A Midlife, Menopausal Mom Seeks Medicine in Magic Mushrooms

Treasure Beach, Jamaica, home to MycoMeditations, a psilocybin-assisted retreat. (Photo by Lizbeth Finn-Arnold)

There was a moment at the airport as I waited for my flight to Jamaica that I wondered have I lost my freaking mind?

I was riding solo this trip, reeling from an unholy midlife trinity: menopause, empty nest, and marital separation. As I looked around at my fellow travelers, feelings of isolation and unease grew. I was surrounded by joyful honey-mooners, intact vacationing families, and Christian missionaries in matching pink T-shirts. One of these things didn’t belong, and that thing felt like me.

I wasn’t embarking on a fun-filled…

The happiest women are single and child-free, so where does that leave men?

Photo by Lizzie Finn

I always thought by modeling emotional caretaking and nurturing for my husband, eventually, he would return the favor.

We were together for 32 years. But I could not undo his programming from early childhood. I believe he tried to be a good husband and father (and often he succeeded), but he seemed unable (or unwilling) to fully rise above the limitations of past generations.

My husband’s go-to defense: “I’m better than my father.”

This was technically true, considering his father never made himself a sandwich or put a dish in the dishwasher. But I wondered why my husband was content…

Neither of us died, and yet I’m still grieving a devastating loss two years after the unexpected and tragic end of my long-term marriage

Photo by Lizzie Finn / July 9, 1994

When I look at the photo above, I don’t see a woman — I see a girl. She’s only 26, four years out of college, having worked only one real job in her life, and marrying the only boy she’s ever dated.

Even though it’s been ten years since her father died, she’s never really processed the trauma of his illness and death. College was her great escape from seriousness and loss, and she was determined not to look back.

So when a male friend from high school drove all night to show up outside her dorm window and declare…

Just like that, I realized SATC took a dysfunctional, toxic relationship and sold it to us as a bullshit fairy tale romance.

I remember watching the series finale of Sex and the City in 2004 with a group of giddy women in our thirties (most of us married with children). We drank Cosmos and cheered when Carrie ended up with Mr. Big instead of the Russian.

To many, it was the perfect series finale. After years of struggle and strife as a single woman, Carrie’s wit, passion, and persistence finally paid off. She somehow managed to do the miraculous by convincing the unobtainable, emotionally absent, aloof businessman, Mr. Big, to choose her.

It was the proverbial fairy tale happy ending we all…

Maybe it’s better not to be a father than to become an ambivalent father

Photo by Lizzie Finn

This year my son became a first-time father — to a puppy named Leo. And this week he told me he thought he might NOT have kids someday.

“But you’re so good with Leo,” I said. “You would make a wonderful father.”

My son replied, “Taking care of Leo is the reason I don’t think I want them.”

I responded: “You’re 22, it’s normal not to be ready for fatherhood. But don’t make any final decisions about your life. Things may change in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.”

Hell, men can change their minds about fatherhood well into their…

Be grateful your symptoms lasted for two days instead of lingering for years

Photo by Lizzie Finn

Millions of people have now either had COVID or had COVID-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine. And almost everyone I talk to agrees that those symptoms were pure hell.

Imagine having those same symptoms — debilitating pain, extreme fatigue, and foggy brain — beyond two days, or two weeks, two months, or two years.

Those two days of hell you experienced after your vaccine (or two weeks while sick with COVID) were my life for SIX years while living with chronic Lyme disease.

I prayed every night for relief or ‘one good day.’ I never received it. …

We blossom when we stop resisting change

Photo by Lizzie Finn

“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we are meant to be.”

From BROKEN OPEN: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser

Humans are strange. We are in constant conflict with our own nature.

We desire comfort, consistency, and connection with others. And yet, we also get bored easily and seek new and exciting experiences and relationships.


We should celebrate Irish culture for its beauty and courage without the tacky drunken debauchery.

Dingle, Ireland. Photo by Lizzie Finn
Dingle, Ireland. Photo by Lizzie Finn

If St. Patrick’s Day were a house, it would be a sprawling, termite-infested structure, stuck in a tacky timewarp, in desperate need of a modern update.

It would be a fixer-upper.

I’m like Joanna Gaines — I can look past the gaudy ugliness of this house and see the strong bones. Underneath the tacky bright green and orange decor and shamrock face tattoos, I see a foundation worth saving and building upon.

I want to get in and strip it all down to the bones to reclaim the authentic, pristine pieces (the original moldings and shiplap). …

Never mess with a woman and her complicated grief.


Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen in the series finale of “WandaVision.” Credit: Marvel Studios

I am a very powerful witch, forged, not born. Like Wanda Maximoff, I have no coven, but I can do magic without any incantation.

At least that’s how it feels. You see, almost exactly a year ago, I cursed the world. And I cursed it hard.

I was tired of trying to explain to people how soul-sucking it felt to be trapped inside a sick body — living a diminished existence — unable to venture outside my home into the world.

And so, I cast an unintentional hex. I wanted the world to live inside my pain…

A poem to unlock the soul

Winter of Discontent/Photo by Lizzie Finn

I do not behave myself in my illness.
I am the most impatient of patients.
I am prickly and on edge.
I cannot play the role of saint or martyr.

I tire of this endless rest.
This endless pain.
This endless lack of pleasure.
I long for life as it was before.

Before wasn’t perfect, BUT —
It was a life of relative ease.
A life of general health.
A life of endless possibility and potential!

And I took it all for granted.

I tire of even this –
My endless moaning and lamenting.
Woe is Me.
Boo-fucking-Hoo. …

Lizzie Finn

I write, create, instruct. My curiosity is expansive — health, happiness, relationships, spirituality, TV/film, psychedelics, feminism, neuroscience, life.

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