This one goes down in the books: Caught the Bug. Missed the Buzz.

I’m still sick as I write this – well maybe more high than sick since I took a WHOLE gummy to sleep. But now, I have a little energy and strength to focus and sit up. Until the sleep kicks-in.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. Last week I hopped on a plane to Holland to attend a 3-day psychedelic science conference. As an American living in Europe, I marvel at how I can jet from Southern Portugal to the far reaches of Western Europe in about 3 or 4 hours – not to mention the cheap flights – this one was about €250 RT. Europeans know this but it’s a pleasant surprise for us Americans.

I was excited about this event – called the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR). Most of the psychedelic science mucketymucks (I say that with love) were going to be there.

And there was so much that I had planned to share with you! As a clinician who works with psilocybin microdosing, I adore all this cutting edge research as it offers “next level” evidence of what we essentially already take for granted, which is the established safety profile of psilocybin. For me, I was excited about the many lectures focused on this one plant medicine. They call it “psilocybin-assisted therapy,” which is what I do in the form of microdosing in our Emotional Liberation courses and retreats.

Scientist Susan Blackmore notes the communication networks that psilocybin lights up in the brain (circle on right).

So as I was saying, that was the plan for the conference! But by the end of the first day, it was becoming clear that a hacking cough was the lead symptom of what turned into a vicious fluey-cold viral thing (neg COVID). Ever the optimist about my robust health, at that point I thought I’d hunker down early and sleep it off and be ready to roll on time into the 9:30 sessions – that’s a civilized time for a conference. In the Functional Medicine science world that I hail from, they’d start you with 7:30 breakfast lectures. 9:30! I wonder whether that’s the Dutch sensibility or just the laid back vibe of the scientific psychedelic community.

Anyway, the timing was impeccable. Not that timing. But the arrival of this virulent strain of something that had me in its grasp until it was literally time for me to leave Holland. I never did get up the following morning to make it to Friday’s sessions. 

I managed to snap these on Sunday morning as I was weighing the prospect of climbing out of bed. Note the survival “tools” on my bedside table – the cold cloth was a favorite.

From Thursday night (after that first conference day) to Sunday morning I was flat in bed, writhing with a punishing headache, body aches, nausea, diarrhea, the incessant mucus-laced coughing and nose blowing. Sunday morning, I forcibly gathered myself to catch the plane back to Portugal. 

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s gotten sick while they attended a conference (maybe you have your own war story?). But it was such a wash that maybe this is like a letter from my doctor excusing me for not having more to offer you. 

The conference roster was rich with leading minds in the arena. At least I got in on the first day (watching some awesome speakers like Susan Blackmore’s chatty talk on consciousness, self, and psychedelic insights) before going down. But, given my condition for the rest of the conference, I missed the psilocybin lectures. Meh. 

Psilocybin lectures I missed:

• Psilocybin-assisted therapy for cancer patients
• Psilocybin-assisted therapy for generalized anxiety disorder 
• Psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression
• Psilocybin for treatment-resistant major depression
• Psilocybin-assisted therapy increases emotional empathy in patients with major depression
• Psilocybin-assisted therapy training: outcomes from a world-first study

There were scores of other non-psilocybin sessions during the rest of the event, which is the largest psychedelic science conference in Europe. A huge breadth of substances were to be discussed in research and case studies – ayahuasca, DMT, MDMA, ketamine, LSD, along with talks relating these medicines to spirituality and consciousness, gentle dying, easing bereavement, indigenous cultures and so much more. You can imagine the breadth of speakers – with 3 different breakout spaces and each session speaker getting 30-minutes, there were something like 30 lectures a day.

Of course, all of which I. didn’t. get. to. see. 

I’ll have to wait for the recordings – they’re supposed to come out in a few weeks. But, of course, one of the big losses is the opportunity to renew old acquaintances (I attended the last one 2 years ago), meet new colleagues and talk shop. It was not to be. However, as a wise mentor in my life, often reminds me when I complain about things not going my way, he says, “What do you believe your soul is trying to tell you?” 

I pondered that. Lying in bed, alone, far away from home, hacking and vomiting and shitting, the answer comes in an instant: “I’m only me. This is me, stripped of the matters I consider ‘important’, which is a reminder that they’re not important.”

These are the thoughts as I drift off with the gummy calling me to sleep land.

With Love,


4 thoughts on “This one goes down in the books: Caught the Bug. Missed the Buzz.”

  1. Sorry to hear of course and hope you’re feeling better soon;❤️‍🩹 you may have missed this one but you’ll be there for the next! Travel can be an easy way to get sick, in our case it usually waits ‘till we get back! 🤧

    • David, I’d choose THAT … letting it pounce when I get home. Alas, we don’t have a choice.
      I’m still dragging – but I’m focused on the consolation prize – that my immune system is taking a pummeling and, like a knock-down wobble doll, will bounce back up with a stronger, more resilient and fortified defense system!
      Maybe that’s not such a consolation;)

      Thank you for your well wishes 💚

  2. Hey Becca
    Glad your home and on the mend 🙂 There are no mistakes! Your human, Your body needed a reset, you learned exactly what was required and shared it with us all, thank you, much love ❤️

    • Laura, such a lovely reminder … there are no mistakes! 🎯

      If we’re “spiritual beings having a human experience” (thank you Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) this is part of the adventure … as we say: surfing the waves of uncertainty with grace and perseverance (and a few gummies;)


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