Are you curious to experience a mushroom retreat in the Nature Temple? But still wondering what it would be like? Marc Spindel joined a 5 day mushroom retreat in the Nature Temple in the summer of 2022. He shares his first-hand experience with us.
What attracted you to come to the Nature Temple?
My friend Sonny insisted that I join him, he offered it as a gift. I was not so much afraid of taking psychedelics, as I’ve had some experiences before. But I was pretty nervous to leave my life behind for a week. I own a company in SEO and I think it was the very first time I was without internet for such a long time. Sonny convinced me by saying that taking some time off would probably improve my general well-being, which would improve my professional life. Together we checked different retreat centres, and Earth Awareness had very good reviews. Besides, the Nature Temple looked amazing: just to see that with our own eyes would be really cool!
What was your intention for this retreat?
To reset the way I think about life, myself and the world. I have a lot of talents, an enormous network, and I am very well-travelled, but still nothing I did at any moment of the day felt real, everything felt worn-out. I was miserable in my work, in my social life, and my health wasn’t at a level I was comfortable with. I was obsessing over all those problems, without enjoying anything. Further, I was incredibly inhibited in talking with strangers, even avoiding eye-contact.
So, on the one hand I wanted to change all this and reset my consciousness, while on the other hand I also was afraid: what if I change too much? And the people around me don’t recognise me anymore?
How was your retreat experience?
I felt nervous when I arrived, but when I met the other participants I realised we were all-in the same boat: no-one had any idea what we were getting into. When I met Arend Jan, and later Maya, I sensed they were genuine and warm, and from that moment on I was really present at the retreat centre - no longer on my way, or at work. After that I was in a good state of mind the whole week, and I felt very comfortable.
My first breakthrough came during the breathing workshop with Pascal, where I released a lot of shit. It was pretty amazing to me that I was able to change my consciousness without putting anything into my body. Afterwards I felt most relaxed I’ve ever felt in years: a very beautiful way to enter the first ceremony. That ceremony was quite magical, because of the incredible music and the vibe. To have live music, made with love and intention makes a huge difference. From all team members I got the feeling they genuinely cared for us. I have no doubt they are fully committed. That definitely helps during your experience. I had a lot of memories coming up. They weren’t pleasant, but because I was so relaxed I was taking them in stride: reconnecting with who I was as a child, as an adolescent, as a friend. I guess everything that boiled up was now released by the music, the rituals and the fire. I felt like this huge rush of life coming back at me. It was exhilarating.
Some of these repressed memories stayed with me till the second ceremony. The trip enabled me to confront them in a more loving way, where I could see opportunities to move past them. There are literally things that I can do to repair the situation. I was for example writing letters to certain people in my mind.
And the second ceremony of the 5 day retreat?
The second trip was completely different: it was very disturbing, and really difficult. I felt the intention of the team also was to make it less comfortable. Not excessively, but the mood of the music and the lack of communication enforced us to go inwards. And that was quite challenging. I was confronted with the same memories, but I was less loving towards myself. At one point I was even hitting myself quite hard, and my neighbour Jeffrey asked Maya to look after me. I also found pacing myself a lot outside. I wanted to go through the process the way it was intended to be, and stay focussed, but I was really struggling.
My intention was to let love into my daily life. That was a real priority for me: to be more open. However, I couldn’t really open the way I wanted to during the trip, as we had to be silent. At the end I looked at Jeffrey and he told me he had a very positive experience, receiving the insight that life is so simple. And I said: ‘Oh man, no! I feel really shattered.’ We started talking and then joking, and sharing secrets about each other. It turned into an amazing conversation. And then I realised: this is what I needed! To share with someone new that I really liked, and build a connection. So this has been my journey since: making all sorts of new connections that make me feel more alive.
How are you doing right now, a few months after the retreat? Do you feel the retreat changed anything?
Yes, there’s more love in my life now, so that’s really nice. Also my friends and team members notice a difference in the way I‘m talking and in my body language: I’m a lot less avoidant. I don’t have any fear to say things directly anymore: that just fell away. And the things that really annoyed me or scared me in the past, are not so present anymore. They’re still in the back of my mind, but less loud. For me that’s a massive shift.
I also changed my diet, and I integrated the breathing techniques we learned. And I’m more committed to my yoga practice. In general I became more aware and present with the things I do, and more respectful towards my own needs.
I’ve always been pro psychedelics and I think this is medicine, but I never really experienced that in a proper way, it usually turned into a party of laughter and debauchery. Now I feel I have this technology and I can access it at any time. I‘m really excited to share it with all my friends and colleagues. As I notice my transformation makes them curious.
What I also find awesome is that I now feel part of something bigger than myself. Most people get that from family, but for me family was the most stressful chaotic thing in my life. There was never any stability. Now I feel I have a new form of family: a bit more abstract, but everywhere I go, I know there will be people with the same intention, and they will be as accepting of me, as I will be of them. That’s very exciting.
Would you recommend the retreat to others?
Yes, I actually already did. Ad I can’t wait to come again myself!