Colorado doctors highlight patient safety and preparation as key priorities in state’s development of psilocybin therapy rules

“We know that natural medicines have been used safely for millennia by cultures for healing, and Colorado can do better to promote health and healing by reducing its focus on criminal punishments for (people) who suffer mental health issues, and by establishing regulated access to natural medicines through a humane, cost-effective and responsible approach,” Mental Health Colorado CEO Vincent Atchity said. 

Colorado is in the process of developing rules for the rollout of its psilocybin therapy program, and mental health experts highlighted some components that will factor into those decisions last week. 

Mental Health Colorado and Healing Advocacy Fund will host a series of webinars about the rollout of psilocybin services in the state over the next couple months, and held the first session on Thursday.  

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100 things that made my year by Vincent Atchity

A list of good things in 2023

A list of good things in 2023, before we get too far into this new one--by way of New Year's greeting and because sharing is healthy. What were some of yours??

1. Getting up early every morning for 30 minutes of zazen (1258 consecutive days and counting!--statistic thanks to the Insight Timer, which I've been using for free for that many days). Creating an international virtual sangha on Insight Timer, exchanging morning greetings with companion meditators.

2. Ten to fifteen minutes of post-zazen lectio (lifelong loves: Edward Espe Brown, Thich Nhat Hanh, and newer inspirations, Brad Warner, Dogen, and others; also appreciative of daily emails from Eknath Easwaran's Blue Mountain Center and Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation).

3. 30 minutes each day of exercise (alternating days of running and strength training, plus yoga on Mondays).

4. Guided classes on Peloton (favorite running guides: Becs Gentry, Robyn Arzon, Matty Maggiacomo; favorite strength coaches: Adrian Williams, Callie Gullickson; favorite yoga instructors: Anna Greenberg, Aditi Shah). Let me know if you want a referral for some free weeks of access to thousands of online classes!

5. Weekly lists of 10 things worth sharing from Austin Kleon (feeling invited to steal that concept and this list of 100 things, thanks to his book: Steal Like an Artist).

6. Discovering new music with paid subscription to Spotify, building a library of albums and artists thanks to recommendations from Austin Kleon, the NY Times, my friend Dave, and others.

7. Solitary first cup of morning coffee, sitting in my chair with the view of trees and neighbors' houses. Recently I learned that there is a word in Arabic for this: soubhiye & now feel greater kinship with my lineage of Lebanese ancestors and their imagined morning practice.

8. Eliot's early morning companionship--he's always the first up (after me)--but only on weekends or when he's not going to school!

9. Learning to eat for the second half of life--mostly foods with low caloric density (plants!), with the help of the Noom app. Let me know if you want a referral for some free trial weeks!

10. Louis's passion for music and instruments. He's got six or more toy guitars, plus his 3rd birthday Loog--and knows the name of every instrument he's ever come across. Second year favorites on endless repeat: The Okee Dokee Brothers, "Help Me, Rhonda!," "California Girls," "Twist and Shout."

11. Oliver's IT proficiencies--our household problem-solver with remotes, passwords, connectivity. His room is a gamer's Mecca--podcast station, display, speakers, bells and lights and whistles. Also: Oliver's ear for music, hearing him pick out tunes on piano and guitar.

12. Having a bird feeder outside the living room window, enjoying the regular visits from black-capped chickadees, house finches, red-breasted nuthatches, and juncos. Amazing how fast they'll go through a feeder filled with black sunflower seeds.

13. Great-horned owls in the neighborhood. Magpie sightings (common in our area, they are often in pairs).

14. Staying with my mom and step-father, George, in the East Bay--visits to favorite restaurants: Cactus TaqueriaGioia's PizzaCheese Board. Walks and conversations and cozy homeyness.The maple trees and great incense cedar, squirrels and crows.

15. Mid-winter long weekend in LA to visit my dad and step-mother, Kayoko. Comforts, homeyness, incense, reflection and bells, crowding into the kitchen, views all around.

16. Kura sushi--our boys' favorite first stop in LA, much enjoyed by all of us every time, worthy of its own mention.

17. Three glorious weekdays of spring skiing at Arapahoe Basin with the two big boys.

18. 91 felony counts.

19. Driving through New Mexico to Scottsdale for the boys' spring break--lava beds and desert vastness!

20. Balmy March weather at Lauren's parents' new place in Arizona--pool time, water slides, Negronis with my father-in-law.

21. June Gloom in Newport Beach.

22. Two days of body surfing at Corona del Mar--body memory, Pacific battering and cosmic baptism.

23. Eliot exploring the Laguna Beach tidepools.

24. Burning incense in my home office to get the week started, enjoying the incense burner Kayoko brought from India for me.

25. The Broadmoor in summer--poolside, water slide, dinner at the Lago.

26. The Broadmoor in winter--day drinking, dinner at the Lago.

27. Weekend in Vail.

28. Traveling with the family to Canada thanks to my mom. Louis's first passport. Speaking some French.

29. Dressing up in seersucker with the boys to officiate my cousin Adam's wedding to Paulina in Montreal, enjoying the company of their friends, Uncle Jerry and Aunt Tami, and extended family.

30. Getting around Montreal by metro--comment de bien se debrouillent nos fils!

31. Family togetherness in Montreal--my mom, sister, niece, nephew, cousins, aunt, & uncle.

32. The train ride to Quebec, just the five of us.

33. Staying at the Chateau Frontenac!

34. Being the family tenzo (cf. How to Cook Your Life).

35. Having family within easy walking distance (all of my in-laws are right around the corner!).

36. Having my cousin Amy and her three little boys within a twelve-minute drive. Texts from my cousin Sara and her husband Mark. A visit with my cousin Matt.

37. Nearly daily therapeutic cold showers (inspired by Katherine May's Wintering and @coldplungecolorado).

38. Serving on Mental Health America's first "Spirit in Mind" task force.

39. Serving on Colorado's first Jail Standards Commission.

40. Appreciating the long-sought privilege of being able to do meaningful public service work for a living.

41. Passing laws to promote well-being; increase access to housing, health care, supports, and services, and end discrimination.

42. Being part of a team of passionate, mission-driven, talented, and often funny colleagues.

43. Being appointed to serve on Governor Polis's Working Group to Transform Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

44. Using generations of Rhodia notebooks to keep track of things (creating an index, having lists of books, movies, music, etc).

45. Packing for trips (reducing all things down to the barest necessities).

46. Learning to let go of past and future and the cycling narrative of the constructed self (ha! wish me luck with this one!).

47. Book launch for Romeo's Beat (available on amazon...please leave a review!)

48. Learning to play the drums.

49. Two-night backpacking adventure with Eliot and Oliver in the Lost Creek Wilderness. The boys pulled out their knives to whittle every time we took a break, loved using their LifeStraws to drink from the creeks, excited about every freeze dried meal, tracked our progress on the topographical map, named our two campsites: Camp Big Rock and Camp River Cave--we only saw seven humans in forty-eight hours.

50. Dinners at our local Mexican restaurant (Los Dos Potrillos). Walking distance. "Horni Presidente" margaritas. Carnitas. Mocaljete.

51. Take out from our local Indian restaurant (India's Kitchen II).

52. Sushi and bento boxes from Menya Sushi Bar.

53. The noodle bowl at City O City.

54. President Biden, one of the best we've had--a great presidency is a team and a culture as much as it is a person.

55. Cocktails and dinners at my brother-in-law's house.

56. Biweekly martini meetings with my colleague fellow-father friend, David.

57. Adding a space heater to my home office so that I'm not shivering through winter zoom calls.

58. Having really good neighbors all along the block.

59. Accompanying Eliot to his early morning swim team practice at the neighborhood pool (six minute walk) in the summertime.

60. Watching the partial solar eclipse with the special glasses.

61. Handmade artisanal wool caps for the whole family from Aunt Tami--wearing them every day when the weather turns cold.

62. Making the SAFER transitional housing project fully part of Mental Health Colorado, adopting the Wounded Healer Project as a supported initiative.

63. Attending and staffing a booth at Colorado's first Psychedelic Science conference (the yellow submarine surfaced!), and partnering with the Healing Advocacy Fund to host a webinar series on psychedelic medicine.

64.  Emails, texts, letters, and conversations with far-flung old friends (Erik, Cecilia, Lois, Fr. Christopher, Claro, Pilar, Mike, Rebecca, Caitlin, Mark, Jerry, Pepe, Iza).

65. Listening parties and conversation catch-up at Dave's house.

66. Dave's exploding photographic output--notable cars around the East Bay, follow @fergusmacphellimey on IG!

67. John's impressive new job. Cocktails and catch up at the incomparable Hotsy Totsy Club.

68. The drive to Point Reyes National Seashore, perennial spiritual home and pilgrimage site, walking on Limantour Beach, dinner at Station House Cafe.

69. Taking the boys on the Larkspur ferry to San Francisco, having lunch at Imperial Tea Court.

70. The launch of the second volume of my dad's memoir, My Obit: My Southern Belle.

71. Launching the newly formatted Mental Health Colorado monthly newsletter, subscribe to learn about all the advocacy we've got going on!

72. My bit about difficulties faced by jails trying to limit use of solitary confinement appeared in The Crime Report.

73. My bit about addressing root causes of the state's mental health crisis appeared in Colorado Newsline.

74. My bit on "Care Not Cuffs, for Substance Use" appeared in Colorado Politics.

75. My call to action for mental health systems change was published in The Hill.

76. Living in the golden age of streaming television and movies. Things we have enjoyed watching ourselves or re-watching with Oliver: Emily in Paris, Wednesday, The Recruit, Somebody Feed Phil, The Great British Baking Show, Lockwood & Co, Outer Banks, Springsteen on Broadway, Never Have I Ever, Sex Education, Surviving Summer, Anne with an E, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, World on Fire, Atlantic Crossing, Call the Midwife, All Creatures Great and Small.

77. The triumphant multi-dimensional brilliance of Taylor Swift, and all that she represents for the empowerment of women, goodness, and continuous growth. Watch Miss Americana if you haven't already.

78. Celebrating the birth of my youngest first cousin's first child--Alex's baby Elana. Time & regular contact with my Aunts Mary and Laurie.

79. Visits from my mom--when she comes to stay everything seems a little easier and cozier and safer for awhile.

80. Successfully squeezing in some time (ten to fifteen minutes at a time, here and there) to write; or at least making lists of topics to write about were there time and energy or interested readers or a platform for such things: wikipedia; sailing & navigation; being tenzo; Spotify recommendations (listen to The Matrix by Mother Mother!); beer, wine, & liquor; legalized marijuana; psilocybin and other natural medicines; on being binary vs. non-binary; aging well (ripening); friendship & time; death & dying; divorce; work and time; books on the shelves; books not on the shelves; love as compass; discernment, suicide, & death of the little self; Peter Tosh's promise; divorce & the holidays; learning to eat; body mass index; Mick Jagger & Paul McCartney; Bob Marley for an autobiography in Black; purpose & practice; being in a body; husbandry & fatherhood; responsibility for objects.

81. Being a guest speaker on a podcast or two.

82. Getting Oliver his first iPhone and phone number. Incidentally, joining AARP (the closest I'll likely ever get to retirement) in order to get a substantial discount on AT&T.

83. Every time Lauren stops in the middle of the ten thousand things just to give me a hug.

84. Every time Louis runs up to give me a hug or climb up my legs. Every time he calls me Daddy Bowser.

85. Re-reading Thornton Wilder's Our Town in preparation for full appreciation of Ann Patchett's Tom heart!

86. Oliver's evening companionship and chattiness, his questions about all kinds of things. His daily Duolingo practice of Spanish.

87. Doing fifth and seventh grade math homework.

88. Reading to Eliot at bedtime. "More!" he always, always says every time I say it's time to stop and turn out the light.

89. How tall the big boys are getting--how big their feet!

90. Oliver plugging away on his screenplay using Final Draft.

91. Hosting sleepovers for the boys' friends, orchestrating homemade tortilla-making, making bacon and eggs for breakfast before sending them home.

92. Getting a clean bill of health at my annual wellness exam--health is the greatest wealth!

93. Annual family teamwork to rake all the leaves, front yard and back--seventeen large bags!

94. Using a snowblower to clear the driveway--secondhand score by Lauren, who is excelled by  none at making such high-value finds.

95. Celebrating the approach of the winter solstice. Turning on the Christmas tree lights in the morning darkness. Lighting the Advent candles. Driving around the neighborhood at night to look at all the lights and decorations together. Listening to under-played holiday music. Sending and receiving holiday cards.

96. Louis's exploding vocabulary and complex sentence structures--the things he says!

97. How Lauren sells stuff we're ready to get rid of on Homestead Swap--at great prices, often wholly covering replacement costs.

98. Lauren's patience with Louis--her devotion to all the boys, all the details she keeps in her head--there never was a more wonderful mother, nor more fortunate children. And all the while working a full-time job somehow!

99. Lauren's sense of style--always looking good, always a sight for sore eyes.

100. Marking fifteen years of our marriage! Even if we never made a chance to celebrate properly.

Sending this along on substack...aspiring to share more in 2024!