Working full time and raising two girls as a single father means my life is a constant blur of appointments, lists, laundry, shopping, cooking, writing, more laundry, cleaning, and customer service. Sometimes I feel myself burning out from constant mental gymnastics, heavy emotional loads from work, fibromyalgia symptoms, comfort eating garbage food, and other bad habits that are side effects of an overly busy modern life. Towards the end of last year, I realized that I had no time to myself on an average day and decided to start waking up at 5:30 AM in an effort to secure an hour or so each morning for medicating, meditation, and reflection. In the last few months I’ve noticed all sorts of benefits to these habits as well, so if you aren’t a morning person then brew some coffee, get medicated, and join me for a sunrise while I explain how its changed my life.
Meditating is defined as thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for spiritual or religious purposes or as a method of relaxation. Cannabis has always made me incredibly introspective, increasing my ability to process emotions and access calm when I need it, so combining the two seemed like a great idea for me personally. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, I find it extremely useful to be able to lessen it for even a few minutes at a time, and with meditation I have definitely had times where I have been able to significantly reduce the symptoms of a fibromyalgia flareup. Aside from reducing pain, meditation also promotes reduced stress, enhanced self-awareness, ability to control anxiety, and can be essential in treating addictions.
I remember waking up the first morning of my little experiment to my alarm and quickly getting out of bed to avoid falling back to sleep. After my morning routine, I grabbed a glass of water and made my way to my sun room where I have my medication station so I could have a couple dabs to try and shake the stiffness of the morning. I started by reflecting on the previous day and writing some stuff down that I was grateful for, a new habit that I am trying out, and once I had that done it was time to clear my head. I got as comfortable as possible and put on some instrumental music, slowly starting to focus on my breathing and the rhythmic sounds. Meditation wasn’t new to me so I was able to push distractions like discomfort and wandering thoughts out of my mind fairly quickly and get to a state of mental quiet. Soon enough I started to feel tension in my muscles releasing and within a few minutes the music took over and I was feeling the droning bass of a didgeridoo throughout my entire being. I don’t always use music to meditate, and more often than not I actually prefer the sounds of nature, like birds, rain, waves, storms and that sort of thing rather than a recording. After finishing up, the rest of that day went really amazing and by the time it was 9:30 PM I was ready to go to bed after putting my kids to sleep.
After a few short weeks of this new routine, I started to notice a positive change in my energy levels as well as a general elevation of my mood. The reflection journal was especially helpful for getting me to appreciate how I handled certain situations as well as working on how I could improve in others. Writing down a few things that you appreciate about life or are grateful for every day is also another simple, yet surprisingly effective tactic to improve your mood and has the added bonus of being able to be referenced at a later date for a morale boost on a bad day. I’ve even noticed that it has helped my writing a bit due to the little bit of practice I am getting almost every day.
Another big change that I made last year was focusing on self care, which to me meant massages, long walks, occasional live shows, or even something simple like going out to a movie. Most recently I made the decision to sign up for ten months with a personal trainer at a local gym because I am turning 35 this year and have been bigger all of my life. Cannabis has been extremely helpful in both recovery and the mental aspect of training. I find myself able to get into the workout easier and I am able to push myself further. I am nearly one month in and it has already made a pretty big impact on many aspects of my life and I am just finding myself a lot more health conscious in general going into this year.
It is far too easy in today’s society to forget about taking care of yourself completely, including mind, body and spirit. Cannabis has been used medicinally, for recreation, and as a sacred herb for millennia, and I absolutely understand why, because it has helped me sharpen and expand my mind. It has also allowed me to slow down and appreciate things on a deeper level, be thankful for what I have, and in turn be more able and willing to help others. There are a lot of clichés about self care, the most familiar probably being “You can’t pour from an empty cup”, and like most clichés, it rings annoyingly true. The most important aspect of this entire journey of self development over the last few months is that it has helped me become a more present and loving father, which is of course the most important job title I hold. I hope this inspires others to start loving themselves more and take time to slow down, look into waking up before the sun, meditating, journal writing, or any other form of self care that piques your interests!