Self Empowerment Through Cannabis with Will Shaw
Will Shaw is CEO of Grind N Grow Chicago, a health and wellness brand with a dedication to community building and self empowerment. Will received his Bachelors of Applied Science in Anthropology from the University of Illinois in 2015 and has applied his 15 years experience in movement, including gymnastics, performance and the Braizlian martial arts Capoeira to empower his local community to, as he puts it, “educate individuals on the daily practice of systematic intent.” For Will this means “understanding the global impact of local practices and the causality it has on themselves and their community.” I caught up with Will on Head Change #9 to discuss self empowerment through the use of cannabis.
1 hr 39 min
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Levi: Welcome to Head Change, the podcast that puts you in a better headspace. I'm your host Levi Strom. On today's episode I speak with Will Shaw founder and CEO of Grind N Grow Chicago about self-empowerment through cannabis.
Will: I got involved with cannabis rather late. Actually I didn't really get involved with cannabis until I can write as I went to college. So I was and I went to, I went to college a little late. So, like 21 because I went to Community College before going to University. So I was a, I was a child of the Bear program. They came to our school. Even, we're more weird. The cops. Let us get in the back of a cop car because I don't know why they thought that would be cool for children, but I was
Levi: the hard plastic.
Will: Yeah, I just remember my parents going. Like, if I ever hear that, you do something like that, you'll have to deal with us. So but but yeah, I was, I was a kid of the Dare program so I really wasn't. I was anti Anything that I had propaganda, it was like, if it was like crack heroin, it was just like all of it. I was really educated in that way. They're like cannabis was a bad thing to do and so it wasn't until I went to college that me and my friend that I was on a gymnastics team was like he was going to the Marines. I was going to college, I was like, why not? And so we just kind of had a night of just like hanging out smoking and it was really weird because like everything I heard about it was like it Very bad and I just remember was laughing the entire time. So, in college, I mainly didn't really, I really didn't partake on until like, maybe the middle of my semester because I was, when I was one of those people, especially, like, on my coming. I started wearing a Rasta hat before I smoked. So people assumed I smoked just from wearing. They assumed, I sold because I had on a laughing, right, right? And I was like, nah, Ah, this is
Levi: just, that's what that's for right. The drugs are in there, you know?
Will: Yeah. Yeah. And it was so it was really interesting because I didn't get involved until it was very secretive. At first, it was kind of like if you were my friend and I knew you smoked I would smoke with you but to everybody else it was just kinda like. Now, I don't smoke but then around College, it became so it shifted into more of a recreational socialization tool. And then over time, I felt more comfortable too. Is it on my own? Whether there was a person there or not. And so, it kind of started off for me as a socialization tool and then it became also. I think there were, I know, there were times where I didn't use it for the right reasons where it was kind of like, I was stressed out or like having like a bad day and then I do remember using it are kind of abusing it in a sense of like I would smoke to disassociate for my thoughts. But over time, I realized it was funny because It wasn't till the end of my college experience that I actually got towed, that I had like, anxiety and depression because like, through the school's insurance, I was able to be like my there's something happening. So it turns out that my introduction to cannabis was also helping me kind of address without even knowing just issues of anxiety issues of depression, but that didn't, it wasn't until I became aware around that time. Of my mental health that I started to be a little bit more mindful of like okay. I can smoke but like, smoking all day and sitting, in my house is not something that I can do. So after college it more. So shifted towards using it for introspective purposes. It was a way for me. I mean, I still use it in a more rented, still recreational purpose, but I think I hadn't been educated. In my earlier years around, like, how to approach cannabis with the sense of like purpose. So now, and that was around. I graduated around like the age of 25. So, it was kind of like around my 25 to the last five years. It's been kind of, like, your last six years. It's been kind of transitioning towards like, when am I smoking? How am I smoking? Am I smoking to disassociate? Or am I smoking? Because I'm really trying to get into the mindset of something and then I started to associated with movement because I'm an artist. I've been doing performance arts related movement for about since I was like 15. So a little 15 years and so there were a couple people that I would hang out and we'd like, you know, I tweaked smoking, go to the gym, I remember going to like export and just like smoking in the parking lot and then just going on a treadmill and I would just have a Serious Runners line, just like it elegant Runners face, but it really helps me. Get out of my,
Levi: do that Runners face again because it's just really like, yeah, I need to get my running
Will: but not, it really helped me kind of get. Sometimes, it would help me Focus. Sometimes it would help me learn more about myself because I think there are times when you're not formally educated on how to use cannabis, it's a trial-and-error experience. So you And there were times that I realized I would smoke and whatever I needed to process. Internally cannabis has a way of bringing that to the surface and so I would sit there. My mind would be like so if you're smoking in your mind, still can't remove this person. This this mentality or trying to get away from you, realize how important it is to analyze and deconstruct? What you're actually feeling. And that also led me to a journey of again back to my mental health or realizing that Dealing with things like depersonalization. That cannabis kind of helps, it would always bring something new to the surface. Like, are you aware being present? Are you aware of, like, how you feel? Are you aware when you smoke and response to stress? Are you aware? How when you smoke and you move, you feel a lot more grounded in them in the moment and it and and it also allowed me to connect ultimately with the Cannabis culture in Chicago, because there was a, there was an underground scene here and I had met Through the underground because at that time in like 2008 and 2018 is when I met them and it was just kind of like it was pre legalization, but the culture of cannabis was one that I resonated with because when it's kind of like, when everyone's doing something at the time, like again pre legality, when everyone's doing the thing that we all know that legally we should be doing. There's an automatic like Middle Ground between you and people and the culture. Of the Cannabis Community, which is really cool because I remember walking to my first event, and it just the people were just very welcoming, and it was interesting because a friend of mine that I met through cap, WETA had a friend, who was an entrepreneur in the underground market and they sold topicals and they so dumb, things that their abuela, taught them how to make using cannabis and was Now using to kind of support their livelihood. And so it was that that was like I weigh in and then never send him just kind of like meeting people in the market. And then over time, it was actually people in the Cannabis community that kind of empowered me to be like you have all of these tools like you're very intersectional. You have all these backgrounds like just imagine if you would put those tools to use for yourself and so cannabis, became this this I'm see I'm using this intentionally. It became a gateway to a culture, that is a lot. More perceptive of individuality, as well as like, seeing people where they are, as well as acknowledging each other and, and our experiences, and not really being too judgmental about each other, because we're all game. Like, we everyone had their reason for why they smoked. But it was, it was literally, just some culture of empowerment to me because it was the culture, the canvas community of Chicago, that kind of got me into a position of why not? Just start your own. And it was very interesting because I've spent half of my life in performance arts communities. There were times where my, I was told I had an attitude. But then later in my life learned, I didn't have an attitude. I had mental health issues. And so it was very interesting that in the performance art community. There was always the social gaps or misunderstandings. Not because I'm not Anna. I know I'm an intelligent person. I know I'm very well with words and because I read a lot Growing Up, music is my thing. So I love wordsmiths like, like, one day, I'm gonna beat Donald Glover just because like, that's the connection I got. But, but no, it's it was candidate. Like there were people who just literally helped me conceptualize that I had the capability to do my own and stand on my own. And these two comparing these, two industries are, these could to communities. It was just over here in the Art sector. And aspect of me could come forward for in the Cannabis Community. People were just like, what else do you do? Like, who really tell me more? And so, that was really kind of my introductory introduction in the Cannabis, it started off recreationally and just over time consistently became just more about awareness, more about connecting with people authentically and ultimately led to a reconceptualization of say So of that, I would rather be a part of a community that acknowledges my needs and acknowledges the holistic perspective of who I am. And that and I would rather be a part of that. Then it consistently try to play this game in a performance art community cause I can still do everything. I do in a performance art community with the Cannabis Community. Like you know, that's where the class is come from. I've been teaching for 15 years, I've taught, you know, circus I've taught Dan's, I've talked to NASA's, I've taught you And when I had a master that allowed it, I've taught kapoeta even like did music when I was younger and it was interesting because there's a lot of politics in those areas. And I'm not saying that the Cannabis Community doesn't have that, but I would say I'm, I've been fortunate enough within the community that I now frequent to just see the culture of cannabis being how can we help you? How can we see you? And how can we Empower
Levi: you? Yeah, the culture is powerful because it's like me to like I I kind of started I'm a dare kid and I started really getting into cannabis from college and I remember being afraid because of all the programming of like oh shit, if I start smoking, you know, my God drop out, you know, and my son, you know, am I gonna like just become a loser? And it's like no, of course I didn't. And and I and I found that same Community because, you know, if you're if you're smoking you're already kind of doing something that has a stigma attached to it. There's like I think everybody that connects through the plant Is kind of like already stigmatized by larger society. So you kind of feel like you're a part of the subculture and it doesn't matter, you know what brand you're coming from, you know, so to speak. You know, you have a place in that culture and it is a really welcoming culture and now to kind of be taking it Out. And that's why I really support the work you're doing. I wanted to have you on the show because you're bringing cannabis into the healthy lifestyle movement and in your showing and and I like how you use the word teach because I think people do need to be taught how to use cannabis and to recognize maybe sometimes, you know, the misuse of it which can occur can be used. For escapism, can be used to avoid as an avoidance strategy and sometimes maybe you need And that's okay too, but if you can also use cannabis as a tool to open up and to explore some traumas and they are just things you want to change about yourself or maybe areas, you know, anxiety know that maybe you didn't realize you had that it kind of brings to the Forefront and really make it really challenges you to explore it because it is a healing plan and it has a psychological healing component to it as well. And you know, a lot a lot of talk. It occurs around cannabis as a pain management tool cannabis as an anti-inflammatory, and it's amazing at that. But, you know, the healing property is even th see specifically of that expansive psychoactive experience, can can do a lot of good when used appropriately and I really like, how you're bringing it into the fold of healthy lifestyle. People that don't know, Wills does three times a week, inhale and stretch grinding grocery kago really cool community. So, Empowerment. And, you know, The Branding of self-empowerment with the use of cannabis like what is what are your thoughts on people who don't want to use cannabis and its traditional sense, you know, that maybe respect the plan, enjoy the plan, but don't necessarily want to get high. How do you approach those people to make them feel included and what you're doing as well? Like is it a requirement to smoke before you go to inhale and stretch? You have your nail.
Will: No. Because so due to The due to the facts, right? That cannabis Works differently for each person differently. Just the way I you know endocannabinoids systems are all differently setup. I make it known that not even for myself like there are days where I will smoke for the class and there are days where I won't smoke for the class because I've noticed just my own cannabis use has changed over time their days when I would wake up in smoke and then over time I noticed that my my canvas shoes would become a nighttime thing. So I I let my, you know, people in my community know, like, hey guys, I will smoke with y'all today, but I got lit last night and I'm still feeling it. So I left, I'm honest about how I use cannabis in conjunction with my class. So there are people like even you know, luckily, you know, you know, thanks to a local cannabis educator here, who it's a black woman here. She owns her own cannabis educational Centre where you can get like you know, You get your medical card through her, you can, you can get seeds. She allowed me to teach classes, and we were able to start in person classes. And so when we had classes there, it's very important to tell people. Please make sure that while you're while, can't it will again our class. We are, we're here to be moving and removing and and to be very intentional on their cannabis. Use, please make sure that you understand your tolerance because we had a dad, my homie Professor babsi. We had a damn Specialists come through so you can do a dab of Our class. You can do a dab after class if you wanted to purchase products from, you know, the owner you could. But it was also, we have to let people know like understand your tolerance level if you don't smoke probably, not a good idea to smoke before class. Even though I'm saying, like, right, if you are a light smoker, like tell, tell Professor that we let them know. Like, he'll tell you that. Like, I'll give you a, give you a different concentrate, because it'll be a little bit lighter. You'll feel it, but it won't hold. Hold you back and then I had a friend come through, who was like I can dab. And then he realized that the dabs that were offered were specifically made if you are somewhat because because my friend, he's like a thousand milligrams is nothing that but we educate that because it's like in order for us to come to bring together health and wellness, with cannabis, mindfulness, has to be a part of that process. So whether I'm Felicity facilitating in-person classes are virtual classes, And I try to let people know. Honestly, like, how do I use cannabis? How does cannabis works for you. I'm not shy about letting them know like my ignorance has in relation to cannabis because I don't know everything. I understand that sometimes CBD is my as a better friend for me and sometimes THC is a better friend for me. I'm still learning about terpene profiles and I'll let it be known because as a facilitator, that type of perspective. Let people know that Research is still important and so just as much as I'm facilitating, I'm still going to be educated about cannabis. You still need to be educated about cannabis and we also need to understand like how we're going to use this in our day or how we're going to use it in our movement. So it's not necessary that you need to smoke to attend our community because the main focus for me is more so about the culture of cannabis or the culture of. There's a there's a book called The gods, which is really cool because it's an anthropological study of various various things like they were all natural that pre colonialization. We're just a part of black and indigenous people of color communities. But then like pulse colonialization became like outlawed and became like Federal drugs or stuff like that. And it talks about how cannabis was just like a part of indigenous cultures where it would be like, you're gonna use cannabis, because As you do your Coming of Age, you're gonna smoke cannabis because we need you to be mindful about your current Coming of Age ceremony or you're going to give your going to use cannabis because at this community facilitation where we're talking about certain topics or we're doing certain things cannabis is a way to facilitate that and I think I remember you know, even one of your podcast where you talked about even if you just grow the plant of cannabis, right? Like you're going to be affected by it and so it's that is the focal point of What I'm trying to do is, how do we cultivate that historical community that candidates has facilitated for a very long time that, you know, again, black and Indigenous and people of color cultures and communities have already learned facilitated, how do we bring that back, right? Not just in the mental state, but the physical state and then how can the practice of cannabis, kind of be the driving or at least the hook to kind of bring people over to that perspective? Yeah, and I
Levi: think, honestly, I think probably African Americans and indigenous. People's probably are them. And, you know, how to expand that out to, you know, to include probably, you know, Mexicans too. Because in California, I went a lot from my Mexican friends about plant medicine, especially the ones from Mexico, because the people are a little bit more in tune with, in just the use of aloe, you know, and dandelions and, you know, people are pretty competent, you know, your average person in Mexico because they do a lot of money, you know. I can't afford to buy stuff at the store all the time and go to the best doctor. So they learn how to use what's around them and they've passed down the history. And but we yeah we need the teachers to come back and I think people are hungry for that knowledge and capitalism is going to eat it up and chew it and spit it back out and strip it. And like, you know, I'm a capitalist and I'm a business owner and I want to earn a living. But I also want people to know that they need to empower themselves by learning about these plants. Because I think one of the best ways you can Empower yourself and give yourself. A lot of agency is to understand your own body and your own needs, and to cut out a lot of unnecessary things, especially in your diet and food. And this is something I'm working on right now. I mean, I'm talking to myself to I'm really trying to walk the walk, you know, and I'm adopting a plant-based diet slowly, you know, and I've gone back and forth on it for years. But my point is just to know how to grow your own food and And the relationship that we have with food and plant medicine in to have that teaching going on. Because it's not, I think a part of us still has it, no matter who you are and where you're from. Even if you're living in a city, you're still you're still tapped into nature. You just probably have gotten disconnected, you know, and it might even be a generational disconnect, but we still remember humans have evolved for a long time on this planet millions and millions of years before civilization really kind of, you know, cut us off and we can go back to that a little bit. I think there's some real powerful. It's going to occur and we need teachers to do it and Indigenous. People probably need to be at the Forefront and people from cultures that were still remember. I guess, you know, that you can still remember that relationship because like, we've talked about a little bit, I mean, Colonial capitalism that has largely been a white Enterprise is causing tremendous damage to the planet and I think to the psyche and I think capitalism in and of itself isn't necessarily the problem. It's but it's what it seems. Is to stoke in us, you know, and and and cannabis kind of works against that and not and not welcoming presence. You feel around. Cannabis people I think is real and I think anyone in the world, listening understands what we're talking about. It's like you find Cannabis people no matter where you are in the world and you feel a sense of community. And I think that is like at its core. Our desire to return to a healthier way of living like, from from top down like we need Mental paradigm shift in change in the world. We need to restructure economies to be more supportive of communities, and the environment. We need to restructure our relationship to ourselves to not be so reliant on constant validation from this. Yeah. And and being able to go you not on my right. You know, because I'm in pain because I stretched with will this morning, you know, I took an appropriate little toke, you know, I'm treating my body kind, I'm doing the right things for myself. Looking out for my neighbor like those things, add up, you know, and I think, and I'm not trying to be a doomsday. I really try to stay out of that, but I think the technology that we have right now is like an atomic bomb, it is incredibly powerful and it's it's going to cause a lot of damage I think before we could we get out of this like massive addiction, but the healers and the plant people and the musicians, Are going to be the ones that helped us get through it. No, they're going to make that difficult transition. I think a little less painful. So I think you're doing God's work. My friend.
Will: What if I if I can I want to respond because like the cool thing I think when you talk about cannabis in and of itself, especially we talk about cannabis and capitalism, I think the the focal point for me are the focal perspective that I normally look at things is through a lens of systems. So when you look at the human body, Do you have to look at the system? Like, how does cannabis interact with the endocrine and immune system, right? But then you also have to realize that just because you have a system of Regulation system that you can access and like get to help you with certain elements. The resources need to be there as well. And and when you look at likes our capitalistic Society, right? Capitalism was cultivated on various ideas of exploitation, right? And so, when we look at, why is it that capitalism works the way that it does. It's because in the DNA of it it's always about, is this for profit. Is it's a perspective of selfishness, right? And when we look at the human body, the human body doesn't work like that, right? The for the moment that your, as I go, the DNA is like, this is the idea. This is the Brew blueprint of a System of multicellular beings working together for the purpose of a whole organisms functionality. And then each specialist specialized sale, right? Is given specific tools resources and instructions to be that thing, right? And then, as long as it does that thing, especially when you look at it from a system of organs, right? As long as the heart beats, it is it is it has access to the The the nutrition that the stomach breaks down that the small intestine takes in the defense of the immunes. Like that the perspective of a system is what we're talking about. And so we look at that organic system and we compare that to the system that we have used to capitalism. It becomes to me at least very aware that we are creating a very non normative existence and Organic environment. And so, when it comes to cannabis, right? Especially like earlier, you talked about how, like let's highlight the people in Mexico, right? Like I like when I say indigenous, like I always I wanted to be known, like, I got my degree, like, cultural anthropology, so I always look at things for very anthropological perspective. Like I want to look at Mexico, I look at Mexico stealing like a post-colonial state because there's a lot of indigenous cultures in Mexico especially like if you look at the history of black people in Mexico, A lot of them blend it in. And if that's when you even, you look at the system of, like, where do we talk about the systems of like like specializing how much black are you like? That was local to a lot of Latin cultures because that's where like Spain went. So when we look at Mexico Mexican culture like I include the indigenous. Populations within that bite that by POC. Acronym that I said earlier because I look at the system of our nation's as Result of the histories that created them. I look at the indigenous peoples, whose cultures have consistently had to adapt to the context of The Regulators, which again, if we look at cannabis cannabis is like we're here to help homeostasis. We're we're like the powers, the government that be is like it's like a weight. It's a very Cancerous action, right? Oh, like people in power just constantly negotiating on themselves, taking resources, like, even in America, the fact that it took a year to deliberate helping its citizens in response to a pandemic, where, you know, like that talks about the systems of how we constructing these systems, how we regulate human systems, and what does this have to do with the whole notion of like? Well, if cannabis is counter colonialism, And that means that it's, it's constantly advocating for people to be aware of who they are their strengths, their weaknesses, being present in the moment understanding, did that strain work for you, or did that stray not work? It's asking a lot of mental, understanding of a systematic approach to things that are current government, our current Society, our current culture has historically been be conditioned to do
Levi: right and sharing and the sharing of knowledge and Resources and I love your love the human body analogy, you know? And it was really, really poetic and you know, I think you're right. You know, when I hear you talk about the powers that be and kind of their death grip, you know on the globe right now and its resources and it's true. This is not conspiracy talk. I'm in follow the money, you know, wealth has been concentrated in the hands of the very powerful few and I think it's very fear-driven. I think the you know, I always try to put myself in their position because As I'm no saint. Okay. If I was a billionaire, I would be as corrupt, as all of them, you know, when I'd be protecting my money, you know, because money power corrupts and absolute power corrupts. Absolutely, and money has a corrupting Force. When you have that much of it, I just don't think humans can. When you really realize the power that money can have at that level? I think it just you go crazy, like, your heart becomes hardened as the Bible says, like, you're you're toast, and I think that's really feared. Living, right? And, you know, that's, that's the fuel for this and, and, but we can start to deep charge it. Because all it takes, is it takes people being vulnerable in surrendering, openly publicly and a public set in LED neon putting the weapons down so to speak, you know, hands up, you know, and we're seeing this now, like I mean, I didn't even mean to go to Black lives matter but like, literally, like, don't shoot hands up, like, not surrender. But that like public display of surrender of like We're being oppressed. You know, there's oppression is having a toll in Psychology to and I think like this battle between like the mentality of grab the resources while we can okay. Because that's what global capitalism is doing, is as nation-states are kind of deteriorating in their power of the corporations are going and usurping. The world's resources as quick as they possibly can, to benefit primarily an elite few but also kind of the shareholders that kind of like that. Middle class of the world, that kind of keeps it all together to The Defenders of the global Elite in cannabis, is a part of the counter punch to it, which is why I think, I still don't understand why it's still illegal to this day entirely. But the powers-that-be, write, whatever they are, you know, are very afraid of what it can do. And I think you're touching on at its deepest core what it does because it starts to get people to actually like rely on. Each other and be vulnerable. It starts to untangle some of the fear somehow. I don't know. It's a really magical plan. We have the power in this, like, like, we produce our own cannabinoid. So it's what we have here is crazy relationship. Like, It's like it gives us kind of strength, you know, and I was thinking about the dabs, you know, and and like how some you know, a heavy Stoner and I might take that down to like jolt them awake where somebody else might just need to smell it. You know are just like like plant medicine can include being in nature, right? And just being around plants in the healing, the vibrational healing that can occur. The stuff is really not. Our science is very outdated really to try to understand vibration and Chi, and That the Eastern schools of thought have not explored on a much deeper level. I mean I want to interview the Dalai Lama, someday that's like top-line goal of. This podcast is to get the Dalai Lama on to talk about head change. Right to explore. Because I really I love cannabis and I love drugs. Generally a lot of them, but I don't think you need them to attain the Awakening to attain and, you know, it's a means to it and it can be used constructively for that end and I like incorporating cannabis. Into my meditations but I totally respect something like the Dali Lama who's like you know sober you know straight edge, right? Like no drugs, no sex. Just like living that monk life but still just getting like tons of dopamine and like you know just naturally just like reveling and what is really in front of us. I think is a cool goal. I'm not. I'm, you know, I don't think I'll ever be there, you know, I think I'm always going to need my coffee in the morning and, you know, and maybe the Dalai Lama, drinks and caffeine. I don't know if he's like bomber style, but I just imagined I like never needs anything. You know like you know, can can just drink air out of the water out of there and I'm probably idealizing him a little bit. I didn't meet him once in San Francisco and I was pretty impressed. But anyway, if anybody's listening, they can hook me up with the dial on the please let me know by countless my train of thought. Now a little bit with you, but I'm just so like moved by this idea of, of cannabis, being able to lead a movement of people. All that can really I think be something special like I don't think it's hyperbolic and I don't think it's silly to actually support this concept that cannabis can actually be what saves us like literally as a planet. Like I think I think it has the best shot of anything to do it because of the amount that it can influence both spiritually and economic terms, it just has a huge impact. So it's going to command attention and then us The Caterers can help shape it and move it in directions that I think will be very palatable to people. And once they really get once that culture, once that cannabis, you know, culture, kind of, is let out a little bit, it can come out of the closet I can come out into the daylight and starts to have a bigger in flag. Imagine soon having politicians right there that we have a few, but not enough that are just openly Advocates of it. You know that. The probably still have to say, well I don't smoke it but you know, I totally support and we still don't have enough of that. We need we need like the green party, you know, like the real green party to step up but I feel it's the one area where I feel like there's really fundamental shifts happening. I mean people on both sides of the political Spectrum agree on cannabis. I don't think anybody really has a real problem with it. It's just like, holding on to that last group of power and control over. People seems to be the motivation. But even though A huge can of worms, but you just give me thinking about that stuff because this there, you know, it's like we're all just kind of living, you know, you're doing your thing and I'm doing my thing, but all of us collectively are part of a movement and I just really I like how you're identifying that and trying to trying to explore that because this is a movement of people. You know, people are going to look back on this period of the liberation of cannabis and I hope we win and that we have a global liberation of this plant and an end to the drug war. Or globally. You know, we eradicate the oppressive system and start shifting minds and allow cannabis to do so much work because it really is a healing plant and if we can get it, another healing plants out into the populations, like it's the vaccine, you know, it's the real vaccine of self-empowerment and thinking for yourself and coming out of anxiety and depression. And actually rebuilding Community. That's tangible, and not just a digital interface. And healing the planet anyway. A lot of big topics there, you know, but that
Will: that's where this is me when I smoke.
Levi: Yeah, and that's probably why the time I don't always smoke before had changed but today, I did, I vaporized a little bit and so this is kind of where my brain goes. But tell me more about your relationship to the physical aspect because I you know, a lot of people come in to cannabis, you know with like myself with an injury, you know, overcoming story, you know of how cannabis helped them overcome injury. Do you have a similar story?
Will: Respect her. Yes, o can't. So cannabis kind of really integrated into my art because again like when I first started like so. So to kind of understand that that story it's kind of like every art that I've been a part of has been about a simultaneous desire to have a connection to community and to be guided towards an outcome of a kind of like self empowerment as well as just reconceptualization. So for instance, like gymnastics, right? Like you your you compete on your own but you're a part of a team, right? So, and Same thing with cap water like capita is is designed in a way where you're in the Halo or the circle on your own when you when you're having a game or an exchange with another person. That's just you, however, it's designed that you are aware of the context. Like, what's happening, musically? What are the lyrics saying? Are they? Are they calling you outt or calling you in or they highlighting you? Like it's it makes you aware of the context of She and so, a lot of my movement was a was, was actually a desire to get from society when I was not given in my upbringing and so cannabis kind of came along at a later time and when I noticed that I had certain friends that would like we if we were to go out like I'm not one of those people that go out to drink. I go out to the dance and so learning dance early on Was it was very sacred because I learned it through like I learned it to church. I was I used to be, you know, a religious and but I was I was taught how to dance by my black community and it was once I realized I got older and I was start going out. I found a selective group of people that I trust and confide in and I noticed that my self-expression felt comfortable existing among them and then when cannabis came into the scene, it was kind of like, okay, we're going out, I'm going to smoke because I don't need any xiety right now and I'm going to just be present in the moment. And I noticed that a lot of times when I would get to like, hanging out or performing or just doing stuff with movement when I would smoke, I'd be a lot more present. Whereas when I didn't smoke, I was a lot more analytical. And, and I, and that's something that I have to work on where it's like being present in a moment. Trusting, my experiences for the knowledge. Of response, but being present enough that every motion is not a reaction, right? And so, that is where kind of cannabis. And, and, like my art kind of come to our movement come together because it even like today, I had a homie hit me up. And was like, yo, I'm strong enough to do handstands, I'm like, great. You know I'm saying like and it's like, let's do Hansen's and we'll smoke will do handstands. But like it's about making people aware and bringing that you to the present moment. Moment. Because I think a lot of times our it's hard. Like he talked about earlier, like you want to be I like Daddy, lime is great. I don't know if I want to be that. So Sofia, so that's efficient. Yeah because it's for me it's about like I noticed and especially like right now I'm pushing through a certification and it talks about the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. There's some people who could be motivated on their own accord and there's some people who need that outward push and then there's like nah. Normative people like myself, who need a mix. So it's like, I know why I want to see if, like someone's, like let's go to a gymnastics in Amara. I would know. I, yeah, let's go because there's Community, there's Fellowship. But there's also a personal resonance with my self-identity, which was basically, like, I should be able to flip. Why should not be able to flip? You know why I should even do martial arts, right? So there's a lot of cultivating that awareness in that moment. Even though again as a systemic thinker, I'm Focused on all these little details of doing one task. But at some point, it's important for us to just be able to focus on the expression of that task. And so for me, you know, when I if I'm if I smoke and a song that I resonate with comes on the impulse of expression exists, a lot more normatively than if I didn't. And it's because again, like The movement piece for me, was a way to address my mental health. So I was practicing, how do I practice Community? How do I practice expression? How do I practice ownership of self? And then as I got into cannabis, it was more. So just existing in the ownership of self existing in the expression of self. And I think that's a, that's a thing that we don't get to do especially in our social, economic cultural climate because the impact of working of 40 hours, you know, a week job. You know, if you're working eight out and I said this, in my class, if you're working eight hours a day, five times a week minimal, what is the psychological and physiological effect on you, right? Because a lot of us are practicing disassociation just through working for survive, right? You know and then cannabis comes in and ask you be more present and then how many candidates entrepreneurs and business people that you see, you know, or at least even in my work that I've come across in our like, I might not even make the money that I Used to make, but I'm a lot more happier right now doing the work that I'm doing. And and that is the that for me is what the connection between like cannabis and movement is, it's like just being present for yourself because you you don't get today. Again, you get it once and I can tell you from experience, I missed out on being present a lot in my earlier life where now it's like someone's got, you know, someone's like anyone, smoke, Yellow, Smoke, and then I will tell you that like that, But whether it's stretching with him with my class, or whether it's just hanging out with a friend, I'm a lot more present than that. Some been some days when I'm like, I don't need to smoke smoke, you know, I'm saying. And that, and that's kind of the relationship that I have with it.
Levi: And I love, I said, the impulse, you know, when I see people that don't regularly smoke cannabis and they smoke, these are there's an Impulse to laugh to dance. To talk and tell stories you know really brings that out in people and that's so wonderful. I love that like talk about depression shatter in about alcohol shattering. You know, like, you know, I had a great podcast last week with the recovered drug addict and alcoholic who still uses cannabis. There's a lot of people in that recur in the recovery world that see cannabis as an intoxicant and it can be used as one, but it can also be used differently. I think that's what you really are touching on. That's why I love the use of can't. Like you can smoke some weed in to zone out on the couch, you know, our play Xbox all day. That's, that's fine. But you can also smoke it and energize your brain and your body. Do you find yourself gravitating to certain cultivars? Like, are you a sativa or indica person or does it even matter to
Will: you? It's so I am a mood person across the board. So, and that's just because that's how I am as an artist. Like if look I'm Be honest. Like if Katy Perry, come on the radio, I'm not dancing. Is she that she doesn't invoke that movement? But if like, if some coochie comes on and like I even have a video that I made were it was just like, I smoked, I turned on some Afro like, jazz or asshole. Some afrobeat sir, you know, and I just I felt invoked but I am more of a mood person in the sense that I always think about my context. So if I'm trying to be focused on like administrative stuff, I will smoke sativa if I'm trying to focus more so on physical recovery or physics or being like more physically aware, then I'll use Indica. However, I am a fan of hybrids because I don't like leaning too much to either one side. So I normally will go out of my way and actually mix my herbs. So like yesterday, literally I was like, I'm gonna take a bit of white widow. I'm going to take a bit of this Indica that I got. I'm gonna mix that together. And then I even and I even extend my awareness. This Beyond just cannabis because I have like smokable herbs to, and so, it even cannabis was a gateway to just herbs then, like, right. So, it got me into, like, just understanding like, oh, lavender can be smoked for relaxation. I've and I never really thought about that because right lavender has been so associated with just soap. You don't really, I had someone make me lavender cookies before and I was like why would you make lavender cookies as like cuz it's a plant you can make it into. So so I'm Admit it. So I'm a mood person when it comes to candidates because I always ask myself, where am I like what it what is my goal right now in this moment do I have something to do? Then I need to make sure that my energy stays Amplified. Do I need to be president a moment then I need to make sure that I find strains are cannabis and I'm more. So I still have a lot of work to do as far as like understanding the plethora of strains and terpenes out there. But at the very least I'm more. So make sure that when I smoke it is supportive of my Current mood and and goals of the moment. Sure. Um yeah,
Levi: yeah. I've been learning a lot about that. Tune you in the lab testing helps not all the flour. I get it has the terpene profile but a lot of it does increase in California. I can start to recognize it you know if I smoke something like oh yeah that's beta carry awfully enrich. I know this is going to just kind of chill me out, you know, or if it's got a lot of pinene and that's going to kind of like wake really be a strong kind of wake up psychoactive effect and kind of starting to learn it. Although, and then it's different to like, you could smoke the exact same flower on a different day and have a completely different outcome. Really depends on your physiology. How about other products, Edibles tinctures, topicals what else to incorporate interior into your life? All of it same.
Will: So yeah, I use topicals especially when I like I again like this goes back to like, just the context of mindfulness. I learn so and I apologize. I promise This is not to like, you know, advertise for you but like, I went through awakened top of it. Like, I had a skin, like irritate irritation, I don't know if it was like, I think it was the seat. Chicago does a lot of weird, seasonal stuff right now. And so I just had random outbreaks and so I'll go through topicals like that because it was just like I, you know, I don't I would rather use a product that I know is natural then to and it's for I'm not a fan of like really pills are like, even like I'm getting vaccinated tomorrow and somebody was like Is ibuprofen and I'm just I'm one of those like, it'll pass, you know, saying like, because I just would rather do that. So I use like topicals, if I have like skin and stuff, I'm a heavy. I love tinctures because it's super easy. I'm a big tea fan. I'm teeing, I'll have like a coffee a day, maybe and Max, and then I also am a fan of tea and teachers, a super easy to add two tea. Yeah, so I love tinctures Edibles, a great, but you gotta be careful with animals because Ed, Again, depending on your metabolism. Like, if I'm working out a lot, I know my metabolism is fast. I know I got about a 30-minute window before. I feel that edible, if I haven't been working out a lot, I know. I got a 45 minute to an hour window before, I feel anything. But I also know the difference between like if something has like, if the Cannabis has been broken down to the Nano Nano particle, or if it still needs to be broken down my my body, like, what is the time frame of like, what I'm going to feel it. And so, I'm II operated in, just like it. In every aspect, especially part of my work is doing cannabis reviews for certain brands and companies. And so I get to, I get to be exposed to all the different ways that cannabis is being incorporated into a daily lifestyle. Like, before my work, it was just something to smoke. Now, like, I'm so happy to have CBD face wash, like, just moisturizer. Like, because I'm just, like, who would have thought, my friend could be. So, Smooth from Cannabis, right, right. So I as anything and everything, if it has purpose to it, it's how you use it.
Levi: Yeah. And I really, you know, obviously I advocate for, for cannabis to be used and other products in a way that I think is whole plant-based and natural, you know, like adding cannabis as an ingredient to just about anything doesn't really turn me on like the gas station CBD products, you know. It's like, it's like, the energy drink with CBD. You know, the, the candy bar with CBD, there's that side of it. That's always going to be there, but then there's the people making the real whole plant stuff. And yeah, the like, let's see. CBD, toothpaste CBD, deodorant CBD face, wash CBD, CBD. Everything, you know, because of the hemp laws. Now we can we can do. And are you a hemp flour, smoker?
Will: I haven't had a lot of flour. But I have tried a bit of it, but most of the stuff that I can, because I mean, because like I do smoke like like so like right, like I even like CBS smoke a lot of cvd five or two because I use it. I normally added to it but I haven't had a lot of help. Innocence. They like, I really have a strong. I know it's great. I know it has applications but I think most of the flour that I've had has been either like very like cvd Focus or THD Focus, but I do not have had it. Been so long since I've had it that I can't even remember the effect that has.
Levi: I'm just I just mean, CBD. Rich flower. That's okay. You know, technically less than 0.3
Will: THC. Well, then you okay? My apologies for my ignorance and yes, I have it. Yeah, that's every, I
Levi: job it's cannabis, but we're legally were supposed to call it him. It's one of those, like, you know,
Will: things. I'm very bad at, pull it? Because I'm a bad like the political speaking of it all, because I Understand that buzzer Dahlia is a product
Will: mmm. I haven't actually happened. Yeah so I've been able to have due to the size though. They're very like quick. Hmm. So like it's really good but it's just
Levi: like the kind of clothes
Will: shorties. Yeah it's just very like I
Levi: because I got to be rolled right. You know the machines that the tobacco industry is perfected it at scale and in the Cigarette. Isn't there yet? I mean it's because hemp it's stickier than tobacco. It requires a different drying and curing enroll in process. Any way that rolls joints in cigarettes because I used to be a cigarette smoker knows this but you can't roll a joint as tight as a cigarette. It won't it won't burn, right? You know it'll it'll always be going out. So rolling, the perfect cigarette. It is a lot easier said than done and if there's still quite a bit of R&D, I've never seen the perfect time cigarette yet like the comes out you know the perfect Marlboro looking, you know, Landed in an ice pack, that's tight but not too tight, that's just right. Usually they're being rolled in machines that have the cone, you know, sticking up and they kind of just get the material dump down onto it. So, it's a nice loose wrap but that cone look is good for people that smoke like us. We don't mind a big fat cone, but I think for your average, cigarette users are not going to transition from the cigarette over to that. And I think the discreteness of a actual cigarette, looking hemp product would be a big I'm playing for it toward, people wouldn't know you're so you could smoke one in your car and people aren't going to know that you're consuming a, you know, a cannabis product. Well yeah, I think is I, you know, I'm so excited to see what happens with the industry. I just hope that the industry is allowed to flourish and not you know over-regulated out of existence. I don't know if we're going to see any real fast track of federal legalization or the by De ministration. I think we can be hopeful but I think it's pretty doubtful. Yeah, if you have any thoughts on that, chip in
Will: my thoughts on government in general,
Levi: I'm putting this in quotes right
Will: now. Yeah, I was just again, I'm a systemic thinker and a lot of my education has been about. Like I've had a class where we were, like, let's talk about tomatoes. And then we went through the history. Of tomatoes. And it was just like, what do you understand the impact of just the history of tomatoes because they normally like like the fact that when, when Italy first saw Tomatoes, they thought they were poisonous because they were red and then everyone, everyone. Now equates tomatoes to like Italian culture even though that's still a western perception that it really is. Like we make pieces, cause y'all like it, like, right over here. So it's just so my understanding of systems when it comes specifically to the government. Is that the DNA of it is very slick of cyclical. And so even though I think Biden and Kamala or so much better than what we had before, I the organization of our government does not yield me. Much. Hope at this point based on the history of our nation and I've and and that's why when it comes, when things come, and when things come to government, I'm more. So I hate not even I don't hate it. I'm just kind of be like, we need start over. Yeah, we just gotta gotta start over. And that is like the that in our culture is just the very thing. That's the most non-american thing. You can say, is like, what's wrong with America and it's just like You don't, how can, you know, what freedom is if you bind yourself to the constraints of your present? You know, I don't think America is willing to acknowledge the past so that it can cause because like you have to acknowledge, like, that's how our immune systems work, they acknowledge what was there to prevent a mute to create Community for what will come right on it. That's where it comes.
Levi: Yeah, no, I agree. And when I hear people, you know, say things like, you know, America's, you know, the greatest country in the world that has ever existed, you know, and all that cheerleading. What I really hear is nothing to improve on here, you know, everything's good, you know, just preserve the status quo and I think, you know, there's a slice of the population, obviously, that would probably prefer that. But I think for for the rest of us. Yeah, I can, you know, being disillusioned, you know, especially for the black community. I got nothing to say man you know you're getting a vax tomorrow. You care to talk about that at all because I think that's that's a powerful statement. I'm I'm Pro backs. I want people to get
Will: dressed. I am. No, I'm I'm Pro. I'm just I'm always going to be scared. I'm just I'm at this point in my life I just there's an inherent skepticism. Only two, I mean one thing. Yeah
Levi: one of my big enemies of my whole podcast is the pharmaceutical industry. I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. Mmm, but I got the fiver advisor vax because I think it's the right thing to do. I think it's the smart thing to do.
Will: Yeah, that's the one. I'm I believe I'm getting tomorrow and it's and I wanted to do like to be honest, like as an individual. Yes, I'm skeptical. As a professional talking about health and wellness, though it is my responsibility to make sure that if I'm facilitating, then it especially in person classes people can come to my class and get it from me, right? You know I'm saying. And so that outweighs how I my skepticism in folds? So that, so even when it comes to things like that, like even when it comes to government like that, that's the beauty of logic, right? Right? When you have found logic, your emotions can just step to the side because they're just like, that's not about how I feel that's just about the process.
Levi: And sometimes, you know, that Sound Logic comes when you're in a position as a business owner. For example, where you have to kind of think outside of your own attachment, to your feelings, about a topic or subject, because I certainly understand vaccine skepticism. You know, I'd love to have a chat with somebody about it, you know? I've looked into it the MRNA technology quite a bit, I think it's super cool technology that's going to be really important on this planet. I hope they work The Kinks out, you know because it's in my body but I'm not too worried about it. It seems actually pretty simple technology when you actually look into it. It's not simple. It's very it's it's actually easier to understand than I think. Some people might it's very difficult to do because it said such a yeah controlled microscopic level that you have to have the sophisticated machinery and Understanding of these agents, you know, it's like they grow it out in E.coli and like, and then they get rid of the occult. It's a really interesting process Pfizer's. Very transparent about how their manufacturing these products. And as a product manufacturer myself, I'm like, oh, I recognize that equipment, like, oh, they're using all the same equipment that we have in our Labs. Like, you know, it's just the Pfizer lab, you know, it's just same stuff, you know, we're cooking up cannabinoids. They're cooking up yeasts and molds and growing out eight stuff. You know, like it, I think it's Any drug Manufacturing in general, is really fascinating to me and I think that the pharmaceutical industry deserves all of the skepticism, but I think in this case they're actually doing the right thing and they're giving this thing away for free. So there's obviously no profit motive. At least not in the present. What do I think? I think it's good. I don't want to talk about me about that stuff and, you know, I'm always interested to hear other perspectives, but I think it's important. I know the African American Community is one of the most skeptical of the vaccine. So I think it's good that the people are are, are demonstrating And that it's safe saying it.
Will: I mean yeah because and I think that you brought up a great Point especially with Pfizer because it's like you talked about transparency company transparency. How if the if the pharmaceutical industry as a whole if you can go and ask someone where they grew their cannabis, what was the process behind it? What's the strain, how much cannabinoids? And what's the like when you get that information, you feel so much more reassured about What's happening in your back, if that could be applied to just not just the pharmacy, you know, but even just government like that changes the process, right? You know. So that is that I think that was a great point that you brought up because of the fact that it's just I understand like especially, you know, study anthropology. I'm not beyond the Tuskegee experiments. There's a lot of situations where The government has just been or even researchers had just done things where you're just like, I want to learn that. And, and but that transparency piece, which it changes how Industries operate and that is like, that is something that I wish Pharmaceuticals companies did equivalent to the Cannabis Community because it's like for the amount of Regulation that cannabis currently has right now, if that was just a plaid Is those two, you know sectors America would change right, holistically
Levi: right, ya know and to your point I think you raise an interesting interesting issue. You know? Right now the internet you know governments operate under a lot of secrecy. They don't like transparency. Neither largely does the private sector, especially pharmaceutical companies because they're worried about Trade Secrets and things like of that nature, legitimate concerns. But we're living in an age out the internet and the free exchange of information, people want transparency. And I think that's kind of one of the fundamental debates were having right now, in the world is how much transparency is acceptable, right? And with Wikileaks, and all this stuff. And I think the powers that be right, I mean, you know, the government and Fortune 500 companies, the private sector Our kind of worried that people can't handle the truth. Basically, I think the CDC is a perfect example of that. You know, if the CDC had just been honest with people from the beginning. I think. There'd be a lot less skepticism of the vaccine currently, but you know, the CDC, you know, they told people Mass don't help when they knew that that wasn't true because they wanted to make sure and 95 is are available for Frontline workers, totally Noble effort, but totally backfired and that just continues to build on skepticism that people have about government. Agencies about pharmaceutical industry. So, yeah, I think what Pfizer did is actually really great for them as a company. It was a smart move, modern as a Counterpoint declined to open up, you know, their facility, to, to outside eyes. So it's going to be kind of like a company to company and decision and, you know, maybe maybe Pfizer loses some, you know, now, other people can look how that's how they're making that, you know, that's really the equipment they're using and they can, you know, they might have lost some Trade Secrets by doing that, but they obviously made the Vision that the benefit was
Will: greater but I think but I think I think that yeah I think that there's a disservice when people don't want to open because I especially like again we look at the canvas and I can't tell you how many times I've met people just in the Cannabis community that whether there were a content creator and entrepreneur business owner that when I met them just was like, oh I'll just I'll just show you how to do it or they tell you how to do it. Like like that makes people a lot more welcoming and Two spaces, when there's not so much of a secret. Like, I understand politics is a part of human nature, so that's something that it's going to be. You can't really get away from. But when you, when you are a part of a community or because you gotta realize, like governments are composed of people companies and composed of people I everything at the base line starts with communities and people. And so, when you look at just like a lot of like a lot of reasons why I'm gravitating more and more and more towards the Cannabis Community is Of just, every time I just am around them. I just feel this sharing of information and and I feel like that is something that's very important that needs to be having other. Because, especially, because even just looking at that highlights, what colleges do, right? But he colleges on about educating anymore, they're about, I mean, they're educating, you are at least getting you credentials for whatever job but like they it's a profit thing. And so the thing is is that when why why is it that we looking go? Will you know, people like with cannabis is the new, you know, gold mine, right? And it's like well yeah, because people there is the underground aspect of it and there's the people who don't want to share in trade, but then there are people who are just like, I just want to talk share and build this community. And if I meet someone along my path, I'm gonna help them if they, if they steal for me. Cool, that doesn't really say anything about me. It says something about them. I'm not going to let my heart be changed. And so I think there's this movement of people, especially you look at like just social Equity applicants, right? Like there's a movement of people who are going cannabis becoming profitable, who else deserves to profit. We need to share this information with that community. And so like, that's why I'm highly gravitating towards. Like just, I'm just trying to like, in my mind, like, figure out how can I do everything that I was doing for the last 15 years with canvas Community, because I feel as. If they'll be honest with me about my If they want to have it yet to be told my work was like trash. It's like, great idea. But this is some things we can improve report. I've heard that and I'm so appreciative of that because having spaces, where dialogues are open. You can be transparent that impacts a lot in our society, a lot in our culture, and just like, if you have a friend and you can be transparent with that friend, that's a long lasting relationship. The time because you're like, I went to my friend, I felt this way I had this conversation, we understood where the truth of the matter was. I was happy that I was able to be transparent. I'm happy. I was able to see myself for my strengths and weaknesses. And now I trust this person even more because I was able to have that fellowship and so that's something that I really happy and looking forward to getting more and more in the Cannabis industry because I just think other Industries especially like again when I look at even just performance arts industry. It's just so Competitive and I'm just like, why do we need to compete? Like you might be an acrobat and I might be an acrobat but are by your are you six-foot? 260 you know saying like we're gonna flip differently so it I don't really, I'm not a fan of just this this just like I think there's a lot to go around. I think the scarcity mentality is just something that we've learned through capitalism but that's the cool thing about the Cannabis culture. It's just Like, I've never heard anyone say we're gonna run out of we'd like no one, no one has said that. And even if even if that concept does happen there are, there's always organizations or people who are like, it's cool. We were figure it out like the people just show up, right? So yeah, I'm geeked about that aspect of just cold because again from from the perspective of cultural anthropology is like how is that inherent in this or I mean I know I say how facetious? Lie. But it's just like how is this industry this? How does how does just the very Act of growing cultivating using sharing facilitating candidate house? Just the act of that impact people. When everything else in our world is just not on that same frequency with the exception of like, unless you're talking to the Dalai Lama or hanging out with Donald Glover, right? Like unless you're hanging out with specific people in or groups and organizations it's just it just baffles me how We just keep that mentality. Just can't Ripple through our culture.
Levi: So you probably know about the Pygmy tribe in Africa, is an anthropologist probably the oldest people on the planet and Anthropologist has been studying them for, you know, since the late Seventeen, hundreds, I think. And there are they smoke cannabis all day long like that, that group of people have Incorporated smoking weed and everything they do and singing songs and they've got a song about every activity. Do during the day they make they seem you know the oldest people on the planet we might have something to learn from them and they're still around and largely still doing what they do. You know, I'm sure they become westernized to some extent but not much what I understand and you know, like the movie or listen to the music from the pygmies, like just like the field recordings are unarmed mind been. I mean like Animal Collective. Like you know, that hipster band I broke like printers copied the big news. Like, it's like some psychedelic trip EEE. EDM like that they're doing that they're using with like water that they're just coming with their hands and just their vocal cords and it's making unreal music and their daily tasks. Not with instruments. Using the instruments around them of the bucket, they're using the clerk water and the water itself and rubbing leaves together. I mean, it is like, probably one of the coolest music I've ever heard like
Will: straight. I mean, I don't want to brag but like African people are dope but it's, I mean, but that's an institution. Back. So because again this so the same thing that they do is the same thing that happened in cup of water, right? Because when you think about it, music is oral tradition. It's literally about instantly because the what the funny thing is when you look at Western history or Western culture will make songs about nothing, it will literally be a thought like just to put a Tutti Frutti. Yeah. It's like a commercial on, you make a song. But the thing is, is that music in those cultures where they're very historically, They have a lot of purpose and so, like, even in capoeira like them, they sing songs while you play capoeira, but the songs also have a purpose, not just in the oral tradition that they passed on, but they also have a purpose because you'll sing certain songs based on the content of how the two people in the game that they're playing with each other. So, someone's being aggressive. You might hear one song as opposed to if the, you know, if someone's being, you know, varying at the game, looks very nice if there's a nice conversation Issues. And someone starts singing like Joe bresee dangerous oversee for it. You'll be like, oh, like that. Can mean like play a beautiful game or any like you should play it. It's a context, right? I really like African culture because I mean, I'm biased obviously, but like, but it's there's a lot of purpose because even like you said in the process of going through the natural day, they bring self-expression to the Forefront. Right? You know and and that mean that that shows you just again from a systemic perspective How like my body does consistent homeostasis each and every day in the consistent, modulations of all the little bits and pieces, that make me who I am. But then we also have to talk about. Well, what makes me laugh? What like in the process of doing? Like there was a woman who literally said, take a deep breath. And imagine saying thank you to each and every cell and aspect of your being and then imagine that they are saying thank you and your well like to you. And then you're welcome right? Even if we look beyond the like, oh yeah, that just sounds positive. If you look at like, what does that conceptualization conceptualization due to the individual, right? It's bringing purpose to a moment of work about being present, understanding the parts of you understanding that you have impact, right? Do you think about the cell that falls off that are the cell that kills itself? So you can keep going because it's programmed wrong like right, dude, then what does that say about our society? Society, right. So I'm sorry
Levi: no no this is cool because you know things like you're talking about the pygmies like it's an improv, you know, it's not pre-recorded. It's an improvisation based on The players involved and the Dynamics being exchanged and, you know, as a musician myself like you know, music is tension and release. You know, it's the build-up and the release its the drop, it's all that and that's life to and like what a fun or way to communicate. Like if you're really pissed off at somebody and you can express it to them in a song, you know, and a certain drumbeat and read them and then they come back at you. And then in a couple minutes you realize that like all the tension is completely dissolved. Like just made a cool song. You like actually created something together like like poetry does this to your able to express things through poetry that cannot be said through prose and allowing the human brain to kind of speak in a riddle and rhyme and to resolve otherwise impossible conflicts through that rhythmic, exchange of vocabulary and dance is really powerful Medicine, Man. I mean there's like Really something to you that. I mean, you know, I used to live in Big Sur, and The esalen Institute used to secretly host. Conflict resolutions between the Soviets and the US and mean, like high-level people. It's like top secret stuff and they would, you know, they would go to esalen okay. Which is the human potential movement. A lot of alternative approaches to communication are explored there and these people would go there and, you know, some of the, you know, it's Possible that we have, you know, that we didn't all get blown up because of some alternative communication techniques taught at esalen Institute, you know, the help the US and the Russians come together and see eye to eye. Because if you know if you sit to ambassadors down and table or two presidents to negotiate a nuclear treaties, you know, like forget about it, we get them in a hot tub with the massage and then plane some instruments, randomly and you might suddenly people will start to break down a lot of the tension. And it's, I mean, It's really, really powerful. And as a musician, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And the people that aren't musicians just, you know, the dance, we can all move our bodies. We can all I think we're all musicians, like everyone is, you know, you don't have to, you know, be on Soundcloud to be a musician. Just, you know, use you know use rhythm in poetry in your life try to incorporate it a little bit and I think that's what dance does to. Now I'm not much of a dancer like that's that's an area where I would like to improve, you know. I have no shame and and singing, you know I'll sing in front of people have no shame about that but dancing asked me to dance and it's like I close up really quick so I've got I've got some work to do there but I love the concept of these alternate communication tools and how cannabis can can be used with the body expression and obviously the pygmies are onto something like I think like they've clearly figured out a real deep communication tool with the plant and when and with song and it's just cool shit. People people listening, please go and listen. Some big me music. It changed my life as a musician. I mean, it really did
Will: and I real quick. Yeah, yeah. Please want to say that that is at the core of what I'm trying to do, because honestly, like the last 15 years, I've been in all these different places and at the core of like you said that, the the purpose of your podcasts to meet the Dalai Lama, like I want grind a crushing,
Levi: blow to the gold mine, maybe that's the purpose. I'm learning that you have
Will: to say it as if it's going to happen because that's how you work towards it. And so for me it's kind of like chronograph. Chicago is like a step in the ability to facilitate that culture because again having a background in culture and ecology having a background in capita and which is again like I was able to go to Brazil because some things some Advocate, some Africans who fought for their freedom like however long ago. Like I was able to learn it and it got like, I want, might think the spaces that I can still eat. Tate. So facilitate a culture. So if it's because I think that is the important thing, you just like you say like the with the pygmies have this sense of like, freedom of expression and purpose. Like I want people to find that again in themselves because I feel like in our culture, it's like once you're 18 Society, could care less right? But the thing is, is that not everyone has a normalized start. And so if we start to create spaces, I mean, that's the whole part, like, you know, conversation behind like that. Asians and stuff like that. It's if we create spaces that allow people to acknowledge the disassociation of self, or the disassociation of trauma and we allow them to deal with that. Then we create these communities cultures and institutions that are always putting people. First not just in the clients that they have but also in the administrative processes themselves. And so that's that I want to have a space that one day where I can look to the Cannabis community, Be like if I want to perform its for the Cannabis Community, why? Because the Cannabis Community, welcomes me. They saw me before I saw myself. I thought I wanted to teach a class. I'm going to teach you for the Campus Community. Why? Because the Cannabis Community told me they acknowledged my worth before they had to be my first dollar bill, right. That's what I want my space to be, which is cultivating that culture through, you know? Yeah. It's some people might walk in the door because of cannabis, but whether you The smoke that they are not. The culture should be ever-present right
Levi: now. Agreed. And yeah, I find a lot of that too. It's not like, you know, people aren't looking at how many followers you have on Instagram and like it's like if you're a part of the culture it's like it's like you're your friend you know like they come on in and I love that about it talk to explain what capillary is for people that don't know no I only know a little bit I'd like to learn more about it too. So
Will: capoeira is kind of like a An all-encompassing, it's a, it's a, the most generic way that you explained, it is like, it's a dance at the fight, but it's a fight, it's a dance, but it from a more in-depth analysis. Capita is a, it's an oral tradition that is also wrapped in movement. That's also wrapped in the structure and the organization of it. Because capita has all these angles that it approaches simultaneously, there's a book called The Ring of Liberation where an anthropologist like studies capita and any talks about all the different aspects. But capita in it of itself, it's a cultural preservation practice which also embodies Community, which also embodies oral tradition. Which also embody self-empowerment which also embodies contact contextual awareness, it's about Recreating a historical perspective as you presently move because if you look at the martial art aspect of it, when you're playing a game and it's called a game because the mentality is, I do not attack my friends. That's why you're here in the in the art, huh? Like they'll say, comrade our camera? It's because the person that you're playing with supposed to be a friend. So I'm not going too far. I'm going to attack you because you're not my enemy. I'm playing with you even though we all know bad. Ball is a game football is the game, but they can be just as aggressive, right? Thing, with Kappa, word up. But, but there's a conversation piece of, I know what you did. I saw what you did. I was aware but because you did that, I'm going to do this but I'm also going to set up this thing for steps down the road. It's it has that in movement. It has the same kind of perspective through the music because the music that you're singing. Depending, if you're contemporary or traditional, it comes from somewhere, there's a Oracle context to that, as well. As you sing certain songs in re in an awareness, to what's happening between the two people in the hotter or the circle that the hata mean Circle as well, as the energy between the end of people. The individuals that make up the circle, the circle itself is composed of people from the who are participating with you. So that energy also comes through the singing. It comes through them responding to what just happened. So capoeira is it's yeah, it's It's a oral tradition, it's just a cultural preservation practice that has become an institution through the Educators in the Masters, who, who just continuously pass it on. And but it's also something I will say that to that very sad. It's it's kind of under threat of Western culture because a lot of Western culture it's about profit but a lot of indigenous or like just a lot of the history of Of capoeira is based in the fight and liberation of African peoples. During the colonial rule of the Portuguese in Brazil, as well as after just trying to keep the culture of African Traditions alive. But it's something that it's just very multifaceted and it's something that honestly to me that it in heavily impacted my life because there's a there's this notion where in Or I'll say honestly, for me in Western culture, I might be seen as like an angry black man, but it was in Kappa wetter where I was seen. As, you know, there's a fight to be seen. There's a fight to be heard and as a fight to be understood. However, I was also educated. There's a way to be heard as a way to be seen, but there's also the in response to the game of society and culture, right? And so it capital was a Place where I was, you know, just cut. It was like be big. You're big stop acting small, own your space, own yourself on your body and then once you have it, it's fine. Because capueta can go from, you know, the martial art aspect of it all. But it can also go into all of a sudden, Assam Bihar, do happens, and everyone's just playing a different tune. And we're dancing were hanging out. And so, yeah, cap, what I wanted. I'm trying not to geek out too much, but, you know, it sounds like a
Levi: it sounds like a almost a way of life, you know, not not just something you do on the weekends. I mean, this is really yeah, you way of approaching
Will: life. There are people who go just to hang, I mean, but you can go for so many different reasons like they're people who go for music. There are people who go because of the physicality this people who go for the culture, the history, the it's similar to Canvas culture, because there's a lot of different reasons why people are attracted together. This is it, are you here for recreation, or here for medicinal? Are you here? Because you need help slate, like all these different reasons. But it's still a unifier, and I think that it's, it's, you know, cap, what is similar in the sense that like, cannabis culture is a unifier process? It's the purpose of it is to bring people together. Create those communities can soak up. What is similar in that sense? Because it's funny because I've met people in capoeira who smoke and it's very funny because, like, if we go to academy, we're not going to smoke. You don't go to class and you do that, but then like, if I'm hanging out, we're just hanging out on, like, the beach or something. And we're smoking is like, hey, let's play a game and there's an entirely different game. That'll come out in those racing. So it's just, yeah, it's I want to go deeper but I don't want to go down that rabbit hole, but I think is it's very awesome, especially just in a gave me a different perspective of the African experience, right in a colonial, istic world. Right then what America was willing to show me it
Levi: sounds like Get an important tool for for anyone really, but maybe especially for African African Americans that are trying to heal a little bit around that identity and trying to maybe, you know, connect to embrace that. You know, something that they've been made to feel ashamed of probably for a long time and something that they have to hide and feel small, you know. And to be big in that. I think anyone can relate to that, it's really powerful. I've always been intrigued by capoeira, but I will be mindful of cultural appropriation and I'll probably stick to just you know, I don't even know what kind of, you know, my dad. Like I said, dancing is really an area. I need to improve. I know how important it is because of the intelligent movement Tino and the expression but I really close up for some reason. It's really something I need to explore but just being physical in general, you know, and just like moving my body, you know, spending a lot of time you know in front of the computers and the phones and just like you know looking up to the sky. And just like being more intentional with all your movements and awareness and how your posturing yourself and your gait and all that. I think really plays into how we start to shape our mental image of ourselves, and I think it's really important. I think, you know, there's a study that came out of the Netherlands that say a 10-year study on what what's like the best thing you can do for like your mental and physical health? And This government, study concluded, it was singing dancing and camping, or, in other words, being in nature. So being being connected to Nature, literally singing to like, maybe on your own, but better in groups, and then dancing and okay, on your own, but better in groups and there really is. Some deep fundamental healing, it's all heading out. It can also be used as propaganda, right? Like a lot of cult leaders, also know this and use nature singing and dancing to brainwash people. So it just Shows you how powerful you know the these these tools really are it because once you start kicking up these chemicals, you know, tell like Scientology Works to write like, it's a big thing in LA and Hollywood is, you know, the Scientology movement. And one of the things they do is they, they offer you a lot of value upfront. And I've never done it, but I've like dipped my toe into it just kind of see and they give you a lot of value. They do a lot of work, you know, for free and they really guide, they can guide you through a lot of healing. Then they kind of they use that you know as the as the carrot to pull you in to what I would consider a cult. But you know it is interesting how powerful these tools of organizing principles can be, no you get a group of people singing together as a group, like, if I'm a preacher, you know, and I get everybody's it's like I've got them in my hands now and it's a responsibility like he do with that. So, as the teachers house, the law, Hers. You know, that exchange is really kind of sacred, you know, and like that role of teacher, especially when teaching these movements, you know, it does really strike me as something that's really powerful and really meaningful. And, you know, you people are going to really kind of fall at their knees to you, right? Like that's why that seems to always be the story of the, the yogi, who starts to get some Fame, and then ends up being the sex addict crazed, you know? Listen, it's just like over and over. We're hearing this story. Just constantly, you know whether it's in the Catholic church or in the Kundalini tradition or whatever it is. It's just like these leaders are falling because they're human and they're imperfect and what up that power and that you know the energy that they probably get in their hands is difficult for many of us to control you know, our worst instincts.
Will: Well that's because there's a process to power. Right. And I think it follows the laws of nature. So there is a process to go from a sink from a zygote to a baby. There's a process from going to a baby to an adult, the laws of nature dictate that for something, something to grow. It takes time. And their processes that must be followed. But in a very Western get rich quick or everything. happen like super fast, you can bypass that and that's why when you look at, you know, artists or celebrities or our self-proclaimed masters of something there, is there something that's always off and it's because like, even even for me I am, I've been teaching 15 years but I'm also trying to figure out how to be a master like it's It's, I've been trying to find all these spaces to be a master of myself. And so when you, when you miss out on the very process of evolution and you go straight from zero to whatever position of power without going through those, those steps, it is very easy to be lost in the, in the darkness of who you are. And I say Darkness not necessary evil because I think they're, I think in a spectrum of humanity where it's like the light is just what it is. And then the darkness is, what is unknown right there are processes that must happen on our, I mean, you know, as a business, you know, owner those processes that must happen on our own because it is through the work in which we become empowered. But then once we impact, once we do that work, we can then share it, talk about it and be known for it. But if we're not doing that work over here and I'm still struggling like, with moving, like, I'm trying to figure out how to make movement and everyday consistent thing and the administrative work. Sometimes takes me away from that. And So it's a process, it's a balance, it's a constant reconceptualization of where you are, where you started what, you know what, you don't know. And I just think that there's a lot of people that, you know, that you reference where it's like, you can tell that process didn't happen. And so have they get to that position? May become lost in themselves because there is no anchor.
Levi: And I think also, I think, you know, they didn't have a teacher right. Like maybe there wasn't somebody there to maybe they did really Excel quickly, you know, the like they did the yoga and the The Tatian. They were doing the work to get the benefits and they work on a like you know Awakening themselves to this you know incredible Consciousness. And you know this how in the 60s and 70s it was like on every street corner there is like you know, a guru and you know America is kind of gone through this and other parts of the world at different times and all the soothsayers and but I lost my train of thought now because because of because of cannabis, maybe I maybe wasn't that important, you know, and cannabis Like I know you
Will: something as beautiful as spiritual practices are, as self-empowerment can be a disassociation from an actual deeper trauma. You need to address. So I think that's where you were going. Not necessarily, but I think you were going like, you know, there's People who went through the whole process has right?
Levi: Like, even though the teacher right, the
Will: teacher, even Buddha said, don't highlight me, highlight the work, and then what happened, they started going y'all join Buddhism. You know, it's there. I wish I had the amount of time to, like, go into the depths of, like you, because I wanted, I'm a very existential person, but like,
Levi: I feel like, here's my theory. I feel like at some point and I've obviously I've never been there, but I feel like I had some point you attained. Let's say like you tap into the source, you know, you meditate to 10 hours a day and then finally you know nine years and out in the cave, you know like boom something happens, you know, the light hits you your awakened here, enlightened your you're floating. I think in that moment you realize it doesn't matter. And that's when you realize all the power, you know, and maybe you can levitate at that level but like it doesn't matter like you're not Any more powerful, you're still exactly the same and like, I think it's that humility. It's like in The Neverending Story, you know, and Atreyu goes past the the oracles and is so brave. And then yes, then then all the greatest warriors falter because they have to look at their true selves in the mirror and their true selves. They might have all the armor on and there's there's handsome and strong and then they look at themselves and are actually really weak, you know, and just to like confront that truth and be okay with it. I think and I think a lot of people like maybe you work in you attain all the wealth and power and knowledge and you talk to the source and the source says, give it all up and go back to zero because it doesn't matter and most people go. No. But it doesn't matter because I work so hard. Look at how powerful I mean I'm flying and and the universe you know God whatever you want to call. It just doesn't care. It's not impressed because it's impressed by everything all the time and there is no hierarchy at all. So that's just all the mental Tracked and I don't know that's just my theory of maybe why these people that do seem to attain this high level in life. All these gurus crumble and go to quote unquote, the dark side because I think their ego goes, oh, I thought I was going to get here and then I was going to get to the next phase and then they realized that there was never any phase to begin with and like they're just stuck, being their boring self that they've always been and, and all the like lights and in the show them the smoke and all the stuff they're doing. Illusion. They're casting out, even to themselves is all fake. You know, and all we really have is just are boring selves in the mind. I say, boring selves is because I think it's grounding to realize that maybe like none of us are really that special and that we're all just kind of here in this primordial soup and we have agency and we have purpose. But it doesn't mean that your purpose is better than anybody else's were that you're further along in your journey journey. And I think that's such a humbling concept that the Mantra I tried to repeat to myself. It keeps me out of negative, thinking, out of compare and despair out of feeling like, I'm not enough because I haven't attained a financial level of success or some type of material Level of success. If you can really just embrace the nothingness you know and it's right you know, the Buddhism, you know, that's the work, right? Like if I mean that's the concept of trying to not be attached. And to success and failure. Like, just just letting everything be like, you said, the light, you know, is what's known, the darkness is what's unknown, and, and that's scary. That's why, when the night sets in, you know, it is that, that out, that moment of like, oh, you know, now I can't see now, I'm afraid. And then we start telling all these stories to ourselves that are untrue. Largely and it could
Will: be interesting because what do we do at night? We sleep, we heal, we rest, mmm, so it's very interesting that we look at at the unknown, it's terrifying thing because the way our bodies have even just developed, have just to find comfort in the middle of a part of the day where we can't even see our own surroundings, right? And then when we see the light. Yeah, just because something is seen, doesn't mean that's what it is, right? Something can be in, plain sight and still be an unknown. So it's it's one of those dichotomies that I kind of live at the intersection of just like multiple dichotomies, where it's just kind of You know, so is above and so is below, you know, just because I might be at this level does not mean that there's not something bigger than me, but I also must remember that I was once a little bit lower than where I am now. And so, like just understanding that the hierarchy is not like this, it's more. So just kind of like, where are you at any given space and time, remember where you came from? But no, you're moving forward but also be appreciative of this moment is fleeting, right? It's the it's the same thing as like, like someone Going. Hey man, I got the dankest, you know whatever for you and you swings. Like yeah that's good. But it's like you still have to. You have to know that the joints going to go out at some point. Right. Right. You know, so it's only
Levi: you're not going to hang on to it. Yeah, yeah. You gotta Just
Will: Let It Go these and let it go.
Levi: Well, I really enjoy talking to you and like this little song and dance that you, and I have going is really cool and I want to repeat it and I just, I love everything you're doing and I totally support. And I want people to tune into to the movement and instruction and teaching that you're doing and I think people get a lot out of it but thank you for for coming on the show today, I really appreciate having you. And hopefully one day we'll get to, you know, maybe you can help me break out of my mold a little bit on my dancing. Got you,
Will: I got you. Thank you. Leave out for having me on here. It's been a blast. Always a pleasure. All
Levi: right man, talk to you later,
Will: peace, I'll see you later.
Levi: Thanks for joining me today on Head Change the podcast that puts you in a better head space. I've been your host Levi Stronm. Full transcripts of today's episode are available on our blog awakenedeveryday.com. If you'd like to listen to more podcasts like this you can join the conversation on anchor FM and YouTube. Until next time, peace.