As I close my emails on a Monday night, I glance out the window. It’s that time between late afternoon and evening when the sky starts to go indigo. I shut the blinds. I roll out my neck and move to the living room. I pop in my headphones as I shake out my shoulders. I clear a space on the floor and settle to my knees. Calm down. Light it up. I inhale sweet, earthy, chamomile-scented smoke. The dreamy opening notes of Glass Animals echo around my skull. Gooey. With every inhale my spine starts to sway deeper back and forth… loosening and lengthening.
Opening my knees, I slide my chest to the floor and feel the day press out of my upper back. I roll out my wrists. My lungs open to take in more breath. I reach for another hit.
I listen to my oxygen flowing in and out for a while. Awareness moves to my pulse beating in my limbs, synching to my music. I can feel the heat of my blood moving through my body. Instead of counting the seconds I wait for my body’s cue. When it comes, I press my chest further out, my lats open, my knees slide out, sinking my hips deeper to the floor. Impressions of energy and light roll across my vision as my muscles expand, sometimes purple, sometimes gold, blue or green. For the next 90 minutes, this is the only sequence my body knows: Inhale, wait, listen, feel, open, extend.
When I’m high, it’s so much easier to listen. None of these amazing sensations happen unless I can listen for them, which means quieting my inner voice. In my pedestrian life, I’m trained to be discerning and strategic. I spend my 9-5 cultivating an internal narrative that is highly critical of the world around me, and, in turn, the way I operate in it. By the end of the day, she is loud and fucking full of questions, comments, and concerns. Are you minding this deadline? Can you make this Zoom? You need to draft this document. You need to build this deck. Did you drink enough water? Are you managing your health? Are you keeping this tidy? Did you pay proper attention to this relationship today? How about that one? Do you need to buy more eggs? Is your gas tank full? Do you have enough laundry? Did you get enough steps in? Did you get enough reps in? Are you engaging your core?
But that inner voice doesn’t register burnout; that’s for my body to contend with—a lesson I’ve learned the hard way, almost too late. The only remedy is this quiet time in the twilight on a Monday night. What a perfect name, Quiet Times. It does exactly that: Quiets that inner voice so I can listen to my breath and my body and my heartbeat and nothing else.
Inhale. Wait. Listen. Feel. Open. Extend. Breathe.