Here is a simple advice I like to remind myself of daily and never forget about it.
Follow your guts
My work with plants, meditation, and the Sundance has done many things for me, but an essential one is to learn to listen to incoming messages. I learned weird things I have started to write about in my stories (17 stories are up!), and the only way I could live these unusual experiences was by NOT listening to what most people told me and trusting the feelings of my own body.
People around us judge us and often tell us what to do and what not to do. They often tell you to avoid anything unexpected, scary, or dangerous. They tell you to do what they have always done and nothing new. It is safer.
I identify so much with this above comic from Alejandro Jodorowsky. You can see someone falling surrounded by people commenting,
“Come back, you can still save yourself,”
“When he fell, I realized how high up we are!”,
“he keeps falling further” or “he’s helpless.”
If you flip the page upside down, you will see what the center “falling” man says: “I am going higher and higher. I can see the stars!”
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What people think is generally a factor of their conditioning and everyone else's thinking. I have often noticed empty restaurants before dinner; if one starts to fill up for some reason, it is often because some people decide to sit there first. It does not mean it is the best one around; often, quite the contrary, the best one will be hidden, not advertised, and known only by the locals. The best sushi restaurants I have been to in Tokyo were completely impossible to see from the street, and my Japanese friends booked us there as they would not take random bookings from strangers. People tend to follow others, think like them, and then criticize those who don’t follow.
It takes effort to not “be a sheep” and do things sometimes radically differently when everyone tells you not to do them. For example, most people believe that “magical” plants are drugs and should not be used because they are dangerous. Yet they drink alcohol, a legal poison, or constantly eat excess sugar or toxic products.
“Everyone thinks this way,” so everyone believes it and nobody tries “because it is dangerous.”
Fortunately, authors like Carlos Castaneda wrote novels about shamanism and extraordinary stories working with Peyote in Mexico. Thanks to his writings many people finally tried eating it and see for themselves the incredibly good things these plants do.
Entrepreneurship is the same. When I started my first business in 1996 on the campus of HEC business school in France, I was the only student to do so that year. Starting a business was not yet popular at the time in business schools. Many of my friends told me I would fail. I did not pay myself anything, while my friends got comfortable salaries at large companies. I had to go against what everyone told me: “You will fail.”
It took me to ignore everyone and go against everyone’s advice when I started my first business and then ignore everyone again when I decided to go on my “spiritual” path.
There is no alcohol or TV allowed in the Indigenous village I visit; they say alcohol and TV are drugs and considered bad, while we consider them normal and consider the plants they use as drugs.
Still today, I get a lot of pushback from friends and sometimes family when I tell the stories I write here in this newsletter. I got called crazy or irresponsible many times.
It takes a strong will to not listen to close friends, family, or what is generally considered normal in our society. The powerful plants are not the only practices that are considered weird or dangerous. I have participated in several “Vision Quests” and Sundances for four days without eating or drinking water in the jungle. I now invite other men and women to join us; it is always the same when friends consider joining. They tell their families and friends, who inevitably tell them they are crazy and it is too dangerous. They look-up “dry fasting” online, and they find that no water for four days is extremely dangerous, and they could die for trying it. It is the first test.
These practices have existed for hundreds, and likely thousands, of years. They made me stronger and overcome my fears, even the fear of dying. I know what they do. My body knows what they do.
Trusting my guts and what my body is saying is not easy, as Western societies condition us so much to make decisions from our minds. Both the Sundance and the work with plants have made me much more sensitive to my own sensations.
Because those practices are still forbidden in most countries, the indigenous were prosecuted, forbidden to do their rituals and often enslaved or killed, their benefits are unknown.
The main lie is that these things are bad for you.
The most advanced human beings I know who have been practicing their rituals the most are the healthiest people I know. The last Yawanawà elders that went last through enslavement from missionaries and the Portuguese colonization lived beyond 100 and died just 5 to 10 years ago. They were still working, teaching, and doing ceremonies despite their age and were in excellent health when they died.
Since I have been doing this intense work on myself for about 5 years, I have never felt so healthy and strong. When I participate in ceremonies, I rarely get sick anymore, as if my system was thoroughly cleaned. It is not just when I use plants or Sundance; I have not been sick “in normal life” for five years apart from catching COVID, which took me down for about a week. I used to be often depressed, and I am not anymore. I feel that my brain is sharper and faster. I feel that I also learn faster. Frankly, I feel much younger than ten years ago. I have discovered the other side of my brain that likes arts and music, and I learned to sing and (still poorly) play the guitar. The guitar is quite hard for me, having never touched an instrument before four years ago, but I am having fun learning.
I have never loved writing so much.
These are powerful techniques and tools, so of course, sometimes I go too fast, and the entrepreneur in me likes to push things, so I sometimes go a little far. It happened to me many times that I took a little too much medicine and could not walk anymore until the effects passed, became too loud or agitated in ceremonies, or the rituals I went through were so hard that my body took a while to recover. Still, I do not regret anything and feel that it is only doing good things to my mind and body.
I gave up a long time ago listening to people telling me I go too far, ot telling me it is dangerous for me. I make my own decisions and do not listen much to other people’s judgments, or I would be unable to progress. It is very important to progress with the supervision of teachers (or facilitators) with a lot of experience.
I will now start writing about the “red road,” the vision quest, and the Sundance, a spiritual path without substances only based on fasting (no food, no water) that is, like working with powerful plants, considered completely crazy by most people.
I still listen to some non-indigenous people who became sort of “Oracles,” and like Neo in the Matrix movie, I sometimes consult with them. This will also sound bullshit to my friends who only make decisions with their minds, but I went from not believing at all in astrology to being curious about it. I have been very impressed by what the mobile application “The Pattern” has been telling me, and it feels pretty accurate, especially the life cycles it shows I am going through. It has been telling me for many years that I am going through the deepest transformation in my life, and I am not doing this work because the app is telling me that. Try it, and you might be surprised.
One of these Oracles is Dirk Nellens, who lives in Ibiza. He was introduced to me by my partner Magdalena Sartori.
Human Design is an attempt at better understanding ourselves; it was created (or “channeled”) by its founder, Alan Robert Krakower, under the pseudonym of Ra Uru Hu, in 1992. I had not believed in anything related to astrology until recently, but I was impressed by everything Dirk told me about myself, so I want to discuss it briefly. Human Design is a self-knowledge method that is huge in scope and takes years to learn. It combines astrology, the I Ching, Kabbalah, and Vedic philosophy. Even if you do not believe in astrology, I think looking at it and seeing what it tells you or perhaps getting a reading is interesting.
Human Design shows how you are “energetically wired” and how we are supposed to exchange energy in the world. For Human Design, our decisions come out of the body and not the mind. Human design shows how those decisions come, subject to the laws of nature. Human Design says that we are here for consciousness. How we answer the question “Who am I?” defines how we see ourselves in relation to the world. Ra called it “the science of consciousness.” It brings a different perspective on reality. The prevailing materialistic worldview considers consciousness as coming from the mind. Still, Human Design considers that there is a universal consciousness that should make us think of everything differently.
Human Design looks at everything as an energy architecture. Cellular life, insect life, plant life, birds, reptiles, and fish are all atomic forms “sitting inside us.” The indigenous know this well as they constantly learn from plants and animals, from nature.
Everything is interconnected or “Mitákuye Oyás ‘in” in Lakota language. We are always in touch with an underlying knowledge that is in the universe.
My Human Design reading
Here are a few important things that Dirk Nellens told me from “My Design” without knowing me much, just from giving him my date and time of birth.
Mind you, it’s a bit weird and strong. I am just sharing here below what he said. Writing in public is also a way for me to understand and assimilate what I receive. This is why I am writing Dirk’s observations based on Human Design.
Follow your guts. Stop listening to others. Do not try to prove yourself; do what you must do without caring about how others judge it. Do anything only because you love it.
You are “All open.” You are designed to feel and be affected by others and what is around you deeply and powerfully as you have so many open “centers.” Dirk said, “You have the design of an Oracle, wide open for receiving all the time.” You need to let your emotions come and go as you receive so much information, which might affect you too much. Let them flow through you as information without being emotional about them.
Don’t look for certainty. Do not fall into repetition, self-oppressive thoughts. Clean your thoughts permanently.
You are intrinsically disturbing for others as your presence is “mutative” (creates change) for others. With what I am doing and saying, I tend to generate change in others to the point that my presence sometimes disturbs them as they feel their life might change. It is okay to be disturbing as you’re often unlocking things others do as they see you doing them.
You are here to take that “mutative force” public. Use your strong voice (public speaking, writing.) You are always connecting two completely different worlds (the entrepreneur, business world, and the shamanic worlds, for example). You are always the middle man (between Western people and indigenous, for example.)
Hang out with people who appreciate your presence and not with those who always question your weirdness.
Always look outside the box and see what others might not see. It is your creativity. Your design isn’t to follow but to receive new things and create.
You have a huge sense of detail. The deeper you go into details, the more you access consciousness. Keep learning the mystical.
People around you often need stimulation to transform themselves. They might have tried many things, and you might bring them a solution they might not have seen before. Pay attention to people showing up around you might be able to help them a lot.
This was a strong “reading” for me. The main takeaway for me was confidence.
There isn’t a day that I am not judged weird or a bit crazy by others and as Dirk said, I am like a sponge. Sometimes, people tell me just one sentence, and I keep thinking about it and ruminating it for a week… I have learned to be much more inside and alone as after all the dieta work in the forest, I became even more open and sensitive. It has been challenging to talk to many people and receive many comments and advice since I came back, but I am now doing better at it, I learned to let the comments come in and out without grasping on them anymore.
What I learned in my spiritual work is also extremely weird and unusual for most people, especially my friends, who operate from their minds and the materialistic world. I can easily understand as I was like that before. Dirk’s reading acted as “strong medicine,” the medicine of the words, and I constantly remind myself of the above nine rules. It might look like very simple things, but sometimes the most obvious is also the most important.
In my upcoming letters, I will write about the secret way of the red road and the difficult rituals of no food, no water, and… body offerings of the Sundance.
I enjoyed getting readings and wisdom from Dirk so much that we launched an online PAUA class with Dirk. He only did one session so far and there are five remaining online zoom calls. The first session is recorded so you can still join his fascinating class that I am following myself you like.
The KOGI indigenous from Colombia came and spoke at our previous PAUA event in Paris. You can follow the Instagram account @kogiwisdom to follow the KOGIs who came, and a beautiful movie is coming; here is the trailer.
I have been wearing LVB sunglasses made by my friend Lars for a few years that are especially designed for sensitive people using color therapy. I love them and been wearing them since I got to know them. I highly recommend them, I have many different colors and different degrees. They relax the mind, combat unpleasant lighting, protect fully from UVA and UVB and look really cool.
Use the code “PAUA” for 15% off. I love them wing-foiling in Tarifa or in the jungle.
Thank you for reading! Please comment on anything in this note; I always enjoy reading them.