Discovering the child, I left behind. To be honest, I had not noticed the seasons since childhood. As a child, I remember enjoying each season from the heat of the summer to the snow in the winter. I remember loving every aspect. As an adult, I simply only noticed if it were hot and if it were cold and anticipating the hospital temperature settings based on that. This year with the daily walks I’ve experienced each season and the changes that come from it. The winter went by just a little faster this year because I enjoyed the snow days. We went sledding with the children. In the summer, we did daily nature hikes. This spring we are literally watching the flowers bloom and the animals return for the season and in the fall loving each color of the leaves!
With the success of the vaccines, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this difficult period in our history. But before we jump back into the routine of the normal life that we lived in 2019, it would be a shame not to pause to reflect on what we have learned during this time. The social isolation caused by the pandemic really was an opportunity for a collective pause, and a global self-assessment about who we really are, and what we really want in life. With that in mind, I created this series called “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic”, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Wynn-Grimes
Ashley Wynn-Grimes BSN, RN is the Founder of Cannabis Nursing Solutions, LLC, advisor of Cannabis Nurses of Color, and author of children’s book “Asa’s Medicine.” Native to Baltimore, MD, Wynn-Grimes, a Black female entrepreneur and widely respected medical professional, Wynn-Grimes is dedicated to empowering patients and nursing professionals to make informed medical cannabis care choices with impactful educational medical programs that also serve to promote diverse representation and medical equality in cannabis.
Cannabis Nursing Solutions’ continuing nursing education activity is approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Through evidence, standardization, and change management, Nurse Wynn-Grimes plans to fundamentally alter the way healthcare providers view medical cannabis.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers like to get an idea of who you are and where you came from. Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where do you come from? What are the life experiences that most shaped your current self?
I am a nurse of over 12 years and have worked in various health care settings. I currently work part-time and building a small business. During my time as a floor nurse, I would often see patients who were chronically ill and those experiences give me a perspective of life that forces me to enjoy life to the fullest and appreciate health and overall wellness. I’ve seen too many sick people do things that put me in that position intentionally so I began finding ways to get my mind and body in shape. I started doing yoga, reading more, and watching my eating habits.
I am from Baltimore; Maryland and we are famous for our crab cakes and we love our chicken boxes!
In 2019, I was in the process of buying my second home and unfortunately subject to a cyber-crime that took over 15k in down payment money that we had been saving for years! That experience was devastating for me. I felt as though I had been physically mugged but no one touched me physically. I could not believe that someone could take everything we worked hard for. We were so conscious of money/finances and now someone gets it so easily with just a few emails.
That is when I decided to do some things differently. First things first, learn to be honest with me. Second, attract money, Third, find the child I left behind.
Are you currently working from home? If so, what has been the biggest adjustment from your previous workplace? Can you please share a story or example?
Yes, I do everything from home right now. Specific to Cannabis Nursing Solutions, it had to pivot which was an adjustment. It took some time to wrap my head around this change. Originally, Cannabis Nursing Solutions was intended to be a hub for nurses in Maryland. The course was built to teach the everyday nurse how to implement cannabis into their practice. As the popularity of cannabis grows, there is a growing responsibility for nursing to get on board, so I thought I would jump ahead of the curve and design a course that offers CEU’s to nurses and I thought everyone would flock to me. That was not the case. I did not realize because of the complex legal status of the cannabis plant; many organizations turn a blind eye to cannabis in nursing even with the National Council of State Board’s guidelines for practice in place.
Then the pandemic hit, and I could no longer do my in-person classes. This was huge because I felt like the connection would be my biggest selling point and without that, I had nothing so I stalled. I did not do anything for months. I felt like the big moves I made after the theft were stupid and I set us up to fail. At some point, I started seeing the benefits of the virtual world and suddenly my audience grew exponentially. I had more access to more nurses and have had the pleasure to train and mentor nurses across the country!
What do you miss most about your pre-COVID lifestyle?
Going to live yoga is the most missed but otherwise, I love my new lifestyle! I love working from my home because I can now practice living a balanced lifestyle, Instead of spending hours in the car per day. I now use that time to walk and play with my kids. I’ve taught them how to play a card game named speed and they’ve gotten pretty competitive!
The pandemic was really a time for collective self-reflection. What social changes would you like to see as a result of the COVID pandemic?
I would like to see more appreciation for balance, and love. Balance in the abstract sense. I would love it if people would see the mirrored reflections as life throws them to us. I would love it if society could see the good and the bad in a situation and observe the outcomes without taking it personally. I want people to see love in a purer way. Where we love people as we love ourselves. Not to be judgmental of differences but to appreciate how the differences support you in your life journey.
If I had to answer in a simpler way; end racism, classism, and all other ‘isms’
What if anything, do you think are the unexpected positives of the COVID response? We’d love to hear some stories or examples.
People have expanded their appreciation for technology. Working from home could have been an option long ago. The pandemic made it happen now.
How did you deal with the tedium of being locked up indefinitely during the pandemic? Can you share with us a few things you have done to keep your mood up?
In the beginning, it was hard because of fear related to the pandemic. In my head, the hospitals were going to collapse therefore disrupting our entire society. Once I let up on the news watching and panicking, I was able to appreciate the extra time not commuting and exploring options for my business. To keep my mood up; I have found that daily walking is now a necessity and I have purchased a pup to help keep me grounded.
Aside from what we said above, what has been the source of your greatest pain, discomfort, or suffering during this time? How did you cope with it?
When the pipes at my rental needed replacing. That was a big expense and an experience that I had never dealt with especially with renters in the home. Lots of positive affirmations helped me deal with the reality of the situation and like everything else we get through it and it becomes a memory.
OK, wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Learned From The Social Isolation of the COVID19 Pandemic? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Staying in the moment. As mentioned above, in my first rental property I was forced to remove pipes. Since it is my first rental, my budget was tight. I was taking a chance after the theft to do something different and had no idea what being a landlord entailed. We purchased a small-town home in Baltimore City and were able to get renters! That was a huge milestone but days after they arrived the pipes could not tolerate a multi-person household so they needed to be fixed immediately! The renters could not stay in the home in that condition so we had to put them in a hotel and the whole nine. I panicked initially but was able to test the ‘stay in the moment’ theory, and honestly, I learned a lot about piping and older homes in Baltimore. I will forever apply that for the rest of my lifetime; in addition to that, one of the workers actually became good friends with my husband who was in transition himself to becoming a full-time general contractor.
- Finding creativity. With extra time, my mind wondered and panicked often. At some point, I was able to slow it down and find creativity. During the summer of 2020, I was asked to be a contributor to the Maryland guidelines that supported House Bill 617 passed in Maryland General Assembly in 2020. It was an eye-opening experience and I am very proud to have been asked to do this. Although well written, I had so many questions as a nurse. So, I used all of my questions to spark the idea of Asa’s Medicine. Now published, I am reminded often how needed Asa’s story is for so many children, and parents.
- Having patience. Having patience should be a mastered skill but it is not! We are so conditioned for instant gratification that having patience seems foreign. Living through this pandemic has awarded me the privilege to master patience; in my opinion at least. Being home, and not doing all of the things we are used to, and literally just waiting for the pandemic to end is nothing but patience.
- Discovering the child, I left behind. To be honest, I had not noticed the seasons since childhood. As a child, I remember enjoying each season from the heat of the summer to the snow in the winter. I remember loving every aspect. As an adult, I simply only noticed if it were hot and if it were cold and anticipating the hospital temperature settings based on that. This year with the daily walks I’ve experienced each season and the changes that come from it. The winter went by just a little faster this year because I enjoyed the snow days. We went sledding with the children. In the summer, we did daily nature hikes. This spring we are literally watching the flowers bloom and the animals return for the season and in the fall loving each color of the leaves!
- Being honest with myself. My first awareness that I was no longer lying to myself was the first time I identified myself as a black woman on a public forum. For most of my adult life, I just wanted to fit in, and being in predominately white settings; made me different. Hair was a big deal because it wanted to ‘look professional.’ The way I spoke was a big deal because I wanted to ‘sound professional.’ Lastly, having the six-figure salary made me ‘professional.’ Doing all these things disconnected me from who I am to the point where I did not acknowledge my blackness let alone all other aspects that made me; me. Even the transition to author took an adjustment but that is another aspect of my identity that I am now in love with!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you during the pandemic?
“History has its eyes on you”
I am an absolute fan of Lin Manuel’s Hamilton! It was a beautiful piece of art that was all-around inspiring. You can feel the passion that went behind this and all of the original cast!
When it came to Disney plus around Easter, I took that mantra and decided that whatever I do from here will tell my story. I do not plan to become famous but anyone who cares about my story will be able to feel the same passion behind the work I do and the impact it has on society. I say that quote to myself often if not daily and I know that when my children look back, they will be proud to tell my story!
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Beyonce and Barack Obama were two of the three I’d like to talk to but I think if I had to narrow it down. I’d choose Dave Chapelle!
I am a fan of Dave’s evolution and I would love to know what makes him work. I am also interested in his creative process and his views on our current social climate. Additionally, we can talk about cannabis and I am sure we’d have fun because he is a funny man!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.