Our guest today is Joe Smith, retired healthcare executive, Consciousness explorer, endurance athlete, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. His remarkable story is one of adventure, pushing the envelope, and real-life wisdom.
Our highly engaging conversation with Joe was over 4 hours long, and we were just getting started. What we are sharing with you today is only a small part of the full-life wisdom that Joe shared with us. But you can be assured, this is not the last time you will hear from Joe, the story is to be continued.
What he shares with us in this conversation is his extensive deep-dive research and experimentation over four decades with psychedelics. Principally plant-based entheogens like psilocybin, and LSD and their consciousness-expanding affects. He also shares his extensive relationship with the breath, including hundreds of free diving experiences in oceans all over the world, extreme immersion in Rebirthing, Holotropic and Transcendental breathwork. All his experiments and experiential research has been with the intention of opening wide the doors of perception and non-dual unitive awareness.
Joe is retired now and enjoying his time with the children and grandchildren while keeping his daily exercise routines outdoors where he communes with nature for hours each day usually on his bicycle, but when snow is on the ground he breaks out the snowshoes or skis rarely missing an opportunity.
Prior to his retirement, he had an illustrious career in the healthcare sector starting as a cardiopulmonary technologist and then came into his own as a founder/director of a long string of healthcare facilities most often around a comprehensive set of exercise modalities, in both freestanding and hospital-based facilities.
As a President or senior executive of multiple healthcare organizations, he managed personnel in the thousands and budgets in the $100 millions. His track record and accomplishments are frankly remarkable.
Needless to say, he has accumulated a lifetime of wisdom, as a businessman, father and husband, and a serious consciousness explorer.
Tim Ferriss organized contribution. Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the launch of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, to study compounds like LSD and psilocybin for a range of mental health problems, including anorexia, addiction, and depression. The center is the first of its kind in the country, established with $17 million in commitments from wealthy private donors and a foundation. Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research launched what is thought to be the world’s first such center in April 2019, with some $3.5 million from private sources.
Fantastic Fungi – April 21, Fungi Day will feature a full day virtual gathering featuring fungi experts around the world.
Ayelet Waldman book A Really Good Day on micro-dosing
HeartMath and HRV with the emotion of Gratitude
Jack Shepard – professor at Dartmouth – August 1968 issue of Look magazine article on the Summer of Love, and personal experiment with LSD.
Roger Bannister – World record holder, broke the 4-minute mile.
Highlights of Joe’s incredible life story
Joe graduated from the University of Florida with two master’s degrees: one in Health Science and Human Performance and the other in Gross Anatomy and Physiology. He began is began his professional career as a cardiopulmonary technologist and research assistant at the Jackson Memorial Hospital. He spent 5 years in the Surgical ICU where he was present at over 100 deaths, some he found very profound. He shares one in particular during our conversation.
His professional career is studded with a number of pioneering firsts.
– An early pioneer in the development of hospital-based Wellness centers. Developed and operated the Alachua General Hospital Center for Health and Fitness in Gainesville, FL.
– Developed the first internship program between UoF College of Health and Human performance and the Center for Health and Fitness.
– Developed a multi-million-dollar Wellness Center at Lee Memorial Hospital in Ft Meyers and became VP for Outpatient Program Development.
– Consulted with 15 other hospitals around the country on Wellness Center and Sports Medicine development.
– Became President for the $55M Medical Health Institute at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Fla. It was the first ambulatory care center in South Florida.
– Was offered a job to be Sr VP for Business Development for Continental Medical Systems, the first company to develop, build, and operate freestanding Medical Rehabilitation Hospitals. Helped take the company public and for 6 years it was the fastest-growing healthcare company in the US.
-Led the development of 13 hospitals. These hospitals focused on head trauma, spinal cord injuries, stroke, amputations, burns, and other specific neurological disorders. The hospitals all used exercise and physical therapy as the primary programs.
– Other responsibilities included acquisitions and management of 5 separate rehab companies with revenue of over $100M.
– After 11 years at Continental Medical Systems was hired by NovaCare to be President of Western US operations. Included responsibility for 2500 employees delivering PT, OT, and Speech services in over 500 locations to hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics. Budgetary responsibility for $250 million. While serving as President for NovaCare’s Western Region he arranged for financing and managed the development of a program named Vigor, which was responsible for the installation of 120 fitness centers in nursing facilities in partnership with Nautilus Sports Medicine.
– After NovaCare’s sale and buy out he had a silver parachute which prohibited him from competing against it for 2 years. During that time he became a consultant to HeartMath and delivered training programs to multiple hospitals and systems.
– After non-compete expired, he was offered a position to be Sr VP of Development for the Western US by Select Medical Corp the largest rehab and long-term acute care provider in the US, with 2000 PT clinics, 120 long term care hospitals, and 135 medical rehab hospitals. SMC has over 40,000 employees and provided care to 50, 000 patients daily.
– After 4 years, decided to retire at age 60.
– Came out of retirement and for 8 years ran a non-profit foundation that focused on a prison organic farm project in Carson City, Nevada. Working with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, a nonpartisan think tank in Wash, DC
– Helped manage and oversee Hungry Mother Organics and the beta test of an aquaponics research project to test the feasibility of raising tilapia and organic veggies in a cold high-altitude environment.
– Arranged for financing and helped manage the development and construction of a 30,000 sq ft off the grid aquaponics greenhouse.
After this project came to fruition as Dayton Valley Aquaponics and demonstrated its utility he retired for a final time.
He marks meeting Mickey Singer in the late 1970s and living at his Temple of the Universe a major transformational experience. The experience deepened his yoga practice including the study of many non-dual traditions.
A deep connection with nature and the oceans of the world have been an abiding focus of his life. Some of the highlights that are indelibly stamped in his memory are:
– Over 50 free dive trips to the Bahama’s including a visit by the largest pod of dolphins circulating around the oceans at that time. Cousteau did a documentary on it. Visit with a Great White Shark and drowning experience.
-Spent lots of time in the ocean free diving with wild dolphins in the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Mexico. Included in this was free diving at night with pelagic Manta Ray’s off the Kona Coast.
He reflects, “All of this activity happened through me, not by me. My overall conscious and continual spiritual action has been the study of Advaita Vedanta and the practice of Atma Vichara or Self Inquiry. My practice consists of attention and awareness of the inflow and outflow of breath as Prana and the deep-felt presence of Being which this awareness generates. It has taken about 40 years to finally understand what my teacher Ramana Maharshi meant when he said, “Be As You Are”.
The daily activities that support this process have been an almost continual absorption in nature either cycling, skiing, snowshoeing, paddle boarding, or hiking.
To directly contact our hosts, visit their respective websites:
https://larryholmespracticalwisdom.com/ – For All Episodes and to contact Larry directly and review his consulting and coaching services.