January 2019 Newsletter

Once a quarter we're going to put out a long-form newsletter, like this one. It's meant to be a deeper dive into; what we're working on, industry news, mindfulness tips and other things that captivate and inspire us! We've also recorded it as a podcast, so you can listen if you want.
The newsletter podcast is about 17 minutes and you can listen to it or download it from this link.

Hello Wonderful Ones!
Happy New Year!! We hope 2019 brings you mindful experiences that evolve and honour your relationship to body, mind and spirit and connect you to the true calling of the world around you; the honouring of the earth and all her inhabitants.

The numerology of this year is THREE (2+0+1+9 = 12 , 1+2 = 3). Although we can give endless cultural and belief system representations to the number 3, according to crystalinks.com, Three is the first number to which the meaning "all" was given. It is The Triad, being the number of the whole as it contains the beginning, a middle and an end. The power of three is universal and is the tripartite nature of the world as heaven, earth, and waters. It is human as body, soul and spirit. During the holidays Tom and I continued to make a move away from the traditional (i.e. commercial and super stressful) aspects of the holidays. We even noticed our emerging adult kids were happier to spend time with each other rather than partaking in the crazed buying of gifts and over-consumption of food. For the last 8 years, Tom and I have steered clear of social gatherings for New Year's Eve and instead stayed home to cook an intentional meal, move through 108 sun salutations and be meditating at midnight. Although we did not exactly follow that plan this year, we did do something similar. We were very intentional about our time - knowing that the way we welcomed in the new year and the days flanking it was setting the scene for how this year will go. So, we spent time planning Plant Alchemy's vision for the year ahead, organizing and cleaning our home, and getting outside for a mindful a walk in our favorite neighbourhood wetlands. Now we are excited to bring you up to date on what we have been influenced by of late and what we are bringing to you for 2019!!

What We're Watching

You probably know this situation - the one where you can't find anything of substance to watch, but somehow you find yourself mindlessly consuming programs that amount to junk food for the mind. Although Tom and I enjoy entertainment just for the entertainment value, we also thirst for viewing with purpose and with the intent of learning. I was thrilled to come across the Netflix original, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I was enamored from the very beginning. Not only is Marie Kondo absolutely adorable, but her method of approach for decluttering and organizing your home mirrors mindfulness concepts that we both live by and can still learn from. Marie teaches her clients to keep material possessions in your life that are necessary and spark joy for you and to let go of the rest. I love this!

Although there are numerous mindfulness living lessons to adopt from this show, my other favourite concept was to connect to your house. I have always connected to the people and objects in my house, but I am not sure I really connected with my actual house the way Marie teaches. Upon reflection, I learned that this may be based on the idea that Tom and I have always rented and not owned our homes. Although Tom and I have been grateful from day one about the beautiful property we live on, it seems that I have been waiting for the time we owned a home to really connect with the dwelling itself. I realize now the shortcoming of this previously unconscious notion. When I looked closer I realized that the level of happiness I have about my home was unconsciously being affected by the thought that we must own a home in order to feel fulfilled, secure or any other number of attachments and false beliefs. I am now making a conscious effort to connect to our beautiful property and our home studio, but also to the actual home itself. If you are looking for some inspiration for appreciating life, your relationships and your material existence I recommend spending some time with Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

What Got Our Ears

There are so many great teachers to be inspired by and learn from. Tom and I love to sit on any given night of the week and listen to an awakening talk by Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, Leo Gura, Rupert Sheldrake, or a podcast by Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss, or many others. Lately though, Ram Dass has had our ears and our hearts enraptured. He is so wise, humourous and so approachable. We just listened to a recording of Ram Dass' lecture - The Advanced Course on YouTube last night, and I have to say there are several gems that one could hear a thousand times and extrapolate new meaning each time. This is a lecture he gave back in 1993, but it blew my mind to realize how much more poignant his messages and perspectives are in relationship to the world we live in today.

The large segment of the message centers around the fact that we suffer when there is an imbalance between our inner truth and the way we lead our lives. This problem is getting worse, not better. It is echoed in the hatred, sickness, poverty, corporate greed and addictions we see. The only answer is to awaken the self and make different choices. This is not a straight-line journey, nor is it formulaic, but it is a choice we have - to keep trying to get it right with every decision we make. If you are interested in listening to something thought-provoking, refreshingly upbeat, and eye opening to the human condition, l recommend you listen to Ram Dass - The Advanced Course.

What We're Reading

I have a lot of books, articles, and blogs on the go, but the one that currently holds my attention most is a reread of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. After long procrastinating on the purchase of the book, I happen to pick up a copy one summer on my annual mother/daughter trip to Stratford, ON. Upon reading it I couldn't believe that I had waited so long to dive into the pages of this transformational work of literature. I loved reading the journey of the Sheppard Santiago, the help he received from a Gypsy, a King and an Alchemist as he traveled from Spain to Egypt in search of a treasure of unknown nature. Santiago learned to connect to his heart to help him through many learned lessons like: a) recognizing the good in things, b) living in the present, c) life is interesting when you have a dream, d) everyone learns differently, e) become better than you are, f) follow your heart - wherever your heart is, there you will find the treasure. Perhaps the most widely known quote from The Alchemist is this: "When you want something all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it". Tom and I believe in this to our cores. This is why we have continued to grow Plant Alchemy.
For all the lessons Santiago learned, and many more, we wish with all our hearts to teach optimal living through plant medicines and mindfulness to help change the frequency of thought, alter the harmonics of matter and apply the element of love to create a desired result.
If you've yet to read it, or you want to reacquaint yourself, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. is a quick read and one you will be happy you took the time to engage with.

Positive Influence for Our Youth

With so much mindless crap on the web and no shortage of ass-clowns posting their opinions, it can be hard to zero in on the good influences and teachers available to us. Sometimes we just feel plain ol' too tired to engage with lengthy involved books, lectures etc. Whether we know it or not, our media habits influence and shape our lives, perceptions, actions, and ultimately, our character. When sharing some of the influences I found helpful, a few years ago, our younger son Yosuf shared one of his own. Yosuf was pumped about recounting a bonding and character-building day his school had had for the grade 11's. As he told us about the day's activities, he mentioned a video they had watched by a spoken word poet, Prince EA. Upon his recommendation I looked him up. I was hooked!

His messages are deep, but skillfully sculpted into short videos using analogy, metaphors, and mindfulness concepts to help foster growth mindsets in the (young and older alike) folk who are drawn to him. His message for 2019 packs a thoughtful punch as it shines light on how we hold ourselves back and sell ourselves short. He reminds us that Character is the ability to carry out a resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed and encourages viewers to be Fully and Authentically YOU! If you're looking to connect our youth to influences that foster a growth mindset and mindful character development, I recommend you check out Prince Ea's YouTube video New Year, New M ... Stop together with your kids, students, family and friends - especially our younger folks - or even better yet, try to get 3 generations together to view one of his videos and have a discussion about the teachings afterwards as a family.

Cultivating a Mindful Relationship with Cannabis - participants perspective

In July 2018, we started asking for participants to sign-up for Plant Alchemy's inaugural 8 week online live stream class: Cultivating a Mindful Relationship with Cannabis. We let people know it was a beta test of our course and that in exchange for receiving the course for free, we were asking for input to help us shape our offering to make it the best experience possible for future students. We were asking for 100 students and weren't sure what to expect but ended up exceeding our enrollment limit!

It was an experience we were so happy to have for a vast array of reasons, but here are our top 3:
1. We were able to teach about something we are very passionate about - teaching the latest research and scientifically proven mindfulness practices that create conscious (cannabis) consumption and foster self-reflection for optimal outcomes.
2. We received valuable feedback from our initial students that has helped us shape Plant Alchemy's vision for the roll out of On-line self paced educational courses for 2019.
3. We realized just how needed this education is; not just to know the research about cannabis as a plant medicine and intentional observant usage, but also to help heal societal perceptions surrounding cannabis and decrease the pain, guilt and shame felt by so many through the decades of stigma surrounding this medicinal and therapeutic plant.

Here are some of the Quotes, Glows (highlights) and Grows (learnings) we received from our participants:

"I have found that the foundational information has been very helpful, especially in the last month. I have found myself to be much better informed than almost anyone I've been in conversation with about cannabis and the new legalities."

"Thank you for this great course - I was so fortunate to come across it. I am a clinical social worker who has had clients in the past and present who use cannabis, both medicinally and recreationally ... I am a huge proponent of mindfulness, so am pleased you had/have such an emphasis on that aspect - I think that is an important part for both professionals who aren't so "into" mindfulness and any who consume and/or are considering to do so." --Karen Cox

- We received a 91% favourable response from participants when asked if they see cannabis as an effective and legitimate medicinal treatment alternative
- We received a 90% favourable response from participants when asked if Plant Alchemy's teachers were knowledgeable about the topic and related issues
- We received a 90% favourable response from participants when asked if the course covered vulnerable sectors and harm reduction practices for cannabis consumption effectively
- We received an 86% favourable response from participants when asked if students understand how combining cannabis with mindfulness practices can help deepen their healing process and help them build moment-to-moment awareness

- We received a 78% favourable response from participants when asked to rate the delivery of this live-stream online course format.
This has led us to redesign our course materials to make it more easily digestible in smaller chunks. As well as provide a series of courses tailored to the diverse needs of our students and allowing participants to choose a level of learning that is appropriate for them as an individual.

When asked what participants would change in the online delivery, we received the following comments:
" ... show graphics when necessary but keep the focus mostly on the speaker."
This has led us to upgrade our production values and create pre-produced, self-paced online courses.

" ... make it more interactive."
You spoke and we answered - our courses will have built-in checkpoints and quizzes.

Regarding the online consumption journal; "Having the [consumption journal] in a paper format would help me to compare and track shifts in my experience."
Yes - we are listening! We are in the process of creating a mindful consumption journal. Stay tuned for when it will be released.

Our First On-line Self-paced course:
Cannabis Fundamentals - Budding Knowledge

With legalization just finishing its first quarter in Canada, there is still so much to learn. Whether or not you are planning to consume cannabis, becoming literate about it is the only way we can all contribute to removing stigma and fostering conscious consumption. In our Cannabis Fundamentals - Budding Knowledge course, we will deliver foundational cannabis literacy knowledge, harm reduction practices plus an overview of common health issues such as sleep, stress and chronic pain. This course will be hosted on our website and offer a certificate of completion to those who successfully finish the course. We will be starting enrollment as of Feb 2019. Check our website over the next week or two for updates and opportunities to sign up at a discounted rate. We'll be sending out a short alert to everyone on our mailing list when registration starts.

Mindful Consumption Journal

We are super excited to tell you about our Mindful Consumption Journal. We are creating a journal that will help consumers understand the effectiveness of their cannabis usage. This journal is being designed with those in mind who wish to cultivate the deepest benefits of cannabis through data, observations and mindful journal reflections. Check our website and get on our mailing list to stay up to date with a release date for this journal.

Upcoming Courses for 2019

We are creating a number of online, self-paced courses that will be hosted on our education site. Each course will have its own unique videos, readings, video lectures and quizzes. Our courses will offer a certificate of completion and we are working towards having some courses credentialed.

Here's our vision for course rollout for the first half of 2019:
~ Cannabis Fundamentals - Level 1; Budding Knowledge
~ Cannabis Fundamentals - Level 2; Flowering Comprehension
~ Cannabis and Women's Health - A Wholistic Choice
~ Cannabis and Intimacy
~ Cannabis for Seniors - A Kinder Option
~ CBD Flower Power
~ Cooking with Cannabis - CBD, THC & Haute Cuisine

We've two quick questions for you!
- What are your top 3 preferences from the list above, and
- Are there any other courses you'd like to see us create?

You can give your opinion to these two quick questions at this link.

Check out our website over the next few weeks for ongoing updates on courses and other offerings.

If you feel the information contained in this newsletter can be of help to someone else, please share it and encourage others to sign-up on our email list so they always get the latest news from Plant Alchemy and can add to the collective energy of being a change agent in our evolving world. It's been wonderful to catch you up on what's happening in the world of T&T. We would love to hear from you too! If you have a comment, question, or want to tell us about something that is going on in your world, or the world around you that you are passionate about sharing, please send us an email at: info@plantalchemy.ca

Till we connect again, be well,
Tara and Tom