.Solstice—Reset Time

My shaman says that the solstice is the perfect time for a reset.

As is typical for our materialist culture, New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on the body: drinking less, exercising more, losing weight. I use “materialist” here in the philosophical sense, the belief that only the tangible world is real, that only matter matters. Spirit, energy and intuition are off the board. Matter is made up of atoms. Atoms are like individuals and, as Americans, we like that.

Except that atoms are made of quarks, and quarks are made of waves of probability or some shit, I don’t recall, the point is that there is no atom, no individual. What does E=MC2 mean? It’s all connected, everything interwoven.

There is energy everywhere, and it’s never more powerful or accessible than the solstices, the extremes of the planet’s orbit around the sun.

The opposite of materialism, in philosophy, is “idealism.” Not in the common use of being unrealistic, but in the belief that mind, or consciousness, is the real reality. Again, a one-sided view. Like this newspaper page you are holding—each side has its opposite. Which is the thing, and which is its opposite, depends on which side of the paper we’re looking at.

Trippy? Nah, just common sense. There are no absolutes, the future isn’t certain and all things need to be cared for in order to thrive. Like our spirit, our heart, our mind and our body.

Each of these facets needs to be cared for for the whole to survive. And guess what—that whole isn’t me alone, it’s my circle of friends, my neighbors, my coworkers.

Yet the cult of individualism underpinning the hyper-alienation of life in technocapitalism disrupts this connectivity, insisting that we are all alone, that buying clothes and pills will fix our deficiencies. Don’t go for a walk in the park, go to the mall. Don’t explore our spiritual alignment with a shaman, solve our problems with a prescription. Disclaimer: Some people may need meds.

Wait, isn’t this a cannabis column? From nature, unmediated by corporations or any form of human organization, we are given some of the most powerful aids for reconnecting with, revisiting, reflecting on and revising our expectations of life. Among these gifts are the plant and fungus I write about in “Rolling Papers.”

So, with the help of the earth, we can take some time for ourselves in order to shift our perception, reorder our lives or let go of all order, and find whatever it is we need the most as our world turns from the darkest point in its orbit and swings back toward renewal.

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