Genius: Your Inner Genie

Recently, I wrote about the genius in all of us. There was quite a divided response to this article which indicated the doubt so many have about our own tremendous inner capacities, and this inspired me to delve further into what the word ‘genius’ actually means. I don’t believe that this is the exclusive club it has been perceived to be and it may be expressed or experienced differently for each of us. When I embark on this kind of inquiry, I always look up the etymology of the word – it’s origins – and although it sheds some light on the meaning, we can also use our own inner knowing to discover what it means to us personally and this, I believe, is the most powerful and empowering aspect of this kind of inquiry. It is the first rule of using your inner genie. It is an inner exploration as well as an outer one as our beliefs and understanding are a personal matter.

Let’s begin with the word ‘genius’. This is just one account of its origins but I think we can glean a lot from it.

genius (n.)

late 14c., “tutelary or moral spirit” who guides and governs an individual through life, from Latin genius “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation; wit, talent;” also “prophetic skill; the male spirit of a gens,” originally “generative power” (or “inborn nature”), from PIE *gen(e)-yo-, from root *gene- “give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. Sense of “characteristic disposition” of a person is from 1580s. Meaning “person of natural intelligence or talent” and that of “exalted natural mental ability” are first recorded 1640s.

The above description of the origins of this word would seem to indicate that it is not from the outside world of knowledge that one gains this kind of distinctive and highly regarded intelligence. I would agree with this. It points to a guiding spirit and this is something I now experience and connect with daily. It has improved my life and my understanding of it substantially, and I believe we all have this capacity. This connection leads to phenomenal insight, rather than being so completely influenced by the mass dissemination of information from the outer world, which is not often driven by this deep source of understanding.

I will comment on one part of the above description of the origins of the word genius; specifically, this statement: “the male spirit of a gens”. I have not found any other reference to this so far that indicates a specifically male aspect but many references of ‘gens’ related to Jinni or Genie interestingly – more on this later. We all have both masculine and feminine in us and although we may experience a presence or spirit as masculine or feminine, they have both of these qualities as we do. The polarization of these masculine and feminine qualities has created a harmful social divide. Through my own inner spiritual connection, I have been moving into a more harmonious state which involves an awareness and balancing of these masculine and feminine qualities in a way that is ideal for me. I see the potential for all of us to do so. It doesn’t mean that we will all have the same opinions or experiences; it just means that we will be able to live peacefully in this diversity of life.

When I looked at the root words of ‘genius’, I couldn’t help but think of the word “genie” and see a connection. Whether or not the writer of this recorded etymology agrees with me, to me, it seems there is a very clear relationship between these two words. One that not everyone will be comfortable with but this is often true when we make discoveries that change our worldview or understanding of how things are. I know this from personal experience. Above all, I always recommend that when determining whether or not you agree with this, to consult that inner knowing/genie/genius.

Definitions from Oxford Languages 




mid 17th century (denoting a guardian or protective spirit): from French génie, from Latin genius (see genius). Génie was adopted in the current sense by the 18th-century French translators of The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, because of its resemblance in form and sense to Arabic jinnī ‘jinnee’.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? These two descriptions are very similar to the description of the word ‘genius’ and the beauty of this is the potential for each of us to discover this magical resource within us. The classic representation of the ‘magic carpet’ associated with the ‘genie’ can easily be interpreted as a prayer rug (yoga/meditation mat?) and if one goes into a deeply meditative state, it can certainly take us on very magical journeys that can provide us with deep insights and even help us to achieve our goals and to prosper if that is one of the goals.

Now below, is the definition of jinn  – the origins of the word ‘genie’.  In this description, the theme of spirit continues and of course, there is also a mention of ‘demons’. Do not be deterred! We will explore this word further and it may help to put this fearsome concept into perspective.

jinn (n.)

1680s, djen, from Arabic jinn. It is a collective plural, “demons, spirits, angels;” the proper singular is jinni, which appears in English occasionally as jinnee (1840) but more frequently as genie.

LAST STATEMENT FROM ABOVE DESCRIPTION: Similarity to genius is accidental.

Again this theme continues and yet, there was a statement at the end of this description/definition that I do not agree with at all. I can see that this is an opinion rather than a statement of fact. My inner genie is quite adamant about this. Now, do I have to consult an inner voice each time I come across something like this to decide what the truth of it is? I do not. Once I read it, I could see that it is a point of view that for me, does not hold up at all. I felt it right away (my inner genie at work) and looked back at the other definitions/etymology and descriptions and I see very clear connections that perhaps you do too – or perhaps not. We can all use our inner genius to draw our own conclusions. Even if we don’t always conclude the same thing, it doesn’t mean that battle must commence to determine the truth for everyone. We may use our knowledge for ourselves or share it with others if we feel inspired to do so and come to peace with the idea that people may use their own inner knowing to move them in whatever direction is appropriate for them.  This is the essence of freedom. It is also the essence of peace.

Now, onto the word ‘Demon’ (also damon/daimon) which is an interesting exploration that reveals lots of influence and we can decide for ourselves how this affects the meaning of this word for us:

demon (n.)

c. 1200, “an evil spirit, malignant supernatural being, an incubus, a devil,” from Latin daemon “spirit,” from Greek daimōn “deity, divine power; lesser god; guiding spirit, tutelary deity” (sometimes including souls of the dead); “one’s genius, lot, or fortune;” from PIE *dai-mon- “divider, provider” (of fortunes or destinies), from root *da- “to divide.”

The malignant sense is because the Greek word was used (with daimonion) in Christian Greek translations and the Vulgate for “god of the heathen, heathen idol” and also for “unclean spirit.” Jewish authors earlier had employed the Greek word in this sense, using it to render shedim “lords, idols” in the Septuagint, and Matthew viii.31 has daimones, translated as deofol in Old English, feend or deuil in Middle English. Another Old English word for this was hellcniht, literally “hell-knight.”

The usual ancient Greek sense, “supernatural agent or intelligence lower than a god, ministering spirit” is attested in English from 1560s and is sometimes written daemon or daimon for purposes of distinction. Meaning “destructive or hideous person” is from 1610s; as “an evil agency personified” (rum, etc.) from 1712.

The Demon of Socrates (late 14c. in English) was a daimonion, a “divine principle or inward oracle.” His accusers, and later the Church Fathers, however, represented this otherwise. The Demon Star (1895) is Algol (q.v.) .

I find it interesting how the meaning of this word involves divine power, genius and also the root: da “to divide”. I think it’s important to consider this in a society that is becoming more and more socially divided. However, I don’t think these divisions are a result of us consulting our inner, higher realm of understanding. Another part of the origins of this word ‘demon’ involves “one’s genius, lot, or fortune”  All of these themes seem to be intertwined and imply that these inner spiritual forces have a lot to do with our intelligence and our fortune or destiny in life. The first view, as presented above (evil spirit), is one that differs widely from the view presented at the end of this description offered by Socrates, which provided a meaning for ‘daimonion’ as a “divine principle or inward oracle.” This was Socrates’ word for his inner spiritual guide. He lived in the 5th century which preceded the more negative definition provided at the beginning of the above account of this word’s etymology. This would seem to indicate that the meaning of this word, or how it was interpreted, changed later on and it’s not difficult to see how this concept of each person having their own, direct spiritual connection might seem to pose a threat to religious rule and other crowned rulers who were considered to have a closer connection/relation to God. Another interesting part of the above description of this word involves “god of heathen, heathen idol”. Heathen means not belonging to a widely held religion. This reminds me of pagans who were considered to be heathens. Pagan etymology/origins: Latin paganus ‘villager, rustic’, from pagus ‘country district’. Latin paganus also meant ‘civilian’. Pagans were civilians and country folk who had their own beliefs and traditions and were persecuted for it – one might even say ‘demonized’.

I’m sure the rabbit hole goes deeper and involves religious influence as well as political and it naturally involves the ideology of those who record these things as it always will. The religious experience at the time of c. 1200 was not from most accounts, an empowering one or one that advocated independent thought. Instead of tapping into one’s inner spirit/knowing/genius, most were encouraged to follow the teachings of officials and religious leaders or the records of those celebrated people who made their own spiritual connections long before and most importantly of the official interpretations of these recorded experiences. Some of the stories that arose from these early spiritual experiences are inspiring and still inspire people today. However, there are now, more and more people discovering that they may have their own lived experience of their unique, personal spirituality and I believe it was experiences like these that inspired so many people who were considered to be geniuses of their time as Socrates alluded to using a word that ironically came to mean something evil. I believe there’s also an interesting connection between these words and the word ‘gene’ which we have come to understand as being an essential aspect of our unique physical being. Here’s a short excerpt of the origins of this word:

From German Gen, from Ancient Greek γενεά (geneá, “generation, descent”), from the aorist infinitive of γίγνομαι (gígnomai, “I come into being”). Coined by the Danish biologist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen in a German-language publication, from the last syllable of pangene.[1]

The statement that stands out the most from the above description is “I come into being”. This is a far more profound and meaningful statement than I have ever heard in scientific discussions around ‘genes’. I think all of this reveals a deeper mystery surrounding who we are, what our true potential/capacities are and how that relates to spiritual guidance and our relationship to our own spirituality. What I have gleaned from this exploration of the word ‘genius’ has confirmed what I have learned from my own experiences which is that this inner connection is a fundamental aspect of who we are and being separated from it, causes suffering. We are so much more than our physical selves. Now that so many people in the world suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, ill health etc., it’s important to get back to some essential idea of who we really are and begin to build from there. This has been an essential aspect of healing for so many of us who have been on the path of physical/emotional healing and personal growth.

Amidst all of the turmoil in the world today, and perhaps because of it, there is an emergence of practices that allow people to connect with their own inner spirit and inner knowing. It is creating a shift that holds great promise for our future and one that is truly empowering to every individual. With this inner exploration, not only may we encounter/connect with our inner spirit/genius, we also discover the darker inner elements within that create suffering (it was suggested to me that the word ‘jinn’ or ‘jinni’ may be associated with these darker aspects). Each of us may decide what to do with/about these darker elements. There are many tools for us to discover and heal and if we focus inward, we will know which ones resonate with us as individuals. Delving within can teach us a great deal and help us tap into our own inner genius. This inner connection can help us form a better relationship with ourselves, with others and with the world around us. It can help us create a life that is an expression of this deeper, wiser, more authentic part of ourselves – one that is conducive to a happier and more harmonious existence.

If you would like to learn more about working with me to access your inner genie/genius through hypnosis, please contact me at to arrange for a free discovery call.

Honour Your Inner Genius

My Ayahuasca experience in the summer of 2018 provided insights that may help us to peacefully navigate the rising social divide. I wrote about this experience right afterwards and the account below is a combination of journaling and auto-writing the lessons and messages that came through during ceremony.

This experience was all about beliefs, agreements, consensus and conflict. Aya showed me how these things converge in my experience and in humanity. She told me how very unique I am and because of this I would often do things differently than others and that this is good. Others may not agree and try to make me feel that I should do things like everyone else and it’s important for me to not participate in their belief systems around this. Once I begin to participate I am no longer following my own beliefs; I’m following theirs instead and working against myself. I have done this often in my life and I have formed some harmful agreements as a result. I have a broken those agreements now. During ceremony I was given an opportunity to demonstrate this.

This small, private ceremony had a religious context and initially I was concerned about this only because I knew that I approached this work differently so I asked in advance if it was required that I participate in all aspects of this ceremony. I made it clear that it was my intention to just go into my own experience as I always do with Ayahuasca and I wanted to make sure that this was ok and that by doing this, I wouldn’t be disrupting others or if this approach would be unwelcome in any way. I was assured that all activities were optional. During this ceremony there were instances where I was urged and pressured to do things that were expressly against my own healing experience. Aya advised me to continue with my own healing work that was underway and vital to my personal well-being. This involved having to say no several times throughout the night to those who continued to interrupt this process. It was quite a challenge as during the evening there was mounting pressure to participate in activities that others were doing and Aya continued to remind me of the importance and significance of doing what I had chosen to do despite this increasing pressure that ultimately became coercive as it was implied that by simply remaining peacefully in my own experience, I would negatively impact others. I remember feeling so uncomfortable and asking Aya “Isn’t what I’m doing disrespectful?” The response came “That respect goes both ways”. I looked into the eyes of the woman who persisted in the requests I had respectfully declined several times, I saw shifting patterns on her face, and I remember saying to her “There’s no point in me taking this medicine if I ignore what it’s teaching me”. It was a perfect opportunity to integrate the lessons I was being taught about honouring my own experience and not participating in others’ belief systems instead of my own. I want to make it clear that I doubt very much that this is reflective of most or any religious based Ayahuasca experiences. In fact, I’m sure there are many who go to this same center/place and have positive experiences. My unique experience was designed to help me overcome this personal issue and I’m grateful for it.

That night, I continued to learn about the different ways that I would heal and the importance of allowing for my reality as well as the reality of others. It was clear that there is room for more than one reality. It was also clear that although I will use my voice to express what I’ve learned and that it may resonate with some it may also be contrasted by others’ beliefs and opinions. This doesn’t mean that I will be sitting in opposition to others. That was a misconception of my own and perhaps of others. I do not have to participate in that misconception. I can invest in my own beliefs, appreciate and respect others’ beliefs and espouse acceptance of all of this in a harmonious way. The only way to do this is to not insist that because my way of thinking and believing is good for me and others, that everyone else must believe this too.  There is room for all beliefs. If we insist on consensus we are inviting conflict.

One of the ways my own healing work may differ from the work many others do has to do with internal interference in the form of dark or harmful energies. During this particular ceremony, the shamans/facilitators were talking about making friends with these darker energies and in so doing turning them into allies. They both removed dark energies and encouraged work that involved befriending some of these elements at work within. Aya pointed out to me that sometimes, with this work, it is an endless attempt to subdue something that is naturally dark and make it something else that is light. Often this existing darkness that is turned into lightness for some of the time, inevitably goes back to darkness at times and this is the struggle that we engage in when we do this work.

What Aya told me that we would do instead would be to say goodbye to the darker energies within and do so with love so that they would dissipate and be replaced by spiritual allies whose nature is love. She asks me to acknowledge my harmful behaviour and look at the reasons for this behaviour and the source or motivation for it.  What we discover are fear-based beliefs that result from the influence of the past and of harmful energies or entities that I have created or attracted as a result of these experiences in my past. These creations or entities are not part of who I am. They are a result of wounds that I may heal and once this healing takes place, these entities or creatures of my creation Will dissipate as long as I Will it to be so.  I can then use my energy to heal other wounds rather than cultivating a friendship out of these darker energies. It is a choice to do this work in this unique way that is the best way for me as an individual. It does not mean that everyone must do it in this way. It does not mean that people who do it in another way are not valid in doing so. It simply means that this is the work I must do to be well in my own way.  This may resonate with others too.  We are all very unique and we must all find ways to heal that suits us individually and honours our uniqueness. These ways of healing may differ one from another. This is part of the ecosystem of humanity.

Most of the lessons and messages this night had to do with my tendency to invest in other people’s belief systems over my own and this causes self-harm. We are all geniuses.  We form beliefs and find evidence to support these beliefs.  Our genius may lie in our ability to discover the genius in others that resonates with own genius. But when we decide that someone is a genius based solely on status, credentials and accolades alone, we are not honouring our inner genius.  We are then agreeing that only a limited number of people can be geniuses and that we must choose among them to determine our own belief systems. We are creators. We create our own reality. If you create a reality that you don’t like it is not healthy. If you decide that you must agree with a reality because of someone else’s impressive sales pitch rather than your own impeccable inner knowing, you have created a breech that causes suffering.

If you choose to follow your own inner knowing, you can embody this by stepping into your power and living this reality – simply being the change. If you do this without being drawn into other opposing beliefs, you will deflect harmful and negative reactions of others who may hold different beliefs. No need to defend yourself when you’re standing firmly your power. All this work must be fuelled by love for it to be effective and authentic.  It is born out of self-love.

Discussion with Courtney Burrell

Courtney Burrell and Rebecca Hayden discuss the integrative experience of ongoing dialogues with entities (spiritual and/or alien) and what that’s been like, the gifts it has brought to our lives and how it has helped us to improve our lives. We discuss the stigma around the notion of aliens, the similarities between the experiences we have with Aya, NDE’s and reports of contact with aliens. This is a big subject we may revisit in future episodes but we do cover the nature of the messages we’re getting from them – the power of letting go and how we can change the impact of our history through hypnosis and how much personal power we have. We talk about how this connection has helped us raise our kids in a more free, empowering – less autocratic way and in doing so we’re helping to lay the groundwork for a more progressive society. Through these stories it becomes apparent that these beings – some of which are mentioned by name – have been helping humanity for a long time and continue to do so. The messages and integrative value is very much aligned to the Ayahuasca type messages, teachings and healings.

Visit for information about microdosing with Ayahuasca vine drops to support preparation and/or integration and use the coupon code: TALKS for a 10% discount on your order! Unlike the brew used in ceremonies, these microdosing extracts are legal in the U.S., Canada and in most countries worldwide.

Personal Growth & Healing Through Hypnosis

The word ‘hypnosis’ often conjures up images of stage performances where people end up clucking like chickens in front of an audience. What does that have to do with personal growth & healing? More than you think. Although hypnosis stage acts may be performed for entertainment purposes, the possibilities that exist within the process behind the act are endless when applied in creative ways for the purpose of healing and assisting us along the path of personal growth.

When we begin to work at improving our lives, our relationships and achieving our goals, we often discover that the real barriers to achieving these goals are not external, they are internal. For those of us who make these discoveries and embark on the path of personal growth, we also learn that much of the harmful programming that was instrumental in creating these inner barriers, began and took hold at a very young age. Most of us are by now, well acquainted with the concept of childhood programming and it’s effects. Throughout early childhood (especially from 0 to 7 years old) we learned things about ourselves and our world that created beliefs and attitudes that affect our outlook and self-esteem to this day.

As it turns out, a lot of this early programming occurred when our brains were in the ‘Theta’ state. This ‘Theta’ state happens when we begin to fall asleep, intermittently throughout the night and before we fully wake. This state is also available to us through hypnosis, which provides amazing opportunities for us to make changes to deeply imbedded programming. In addition to changing our programming, we also have an opportunity, through hypnosis, to access self-knowledge. This can be truly transformative.

If we’re going to make big and lasting changes in our lives, we need to know more about the most crucial and consistent aspect of all of our lived experiences: ourselves. Many philosophers and spiritual leaders over the years have made reference to innate knowledge or the understanding of the soul. They believed that all knowledge exists within us. Hypnosis is a gateway to this innate self-understanding that helps us to improve ourselves and in so doing, to improves our lives. This deeply held awareness is the key to unlock our greatest potential.

I’m sure many of us have heard the phrase “Everything you need is inside of you”. As it turns out, this is true and hypnosis is a powerful way to access these inner resources and to use them to change our lives in profound ways. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is an empowering tool. Instead of controlling us, hypnosis allows us to explore and change the kinds of beliefs and programming that controlled us for years. This powerful process of self-discovery & healing transforms our inner environment, which reflects outward and impacts our lived experience in meaningful ways.

Although there were powerful influences in our lives when we were children, the power that these influences continue to exert over us is internal. We have internalized these attitudes, beliefs and ideas and this is where change is possible. We have the key. Even our impressions of the past can be altered if we’re open to change. The intention to explore this inner environment is a powerful first step in making these changes a reality.

To discover more about personal transformation through hypnosis, please email me at

Please note, I work remotely via Zoom so you will require a computer with a camera and a built-in microphone (which most computers have).

Ayahuasca Helped Me Explore My Thoughts Then Said: “Tell Them”

During my daily dialogue with Ayahuasca there have been many lessons around my thought patterns and some of the best lessons came when I was actually in ceremony (after ingesting the brew).. or so I thought. The reason I thought this was because during ceremony, I didn’t have my usual defence mechanisms at play – I was a captive audience. However, during one particularly memorable ceremony, Ayahuasca deliberately allowed my thoughts to occur as they normally would and used this opportunity to show me how I allowed my thoughts to get in the way of doing the things I wanted to do in my life. She literally showed me these thoughts as they occurred right after she had encouraged me to consider doing something wonderful. My conception of this wonderful endeavour was inevitably followed by thoughts that began to belittle this idea and make it seem not realistic or unlikely to succeed. Ayahuasca then pointed out how these thoughts themselves were the barriers I faced – not the subject or content of the thoughts, just the actual thoughts themselves. Then Ayahuasca said “Tell Them!” in an emphatic way.

This is not the first time that Ayahuasca has asked me to pass on messages, teachings and urged me to talk about the things I’ve experienced and learned. During a ceremony previous to the one described above, the usually abundant dialogue with Ayahuasca was very sparse and after a short lesson about how I create my own barriers (one of her favourite subjects) I heard “We will speak through you” and then I purged in a way that I won’t soon forget (and unfortunately, nether will the others in the clean up crew). Other than the obvious discomfort of the purge and the rigors of the medicine experience itself, it sounds like an easy thing to do, to share these teachings, but it wasn’t for me. I felt that I had to sufficiently address these issues myself before I could pass along these messages and teach what I was learning. But what did I consider to be sufficient? It was a yardstick that just kept growing and I could never measure up.

I had always been rather critical of spiritual teachers – probably because somewhere inside of me, I knew that I was one myself. My expectations of them were extremely high and this is one of the many lessons in the form of cosmic jokes that I’ve encountered on this integrative journey with Ayahuasca. It’s a good thing that I have a sense of humour – it comes in handy. Every time I’ve judged people in my life it has come back to haunt me and I’ve been humbled on many fronts. This particular judgement was the most difficult because it became a barrier to my own calling. How could I teach if I was so self-critical that I could never live up to my own standards? It was more than a barrier – it was a trap. I managed to make it seem so righteous. Ayahuasca was not impressed.

Well, I’m over it. One thing I always admired in teachers was their willingness to continue to learn and this is something I can honestly say that I’m always doing. Ayahuasca is my constant teacher and one of the best lessons yet was one she offered to help me to address my misgivings about moving forward with teaching. She let me know that due to this constant guidance, my awareness of my thoughts – including the ones that are harmful – is heightened. As I continue to move beyond my comfort zones, it inevitably involves contending with the thoughts that protest this move. She kindly pointed out to me that this is a sign of growth and progress in my life. If I wasn’t constantly moving beyond my comfort zones, I would not have to face and address or traverse these protesting thoughts that intervene. The point is to not let them take over and dominate my decisions or feelings about what I’m doing.

Ultimately, I hope to rest between major shifts outside of my comfort zones. In the meantime, I have decided to regard these periods of discomfort as badges of honour and to move forward with teaching, knowing that we’re all learning together. All I can do as a teacher is to pass on what I learn. This is all any teacher can do and it’s not only teachers that do this. I learn from everyone and what I hope to inspire people to do is to discover the ultimate teacher – the teacher within.

Moving from Punishment to Compassion

Throughout my long journey of healing from depression, I have been learning about the things I need to change within myself. It’s been a challenging, immeasurably rewarding and highly educational experience. It has been a process that has taught me more about myself and about humanity than I could have learned in any other way. I have always been drawn to and moved by Philosophy (the love of wisdom) so this process is feeding a very deep need in me and I’m always wanting to learn more. I know without a doubt that this is where I was meant to be, on this path of learning, and it took depression to ultimately lead me here.

One of the reasons why it’s so challenging to learn about the things that I need to change is that I, like many others, have to contend with an inner (and sometimes outer) kneejerk defensive reaction that wants to protect myself from any kind of accusation of wrong doing. If something needs to change, there needs to be an understanding of what that is and why it needs to change. This is often where the defense mechanism kicks in and this defensive reaction has everything to do with having been immersed in a punishment oriented world for so long – one that breeds this defensiveness in so many of us. The defense is a means of avoiding punishment (a sort of survival instinct). Whether it’s physical, disciplinary punishment (my parents were big softies when it came to this actually) or more of a constant series of responses that indicate how underserving a person is who has ‘done wrong’, it’s a pattern underlying typical social behaviour in our world beginning from early childhood. It is both formal in some instances (reprimands/discipline of children or legal action/jail for adults) and informal in others (social shaming, exclusion and an endless nuanced form of passive aggression). It’s a pervasive pattern that becomes internalized. The continued internal self-punishment and admonishment supports the ongoing external version – that which we apply to others – often in the form of judgement.

On a personal level, when you disparage someone else in your own mind for doing something that is considered to be wrong, you are reinforcing that tendency to punish. This strengthens the punishment reaction so that it becomes alive and well in the mind. Unfortunately, this inner tendency towards punishment is most often directed at yourself because you are the person you live with 24hrs a day. This is really what’s behind the old standing piece of wisdom: ‘When you hurt others, you’re only hurting yourself’. As it turns out, this has merit.

Punishment is a deterrent to personal growth and most importantly to unconditional self-love, which is an imperative for well-being. Because of the anticipation of punishment, defensiveness is justified as ‘self-protection’. This act of self-protection can be mistaken for an act of self-love. It is not. The defense itself is actually based on a false assumption that we can only be loved or be worthy of love if/when we don’t ‘do wrong’ or that if we ‘do wrong things’, we’re not entitled to or deserving of love – even if temporarily. It’s such an old, familiar and damaging paradigm and tearing this down can be extremely liberating. It can be both a beginning and an end: the beginning of compassion and an end to suffering.

It has been a mandatory part of my healing and growth to exercise compassion with myself and with others. Compassion is something that I have learned to nurture within. At times it’s utterly inspired and I am at peace. At others, it takes a supreme effort and I have to remind myself of the wisdom of this approach and of its constant rewards. The rewards of compassion are very clear. If I create an atmosphere in my mind of compassion, I give myself more opportunities to grow and change for the better. In an atmosphere of compassion, I have every incentive to do this because I’m no longer wasting energy defending myself and living in fear of punishment. If I’m treating myself and others with compassion and benefiting from it, I am cultivating an atmosphere of compassion all around me. This is the real revolution. Moving away from punishment and towards compassion is a revolutionary act. In fact, it might be more appropriate to term it an evolutionary act. I believe that we are growing out of this punishment phase of humanity.

Despite popular belief, punishment doesn’t work – not even formally. There have been numerous studies to support this fact and overwhelming evidence. Incarceration and corporal punishment have not reduced crime. In fact crime has only increased steadily and incarceration facilities are growing. Punishment is not effective in bringing about positive change because it only motivates people to avoid punishment rather than to consider for themselves why deep personal change might be necessary and how it might benefit them.

My path of intentional, personal growth began with Shamanism, an ancient practice of healing which for me has involved using many tools & medicines including Ayahuasca and always guided by a higher form of consciousness. There are many ways to access a higher form of consciousness. Some do this through meditation. For me, Shamanism has involved a form of meditation that we call journeying. Whatever name we put on it, this experience can be very liberating. I needed to be liberated from my way of thinking and this liberation has been an instrumental part of my healing. One of the main concepts introduced early in my Shamanic practice was the idea of ‘self service’. If I was to heal and grow, I needed to make changes. This meant dropping behaviour that ‘no longer served me’. In this phrase you may detect a distinct lack of judgement. There’s not the heaviness of ‘wrong doing’ associated with behaviour. It’s quite simply not in my best interest to do these things and therefore it makes sense that I stop doing them. Our judgemental attachment to so-called ‘wrong doing’ is what leads to so much more ‘wrong doing’, which is really just illness – hence the constant reference in Shamanism to ‘healing’ and ‘medicine’.

My experience of healing has helped me to see myself and to approach my life and the world in different ways. I continue to learn about what it means to be ill by learning and experiencing what it means to be well. When I have had difficulties of my own or with others, it helps to see that these difficulties are part of an illness that can be treated rather than an evil or bad behaviour. Once there is judgement, a heaviness is attached, and it becomes much more difficult for me to extricate myself from it. If I’m able to see it as illness, compassion is my response rather than judgement and this changes everything. Would we punish someone for being ill? Even formally, we have laws to protect the mentally ill from punishment. However, I think it’s time that we change the way that we define and perceive mental illness. A favourite quote comes to mind:

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

The wellness and mindfulness movement is an indicator of this need for change and our desire to move forward in a different way. Those of us who have been forced to focus on wellness have discovered that this is not a quick fix. True wellness requires big changes in the ways that we think about and act towards ourselves and towards others. It requires effort and it requires compassion.

Once you begin to see the results of compassion, a form of love, you marvel at the power of it and how freeing it is. Mostly, you marvel at how good it feels and then you understand that there is an alternative to suffering. We have a choice in this and moving from punishment to compassion is a choice and a powerful step towards ending suffering.

The Story of Our Keys: Ayahuasca Wisdom on Personal Power

During my ceremonies with Ayahuasca, like so many others, I had a dialogue with a higher form of consciousness that we call Ayahuasca. When I returned from the jungle, the dialogue continued. During one ceremony, Ayahuasca asked me to put pencil to paper and when I did, the following allegorical story emerged about the nature of our personal power and how we may use it either to build barriers or to create ‘new worlds’. In essence, it’s about how we create our own reality:

Your Keys

You carry a key inside of you, and that key opens the doors of the world that you create. You are creating new worlds all the time and using your key to enter those worlds. The key must remain with you so that you may have access to these new worlds. If you give that key away you lose access.

Giving Your Key Away

Given the importance of this key, it must remain within you. If you give away your key, you give away access to those new worlds–new possibilities. Once the key leaves you, the ability to enter those new worlds resides outside of you. If you put that key into someone else’s hands you have given that person your own access to these new worlds and possibilities. Once this happens your dependency on that person begins. This dependency often breeds resentment. This resentment is the foundation of structures called barriers. We build these structures that encompass our fears of using our own keys. Our focus shifts from these new possibilities to the keeper of the keys.

The Keeper of the Keys

This keeper is now in possession of the key to these new possibilities. This possession is never permanent. It is an illusion supported by the owners of the keys. This illusion becomes more powerful as the focus on the keeper grows. The keepers of the keys are now reviled by the owners because the keepers are restricting access or building worlds that the owners don’t like. This creates conflict.

The Key Owner’s Dilemma

Being convinced that the keepers now own the keys, the owners feel powerless. Every time the owner begins to build a new world this same owner destroys it in the name of the keeper always placing the responsibility for this destruction solely on the shoulders of the keeper. The owner’s frustration builds. How can the owner be expected to create a new world when the keeper stands in the way?

The New Owner’s Thoughts

Now that the keys have no real home having been discarded by the owners and never truly residing with the keeper, the keys constitute an immense unused power. This power is needed and desired by every owner and yet remains unused. The keys are illuminated every time someone breaks out this trap. Those who break free not only see the keys at everyone’s disposal, they also see the multitude of keys to the endless new worlds that they may build.

These are not only the new owners but the true owners as they acknowledge where the true power lies. The new owners see not only the possibilities but the endless struggle of those who deny ownership of their keys. This is a dilemma indeed. How can they help the other owners and keepers to see the reality of the natural and true state of the keys? They must show this by using their own keys to build new worlds in hopes that others will be inspired to claim ownership of their own keys. This is the path to freedom.

This is only an excerpt of ‘The Story of Our Keys’ that continues to unfold. I wrote this story but Ayahuasca is the author. I learned a great deal from writing this story and continue to learn more each time I write and each time I read it. It is becoming a book. This is quite an undertaking that Ayahuasca has tasked me with (while continuing all of my other work) and I’m reaching out to find partners/supporters/fellow co-creators in this undertaking. I am looking for a very special editor to advise me on certain aspects of this project. I will self-publish if necessary, but I would like to find a publisher who is inspired to take this on. Through this work, I have begun to see that our world is filled with unusual and inspiring things if we’re willing to see them and most importantly, to create them.

A Lesson From My Father

My life has changed so much since I’ve become involved in shamanism. One of the most important aspects of shamanism is what we can learn from it. I’m guided through most aspects of my life now and my dreams have become vehicles for messages and lessons. This is a lesson I received in a dream in the form of a eulogy a few months before my father died. It was telling me that my father’s time on this earth was ending. My dad passed on April 27th, 2018 and I gave this dream inspired eulogy (everything after the first paragraph) at his funeral. The lesson included in my father’s eulogy is an important and universal one.

My dad helped his kids move. All 5 of us and we moved a lot. I remember him suggesting that we consider buying inflatable furniture. My dad had a good sense of humour. He gave his time and energy to people in need. He volunteered at the Out of the Cold program at St. Mike’s hospital in downtown Toronto. They took in homeless people overnight during the winter. My mom told me recently that one day, during this time, he mentioned that he had to bring one of the men in the program to the emergency room because his foot was really bad. My mom asked how he discovered this and he told her that he was cutting this man’s toe nails.

He did perform selfless acts but that was not what made my dad special. He was special because of who he was. Those of us who knew him, have a sense of that unique quality that was Joe Hayden. We can use descriptive words like kind, gentle, funny and all of these words are true. But there are other kind, gentle, funny people who are not my dad. He was one of a kind. A unique being that we had the honour to know. We know this now, without any doubt, this essence that was my dad that made him so valuable. Unfortunately, he didn’t know this.

My father experienced an inner battle, one that caused him to feel what people describe as depression. At times, this made it an exquisite effort to do things that others might do effortlessly. We all have an inner life that others may not be aware of. I have experienced this inner battle and it was at it’s worst after my son was born. I know that sometimes, just dropping your child off to their lessons can be a courageous act when the battle is raging.

My dad, this unique and truly lovable person we all knew him to be, didn’t realize that just being who he was, was enough. I think if he did, the battle would have been won long ago. Many of us have trouble with this and I wonder if as a tribute to my dad, we may all start to realize the truth of it. Something we know without a doubt about my father is also true about each and every one of us. The greatest gift my dad gave us was the gift of himself. His unique, irreplaceable, lovely self. We all give that gift every day. Knowing this can make a huge difference in our lives and in the world. This is the final lesson my dad taught me, his final gift that I’m passing onto you.

Workshops Coming Soon!

Plant medicine experiences are often deeply profound experiences that inspire us to examine our lives and to live in a healthier way. This opportunity for change is a gift but it can be challenging to continue to make the kinds of changes in our lives that honour these experiences once we get back to our daily lives.

My own Ayahuasca experiences involved a dialogue that continued long after ceremony and continues to this day. I have been experiencing a guided form of integration for years now and have begun to produce written work that is entirely inspired by this continuing dialogue.

I’m now in the process of creating workshops under this same guidance that will be designed to help people to pursue their own path of personal development in keeping with the wisdom of plant medicines.

Please email to get onto the contact list so that you will be informed of the dates and times of upcoming workshops!


“Meeting and talking to Rebecca about her experiences with plant medicines changed my life. [She] opened my mind to possibilities I hadn’t considered before…. genuine insights into the human condition… yet down to earth, relatable and authentic”

 Psychiatrist, New York

“Rebecca is raw, honest and compassionate in the way she holds space for you and asks riveting questions that pierce through the fluff and get to the core. She has helped me see things clearly and confront things that I didn’t want to see, which has helped me achieve inner breakthroughs for deeper joy”

­ Manager, Toronto

“If the longest road you ever walk is the sacred journey from your head to your heart, then Rebecca Hayden will conjure a magical space where the two can meet at once. She will empower you by sharing her exploration of plant medicine, and you will gain this wisdom without having to travel through four continents to arrive there.”

Healer, Mississauga

“Rebecca’s story of honest unwavering commitment to spiritual discovery, is fascinating and inspiring..”

Educator, Toronto

“Rebecca has a very inspiring story and her knowledge and experience with plant medicines made the workshop a very integrative experience where we were all able to connect with each other and learn from each other’s experiences. I am very grateful to Rebecca for creating a space where we were able to share openly about how our experiences have changed our lives and found it very helpful to connect with a community that understands the profundity of plant medicines. Thanks again Rebecca! ” 

                                                                                                             Student, Toronto

“Such a gem to know Rebecca! I find her warm, open, highly attuned to herself and others, and incredibly psychologically minded, by which I mean she makes meaningful connections around a person’s experiences that resonate with compelling aha’s every time. I treasure my connection with Rebecca and would take every opportunity to work with her.”

                                                                                                     Psychologist, Toronto

“Rebecca’s workshop was an incredibly rich experience. I was at once reconnected to the sacred space of medicine work and reminded of its vast potential to transform our lives. Rebecca is a Phoenix who has risen from the ashes. She has come back with the ability to help and guide others through having endured her own suffering and great personal challenges. I believe that a lot of people can benefit from the work that she is putting forward and I believe that she is building a movement towards greater personal empowerment and awakening. She is a leader and visionary. I gained so much wisdom from the discussions and the material and would highly recommend anyone to attend her workshops.

                                                                Student, Hospitality Professional, Toronto

Hypnosis Testimonials

“If it wasn’t for the undeniable synchronicities that led me to Rebecca, I wouldn’t have imagined myself as someone to seek out counselling or therapy. I place a lot of faith in meditation and self-guided practises, and believe the answers we seek are present within ourselves – we don’t need to seek them from external sources. While this has served me vey well for many difficult years of my life, I recognized that I had reached a point where I was stuck and couldn’t identify what it was that was holding me back. After a couple of sessions with Rebecca I felt my mind had been gently trained to free itself from the many busy thoughts that hold us back from connecting with our subconscious self. I was able to tap into deeper states of relaxation that facilitated the deep inner work, which helped reveal the self-limiting beliefs I had around wealth and influence. Rebecca was very intuitive in guiding my inward journey, and very gentle in helping me embrace more wholesome and empowering ideologies. To help me continue realigning my beliefs while outside of our sessions, she provided me with guided self-hypnosis recordings that I could play anytime through the day, and particularly before bed. These powerful personalized recordings were designed very thoughtfully and thoroughly, and very soon I started to experience a generalized sense of wellness and confidence. As I continue my sessions and continue to peel back the layers of the onion that is my psyche, I want to express my gratitude for the transformative work Rebecca is doing through her hypnosis sessions!”

                                                                                       Dr. Vedant Arun, Medical Bio-Physicist

“I worked with Rebecca in Hypnotherapy in fall 2019. In the sessions, I was able to feel peace and even have healing experiences. Rebecca is very knowledgeable in her craft and able to integrate her other plant medicine experiences as part of the coaching experience as well. She is very patient and open minded, providing a safe and comfortable space for me to freely explore and experience. Her voice is very soothing and led me into a trance that I wasn’t able to experience before. If you are interested in trying hypnotherapy, you will be in great hands with Rebecca. I also thoroughly enjoy her podcast as it can be a very good complement to her sessions. Happy journeying!”

     Lu Wang, Business Consultant

In just a short time with Rebecca’s expertise I was able to experience awesome benefits of hypnosis and deep meditation.  Due to our sessions, very important pieces of my life puzzle shifted allowing for insight and self love. Her guidance was caring, intuitive, and professional.

                                                                        Mary Brooks Conscious Aging Coach


I have been working with Rebecca for about 6 months at this point. I initially came to her for help with longer-term integration of my experiences with plant medicines. After a couple of rough journeys, I was actually fairly terrified of the whole process, and was reassured by listening to her podcasts.

After our first communications led me to ask for guidance and help via (remote) hypnotherapy, her compassionate presence and her insight helped me feel wonderfully supported as I continued to explore the process and broader journey. Her heartfelt efforts have helped me to gain both more understanding of and peace with the path I’m on. Specifically, she’s helped me to feel the loving side of the Grandmother, and helped prepare me for journeys by teaching self-hypnosis to improve my focus on intentions.

Her techniques are grounded and heartfelt, and her openness and compassion are palpable. Rebecca helps me to bridge my rather concrete allopathic training with these experiences, and to improve that which is my daily practice of living. I’m grateful for having found her and for the experiences she’s led me through, and looking forward to further exploration and growth.

Internist, Texas