Our Wise Selves

Like so many of you, I struggle with sleeping through the night. It’s a minor annoyance when I’m able to drift back to sleep after a bathroom break, but sometimes sleep does not come. I’ve had 3 in a row and, well, it’s disturbing.

Some of my friends are experimenting with marijuana and others take Benadryl. When we were in Cape Cod, I picked up some pot gummies and I’ve tried using a half or a quarter dose. I find the Benadryl to be more helpful, but it’s not consistent. The gummies can create a high that’s better for a reggae concert or a walk in the woods. But that’s not what I want at bedtime!

In yesterday’s post I wrote about the top of the ocean vs the deeper parts where trauma resides. My sense is that sleepy time cures affect the top of the ocean. The “work” is not there. The quick fix is there. It’s a Bandaid.

Lately, I’ve been reading about new guided therapies that includes ketamine and mushrooms to help with depression, anxiety or PTSD. This strikes me as being a different approach that MAY help those of us who struggle with these issues. But let’s not mix up sadness or grief with depression. Let’s not confuse life’s stresses with clinical anxiety.

Personally, I feel attracted to these easy solutions because I’d love it if magic elixirs and some therapy could fix whatever ails me. However, my wiser self knows that therapy, yoga, meditation and a plant-based diet are a safer, gentler, more holistic path. That’s why I’m looking to deepen my yoga practice and growing sprouts!

I’ve seen lots of people become dependent on medications, but I’ve never known anyone to overdo it with meditation. I’ve heard lots of people complain about their weight, but I’ve never heard someone complain about weight after years on a plant-based diet. I’ve known many people who kvetch about their spouse, but few who don’t receive help and support from a 12 step group or a great therapist (or both).

Taking a pill or a toke is attractive and it’s very profitable for big pharma or your local pot dispensary. So I, like you, need to be careful. We can try alternatives, but we need to walk down every path with our eyes open. Otherwise, we may find ourselves in our 80s with very few options other than laying in bed and taking pills. I’ve seen this and it’s a horrible way to live. And it is avoidable!

One of my friends refers to two parts of himself: Fun Bob and Safety Bob. His wisdom is knowing which one to be when! He has taught himself to be cautious AND carefree. And he’s learned how to do so by constantly evaluating his mind and body like a research scientist or a sleuth!

So, as I move through grief and getting older, as I encounter quick fixes and look at harder, long term changes, I need to be vigilant. Who profits from my choices? Who am I seeking out for advice? Am I being wise or gullible, safe or reckless? This, again, is the work.

May we discover our wise selves, the part that loves us and yearns for excellent health and is willing to do the work to get it.

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