Supporting the Human Condition through Psychedelics with Lauren Taus
Ep 21

Supporting the Human Condition through Psychedelics with Lauren Taus

Episode Summary: 

I am so honored to share this conversation with a gem of a human, Lauren Taus. Lauren integrates modern science and ancient wisdom to support the personal transformation as a Psychedelic Therapist, Educator, and Speaker who hosts retreats and trainings all over the world. In this episode, we talk about the psychedelic space and plant medicines, her work with people across mental health realms as the founder of Inbodied Life, and the importance of a connection to life.    

Show Notes:

I am so honored to share this conversation with a gem of a human, Lauren Taus. Lauren integrates modern science and ancient wisdom to support the personal transformation as a Psychedelic Therapist, Educator, and Speaker who hosts retreats and trainings all over the world. In this episode, we talk about the psychedelic space and plant medicines, her work with people across mental health realms as the founder of Inbodied Life, and the importance of a connection to life.    

Intergenerational healing dives into the multilayered aspects of the human condition. Lauren shares her transition from social work into psychotherapy, as well as how psychoactive substances were fused into her career trajectory. Lauren and I also dig into who psychedelics are for and who they may not be for, and the lessons Lauren learned through plants and mushrooms along her journey. 

We are all storytellers, and we all make up stories as well as have stories from our ancestral lines and those before us. Lauren believes we are all carrying content that isn’t actually ours. When we can start to separate from it, we can heal — and in turn, our individual healing can become the collective healing.   

This is a really deep conversation about the psychedelic space and Lauren’s experience with it, as further wisdom to share with the patients and clients she serves today. 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Topics Covered:

  • Gratitude and reclaiming self-expression and joy
  • Lauren’s approach as a therapist to support presence and identify patterns 
  • Looking at mental health as a process that requires identification and interruption
  • How preparation is essential for psychedelic and work, yet often missing
  • How Lauren finds mutual comfortability to support her clients
  • Navigating fear and perfectionism with self-love and care 
  • Lauren’s work with entrepreneurs and business owners around hyper-performing 
  • The importance of connection to find the richness, fullness of life

Resources Mentioned:

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Show Transcript

Tonya Papanikolov  00:04

Hi, welcome to The Rainbo Podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective conscious. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion. Tune in route and expand and journey with us. 


Tonya Papanikolov  00:46

Hi, everyone, you are going to be listening to a conversation with Lauren Taus and I today and if you don't have Lauren, I highly suggest getting to know her especially if you are interested in the psychedelic space. She is a psychedelic therapist and educator, a speaker. She hosts retreats and trainings all over the world. And she is just a gem of a human who really walks the path herself, who walks her talk who's just so open about her own personal story and journey and yeah, she's an easy person to go deep with she really treads those waters. 


Tonya Papanikolov  01:22

When I first met Lauren we we first met actually sharing a cab to LAX and we just instantly dropped into a deep conversation in the cab and or in the Uber and as you know, I love doing that it's my favorite thing to do is my favorite place to go with another human being. And so a little bit about Lauren. She is a licensed psychotherapist, practicing ketamine assisted psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California. But she does host various plant medicine retreats all over the world. She loves integrating modern science and ancient wisdom to support the personal transformation, which is much needed and is part of the much needed systemic change that we need as well. So she founded the embodied life, which is a private psychotherapy practice. And that blossomed into a group practice. That's also a platform for education through in person and experiential trainings and retreats. Lauren is licensed as a clinical therapist in both New York and California. And she believes that life and good psychotherapy is psychedelic. She is trained by maps, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies, the ketamine Training Center, and in the shamanic realms, Lauren feels honored to partner with plant and compound allies in her work, and will always hold loving relationships as the most important medicine, and the one that we all really, really need. 


Tonya Papanikolov  02:50

And so in today's conversation, we chat a lot about psychedelic therapies, and plant medicines, and really kind of working with people in very vulnerable places and states, in the realms of mental health, and just the various processes that she goes through in working with her patients and clients. We talk about psychedelics and who they are for who they maybe are not for. We talk about mushrooms and some of her lessons that she's learned through the plants and mushrooms along her journey. And just a really deep conversation about the psychedelic space and her experience in it. And I think you're gonna love it. So let's tune in. Hello, Lauren, welcome. Thank you so much for being here.

Lauren Taus  03:36

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to dive in together.


Tonya Papanikolov  03:40

Likewise, well, I like to start every episode as often as I can, sometimes it goes in a different direction. But I love to start with just sharing something that you're grateful for today, something that I'm grateful for today.


Lauren Taus  03:52

I love gratitude. It is very much the bedrock of my being it is the first real practice that I adopted and made daily, and it trained my mind and my eyes to look for and grow the good. So I love this question. You know, I write a gratitude list pretty much every day, thank you is my favorite prayer. It's a complete full prayer. today. I'm grateful for just the sweet energy that I'm experiencing in my body in this moment, and music and how music can evoke and provoke and invite me deeper into the field of my feels, which is where life happens. And I can keep going but I'll stop.


Tonya Papanikolov  04:33

I love that. I don't know if you can relate to this. But I feel like it's always a little tender to go into masculine feminine energies. But I think it's still so important. But I've been so active in doing and in research and in structure running a business of those things that are so important. And I think there's always a way to like bring in this sense of divinity where it's not like it's really on the, you know, swinging the pendulum on the really negative side of that, but I've been using dance as a way on a daily basis to like, just do something free form and without needing to do it for anything or anyone but truly just as a way to be in that state. And so I do this little standing meditation, I just started it. So it's been a really nice practice, but just to standing meditation, and then just letting my body flow and move. And it's really like an intentional practice to be like, I need space for myself to not be doing and to be focusing on just being in receiving and flow.


Lauren Taus  05:42

I am aware that I need to be dancing more, so I'm going to receive that as direction to go that way. And dance and singing, I think are some of the most joyful things we do. And so many of us stop quite young, and become things for consumption, rather than for our own self expression, and for our own liberation. And when we can reclaim them. Oh,


Tonya Papanikolov  06:08

it's so good. It's so good. Well, I have a lot of topics I want to explore with you today. And a central, you know, a central theme. But I would love to just start with I will have read you know this introduction about you. In our intro, but would you tell us a little bit about you? Maybe you outside of your bio, who are you? How do you describe yourself? I feel like it's so hard to create these boxes around who we are. But how do you like to describe yourself?


Lauren Taus  06:39

I think my description of myself changes a lot. But I'm a human, I'm a human, I have a soul that is homed in my body. And I am in deep, deep prayer to be in reverence and respect for my vessel. As part of this grander experience called life that is continuous that is before me and after me, you know, in terms of my self, there's like, of course, like lowercase self, and there's uppercase self. And you know, there's, me, Lauren, the human being who grew up a serious kid, and really didn't have a lot of mastery over play and fun. And it has learned that and has been an exercise of learning happiness, which I believe is contingent on a person's ability to play the rest of the emotional keyboard. 


Lauren Taus  07:27

So outside of the work that I do, with human beings, as a teacher, as an educator, as an activist, as a therapist, I'm just effort in connection, and from my own ecosystem, with an understanding of what it is to be deeply, deeply, deeply disconnected. And then to come back, and to welcome the fullness and the wild variety. And and to hold it to stay right. I feel very humble about the work that I do. I work in the space of consciousness. I work in a space of intergenerational healing. I know some things but in the context of all there is to know about a little. And I think that the only seat that makes sense and even feels good is to stay humble. And that's also not about aggrandisement about making myself bigger, better, or making myself smaller. This kind of being with and as best I can, Like as best I can to stay here in life, not to dissociate, not to cut off shut down. 


Lauren Taus  08:27

But to be here to express myself, as we mentioned, dance or singing, or, you know, whatever it is, I need to say. And sometimes communication is faulty for folks, you know, to like learn how to say what you need to say. And that ultimately then creates intimacy and connection. So ultimately, I'm a human being wrapped in skin on planet Earth, to try to do this human thing as well as I can. And recognizing that it's also very much a spiritual exercise.


Tonya Papanikolov  08:52

Yeah, absolutely. Something that made me think of is, I guess, we see things with polarity. And it's just the nature of things. And I think sometimes we, I guess maybe I've been kind of thinking about the process of just all customizing and growing and going through hard times, and weaving through mental health, which we all do like innately as humans, and the way that we kind of view those things as as like bad or challenging, and they are, there's no no way around the fact that they're not challenging, but that they're also so valuable to the experience of becoming fuller and deeper, the biggest expression of ourselves. 


Tonya Papanikolov  09:37

And, you know, I think you you and your team, the work you're doing and your approach to mental health care and really looking at a human and the collective in a holistic way with presents and just, it's quite a stark difference in comparison to the Western system. And that obviously plays a role, I believe in certain ways, of course, but I feel that you and based on what you just said, you have seen people at their most vulnerable. And that comes I think that sometimes I don't know if honors like an honor is the right word. But it's like, such deep trust. And you've had this peek into I think aspects of the human condition for pretty long career. Right, you started in social work. And maybe you can tell us a bit about at what point psychedelics kind of fused into that or if you started as a psychotherapist, I believe. But you know, you have been working so intimately with the like, deepest crevices of people and humanity. And what have you learned? What could you share about that experience that could offer some takeaways or like deep learnings,


Lauren Taus  10:51

lots to respond to here, I'll do my best. And what's coming forward is the Leonard Cohen, lyric ring, the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There's a crack a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. And to bear witness to the breakdowns, and the breakthroughs in the human experience is an honor. It is absolutely an honor and a privilege. And I was in my morning meditation and gratitude practice literally writing thank you, to my clients for the courage and the trust. Yeah. Wow. And I hear a lot of people say, Well, I want to be fearless. I want to get rid of doubt, which is fear, right? And fears part of this thing. It's unavoidable. 


Lauren Taus  11:39

So the goal is not to rid ourselves of fear. The goal is courage, goals, bravery. And I love that the word courage stems, as you would know, from the French word, coeur, heart. So to me, it's heart-centered action. And it's doing the thing that maybe you're scared to do saying the thing you're scared to say. And leaning into life, when it feels unsafe, not when it is unsafe, right? And so we often can read danger in circumstances and situations that are not actually dangerous. And that's a trauma response of reading past onto present and future and our present gets hijacked. So for me, I really effort to bring people into their bodies. You don't think feelings. It’s not how it works. Feelings are energy in motion, emotion. 


Lauren Taus  12:25

And we are storytellers, every single one of us. And we make up all kinds of stories to cover the emotional energy. And the stories can be useful. And we need to be very mindful the stories we're telling ourselves. And sometimes I like to just invite people into the undercurrent, like, Can you swim out far enough, so you're not getting like wrecked at shore, and swim in the energy of the emotion until it's complete. And I believe that we are, all of us hurt in relationship, and simultaneously can be healed there. And it's the only place where we can really heal. And I, as a therapist, as someone who has been doing this work for very long time, effort to be a practice field, a relational practice field, for individuals to do that brave work, and to become more spacious, in their windows of tolerance, to feel more in order that we can complete it, because I think a lot of traditional therapy actually just reifies the full self, and can keep people stuck in stories that don't actually work for them. 


Lauren Taus  13:30

And a big part of how I work also is to be mindful of the matrix that an individual is embedded in. And we are not operating in well systems right now. And so the healing has to happen in the system, in addition to in the individual, and I believe as well that individual healing becomes like collective. So the approach is really to support a person's capacity for more presence, and not to get overwhelmed with inundation fears, getting too close, or abandonment fears, and to be able to express and identify and interrupt old patterns. And be here more like the goal is here is not somewhere else. The goals are here now,


Tonya Papanikolov  14:17

though beautiful. A question I have for you is around mental health and how we guess like, what is your approach to that. And if you're looking at some of these root causes of what we collectively, you know, have determined and defined as mental health, like trauma and racism, like all of these big things. I would love to talk about some of those roots, root causes that you see and work with. And we know that it goes beyond the chemical imbalance, which has now proven to be like, right, not exactly the thing.


Lauren Taus  14:53

Yeah, yeah. So we're all Russian dolls, the next step in our ancestral lines and we are imprinted by the ones who came before us. And so we're all kind of going to be sitting with mommy daddy stuff, and grandparents stuff in ways that are both beautiful and challenging, like to work challenging or bad or hard, which we which you spoken to earlier. Again, like from a systems perspective, and as a social worker, what I really loved about my education, and to be honest, there wasn't that many things. But I really loved that there was a lens that was more systemic rather than pathological. When someone is presenting with symptoms, it is the body screaming for help. And that's a healthy thing. That's interesting. And we, by and large, are operating in systems of domination. And we do that in our own bodies, too. I know I've done it. And I have everted, you know, to be in right relations and have done a tremendous amount of work to be there, for the most part, right? So it's still process. But to really get into that, like humble, connected space requires casting off a lot of what we've inherited. And that's both within family dynamics. You mentioned male, female, and by the way, the male female dynamic that is in a power hierarchy does not work for men, it is not helpful for men, it's harmful for men. 


Lauren Taus  16:16

And I think that that can be said, of systems of domination, and perpetration, as well. So when there's racism, of course, that's going to create trauma. You know, as a Jewish person who has journey a lot, obviously, with medicine, like I often have Holocaust visuals. I've also experienced a lot of like racist content and visuals, that's in my psyche, right? Like we're not separated from what's happening in our atmosphere, in our cultures in the worlds that we live in. And I do believe that it can be healed. And I have to believe that because the choice is not a choice, like, I'm gonna go towards hope every time I'm gonna go towards optimism every time even when it looks terrible outside, even when the forecast sucks, right. But the way that I look at mental health is with an understanding that we are all carrying content that isn't actually ours. And can we begin to see that and then start to separate from it start to kind of give it back or away. And that's a process that requires identification and interruption. And appreciating that, like, I'm not actually operating in a present moment. This isn't actually my belief system.


Tonya Papanikolov  17:26

Yeah, it's so wild to start to unpack that you're like, well, that's not mine. And that's not mine, either. And this is, you know, from, you know, this, I'm going to heal for me and my mom and my grandma and generations forward, I have used hope on a pono quite a bit with like, such incredible results, and like beautiful downloads of big releases around. I think there are lots of ways to get there to psychedelics or plant medicines, or we have one and fast tracked and so potent. And there are many others. But that's yeah.


Lauren Taus  18:08

And one thing I want to say too, is, you know, when we talk about mental health, it's as if the mind is separate from the rest of the body. And it's not right thank you to the work of people like Gabor Ma Tei, Peter Levine, Bessel Vander Kolk, the mind has a profound impact on the body. And you know, when we talk about integration in psychedelic spaces, like the goal is integration within your own system. Nevermind, psychoactive substances, and the mind is there to keep you safe. And its efforts to do so will come with all kinds of defense mechanisms, and stories and projections and all these things that really aren't like skillfully designed, maybe very painful, right. So when people are in problematic thought loops, it's actually misguided defense. And what I will support myself and others in doing is befriending the mind not getting hijacked by it. And learning to like become more present to again, the energies under the stories which the mind is creating. And then if we can move into them with enough safety and with enough containment, they can be completed. I like to say that what we don't express, we suppress, repress and depress, and it shows up as disease and disease of all kinds. And it does work with that right.


Tonya Papanikolov  19:27

Do you ever see any? I think there's probably this inherent like part of humans where we try and make meaning. And that's part of our storytelling. I think you know, what you said at the beginning about being so present and trying to just say like, this is me today, these are parts of who I am. This is where I've been like, I guess what I'm trying to say is in relation to healing. We have this past that we heal that we come to learn, like we no longer want to tell that story about us. And can you just speak to Maybe that storytelling piece and how easy it is for us to latch on to these stories make meaning with them, and ultimately let them go as well. Even the good ones. Yeah.


Lauren Taus  20:14

The only real story that is is I am


Tonya Papanikolov  20:19

Now that you said that. I just walked into a store the other day and just this natural thing, how are you came out of my mouth? And she responded to saying, I am.


Lauren Taus  20:32

Yeah, thank you, right. And we have all kinds of stories around being sister daughter or mother, therapist, trauma survivor or whatever, right? And fundamentally, like when they're all gone, I am. I am. And I believe that narrative therapy is useful and developing awareness around what happened allows for some context around maybe current behavior. And that can be useful in the process of shifting into a better story into a story that's more alive, that feels more generative, right. And we're meaning making machines, and that's a good thing. 


Lauren Taus  21:11

You know, everything is a miracle are nothing is and solace. I mean, it is outrageous that we are here. ability. It's so nuts. Yeah, yeah, it's phenomenal. And, yeah, I effort to not get any body or myself to attach to a story. And a lot of times in therapy, people get to a place of this happened. And this is why I am the way that I am. And that's it. And they're kind of stuck in that story. And the goal is to be a really good storyteller, and to cast off, like the proverbial old clothing that no longer fits or feels good. And either just can't make it. You know, where some really cool shit, you know, what are we wearing? How are we telling our lives? How are we walking through them, you know, and for me, the journey of yoga and therapy and psychedelics has allowed me to get into IBM has allowed me to look at my history. And in a way that's empowering, right. 


Lauren Taus  22:12

And there were lots of aspects of my story, as it would be kind of told, from fly on the wall. Such things were hard, you know, my it wasn't, I don't know, any therapist that's worth their weight that like hasn't been through some difficulty in transmuted it. And, you know, it can't take someone somewhere you haven't been willing to go. And thank god, I've been willing to do some heavy lifting. And I'm committed to continuing doing so like, I believe that we're in one shared field. And so as long as there's violence and pain and pollution and abuse, like I'm affected. So how do I take care of my system, in order that I can take care of other systems, and I've got some good tools.


Tonya Papanikolov  22:54

Speaking of those tools, and guess maybe I would love for you to just speak to you know, when we were sharing our Uber ride to the airport.


Lauren Taus  23:03

So good. So sweet. Or have you please,


Tonya Papanikolov  23:08

I felt the same way. You know, we had kind of spoken to it then. And yeah, you know, psychedelics are emerging and such an exciting area for the collective. And you mentioned a lot of things that I'd love for you to speak on, but this piece around, that they can be really disruptive, and that they're not for everybody, and would love for you to tell us a bit more about both of those things.


Lauren Taus  23:32

Yeah. So I always like to say the light, the psychedelic, this whole thing is one wild trip. Like you don't need to ingest any sort of exogenous compound or plant to be having a meaningful journey. Right. And when we do partner with psychoactive substances, we are opening Pandora's box. And I am not cavalier about that at all. I didn't party in high school or college with drugs. And so I kind of came into these spaces in places with a tremendous amount of, number one fear, which I think is appropriate, and also the flipside of reverence and respect. I walked out like, I don't know what's going to come from this stuff. 


Lauren Taus  24:18

And so is in life, right? You don't know what's next. Prepare for your breath to be taken away is how I like to think about it. But when we are going into these kinds of sacred spaces, it can be any number of things. And certainly it can be scary, and it can be painful, and it can be disruptive and healing is disruptive, like systems crave homeostasis, and our sicknesses become our homeostasis. So people, irrespective of how uncomfortable they are, will often effort to maintain what's happening in order to just stay with what they know. It's their protection and that protection can get ripped away and violent aggressive, unapologetic merciless ways. And the work which I don't love that word, but the work of this kind of healing is is in the aftermath. And I believe that really good preparation is essential and often missing.


Tonya Papanikolov  25:20

And when you say that you're thinking, everything from diet to journaling, to preparing the mind and stillness,


Lauren Taus  25:30

Yeah, essentially preparation is the cultivation of inner resourcing and trust. And it's getting permission from protector parts inside that might be, you know, looking after the exiles that we are skillfully shutting away. And if that doesn't happen, people can often get worse. And people even with a decent amount of preparation can often get worse. 


Lauren Taus  25:54

I've seen it a lot, you know, as a ketamine provider, and of course, I'm maps trained, and they've spent a lot of time in shamanic realms, but working with the Legal Medicine that I currently have. I've worked with a number of people who've gone to ketamine clinics, and just been given, you know, an IV and left alone, or someone's in there and just kind of talking and there's TV going on, it's like, there's just, it's deeply disconnected. And ketamine is a big medicine. It's a big, big medicine. And if it isn't stewarded Well, and that's true for any of these things, then it's a little dangerous. 


Lauren Taus  26:30

And on the flip side, I just want to say that the activist in me wants to liberate all the drugs for whatever use people want, including problematic. I believe people engage with psychoactive substances, including alcohol, for one of two reasons. Either hello, or goodbye — connection or departure. And for people who are looking to leave, because they don't feel like they can be here, like I'd rather apply compassion and curiosity, than judgment. But when you're working with psychoactive substances, for healing as an intervention, for more wholeness, for spiritual development, this requires some pretty meticulous stewardship. And I don't think that's happening so much. I mean, it is happening, but it's, it's,


Tonya Papanikolov  27:15

it's like new terrain. Yeah, yeah.


Lauren Taus  27:19

And people are so desperate, there's so much pain and in so much confusion, and so much like, help, that they're willing to do anything, but they don't understand that like, this thing might actually make it worse. I of course, work in the field, because I believe that it can make it better, because it's made it better for me, because it's made are better for my dad, because it's made it better for my brother, because it's made it better for countless clients that I've been able to support. But like that requires relationship, both with like, you know, the facilitator, provider, relationship, individual with self relationship with the medicine, like, and I really try to get out of like extraction, you know, I don't want to do the medicine. I don't want to take the medicine. You know, how do I work with partner with? Like, how do I also give back to it? These are questions that I like to be in not just with the medicine, but like life.

Tonya Papanikolov  28:19

Yeah. Do you find that? Is there just a lack of both that like readier preparation and integration that you're seeing?


Lauren Taus  28:31

Preparation for short preparation, for sure. And in my mind, you know, integration gets so much lip service and like airtime. But if you prepare the soil, harvest is a lot easier. You can you can flower some stunning things if you're in the right atmosphere. So getting that all dialed in at Square with doesn't happen in one session. Yeah, and you know, my favorite medicine and we've spoken about this is Ayahuasca. And there's so many circles that I hear about where there's literally like, no preparation, I would hope that people are doing the due diligence of like, what medications are you on, et cetera, et cetera. But beyond that, like people are just getting thrown in, and then often thrown out with maybe one integration calm like, this is alarming. Because I love I love that medicine. It's a lot. It's a lot. Like the senses are a lot and they explode the psyche with all that, like, you may have been verbally shutting away.


Tonya Papanikolov  29:36

Yes. And the nervous system. Like, I'm sure maybe familiar with the cell danger response, which we knew we were speaking to the way that the body will physiologically stay in a state of trauma or hyper vigilance. It's through the nervous system, which is like, literally the human body except ants is the external world via the nervous system, which I believe is this conduit for spiritual connection, mental connection just like us world via the nervous system. And it's so crazy to learn about the nervous system and the cell danger response world where the cells and the nervous system, just keep reliving a traumatic response in an effort to protect in an effort to take care and keep safe. But it's just this literally wired in response of fear that the body just no matter what environment it's in, it doesn't feel safe. And so like, every day, just coming back to this vessel to say, like, you are safe, you are safe. And like that slowness that our culture doesn't really perpetuate, doesn't really encourage slowing down. And you know, spending some time with your knee.


Lauren Taus  30:54

Totally, as you mentioned earlier, to the we're such a masculine culture, of like productivity and hustle and more and do to dues is the way to live your best life and manifest and love. Like, I want to learn how to slow down more, I want to learn to really appreciate nature more on my own, and, you know, Mother Nature out there. That's my real prayer and goal. And yes, I want to be creative. And we all have masculine and feminine energies. But we've been so conditioned to be in the role of penetrator in like, do like create all the time. And rest is runagate.


Tonya Papanikolov  31:36

Yeah, I had to learn that rest is more than just sleeping, too. Oh, yeah. Like, it's also like spending a little bit of time doing nothing or, like going on a walk without your phone just sitting.


Lauren Taus  31:50

It's hard, maybe a lot of time doing that thing?


Tonya Papanikolov  31:53

Yeah, a lot of time doing that.


Lauren Taus  31:56

It's actually quite productive. Yeah,


Tonya Papanikolov  31:58

I'm trying. So when you mentioned the disruption to what it can create for oneself and one's family, even? How do you as a practitioner navigate that? And how do you help someone determine if it's the right time for them.


Lauren Taus  32:20

There's never a one size fits all treatment plan or protocol. And I'm always going to defer to the authority of the client. I can make suggestions. And at this point, obviously, people come to me for this kind of work. And I don't Greenlight it until I feel comfortable, and they feel comfortable. And I never like kind of bring someone on with the promise that this is even going to happen. It's like we begin and we cultivate relationship and to the extent that I can I effort to involve primary caregivers, family members in a client's care, otherwise, the healing work can destabilize the relationships. And one person growing, the other person's not growing, there's more potential for harm there too, right? I want to support the evolution of relationships. I want to support like more parallel growth. 


Lauren Taus  33:09

And, and also I want to support family members, caregivers in knowing how to work with their loved one in a way that's going to be effective for both the you know, diagnosed patient, and for them in a way that feels empowering in a way that feels like good, and they're not getting frustrated. They're, you know, they're not doing things that are harmful without knowing it, like how do we provide education and, and skills to everybody? Because I find that so much one on one therapy happens in these like separated siloed quiet spaces and places without mindfulness of the fact that like the individual that you're serving is in relationships, and that those relationships are going to be impacted, right? Any kind of healing is going to be disruptive. I'm in the disruption, interruption discrepant, like I'm here for it, we need that we really need that. 


Lauren Taus  34:00

But how do we do it in such a way that that is mindful of the environment of the others? You know, how do we do this without being stuck in a Me, me, me, me, me world that doesn't work for anyone. I mean, family work, to me is really where it's at. As I mentioned, you know, we're all kind of Russian dolls and informed by our parents. And if we don't actually even have parents, there's cosmic parents, and like, how can we heal in those primary wounding places, such that the rest of our everything changes in a good way to if those fundamental building block relationships can be healed, and I believe that they can, even if and even when, maybe a person can't talk to their parents because it's too toxic, right? Like that person can still heal. And if they can do that, like the way that they're going to interact with everybody else with themselves with life itself is going to shift in a good way. And so that's what I try to work on. Thank God. And how can I do that also, because I've done that, right? I come from a mother with massive complex PTSD, whose body was living in constant stress and fight or flight and who, who died about eight years ago. And I know with every fiber of my being that she would have lived longer with access to MDMA therapy. And, you know, she had a lot of other therapies and a lot of other treatments. 


Lauren Taus  35:30

And I believe that those treatments, and a lot of those therapies actually cause more harm than good. And we are working in ways that are both good and not so good. And when we can partner with effective interventions in a skillful, careful, loving way, profound, profound healing can happen pretty effectively and quickly. You know, on on the flip side, I converted my father to psychedelics. And he said, he's a doctor. And he, you know, he's been a physician for like, 54 years, my dad smoked cannabis twice in medical school and did like and does not drink. And he was like, a hard no for years. And I, you know, rookie move did the conversion agenda. And I kind of backed off after a couple years. But he saw me learning in training programs and sharing with him about my personal experiences. And finally, he said, Yes. And over the last three years, my father, who also had the courage as a man to pursue regular therapy for decades, and didn't change, like in three years, from 75, to 78, is a wildly different human. And in his shift, and shed, and healing and transformation, I have also, like, healed. And so I have both like a posthumous and a present example of ways that we can heal, in family systems, healing in these primary relations, I feel more in my body. I feel safer with men and with women, and with myself, and life, right? So that whole shift is that I've done that I've lived that I now live is my prayer for us all.


Tonya Papanikolov  37:09

I saw your data on your website, and I was like, I need to know more. This is so incredible.


Lauren Taus  37:15

It's proof that an old dog can learn new tricks if the dog wants to learn, and it's never too late for change. Oh, yeah.


Tonya Papanikolov  37:20

Yeah. 75. Yeah. Do you find that people coming to you now? Because you know, you've established? You know, this? Yeah, you're kind of known in this field? Are people coming to you still with a lot of fear around? I'm interested in psychotherapy, I'm not sure about I'm just curious, scared? Or are people just like ready to jump in? If someone doesn't


Lauren Taus  37:44

have some degree of fear, I'm a little nervous. I'm scared. I'm scared every time. And again, the goal is not to eliminate fear. It's like, can we be courageous? And I think people, as I said earlier, are coming because things aren't working. Because they've tried other interventions. And it's not working. And they're wanting to try something new. And they've they're reading the research. And these are promising tools, right? They just require care. I'm an advocate. Obviously, I like to say this because it's because it sassy. But like I love Drax, and I kind of came to them later in life and with a ton of respect. And so have engaged with them the whole time and in a way that that has been responsible, and thoughtful, and generative and fun, right, like fun is important. And often, like undervalued and people stop doing it to like know, like, let's have fun. But we're tender. And we need to we need love and care. Love. As it turns out, it's still the biggest medicine there is. God Yeah. And life is an action sport. It's not a cognitive exercise, right. So when people get these really rich experiences, and they have experiential reference points around how they want to feel what they get to do like, then afterwards, it's time to like, get off the proverbial chalkboard, you know, like, get out in the field and go do it. And a lot of people still get trapped in their fear, right? Go do it. Cool. Be brave, go make a mess.


Tonya Papanikolov  39:20

Yeah, yeah. And it's not about I think the imperfection piece is just like, fun to get into where you're like, Oh, I'm gonna put this out there. And it's so not, I guess I can only speak for myself in terms of like, having perfectionist tendencies where it's been so liberating, to just be like, This is so good. And in my head, it's like putting it out there. And in the same way that you can, you know, approach your experience, with courage, with healing with psychedelics, whatever it may be. Just, when you're actually in the world. You're faced with that fear of doing the thing, launching the things saying what you need to expressing yourself being who you want to be. It's that same card range that we start to learn the muscles for.


Lauren Taus  40:04

Perfection is the enemy of excellence. Right? And it's a learning. I think learning self love is so important. And self love that like can embrace the cracks that we started with Leonard quotes boat that can say like, yeah, I am perfectly flawed human. And I can like love myself in it all. And in doing so like the only thing that makes any bit of sense is just to keep loving, right? Like when I'm judging, I'm judging. However, if I'm judging myself, I will judge you. Right? 


Lauren Taus  40:36

It's usually much more conscious internally, but that's some sort of like narcissism to the harshness of the inner critic and getting too overwhelmed with it. And not to like shame or blame anybody who has that, like, it still comes from me. And, you know, it's like, when I walk on Venice Beach, and it's polluted. I'm like, Okay, well, people's beaches inside are polluted. That's why the beaches are polluted, when there's violence and externally, like there's violence internally. And there's violence. Yeah. And you know, I have a lot of compassion for the perpetrator to like hurt people hurt people. And I've had the privilege to work with people across like, broad spectrums of social and stratosphere, you know, if I did some work in the prison system, and my clinical training, and thank God for those beautiful humans that taught me so much, and beautiful, beautiful humans, I have worked with people who have seemingly everything and all the markers of success and really deeply anxious and depressed and isolated, alone and unhappy, right? It's like an inside job. 


Lauren Taus  41:37

Yeah. And happiness. Again, it's like, contingent on our ability to feel everything else. And happiness isn't a destination. It's like a passing thing. You know, for me, I want people to sit up in their lifeforce, and to be able to hold what it is, whatever it is, and not too tightly so that it can move through, right. And you could just come back to like the magic of now. The miracle of now, so many people miss the now like,


Tonya Papanikolov  42:06

Yeah, one thing that earlier, when you were saying that you believe in miracles, even this change is possible, made me think about, I've been like, really into water lately, and the properties of water, and the sacredness and consciousness. And it made me think about how water can store memory. And it can almost instantly shift with conscious thought and with the energy of another, like physical object or mental impression. And they've done lots of studies where they freeze this and look at what's brought out. And so it just kind of reminds me that if we're molecularly, like 99% water, and if we can believe that that shift can be instantaneous, and I know but like, yeah, there's a lot of shedding to hold that belief. And it's not necessarily easy, but that it's possible. And you know, whether it's an instantaneous shift, or it takes decades, it doesn't, doesn't really matter. But it is possible to get there. And that that cellular, water based memory that we store can shift as we kind of choose a positive current.


Lauren Taus  43:17

We are made of water. And, you know, I wish I didn't feel this way. And I feel this good reason, but I don't think most people change. I think it takes like Herculean effort, and commitment. And I think that a lot of people come to therapy for momentary relief. And that's good. That's good. They need it, you know, as to ventilate, like be seen and heard, But like to really change. You're gonna have to do some serious heavy lifting out there. And it is possible. And when I see it happen, it is absolutely a miracle. And I'm in awe, total awe. And it can bring me to my knees and, ‘Oh my god, like wow. Wow.’ But I don't think it's that common. 


Lauren Taus  44:02

Again, we want homeostasis. So the true transformation. Of course, we're changing all the time, but to really change your, like, fundamental system. Yes, they were. And it’s beautiful. And to the individuals in my practice who've done it, like, I bow my head. And it's not me that does IT at all. Like I love them all. Love them all. Love every single person I've ever worked with. And they go out and they do the thing. And then they come back and tell me about it and to be able to watch like chrysalis to butterfly. takes my breath away. Like it takes my breath away.


Tonya Papanikolov  44:45

It is alchemy. It is yeah. And it's possible for


Lauren Taus  44:49

all of us but it just, it's gonna require like deep commitment and devotion. Practice and courage.


Tonya Papanikolov  44:58

Yeah. When we You were in our car ride, you had kind of mentioned something that I think I'd like to touch on which was just that you know, that sensation of, of your daily practice where it's like a homecoming. And it used to be hard and can be hard to commit to you go through phases in your life, you know, just sitting in stillness, and like that level of juiciness you felt that you described Can you tell us a bit about your practice and how that has shifted and what has helped it to become so solidified and that you come to it every day.


Lauren Taus  45:32

I just posted a maybe a few days ago about meditation and psychedelics. And Chuck Brewer, he did a study where meditators who had over 10,000 hours of experience meditating the brainwaves are the same as what Robin Carhartt Harris identified with people on psilocybin or LSD. And my meditation practice was very hit or miss pretty frustrating and hard and annoying, and I didn't really do it consistently until I psychedelics absolutely got me comfortable on my cushion in my living room with my things every morning. 


Lauren Taus  46:04

And, you know, the goal of psychedelics is for me like to fertilize the 3d. And one of the many gifts that I've also received is the activation of my imagination, my ability to be more present to feel more so many so many things. But there's no doubt in my mind that my psychoactive experiences have translated into my capacity to sit and sit well. And it's really a non negotiable at this point in my life. And it's like, like, my favorite part of my day. It's my favorite part of the day. Like, and I sit down and I also love to work with and I mentioned this earlier like to work with sound so evocative sounds that are you know, quiet and but support me in getting into my body. Like for me, meditation is not about disconnecting from form, but more deeply getting into my like feet and my thighs and my button, my belly and the fullness of this temple and to just like, close my eyes and go inside and feel what's here and to surrender to whatever it is. And it's it's so nice. Like, I like things that I work with him in my morning practice. 


Lauren Taus  47:13

Now I love to read poetry and again and again, that's to kind of inspire me to bring me closer to myself to the life that lives me to source to lifeforce. I also, I pray before I really go deep in Word for I pray Hebrew prayers, that connect me to my lineage. And I feel that ancient kind of root when I speak these Hebrew words, and I pray more Danny, which is basically a prayer to kind of live in my highest. This just thank you like me, I have the courage and the capacity to live in my highest self, and then the Shema, which is basically a prayer of oneness to me, and in my more liberal interpretation of Judaism, and I do study and mystical Judaism regularly, I don't care what God you pray to, it's all one to me. And then I pray my own prayers, you know, I pray to be an instrument of the Divine and I pray to be of service and pray for others. And that feels really, really good. I encourage that. And then I just close my eyes and I go inside and I breathe. And I today was so sweet and yummy and gentle. 


Lauren Taus  48:20

And there's moments and mornings where I weep. And I absolutely have like very trippy meditations to where like, I'll go far out far as if I'm on a medicine and I'm just on my breath in my morning. And I also can track a part of me almost daily that wants to get up and go, you know, it's like, okay, we need things to do now, because it's the morning of my workday, whatever. And then there's a part of me that is like, enjoy this honey. Like, just enjoy being here. There's no rush. There's no rush. And when it's just still and when all there is is what is such sweet relief and it's so stunning, and it's so hopeful and full. And that's that's it. And so I tell this part of me that's like, Oh, you got work to do. We got to get more and I'm like, no baby girl, like, your time. And my meditations like I don't time them. But if I'm really spacious with myself, I'll sit for an hour. It's no problem. I enjoy it. And before it's like 10 minutes was pretty like gruesome, you know? Like, oh God give me an hour with myself and live so good.


Tonya Papanikolov  49:32

I feel like you just walked me through a guided meditation. I was like, like, for like people relaxation overcoming me.


Lauren Taus  49:41

Oh, good. Isn't a good to relax.


Tonya Papanikolov  49:45

Good. So good. And challenging.


Lauren Taus  49:47

can be


Tonya Papanikolov  49:50

can be i Yeah, it is. It is a non negotiable for me as well. But like that little voice that's like, hey, remember that thing on your to do list? Yeah, like gets a little in there some days, but


Lauren Taus  50:04

I just talk back to him like, Thank you, I love you, we're gonna we're gonna enjoy this for as long as we need to. And we'll get to it we're gonna get


Tonya Papanikolov  50:13

I wanted to ask you a bit about if you could tell us a bit about you to work with entrepreneurs, and business owners. I would love to hear about that and just share this quick little anecdote. Before rainbow. I was doing healing work, and working with individuals on a similar kind of like holistic, very individualized protocols that we could build together. And I think for a few years, when I started rainbow, I was like, like, Whoa, this is hard, various challenges that I really didn't expect. And I had this little narrative that was like, it's hard to be a spiritual person, as I am a business owner. And there was this part of me that was kind of like creating that duality, because it was really challenging. And I think a part of me was like, was really challenged by the experience. And now I see it as something that has been the most ultimate experience and challenge and just experience with how that facet shows up for me, as I like explore this new part of who I am. And with that has come tremendous growth. And yeah, just new challenges to be like, How can I step back and root in before being reactionary before? Like, what is how do I respond to this in a way that I believe is aligned with who I want to be. So I just want to hear about a bit about how you how you approach work with entrepreneurs, with being one yourself how you come to balance that as well.


Lauren Taus  51:49

Hyper performing people are often performing, and often disconnected from authenticity. So the goal for me is to get people into their authenticity and into their hearts, and to support influential people and wielding their influence in a good way. And really staying connected to their humanity in the ways in which they lead their companies. And how, how generous can they be? How thoughtful can they be? How caring can they be? And it's hard, right? It is it is hard, right? Because there's as a business person, like your job is to is to mind bottom line? And what's the bottom line? What's it really all about? How much do you need, you know, I'm not against people being generative, and having resources and all that, but who's it for, like, what's it for, and to really anchor people in their own personal values, to help them identify what their personal values are, so that they can bring them to their business, and not be disintegrated in that way. And so that the way that they're operating their enterprise, is actually in alignment with their authenticity, and what they actually want to stand for.


Tonya Papanikolov  52:59

That's pretty radical. It's a new way of approaching business. And it's, it's a really cool way to affect the life of your community that you're building, like, within the organization, that people that are a part of that, that get a new experience within the workplace.


Lauren Taus  53:16

And I think, you know, I mentioned my dad was a doctor, and I love doctors. I'm the granddaughter of a doctor, the niece of doctors, daughter of a doctor, and, you know, Western medicine, thank you Western medicine, I will not throw the baby out with the bathwater, I will not, has asked physicians in many ways to divorce their own humanity. And I'd like that to stop. And I'd like for, like entrepreneurs who are experiencing substantial success not to do that either. And it's hard when you've got a lot of employees and a lot of different things to run and manage and think about and to just remember that, like, we're still human, and that the people that are working with you, for you are emotional and have lives and families and, and to be good to them. Right to like, pay them well. Make them happy, like, make them feel part of purpose driven. And that of course, like you know, we'll begin with the leadership. How are they feeling about themselves?


Tonya Papanikolov  54:15

It's juicy, it's exciting. I feel that there is a movement towards this with a lot of things. I think the like global pandemic has also shifted for a lot of people their experience and what they I think maybe just a greater sense of work life balance, has maybe come into play to show people what that could look like.


Lauren Taus  54:38

Well, there's nothing like death to wake people up to life. And the pandemic was a massive global confrontation with our mortality. And I hope people can like do it without near death experiences, just to realize how precious this thing is. And again, like as as I introduced myself, like, pure good human like be really Good humans. Like that's the order I am be a really good I am, like one that like, makes the room a better, brighter, more loving, kinder space and place that you walk into. That's


Tonya Papanikolov  55:10

  1. And that anybody can. Yeah,


Lauren Taus  55:13

I'm a big advocate of like tiny kindness. And then the agent of it.


Tonya Papanikolov  55:18

Love that. Yeah, honestly even a smile. Eye contact eye contact. Eye contact nice world is fun to play around with.

Lauren Taus  55:29

Oh my god, it makes people so uncomfortable. You throw people. Oh, yeah, I love eye contact. And I love like extended periods of silent eye contact where we just see each other. Just see each other. And, like, allow yourself to be seen to right like it's the end to notice. Are you seeing or being seen


Tonya Papanikolov  55:50

when I first started to even be introduced that I was like, oh my god, like you're looking at me? Oh, you are really looking at me? Oh, it can be Yeah, a bit startling.


Lauren Taus  56:05

Yeah, I remember when I started kind of getting into this practice. And it is a practice. I used to just bring it with me everywhere I go now, but I was so uncomfortable being seen. Now I'm much more the seer. Before I would have some sort of preoccupation with image and like kind of allowing myself to be seen by someone was really confrontive now I might just drink in you and and like all right. So appreciate appreciate you and to be able to be present. Right? That was that was a big shift for me.


Tonya Papanikolov  56:41

Okay, one last question. Before we end, I know the importance of connection to you. And through your work. Will you just tell us a bit about why that is so vital to you and the world? And yeah.


Lauren Taus  57:01

Well, what's the opposite? It's disconnection, right? When we talk about integration, it's about wholeness. And it's about remembering and the opposite of isn't forgetting it's to dismember right. I want to be connected to myself and to you I want to be connected to lifeforce and to source I want to be connected to other people, I want to be connected to the life that's around me. trees and the flowers and the people in the all the things my family my friends, and I came to value connection by again being very disconnected and, and I returned, I started my return journey, gosh, like 20 Wow, 23 years ago with yoga. 


Lauren Taus  57:41

And the word yoga means to yoke to bring together and I was learning how to gather with the tribe inside and to pull myself back to myself and you know, with my breath and my body and and in many ways I felt and can sometimes still feel that like a movement practice your dance practice, my yoga practice is more effective than talk therapy. Most talk therapy anyway. It just get into your body get connected. They're like out of mind into body and partnership with mind right? Where the mind yoga citta Vritti Nieto the heart like yoga is the cessation of the mind, like a continuous law enough, buy it. And like when you can really melt into the richness, the fullness of life. 


Lauren Taus  58:28

My prayer is for us to live. All of us. I bow my head to life. That's the connection practice. And how do you like stay in it, right? Like that's a connection practice. And I'm committed to it. And I'm not perfect at it, but I'm committed to it. And I'm committed to teaching it and talking about it, and supporting others into a space of connection that feels safe. And that allows for them to like, really give their gifts and to receive and to be in that like connected back and forth that inhale exhale that masculine feminine that like beautiful space of what it is to be here. Like that's connection to me.


Tonya Papanikolov  59:06

Yeah. And it's always really cool to see that create its ripple effects. You know, when even when you you know, maybe haven't, you're out of alignment in some way or you just have honesty to confront with somebody and you do that openly. You do that in a way that forms a bond rather than ignoring it or just not addressing it. It's cool to see what that can sometimes shift and surprise people with and create and, you know, start to like really create ripples in other people.


Lauren Taus  59:38

Yeah, I mean, peace requires mastery and conflict. Want to be peaceful, like, get comfortable saying what you need to say when you have something that's dissonant and different and that actually that kind of communication creates intimacy creates connection.


Tonya Papanikolov  59:53

Yeah. Well, you did kind of answer the last question I asked every guest which is if you could leave This was a prayer or an intention. What would you like to share with us today?


Lauren Taus  1:00:06

My prayer is for each and everybody to really be mindful of the stories that they tell, and to write really good ones that are exciting, that are fun, that are creative, that are generative. That are big enough to include you fully, to welcome others, and that you wake up to the gift of life. In each moment, come back and each moment that you enjoy your life. You have fun, that you feel, that you play, that you imagine that you rest well. Thank you.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:00:50

Thank you, thank you, thank you for what you do and who you are and what you're sharing. Honestly, yeah, the the work you've done to get here and what you're spreading is so deeply appreciated. And thank you love chatting with you.


Lauren Taus  1:01:06

They I look forward to more in person time somewhere somewhere, some planet they they're recovering me and to be continued. And I hope this is helpful.


Tonya Papanikolov  1:01:17

Yeah, to be continued is absolutely right. There's lots more you learn. With deep gratitude. Thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body. And if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace and peace out friends.



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