Jess McCulloch

My Synthesis Story by James Sykes

“Challenging and pushing myself outside of my bubble was exactly the leap of faith I needed.” — JAMES SYKES

My name is James, and for most of my life I felt I had followed a defined path through both my education and career. However, the way I felt about turning up to work every day showed me I had ignored the value of my choices. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I had ticked off points from the invisible checklist I believed hung over my head. This was, if not a comfort, a solace that I was doing what was right, until one day it all felt wrong.

James

I had become blind to the day-to-day experiences of life.” - James Sykes at Synthesis Retreat

Reflecting on the ever-changing landscape of my life, I became drawn to opportunities to examine the way I thought and acted. Leaving myself open to new ideas, I heard about the transformational potential of psilocybin and decided to look into it further. I listened to lectures and read literature on the subject and thought more and more about how any experience, which encouraged self-reflection, would be something I would like to try.

In my journey to date, I had only tried personal coaching, as well as the reflective and therapeutic power of getting lost in the woods with my dog. So, the idea of using a chemically-based substance such as psilocybin was out of my comfort zone entirely. But I reassured myself that challenging and pushing myself outside of my bubble was exactly the leap of faith I needed. I knew there were feelings about my life, my career choice, and the direction of my future that needed addressing and I had cautious optimism that a Synthesis weekend retreat would be the first step on the right path. 

From the moment I stepped into the grounds of the Synthesis retreat I felt welcome, at ease, and almost celebrated. Everyone, from the facilitators to the other guests, were all there with a keen focus on providing the best and most valuable experience possible. At one point before the ritual, a facilitator said they truly cared about us and our experience, and this was shown through the bespoke guidance, 1-2-1 support and appreciation for our needs they all provided. 

I promised myself I would make the most of my time at Synthesis but this would not have happened without the support of everyone attending. You are invited to find fellowship amongst the group, challenge yourself with breathing workshops and seek out answers through productive coaching sessions. Every element of the weekend was aimed towards you, your journey, and your personal growth. 

When asked about my aims for the weekend, I said I wanted to look at myself and my approach to the world, but also take away something tangible that I could apply to my daily life. From the experience of using psilocybin I found a new perspective on the narrative I had spent so long believing. It allowed me to be more thankful, more open and more aware of the journeys we all go on. I now approach the world aware of the kindness we can give if we look up, take notice and respect ourselves as well as each other.

The Lighthouse

“From the moment I stepped into the grounds of the Synthesis retreat I felt welcome, at ease, and almost celebrated.” At The Lighthouse.

The after-care from Synthesis was superb and hugely beneficial not just in the days after, but also the weeks and months. Learning never stops, and learning about yourself never should. For me, I took away a strong sense of now. I had spent a long time thinking of life as what had been and what may be, rarely looking at what was. I had become blind to the day-to-day experiences of life, but the work I did at Synthesis taught me that life is now and now is all we have.

When sharing my psilocybin experience with my loved ones, it was like trying to explain the inexplicable. I learned though that what I really wanted to share were the feelings of positivity and confidence I had going forward into the future. I went to Synthesis with a clear idea of who I was. For me, the rest of my life was mapped in a way I just could not accept. By meeting and working with the wonderfully supportive people at Synthesis I was able to ask myself questions I had never thought of to gain answers I didn’t know I needed.

I would encourage anyone seeking guidance, personally or professionally, to consider a retreat at Synthesis. Amongst all the inspiring people you will meet, you will get to know one particularly important person in ways you never anticipated. Yourself. 

Watch James’ story:

Testimonial - James