Realities of Cannabis Legalization in California

Emotions are high as cannabis legalization comes to fruition in California. There is eagerness as the green rush (or weed greed, as I call it) brings professionals into a market where there was once only “criminals” or outlaws. The pink shirts can’t wait to make money off the backs of those once vilified and imprisoned for fighting for the decriminalization of cannabis. I openly hope that the pink shirts like John Boehner don’t thrive, as some of these hypocrites were the loudest to criticize cannabis users.

There is fear from those that have made their livelihood off of the private cannabis market and aren’t sure how they fit into the new legal industry. Those that have been able to conduct business unregulated and untaxed are now in the most over-regulated and over-taxed industries in the state. In the Emerald Triangle (Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties) where cannabis cultivation has been what keeps the local economy afloat, I have heard many growers say they are priced out because local agencies require absurd regulations that have never been applied to any other industry.

There is also excitement as anyone 21 and over can legally purchase cannabis at retail stores across the state (or will soon once local jurisdictions get it together to grant permits). I will admit that I am stoked that I can walk into a store and buy a sack of weed and a bar of ganja chocolate. It will be even better when the taxes on cannabis are not so high.

As those that participate in the new public cannabis market, we have to work hard to make sure that everyone that is still incarcerated for cannabis related “crimes” are set free. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that with some of the tax money from cannabis, that we pay reparations for those whose lives were ruined when they were busted for cultivating or dealing weed. In this new world of cannabis freedom, we have to remember that it is not equal opportunity for all as we like to believe.

With love and gratitude,

cropped-jessicabaker

Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

Lavender & Ganja Chocolate Truffles

With all the edibles on the market made from butane extracted oils I’ve decided to put out one of my favorite old school ganja chocolate recipes. This one is guaranteed to work those cannabinoid receptors and includes lavender flowers, which are loaded with linolool. Plant synergy is in full effect here! A word to the wise- this isn’t dosed out in 5-10 milligrams like the legal products on the market. Eat one, wait at least 30 minutes and see how you feel before indulging in more!

Lavender & Ganja Chocolate Truffles Lavender Truffle

 3 grams of kief (kief is preferred because it distributes so well into the butter)

1/3 cup organic heavy cream

6 tbsp organic unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 3/4 cups organic bittersweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup organic unsweetened cocoa

2-4 dried powdered organic lavender heads (lavender can taste soapy to some people, so start with a small amount) 

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a low simmer (or put in top of a double boiler to avoid overheating). Add the butter and stir until melted. Once butter is melted add the kief and half the powdered lavender and stir into mixture for 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Make sure mixture is on very low if not using a double burner. Add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl.
  1. Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours.
  1. Smoke a joint and walk in nature while waiting for truffles to harden.
  1. Use a melon baller or small spoon and roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. You should get around 30 truffles. Roll each ball into the other half of the powdered lavender and the unsweetened cocoa. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  

Always keep these treats out of the reach of children or pets.

Have an irie 420 y’all!

With love,

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Jessica

when energy flows, wellness grows

A Celebration of Cannabinoids

This blog post continues my interview with neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, Ethan Russo. Ethan has worked with cannabis extensively since the 1990’s img-dr-ethanand continues to pioneer the research on the human endocannabinoid system. He is the former Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals and Past-President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. What I like most about Ethan’s work is his ability to scrutinize down to an individual constituent all the while understanding the importance of the synergy of whole plant medicine.

In my final questions with Ethan,  we speak about terpenoids, the future of cannabis laboratory testing and how the FDA is responding to the labeling of CBD products.  It is my hope that these interviews help dispel the deception that has surrounded cannabis since its prohibition and help create a more informed future.

You can read the first part of the interview here Herbal Pioneers Interview with Ethan Russo

JB: The number of terpenes that are significant in lab testing is constantly changing.  Which, if any, chemical constituents are responsible for the enhancement of CBD? THC? 

ER: There have been over 200 terpenoids isolated from different cannabis chemovars, but certain ones predominate, especially myrcene in modern strains, which largely accounts for the “couchlock” that is all too common nowadays, even with cannabidiol strains that should actually be slightly stimulating, but for that.  When limonene is included in sufficient amounts, it tends to “brighten” the effect and exert a pronounced mood elevation that can be quite helpful in many chronic conditions. A rare component these days is pinene. It has a remarkable ability to counteract the short-term memory impairment engendered by THC, an effect that makes cannabis treatment problematic for patients that still need to utilize it while they work or study.

CBD is still a difficult commodity to find in many states. When present in high amounts, it will delay and blunt the peak high of THC somewhat, prolong its effect, and reduce its tendency to increase heart rate and anxiety. Beyond that, it has remarkable benefits on pain and inflammation.

JB: Since pinene is a rare component in cannabis today and has the benefit of counteracting short-term memory loss, and other herbs like pine contain pinene, is research being done on the synergist effects of other herbs with cannabis? 

ER: There may be a lot of experimentation going on out there along these lines. I have current plans for formal clinical trials to examine cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions. The protocol is all set to go—we merely need funding to initiate the experiments.

JB: I have seen the same sample of Cannabis test at different levels from different testing laboratories.  Are you familiar with the laboratory standards of establishing THC and CBD percentages? Are these percentages even remotely accurate?

ER: We need to keep in mind that virtually all the analytical labs are actually contravening federal law by doing these assays. I’m afraid the quality control in the industry is quite hit or miss, with many examples of poor work and extreme variability. There are laboratory certifications available now, and these should be encouraged. Assays of cannabinoids are difficult, and hampered often times by lack of good analytical standards from industry. The best labs develop their own. Terpenoid analysis is even more technically challenging, and few labs offer that at the present time.

JB: The FDA has sent cease and desist letters to some CBD product manufacturers stating that there is some evidence of medicinal use and so cannot be sold as a dietary supplement.  Do you believe research has proven that Cannabis has several medicinal properties? 

ER: It is certain that cannabis has many medicinal properties. Just as a simple example, Sativex® (USAN: nabiximols), a cannabis-based oromucosal spray is approved as a prescription pharmaceutical in 27 countries for spasticity (muscle tightness) in multiple sclerosis. In Canada, it is also approved for pain in MS and in cancer unresponsive to optimized opioid treatment. Another cannabis-based medicine, Epidiolex®, an almost pure cannabidiol extract should be soon approved by the FDA in the USA for treatment of intractable epilepsy in children. However, approval of such a pharmaceutical form of cannabis will not influence the scheduling of other cannabis products. The FDA first went after CBD producers that had no cannabidiol in their products. Now they are issuing cease and desist letters to other companies that are exaggerating the CBD content, or making unsubstantiated medical claims. Rather, structure-function statements should be the maximum claim, as is currently the situation with other herbal products in the USA.

While we’re at it, for better or worse, cannabidiol is still a Schedule I forbidden drug in this country. Claims to the contrary, such as “Our CBD is derived from hemp and is legal in all 50 states,” are a function of tortured legal logic and wishful thinking.

JB: Ethan, thank you for participating in this interview and for your diligence in spreading the truth about cannabis.

To see Ethan Russo speak in person, attend the Medicinal Cannabis Conference in Arcata, California April 23-24, 2016 http://www.medicalmarijuanaconference.net/?page_id=246

For more information on Ethan’s work and our endocannabinoid system, check out

researchgate.net/profile/ethan_russo/contributions

phytecs.com

Happy 420 everyone!  We have witnessed the end of cannabis prohibition and an evolutionary leap of consciousness.

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

Herbal Pioneers Interview with Ethan Russo

img-dr-ethanI am honored to begin my Herbal Pioneers Interview Series with an interview with neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, Ethan Russo. Ethan has worked with cannabis extensively since the 1990’s and continues to pioneer the research on the human endocannabinoid system. He is the former Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals and Past-President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. What I like most about Ethan’s work is his ability to scrutinize down to an individual constituent all the while understanding the importance of the synergy of whole plant medicine.

This became a two-part series as I like to keep my blog posts short and I encourage readers to take the time to follow the links Dr. Russo provides for more in depth answers to the questions.  In the first interview Ethan describes how he began researching cannabinoids, debunks the terms “sativa” and “indica” and explains how those descriptions have nothing to do with the effects attributed to them. (Thank You-this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time!)  In next week’s blog we discuss terpenoids, the future of cannabis laboratory testing and how the FDA is responding to the labeling of CBD products.

JB:  Ethan, thank you for participating in this interview and for your diligence in spreading the truth about cannabis.

Aa young scientist, what inspired you to research the constituents present in the Cannabis plant?

ER: After several years in practice, I came to believe that I was giving increasingly toxic pharmaceuticals to my patients with less and less progress. Some of my patients were employing adjunctive cannabis to treat their illnesses even back in the 1980s, especially multiple sclerosis. This caused me to look back to my teenage interest in medicinal herbs. I then embarked on a mission to find herbal agents to treat migraine more effectively. The greatest abundance of herbal agents is found in the Amazon, so I took Spanish classes once a week for a year and a half before two trips to Peru. The second took place in 1995, when I spend the bulk of a three-month sabbatical working with the Machiguenga tribe in Parque Nacional del Manù. They had a great abundance of psychoactive agents and migraine treatments. Shortly after my return, I became embroiled in the clinical cannabis controversy. Over the next several years, I experienced continual federal roadblocks to that research and began writing, editing and lecturing on the subject, and eventually, in 2003, it became the primary focus of my work.

JB: Have you published (or will publish) anything on your work with the Machiguenga tribe? 

ER: Yes. I wrote an article on the Machiguenga tribe’s diet and its pertinence to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is accessible here: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/machiguenga-peruvian-hunter-gatherers/

JB: What is your opinion on the debate on whether there are two different species Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica (more if you include ruderalis or afghanica) or if all cannabis plants are Cannabis sativa

ER: I have personally been on every side of this issue. The botanical taxonomists will never agree. To be sure, the way that the terms “sativa” and “indica” are applied in common parlance is absolute nonsense. What consumers need to know is the actual chemical composition of the cannabis, both cannabinoids and terpenoids, in an accurate fashion by a reliable laboratory to have a better idea of its likely effects. I recently was interviewed on this subject at greater length, which is available here: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr

Read next weeks 420 blog post with the second part of the interview and celebratory post!

To see Ethan Russo speak in person, attend the Medicinal Cannabis Conference in Arcata, California April 23-24, 2016  Medicinal Cannabis Conference Website

For more information on Ethan’s work and our endocannabinoid system, check out researchgate.net/profile/ethan_russo/contributions and phytecs.com

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 

Finding My Tribe

Yesterday was sunny and 70 and today we wake up to a blizzard here in Colorado.  It feels like a little shock to my system but I know the hot, long days of Summer aren’t too far away.  I’ll take this opportunity to enjoy one of the last days of Winter weather to stay cuddled up inside with a big mug of hot tea.

Tribeca+Film+Festival+2011+Portrait+Studio+cZmeFy2dMKAlToday I also woke to the news that Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest passed away. RIP Phife Dawg!  I was immediately taken back to 18 years old and driving around with my best friend, Amber.  Always a reminder that life is impermanent.  A motivation to continue on my path.  An inspiration to finish my book, Plant Songs.  Winning a self-publishing contract has re-inforced my thought that it is time for the wisdom of the plants to be shared with more people.  My  life has been so enriched by plant medicine and it is an honor to share their stories with you.

Today and Everyday, Live your Dream!  You are supported in your decision to listen to your higher self and fulfill your desires.  If you need reminding,  Contact me via Facebook and I’ll encourage you! 

Also, in living my dream I will be asking some of my favorite people (scientists, herbalists, musicians) a few questions and will share their answers on my blog.  In the line up will be Ethan Russo, cannabis researcher and scientist.  Stay tuned for his expertise on the chemistry of Cannabis!

To find out more about my teaching schedule Go to my website to see where I’ll be!

I leave you with a heart-opening, life inspiring tea that will help you hear your inner guidance (and actually believe it!)

Try & Be You Tea (thanks Phife)

2-3 tsp Violet flowers & leaves

2-3 tsp Rose petals

1-2 tsp Rosemary

1-2 tsp Raw Cacao nibs

pinch of ground Cinnamon

Infuse (steep) all ingredients in a quart of boiled water for 15 minutes.  Strain and drink 1/2 cup throughout the day as you need inspiration and guidance.  Allow yourself a minute to listen to what it is you really want/need out of your life.  What do you want to accomplish before you die?  What difference do you want to make?  Write down steps to Accomplish it! 

When energy flows, wellness grows

Abundant Blessings,

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Jessica

 

Trust In Your Infinite Power

When the universe guides your hand and heart and you are bold enough to achieve something so far out of most people’s reach, you have to follow through with it. To be alive in this body, at this time, is truly an honor.

I believe we are born to live our lives to the absolute fullest. It is our duty to live, dance, love, travel, laugh, cry and get angry for all of those that no longer have the chance to — or never had the chance to. I’ve been saying it, and I will say it again — It’s time to take some bold action in your life. Take that painting class, write that book or call that guy. We are here to live!

Maybe it’s the abundance of nature here in Northern California making me feel more vibrant and alive. Maybe it’s the endless opportunities I see before me; divinely placed to remind me I am on my right path. Whatever it is, I am cherishing every moment. I am filled to the brim with renewed energy and joy and am spreading it out to you.

I’m also spreading my Believe to Succeed: Innovative Strategies for Business Success webinar:

If you are interested in where I’ll be teaching or if want to check out my webinars for CEUs.

Today, I’m not leaving you with a recipe. Make whatever tea encourages you to do something out of your comfort zone. Go deep within and listen to what plants are calling out to you. The plants that are calling me are the new spring blossoms of violet and the tender shoots of plantain and horsetail.  

Today I’ll make a nice sun tea to celebrate the new growth of the coming spring.

When energy flows, wellness grows…

Recipe: Wake Up & Live Tea

A good friend of mine gifted me “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo. The book provides a daily meditation on how to have the life you want by being present with the life you have. Each day shares a heartfelt story about how he survived his cancer diagnosis.

Today’s message is about urgency and how the illusion of hurrying keeps us from fully living in the present. This falsehood binds us and keeps us from feeling the universal connectedness that surrounds us all.

There are mornings that I wake with an urgency that I don’t understand. Sometimes the feeling is evoked from a day of travel, new clients or for no reason at all. I have been trying to wake with no other feeling than joy. I open my eyes and am completely thankful for all I have. This is pretty easy to do from my nice new king size bed and my husband and cat keeping me warm and cozy. In this moment of gratitude, time slows and I am fully in the moment.

I encourage you to take just a few minutes a day to be truly present. Lie in bed, sit in meditation or walk through the forest and keep your attention on the sensations you are feeling right now. If your mind wanders, bring it back to breathing. Just be. For a few minutes, just be. It will do wonders for your life.

I leave you with a simple tea that will help bring peace and  as always, use organic and sustainably harvested herbs.

Wake Up & Live Tea

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp Tulsi Basil (guides the Spirit)
2-3 tbsp milky oats (grounds the body)
2-3 tsp rose buds (opens the heart)
1 tsp licorice root (harmonizes formula)

Instructions:

  1. Steep all ingredients in four cups boiled water for 10 to 15 minutes.  
  2. Strain herbs.  
  3. Drink tea and allow yourself to be present in this moment.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

Happy Birthday to Me — The Power of 40

February has always been my favorite month, mainly because it’s my birthday month. On February 4th, I will turn 40. Four has always been my power number so I’m excited to have the energy of four all year. It is also a little overwhelming. Forty has been an unconscious milestone in my life since I was a little girl, when I thought, “Where will I be at 40?”  

I am happy to say much of vision has come true. In my young mind, I was an entrepreneur, maybe a writer and I would live a life of adventure and travel — all of which was true! I didn’t know herbalism and healing would play such a pivotal role in creating who I was to become. I love the path I have chosen for myself. I honor myself for having the courage to continue the journey. I welcome you all to celebrate who you really are and strive to live your authentic self.

Today we celebrate Imbolc/Candlemas and honor the goddess Brigit, the Celtic goddess of healing, poetry and smithcraft (alchemy). She is associated with the elements of fire and water and represents the return of the warmth of the coming spring at the end of a long, cold winter. Honor Brigit with a candle that you burn with intention while you write a poem that honors your own spiritual journey.

In parts of Africa and around the world, the Yoruba Orisha (Yemaya) is the mother goddess of the ocean and all of life. Honored in various ways in diverse cultures, she is associated with all water, the Moon and protects those out at sea. Honor Goddess Ocean and do your part to ensure plenty of clean water for the future. As Richard Branson recently tweeted, “2016 has to be about building resources & regenerating the #ocean — nothing less will do.”

As you patiently wait for warmer weather and longer days, stay as present as you can to relish the last month or so of the restorative nature of winter. I’ll leave you with a tea that honors the duality of dark and light, yin and yang, and water and fire. As always, use organic ingredients when possible.  And always know where and how your herbs are sourced. It is up to us herbalists to educate about true sustainability of modern herbalism.

Sol & Sea Tea

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp dried calendula flowers (represents the sun, Brigid)
2-3 tbsp dried horsetail (represents water, Yemaya)
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon peel (brings warmth back to the ming men fire)
Very small amount of honey (to taste, nourishes yin)

I can’t end without honoring, Sid Vicious. Today is the anniversary of his death (RIP Sid). We have all lost loved ones to addiction and violence. Enjoy every moment of your life. You are here. Now. It’s an honor to be alive.

Getting What You Want & the Tea of Tropical Bliss

We all have those moments that redefine us. Those moments that push us out of our comfort zone and bring us to an awakening, an epiphany that seems so obvious we can’t believe it didn’t dawn on us before. I’ve had several of these the last 20 years and it is those moments that have gotten me to where I am today.

Where am I? I’m in a sweet little casita overlooking magnificent Banderas Bay. I’ve been talking about restructuring my life to work while I travel and this is the year that I move that dream into reality. This blog post is the manifestation of that dream. So are my online CEU classes that are now approved and soon to be up on my website for sale.  

It is an illusion that we can’t have the life we desire. It is an illusion that kids, work, and bills bind us to a physical location. It is an illusion that we are meant to work to pay bills and then die with regrets.  The truth comes to light when we have the courage to stop running and to just sit with ourselves.  

Ask yourself what you really want out of life. If it is the corporate job, house on the hill and new car, that is awesome. If it is to drift with the wind on a sailboat in the Caribbean, that is awesome, too. I say, there’s no judgement, no remorse.

I was recently thinking why I am writing a book on herbalism, why I write this blog, why I teach classes on herbalism, aromatherapy, and Chinese medicine. The answer is simple. It makes me happy to write. It makes me happy to teach others about our herbal allies. It brings me great joy to be a messenger of the plants. And that is why we are here folks — to be a beacon of inspiration to all those that cross our path. We are not here to tell them “my way is the right way.” We are here to witness others fully live their path and encourage them along the way.

My hope for you is what I hope for myself — that I am able to feel the beauty and grace in all my adversity and come out the other side blissful and content and that I can be a grounding loving force in the chaos that surrounds us and that I can help others see the greatness in themselves and in our communal home we call earth.

I’ll leave you with a tea inspired by the sunrise and sunset over the Pacific. As always, use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Recipe: Tea of Tropical Bliss

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp hibiscus flowers
1-2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1-3 tbsp fresh lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Boil fresh ginger in two cups of water for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and add Hibiscus flowers. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Strain herbs and add lime juice to the tea.
  3. Add honey to taste if desired.  

This tea is delicious warm or iced (normally I don’t say drink teas iced unless it’s an extremely warm day, you are in a tropical paradise, or I’m talking about southern sweet tea).

Love yourself enough to fully live this life.  Even if you think you will have another one, that is no reason not to be present with this one.

When energy flows, wellness grows.

The American Herbalists Guild Symposium & A Recipe to Embrace the Divine

After weeks of working on releasing suppressed anger, grief, and fear I feel lighter and more at ease.  

With these clearings, I’ve moved even deeper within myself and have tapped into a shame so embedded in my matrix that it is almost overwhelming me.

As the anxiety rises from knowing I have to look at this aspect of my growth process, I just breathe. A long belly breath that expands my belly and my chest. I remember that I am infinitely supported by the universe and my human and plant allies.  I know that any information gained will be transformed into wisdom and love and I will release all residual fear, anguish or disgust that embodies all shame.

Last weekend at the annual American Herbalists Guild Symposium in Granby, Colo., I had the pleasure of meeting and gathering with so many of my herbal heroes. Teaching alongside people I admire so deeply and being acknowledged for my accomplishments was incredible — and intimidating! The symposium also brought up these feelings of shame and I am glad I had the courage to overcome them. I know I was chosen by the plants to teach their wisdom and I am honored to have the opportunity.

I want to thank the AHG for putting on such an epic event! Every teacher at the Symposium is amazing, but I wanted to recognize two of my favorites. Check out their links as they are a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Ethan Russo, MD

The top of my list is Ethan Russo, MD, he is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and former Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals. I heard him speak in Bern, Switzerland in 2002 when he was part of the team that developed the first patented cannabis product.  So much of his work is finally being recognized in the scientific community as CBD and Terpenoids become the new buzzwords in cannabis research. More importantly, he is a plant person and understands the synergy of whole plant medicine! His team at Phytecs is researching the Endocannabinoid System and its role in our physiology and our evolution with cannabis. Ethan is a humble likable guy that you will be hearing a lot about in the future.

Mindy Green

I finally got to attend a class of my favorite aromatherapist, Mindy Green. Her four decades of work with essential oils and in the natural products industry makes her an authority on botanical medicine.  She runs a consulting company, Green Scentsations and specializes in botanical therapies, product development, and aromatherapy education. Mindy has welcomed me into the aromatherapy community and is a genuinely kind person.

As you see I was in the presence of people that have been studying botanicals since I was a wee baby. I had to convince myself that I was worthy of being on the stage alongside these giants in our industry.  Acknowledgment from our peers (and heroes) is important, but ultimately it is how you feel about yourself that is important. I continue to liberate this deep feeling of embarrassment of who I think I am. Just like you, I am beautiful, strong, kind and worthy of all the love and acceptance the universe has to give.

I’ll leave you with a simple soul nourishing, energy building recipe that will help you open up to the loving embrace of the Divine.

Recipe: Embrace the Divine

Use all organic ingredients (of course)

Ingredients:
1 small handful of fresh or dried rose petals
1 handful fresh or dried milky oat tops or oatstraw
1 handful fresh or dried hawthorn leaves and flowers
1 handful fresh or dried tulsi basil
1/2 handful fresh or dried violet leaves
1/2 handful fresh or dried calendula flowers

Instructions:

  1. As you blend the herbs together, honor each plant for its offering of medicine and ask it to open your heart to the infinite wisdom you are about to receive.  
  2. Steep the herbs in 4 to 6 cups of boiled (not boiling) water for 15 to 20 minutes.  
  3. Strain herbs and set aside for a second use. The bitter quality of some of the herbs will help clear toxins and negativity from your body.  
  4. If the taste is unpleasant add 1 tsp honey and thank the bees for their role in our nourishment.  Drink anytime you need of day or night.  It is a great ally on days when you need extra support or love.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings.

When energy flows, Wellness grows