Thoughts from the Road, and Landscape Photography #1 “Self Medicating”
Location: Great Smokey Mountains National Park
Being out in the Great Smokey Mountains on trails, searching for a composition, hiking, and experiencing nature has helped me analyze many things about myself and the world as I perceive it to be. This is one of the many reasons why I love being out. I’m staying in Gatlinburg, TN for the majority of my time here. It always hits me when I’m so emerged in nature, yet so close to a populated town with many things going on. It prompts me to question many of the lifestyles that we as a modern society have grown accustom to. I kept thinking about the term “self medicating”. How often do we as a society really partake in this practice without realizing it? Many of us live in a constant fast pace environment. Perhaps even more hectic for those of us who live in a major city. If the expectation is to fit as many tasks as you possibly can in a 16 or so hour timeframe. When do you have time to self reflect? At what point during your day do you take a conscious breath? How do you clear your mind and heart from everything that may be bothering you? Do you save it for another day? Will you deal with it on your next vacation? And so, self medication comes along and we consume it to help us deal with all of this. But does it really help us? Are we truly embracing what’s wrong with us on the inside? Really deep within our minds and hearts. Is this self medication just numbing what is there, and helping us save it for a later time? Whether it be, alcohol, weed, coke, meth, pills, sex, prescribed medication, gambling, ETC. Are these ways of self medicating that we have grown to rely on? I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “I want to drink away all my troubles from the day”, or “I need this medication to help me calm down”. How about we look within, really deep within, and we embrace our feelings and emotions in an open and honest way with ourselves? This can be quite terrifying. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that. What if you simply don’t have enough time to do this? You have kids or a major project at work to deal with. Certainly you can’t just stop the world and focus on yourself, right? Wrong. Sooner or later not dealing with these things will lead to something even more troubling. There are many events in our lives, from both our youth and adulthood that we still carry with us. Emotions and memories that may be affecting us in a negative way to this day. Some even say from past lives, (if you believe in reincarnation). The build up of all of these things on top of our already busy and stressful day can lead us to self medicate. It can even become an addiction, as we have painfully seen. Meditation has helped me so much in the past few years as a non harmful self medicating tool. It allows me to have some time during my day to stop everything and silence my mind and relax. I also self reflect a lot on what I’m feeling, and most importantly why I’m feeling it. I try my best to deal with it then and begin the process of letting it go. I guess my point of all this is. Self medication is important, but if we’re going to consciously self medicate every day. Work towards it being something that won’t harm your body or mind. We’re not made of some kind of solid material that can absorb any obstacle or tragedy with no emotion or effect whatsoever. No matter how tough you think you are, or how little time you think you may have. You experience constant emotions and have a heart. Be honest with yourself and embrace all that is good and bad about the past and present. Find a way to let go of those things that do not serve a good purpose, or have a negative impact on your life. This isn’t always easy, and I know it takes constant practice, but it can lead to living a more awake and conscious life. Why not heal something all the way, rather then numbing it for a little while?
Peace and all the Best