Emotions are a normal and vital part of our lives, but we often filter out so-called negative emotions and hang onto the ones that make us feel good. Can cannabis be an emotional ally and shine a light on our habits of attachment to good feelings only, while helping us experience and understand all of our emotions? We love the highs of life and hate the lows, but evading emotions isn't a healthy or productive way to deal with our feelings, so how can we use a connective cannabis high to change our reaction to our lows?
First, we must realize that all emotions are inherently positive. Difficult emotions can be painful at times, especially when we feel them very often or dwell on them. Still, no matter how painful, emotions are supposed to be felt and can be an indicator of underlying issues we may have. Anger, resentment, or frustration may be trying to tell us that we are uncomfortable in a situation or want to protect something, that someone has made us mad and we need to set boundaries for that relationship, or it may be telling us that we've been holding onto a past event that needs to be resolved. Feelings of insecurity might be a reflection of not feeling stable or deep seeded issues of not feeling good enough. Without fear how would you know you were in danger? Emotions are the feedback that teach us something important about a situation or ourselves, we just have to learn to differentiate between negative emotions and our negative reactions to those emotions.
Cannabis heightens our ability to notice our mind fluctuations and sensations, and feel more in and aware of our body. The ripple effect our breath has on our body becomes more profound and every thought is enlightening (because of the way cannabis interacts with our neurotransmitters). Cannabis gives us a space to be conscious of our habits and thought patterns without the stickiness of self-judgment or feeling the need to drown out difficult emotions with mantra or positive affirmations.
Cannabis enables us to step off to the side, outside of our typical perspectives and stories, and be.
With her aide we can create space, a softness around the emotion being felt, where we can step through the fourth wall and observe our whole selves - seeing where an emotion stems from with less critical, jarring, and sensitive eyes. With more clarity and compassion. Oftentimes this opens our minds to the fact that things we get emotionally riled up over usually aren't as important after a few breaths and further inspection. And if those issues still feel important it's even more pertinent to allow yourself space to express those grievances through your emotions. Emotions have many sides and cannabis helps us see them individually, in turn teaching us to respond to emotion rather than bury it, which can be the fine line between feeling a little frustration, blood boiling anger, or calcified bitterness, all varying degrees of anger.
An important practice for dealing with difficult feelings is to acknowledge them without clinging to or pushing them away. Regularly checking in with our emotions can help us become better attuned to receiving their messages. We can identify the subtle difference of each emotion and hone into exactly what we are feeling without criticism. Knowing what jealousy feels like and the varying degrees in which it shows up in you can help you faster identify it and get to the root of the cause.
Cannabis and her ability to raise our awareness and perception of our emotions can help with this identification of emotions and their nuanced sensations, guiding us into deep self discovery and understanding.
A safe space we can explore using cannabis to face difficult emotions is in our yoga practice. In yoga, most of us have the habit of pushing away difficult emotions when we try a shape like swan or chair pose. We resist the shape because it's new, uncomfortable, or challenging, we self-criticize because we're struggling in the shape and make comparisons. Our thoughts feed into the cycle of negativity and we get out of the pose so that we don't have to feel that emotion anymore. But notice what happens when those shapes become more familiar to us and start to feel good. We surrender to and revel in the blissful shape, our ego inflates because we are able to hold the pose longer than before, we still make comparisons. We cling to positive emotions and push away difficult ones when neither will last forever. Cannabis can shine a light on the emotional signs present throughout our practice and enable us to feel freely while peeling back layers of discomfort and avoidance that allow negative thought patterns and emotions to persist unchecked. We are better able to go through emotions (both positive and negative) without the need to cling to or drown them out with positive affirmations and mantras, evading what the emotions is trying to express. Cannabis can be a way to observe and acknowledge all spectrums of emotion, then gently let it go on when they no longer serve us.
Cannabis promotes mindfulness, our awareness of the present moment, and when we toke with intention it can be a path to home, yourself - your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and emotions, all of you - without need to alter what is there. When we create this space with powerful plant medicine we are able to create space for our emotions to show up without fear of being evaded or judged. Then with continued mindfulness practice (with or without the aide of cannabis) we are more able to sit with those emotions and see whether they stem from love, reality, ego, fear, trauma or another place. We discover and re-learn ourselves through observation and the gentle guidance of cannabis. We learn to experience difficult emotions, and when we hit that wall of peak discomfort we lean into the wall and find softness instead of hardening. Be curious. Notice what bodily sensations arise with certain emotions or how it shows up in your mood state. We cannot fool ourselves into believing the emotion isn't there, so name and observe it, without having to feed into it.
The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body. - Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
Ignored emotions will not dissipate so it is in our best interest to allow our feelings to rise up, observe those feelings rather than resist, and listen to what they're trying to tell you. We observe the negative without feeding it. We acknowledge it's existence without having to be completely identified with it. Once we've found out how and why negative emotions are showing up, we must ask ourselves what we can realistically do to remove that thing. It may be something as simple as having a conversation with someone, or more difficult like expanding our perception about a situation, something cannabis can help with.
Use this time of discovery to feel grateful, curious, excitement, love, and content about the process of exploring difficult emotions. This way you're not drowning out a difficult feeling with positive affirmations, but bringing positivity into a realm we typically consider as negative and unnecessary. Working more with difficult emotions means turning them into your allies rather than enemies. These emotions are not meant to be sent away, told they are bad, or repressed. They are meant to help us see what is going on in our lives and respond with love and clarity.