Updated: May 19, 2020
What does it mean to be ‘mindful’? How do you know if you’re actually meditating? Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and all kinds of practices are becoming more popular as many struggle with the stresses of daily life. There are lots of excellent resources online for anyone who would like to learn how to meditate, which is just a word to describe the use of a practice or technique to focus or train the mind to achieve various positive outcomes. Everything from better attention, increased ability to solve problems, and increased awareness and peace of mind are all proven benefits. Meditation is also a spiritual practice for many who utilize it. See studies below.
My clinical experience as a nutritional therapist taught me that food choices are foundational to health. You cannot have a healthy body without putting healthy foods in it. Though as I became more interested in what was unique about each person I worked with, as well as what was consistently impactful for all of my clients, I could see clearly that their mindset and personal relationships mattered a great deal.
I remember a beautiful women in her mid-forties with severe constipation living in an abusive marriage, afraid to ever truly let go and be vulnerable. A teenaged boy in college with severe eczema on his hands that would often crack and bleed, resistant to removing troubling foods because he was afraid that there would never be an effective treatment, so why even try?
These were real people living full and busy lives, with more choices to make each day than what to feed themselves. They needed something more than a food list and recipe guides. I couldn’t shield my clients from the world (though I often wanted to), so I needed to help them find a way to be IN the world, but not so negatively affected by it every day. I needed to find a way to give them a buffer, so that they could actually get better without living in a bubble.
At the time, I also had clients dealing withs severe and chronic pain, things like migraines, neuropathy and fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, these conditions are all too common and medical treatment options are not yet effective for many (if not most) that suffer from them. Part of the reason for that is that supplements and medications are only chemical means of supporting the body’s needs, and the human being is more than just a chemical body. We humans have complex and interrelated systems, where our emotions, our minds or our physical energy fields affect our functioning. To help someone who hasn’t found relief from traditional chemical methods requires effort on other fronts. Several of these clients would ask me about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, having tried all else. At the time, there was no legal medical cannabis program in their home state of Virginia, so as a practitioner, I had to find another way to help them that didn’t involve recommending something that these they couldn’t safely access.
After doing some research, I came to understand that the body had a system called the endocannabinoid system. It acts as a regulator for homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Every other system and organ of your body, such as the digestive system, the pulmonary system, the brain, the skin, the bones, etc., all have special little sites where cannabinoids can affect action. This is why taking exogenous, or external cannabinoids, such as eating cannabis products, or inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor, have an affect on the conditions of those who use them. The body has a system that can regulate all of the other ones, including the suppression of physical or emotional pain.
This showed me something profound.
You can take cannabinoids externally (as in using cannabis or other plants like cacao that affect the endocannbinoid system ) OR…
You can make them yourself. Get high on your own supply, as it were.
This option, for those can’t or do not want to take an external substance opens up a world of possibility.
It allows for people to self-heal.
I think it's clear from this science that we are not only able to help ourselves heal, but we are supposed to use this ability. Looking back for me personally, I think it was at this point that BLOOM Mind|Body was conceived. Even if not born for another 2 years, my desire to help people discover their own hidden power to improve their lives was firmly rooted, waiting for the right time to grow and blossom.
The best part? ANYONE can start, ANYTIME. For free. It’s super simple.
Just find a comfortable seat, sit with your spine comfortably straight, or lay down if this is too uncomfortable. Close your eyes and focus on keeping your attention only on the sensations of your breath in your body. If you like, set a timer for a few minutes. Try to remain curious about what happens, and know that no matter what occurs, you are "doing it right" since you are "practicing". To learn more, stay tuned in this space by subscribing to the BLOOM blog (if you haven’t already) for more teaching, videos, tips and support as you begin your meditative journey. If you are thirsty for more or feel you need some help or coaching, start here. Every journey begins with a single step. It’s never too late (or early) to get started.
Some of the many studies and articles on the benefits of meditation:
https://neurosciencenews.com/memory-fear-breathing-5699/ Breathing out triggers less memory activation than inhaling, i.e. when you breath out to “let go”, you are literally letting go of things with your mind. Hm. Interesting.
https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/mindfulness-meditation-pain Meditation relieves pain without using the body’s opioid system.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/06/study-meditating-can-help-you-focus-and-keep-your-brain-young.html Meditation can help you focus and keep your brain young and healthy, and is preventative against dementia or age-related cognitive decline.
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/01/07/260470831/mindfulness-meditation-can-help-relieve-anxiety-and-depression Even with only 2.5 hours a week, meditation was able to consistently improve anxiety and depression. If you are very anxious or very depressed, I’ll bet you spend a lot more than 2.5 hours feeling those things acutely, and meditation might be worth a try.