No, it didn't start at a high school party or a wild ride after an edible. I came to know the plant spirit of cannabis for the first time when I worked as a "church nurse" in a Lutheran congregation.
I came to love her long before I experienced her. I would listen to my husband tell stories of his "stoner" days, which sounded like so much fun. Like a more light-hearted experience and existence that I was accustomed to living. So in my 30s, while in the company of dear friends, I got to partake in her medicine for the first time. I smoked until I reached the state of euphoria that had been described to me and I so desperately wanted to experience. While seated at the feet of my husband's chair (my ultimate safe space), I felt her medicine kick in, and all I could do was raise my arms over my head and exclaim, "I am there! I am finally there!" I was in a state of Bliss.
Wait, what? Church nurse smokes weed? You can smoke weed and still love Jesus? Hot damn, you can! (I talk a lot about sex too! Like as a key to spiritual well-being.)
Shortly after this experience, my stress caught up to me. I was coping through life with bottles of wine, and hours in front of mindless TV, all while experiencing levels of loneliness and anxiety that I wonder, to this day, how I made it through. I was an overstimulated nurse, chasing the highs of adrenaline and repeating my stress cycles. And then, one day, it all stopped working for me. I lay on the ground with my arms outstretched, taking the ultimate surrender position. I knew I had to change. What followed was an out-of-state move in 3 months' time, leaving the FIRST job that felt like "me" and completely starting over. (She calls you to change what's not working for you)
I continued to use cannabis when I could get it. I preferred smoking to ingestion as it offered me more control over my high. I continued to consume her medicine on a recreational basis, in the company of my husband and friends, and often in conjunction with alcohol. (I no longer advise this, btw. It's a misuse of her medicine and dishonors her spirit. 290 days cali-sober baby!). I appreciated her assistance in creating states of being that allowed me to be more relaxed and carefree, free to be me and connected to the feeling of bliss in my body.
Then while stoned in Hawaii (when my inner goddess was, like, super charged), she delivered one of her first lessons. Suddenly, in an instant, a flash of how my current story's stress reflected my childhood story's stress came through in my awareness. I saw old patterns that I was contributing energy to, which was leading to more toxic stress accumulation in my body. Me acting out my trauma drama and making myself sick. (She helps you see from new perspectives) And then shit got real. It wasn't long after that I quit my job and entered into a full-time nursing practice of my own. I was calling myself a spiritual health nurse, utilizing energy medicine to help women get into closer connections and deeper relationships with their bodies and spirits. As I continued to explore her as medicine for myself, I remained open and curious about how to make her my plant partner in my work as a healer and modern-day medicine woman.
I went on to receive a certificate in Medical Cannabis from the Pacific College of Health and Science in San Diego, CA. I joined both professional cannabis nurse organizations. I got real with myself and faced my mental health struggles, which led me to a diagnosis of cPTSD and then becoming an MN Medical cannabis patient. I learned about her spirit through research on cannabis spirituality and my own practice with her, later discovered as cannabis meditation. And then, in 2021, shit hit the fan. And it got for real for REALZ!
In early 2021, my mental health began crashing, and so did my physical health. Thyroid nodules in my neck caused by Hashimotos exploded in size and grew so large that it impacted my ability to breathe and swallow. Surgery was my only option. And then..........I suffered a complication that left me with only a whisper for a voice. Medical doctors told me I would never sound like "myself" again and that it would take up to 12 months to regain normal voice quality/strength. They said I might need plastic surgery or injections to regain function. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Never once did I panic. There were some dark and tough days, don't get me wrong, but I had this quiet confidence that everything would work out just fine. And it did. Through my relationship with the cannabis plant (and an army of angels holding healing intentions for me), I had my voice back in 3 months. Through my intentional practice with her, I was able to come to know my authentic voice. I saw the spiritual lessons behind the most turbulent time in my life. I returned to the bliss in my body and the safety she offered me. And I allowed her medicine to work, to re-establish the balance I was lacking and searching for.
A year after my full recovery, I listened to a podcast with this fantastic woman named Collette. She put words to what I knew to be true about cannabis as a medicine and spiritual practice. I took all the education she had to offer. Nerding out on poly-vagal theory and the nervous system. I attended her weekly cannabis meditations and spiritually leveled up almost faster than I could integrate sometimes.
And now, I can officially say that I partner with the spirit of the cannabis plant in my practice as a Spiritual Health Nurse. Cannabis has long been used as an entheogen, a substance that connects you with the divine inside. In the times of the psychedelic resurgence, we forget about the potential of cannabis on a smaller scale to bring us the spiritual lessons of our souls if we use her as part of a spiritual or embodied practice.
Most of us don't think of her that way, though. We have many years of "unlearning" to do. We also have a lot of work to do in restoring the reverence of this sacred plant medicine. Yes, it's fun to be high. Euphoria isn't all bad (Jaguars do it!). She can be used responsible for recreation. And...... she's is a plant spirit and teacher. That carries feminine energy. And she will work her magic and show you your lessons until you are ready to take a hard look at yourself and find where you aren't aligned with love in your life. She will help restore balance as long as you don't resist. She is full of magic and miracles, AND I could go on and on...........so I will save it for later.
Want to join an upcoming cannabis meditation? (Cannabis - including CBD-only products - not required, but highly encouraged) We meet on the first Sunday of every month via Zoom. You provide your medicine. I will hold the space for you to develop new relationships with her and yourself. Expanding to greater states of bliss in your body, feeling the divine love that dwells within you, and so much more! Sure to be a fun and wild ride, though. I hope you can join me sometime. I love to get high with new friends!
(That's not me pictured btw)