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Seeking balance is a journey, not a destination. It’s a constant dance between our bodies, minds, and the world around us. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of ‘seeking balance’ in our lives, how it relates to our endocannabinoid system, and the role cannabis can play in helping us maintain this delicate equilibrium. Whether you’re dealing with physical discomfort, emotional stress, or simply trying to navigate the ups and downs of everyday life, understanding the importance of balance can be a game-changer.

The Quest for Balance: A Personal Journey

Over the past few months I’ve had some shoulder pain, likely brought on by hours in front of the computer, so I visited my osteopath last week for some help. We chatted for a few minutes, and I told her about my shoulder and the causes I suspected—mainly that my life is a little out of balance, and I’m spending way too much time sitting at a desk lately.

As she moved my arm around, pushing here, pulling there, she asked about my workout habits. “I’m out of whack,” I told her. “I do yoga 3 or 4 times a week, but I haven’t lifted a weight since the gyms closed because of Covid.  It’s been months.  I’ve really got to get balanced again.”

Osteopath treating a woman's shoulder pain
A woman seeking balance in her physical health with the help of an osteopath.

The Wisdom of the Osteopath: Seeking balance as a way of being

She paused as she pushed her fingers underneath my shoulder blade, putting pressure on the muscles there.  After holding still for a moment, she spoke. “It might be better to think of it as seeking balance.  Not achieving it.” she said.  “It’s not a goal that you’re looking to get to.  It’s a way of being.”

Her comment has stuck with me for days now. I’ve had conversations with multiple people about it and I’m starting to think of it as my own motto for 2021.  “Seeking balance as a way of being.” Has a nice ring to it, I think!

2020: Seeking Balance during a Rollercoaster of a Year

2020 had endless ups and downs. You never knew what was coming next. It felt like the rug was constantly being ripped out from underneath you just when you started to get settled. Living in a time of perpetual change makes it impossible to find an ideal point of balance, frozen in time and space.

This year has taught us that our balance is fluid, constantly changing and flowing along with us and with the world around us. Balance changes everyday because we are in a state of constant flux.  Our bodies, minds, emotions, worlds, are all shifting like sand in an hourglass.

The Endocannabinoid System: Your Body’s Balancing Act

Our physical bodies also have a system to help them stay balanced called the Endocannabinoid System.  Its job is to help us maintain homeostasis, and it does this through receptors that are found all over our bodies, in nearly every type of tissue.  Each of these receptors is like a communication portal that allows different cells, organs, and systems in our bodies to communicate so that we stay balanced and working properly.  Our immune response, appetite, metabolism, memory, and hormone cycles are all regulated by the ECS.

Diagram illustrating the endocannabinoid system's role in maintaining homeostasis in the body.
The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in maintaining balance in our bodies, regulating various functions such as temperature, blood sugar levels, pH, water and minerals, and metabolic waste. This system is key in our journey of seeking balance.

The Constant Dance of Adjustment: Seeking balance in a State of Flux

When you have inflammation from an injury or fever from an illness, the ECS works to relieve it by helping the body return to a state of balance.  There’s a constant ebb and flow between the body and the ECS. The body communicates its state of being, and the ECS works to help the body find balance.

The process is perpetual, never ceasing, varying in each moment, and interacting with the body and its environment for as long as the body has life. It is a state of never-ending adjustment.

What brings balance at one time is not what brings balance at another time.

Finding My Balance: Personal Adjustments in Work, Life, and Cannabis Consumption

What brings balance now looks different than it did last year.  It looks different than it did 3 months ago.  And it looks different than it will in a decade.  It’s constantly shifting and changing because we are constantly shifting and changing.  Right now, seeking balance looks like hard work on the projects I am building. This means lots of hot tea in front of the computer, frequent afternoon breaks for snuggles and kisses from my daughter, and midday walks with the dog to clear my head.  That’s what feels right and makes me happy.

Cannabis is a Tool for Balance

My cannabis consumption is balanced differently now too.  It’s winter, so I rarely smoke joints.  In past years, I’ve always switched to a Pax vape when the weather was too cold to enjoy being outside.  But earlier this year, my family moved into a new house where my office has a sliding glass door onto our back deck.  Now instead of vaping, I step out onto the deck with my bong throughout the day. 

Woman using a cannabis bong on a deck, seeking balance through cannabis consumption
A woman uses a cannabis bong on her deck, exploring how cannabis can help in seeking balance in her life.

I used to consume uplifting cannabis cultivars infrequently, usually only at parties, or in the evenings when I wanted to stay awake or be sociable. But these days I find myself enjoying sativa strains more than ever, using them to fuel my creativity and calm my ADHD while I put my head down and work.  When I have my period, I’ll vape heavier cultivars while I lie in bed with a heating pad. Some nights, I let a heavy indica carry me slowly through the evening, while I spend time reading or watching videos.  Other nights, I take some RSO mixed with THC distillate before dinner.  My slow metabolism processes them along with my food. I end up melting into a delicious, 8-hour-long, sound slumber around 10 at night. 

Just like the Endocannabinoid System regulates whatever adjustments need to be made to find balance, cannabis helps me resolve my own imbalances. Those might be with attention, sleep, or pain. And it helps me feel good and happy and healthy.  Balanced, in other words.

Checking in with Yourself: How Do You Feel?

Just like my pain told me that my exercise habits were unbalanced, we can tell if our overall life is balanced by how we feel. Do you feel good?  Happy?  Satisfied?  Or do you feel bad, disappointed, or sad?  If it’s the former, amazing! You’re doing it!  But if you’re feeling down, start to think about what in your life you can balance in a different way. Find one small way you can shift your state of being towards finding that balance.

A stack of four multicolored stones balanced on a rock, symbolizing the concept of seeking balance.
Just like these stones, we are constantly seeking balance in our lives, adjusting and readjusting to maintain our equilibrium.

Small Shifts Towards Balance and a Call to Action

In conclusion, finding balance isn’t about achieving a static state of perfection. It’s about making small, mindful shifts in response to the ever-changing circumstances of our lives. Whether it’s adjusting your work habits, changing your exercise routine, or modifying your cannabis consumption, every small step you take towards balance contributes to your overall well-being. Remember, it’s not about reaching a destination, but about embracing the journey of seeking balance as a way of being. So, take a moment to check in with yourself, listen to what your body and mind are telling you, and make the adjustments you need to find your balance.