Happy Anniversary My Gorgeous Man

It’s been a couple decades since I first laid eyes on the man who I am fortunate enough to love deeply, to call my husband, to raise our sweet little girl together, and to simply do this life with. I remember seeing Mark in the halls of our high school and thinking that he was very handsome in his Alice in Chains sweatshirt. We had several mutual friends and we seemed to hover in the same social circles, but we never actually spoke until a friend invited myself and Mark over to hang out one summer evening. And after that evening, I had a serious crush that I couldn’t ignore. So I did what any modern woman would do…I pestered our mutual friend for Mark’s phone number and called Mark to tell him how I felt about him. We dated for a short time that summer, but it was not our time to be together and we went our separate ways.

 

As fate would have it, we reconnected in 2004. Mark was living in California, I was living in Florida. We were literally a country apart, but found ourselves phone buddies who spoke at least once a week. For me, all of the old feelings I had about Mark started to trickle back in. In 2005, we both traveled home to visit our families for Christmas. And we fell head over heels in love. And that was it. We’ve been a couple for 12 years. Married for 8. Best friends for life.

We’ve packed in a lot in our time together. A transcontinental move back east, another big move from the deep south to our hometown six months later. We completed our college degrees thanks to the support of our incredible families. We entered a local wedding contest and won. (If you voted for us, thank you!) We adopted our tuxedo kitty Wylie. We moved forward in our careers, Mark in real estate and me in my nursing/wellness career. We bought our beautiful little home on a big, slate rock hill in our hometown. We raised a flock of chickens. We adopted our James Dean kitty Henry who has since moved on from this world. (He really was like James Dean – handsome, young, lived on the edge, died way too early.) And we became parents to the most beautiful little baby girl in the world in the winter of 2015. And those are just the big events.

To say that I cherish my gorgeous man is a gross understatement. Mark is my hero, my confidante, my best friend, my lover, my partner in crime, my rock, my Person. We live a very good life together and we are both committed to making our dreams come true. Some dreams already have come true, and some will – it’s just a matter of time. It’s not always easy, this whole marriage/life thing, but when we peel away the challenges, distractions, and hard-learned lessons, it’s really one of our greatest accomplishments.

My dear husband Mark – You have captivated me for over 20 years. I knew you were special when we were teenagers. And I was right! You’ve become such an amazing man and I am so proud to call you mine. Thank you for doing this life with me. Thank you for being my Person. Thank you for being the most amazing Daddy to our incredible little girl. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here’s to many, many more years of marital bliss! I love you with every fiber of my being. I always have and I always will. Happy Anniversary My Big One Lah Husband!!! ❤

 

 

 

 


Finding Myself in the Fog

I’ve had an anxious morning that won’t subside. The morning is over and my goal is to get this anxiety to let go of me before it wastes the entire day. So I’m fishing through my mind, body, and soul to figure out what I can do to banish this unwanted emotional asshole.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain lately. Headaches are pretty bad and I can’t remember when I didn’t have some sort of a headache. It sucks. It just wears me down. I’m stuck in a thick fog and I feel vulnerable. Like dying animal vulnerable. Never a good place to operate from.

Too often lately, I’m so worn out by the time I go to bed that I sort of pass out. If Little Miss Toddler Girl sleeps (a crap shoot with the current cold she’s got) I sleep through the night. Unfortunately, I don’t really ever feel rested because the pain seems to be waiting for me when I wake up. And then the anxious feelings get going because living with pain is frustrating and anxiety-provoking in ways that I can’t even express at this time.

I’ve also felt stuck professionally lately. I have so many things that I want to accomplish and I just feel frozen. Too many avenues to explore. I need to review and prioritize the avenues that need to be explored, and eliminate avenues that don’t need to be explored right now. Or ever. And go from there.

Let’s see, what else. Marriage….My husband is really great at letting things go quickly. And I’m a processor. It takes time for me to come to a place of letting go. It’ll happen, but not in the time frame he understands or appreciates. We have many areas of common ground, but we also have marked differences. And those differences certainly challenge us at times. Through this challenge, I realize that I have to work toward a place of acceptance for myself as a person who needs time to process my feelings. And in accepting myself for being a processor, I hope my husband does too. Because I need and deserve that acceptance. I really do. I realize how damaging it is to just try to “let go” without actually dealing with the challenging emotions. I won’t do that to appease anyone, especially myself.

One more thought on letting go…it’s hard to let go when you’re experiencing physical and emotional symptoms that plague you all the damn time. But giving these painful symptoms a place to harbor and grow (like some nasty bacteria in a petri dish) is no good either. I know this intellectually, and with every fiber of my being. But it’s still not easy to manage along with everything else that needs to be managed. Sigh.

Some days hit you like a ton of bricks. And sometimes, it’s easier to let it. Yes, it will do damage and I’ll have to pay for that damage. But sometimes pain, anxiety, and fatigue win in ways they shouldn’t. And I’m hard-pressed to find the energy to fight today. I really am.

Okay – I’ve rummaged through the rubble…time to salvage this day. I will try my best to take care of myself. Starting with a toddler-assisted shower. And then I’ll apply some Healing Rose Extra Strength CBD Salve on my neck and shoulders.  And then perhaps I’ll do some toddler-assisted yoga. And then off to a toddler-assisted adventure to the store so I can stop ruminating about needing groceries. Perhaps Little Miss Toddler Girl will nap today and I will be able to sneak in a little meditation session then. I will also meet negative self-talk with positive affirmation. And I’ll start there and hope for the best. Wish me luck. I hope your day is starting off brighter than mine. ❤


 


Missing Tom

I woke up with Tom Petty on my mind, but not singing in my head. I miss him. Just knowing that he has left, that he finished his life makes me a little sad. Thankfully I can listen to him and the Heartbreakers and smile. Music is incredible medicine. This video features Howie Epstein – the Heartbreakers bassist from the early ’80’s till the late ’90’s or early 2000’s. He succumbed to heroin addiction in 2003. I remember Tom Petty saying in an interview that Howie’s loss was the Heartbreakers’ greatest tragedy. And sadly at this point, it looks like Tom has upstaged Howie. Sad face. But…I like to think that they are together now in rock and roll Heaven. And that brings the smile back to my face. ❤


Keys and Locks: Understanding the endoCannabinoid System

Maybe you haven’t heard yet, but humans (and all other mammals) have a network of receptors found throughout the brain and body that respond to the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Our bodies even make chemical compounds that are very similar to the compounds found in the cannabis plant. This system is called the endoCannabinoid system (eCB system.) It happens to be named for the cannabis plant which ultimately led to the discovery of the eCB system in the late 1980’s. It is an important physiologic system in our bodies as its primary function is to promote and maintain a state of health in the body.

How does the endoCannabinoid System maintain a healthy body?

The 12th body system is primarily responsible for promoting and maintaining a process called homeostasis. Homeo-what? Homeostasis is the promotion of a stable internal environment despite constant external fluctuations. It is the body’s checks-and-balance system.

Need an example to understand homeostasis a bit better? Sure. Body temperature regulation (thermoregulation) is a good example of a homeostatic process in the body. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Significant increases or decreases in body temperature can cause serious complications, so the body will typically try to maintain that 98.6 degree temperature by either producing heat if the body is too cold, or releasing heat if the body is too warm. Make sense? And yes, in case you were wondering — the eCB system does play a role in thermoregulation.

More about this network of receptors that promotes homeostasis…

Researchers have discovered two primary cannabinoid (CB) receptors — CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors tend to be located in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs. The function of these receptors is dependent on the specific part of the body that it is located in. For example, the CB1 receptors found in the nerve endings act to reduce pain. CB1 receptors found in the amydala (the memory and emotional processing center in the brain) may help someone struggling with post-traumatic stress to forget. Conversely, when the CB1 receptor is stimulated in someone with dementia, it may help the person remember.

CB2 receptors are found throughout the immune system, and also in the spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs. CB2 receptors primarily act to reduce inflammation in the body which is essential in reducing symptoms of chronic conditions and diseases (but not limited to) arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and dementia.

Unlocking the eCB system from the inside

Endogenous cannabinoids are the developed within the body. Researchers have identified two such endo-cannabinoids — anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycero, or simply 2-AG.

Endocannabinoids should be thought of as keys to open the locks that are the CB receptors. They are also known as neurotransmitters. When these keys open the locks, a chemical message is sent along the neurons, or nerve cells in the body. A process called neurotransmission. Communication happens between the brain and the body, and functional changes happen from there.

Anandamide is named for the sanskrit word for bliss. In fact, anandamide is often called the bliss molecule. It is a chemical messenger that looks a lot like it’s phytocannabinoid cousin — Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — also known as THC. You may know THC as the favorite psychoactive phytocannabinoid of cannabis users everywhere. We’ll take a closer look at THC shortly.

Anandamide tends to bind with CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord. It is thought that anandamide is responsible for the runner’s high and other euphoric, or blissful states of being. Hence its name.

Note the similar structure between these two molecules                       Endocannabinoid Anandamide on the left; Phytocannabinoid THC on the right         Photo Credit:  Google Images

2-AG is also a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger that may have gotten the raw deal in the naming department, but it’s a powerhouse in it’s own right. It’s reported to be more plentiful than anandamide, and tends to interact with the CB2 receptors found throughout the peripheral nervous system. It plays an important role in many functions including sleep, memory, appetite, reproduction, and neuroprotection. This is not an exhaustive list by any means.

Unlocking the eCB system from the outside

It’s possible for someone to have an endocannabinoid deficiency, which is to say that the body may not be capable of producing its own cannabinoids efficiently. Thankfully, the mammalian body evolved with plants that are meant to nourish the eCB system. The most well-known plant of course is the cannabis plant. However, it should be noted that other plants do produce non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, such as echinacea.

In case you haven’t figured it out, phyto- means plant. So phytocannabinoid means plant-based cannabinoid. We’ll explore the two most famous phytocannabinoids — THC and CBD.

THC is a psychoactive phytocannabinoid that binds primarily to the CB1 receptors. Rather, it is a key provided by nature to unlock the CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system. Euphoria, or bliss is a common effect when the brain receptors are stimulated. As is reduction in pain, appetite stimulation, sleep promotion, and improved mood. Again, this is not an exhaustive list of benefits.

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing benefits, so let’s look at one very common, very preventable risk. Introducing too much THC to a sensitive, or even a well-functioning eCB system could lead to paranoia. To this end, it’s important to start low and go slow. Meaning — start with a low dose of THC and increase slowly. Microdosing is the best way to reduce the risk of becoming paranoid.

Good news! The last cannabinoid cousin that we’re gonna discuss could help reduce cannabis-induced paranoia. CBD mediates the effect of THC. So if you do find yourself a bit paranoid after taking in too much THC, take some CBD, drink some water, eat some food, and rest. Cannabis will not cause you to stop breathing, so you cannot overdose. But having a paranoid episode is definitely real and should be avoided if possible. Remember to start low and go slow.

CBD is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that is also a powerhouse in terms of promoting a healthy state of being. It is not a key for the CB receptor locks, but it appears to hang out and stimulate other types of neurotransmitters. For example, CBD likes to interact with serotonin receptors and appears to be effective in treating anxiety as a result. Most notably, CBD appears to be effective in reducing seizures in people afflicted with intractable seizure disorders.

I hope that this tale of keys, locks, and cousins has helped you understand the endoCannabinoid System a bit better. Here’s to your health in nourishing your own unique eCB system and promoting optimal homeostatic functioning. Be well, you deserve it!


Featured Photo Credit:  Google Images

Cannabinoid Science 101: What is Anandamide? (2017, April 21). Retrieved November, 2017, from https://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/cannabinoid-science-101-what-is-anandamide/

How CBD Works. (n.d.). Retrieved November, 2017, from https://www.projectcbd.org/science/cannabis-pharmacology/how-cbd-works

Sulak, D. (2015, February). Working to Reform Marijuana Laws. Retrieved November, 2017, from http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system

Wilcox, A. (2017, July 04). 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG): The Body’s Own Cannabis. Retrieved November, 2017, from https://herb.co/2017/06/23/2-arachidonoylglycerol-2-ag/


Loving-Kindness Kinda Day

I sat in a loving-kindness meditation this morning. Also known as metta meditation, loving kindness meditation is a devotional practice that involves sending all beings positive thoughts, warmth, healing energy (I always include a little healing when I’m sending my meditative care packages) and you guessed it – kindness. Since I can’t be with all of my loved ones this holiday, much of my sit was spent thoughtfully and lovingly sending each person, or group, their own meditative care package.

 

 

 

It feels good to practice gratitude and to send kindness out into the world. It was a good sit. I came out of meditation feeling calm and at peace. And the remarkable thing was that those feelings continued to flow even though I walked into my cluttered kitchen and living room. Any anxious feelings that I had when I awoke were gone, and my cluttered home required no reaction. Meditation. It works. It’s a miracle. And it’s free.

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Simple Meditation Method

If you’d like to learn more about loving kindness meditation, there are a lot of great resources of information available. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society provides easy to follow loving-kindness practice instructions at ContemplativeMind.org. This non-profit organization is based in Northhampton, Massachusetts. Their mission statement –  “The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society transforms higher education by supporting and encouraging the use of contemplative/introspective practices and perspectives to create active learning and research environments that look deeply into experience and meaning for all in service of a more just and compassionate society.”

I’ll definitely be spending some time learning about the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. You just never know what amazing things are happening in your community, especially when you’re manifesting positive intention. I found them by searching for loving-kindness meditation. So thanks Google and Universe!

In closing my dear readers – Please know that I sent you a meditative care package with loads of good things – positive thoughts, healing energy, kindness, love. Thank you for being here. I am grateful for you. May you and yours be happy, be calm, be well, and be free from all suffering.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Much love, many hugs. Namaste ❤