Developing Conscious Leadership Through Psychedelic-supported Retreats
A Medoo Community Event with Christopher Kabakis and Patrick Liebl, Evolute Institute
Psychedelics are a hot topic in the coaching and therapy community as research into how to use them effectively is picking up momentum globally. At Medoo we’ve always been intrigued by how psychedelics can be used to live an intentional life and be your best self.
For our July community event we invited Christopher Kabakis and Patrick Liebl from the Evolute Institute. The Evolute Institute have created a professional retreat program with a bespoke learning and development curriculum to help people develop their inner selves and evolve conscious leadership skills. At the core of the retreat is a ceremony where participants make use of legal psychedelics to reach altered states of consciousness.
In this post we'll dig into what all of that means and how the Evolute Institute approaches this. If you're interested to watch the full conversation, watch the video below.
Decades of Experience
First a little background on our guests. Chris is co-founder of the Evolute Institute and has over a decade of experience in communication and leadership training and coaching. He provides official speaker training for TED Talks and teaches at the ESCP Europe in Berlin in several master and executive programs. He has trained in integrative somatic processes, and as an ‘Explorer of the Mind’, he is passionate about consciousness development, and integrating altered states of consciousness into that process of development.
Patrick is a certified end of life companion, or doula. He co-founded Over My Dead Body, an online community and service provider that promotes and facilitates honest conversations about loss, death, and grief in a safe environment. Prior to joining Evolute, Patrick was an exec coach, facilitator, and trainer. His work is inspired by different approaches of psychological, emotional and spiritual end-of-life care, acceptance commitment therapy, and narrative work.
What Is Inner Work?
Evolute Institute creates profound learning and development experiences using the power of altered states of consciousness from the use of psychedelics to facilitate inner work. But what does all that really mean?
Doing inner work is to embark consciously on a path of development and growth of your person where you’re not afraid to confront your inner demons. In the tradition of Carl Jung this would be called your shadow side.
Inner work can also go beyond that and include working on emotional wounds or trauma. By addressing those parts of us that feel frozen, stuck, or numb we can start to feel them again and integrate them back into ourselves and our stream of life.
Lastly, inner work can go as far as accessing new and higher expanded mindsets. These expanded mindsets can enable us to have more inner freedom. With this freedom comes more flexibility in how we respond to what happens in our lives and allows us to be more conscious in how we respond.
Increasing Your Consciousness Is a Large Part of Inner Work
A large part of doing inner work, is about increasing your consciousness and strengthening your inner observer. Increasing your ability to observe allows you to become more aware of what's actually happening inside of you, but also between you and the world, while it's happening. This includes all levels of perception: your sensations, feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
For instance, if someone cuts you off in traffic, you may react compulsively, get very angry and yell at them. In this case you would be so identified with your anger in that moment you wouldn’t be aware that you got angry until after it subsides.
In contrast, if you were to be more conscious or observant you would not identify with the anger. You would notice your heart rate increasing, your muscles tensing up, and any angry thoughts you may have, but you would have enough space to choose to respond differently and not let the anger affect you.
Struggles In Leadership Can Have Deep Root Causes
Leadership can be viewed as starting with self-leadership and then expanding to leading others, in ever bigger groups, for a desired change. Applying Evolute’s idea of consciousness to it, we can think of conscious leadership as the progressive increase in awareness about all things within you, and between everyone in your organisation. It's all about consciously relating and communicating with others effectively.
Although how you relate and communicate evolves as you grow older, you encode foundational patterns very early on by how you relate to your parents and family as a child. Therefore, challenges that manifest in your professional life can have roots in earlier experiences.
Problems delegating or micromanaging, for instance, could come from trust issues. You may have learned from an earlier period in your life that it might be better not to trust because could get hurt or betrayed.
Psychedelics Are a Powerful Modality to Supercharge Learning
Becoming aware of these root causes can be difficult using just your rational mind or the ordinary state of consciousness that you act with in the world. You need to tap into different emotional realms, where you can connect new thoughts and experience new sensations. This is where altered states of consciousness come in.
There are many examples of altered states of consciousness. A runner’s high experienced by someone running a marathon, the state of flow for when an athlete is doing extreme sports, or hypnosis could be considered altered states of consciousness. Religious traditions where people pray and fast, and mindfulness and meditation are methods to get into an altered state of consciousness.
Psychedelics are a very powerful modality to get into an altered state and in a way that enhances the neuroplasticity of the brain and so can supercharge learning. The effect that psychedelics often have is one of reconnection. You reconnect more to ourselves, to our bodies, to our history, to others, to nature, and maybe even beyond that to all life or to the cosmos.
This allows you to evaluate your relationships, especially intimate and family relationships, and how you hold yourself in them. It can help lead you to new realisations, identify limiting beliefs, or even find forgiveness, that you would not have found in a normal state of consciousness.
Integration Is Where the Real Work Is Done
After you have had this extraordinary experience, you may come back to what feels like an ordinary life where everything is still disconnected. It can be difficult to bring the two experiences together. This is why once you have gained new insights from the psychedelic experience, you need to start integrating them into your day-to-day life.
Active integration is necessary for a few reasons. Integration can help to make sense of the experience and digest the sometimes unclear messages you have received.
More importantly, the experience itself is not a shortcut to lasting change. You will still need to have conversations with your parents, siblings, or loved ones around the issues that you’ve uncovered. You will need to start training new behaviour patterns to overcome the beliefs that were limiting you.
The EvoLEAD Retreat Combines It All
The retreat that Evolute organises packs all of the above into a neat package of a 3 month curriculum. They combine the retreat with pre-workshops and aftercare for integration. They guide you through the whole process and help you get the most out of the psychedelic experience.
It is very encouraging to see a retreat like this become a reality. Where you can have a psychedelic experience that can give you perspective and momentum to do the inner work that is necessary for you. In order to find answers to the real questions like, “How you can we live a life with more clarity of meaning and purpose; more values-alignment; and more aliveness, vitality and balance?”, “How can we connect, relate and communicate in new and better ways in our personal and professional lives?” And for current or aspiring leaders, “How can we lead our teams, organizations, and communities more consciously and into the unfolding of our and their full potential and flourishing?
We throughly enjoyed our chat with Chris and Patrick and hope that you enjoyed learning more about inner work, altered states of consciousness, and how the psychedelic experience can help you evolve conscious leadership.