• October 2014

Get Ready to Unlock Your Potential

Ah, the power of potential. Who doesn’t want to tap into their innate gifts and bring to life all the characteristics and capabilities that make their contribution to the world unique and important? This is especially true for the small-business owner.

But how?

  • Confucius said: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential … these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
  • Pope St. John XXIII advised: “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”
  • And Winston Churchill believed: “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Still, harnessing the true potential of yourself, and your business, can be difficult and frustrating. That’s especially true if you are struggling with disorders that plague millions—such as alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress.

That’s why we are excited to feature best-selling author Tom Shroder and his new book, “Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal.” In it, the former Washington Post Magazine editor reveals the therapeutic powers of psychedelic drugs. When taken in controlled, medical settings, his research shows they may have the power to heal. Scroll down for more.

Throughout this issue, our columnists help you find additional ways to unlock your potential.

  • Brilliant artist Bob Staake is a living illustration of what it means to tap your potential. Case in point: his latest, My Pet Book, which he wrote and illustrated.
  • And two of our retirement experts show us how to wisely plan ahead for the future. Don’t miss suggestions from Estate Planning attorney Lisa Hughes on what to consider when writing your Will. And Certified Financial Planner Michael Egan provides a checklist for 20-somethings in his article on Millennials and Money.

We leave you with this parting thought from Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist featured in “Acid Test,” who was the first person to synthesize, ingest, and learn of the psychedelic effects of LSD: “Instead of all of this energy and effort directed at the war to end drugs, how about a little attention to drugs which end war?”

Here’s to unlocking your potential. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

Tom Shroder Takes Us on a Trip With "Acid Test"

COVER STORY:
OCTOBER 2014

LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal

Author Tom Shroder Investigates the Powers of Psychedelic Drugs

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher
Be Inkandescent

When former Washington Post Magazine editor Tom Shroder was a 21-year-old college journalist, he noticed an article about a charismatic hippie with a pet wolf who was building himself a house in the woods. His name was Rick Doblin, then 22.

“He was trying to live authentically, guided by an inner light rather than society’s preconceived ideas; consciously working to discover and create his own destiny rather than trudging along the rutted tracks set before him,” Shroder explains decades later in his new book, Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal.

In the years since, Shroder has written about Doblin numerous times—the former hippie went on to become a leader in the psychedelic healing community. He founded the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and has been at the forefront of the fight for advancing the responsible use of psychedelic therapy for more than 30 years.

LSD? Ecstasy? Really?

Shroder encourages us to open our minds to the fact that lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) can heal. In fact, that was the premise of Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, who is credited with being the first person to synthesize the drug back in 1938. Five years later, he was the first person to ingest and learn of the psychedelic effects of the compound.

On his 100th birthday, in 2006, Hofmann said in a speech: “It gave me an inner joy, an open mindedness, a gratefulness, open eyes, and an internal sensitivity for the miracles of creation. […] I think that in human evolution it has never been as necessary to have this substance, LSD. It is just a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.”

Certainly, LSD and Ecstasy are controversial. Taken without medical supervision, these hallucinogens can be dangerous—even lethal. But Shroder insists there is more to the story.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Weingarten says of Shroder’s 2014 tome, “A captivating narrative with irresistible characters, [Shroder’s book] will leave you wondering whether we have the moral right to oppose this breakthrough therapy.”

In “Acid Test,” released in September by Blue Rider Press, Shroder contends that there are most definitely therapeutic powers in psychedelic drugs—especially in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression, among others disorders that plague many Americans.

“Since the discovery of the profound alterations of consciousness caused by LSD, psychedelics have played a crucial role in the still-nascent quest to understand the link between mind and matter,” Shroder believes. “From the beginning, compounds like LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, and MDMA (better known as Ecstasy) have astounded psychiatrists and researchers in their ability to produce profound altered states that can permanently untangle the deep-seated compulsions behind alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, and PTSD.”

However, after two decades in which psychedelics became the most studied psychoactive drugs in history, their widespread abuse prompted a backlash that shut down the research. “Ironically,” Shroder points out, “the prohibitions on research did nothing to curb illegal and ill-advised recreational use, which continued to mount. Meanwhile, the promise of psychedelic therapy remained out of reach of the millions of people who could benefit from it.”

In an effort to shed light on the potential healing powers of LSD, Shroder braids together the stories of three men, forming the narrative that he hopes will spur a new age of acceptance.

  • Rick Doblin, Shroder’s old friend, who has been on the forefront of the fight for advancing the responsible use of LSD and other psychedelic therapies.

  • Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a clinical researcher and psychiatrist, who for decades has been conducting clinical trials using MDMA to treat abuse survivors and those suffering from PTSD. Click here to see his YouTube video.

  • Nicholas Blackston, a marine combat veteran who suffered nightmarish hallucinations and panic attacks on his return from the war in Iraq and underwent life-changing treatment under the direction of Dr. Mithoefer.

Don’t stop now! Click here to read our Q&A with Shroder. Scroll down or click here to read the Foreword to Shroder’s book. And listen to our podcast on Inkandescent Radio.

Tom Shroder on Why He Wrote "Acid Test"

By Author Tom Shroder
Foreword
Acid Test

In 1975 I was a 21-year-old college journalist (shown right), home on spring break in Sarasota, Florida, when I noticed a blurb in the local newspaper about a charismatic hippie with a pet wolf who was building himself a spectacular house in the woods near town. I decided to go out and see it for myself. I don’t remember anything about the blurb. I doubt it mentioned anything about the influence of psychedelic drugs in this project. But I am guessing that I inferred it, because while I didn’t much care about techniques of home building—nor would my college-student readers—I was extremely interested in the implications of the psychedelic experience.

I’m looking at a taped-together, Xeroxed copy of the story that resulted from that visit. Still no mention of drugs, but there it is between the lines. I wrote about the philosophy of the young builder, a guy named Rick Doblin (shown right), just a year older than me. It was about trying to live authentically, guided by an inner light rather than society’s preconceived ideas; consciously working to discover and create his own destiny rather than trudging along the rutted tracks set before him.

These were the kinds of notions floating around a certain subculture in those days; it was evident in the woodland home itself, with its giant, rainbow-themed, spiritually suggestive stained-glass window. Maybe we discussed psychedelics, maybe we didn’t. But they were in the air.

I myself was not entirely unfamiliar. Under the influence of the psilocybin mushrooms my friends and I had learned to pluck from cow dung in the rural fields not far from campus, then boil into tea and drink, I had seen the world—and myself—from a novel vantage point. It was like being able, for a few precious hours, to climb above your life and view it from on high, a perspective every bit as revealing as seeing a too-familiar landscape from the top of a mountain. Instead of individual cornstalks or oak trees or buildings, you saw checkerboard patterns of fields, serpentine forests following the course of a river, villages arrayed around ascending spires of churches. You saw, for once, how it all fit together.

One experience stands out in my memory, because it is something that I have carried with me, every day since, for four decades.

As the drug took effect, instead of feeling the usual lift, I grew increasingly entangled by anxiety. I began to obsess about an ethical problem I was struggling with, which generalized to feelings of inadequacy in life overall and my inability to find solutions.

The more I struggled against these feelings, the weightier and more intractable they seemed. And then suddenly I had a vision: I saw myself with my arms wrapped around a boulder. I could feel its weight, almost unbearable to hold, and yet I was clinging to it. I knew that the heavy stone consisted of all my doubts and anxieties, and as I desperately clutched it to my chest, I saw in a flash that part of me chose to be anxious—as a way to avoid making choices and evade responsibility for them. To be free of that awful weight, all I had to do was open my arms, which I did. The stone simply dropped away.

Ever since, although it has rarely been easy, I’ve been able to see negative emotions, on a profound level, as a choice, and the will to let them go as something I could develop, like a muscle. The more I practiced, the better I got, and I no longer needed the mushrooms to do it.

There wasn’t a moment I decided to stop doing psychedelic drugs. When I left the college environment they became less available, and I gained more responsibilities—a job, a family, a professional reputation—all of which made any illegal activity, and the potential health risks, unacceptable. But I never lost my interest in those psychedelic experiences, or forgot their profundity, and the lasting good they did me.

Ten years after graduation, I had become an editor at the Miami Herald Sunday magazine, Tropic, when I noticed a story in the Tampa newspaper about a perennial college student who was promoting the party drug Ecstasy as a breakthrough in psychotherapy. I did a double take: it was Rick Doblin, the hippie with the house in the woods, the same guy I had written about a decade earlier. I assigned a Herald feature writer to do a cover story on him. We headlined it: “A Timothy Leary for the ’80s.”

Twenty years passed. Now I was editor of The Washington Post Magazine, and once again an article that spoke to my lingering interest in the possible positive effects of psychedelics caught my eye. This time it was in the New York Times, about Harvard initiating a study testing the use of MDMA—Ecstasy—to treat anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients. The man sponsoring the study: a very sophisticated-sounding Harvard Kennedy School PhD named Rick Doblin—the hippie in the woods.

I got a phone number and Rick answered. When I told him my name, he laughed. He not only remembered me and the two stories from twenty and thirty years earlier, he still had copies of them both. And just that morning, he told me, he’d held up the “Tim Leary” cover of Tropic at a board meeting of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), his nonprofit organization, to demonstrate how completely he’d remade his image, from a rebellious hippie to the sponsor of cutting-edge scientific research in some of the nation’s more conservative institutions.

This time I wrote the story myself, focusing on the MAPS-sponsored research a psychiatrist named Michael Mithoefer was conducting in Charleston, South Carolina, treating with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy mostly female victims of sexual abuse. The story appeared in The Washington Post Magazine in November 2007, and much of it has been adapted here in chapter forty-two.

I was pleased enough with the piece as published, but I felt it barely scratched the surface, both because of rapidly accumulating developments in psychedelic research and because I sensed that the significance of any given study could not be fully assessed without a deeper understanding of the people behind the studies, not to mention the century-long struggle of Western culture to come to grips with these powerful and, in some ways, profoundly threatening drugs.

This is what I have attempted in Acid Test.

Whatever success I have had I owe entirely to the openness and honesty of the principal characters. Those people listed in the acknowledgments have granted me access to scores of records and privileged documents and agreed to sit for what amounted to a combined total of more than a hundred hours of interviews, unflinchingly answering the most intimate and sensitive questions, revealing things that were personally painful and might very well expose them to negative judgments or significantly complicate their lives.

Their reasons for agreeing to all the above are transparent. They accepted my contention that the full and complete disclosure of all the information surrounding the use and abuse of psychedelic drugs, the history of psychedelic therapy, the motivations of the researchers, and the experiences of the subjects is the best argument for continued and extended support of rigorous and responsible investigation.

I owe a special debt to those among them who have undergone clinical trials to treat debilitating post-traumatic stress, a disorder that makes it particularly difficult and potentially painful to open up. In particular, I am indebted to Donna Kilgore, Tony Macie, and, above all, Nicholas Blackston. They all spent hours reviewing their case histories with me, leaving nothing off the record, as well as giving me permission to listen to or watch voluminous audio-and videotapes of their therapeutic sessions. It is hard to imagine a more naked vulnerability than allowing an outsider to witness hours spent delving into your deepest, most charged and haunting intimacies explored under the powerful effect of MDMA. Yet, these people made that sacrifice willingly, for no other reason than a sense of duty. They felt the therapy benefited them and quite possibly saved their lives, and they believed sharing their stories might help make the therapy available to others.

I am moved and awed by their courage.

Click here to read our Q&A with Tom Shroder.

Click here to learn more about Acid Test.

If you would create something,
 you must be something.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I can’t go back to yesterday—because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll

Everyone is a mirror image of yourself—your own thinking coming back at you.”

– Byron Katie

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle

A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.”

– Albert Schweitzer

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

– Helen Keller

Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead
and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good—on your mirror.”

– Susan Jeffers

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

– Mary Kay Ash

Education is an admirable thing to have, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

– Oscar Wilde

The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen.”

– August Rush

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.”

– J. Kristnhamurti, The First and Last Freedom

Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”

– Victor Hugo

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

They who give have all things. They who withhold have nothing.”

– Hindu Proverb

How do you stay resilient? It’s about momentum. Like riding a bicycle. If you stop you fall over. So I keep pedaling.”

– Diane Lane

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.”

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

He who wants to tear down a house must be prepared to rebuild it.”

– African Proverb

Look at everything as though you were
seeing it either for the first or last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”

– Betty Smith

I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.”

– Michelle Sedas

Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

– Benjamin Disraeli

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”

– Jalaluddin Rumi

That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?”

– Steven Schussler

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what nurtures creative thinking.”

– Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop

A person who learns to juggle six balls will be more skilled than the person who never tries to juggle more than three.”

– Marilyn vos Savant

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

The person who makes a success of living is the one who see his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.”

– Cecil B. DeMille

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

You must have chaos within you, to create a dancing star.”

– Frederic Nietzsche

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas Edison

The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

– John Quincy Adams

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.”

– The Dalai Lama

If people like you they’ll listen to you; if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

– Zig Ziglar

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity 
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”

– Indira Ghandi

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
 If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey

Books

Unlock Your Imagination With Bob Staake's, "My Pet Book"

“Most pets, you know, are cats and dogs. Go out and take a look. But there’s a boy in Smartytown, whose pet is … a little book!”

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Estate Planning

Your Will Is the Cornerstone of Your Estate Planning—Here's What Should Be in It

Your Will should be the first document you prepare when doing your estate planning. “It should answer the question: What do I want to happen to my assets after I die?” explains attorney Lisa Hughes.

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Great Spots to Work

You'll Find Style and Great Food at DC's Panache

The next time you are in DC in the middle of the day, or just out for lunch in the city’s Golden Triangle neighborhood, step into Panache.

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Hiring

What's the Key to Unlocking Your Potential? Try Mentoring!

Looking for a mentor? Think outside the box, says HR expert Barbara Mitchell. “I love to think of mentoring as a relationship between someone who has more knowledge on a particular subject and someone with less experience—regardless of age.”

Read more...

History

History Matters: How Jim Basker Teaches Appreciation for the Past

As president and CEO of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Jim Basker talks about the ways they promote the study and love of the nation’s history.

Read more...

Intuition Rules

Edemir Rossi on the Art and Power of Meditation

To tap into your intuition, it’s helpful to have tools that enable you to go deeper into the practice, knows Edemir Rossi, a Brazilian who for decades has been teaching what he calls “practical spirituality.”

Read more...

Nonprofits

The Reading Connection Opens the Door to Literacy for Children

Reading aloud to children is the focus of The Reading Connection, because, “We believe that reading empowers kids to reach their potential,” says Executive Director Courtney Kissell.

Read more...

Publisher
Hope Katz Gibbs
Art Director
Michael Glenwood Gibbs
Website developer
Max Kukoy
Managing Editor
Kathleen McCarthy
Associate Editor
Cheryl Moore
Assistant Editor
Samantha Dannick
Editorial Interns
Meet our 2014 team

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Networking

We're Off to the Races on Nov. 1 at Montpelier's Hunt Races

Enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of James Madison’s historic home, Montpelier, and pick a winner at the premier annual event on the National Steeplechase Association’s circuit.

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PR Rules

Unlock the Potential of Your PR Campaign with "PR Rules" — Available on amazon.com

Help us sell 100 books in 100 days! Learn how to maximize your visibility with the 8 Steps to PR Success. From www.PRRulesPlaybook.com.

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Public Speaking

Stand Up, Take a Deep Breath, and Develop Your Public Speaking Potential

“Developing the potential in my clients is what I do on a daily basis,” says public speaking coach Hilary Blair. “When I look into someone’s eyes, I don’t just see what is before me. I see all that they can be.”

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Inkandescent Radio

Kate DiCamillo on the Art of Writing a Best-Seller

Themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances are the hallmark of Kate DiCamillo’s wildly popular novels. Listen to our podcast interview with the best-selling author to find out why she’s still surprised that her work is published.

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Retirement

Michael Egan on Millennials and Money—What They Need to Know

Are you ready to unlock the potential of saving for retirement? By the time you reach your 20s, it’s time to get serious about planning ahead for your future,” says Certified Financial Planner™ Michael Egan.

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Speakers Bureau

Carol Kinsey Goman Helps Us Make the Most of Work

Carol Kinsey Goman, who specializes in leadership and nonverbal communication, delivers keynote addresses all over the world on how to build strong business relationships by projecting confidence, credibility, caring, and charisma.

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Wealth

How to Use Your Time Wisely for Wealth Management

“One key to unlocking your wealth potential is to be wise about the amount of time that you are invested in the market,” says Wealth columnist Rita Cheng.

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To learn more about becoming a client of Inkandescent Public Relations, or becoming a Be Inkandescent Magazine columnist. send an email to publisher and founder Hope Katz Gibbs at hope@inkandescentpr.com.

Here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent success!