Ebb & Flow

one of my original acrylics

I mentioned a few weeks back about needing “flow” in my home. I know from past experience at any home it takes a while to know exactly how things are going to work best. The best example I know of this process is  one I read decades ago, where a building designer declined to put in the sidewalks until months after the employees had been there. In that way , he could assess how they naturally traversed between buildings by the worn down path they left and be assured of the best placement.

My roommate and I have been working on this and have even come up with some really unique solutions to some problems ( a combination of creativity, repurposing items, turning things upside down, removing doors, and rearranging multiple times). The way I figure it, by next year, we will have the ease and flow of Ghandi putting on his robe.

In the interim , however, the ebb is pretty annoying. Rooms remained unorganized due to lack of funds for shelving or efficient storage units. Heating still somewhat uneven in the house ( although much improved) .Various small appliances are not where they should be. Fixes for our various water/plumbing issues – none of which are emergencies but still need addressed at some point. Odd angled cabinet spaces .A plan for where to place items outside in the Spring ( gazebo, chairs, etc.) Sometimes these little things eat away at me, until I either have  definite solution or I just walk away for a brain break on the matter. It will get done.

How often do we deal with things in other areas of our life in this way? The budget that really needs scrutinized or overhauled? The  closet that overflows needlessly? The car that needs tuned up? A basement that is becoming overrun with mold? A relationship that needs to be terminated or reprioritized?A bad habit that needs to be addressed?

And how often do we put it off? These are the ‘Ebbs’. And although flow must be re-established at some point or the shore will disappear( meaning get out of control, overwhelm us, and push us into apathy or worse- cause us to react with rashness, rather than reason) we have to allow for it’s opposite as well.The secret is to not let the rhythm get out of synch.

I strive to keep a “weather eye “ on  those tidal changes and adjust my sails and rudder as needed . The path forward beckons, and the horizon is in view. Ahoy , Matey’s!

Peace!

What Exactly is Processing , Anyway?

I had this thought on my way home from work the other morning. I started to wonder what the h*ll it really meant to be processing something- perhaps an emotional experience, a change of job ,environment, or health status.

Much of the time, I would “say” that I was processing something without really defining what that entailed or meant.

I always thought of the term as something very tangible-like “I am doing the steps that I need to take and each one will be completed and successful, in a certain time and order.”

But, in a moment of clarity, I realized that processing is something way different. It’s what comes before any of the above(which is more of a procedure), and something I have always DREADED and tried to stop myself from indulging in- seeing it as a weakness or waste of time. 

Processingis really all about the ups & downs- the talks we have with ourselves, the internal arguments, changing our minds a dozen times, making mistakes, going in circles and FINALLY arriving at the best conclusion or decision. Ironically, I ran into this paragraph on another blog which described this perfectly. Although it was directed towards finances, it can easily be applied to an “processing” we do in any other area:

“The path to your financial destination is not a simple and straight one. Along the way, you’ll find yourself getting lost and circling back. You’ll find yourself wandering off down side paths and then wondering where you’ve gone. You’ll find yourself stopping for a while and wondering why you’re going. You’ll find yourself backtracking sometimes, or walking very slowly into a strong headwind.

It’s not an easy, smooth path, because life isn’t easy and smooth. Things change. People change. The great plan you came up with five years ago might not mesh with you right now. The circumstances of your life will almost assuredly change during that time.”

(The Simple Dollar- https://www.thesimpledollar.com/31-days-to-financial-independence-3131-bringing-it-all-together/

I love that blog. So many great articles ( besides this one).Anyway….

So, ultimately, It comes down to this ( for me at least). I need to give myself permission- to go through all of this without reprimand and punishment. I need to allow it, embrace it, and make no excuses for it to anyone. It isn’t a waste of time. It is an integral part of success itself. And, as long as I am seeing tangible progress along the way, it is completely fine to have  an intangible process.

This is going to be a huge leap of faith for me, because I LOATHE not being focused. I need to learn to trust it. Not being afraid to fall down, scrape my knees or needing to cry for my mommy. I need to let go of those fears and forge on, knowing that because I allowed my brain some time away from the library to engage in free time and play dates ( and yes, even a few pity parties)along the way, I will soon arrive at my destiny a more well- rounded and centered individual.

Here’s to finding growth in a new way 🙂

Step #7-Unmasking the Faces of Change

Many of us go through periods of heightened focus and , indeed, internal excitement at the prospect of change itself. 

Some of us actually and actively pursue those changes, and the ride can be both grueling and intoxicating.  When we reach our goals there is at least a moment of ultimate satisfaction and self-congratulations.

And this is certainly better than others who never try at all.

.But what happens after that? 

A lot of people will tell you to start pursuing the next goal. And I would agree to a point. It is definitely not productive to start resting on your laurels again, becoming satisfied and lazy. But I believe there must be a time , even while planning the next goal to simultaneously making sure the goal you have just attained is truly complete . 

I guess a good analysis would be if you finally replaced the roof, but after rechecking, you found a few areas you missed. Sure, they may be areas no one will notice( it’s only a few shingles-right?). You could let them go but, they could cause major problems later.

Some of these “missed “ areas will come back to haunt you. I recently experienced this. Although I had made a goal of ‘no new relationship commitments’, I believed I was on a track to finalizing it. For me, the goal was one year. I have until May 2020. Up until sometime in September, I figured I had this thing DOWN. I had not even so much as thought about the possibility. But a few events occurred and I almost totally let down my guard.I allowed myself to be vulnerable, and overlooked some serious details that could have derailed and undermined all the hard work I had done this past year. Somehow, the universe saved me from losing traction. And now I realize the need to be SURE of what I truly want for the final outcome of that particular goal. Because if I do not, it isn’t complete. In other words: short sightedness is as bad as a half baked pie. Smells good, looks good, but not really ‘edible’.

The faces of change can be tricksters. They will tell you many half-truths and keep you in a never ending cycle. A few examples:

 -those with addictions- they decided to “moderate”  and think they have it beat, only to return at some point to the previous level , sometimes even worse than before.

-the person who changes jobs without assessing why they needed to change it and what their ultimate goal is by doing so ( promotion? A stepping stone? A career change? Or just higher pay?)They will likely soon realize the grass isn’t greener at the new job.

– the dieter- they want to lose weight, but once they reach the # of pounds- what then? Maintain?lose more weight? re assess the initial goal?Dieting usually starts with a desired change in physical appearances, but deeper than that – the goals of living a healthier lifestyle and a shift in self-awareness and esteem must also be addressed.Otherwise, most will backslide.

-buying a home- what is the end goal? Upgrades? Investment? Will it be your retirement home? Will you resell it later or maybe rent it out? Lots of options . But just paying the mortgage and not really planning leaves most with a decaying, unmaintained property that will be under even its original value later. What a a waste of hard earned money and years of time!

So, make those new goals, but be attentive to the details and any loose ends of the previous ones . They could be detrimental down the road. 

Unmask that Loki —and be sure you haven’t been deceived!!

72 Hours, Yo!

Sunday:

The day went something like this. I was driving my usual 1 hour home from my nightshift .Miserable. It was raining. It was  cold. Then, it started to snow ( first one for the year here) and although I usually LOVE the ‘first snow’ ,it totally depressed me. All I could think of was how, now, not only do I have to drive the 80 miles each night in potentially bad weather for a few months ( I call this white knuckle season) , I just moved into a house that sits in the middle of a long hill- meaning, no matter which way I turn out of my driveway I am faced with the possibility of sliding like crazy.

 Since it wasn’t a “sticky” snow, I made it home just fine . As I took of my coat and started prepping for bed, that nagging little demon started arguing with me about having that ”final” smoke before hitting the sheets ( or floor , in my case).I have been down to 2 -3 cigarettes for a few days, so I kept thinking.. ”it’s not even worth it. Get my coat and boots back on? stand outside unprotected from the weather just for a few puffs? Seriously..”. Then I did it anyway. 3 puffs that tasted disgusting. I put it out and went in and to bed. 

I slept horribly, winding up with only 4 hours of broken , restless sleep.. then waking up on the wrong side of the web with unusually bad aches in joints all over my body- (furthering my belief that the 2 recent lesions are tick bites and I maybe have Lyme disease symptoms. That’s a whole other story about not having insurance at the moment, etc.)

Immediately, I craved my usual wake up smoke. Went out to find the rest of my morning cig had blown away and so I pulled out another one. At this point I had maybe 15 left total , planned out for the tapering off. Again, smoked only a few puffs, put it out then went up to get my bath etc. 

I  then went out for errands picked up my repaired laptop, a new box of nicotine patches and came home. My roommate went out for a smoke, so, of course(trigger), I joined her and smoked the other half of the earlier one. Again, tasted gross and did nothing for me. 

I came in , did my meditation time, and when I came out— I ( dramatically-lol) threw the rest of them in the trash.. got them back out, ran water over them and back to the bin. No excuses now.

Finally, I feel free. No more temptation and only a few trigger times/craving times to deal with( instead of the 30 or so I used to have before tapering off, etc.)

So I sit before this laptop and you today as a NON SMOKER. Fingers crossed, and praying for the will power to continue …thanks to every one for bearing with me as I posted probably way too much about it. I’ll attempt less if that moving forward. 

( update: Wednesday- it’s been almost 72 hours. I am annoyed about having to count actual “hours” so, close enough. I can say this so far. The patches and gum do help, but they certainly do NOT kill every craving. I feel like I had 100 of them today. But I survived. Even with the emotional strain I was put through last night. I know every day will be different.But I take deep breaths and tell myself “I can do this”.  )

Have a great day and Namaste!

Heartaches and Amends

Part of me wishes I hadn’t even tried to reach out. It was against my better judgement. Even as I handed out that first olive branch, I hesitated to let go of it. It had been a long difficult ride for me of internal processing, forgiving and letting go in order to start fresh with hope. I almost didn’t, opting to let things be as they were. But I forged ahead anyway, in faith, trusting that goodness, and a genuine heart would prevail this time. I should have listened to my instincts.

As i sit bewildered by the sudden turn of events, i am reminded of the promise to myself i made one year ago. The promise to learn to love and value myself again and commit to personal boundaries.While it has made me stronger and more productive, in this instance, it left me vulnerable and that vulnerability took a chunk out of my hopefulness today.

Recovery is a touch and go. You very much want to be genuine, honest, and trusting again. To be a’normal’ person. At first, you build a wall that isolates you from hurt and pain- then , if you are sincere, at some point you tear the wall down and reach out. But this step can be devastating at times, especially when your love and sincerity are not enough. You do not always get forgiveness. And that is heartbreaking.

I am here today, alive & strong in spite of it , releasing todays feelings to the world.Because i want anyone reading this to know that you must do it( life and recovery) for yourself and no one else. No matter how much you change or how much energy you expend ,others will constantly disappoint you. They are not on your path.And they have no obligation to forgive you , see your progress , accept you, or love you -now or ever. Even with moral support, it is a solo journey, and can be very lonely at times. But keep going. Stay strong, and never, ever, ever give up.

Namaste.

“Seamless”- The Meditation of the Body

I have posted several times previously on the benefits I have discovered with daily meditation. Using Binaural tones has been my savior in this regard as previously I struggled with attaining some “mystical state of mind” or “enlightenment” which never happened. With Binaural tones, I do not have to do anything or expect anything. It just focus on the tones and it happens, easy peasy.

But this type of meditation, along with many other types commonly prescribed out there focuses mainly on the mind. In essence, it is meant to calm the chaos of the constant distracting thoughts and unproductive “worrying” that seems to plague almost every human I know. All of these types have great value and should be somewhat mastered before attempting what I am going to describe here. In other words, the mind must be trained first, as it indeed controls the body in many ways.

The meditation of the body focuses on something totally different, yet when practiced regularly , will become what I call “seamless’ with the mental aspect. Let me explain how I came to understand this facet and why it has become so important to me.

As a person in recovery it has always frustrated me that it (STILL) takes me on average 30 minutes to (sometimes) an hour to calm all of those voices in my head in order to even begin benefitting from the session. In addition to that I have worried that I would never understand how anyone could get into a satisfactory state of relaxation in less than 10 minutes, thereby making better use of the time spent. Recently , I came across an article concerning the biology of addiction.The article was mediocre at best but one particular paragraph stood out and resonated deeply with me. And although now I cannot find the article and give a direct quote it went something like this:

“all addicts seek ‘stillness’- stillness of the mind first and foremost, but in many cases of the body itself. While the description(on paper) of the effects of many powerful chemicals- such as narcotics, alcohol, nicotine , caffeine, and even sugar often focus on the bodily effects, during treatment and recovery, addicts are encouraged most often to deal with ongoing psychological issues. What is not emphasized is stillness of the body and how that can be achieved, and for some long term users, the addiction has gone beyond the psychology and become very physical. “

There it was ..”stillness of the body”.

Now, it’s pretty easy to find videos and articles on “progressive relaxation “ techniques and in fact there are also many how-to’s describing Body Scan Meditation. But, while I agree this can be of help, I believe there is something more to it than simply relaxing each area of the body or scanning for trouble areas. Because the body itself has a ”memory” of its own.

We hear this talked about often in relation to sports or any form of exercise- many a personal trainer or fitness coach is versed in the aspect of muscle memory. So, why would we over look this very important information in the aspects of recovery and, hence, in meditation?If the muscles have memory, the rest of our system must also have memory, organizationally speaking.

Most people are aware of the flow of blood through their body as it is taught in general education cirriculums . But many rarely give a thought to the vibrations produced by the flow of ANY fluids, much less the vibrations of all those electrons, protons, and other particles bumping around 24/7 inside a contained package( our body). It stands to reason that when this daily Bump & Grind collides with the flow, large amounts of vibrational activities are occurring simultaneously. This all occurs naturally and generally causes no issues- until we humans begin interfering with it by adding unnatural chemicals to our system. The flow becomes irregular, the bumping around becomes unpredictable until eventually it’s entire path is re routed to accommodate the latest additions ( in order for survival).Is this making any sense?

In order to regain control and regulate this flow in the body (once we begin serious recovery meaning NOT putting any of those chemicals into ourselves any longer) we must address the issue directly and regularly, until our body returns to the natural ORDER. 

I have begun doing this within the first 10 minutes of each meditation session and have been getting progressively better at obtaining positive results.

  1. I still get myself into a comfortable position. I don’t even start counting it as meditation until I stop fidgeting.
  2. I still use whatever tones I have designated for the day
  3. The first step is still mental . I talk to my brain, not my pain -and essentially give it the commands I desire (“I demand pleasurable impulses to be sent throughout my body”) . This part is given to the fact that our pain and pleasure pathways are the exact same pathways- the limbic system- and knowing that, I know that it is possible to achieve( more on the pleasure/pain connections in a future post).
  4. After delegating the commands I ‘walk away’ and begin “putting my mind to sleep.” By this I mean, turning it to a default setting in that the functional part is still running, but the unnecessary parts are not. The brain, as we know is what tells our body organs to function- our heart to continue beating , our lungs to continue to process oxygen, our breathing, etc.- this is all involuntary on our part. So we can rest assured that our brain will continue to do this even in default mode.
  5. I begin actively feeling the flow of blood through all parts of my body, paying attention to how that FEELS- the vibrations, the temperatures, the pulsations, and sometimes, even the sounds ( ever hear your heart beating? Many times we can actually hear it at rest in a quiet place- especially in our carotid artery- located at the sides of our neck). I spend as many minutes as I can in this activity.
  6. Once I feel balanced and as if things are flowing well, I transition to my core. This gets a little” new-agey”. I concentrate on feeling the flow of fluids and particles through my organs (I don’t know how else to describe this) and from there I focus on evening out that flow, physically. 
  7. It is a purely physical focus, because I am not actively using my brain to focus on mental or emotional issues and I try to stay in this phase until I feel completely at ease and ready to accept the more tedious task of attaining all of the other stuff usually focused on in other forms of meditation ( emptying the mind, dealing with emotional issues, achieving nirvana- whatever you want to call it). 

I’ve only been experimenting with it for a week or so, but it has helped me exponentially in getting past the chatter of the monkey mind in way less time. The experience is a more seamless transition from body to mind. Hope to hear if anyone else tries this or has any other helpful suggestions.

p.s. i almost forgot- my disclaimer: i am not yet FREE of nicotine or caffeine and am not attempting to appear “saintly” . But i am very much free of 90% of the toxins i have been ingesting into my system for years and am working on more eliminations..it’s a process:)

Attachments: The Arch Enemy of Recovery and Change

Tonight i am without my usual laptop. The battery died and i had to drop it at my sons for him to replace it ( he does this stuff for a living.) So i am “stuck” using an older laptop for now. I hate it. I don’t have my favorite links on hand, my usual fonts aren’t set, and i even have to use “notes” to type this instead of my preferred Microsoft Word program. The sense of loss ( albeit temporary) brought to mind how we tend to feel like this in recovery .But even in general ,when one of our usual comforts goes missing, is removed from our lives (whether voluntary or not) or is replaced by something even slightly different we feel a sadness that may seem silly to others. 

I have been through “loss” quite a lot in the past year. Giving up my frenemy, alcohol,  then  relationships, then social media, and now smoking. These are the ‘Big Ones’ and it’s pretty easy for most people to understand the feelings of loss related to giving them up.

Even small things-like when we have to give up a favorite food, accept the ending of a long running tv show or series, a much used appliance finally giving out on us , that old pair of comfy slippers or jeans that are no longer reparable, or a much loved flavor of candy is no longer available …can leave us feeling empty somehow. Substitutes seem unable to satisfy, at least for awhile.

Why do we feel such a seemingly ridiculous sense of loss about something so insignificant in the grand scheme of things?

I believe it is because the price we pay for ‘attachment’ is vulnerability— and any loss leaves us feeling vulnerable.

Loss( of any kind and on any scale) leaves a hole in our lives. Even when something ‘bad’ is suddenly gone , we are unable to instantly forget it. We have in many ways become “attached”— via our feelings, memories, and routines. The addict will miss his drugs, the alcoholic will miss her drink, the smoker will miss his cigarette, and the diabetic will miss her sugar.

Now, i will be getting my old laptop back tomorrow. So, of course i am not going to be going into any ‘full on’ grieving process.But i can use this simple comparison in ways to help my progress in other areas. Especially when it comes to my current struggle with quitting so many things in such a short time by seeking to identify the various ‘attachments ‘ i have come to associate with many of the things i have chosen to let go of(i. e.- lose).

For instance:

  1. one of the attachments i had given to alcohol was that it helped me be more ‘creative’.This wasn’t ultimately true of course, but the first several weeks i grieved and was scared to even TRY to paint without it! 
  2. one of the attachments i had given to intimate relationships was feeling ‘adored’ by someone.That stage only lasts for a short time, but i was addicted to it and when it gradually faded( and it always does), i became depressed and resorted to attention seeking behaviors.
  3. one of the attachments i( still) have with cigarettes is the comradery of “going out for a smoke” with someone. It’s a social routine that is a pretty strong trigger.
  4. One attachment i had to social media was needing to “stay in the loop”. I just couldn’t wrap my head around not knowing who was doing what and what was going on every day, hour by hour. 

All of these things are feelings only and are self created . Over time , we come to internalize and therefore attach ourselves to them.They are perceptions, things we tell ourselves and eventually become OUR truth in spite any evidence to the contrary. Acknowledging the specific attachments we have helps to break down the overwhelming process of grief and loss, as well as positive change in our lives.

I encourage anyone going through a difficult process , like recovery or loss of a relationship or job, diet change, etc. to take some time to think about the attachments you may have created for yourself that may be preventing progress towards healing and change. Be honest with yourself and have no fear. Your thoughts are private , your journey is personal.And you deserve the very best life you can have. Allow yourself to flow through the possible obstacles you may be harboring and how YOU can use that knowledge going forward.

Namaste!

DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO!

Well, I jumped ahead of my plans. I threw away the roller. It was a last minute decision  after becoming disgusted with the taste & smell as well and feeling like having easy access around all the time was too much temptation. I needed a more motivation to finalize the goal. I’d been at 4 cigarettes a day for a few days , and finding I don’t have as many triggers. Today I barely wanted even 2 so successfully tapering. The gum works just fine most of the time and once that last cigarette is gone, I will order more 14 mg  patches. They really seem to help, unless I smoke one while on them -then I get nauseous.So i have been trying them every few days.

It’s odd. I am actually beginning to prefer the gum over actual cigarettes. Maybe that’s a good thing.It’s certainly better than smoking. I am not inhaling toxic chemicals, I don’t “stink” all the time ( nor do my clothes, breath or car), and I never have to fumble around looking for a lighter or trying to remember to roll smokes before I go somewhere.( I never even take them with me anymore.)With gum, I don’t have to get my coat on, stop everything I am doing and head outside in the cold to get my fix. There are no ashes or tobacco all over my floor or clothes, and I can chew it anywhere–restaurants, grocery stores, even while I hike or walk. I don’t have to be embarrassed to chew gum either. Kind of a win-win. The one downside is that I get tired of chewing. That’s when I need another substitute.

Yes, I know. I am still “addicted” to the nicotine. But I feel better about that than having my lungs all black ,being out of breath, coughing up phlegm and all of the other toxic shizzle smoking does to your body , as well as your appearance. Eventually I willwean off of it as well but  I’m not stressing about it just yet. One thing I did was look through some before and after photos of smokers. Eye opening. Before- greyish skin tone, yellow teeth, more fine lines and even a certain glassy eyed, tired look. Afterwards, some of that goes away with time( although some is permanent damage).

Anyway, here’s the tips I have SO FAR for anyone thinking about it or having problems. P.s.- I am NO EXPERT and I have yet to completely quit .Some days are good, some aren’t. Some of this is stuff I never heard anywhere before though and I just figure it can’t hurt to share since I feel it’s been helping me.

  1. BAN ALL SMOKING INDOORS, THEN -BAN IT IN YOU CAR. This was the number one biggest help I have had.
  2. Then START your quit in the cold weather ( it really helps to deter you).
  3. Stay wet. If you are doing the dishes, taking a shower or washing things down by hand you can’t really keep that cigarette dry.
  4. Did you know you can chew up to 24 pieces of nicotine gum a day? I was worried I was chewing too much at 12 pieces usually but, apparently I am safe.
  5. Reese’s pieces, Hershey’s kisses, skittles- handfuls during a craving or at trigger times. Warning: this may become a “new habit” , but I’ll take it.
  6. Cut a straw in half , inhale the oxygen through it like a boss.
  7. Sleep ( or meditate) as much as you can. Lots of naps Hard to smoke when you sleep, unless you sleep walk. If you do, put any cigs somewhere very difficult to get to before you lay down. Like , outside or on a shelf you need a ladder for.  Put the ladder on another floor of the house.
  8. If you slip and buy a pack, and maybe even smoke one… run water over the rest of the pack( they are expensive and you will waste a lot of money every time)
  9.   keep ‘one’ in a lock box– freeze the key inside a large ice cube that cannot be easily broken. You can’t even microwave that( metal). Sure- you can heat it up some other way, but it will take a lot of effort and maybe you will think harder about it before submitting to the craving. (I tried keeping mine in a safe before but it didn’t work because I had a combo lock and a key.)
  10. Get rid of EVERYTHING related to smoking..i mean throw it out -take it to a public dumpster if you have to– ashtrays, rollers, tubes, tobacco, lighters…ALL of it. You will have to re-invest if you wanna smoke.
  11. Wash all your clothes, your bedding , clean out your car. Spray your stuff, even furniture with febreeze. If you slip, use mouth wash every single time( don’t leave that smell or taste around- it just perpetuates cravings.. plus you will stink!)
  12. Do NOT start chewing tobacco…yuck! You get the same toxins, it will give you mouth cancer, and you will have really disgusting looking teeth & gums. Not to mention how gross spitting is.
  13. Don’t “vape”- it’s just as bad for your lungs. All vape juice has a glycerin base. Glycerin is not naturally found in the lungs. Many people wind up having more coughing and other health problems from it. Also, this perpetuates the hand to mouth thing.
  14. Use other forms of NRT for as long as you have to, don’t worry about the addiction to nicotine at first. Just deal with the hand to mouth habit.
  15. There are some really cool nicotine free alternatives out there also.. many i didn’t know about- research it- lozenges, inhalers, smoke free cocoa bean sticks, creams, sprays, – even natural ‘patches’. 
  16. I quit before( for 10 years) using Smoke Away- at that time it was an entire package of vitamins, supplements, and liquid drops. Might not help everyone, but upping your nutrient game can’t hurt.
  1. Know your triggers and avoid them like an STD. Yeah, you can’t stop eating, but you can have dessert instead of a smoke.. take that mini cupcake or fun size chocolate bar to your usual smoke spot and leisurely enjoy the sugar. If your trigger is social stuff.. like your friend popping outside for a smoke, you can just stay in but-you don’t have to be anti-social.. just keep  bag of pretzels sticks or veggie straws in your purse to take out and munch on while you chat. In the mornings I plan to drink a cup of decaf or have my last meal ( dinner ) at home instead of work, then hit the bed for some awesome meditation time.
  1. Watch “Breaking Bad”- Walters chronic coughing and problems breathing etc. with small cell carcinoma make you think hard about how awful life could become. Yes, he didn’t get it from smoking, but it’s the most common in smokers. 
  1. FORCE FORCE FORCE yourself out the door. Walking, hiking, or even just driving around with the windows open if that’s all you can manage. Fresh air and exercise are your friend. You will cough more the first few weeks as your lungs self-clean. But it’s a good cough!

You could also try getting a job at a gas station and wearing highly flammable gloves. Or have someone drop you off on a deserted island for a year. Or donate a lung to someone.. just sayin’…do whatcha gotta do…lol..

Ok, now my disclaimer: I STILL haven’t figured out how to get past that first one when I wake up. I love my coffee, coffee triggers me. I don’t like tea, juice or milk. what I used to do as a non-smoker is get my coffee and sit to watch a half hour of news then get right to my bath, then make breakfast & off to work.  I’m not really sure now what to do now, I don’t like the news anymore and podcasts aren’t cutting it. . But I have found a park that is open and well-lit until 11p so I have been getting out as soon as possible everyday -walking as much as I can. Every hour without temptation is a successful hour.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any other helpful tips i would love to hear them!

Not Every Day is 100%

The birds are chirping. The sun is shining through the trees. I head out for a nice long walk/hike in the woods. I feel pretty good. Got my new trail runners on, new warming socks , mittens, and a cool hat. The leaves crunch under my feet as I walk briskly through trails of woodsy scents, with squirrels , chipmunks and other small animals scurrying around me. My lungs open up to take in the fresh air, my body hits a calm energy and Life is Good.

Afterwards I am refreshed. I head out to run various errands then home to prepare my lunch for work. At about 8pm I slip into my room for a sweet hour of binaural tones meditation followed by a short nap . I rise, grab a hot Cafe Bustello with coconut creamer and head in for my shift. I have been extra successful today in my quit smoking efforts and confidence is running high. 

Once I settle in at work( I have a lot of downtime), I start working on my budget again( I do this several times a week) and it looks like I am gonna make it just fine through the month. I’ve paid off one credit card already and make a dent in 2 others. I think about my beautiful new home and the woods I now own and fantasize about spring & summer time plans and activities in my mind.

Things are going well today.

But not every day is 100%. And even the days that wind up like today don’t always start out so well. Sometimes, you have to make an effort to get that positivity ball rolling. For instance…I normally crave a smoke as soon as I wake.But I forced myself to wait a bit and wound up smoking less for the day than I anticipated. Did I WANT to get all layered up , get in my car & drive to the park to walk 3 miles? Not really- not for the first hour, anyway. I was limping around working out the usual chronic pain issues, dreading bath time because our water is so hard it makes my skin dry and hair tangle. I was also hungry, but didn’t feel like making anything because it would be dark quickly and I needed to finish my walk before they closed the park gates or I could no longer see paths through the woods. I had some brief moments of stressing about bills  and the rest of the weeks schedule as well.

It doesn’t come naturally for most of us.. But you can push through it most of the time. Say your Mantras, do your meditation ( walking meditation kills two birds with one stone!), breath in deeply some fresh air and get your body moving. The mind will follow. 

On the days when you just cannot overcome it, give yourself a little break. Do some self-care, find an enjoyable project , be lazy for a bit. But , please, don’t make this an everyday habit or you will find yourself in a rut- physically, emotionally and spiritually. Make some plans, goals or simply conquer a task or two after your downtime. Stay constructive.

As always, I write these things as much for myself as anyone reading them. I need reminders, too.  I hope ya’ll are doing well- Hugs & Blessings!

Gratefulness Post # 2

Absolutely Fabulous

I haven’t had a best girlfriend since I was in 9thgrade. At the time , she was a year behind me, and when she started high school the following year, she began to hang around the ‘road to nowhere’ kids that I wasn’t interested in. You know, the ones who skipped class to go smoke. The ones who had all out alcohol bashes every weekend. The ones who got tickets for reckless or drunken driving. The ones who smoked pot every day after school, sitting on the couch eating Doritos. The ones who frequently got detention and grades of c,d, & f. That first year of high school , she wound up getting pregnant and an STD at the same time, and I was the friend she turned to for help. I did help her through the process, but after that, we went our separate ways. I got an after school job and eventually my family moved away. I never trusted another female friend after that.

UNTIL— I met my current roommate , Natalie.

Natalie and I met while I was residing part time at a typical artist commune. There were musicians, artists, poets and creatives of all sorts. It was a revolving door of eccentric characters, drama, toxic relationships.. and a Helluva good time. There was alcohol, some drugs(occasionally), lots of sex and of course creativity on the daily. It was fun…until it wasn’t. Eventually I moved away. The place  lasted another year or so then dissolved.

A few years later, Natalie contacted me about a place to stay. I had just moved into a huge row home with 5 bedrooms. She stopped by and we decided she would rent the top floor. I have never regretted a single day of taking that chance and trusting another female in my life.

We have lived together for over 3 years now ( not including the time at the artist commune) and I cannot express how much I have come to love and appreciate her every single day. She has been my ‘Bestest’ friend, my rock, my soul mate. From putting up with my chaotic , bohemian lifestyle( including alcoholism) to seeing me through toxic relationships to devoting equal time developing our little venue- she has meant more to me than any friend I’ve ever had – all my life.

We have been through so many ups & downs together. The drama of the commune life. A vacation hurricane evacuation. The challenges of creating our own space in the arts community. And we have never had an argument or even  tense moment! She has been supported me emotionally (and in MANY other ways) as I went through the loan and moving process, and still is.

She  is always thoughtful- buying me little gifts, leaving notes of encouragement, listening to my woes, and doing extra things around our home to ease my stress and make things better.

Her care and concern are always evident and I NEVER have to question her loyalty.

Here is an ENORMOUS shout out to the best thing that has ever happened to me!

I love you, and count you in my blessings every day!!xoxoxoxox