid and petty and... My partner had traveled in Asia for nine months and had these incredible experiences really deep and profound and had to come back and I was basically jealous and you know unconsciously and just all these kind of death by a thousand cuts kind of cut her down and just it seemed so clear. And in the medicine was like her arrows and her force and her life in Asia, like just being so beautiful and erotic and expressing life in its purest beauty and compassion. And it's like, dude, better you die and be in her way, in her life. And as I like guide, your light just exploded and just embraced me in an infinite love. And forgiveness instantly like bam, realizing that everything I was doing to her in medicine was really my own soul, like I like all, it is kind of like the law where you do all the things you do yourself and that I was in the way of my own own soul expressing and being loving and being awesome. And so in this experience, so I come out of the light in the love, and it's just like the harsh shock and I'm in the light. And I come out like instantly like, oh my God, again that's totally right. This is the transcendent love and light at the heart of reality. And this is what all the faith traditions are pointing at. And I'm like, wait a minute, OK, God. So that's awesome. But we're dancing in this club and there's like rape and it's murder and all this horrible shit right now happening like, what's up? And then a microscope and then nothing. And there's like the self of all beyond this all of creation and all life. But then I saw Jesus with his back to me, just kind of stepping in all calm and compassionate and just like kind of not not complaining, not trying to explain it just stepping in. And I was like, man, I want to be like that. I want to be I want to get down. I want to serve. Cause then I'm not Christian or you know I mean, obviously it's a very important part of me and dimension, in some ways I am. But also every other faith tradition. I feel the divine will show up in whatever way is most appropriate when we're ready. [00:10:02][455.4]

Ronan: [00:10:03] In your medicine experiences, it sounds like you've had incredibly mystical experiences, but it also sounds like, you know, through your grandfather and grandfather's experience and your father's experience, you know, there's probably a lot of things that have come down in terms of your your path to healing or your journey on healing. Has has anything along those lines to kind of come up for you. You touched on it a little bit. Just wondering if in your experience, like what kind of healings have come up other than being aware of the mystical elements of the universe. [00:10:34][30.4]

David: [00:10:35] Well there was a time when I first started, I really intentionally engaging with medicine. You know, it had kind of, I would say, accidentally done some pretty deep work or had mega experiences, but not really with intention. And I'd say in the last like yeah five years have been really kind of more intentional on the medicine path. And yeah, just experienced some really profound insight. The decision to end that marriage to be with my new partner. I mean, just a lot of struggle. And then just getting to the looping heart chakra blowing open just the human force of love and feeling that we even after my marriage. I mean that was that's some of the most painful thing anybody can go through is obviously the dissolution of a long time marriage. And especially when there's so much love. After you know my kid. Now twenty three. And we're pretty much all healed up and amazing, but you know didn't want to talk to me for like over a year. But I remember going deep in medicine and did an LSD blindfold went really deep. [00:11:32][57.5]

Ronan: [00:11:33] It's important to remember. And that like if you're on your path and you're being truthful to yourself, it's like people can be hurt by your actions, but you're not hurting them. And there was an important distinction. And it's hard to let yourself even receive that saying, like, I know this hurts you, but I'm doing the right thing. And that can be hard to reconcile sometimes. But it sounds like in that moment is kind of like just letting go of all the hurt and then all of the energy and knowing that not only are you now on your right path, but very much in the same way if you're being truthful, they're all in their right path, because if you continue to be in something that you don't want to be in and you don't say it, you're controlling, you know, you're lying to them by omission. And that's not not fair to them and it's not fair to you. But it's not always easy to let that in and let that sink deep. Would love to hear about your evolution from being, I guess, were you the president or chief executive officer to being the cosmic engagement officer? Tell me tell me about how that kind of evolution happened and what exactly do you do as a cosmic engagement officer other than you talk about this stuff with people like me? [00:12:45][71.7]

David: [00:12:46] You know, after Amsterdam I mean, I actually moved back here to sell my stuff, to move back to Amsterdam do plants and be a cannabis activist. And I would have been a whole other life cannabis entrepreneur, but that didn't work out. And I came back and was a mental health counselor in the Boston Waltham area before kind of getting to a point in my life where I realized, well, a company like Dr. Bronner's were to offer me a job, I'd go for a second and you know let my dad know actually, I was ready to come in right before he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. But anyway, so my brother was in a similar boat to me, he was two years younger. He absolutely didn't want work with his brother. I mean, that's definitely the one thing he knew. But after a couple of years at Bronner's, I was like, Mike you've got to get in here, man. I convinced him to come in two thousand. And I guess, long story short, he's crushing. He's just been crushing it for a long time. And it was clear like over five years ago, maybe about five years ago, it was like past time that he became president and he knew that I didn't want to be CEO. That's kind of dumb CEO. So so I promoted him to president. He promoted me to cosmic engagement officer. I'll tell you one another awesome medicine vision was ibogaine actually, in my experience in the vision. We did a sweat before and called in the ancestors, calling my granddad, my dad. And in the ibogaine vision, like you know just there was a lot of a lot about my dad and reconciling with my dad, but also my granddad. You're kind of going through a judgment day experience of a lot of stuff in life and just kind of releasing. But at one point I'm in my childhood home den and then at one point there's like this image of my dad. He's like in his coat, he coached me in soccer like every year of his life. And he had this expression this kind of ecstatic expression he's kind of amused, a kind of funny like, you know, whatever is funny, you know with like charge just go get it son you know. And in its like spirit, OK, just pay attention like right here. And it's like, you know, I was watching my dad and he's got this lower two collection behind them. And I'm just there and I'm just realizing that, you know wow, just appreciating him, just the Phoenix like that, just out of the ashes of the Holocaust. And my granddad had this like terrible childhood and then made this beautiful life for his family, for me, my brother, my sister, my mom, I'm just like standing in and getting this mega love, just like a blessing from my dad. And then a little later in the experience, I mean, low earth orbit. And it's like, are the activists and artists going to fucking win, are we going to do it is like Trump and the fucking forces of darkness, not just Trump but just the fucking machine, all the fucking horribleness. Are we going to make it you know as a planet and make all these life artists, and activists, this we're engaged. And then I'm just feeling like all these like interdimensional entities, like just kind of playing in to help in some ways. And there's my granddad just smiling and it's Dr. Bronner just smiling over there. And at a certain point, like there was just like peace on earth, like this golden light breaks out like on the whole planet, which was my granddad's you know, for him. I mean, the label is all about that, being like like the spaceship Earth. And so anyways, so I think for cosmic engagement officer like so I can kind of get in those kind of shamanic realms and then also really appreciate my granddad's vision and passion for. [00:16:14][207.6]

Ronan: [00:16:15] What does the future for Dr. Bronner's the business hold. Where do you see it going? [00:16:19][4.0]

David: [00:16:20] Well, we got some really exciting new projects and products, I guess, some of which I'm not supposed to talk about, but continue to grow. I mean, covid, we were in the fortunate position of being an essential business, making soap and sanitizer that everyone needs. So we've had an incredible year, grew almost about 50 percent to the benefit all the campaigns we're supporting. Our business model is a five time cap, five to one cap on executive compensation and all profits we don't need for the business, go to our causes and charities, get involved in a lot of the cannabis campaigns and minimum wage fights, GMO labeling fights in the ballot measure. And I'm getting really good at it and just understanding it as a tool. So being able to support more and more ballot measure campaigns, a challenge we're facing now is like now we're second third shifting, we're buying a new building. So all of a sudden, like this all one vibration, great family we just got to like be working extra hard to make sure we keep that vibration going as we grow. [00:17:22][62.1]

Ronan: [00:17:29] I've had the privilege of interviewing some incredible people on this podcast over the last few months about psychedelics and how their experience with psychedelics have altered the course of their lives. And the conversation that I had with David couldn't be a more fitting end to the podcast for 2020. A year that many people have described as the ennes horribleness. I don't know about you, but David's vivid recollections of his psychedelic experiences and how they have been so foundational to the evolution of his life pulled me in. He is in many ways a shining example of how psychedelic experiences can add wonderful dynamics to our lives and our direction, from inspiration to healing, to helping us find our paths in relationships, careers and our purpose in life. As Tom Robbins says, what have you ever risked? Have you ever risked disapproval? Have you ever risked economic security? Have you ever risked a belief? I see nothing particularly courageous about risking one's life. So you lose it, you go to your heroes heaven and everything is milk and honey till the end of time, right? You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences. That's not courage. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness. Real courage is risking one's clichés. David is a perfect example of that ideal. [00:18:56][87.1]

Ronan: [00:18:59] Speaking of which, you were extremely instrumental in Measure 109 with Tom and Sheri, how did you get involved with that? And what do you see as the future? I know when we spoke last time, you mentioned that you see a couple other states are getting involved in a couple other states to push push agendas around psychedelics and decriminalization or legalization. So I would just love to hear how you got involved with 109 and then what you see the future of the next couple of years being. [00:19:27][27.9]

David: [00:19:28] I think, first of all, I mean, I do support decriminalization and access to medicine. However, we may see fit as far as at home or in a forest or a concert or whatever, but also recognizing these are very powerful medicines and especially for a psychodellically naive people that we really need safe well structured access and that the therapeutic container, even for psychonauts and things like myself, is a whole different game when you do high dose in a very controlled way, very intentionally going inward and really releasing in your experience. And that's what the clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and UCLA and NYU. I mean, this therapeutic container eyes close with music and setting optimized for therapeutic outcomes and mystical spiritual breakthroughs is crucial. And Tom and Sheri, their insight was that the medical pharma, we all hugely support that. I'm on the board of Maps. We want to see MDMA, assisted therapy, psilocybin assisted therapy come through. But that's going to be pretty limited as far as access to people with qualified diagnoses of treatment resistant PTSD, or treatment resistant depression. So how do we enable access for all adults who can safely benefit? Because we're all struggling with the dilemmas of life for all the spectrum of everything and have professional standards of training programs. And I think that's really the most crucial model to introduce in the culture right now. So we feel like measure 109 is like the most crucial model to really bring psychedelic healing to the masses. [00:21:00][92.3]

Ronan: [00:21:01] I was a little bit shocked when Decrim Nature came out and opposed measure 109, to me and seemed patently absurd to be opposing something that probably had a very strong chance of passing, which was not necessarily totally in line with the Decrim Nature movement, but seemed like a general step in the right direction. Curious to know if you had any thoughts around that. [00:21:22][21.3]

David: [00:21:23] Yeah, I mean, it's you know they say don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And and then I mean, for me, I mean it was relatively perfect I mean, it's just like not any one measure is going to do everything. And there was a decriminalizing component, the original 109, but because of the measure 110 coalition that was dropped did not to have any say interference with the 110 campaign and let them have a clean conversation around decriminalization with the electorate higher cut offs. And there is room to enact via Portland City Council or ballot measure, a ceremonial heaing kind of piece of it. But yeah, it's like just because you didn't get that one piece doesn't mean you should be opposing the amazing mega breakthroughs in other ways. And then in a lot of it was intellectually dishonest and disingenuous, saying that like measure 109 is erecting a paywall on psychedelics. It's like, well, there was a therapeutic program in measure 110. We were accomplishing pretty much what Decrim Nature wants because there's an historical conflict in the reform of. I've been part of this for over 20 years and there's a harm reduction wing. That's like measure 110. And it's really focused on ending the drug war and it's about racial justice. And then there's a little bit of a I'd say perception on that side of psychedelic advocacy and healing and being elitist and focused on white privilege and not really you know engage with the actual real problems of the drug war and then vice versa. On the psychedelic healing side, there's often like psychedelics are awesome. These are categorically different from heroin, meth and crack. And that shit fucking should be criminal that's that's that's gnarly stuff. So there's like this kind of sort of mistrust and misunderstanding and prejudice on either side. And, you know, the truth that each hold is harm reduction is like we were just saying before. Addiction is not a crime, it's a health problem. And underlying traumas that you're medicating and putting someone in jail and making them a second class citizen, it's not going to help them sort their lives. [00:23:31][127.7]

Ronan: [00:23:32] It's also like a good reminder. Psychedelics and psychedelic therapies can be extremely potent and healing. But just because you've done a lot of psychedelic therapy doesn't mean that you necessarily worked through all your personal issues. And so. Even though I think there'd be a lot of woke people within the psychedelic community, egos still play a significant part. So it's it's a lifelong journey towards kind of personal growth and evolution and it's always good to have a reminder that they are not a panacea. They're going to do a lot and I think they'll do a lot of good. But they're not the only solution that we need to to bring better world around, that's for sure. [00:24:09][37.9]

David: [00:24:10] I mean, that is one of the criticisms of what I call spiritual bypassing is one side of it. Where the experiences are incredibly profound, but still, that's not going to magically change the structural inequalities and injustices in society, really having to investigate and do the hard policy work and forming and organizing and solidarity building psychedelics are probably powerful, but they're not the be all, end all. And that what you're saying about just the ego inflation I've gone through it myself can be very ego inflationary. But you can have these mega experiences that are egoist nondual and all that awareness. And then you go back in there kind of taking credit like, wow, holy shit, I'm amazing. [00:25:00][49.9]

Ronan: [00:25:01] Yeah that's hilarious. What do you see happening like in the future? Things seem to be happening in California. I read an article about some work you're doing in Washington State as well. What do you see the next couple of years? [00:25:11][9.5]

David: [00:25:11] Washington is we've got two coalitions there on the harm reduction side, hopefully, that are going to work it out. You've got treatment first and care first. Got everyone agrees on the ultimate end game, which is beyond decriminalization. It's actual safe supply, legal safe supply, like even like heroin, like a maintenance dose, like a diabetic would manage with insulin until they're ready to kick their habit and get into treatment that just take away all black markets, move to a full safe supply, and thus just reduce the harms associated with drug use and drug addiction. And there's some really difficult things to think through and sort out in that vision. But that's not where the electorate is yet. And then within a decriminalization, there's a debate whether or not you have fines or not, do you still impose a fine. And there's concern that if you fine such indigent people, then you're re-criminalizing and they don't pay. And in Oregon, they actually addressed that by making it if you don't pay a fine is not a basis for imprisonment or arrest. So there's ways to address this. But the basis is How far can we go given legislative cycle? So there's some that's playing out right now in Washington. Then you've got Decriminalize Nature Seattle, which is actually a pretty cool group of people, and eventually also know I think we can definitely start moving Oregon style therapeutic program legislatively. That's not yet in the cards in Washington. But that will be I think there's a lot of states that are primed for a psilocybin program that we can move legislatively, but that's still kind of coming together as far as like kind of formalizing what that organization would look like. And then California's got Senator Scott Wiener is announced an intention to decriminalize psychedelic medicine. Colorado is going to definitely go in 22 go legislatively or via ballot on definitely on the psilocybin side, if not a more comprehensive kind of drug policy reform. [00:27:14][122.5]

Ronan: [00:27:15] I think there's a chance that some sort of legislative passage in California, it just seems I don't know enough about the political process in the US. It's a very complicated to me, but it seems particularly complicated in California. So just curious to know your thoughts? [00:27:30][15.4]

David: [00:27:30] Generally, like I would say, it's impossible to move to a policy reform legislatively. It's just too spicy, controversial. It's interesting that just now that we are so far along on the psychedelic renaissance and cannabis is integrated as far as it is and non-controversial, I think there is a fighting chance like more than a fighting chance. [00:27:50][19.6]

Ronan: [00:27:51] Things are changing so rapidly, you know in Canada, things seem to be happening faster and faster. We have the first section fifty six exemptions in Canada, giving people palliative patients access to psilocybin therapy. And then last week or two weeks ago, a section fifty six exemption was granted to therapists to oversee the psilocybin therapy. And now I don't know if you saw, but on Friday, Health Canada announced that they're amending the regulations to open up the special access program, which is in theory, a more expedited route to approval to include psilocybin and MDMA. So there may be a more direct and less political path to it. The current thinking is this is all just a kind of floating a trial balloon to see what the appetite is in Canada for broader decriminalization, legalization or even legalization of all drugs. So it's it's a really exciting time to sort of be witness to this and be involved in this emerging conversation. [00:28:46][55.7]

David: [00:28:47] Yeah, Canada is getting way out there. I mean, legalizing cannabis obviously was a huge step. And Mexico, I guess maybe legalizing here very soon. [00:28:59][12.2]

Ronan: [00:29:00] You had sent me something you had written a little while ago called Death and Life, and when you mentioned your experience growing up with foam and I just wanted to unpack that a little bit more and understand the Refoamation conversation that you kind of brought up. [00:29:15][14.7]

David: [00:29:16] Yeah so this is one, probably one of my most powerful experiences, along with ones that I shared, but yeah I was back in Germany. I guess in 2016. And a founder of Milk and Honey, a Jewish theme camp had gone through our foam experience. So at Burning Man. So two thousand nine or two thousand eight about I was going through a big midlife crisis, my third of currently seven so far. I remember telling my dad, pop you know how'd you do it, how'd you raise a family and run a business? Do it all and it's nuts, just kind of really spin. And I remember this when my dad died, it was just so overwhelming. We basically shut down that business and sold off all the Foam assets to another special effects house in Hollywood and just concentrated on the soap business. But I was remembering nearly 10 years later like, wow, just remembering all the joy we brought the world that blasting foam on each other and as kids and just going around and making it snow and it's like transformative, we blessed snow or foam on on the world or snow. I mean, it's like snow. It's just like a very ecstatic release. All the usual boundaries are blurred. And I just remember that. And I built with one of my compatriots here at Bronner's, built a foam machine based on one of my dad's late designs, actually, for a German hotel in Sri Lanka and took it to the burn, just kind of downloading kind of vicariously just a lot of dead off energy, really appreciating and having really awesome experiences. But the foam was just out of control. I mean, we were just cleaning up blocks of people who were coming in because we just had this little ten by ten evap, like totally inadequate greywater system. The next year we built a big tub like a giant tub with like a grated floor with a tank that would contain all the greywater. And you could have 20 people on the top and blast foam on them. And that evolved eventually into our double plexi shower trailer. So like two 40 foot shower trailer, Plexiglas like end to end. And we could put 50 people and just blast foam and just. And we have this huge dome and and it's super ecstatic and fun. And it's like it's big day time destination at the Burn. So we have this this incredible experience. You know, people come in, they get all hyped up. We got teh foamies homies, just a beautiful cast of high vibrating individuals. And we're just it's all about kind of nudity or this abading culture that we've lost and just being cool in your skin is getting down and so you know nudity not ludity, do a good job of holding the space and keeping it in the right vibration and got DJs, just super fun. But this lady, Ali was having a pretty traumatic experience as a Jewish woman and basically on further research after she reported, pretty much all Jewish friends and European friends will have an association to the Holocaust gave the Jews like a bathing towel and a soap before they go into the gas chamber to kind of keep them pacified and then drop the Zyklon. And most people have like, oh, wow, this is love's answer to all that and just kind of like kind of processed through that association. But some get stuck and Ali got really stuck and the screams of joy, she just hearing the fucking screams of horror really just had this like horrible, horrible experience. And she wrote this really compelling nonfiction essay called Seife which is the German word for soap, it's a play on safe and how unsafe she felt and just the whole experience. And this coincided with me. You know, I talked to her. I went really deep, explained my whole heritage past and how this all came to be. And coincidentally, I was going back to Germany and I was going to visit my granddad's childhood home and the German government like they worked with an artist like ten years ago to put what they call stumble stones and it's these bronze plaques in the sidewalks and memorialize the date of birth the date of deputation, date of murder of all Jewish victims of the Holocaust. And so Jewish neighborhoods there's like a lot of this stumble stones. And I was there and I was like really feeling and seeing my granddad, my great aunts, like playing as kids in the street. All our stories of how awesome it was. Most their friends weren't even Jewish and really integrated and feeling the horrors. It just went fucking south and just started getting worse and worse and you know this culture they love just turned on them and shredded everything. And then but then driving around the corner, there's this beautiful park and these trees and I'm feeling called to it. So I go over and I look over and it's a cemetery, it's a German cemetery, not a Jewish cemetery. And I'm feeling this like a salute of the dead, a pretty much solidarity salute what the German did for their Jewish brothers and sisters and like feeling like that most of these Germans were, they weren't even Natzis they were just kids, like just slaughtered, configuration that gripped the European Peninsula and a whole generation on all sides were just slaughtered. And WW1 and WW2. And my ex, her family's Chinese, she grew up in Taipei, just feeling a whole dislocation that her dad was like a baby fleeing on the last ship from Mao's army across to Taiwan just to make a sacrifice, a whole generation just lived and died. And you just feeling that, like all that complex, that suffering karmic inheritance of the life force has flown generationally through. And they lived it and suffered it and passed it on, did what they could and all of the exercise that they could and gave us new trauma, whatever, pass it on. And here it all comes up to us and just feeling that feeling. And then at the burn that year? So Refoamation was like we were honoring Albert Hoffman and Eleusis so the the initiation. But this whole underworld theme developed unconsciously. But then Colin gets like, I got to I got river sticks, I got river sticks like sticks from the river, but I was hearing river sticks what are you doing making me shadow hear the river sticks. And anyway, so Ali comes by and so I walk over to show her like what we're doing. And we had this whole theme of like kind of we are all animals. Like our foam chamber was like the ark, like a reverse Noah's Ark. We put all the humans in there to reconcile, restore the relationship with animals in nature. But I'm walking up on L like as with with Ali. And I showed her like we had a picture of the stumble stones at the entrance and saying for all our guests experiencing generational trauma, we hold our hearts to move through the moment to present celebration behind and then but I'm walking in, I'm like, dude, is this cool man, I don't know, but the ancestors are about to pass judgment, like whether or not you're fucking doing a cool thing here or not. I'm going to walk up with this vision in my cool shit and I walk in into the dome and it's like after foamy sun setting and it's like beautiful. And instead of like anything heavy or intense, it was this calm radiating joy like it was the same feeling I was feeling back in Germany, but even more intense. And then it's like just the ancestors dancing with me. Just like, you go son, we got you, we're with you. [00:36:24][428.1]

Ronan: [00:36:26] I thank you for sharing that. I mean, like there's so much in there. I think it's such a beautiful, intense, magical story. But the other cool thing is like, you know, all of that, like you don't need psychedelic drugs to do that, like psychedelic drugs, like make it so much easier to tap into it. But the it's about the experience. It's not about the drug. Like I felt it. I feel like just like the magic and that experience not having been there and not being on psychedelics right now. So there's there's so much, so much there. It's all about the energy, right. [00:36:56][30.0]

David: [00:36:57] One hundred percent. It's Yeah. I mean there's so many tech techniques and ways to access and psychedelics is just just one of many portals. [00:37:04][7.3]

Ronan: [00:37:05] Thanks, David. I really appreciate your time. I think that's an amazing story to end on. And I can hear my kids crying downstairs, so it's probably a good time to thank you greatly. Thank you so much for joining. Thank you for all your work in this sphere. Thank you for being open and vulnerable. Thank you for sharing the stories. It's been a real joy. [00:37:22][17.0]

David: [00:37:23] Right on, well thank you Ronan and some time I look forward to hearing all your stories. [00:37:27][4.1]

Ronan: [00:37:31] Well, speaking to David, I had four major realizations. First, it's been the central theme of all religion that when you open yourself up to it and I mean truly open yourself up to it, whether that's through psychedelics or otherwise, the center of everything is light and love. Regardless of our beliefs, by awakening that part of us, we can realize that as living beings, we are more similar than we are different. For David, to get to a place of understanding, he had to move beyond the I am and accept what is. To comprehend the mundane his imperative became finding ways to continually improve the reality he observed around him. As it's said. Funny how we think of romance as always, involving two when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense. Alone, the world offers itself to us freely. To be unmasked. It has no choice. Third, the only thing we can be responsible for is our own emotions. Everyone is on their own path and sometimes living your truth means that others will be affected along the way. But if you're being true to yourself, it's simply an experience that shapes their path as well as yours. David's divorce is a great example of this reality. Finally, this podcast has worked to create a welcoming and open space for people to share how psychedelics have changed their lives. And David is an excellent example of why these conversations around psychedelics really matter. So I'd like to extend my gratitude to David and all of the twenty four guests we've connected with this year for joining this space. We're fortunate to be part of this community and I'm so excited for more Field Tripping in 2021 and beyond. One thing I know for sure, this trip is just getting started. [00:39:27][116.3]

Ronan: [00:39:34] Thank you for listening to Field Tripping, a podcast dedicated to exploring psychedelic experiences and their ability to affect our lives. I'm your host, Ronan Levy. Until next time, stay curious. Breathe properly. And remember, every day is a field trip if you let it be one. Field Tripping is created by Ronan Levy and produced by Conrad Page. Our researcher is Sharon Bhella. Special thanks to Quill. And of course, many thanks to David for joining me today. To learn more about David, visit Dr.Bronner.com. Finally, subscribe to our podcast and sign up for our newsletter at Fieldtripping.FM. And thank you for joining us in 2020. Looking forward to an excellent 2021. [00:39:34][0.0]


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