A friend recommended “Nine Perfect Strangers” to me, having suspected my deep interest in the world of psychedelics.
This series is about nine people who gather at a health and wellness resort, “Tranquillum,” run by a woman named Masha, who herself went through experiences that dramatically changed her to the point that she made it her mission to heal people by using a combination of various techniques along with psilocybin micro-dosing.
However, “Nine Perfect Strangers” is a story about the whole healing journey, which can be absolutely messy and terrifying.
Watching the series made me completely relate to the healing process, and I was fascinated by the depth and wisdom it brought.
Here are nine lessons we can all learn from “Nine Perfect Strangers” that can assist us on our path to recovery:
1. We have to face our demons head-on for us to heal.
This is why healing is painful. Most of us would rather just forget or send it to the too-hard basket. Yet, running away from what hurts us now will only hurt us more down the line.
In the series, Masha forced her guests to face their traumas, their wounds, and their fears because she knew that this was a sure path for healing. Participants came to the resort looking for a distraction and for an escape; they were expecting peace of mind, but instead, she put them through a hell that they had to endure for 10 days. Subsequently, they came out completely different humans.
2. We don’t have to wait for the near-death experience before we decide to change our lives.
In the last episode, Masha locked the visitors in a room and started a fake fire outside so that they could experience a revelatory near-death phenomenon. Once they sensed that their death was near, each one of them came up with a statement on what they would change about their lives.
What’s more, Masha herself went through a near-death experience that transformed her from a despicable CEO to a healer.
This raises some questions.
“Do we have to wait until we’re on our deathbed to have such realizations?”
“Can’t we just sit in solitude, looking inside ourselves on a normal day and reflecting on all the things that we are doing wrong?”
“Can’t we take a moment on one of our hectic days to brainstorm all the things that we would like to change in our lives in order to be happy?”
This is easier than we think, really.
3. We have to take risks.
If these nine strangers knew beforehand that Masha was going to micro-dose them with psilocybin, they would have probably run away. It was new to them, and no one was willing to take the risk of trying it. In addition to that, when she decided to increase the dose on the last day, her assistant Delilah kept warning her of the dangers, yet she didn’t listen to her.
Masha’s and the Marconi family’s bravery, who agreed to her plan on increasing the dose, turned out to be life-enhancing.
We are often afraid of trying something new while we should be asking ourselves, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
Well, the best that could happen is that we finally heal. The worst, however, is that we suffer. Needless to say, our whole life is already full of suffering.
Taking a risk is our only chance to change what has become our reality, and as my favorite saying goes: “If you have to burn your whole world down in order to heal, strike all the matches.”
4. We already know the answers.
We keep asking ourselves about the reasons why something has happened the way it did; we spend most of our days searching around us for answers and trying to figure out life. All the while the answers are within us.
Each one of those nine strangers was able to find the answers once they looked deep enough. A perfect example of this was the Marconi’s trip on mushrooms that gave them the answers they needed to know in order to move on, when all the mushrooms did was help them connect with their inner selves—their subconscious.
We can do that with or without hallucinogens, once we shut our conscious-analytical mind and listen to the voice within.
5. We should not take responsibility for someone else’s journey.
Another lesson to learn came from the Marconi’s. The family had lost their son to suicide and struggled with the feeling of guilt for not being able to save him and even blamed themselves for his death, until the day they connected with him during their trip. His words brought them to the awareness that there was nothing they could have done to stop him when he said, “There’s no logic and no blame, it wasn’t any of you; it wasn’t even me. It’s something that just happened.”
They were eventually able to understand that this was his own journey, and that they needed to let him go in peace.
How many times have you had the urge to save someone, beating yourself up when you failed to do so? Does it ring a bell?
6. Nothing is random.
There’s a scene where one of the guests, Tony, was about to leave “Tranquillum” when Delilah stopped him. He told her that he wasn’t supposed to be here and that the whole thing was random. She replied, “We don’t believe in random here.”
As it turned out later, Tony was one of those strangers who needed healing the most.
See, I don’t believe in random either because life has its way of showing us the right path. We only need to trust whatever trials are thrown at us and go with the flow.
7. It’s not who we are; it’s what happened to us.
In the beginning, all those visitors were judgmental about each other, and most importantly, judgmental about themselves.
There’s the mysterious one, the shallow one, the rude one, and then there’s Carmel, the aggressive one who had criminal tendencies.
As we move forward in the episodes, we learn the story of each one of the guests and the events that formed their characters. With healing, they were able to go back to their authentic selves.
It is true that our traumas shape us into someone we don’t want to be. We criticize ourselves and judge others, forgetting to look deeper into what lies beneath the surface because circumstances were the cause of who we are now.
8. We have to forgive.
Masha was able to forgive the woman who tried to kill her, understanding what she was going through, plus seeing the bright side of her experience which led her to open the wellness resort.
In her words: “This whole place is because of you, because of the near-death experience. Because you shot me, this whole place exists.”
Masha even helped the woman heal, refusing to give up on her.
This is a great lesson about forgiveness, as holding grudges and hatred toward those who hurt us will only cause more pain.
Knowing that they are hurting too and realizing that they came into our life as a lesson will set us free.
We can always separate people from their actions; this is how we will be able to forgive them.
9. There’s always hope.
How many of us have given up on recovery by accepting our pain as part of us and thinking it could not be fixed?
Some of those strangers who came into the resort and who were seen as hopeless cases eventually reached healing. This is a message that healing is possible if we just fight enough for it, and hope is the sustainer of the flame that keeps us fighting.
“Nine Perfect Strangers” is not just a show. I saw it as real-life struggles brilliantly portrayed in a way that touches our core wounds and makes us reconsider the routes we have been taking to recuperate.
If you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do.