As expected with most articles written by a marijuana addiction specialist, people suppose I should simply write about ideas or solutions for getting them off cannabis. Or, as a chiropractor, one would expect me to write about proper ergonomics, or some specific condition such as lower back pain or headaches.
Although these are areas of expertise for any chiropractor, your health is much bigger than how well you sit upright in your chair. I am not belittling the importance of these things, but I believe true all-encompassing health isn’t just about the physical body. Furthermore, getting away from an addiction requires much more than just stopping a drug like marijuana.
Most of us have heard the philosophers of the past speak of the relationship of the body and soul. From Aristotle to Plato to Descartes, each has written about this complex relationship and the interconnectedness of the mind, body and soul. Today, you will often hear these described as mental, physical and spiritual. Whether or not we subscribe to these as separate yet related entities, we can all agree that humans possess something that is very unique to the rest of the animal kingdom.
However, in terms of our health, I prefer to view these as separate entities with each possessing its own basic needs that have to be met in order for us to be truly healthy and happy. For instance, it is very obvious that the physical component has very basic requirements in order to survive; food, water, sunshine and rest (assuming we are active in the first place).
Although it took me a while to capture the basic requirements for our mental health, in my opinion, there are three areas that are absolutely necessary for someone to be fulfilled mentally; self-esteem, creativity, and purpose. Self-esteem is probably the most obvious of the three, but nonetheless, the most important. Without self-esteem, you will never be healthy mentally. But, what about the other two?
All humans possess the need to create. What we create is obviously an individual choice, but it is certainly something we can’t escape. Creation is a God given right that comes natural to us. In fact, your day is filled with these moments. Whether it is something small or large, all creations are significant in that they help stimulate the mind and, furthermore, they are directly related to the other basic need of the mental component; purpose.
Without a purpose in life, the majority of us feel lost. In fact, so many people spend decades trying to identify their purpose in life. I am not going to say that these people are wasting their time, but by looking too far into the future for who you may become, many times, will obscure the present moment in which you may be serving a purpose, or building the foundation for something to come. I believe we serve many, many purposes throughout our lives and by waiting until you find your purpose (versus it finding you) can prevent you from appreciating or being grateful for this period of your life.
At first thought, the spiritual component seems rather easy to identify some very basic needs. Most religious texts contain two very fundamental tenets; love and service. In addition to God, we are instructed to love and serve one another. In order to follow this creed we have to have one thing; relationships.
You may be wondering at this point what provoked me to write this article. Although I have had a keen interest in the topic and have studied Plato’s and other’s philosophies concerning this matter for quite a while, I am guilty of not practicing what I know to be true. If each of these components are interconnected and can affect each other, then all of the basic requirements need to be met simultaneously in order for us to achieve this level of health physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you are being honest with yourself, you too will admit that you are not satisfying many of these necessary prerequisites to absolute and total health.
Admittedly, my blunder has been with relationships. Finding the time for relationships, in what I deem as a very busy and sometimes hectic lifestyle, can be very challenging. In fact, I had recently conjured up the idea that I didn’t even have the time for what I perceived as unnecessary conversations. I know it sounds silly, but in an environment where success determines status, I didn’t have the time for anything that didn’t contribute to that success. I have always made sure that time is spent with my wife and children, but our relationships go beyond just our immediate family.
It wasn’t until a recent trip to Louisiana that I realized my error in thinking. My father, wife, three sisters, and I went to Louisiana to explore our family history. We visited several sites such as old DeRamus graveyards and other areas our ancestors grew up. We even visited the site of our cousin’s television show, The Cajun Pawn Stars. Jimmie and Johnnie are entertaining enough, but it was their father, Troy, who opened my eyes to the importance of slowing down for a moment to relish in the “unnecessary conversations” of those we care about.
In the three hours that I sat and listened to Troy speak about our family history with amazingly accurate detail, feelings of gratitude and family pride began to surface. But, I don’t believe it was just the details of the conversation that led to these feelings. It was looking around the room at the people sitting there that provoked these feelings. It took me slowing down for a moment to realize my error in thinking, and to appreciate the spiritual importance of relationships. Although we were absolutely exhausted since it was the end of our trip, as we left his house we were already making plans to return.
Whether it is friends, family, or even a stranger, taking the necessary time to engage in unnecessary conversation is truly a part of our spiritual health as much as sunshine is to our physical health. Of course I want you to sit up straight too, but I would prefer you look at the bigger picture and start fulfilling your basic needs mentally, physically and spiritually. I promise that if you fulfill these necessary needs, you will naturally sit up straighter as a result.