What is PRATI? Reflections on the September KAP Training

Written by Sam Killmeyer

Sam Killmeyer is a writer and organizer living in Northern Colorado. She serves as PRATI’s Communications and Program Assistant.

As the new PRATI communications and program associate, I was invited to attend the September KAP Training in order to better understand what PRATI is and what it offers to the world. What story PRATI is trying to tell. I was told many times beforehand that the experience was something special, that you could only understand by being there, and that I had to go and “soak up the PRATI goodness.” All of these things were true, and more.

PRATI’s purpose is “Restoring Connection to the Sacred: Self, Community, Nature, and Spirit.” In my role, I’ve been thinking about how broad and ineffable that purpose statement is. I work in digital marketing for small businesses, and for my clients, the purpose is very clear — to promote a service and get customers in the door.

PRATI has no problem promoting its primary service, KAP trainings, and trainings sell out quickly. People who know PRATI know how special it is and tell others about it. Over the past few years, a community of PRATI alumni has spread the word about trainings, and that’s better and more authentic than any marketing campaign. 

And so I’ve been struggling with what my role is then in terms of communications. Do I promote our webinars? Build a social media presence? Improve our website? Yes, yes, and yes, but attending the training showed me how much bigger PRATI is, and how much it has to share with the world. 

Creating Containers

I am new to the mental health and psychedelic medicine world, and during the training, a key theme that stuck with me was “creating a container.” Practitioners were taught how to create a container for their clients that allows them to feel safe and able to fully experience the medicine. That same container then gives clients the opportunity to integrate their ketamine experience through therapy and take what they learned into their lives. 

The container is where the work of healing begins, and where clients learn the innate power they have to heal themselves. The container is where you can feel safe to be your most vulnerable self, behind eyeshades, wearing headphones, and surrendering to whatever the ketamine journey has to teach you.

As I watched the participants journey on the second day of the training, I was struck by how emotional it was to witness. I was part of that space, and our course director and KAP music curator Stephen Thomas handed me a pair of headphones so I could listen more closely to what the journeyers were hearing. I’m not sure how to describe it, beyond that it was beautiful. 

Building We

PRATI is the container that makes that beauty and connection possible. PRATI is the team of people that carefully construct the space through both the physical (soft blankets, eyeshades, headphones) and the social (open conversations, touchstones, kindnesses). The space of the retreat center nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by red hogbacks covered in sagebrush, and the ceremonies that are built into the training all work together to create something that is really special, that PRATI goodness. 

And, of course, it is the people that come from across the country to join together in this unique container. Everyone bringing their full selves to the space, open to the opportunity to learn and be transformed. Somehow, in that space, a group of strangers began to know each other. Maybe it was the retreat center, the medicine, the meals shared together, the common healing vocation. Maybe it’s another something that can’t be put into words — beyond that it was beautiful to witness these people come together.

In the closing ceremony, we all held hands and said one word. One person said “We.” As I reflect on the training, I keep returning to We. PRATI is a special We, and our purpose is to welcome anyone who is seeking the type of community we’re building into this space.

Connecting to the Sacred

What is that type of community? It’s one that holds the Sacred at the center rather than the Self. PRATI is built on a model of Wholeness, and the deep truth that we are interconnected beings. Wholeness in our approach to healthcare, but also how we are innately tied to one another — and to our planet and the more-than-human world. 

I come to PRATI from a background in creative writing and climate activism. In my writing, I return again and again to the ecosystems I am a part of. I’ve written a lot about the last remaining tallgrass prairie in Kansas, where I’ve stood on limestone outcroppings and looked out at a sea of grass, Big Bluestem turning red in the fall, sunflowers sprouting in summer, prairie chickens dancing, the wind touching all of us. For me, this is sacred.

I see PRATI as its own ecosystem, and my role is to be part of nurturing its growth. I’m excited about all the possibilities we have ahead of us as an organization. One thing I am particularly happy about is the container of our newsletter, where we are gathering and sharing writing, art, and other expressions of our mission created by our community for our community and the broader public. When I’m dreaming big, that newsletter becomes a physical magazine that people across the country hold and share. 

Perhaps PRATI offerings, like our KAP trainings and newsletter, can be seen as a treatment modality — a way of healing ourselves, our community, nature, and spirit that allows us to meet our vision: “a world where people flourish and thrive in right relationship with the natural world.” 

As we move forward, our PRATI ecosystem will shift and change with each person who joins our community, and, hopefully, together we will plant seeds that flourish. Personally, I can’t wait to see where we go together, and how our ecosystem, our container, can expand and transform.

Thank you for being a part of this community we call PRATI. I am honored and grateful to be here with you. If you’d like to contribute any poems, writing, art, music, or other reflections of what PRATI is for you or your relationship with psychedelic medicines, please get in touch – sam.killmeyer@pratigroup.org

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