Dean Spillane Walker
3 min readMay 18, 2018


It really doesn’t have to be this way.

Growing up with a mother who was a flaming alcoholic meant, for me, an out of control, usually raging firestorm in our little house every other day or so. The days in between were mostly normal and fine, just no mention of the last firestorm or the one to come.

In those younger years I enjoyed a vivid imaginary world, playing for hours inside or out… with others and alone. Part of that vivid experience was a palpable sense of being able to be both very present in the activity of the moment — and present to another dimension of my experience, outside of my body and the obvious circumstances around me.

This other dimension allowed for very unusual perceptions and abilities. While these other-than-normal perceptions and abilities are worthy of a book all on their own, the one I wish to mention here is the ability to experience any emotion or sensation or even persistent thought with a clarity and vividness that I could not muster in my normal perception of them.

This other dimension of perception and experience was particularly helpful and relieving when I was trying to make sense of a recent home firestorm. In my normal perception and experience I would be very afraid of the persistent storms and afraid of how little control I had and how little ability to protect myself from my only caregiver.

The clarity and reframing that I was able to experience in the other dimension of experience left me with a little mantra that I could carry with me back into normal perception. The mantra: “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

It is hard to express how much solace and relief this little mantra (and the embodied memory of the reframing and released state of the other dimension) gave me.

I did plenty of alcohol and drugs from a very young age. Most of that calmed way down when I experienced psychedelics. From moment one I knew that these substances could offer me a new and different access to that second dimension. Yes, some substances were more effective than others, quality and setting and context were all very important.

But it didn’t take me long to find the cleanest and most potent energy medicine to take me through the old familiar second dimension of my youth and far beyond. I found myself, again quite young, around 16… offering to accompany others into these other dimensions. I seemed to have a knack for holding sacred space for newcomers to these other dimensions.

I am humbled as I look back on these many journeys and the many hearts consciously broken open to experience a new level of wholeness and oneness with life.

My one particular journey that I am sharing in this Michael Pollan project is my first experience with Ayahuasca. This journey was the most vivid and compelling of all of my journeys. This journey was to have me experience viscerally and completely, what it is to be another being. In this case, an animal. Actually a number of different animals. It is difficult to convey how seamless this experience was.

I was able to go to a now very familiar state, one that I’ve come to call, grace. Extraordinary expansion of awareness and consciousness and an indescribable experience of inter-being. Of being intimately related with everything. Everything.

This particular journey invited a remarkable, new and even grander experience of grace.

Along with that grace was, again indescribable, an experience of release or letting go of all innate structures of humanness. This release, this infinite letting go is one of the most profound and indelible impressions on my being that I have experienced in any part of my life.

This progression from my second seeing as a child to the many journeys to many different dimensions later on, to the repeated immersions in grace, to embodying an entirely different being, to releasing / letting go at a core level any human construct… and then to return to this troubled, predicament-laden world, this life, this dimension.

I am left only with my little mantra…It really doesn’t have to be this way.



Dean Spillane Walker

Offering transformative support for people bravely facing human-caused collapse of Earth and Human Systems /