For me and many who have turned towards their own sovereign mental and physical health, the word “normal” may have always seemed a little weighted. When our entire way of life is lived at a dangerous remove from the natural systems which sustain us, one has to ask whether or not the normalcy it created was ever really that healthy. As a longtime Burning Man devotee, I tended to live by the edict, “Why be normal?” So if there MUST be a return to normal, let it be a new normal, indeed.
Following is a list of several things I’d like to see changed and preserved from this time period. Some of them focus on cultural institutions crucial for our collective mental health, not to mention the livelihoods of thousands of our community members. Others are based on my own unique wishes. But most of them focus, as always, on better health and happiness outcomes for the entire planet. That’s always been the goal here at Medicine Box, normal or not. So here goes:
THINGS TO KEEP
Curbside Service!: Most of the time at any big box store, the organization is so idiosyncratic, you’re usually wandering around until you can find a staffer to point you in the right direction anyway. It’s quite the timesaver, and I hope, a keeper.
Hybrid Work Schedules!: Rush hour is not just a royal rectal pain, but it’s also environmentally disastrous, so anything that can reduce the carbon load on the atmosphere is more than welcome. Plus, and it may be difficult for families that have been crammed together for over a year to recall, before this, families didn’t have a lot of time together. If the aftermath of COVID means that parents are a more constant presence in their children’s lives, that’s a win in my book.
THINGS TO CHANGE
Health as a Practice, NOT an Afterthought: Even some parts of the wellness industry have gotten caught up in the Magic Pill Fallacy. Anxious and concerned about your future? Just take a 25 mg CBD gummy and you’ll be right as rain. This past year, 80,000 people died of drug overdoses during the pandemic — the most ever in recorded history — and that is a pandemic which is DIRECTLY attributable to this mindset. In the aftermath of this, our country needs to do some serious soul-searching about the hopelessness and isolation that has led to each one of these deaths. Doubling down on the same failed strategies will only lead to more death and collapse come the next crisis.
This comes back to what we’re always saying: it’s not just about the Happy Belly before your meals or the Equanimity before bedtime. It’s about the early morning meditation AND the dance break AND the weekly check-in with your peeps AND the proper diet alongside 1CaB. It’s about reigniting our connection to nature herself. So if this sounds like a lot, just start with nature, and the rest will follow.
Greater Access to Health Care: As you may know, most people in this country live in a region without any sort of access to mental health care, which means those damaged by the ravages of the pandemic are in danger of falling further down the cracks. The American Rescue Plan allocates $4 billion to community mental health services. This should not be a one-off. Nor should it be monolithic or neurotypical. Again, we’re all going to have to expand our idea of what is normal or healthy, and I seriously doubt the health care system as we know it, with its gaslighting and arrogance and obscene costs and greed, is up to the task here.
That’s why Medicine Box doubles down on plant medicine and a recommitment to nature. Our minds are not equipped to handle the velocity and the gross materialism of the world we’ve created. Humanity is due for a massive reset, and we’re living through a relatively mild one. However, harsher ones will certainly follow. Avoiding it will mean a reprioritization on holistic health and a way of life based upon the Seven Pillars. The plants and nature will show us the way.
WHAT WE’D LIKE TO SEE ONCE MORE…
A Parade in Every City for All of Our Essential Workers!
Visiting Family and Friends!
These are ALL things that I’ve missed terribly over the past year. I’m sure this list could reach to the stars for all of us. All I can say is that those days will come again, within our lifetimes. In the meantime, whether it’s with 1CaB or just making things right in your soul, it’s time to get prepared.