How I hotboxed your Google feed!
By Johnny Mumbles
People love lists. 10 commandments, 8 steps to enlightenment, 5 chic new spring styles, 4 things never to say on a first date, 3, 2, 1... Boom! Enter the black hole of modern culture, sucking everyone into an inescapable wash of financial planning, celebrity gossip and apocalyptic debris. But maybe I’m missing the point. Maybe this is how people engage with and experience information. Perhaps I should jump in the mix with a list of my own. So here we go, in full living colour, 2 catchy titles and as much SEO as I can fit on a page without making the whole thing a hyperlink. This is:
9 steps to burning stress
(Spoiler alert: steps 4, 7 and 8 are getting baked)
It's 2022 and wellness keeps coming to mind. Is it me or my algorithmic content demon subliminally shuffling my priorities? Every time I write “wellness” I jump 15 entries on the Google results queue. Wellness. Boop! The search engines search our souls, convincing us to live our best lives based on their glossary of keywords and terms. We are led to believe that wellbeing is outside our grasp—living on a beach in Tahiti, doing yoga, drinking cold-pressed beet juice. I believe wellness is within our means, but it involves a shift in perspective in how we process stress. Fortunately, the herb can help with that.
Step 1. Realizing that greater stress will not necessarily lead to greater success, but it will undoubtedly decimate our wellbeing.
Stress intake is just as caloric as fats and carbs. The more you take in, the more you need to metabolize, or else you are left with a glut. The effects of this overage manifest invisibly in your physical health and mental stability. In how effortlessly the body can perform natural processes like eating and sleeping.
A friend once told me the cost of a job can be measured by what it takes to relax afterwards. To return to a feeling of normalcy. This was after a day of working as camp counsellors, passing a joint back and forth. Things sure felt simpler back then. As an adult, I have had to face it—there is no avoiding the struggle. The struggle is real. I don’t pretend that we can pick our ideal jobs or perfect lives or when we want to deal with things, but I affirm that we must be the authors of our stories.
Tip: Stress can be managed. But first you have to commit, and I mean really commit. Mark a line in a deep dark place within yourself that you will not cross.
Step 2. Taking back your time.
Time, the fourth dimension, the ultimate commodity, the one thing we can’t do without. The illusion is trying to save it when it is infinitely running out. The reality is if you don't prioritize wellness now, there is no later. Time is a necessity as much as a luxury, properly managing this balance is a skill that must be constantly refined. Time needs to work for us, not against us.
Step 3. Overcoming the obstructions to our wellbeing.
Wellness is shrouded in a cloud of inaccessibility, but that fog is just the inertia of our minds. We must come to realize our head is just another appendage, and one that often gets in the way. In Tai Chi, the principle is described as “the waist is the commander.” In a physical sense, this is an understanding that movement originating in your core is the most natural and powerful. Holistically, it means bringing intention to the centre of our being. When we lead with our heads, it is easy to lose balance. Try letting your feet be in charge one day. I bet you will find your whole body leaning back, feet up on something comfortable, probably even getting a massage. Feet love that shit!
Step 4. Smoke a bean and meditate on all that for a minute.
Now you are hopefully a lot more stoned, aware that stress is a byproduct of the struggle, have accepted that time is an illusion, and realize that maybe your head shouldn’t always be in charge. We can proceed.
Tip: Wellness activities balance stressful ones. Even better, certain wellness activities don’t involve doing anything at all.
Step 5. Make the playbook.
In any game, there is offense and defence. You can’t control what comes at you but you can condition your reactions. Much like chess, stress factors and remedies move in funny ways. Every stressor affects us uniquely and therefore has to be blocked or addressed appropriately. Our first line of defence is saying no. We can think about it like No is the coach, No is the quarterback and No is also the touchdown. The rest of the team is made up of maybe's, later’s and would’ve-should’ve-could've’s. Saying no is undisputedly the best way to not deal with something. But we can’t just go around saying no to everything. It would be like not moving our pawn for fear of losing the king. We have to live now.
Tip: The mind state in which we approach an activity is critical to how we perceive its accomplishment. If everything feels like a chore, then it is much more difficult to see our victories.
Step 6. Building the proactive toolbox.
This is where I talk about how the more present we are, the more life becomes a moving meditation, and how great getting stoned is for our mental wellbeing, and that just by existing in a peaceful mind state we are allowing our minds and bodies to process the stress we have taken on. Doesn’t all that sound really nice?
Wellbeing is a multifaceted prerogative. Sufficient rest, regular exercise, and good food nutrition are all part of a critical balance to maintaining wellness. A harmony of reducing harm. Building sustainable, healthy routines helps to release tension. The nice thing is a lot of the experiences that help us process stress also nourish the whole of our wellbeing. When I spend two hours juicing, not only do I walk away with greater peace of mind, I also have a fresh cup of juice. Once you start making effective choices, you realize you have already started the metabolism process.
Step 7. Embrace the medicine.
I love burning the ganja. Some may enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea. To each their own. I love the reefer for its ability to change my perception of time and amplify my wellbeing. Getting stoned, especially when we are prioritizing self-care, can provide the mental space to breathe and take a step away from reality. These moments of lucid euphoria can be microcosms for positive self-reflection. Be conscious that lower doses of THC and higher levels of CBD may be more conducive to alleviating stress. Marijuana can be a great shortcut to feeling better, but it is just one of the tools in our box. It is like that healthy green salad on the side of that hoagie of hurt. A joint can’t fix everything, but it can make fixing everything a lot more enjoyable.
Step 8. Mo weed.
Now that you are feeling really good about the benefits of cannabis, go smoke the rest of that joint or maybe roll up another one. But don’t forget to read the rest of the article.
Step 9. Breathe in, breathe out.
Focus on the rise of your chest. On the sensation of air flowing in and out of your body. As the mind slows, little worries and anxieties pop up, trying to pull us back. Breathe in, breathe out. Be here. Lose it momentarily and return naturally. There is an invisible barrier we cross when we lose ourselves. When we are completely present. A safe place to unravel and release what is bothering us. Although it can be challenging to find this meditative state, it is accessible to us in every moment. As we cultivate this relaxed mentality, its achievement becomes effortless. A mindfulness at peace with everything the mind is full of.
Whew! All these steps got me feeling dizzy. Or maybe that's just the chronic. This itemized delivery felt kind of nice, albeit a little preachy. Perhaps adding my list to the endless list of lists can alleviate some listlessness. For what it's worth, wellness, wellness, wellness, wellness, Tesla, Apple, celebrity scandal, wellness, wellness, wellness. Peace and I'm out.
Listen on Spotify
From the grinding of the herb to the lighting of the joint, mindfulness is on the mind and the tunes are flowing in the background. Sometimes we all just need to get lost in the melody and let wellness find us. Check out this playlist Johnny Mumbles puts on when he is tuning into the cosmic harmony of the universe.
Follow Johnny Mumbles on Instagram here: @johnny.mumbles
Bo knows baseball, Bo knows football. Johnny mumbles doesn't know about any of that, but he is making a cannabis comic called the Phytos. It's a pot edu-tainment chromic about cannabinoids and terpenes. Check out his Kickstarter, live right now at The Phytos or follow the project on IG @thephytos