Things Fell Apart

By Jayna Anderson

IG: @snowleoppy

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cannabliss: Ananda Fest, at The Joshua Tree Retreat Center. I had searched through their Instagram pages, with mention of meditation, yoga, art, vapes, lectures, and entertainment. However, with no schedule released ahead of time, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from my one-day pass to the 5 day retreat.

I woke up early, excited to spend the day meeting new people, learning about cannabis’ medical benefits, and hopefully working on my spiritual practice with yoga and meditation.

We checked in at 10 am as instructed through Event Brite. We received our passes, a map, and a schedule. Aw bummer, I missed the first yoga class. The majority of the day would be spent on talking with vendors, sitting in a two hour lecture on the benefits of medical Cannabis, lunch, a panel on Cannabis Entrepreneurship, and then finally! Yoga. After yoga, came dinner, entertainment and a sound bath.

We meandered through the vendors, chatting them up in the early desert sun. One of the vendors, Baceae, was informative, friendly and their products are phenomenal! Their chapstick is made with flower, so it has that yummy Mary Jane scent. I have been using the chapstick every morning, both to moisturize and to counterbalance too much caffeine intake. While the scent doesn’t linger (I made my boyfriend smell my lips a half hour after applying it, and he didn’t detect a thing), it sure does smell good after a hot cup of coffee. Their edible products are clean and scrumptious. I was suffering from intense menstrual cramps the day of the retreat. I ate one of the CBD edible Baceae was sampling and within a half hour, my cramps had all but disappeared. I didn’t fully acknowledge this until I was sitting alone in a small clearing amongst the willows and oaks, listening in to some very zooted folks have a good laugh, that I noticed I hadn’t been in pain for two hours! For me, that is a rare occurrence during my menstrual times. 5 stars to Baceae.

After speaking with vendors, we walked a small loop around the residential part of the property, meeting Karina, the social media guru behind Cannabliss. She was excited and energetic, and we rose our energy levels to match. From there, we filed into the Sanctuary for Dr. Ira’s extremely informative lecture on Medical Cannabis. I learned so much, that I am still processing everything he threw at us. My notes are a mess of circled bubbles, arrows and asterisks; every bit of new information seemed more important that the last. I’ll be transcribing my notes soon, and hope to be sharing some of this in a later article, so please keep those stoney eyes peeled for it!

After the lecture came lunch. Have you ever read the book Things Fall Apart?  No? Well the title pretty much says it all. At lunch, everyone fell apart. A direct quote from a retreat attendee when asked by wait staff if she is Vegetarian: “I’m a vegetarian. Oh wait. I eat meat. I’m not a vegetarian. I’m not anything…” Her voice trailed off as she slowly looked up at the ceiling for an answer to the toughest question she might encounter that day. Another attendee was having a minor meltdown about not being able to locate utensils. “Why aren’t there utensils? HOW do I find a utensil? Where did the utensils GO?” Mind you, the eating facilities were cafeteria style, with utensils located where they usually are- near the drinks, napkins & extra plates.

Watching this transpire, I couldn’t help but feel that I was back in high school, post spliff, watching a friend dissolve under the pressure of how to turn on her TV. These lunch meltdowns reminded me of the confusion I often felt in my formative years after getting high, but as an adult, it was near impossible to keep from bursting out in laughter at the supreme levels of stone in that room. I blame the unlimited vapes!

You might be wondering, did she get to attend yoga? Yes I did! I went on a walking meditation through the grounds’ labyrinth before slipping into the pool. The sun was starting to lower towards the horizon, and everything was basked in a rich golden light that only desert-goers will understand. Braids still dripping on the ground, I found the yoga class. Late, but I made it. The restorative yoga class was exactly what my body needed. Slow moving and intentional, we wiggled our bodies in each position. Palo Santo filled the air as we enjoyed a back tickling desert breeze during sunset. Yoga was the peak of my time at the retreat. My body was tired, my mind was tired, and I was ready to head home to let the day’s knowledge settle into my being.

All in all, I think everyone who attended had a good time. Whether it was what they expected or not, there was something for everyone to take away. Camaraderie, sharing stories about pain management or the many “pre-existing conditions” we are affected by. Cannabis is a healing plant, with opportunity for expansion medically, spiritually, and socially. It was truly exciting to see the many facets of people that Cannabis brings together, and to hear them share their stories on why they were drawn the this event.

I can only hope that more events and planning will force the organizers to tighten ship and make it known how the days will play out. But for what it was, I had a blast!