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Set the Setting: September 2023
Meme Drop, Zhu's Queer EDM Video, Psychedelic-Assisted Career Coaching, Catch me IRL at Ursa Major (Flagstaff, AZ), Reflecting on 12 years in SF
Meme of the Month
Teddy, one of my most trusted friends, gave me critical feedback that spurred some introspection about how I’m showing up for him, for others, and inherently, for myself. Teddy and I have a lot of shared identities, and we’ve been sidekicks for the past 18 months after our ayahuasca retreat together. Initially, I was defensive about the feedback, but I knew I had to chew on it:
I’ve felt a little “boy crazy” since my ayahuasca experience; because I used to protect my feelings by burying myself into work (which I was good at) to avoid having to deal with my inner-self that wanted love (which I was “bad” at). Since that experience, I’ve taken major life steps to create spaciousness for dating, like moving from tech to non-profit, and oriented my social life, energy, and conversations towards love. I probably spend 3-4x of my energy on romantic relationships than I used to! My family and friends have shown up for me in beautiful ways; offering their support by setting me up, listening, and holding space when things fizzle out.
But my dating stories can feel like a broken record - and as Teddy pointed out, “the way you’re being treated and the situations you accept for yourself are getting worse and worse.” It’s made me realize that a) my friends don’t need the blow by blow of everything that didn’t work out and b) I’m at risk of having these patterns become entrenched as part of my life story — my entire reality, even.
So, here we are - another blog entry about love! I love you Teddy, for having the hard conversations out of deep care and respect. For everybody else, going forward, feel free to reflect back how I’m showing up for you. Keep me accountable if you see me acting in ways that aren’t in integrity with my words; that’s what friends are for.
Zhu’s Queer EDM Video
My favorite Zhu track is My Life, ft. Tame Impala. By no means is it his most played track; the initial reviews of it were fairly critical. The looping lyrics of “let me live my life” are accompanied by a synthy arpeggio, a gurgly baseline and a kick drum that feels like “vacuous, paint-by-numbers EDM” according to some critic. Ouch.
But it’s always been my favorite track even before I found the music video, which features a young, queer, exploration of love between teenagers played by Nico Hiraga (who is Asian) and West Adler. It’s a god damn masterpiece! I cannot impart enough how important it is to have Queer Asian representation in mainstream culture. I didn’t see myself in movies or music videos. There was no Disney fairytale for me. Not feeling seen formed a sense of self that I was invisible, inadequate, and unwanted. I needed this music video 20 years ago.
I adore how the relationship builds: the questioning looks, the stolen glances, that shared lollipop (HOT!). The fact that they die in a horrific car accident, holding hands, just before their first kiss represents how that pure, unadulterated love can still slip through your fingers. Don’t wait for love; life is too short!
Psychedelic-Assisted Career Coaching
I’ve spent the past few months working on my next idea: Psychedelic-Assisted Career Coaching. Shout out to my collaborators and thought partners (Emma, Ella, Ben, Aly, Mike, and others!) I finally feel ready to put the offering on my professional website: www.setthesetting.com. My site features EDM alongside research, interviews and consulting services and this music video is a prime example why; the intersection between EDM/raves, psychedelics, sexuality, and equality is where the foundation of my career exists. My first music video feature was Tim Berg’s (Avicii) music video for Seek Bromance which starts with a teenager getting kicked out of his house for being queer, though it was more subtle in its messaging (it came out 2010.) Check out that video on my site too - they do LSD and go to Vegas!
My coaching program leverages psychedelics, alongside 6-8 hours of coaching, that produces clarity for an individual’s career journey. I’m ready to start having more open conversations! For example:
Do you think MDMA could be used to tap into one’s true passions to find more meaningful, purposeful work? Or help someone come to a sense of acceptance with career anxiety?
Perhaps psilocybin could be used to close a past work-related wound, such as moving past an experience of bias or discrimination in the work place? Or maybe helping a leader seek closure from a past experience that didn’t work out the way they anticipated?
I imagine LSD could be used to unlock new neural pathways for innovation and business decisions. I’ve also used LSD to show up more authentically as a leader; moving past how society tells me I’m supposed to be at work. Not having to use cognitive power to code-switch has made me a more effective leader.
I’m excited to continue building this offering out on my website. Also, head to www.setthesetting.com for my analysis on the most recent literature review on microdosing! As always, I summarize published research in high-impact journals for easy reading, discussion and download.
Catch me IRL at Ursa Major (Flagstaff, AZ)
Roll call! Who else is going to GRiZ’s Ursa Major Festival in Flagstaff, September 22-24? GRiZ got a lot of airtime on my Set The Setting: Pride Edition Playlist as an openly gay DJ that I adore. (Daily Bread will be playing too - throwback to March’s Rave to the Grave party!)
This is the first music festival that I get to call a work trip! I’m going to hang with my awesome coworkers, lead a workshop on “Coming Out Psychedelic,” take some research chemicals, and dance my ass off… and get paid to do it? Pinch me!
Alas, another affirmation that I have made some excellent life choices when it comes to my career. I am so blessed to have found ways to unlock my true potential, at the sweet spot intersection of my skills and my passions. I am so grateful… for LSD, for being a tool that has enabled me to seize all of these opportunities in life.
Reflecting on 12 Years in SF
September 1st marked my 12th year in San Francisco! This month’s photo drop celebrates my four biggest pieces milestones:
Clockwise from top left:
Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas! Deb took me in 2013 and I’ve been back every year. Surrounded by friends on the dance floor is incredibly healing.
Alex, my first boyfriend. He showed me that I am worthy of love. Those memories inspire me to find love again.
Ravehau5. Living with my best friends and throwing amazing parties; not a care in the world. It was a chapter of my life that I will cherish forever.
The Unicorn era. IFKYK: these little baddies revolutionized my life. They have helped me manifest opportunities beyond my existing realities.
I hope you enjoyed this slice of Set the Setting. Subscribe for free to receive my monthly update.