Disability Inclusive Plant Medicine

Raven aka Rhonda Raven returns to The Psychedologist to talk about disability inclusion in the plant medicine and psychedelic world.

[Photo caption: Raven and Leia smiling for a selfie with a blue sky and lush green mountain in the background]
In this episode we discuss: how Raven came into disability work through the international back door of environmental advocacy; how the disability community is global and domestic, just like the psychedelic world; the importance of intention and practice around inclusivity and accessibility for everyone; universal design and inclusion as an evolutionary tool; the role that everyone has in this world to do our work and walk our individual paths as a collective.

For any of the areas discussed Raven is interested and available for speaking and presenting opportunities, keynote and discussions on these topics, and more.

You can find her work online on Facebook and at:

spiralhealingbyraven.com
rhondaneuhaus.com
facebook.com/WalkingThePlantPath

Leia (00:00):

Raven. Welcome back to the psychedologist. So happy to be here with you in person this time. En Vivo. So last time you came on we talked about your healing work, spiral path. It was Raven and Rhonda and today we’re with Rhonda Raven again to talk about ability, disability and medicine.

Raven (00:33):

Intersecting worlds. Yeah, definitely my intersecting worlds or at least some of them two areas of my life of many, which are both extremely important for me and what I offer and live into in this world.

Leia (00:53):

You were working in the, you actually were doing environmental science, right? And then you were traveling to other countries. Tell me about that and how you got started. My first career, so to speak was environmental policy work, was environmental conservation and development work. I was an environmental studies and policy major and international relations as an undergrad and it was my studying abroad and working abroad in college. I studied or worked abroad five times in the four years of college. My school had significant international courses and presence. That’s actually what brought me here to Costa Rica for the first time. I studied here in college. 24 plus years ago. And it was working internationally, going to Peru, Costa Rica, Israel, Ghana and other places, Spain. In college that opened the door to my disability rights advocacy work because I am a person with a disability. I was born missing my legs. I’ve worn prosthetic legs since I was a year old, 13 months old. So this has been my lived experience for my entire life. Never thought of it as a career path until I was in the international world. Going and living in communities with my environmental hat on, with my, let’s bring kids out to the turtle beaches and talk about turtle conservation work or working with women in a community on conservation and development work.

Raven (02:42):

When I met, I’m me, I’m living in these communities and I’m being pulled into people’s homes who have disabilities or their children have disabilities. And it’s like, how are you here and why are you here? And to be honest, I came into the disability through the international backdoor because as much as I have always known that I am a person with a disability, ironically or not, it didn’t truly come into my presence as a work path until I started seeing that had I been born in other places around the world that I might not have had the technology or access that I have had in my life. And then obviously when I was 18, 19, 20, 21, you start looking around the world, even in the United States. And seeing that even in the United States that not everybody has access to what they need.

Raven (03:45):

And that obviously not everything is inclusive. I was an easy test case for my school system and my world to be inclusive in the sense of, I started school a few years after the educational laws were passed to be inclusive in public schools. And because I walked and because – I didn’t know this when I was five years old, but in hindsight I didn’t actually need changes to the built environment in my with regard to my life – And so I didn’t know that my public school education was actually groundbreaking at the time. I didn’t know that a few years before I probably would have been at a school for kids with disabilities just because of my legs. And so I grew up with my family telling me I can do everything I choose to do and we’ll just figure out how we do it.

Raven (04:52):

I didn’t know that that wasn’t how everybody, the messaging that everybody had gotten their life.

Leia (04:59):

the privilege.

Raven (05:02):

Yes, very much so. Very much so. So, yeah. So coming into it from the international backdoor of, “okay, now what can I do in my life and in this world too, to educate, to change, you know, always wanted to change the world, you know, to, to, to be a force in the world for better, for learning, for growth, for inclusion, for saving this world. And this planet in whatever way, shape or form that I can contribute.”

Raven (05:40):

That was always the goal. Very much so on a, on a global level the,n a national level. And now in addition to those levels, on a very one-on-one personal direct engagement with clients.

Leia (05:59):

So you have quite a lot of experience in disability advocacy and you lived for a while in DC, the DC area. Did your work there, now you’ve come down to Costa Rica and I’m curious how, how do you think the psychedelic community and you know, what all that that means – legalization of psychedelic medicine and more people dropping in with these technologies – how do you think that that world could use more information about disability? More awareness?

Raven (06:34):

So first I just want to say that just like the global disability community, which is worldwide, which is global, so is the psychedelic community. So is the spiritual, the healing, the plant medicine universe, it is global and it’s domestic as well in, in every nation.

Leia (06:55):

Mmm.

Raven (06:58):

Just like every aspect of the world, there needs to be greater inclusion. And I think there are places where things are good and there are places where this isn’t even on the table or on the radar screen at all. You know, personally my legs have come up in conversations with various facilitators. And it hasn’t been a big thing at all in other ways. We look at the world, we look at themes such as, you know, I’ve been an advocate for my entire career. As we talked about in the last podcast, I’ve had two paths for the last 20 plus years. I have my master’s in sustainable international development, lawyer, advocate, lobbyist, disability rights and also conflict resolution/ mediation world. Self – the Rhonda, as you said, it’s the beginning – and over the exact same timeframe, both starting in college, I have my healing practice and the development of that both personally in my own universe, in my own world, my own evolution, my own healing, my own awareness, as well as what I offer to the world, to clients in workshops, in private sessions, in coaching. And what’s fascinating right now is how these parts of me are integrating and how we’re having this conversation right now is still boggling to me in its perfection in how, of course, because I’ve fought for 20 plus years to have international development organizations be inclusive. You know, I worked for 14, 15 years in international inclusive development on the global front. I’ve been to 55 countries, hundreds of repeats, I’ve worked with people from every country in the world. My universe is global, but then you’re right. I also worked for five years in Washington D C and I’m coming here from the DC area. And I was a lobbyist. I worked for a disability rights nonprofit so I worked on education and healthcare and transportation and inclusion of disability in the civil rights constructs across the board. So not just having disability actually from, from two perspectives, having disability be included in healthcare education; all the somatics that all civil rights groups are working on. And then vice versa to have civil rights be a conversation in the disability arena, which has often been focused on just helping and care and you know, supports which yes, are needed.

Raven (10:10):

But how to actually reframe it from more of a charity/medical approach to a civil, social civil rights to human rights and social model. So I’ve always been at that nexus, whether on the international arena or the domestic arena for the nexus between disability inclusion, not just care, rights policy and and the civil rights and human rights framework. So important. Yes. That nexus is to me where the, the juice of change lies. The juice for, for really creating the society that we need. That, and the change and the evolution and the, you know, the nexus now, at least in this conversation and in this piece of the world is, is where’s the nexus in the healing work that we’re doing in the world? And so that people with disabilities don’t face all these barriers and even confronting, looking at their own healing and their own path and their own work in the world beyond just having a disability. Oftentimes, you know, people with disabilities are pigeonholed in, okay, well you’re just a person with a disability. But what about all the other things in society that people want to do? It’s just one aspect of who we are.

Raven (11:42):

And you know, there are, just to give some statistics – one in seven people in the world, as of something I recently read, have a disability. That’s 1.3 billion people in the world, one in four Americans. And the statistics keep evolving and changing and growing. It is the biggest underrepresented group in the world and people with disabilities are continually left off the agendas. Even now with this coronavirus emergency responses, actions often don’t include people with disabilities and this is global. So you know, or it’s just left off the agenda. Like people see it as an afterthought of, Oh everybody should be fine unless you’re a senior or have health related conditions or challenges. And I’m like, well, those are people with disabilities in the world. And so it’s not an afterthought. It’s not just Oh, an exception. It’s, these are, this is my world, this is my part of my community in the world. And so it’s important for me in every aspect to be inclusive.

Raven (13:03):

So you ask about the psychedelic world or the plant medicine world, why wouldn’t I want to speak to this?In relation to to this world, I speak of it in every other context of my life. So of course, this is something I would want to discuss.

Leia (13:24):

I’m so grateful for you to discuss it. And ugh, I’m astounded at the lack of recognition and awareness about this in psychedelic communities. And as people who listen to my podcast might know, there is a lot of privilege in the psychedelic communities or the movement or however we want to phrase it. And yeah, I haven’t, I haven’t seen anyone talking about disability and just as you said, like just the hugest what did you call it? Like, out of everyone in the world –

Raven (13:56):

Underrepresented groups. Yeah. And it cuts across, right?

Raven (14:00):

So people with disabilities are not just white and X, you know, fill in the blank, group people’s disabilities, just like LGBT individuals are, you know, are across the board. People w/ disabilities are in every religious group and every ethnic group and every racial group. And you know, across the board it’s a cross cutting theme to cross cutting issues. So no matter what we’re talking about, there should be representation. You know, recently I was at an event here in Costa Rica for thank you plant medicine day, or I’m not sure what they’re calling it, starting kicking off the movement of thank you plant medicine, meaning to, to try to de stigmatize this world and bring to the good, the bad, the ugly, the all of it as to, to what we’re talking about here in this world and how do we honor the cultures and how do we bring this to the world and how do we de-stigmatize it and how do we have the real conversations.

Raven (15:07):

And I was at an event and I was talking to somebody about how there’s conversations in various organizations around diversity in the plant medicine world. And maybe you’ve talked about this. I haven’t listened to all your podcasts, but I have listened to some of them and I know that you’re constantly trying to bring in all the voices. And I was talking to someone who is mentioning to me as I was speaking about disability that there are various diversity groups starting to have this conversation like beginning and that there isn’t a disability voice in those groups. And so this is something that I, I take very personally and I feel like I’m not the, certainly not the only one who could speak to this, but I’m definitely here wanting to.

Leia (15:53):

I’m grateful that you are here and wanting to, thank you.

Raven (16:00):

Thank you

Leia (16:03):

So what do you have to share… What wants to be shared?

Raven (16:09):

Yeah, so as I was thinking to do this, I was thinking, you know, both in the big abstract, yes, of course everybody wants to be inclusive. You know, everybody, thoughtful people, intelligent kind, loving people in the world: [they] don’t want to exclude as a concept, but then practically there’s often, all right, well how do we do it and where’s the money and where’s the knowledge and okay, I might want to, but I have no idea how and how do we make this happen? What does it really mean and will it take all my time, my money, my effort to do this when we’re already overly committed in this world, when we’re overly swamped? So I was, you know, thinking from, from kind of big picture down, the first thing I want to say, that I mentioned earlier, is that this is a global world.

Raven (17:05):

Now. We live in a global world where every issue is, is global. In addition to national, of course there are laws. We have our ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, at least in the United States, will be 30 years old, July 24 of 2020 this year coming up. 30 years, there’ve been huge changes in our built environment, on ramps and curb cuts and elevators and in so many things that people take for granted. But it was really started with the impulse of inclusion. And of access. And there are many countries in the world, I won’t go into specific ones, but that have laws modeled on the ADA. We’re 30 years in and we still have a long way to go even though there have been huge changes significantly because of so many of the people in my life, my mentors, my teachers, you know, I’m 25 years into this, they’re 40 years into this and they’ve been fighting for this well before the ADA was passed in 1990. And so the reason I was able, (I’m a 44 year old woman right now just to give her time and space. I’m not I haven’t been doing this as long as my mentors, but I’m also not 20 and not coming into this world right now. I really have been here and around for at least a few decades now). That, you know, we have come extremely far and we have a long way to go. And so the first thing is kind of in two pieces, the way I see it as: one, is intention is how do we know language? Do we know what our policies and our practices are as we create guidelines and guidelines for this world for, I know there’s a lot of associations and organizations now that are kind of coming up with guidelines around plant medicine use and what do we hope to have as a, as a cipher for safety, for holding space for, you know, certain things.

Raven (19:21):

Are we including disability in these policies and practices as an intention for inclusion? That matters even if it’s not fully implemented yet. It starts with things like that. It starts with “do we have people with disabilities and inclusion on our boards or in our committees or in our organizations as members, as participants?” Are we talking to local groups? And of course this world is sensitive, you know, and, and we, you know, it’s a new place and not everybody is into plant medicines. And that’s fine too if this is not for everybody, by no means do I say, Oh, everybody should be doing this. This is for who’s called and who sees this as part of their path. But things that can be profound and be part of people’s paths should be available to them. So one is, is there the intention, is it in policies, practices, language, et cetera. The intention to be inclusive and to really like be paying attention to access if things are accessible. Right. And then the next thing is, okay, in practice, what is access? What does this look like? So I just want to say a few things. When I talk about disability, I am talking across the board.

Leia (20:42):

(Leia jumped because a bug landed on her)

Raven (20:46):

Haha! It’s a tiny little Costa Rican bug!

Leia (20:48):

You call that tiny? That was medium. That was medium.

Raven (20:55):

Hahahahahahaha.

Leia (20:55):

I’m okay.

Raven (20:56):

Everything’s relative. You’re safe.

Leia (20:59):

It had like a bunch of eyes.

Raven (21:02):

buncha legs too.

Raven (21:07):

The view you don’t get from a distance. Now for those of you at home, it was a really fascinating looking bug. Okay. So what I, when I speak about disability, I am not just talking about one disability. Now there’s a flying insect.

Leia (21:28):

I like this kind, these are my friends. I am talking about physical, mental and mental health, which is so big in this world. Cognitive disabilities, developmental disabilities, sensory related disabilities, which could be vision or hearing. It’s cetera. When I talk about access, I’m talking about access potentially across the board for all of these disabilities. Now that may seem onerous or complicated or, all right, if I’m gonna think to be inclusive, how do I do one and not the other?

Raven (22:07):

Well, you start somewhere, start somewhere, start. It can be ramps, accessible toilets – physically accessible, like, to walking – steps, wheelchairs, et cetera. But it’s also universal design and universal design is a concept that when we build things: buses, streets, restaurants, everything in the world, movie theaters, hotels [we build ]with inclusivity in mind, that universal design is for people with disabilities, but also mothers with strollers. Also, people with temporary disabilities who break their leg, a,re on crutches or seniors, living and aging in place. Programs and things like that. We’re talking across the board of how to make our built environment so it’s not, “Oh, now we have to change things for people with disabilities,” but we’re actually building our society to be for everybody. And this is what I want to say, especially as people are starting to build their ceremonies, their rituals, their medical psychedelic programs. As it’s happening more and more, at least in the United States, but around the world as well, programs, like, are you building it with access and inclusion in mind for all?

Leia (23:41):

And that also makes me think of like scent free spaces.

Raven (23:44):

Yes, absolutely. Sent free spaces. Stimuli. Are you thinking about stimuli for people who might be on the autism spectrum or you know, having sensory issues, are things loud.. you know, there’s a lot to potentially think about that. People with chemical sensitivities, with wifi or with other EMF sensitivities. There’s a lot – allergies. I mean, there’s a lots of think about. Asthma. Is there dust is there, you know, potentially there’s a lot to think about. And I really, the last thing I would want is our people to get overwhelmed by this. Yes, we’re throwing a lot out here, but start somewhere and have conversations and break it down and reach out to someone in your area.

Raven (24:31):

There’s independent living centers all over the world. There’s disability rights groups all over the world. Have a conversation with the director or somebody of your local, your local disability organization if you need information. It’s out there. The UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is global and there are people working on its implementation in every country in the world.

Leia (25:02):

And you were saying something about like disability also not being looked at as something to fix or change, but as a type of diversity.

Raven (25:12):

Okay. So this is a big topic and I get this a lot in this intersection also and in the healing work that I do. So, so as I said earlier, I am lawyer advocate, you know, mediator, a gung-ho advocate on behalf of people with disabilities in this world. That’s Rhonda, right? My Raven side has been my healing work.

Raven (25:40):

Right. And there’s one thing that I’ve always fought for is that we are working in the social civil rights, human rights model of disability, which is not about fixing people with disabilities. That, actually, the concept of disability comes up because it’s in relation to our built environment that is not accessible. It wouldn’t be a you know, a dis ability, which I personally use the word disability. I don’t use physically challenged or, you know, all the different language around disability because it’s a reclaiming of – I am a person with a disability and that isn’t bad. That is who I am, that I’m proud of that. There’s pride in the disability community of being in this world with differences and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the world has not often been that because the other models of disability that exist in the world simultaneously to the social approach is often charity.

Raven (26:45):

Oh, let’s care for, let’s take care of, let’s tithe, let’s, you know, okay. That has always existed with churches and with, you know, often religion throughout history. And then there’s the medical model, which is curing and fixing. And I know people who’ve been dragged through their whole childhoods to doctors to cure and fix the disability and not have it be a thing because it’s, it’s often been seen in the world as something, “Oh if we fix it then it’s not a problem,” but it’s fixing the person, not actually that our society is not built to be inclusive. If the school was actually just built to be inclusive then parents of kids with disabilities, the kids would be fine. Parents with disabilities who have kids, teachers with disabilities, we’re talking on all levels. You know when I’ve worked at the international level on on disability, inclusive development work; when I talk about inclusion, I’m not just talking about as beneficiaries of programs, which of course, yes, if you’re working with refugees or working with children or working with women in the world in the global context of women’s rights or refugee rights or you name it and any area of, of international development.

Raven (28:02):

Yes, of course as beneficiaries but also as staff of the organizations, as board members, as field workers, as you name it, across the board. So when I’m talking here, I’m talking about people with disabilities. Yes, as participants in plant medicine ceremonies, but also leaders. Why couldn’t someone with a disability want to offer, want to hold space and shouldn’t those spaces, on all levels, be inclusive? So, so we’re talking across the board and to the point of your question, you know, as, as someone who does healing work in the world as well, I have had conversations with friends who have disabilities going, “wait, are you now one of those people who want to heal us and fix us?” And I just want to speak clearly to your audience and to you that my work in my own practice and my own healing work of what I offer to the world, which evolves and grows and shifts and changes,

Raven (29:12):

and in this conversation in, in the plant medicine world, when I say healing, it’s not about healing the disability. It’s not about saying the disability needs to be cured, fixed. Because anyone who knows me knows that that is not where I come from. It’s that we have deep healing work to do in this world. We have our own work. We have things from our ancestry, our past lives, our current childhoods, our births, our lives, which often carry trauma or often carry grief and sadness and anxiety and depression and PTSD and all the things that people go to healers or plant medicine work or, or to doctors for. or The mental health world. To find peace, to find peace in our hearts, to find self love and acceptance and body acceptance, you know and across the board to just find presence even in this world that’s across the board.

Raven (30:22):

That’s what I mean about healing in this world. And then how, if we find our own inner peace, can we bring that to the world? If we find our own ability to heal, how do we heal this earth? How do we work whether from a conflict resolution, mediation, sense or healing sense? How do we find ways to learn about communication, to learn about consent, to learn about, you know, sexuality, to learn about our natural resources on this earth and permaculture and all the pieces that everybody is working on right now. Everyone in my life are doing, Oh my God, such amazing things. Everybody has their piece, their role. We can’t do it alone and I certainly don’t know everything and that’s why we’re all needed now. And plant medicine use are one of those paths to opening up consciousness. It’s not everything. It’s not for everyone.

Raven (31:22):

Certainly. You know, part of my practice is – so I have my spiral healing by Raven, but a sub piece of that, I call it walking the plant path, just to make a slight distinction – is support and integration around plant medicine work. So talking to people even before they were to do anything of like what is plant medicine work, what are various types of plants that are used from herbals and homeopathics and teas and all the way through psychedelics and, and, and other things. How does it, how is it, how do I, or the world or do people distinguish it from drug use? You know how we talked about the thank you plant medicine, the stigma of like what’s drugs, what is medicine and how do you know? I have a view of how I distinguish it. I, I if you ask a million people, you’ll get a million different answers

Raven (32:20):

For me, the way I hold it and distinguish it and everyone would have a different way of describing it; for me, often with drug use, it’s about disconnecting and numbing out, which has its place. You know, sometimes people get drunk and that is a thing in the world. But what I am talking about and what I am talking about is the plant medicine work where we’re actually using it to face our challenges and to look at our traumas or to look at our role in this world and our deep inner work. And that’s for me how I make the distinction. It’s not making anything right or wrong or good or bad. But it’s making the distinction here that when I talk about plant medicine work for me, it’s been about deep healing and, and looking at my stuff, looking at my past, looking at my work in the world, right?

Leia (33:23):

Not hiding from it or trying to correct it. Going into it. Correct.

Raven (33:28):

But I talk to people before. And then also after experiences on integration, on not being just thrown out back into the world with new understanding, more confusion openings to, to really make sense of it, of how to use it in your life. Because the goal isn’t just to, to go out and have the experiences. The real work happens after. The real work happens in how do we heal ourselves, our families, our, our path? What do we pass on to our children? How do we heal things so that our children don’t have to carry the same traumas that we inherited? And so for me, inclusion in all of this as an evolutionary tool is not to fix the person. It’s just that every person should have access to this if they so choose.

Leia (34:20):

It makes so much sense.

Raven (34:21):

Yeah.

New Speaker (34:22):

You would think that we would just have it by now.

Raven (34:25):

you would think, you know, I mean, I know that I’ve been in this world for 25 years and people have been doing this for 50 years. And, why isn’t everything just inclusive? You know, I was once in a group of women of young women, it was like a leadership training for women with disabilities, young women or not just young, all women with disabilities. And I had this young girl from Latin America come to me and she was like in tears. Her country had ratified the convention a few years earlier and she was new at this and she was, and she was like, my country ratified the convention. Here I am amongst, you know, all these amazingly powerful, strong vocal leaders from all over the world. But I go back to my country and things aren’t accessible.

Raven (35:17):

This is not how the world is. And she was, like seeing real inclusion almost for one of the first times in her life. She was young, she was young twenties, in tears. And I’m thinking, and it’s probably decades to come before ..and why, of course this is how it should be and we’re still having the same conversations as 30 years ago. You know, it can be frustrating even for me to be in conversations where it’s like, Oh, international development should be inclusive. Well, yeah, I’ve been talking about that for 25 years and other people have been talking that way before me. So many of my teachers, my mentors, my colleagues, my friends have been talking about this way longer than I have. And I feel like I’ve been doing this a long time.

Leia (36:04):

Yeah. It makes me think a bit about this anti-racism therapist who posts online. Her name’s April Harter and she talks about how people, white people have to do the work of healing the grief and the shame of having privilege and the just the collective trauma of racism and to, rather than avoid it and to become fragile about it and take up more space, we have to, those who have the privilege have to heal from that, that wound of guilt. And it makes me think that maybe there’s some of that in the psychedelic community as well. Like, like you said, it can be very overwhelming to consider how do I make my ceremony or my psychedelic clinic or whatever accessible. Well just start by realizing it’s, it’s a huge, vast thing and that doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to do it just means it’s going to take a lot of cooperation and collaboration, communication and awareness.

Raven (37:04):

Yes. Yes And. So that is true. It can take a lot or it can take taking a deep breath and saying, what can I do now in this moment? Who can I talk to? Can I include this one person? Okay, what does that then inform in my policies and practices? You can go from top down or bottom up. There are various, you can go a hundred different ways to think about inclusion and to start somewhere to not have it paralyze you to not do anything because it has to start somewhere.

Leia (37:36):

Totally.

Raven (37:37):

And again, be inclusive. Reach out to your organization to local disability groups who may not know anything about plant medicines, but do know about inclusion. And may or may not be into it. And I realize it’s often sticky around substances and what may or may not, you know, be legal or be accepted or be tolerated, but you could definitely have a conversation of “I’m organizing a meeting, I’m organizing an event, I’m organizing a ceremony” in whatever language you choose to use, “and I want it to be accessible. What do I need to know?”

Raven (38:13):

That conversation is universal and you know, just like you were saying about privilege and about you know, we all carry what we carry, right? So I’m a white, I’m Caucasian, but I’m also a person with a disability, LGBT, Jewish, you know, we all carry many identities and I just want to bring that to the attention. Also. Like I’ll name who I am in the world and like you said, to own it ourselves, whatever that is. To be able to then teach, educate and do our parts in any area. And it can often seem like a lot in the world. Like how do we all attack racism, homophobia, antisemitism, ableism, let’s name ableism in those terms because it is that, you know. So I can get confronted by all of those. Not so much racism as antisemitism and homophobia and sexism and ableism right. So there’s that. I’m a woman as well.

Leia (39:28):

Happy women’s day!

Raven (39:29):

Happy international women’s day! Yes. You know, disability rights are human rights too. So international women’s day, don’t forget women with disabilities in the work that you’re doing out there, you know. I always say there are all the goals, you know, in the world of when, you know, inclusion of women, inclusion of you name the group. So on Int’l womens day or if you look at the united nations or any sustainable development goals or agenda, now theres the 2030 agenda of global goals, international development goals. I have said this since the millenium development goals years back: if youre not include of people with disabilities, or women with disabilities in gender goals, you will never success. Im sorry to burst the bubble if anyone thinks that they could do the work and not be inclusive. It’s never gonna be completed unless its an inclusive world. It wont be. So, this is important. This is a fundamental building block of anything. Of course in the psychedelic world its a building block, just like in any area; in primary education. We’re talking about coronavirus also: doctors offices often aren’t accessible. MRI Machines, scales. People with disabilities often go longer times without going to doctors and then get more serious illnesses. We’re talking across the board here. So, for me, in this world of these two worlds combining – the disability, the social justice, the human rights and plant medicine, psychedelic healing, evolutionary consciousness on whatever level, concretely or esoterically, why wouldnt it be here too? It has to be, bc it’s in everything. And if this is one path – not for everybody of course once again -but if this is one path of our human development, one that more and more people are choosing, because it is having a resurgence, but this is thousands of years old. This isnt new. Disability isnt new, plant medicine work isnt new. And it just has to be part of the conversation.

Leia (39:51):

What else do you think people should hear on this topic – the intersection of these two age old things?

Raven (39:51):

That this hits two big worlds. It’s cognitive. It’s all the strategies and policies and programs; but it’s also HEART. and its spirit and its on our cellular level of what do we do daily. And it can be ritual and ceremony in a native american construct, or in an indigenous construct and community, or religious – churches and temples and synagogues and mosques, across the board. That all of this touches on everything. It touches in our hearts. It touches on love in the world. And I know that might sound hokey. But seriously, what do you think all these religions are teaching? Whether we meditate, wheteher eastern traditions of meditation and mindfulness and presence, or judaism, christianity, islam. Any pathway to divine. I don’t care if its a god presence or if its just this earth or if its energy or if its spirit or if its just our own hearts. This is to me interdenominational, interfaith. Bc for me there’s no hook as to a set of beliefs. But in my life, in my social world, in my activities world, there’s so much of the bigger question of “what are we doing here?” What are we evolving to as a society, as a species, as a world? What are we doing energetically? What are we doing in how we are living in this world? What energies do I plug into every day to maintain the frequencies that I choose to hold in my life. In my family, my friend circle, my social world… And in my professional worlds. I should say, I actually choose to come each day with presence, for whatever’s before me. Is that this podcast, a client I’ll see later, brunch with a friend, its like nothingless. It’s Presence in each moment. It’s in the breath, and having patience around that sometimes, to not always know. I’ve been a planner, I’m from NY, I think fast I think ahead but to me in this moment. And then to hold integrity to the best of my ability in each moment, for what I try to hold in this world or what I do hold in this world. It’s not trying, it’s living it in practice, in where we’re “successful,” where we’re not. Conversations can get messy, or energetics can get intertwined and for me, all of this – disability, plant medicines, where is it really going, for me its the above, the astral, the stars, the collective, the divine.. the whatever it is we’re connecting into

Leia (39:51):

As the wind whips through here, all of a sudden!

Raven (39:51):

Thank YOU, element air! The elements, the directions. What we call in. In spirit, in heart, in god, in practice with this breath and this moment. And that is what I hold. Above all else. That’s why I can’t just fight for disability rights, although that is part of who I am, and why I can’t just see individual clients. Because to me, it’s all part of who I am. And it’s messy sometimes because it’s easy to be in boxes, for me. It’s easy to just say Hi, I’ a fighter, Advocate. To say I am Rhonda, lawyer, fighter and disability rights, go – and be the pitbull I have been. But I don’t want to only hold fighting energy in the world. I want to educate. I want to hold it in a different way now. And that doesn’t mean don’t keep fighting. Everyone, please, follow who you are.

Raven (39:51):

I want to do what I’ve done in the past but with a different energy. And that comes from the healing, the Raven, the plant medicines, the energetic side of things. And to hold all of who I am and to speak to all of it – yeah doesn’t aways have much of a clear answer. But it is all part of me as I sit here with you. My physical, emotional, energetic, my own healing path as a woman with a disability who happens to also be LGBT and Jewish and my laundry list of where I fit into this world, too, which aren’t mutually exclusive.

Leia (39:51):

Yeah. I’m remembering some controversy on the Ayahuasca FB group. . Idk which one it was.. “Why should there be LGBT ceremonies? Why do you want to separate yourselves?” I think for Queering Psychedelics, some of the questions people asked similar of Chacruna beforehand, why would you create something – isn’t ths about realizaing that we’re not separate? And then the explanation of a safe space for people to come and do medicine and not be afraid of a microaggression or worse or being completely invalidated or harmed bc of their identity. and so it brings up that question for me of doing ceremonies and having spaces that are defined for a certain group of people and also having groups where we can all come together, and they should all be accessible and inclusive.

Raven (39:51):

Wouldn’t it be aspirational, and it is – various truths can exist at the same time. I know that we are all one, and even what I don’t like about the world is a part of me. I do my own work with intensity, all day every day. I have to give myself a break sometimes! I practice what I preach to the best of my ability every day. I believe in oneness. If plant medicine work or any work, meditation, breathwork, kirtan, dance.. if all of this brings us to these ecscatic places that allow us to experience something different and have openings and feel our emotions and allow us to experience the astral plane and get information and do the depeer work both above and below, the darker deeper work also, to do our work in the world, to yes hold love and light but to not be afraid of the darker things as well. and to be able to hold a wide bandwitch in the world, That’s what I hold for my clients for me, for the world. Yes, that is truth. We’re all seeking truth. I mean – truth is, different for each person and there isn’t one. But oneness, to me, is true, in my world. And, that doesn’t minimize. It’s like what I just said about bypassing. Yes there’s love and light. Yes there’s oneness. And, look at the world. There’s racism there’s sexism Theres microaggressions happening all over the world all the time. And so at times we have to hold – well for me, I have to hold both. I have to hold the 3d reality of all the challenges that we hold in this world and that things are imperfectly perfect in the sense of this is where we are, and then how do we make change? To me we’re all one, but that doesn’t mean I’m colorblind. How do we hold both, that’s part of our work, part of the challenges – is holding both.

Leia (39:51):

You need both hands.

Raven (39:51):

It’s a lot. But we’re being called in this world to hold a lot right now. So I’m either open to all of it, Or else I box myself in and I don’t wanna box myself in.

Leia (39:51):

Is there anything else you want to share before we wrap up?

Raven (39:51):

I just want to say that Im grateful to be here and grateful to be with you. And you’re doing amazing things in the world and now, to be able to, when we first talked it was, oh youre this great person who I heard about from a friend, and someone who bridges multiple worlds with me as well, and now you’re a friend and a sister and a friend and a co-force in this world. We’re all on a ride, there’s no finite in these conversations bc we have to hear them again and again, just like healing, we need to see our teachings again and again, the spirals of the work we’re here to do in the world. They keep coming back, even if we’ve worked on them. But then they come back with the next lesson, or the deeper lesson. I see that every single day, both in myself and in the world. And part of what you’re doing is raising issues to be continued to be discussed and to be raised and thought of, meditated on, questioned, through intention. I appreciate so much the opportunity to be seen in all of who I am in this conversation, and in our friendship, because I’m not just one thing. And as messy or complicated or confusing as that also might seem, I love all of who I am. And I’m just grateful to be part of this conversation, and I hope it opens the doors to more questions. People can contact me. Can I – [share my info].

Leia (39:51):

Yeah! But wait, first.. I just wanna say how grateful I am to see you and see more and more of you in all the ways, and how much light you contain, and how you also know about the shadow, how you can go there so bravely, so beautifully, gracefully .. you are.. [breathes} you are just right. Thank you for sharing your teachings. So where can we find you, in the world?

Raven (39:51):

SpiralhealingbyRaven.com for healing work.. the sub piece of that is Walking the Plant Path for those looking for support and integration work, and on the disability rights side, RhondaNeuhaus.com is my other website. One day all of these will be on one website when they all integrate as one. They’re still slightly separate as parts of who I am and I should say – all three of those are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Leia (39:51):

And they are merging, slowly, and they will all be one. And they’re all one right here in front of me

Raven (39:51):

They are one right here and right now, they just have a variety of places they can be found in the three-d world. So, thank you for being part of the integration merging of me in this word, and whatever else is to come.

Leia (39:51):

Cant wait.

Raven (39:51):

There’s always openings. I appreciate anyone who is listening and who has listened through to this point. Thank you.

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