Thursday, August 5, 2010
Many apologies to you my dear reader, for it has been a while since I've taken the time to bare my soul to you. A lot has been happening with regards to my personal growth (my spiritual evolution) and as one thing after another goes flying by, it's been challenging to put these experiences into words before something else happens- though each is ultimately teaching me some kind of profound life lesson.
Some of you may know that I have a famous rock drummer friend. Long story short, as the band was about to travel to California to record the album that would eventually sell 2.5 million copies, they collectively visualized their success by imagining every step of the process as being golden. Based on the teachings of Shakti Gawain in her book Creative Visualization, the basic premise was that thought creates form.
Since my birthday happens to fall on the last day of the year, I often spend a fair amount of time at the year's end reflecting on the events leading me up to that point. About a week prior to my birthday last year, I asked my husband if he would do something a little unusual with me. I had grabbed a large piece of paper and a pile of crayons. We then took turns writing down what we wanted to manifest in the coming year as I wanted us to visualize great things to come. One thing that my husband wrote on the paper was "Non Smoker" and then after it, he wrote the word, "Try." I looked at him and I said, "That's not how it works. You are only declaring your intention to try, not to actually do it." Right below what he had written, I write in capital letters one of my own declarations/visualizations for the coming year- I wrote, "Ex-Smoker."
I have been smoking since (I believe,) the age of 12, when a pack of smokes at Mike's corner store cost .50 and they never questioned the fact that a 12 year old was buying smokes to begin with. At the time, it was hip and cool and the thing to do. I never even thought about quitting until one year when my grandmother offered to pay for me to get hypnotized. I sat there in the room with a dozen other people including my Mom. I was skeptical and quite honestly didn't care one way or another whether or not I stopped smoking. So it might come as a surprise that I was the only one that it worked on. I actually stopped smoking for a full year - until the day when my stepmother said to me, "Oh yes, I got hypnotized as well. It worked for about a year until I couldn't remember why I had stopped smoking... and then I started smoking again."
Her words had pulled me back out and I started smoking again. :o( Then there was the time when I was taking some kind of anti-depressant and I decided to quit cold-turkey. Well sure... those drugs will suppress those urges... for a while. Not sure how long I lasted, but I eventually started smoking yet again. And so for the last 10 years or so, I've been smoking - but I haven't really been enjoying it. It wasn't tasting good and it didn't really do much for me, or did it?
My famous drummer friend also teaches workshops where we use drumming in combination with chanting - and not your typical devotional chanting like you might find in a Kirtan, but simple vocal mantras that force you to breathe and does a really great job of moving energy throughout your being via sound. Do enough of it and you learn that the combination of drumming/breathing/chanting can make you feel pretty ecstatic. And if you break it down, what is one major component to smoking but forced breath?
In a way, I've been wanting to quit for a while but no matter how much I didn't like it, I was having a hard time letting go of the act itself. Sure, it would save me money and make me feel better, but when you break any pattern whether good or bad, it gives you more energy and it's sometimes daunting to give up the devil you know for the devil you don't.
After spending a week at my friend Jim's Rhythm of Life Design Intensive and also the Summer Rhythm Renewal retreat (the former focused on personal growth, the latter a smashing time of drumming, dancing, music- great times w/ greater friends) I came home prepared to let go of many bad habits and patterns that had been holding me back from living my life to its fullest. The funny thing is that I hadn't really thought at all of quitting smoking, as I had too many other demons to battle. Smoking can wait another day- or would it?
While I was away for the week, I barely smoked. On my four and a half hour drive home, I smoked a lot. When I got home, I smoked even more. But when I woke the next morning, first cigarette of the day in my hand and my new red Bic lighter in the other, I remembered how Jim always used smoking as the ultimate habit that people try to break. Before I was able to light the smoke, his words came to mind - "Don't worry about tomorrow. Just concern yourself with not smoking right now... If you can hold off lighting a smoke for 5 minutes, you are succeeding. Then next time instead of lighting that cigarette, you could take a 5 minute walk instead."
Yea.... that's the ticket. I put the unlit smoke down next to the lighter and put my Teva's on. Grabbed my house key and took an hour long walk down by the river. Once I got back, I still didn't light up and I instinctively knew that this was it. My time was now. With that small gesture of setting the cigarette down, I instantly became an ex-smoker - just as I had declared at the end of last year.
I am on my 4th day and as far as I am concerned, this is easy. Tell your mind what you want it to believe and it is so. I have zero cravings. I can stand right next to my husband as he is smoking and I have no desire to light one. Not when I wake up in the morning, not with a glass of wine- it's because I am simply done with it. Once in a while I think, "Oh, now is the time I would so outside" but similar to the feelings I experienced the day after we put our 15 year old dying dog to sleep, I know now that that part of me is dead and gone and while it might feel for a while like there is a hole of sorts within me, it stands poised to receive nothing but goodness- as I am deserving of all the great things the world has to offer.