Thursday, February 19, 2009

I started my day at 3:34 a.m. Texted my boyfriend to tell him I loved him and he texted me back 15 seconds later with the same. That made me smile. I tried to go back to sleep but was feeling so good I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So, I got up and took a shower, made some coffee and had a smoke. Today is going to be my last day as a smoker and I've wrestled with this for a few weeks. I tried to quit just last weekend and failed. Then, a friend gave me a great book that changed the way I looked at smoking. I was ready to quit when I finished reading it but I have a couple of quit buddies at work that wanted to set today as the last day of smoking. We all had one pack left so decided today would be the day. Don't get me wrong, I think we all know that it's the last tiny voice of the addiction that spoke loudly wait one more day!

The nicotine addiction is actually a very small part of smoking. The emotional mind twist is the bigger part and I'm so glad now that I see it. The book I read reminded me that the only real hurdle for me in quitting was fear that I would be unable to cope with life without cigarettes. I mean, I thought, "wow, what will I do if I get stressed, get angry, get frustrated, sad or bored?" The book reminded me I would cope with those things the way I did before I became a smoker and reminded me that there are thousands and thousands of people who deal with those emotions every day without doing something that will ultimately result in harming their health or death. So, I think I get it now. It won't be hard...mind over matter. I learned that because I really hate the taste and smell of cigarettes, it really takes more willpower for me to smoke than it would for me to quit. I had never thought of it that way before but it's true. I don't like smoking. For all of these years it has been something I did nearly unconsciously. Ever since I read the book, I have been conscious of every cigarette I smoked.

One thing I noticed, yesterday morning I felt great, peaceful, relaxed and content when I woke up. As soon as I had a cigarette, I felt agitated and slightly sick. I never noticed that before. I was so unconscious. So, I purposely chain smoked like 8 cigarettes before I went into work. By the time I got there, I felt physically ill and had a head ache...my chest hurt...my throat hurt. WOW, why did I never notice how bad smoking made me feel before? I was so unconscious of the affects and in denial about the health risks for sure.

So, I remember last weekend when I tried to quit...the actual urges from the nicotine were not that bad...I struggled with the food/nicotine cravings...they seem the same but if you pay attention, you can tell the difference. I didn't eat a lot...in fact, I ate normally but I gained 4 pounds. I learned reading the book that when you take away something the body is used to, the body shuts down...holds on to every ounce of water...systems stop in a protective mechanism...this, I understand, only lasts for a few days. So, now I know. Now I know how to combat it.

So, tonight, to get into a more healthy habit, I'm picking up my daughter from school and we're going over to the park to hit the tennis balls against the wall at the park down the street. A great work out for me and stress reliever and some fun one on one mom time for my daughter. It's getting to be lighter longer now and if I had more tennis into my weeks, any weight challenge will be effectively nullified.

So, tonight also, I plan to get some sugar free candies, some toys for my hands to keep busy with at work (rubic's cube, etc.) for me to play with when I'm at work and some gum. I think I'm prepared and when that first stressful moment strikes...I will just remove myself from the situation, breathe in deeply and get myself centered quickly. I think I'm prepared. I'm not worried about not being successful this time. Any doubt could negate my sucess...I guess I'm just ready this time. I spent the whole day at work day before yesterday not smoking...just learning how to function during my work day without a cigarette break. I walked lots of stairs...walked outside in the sunshine. It was great...I felt awesome.

So, after today, I will need to occupy my mind with being a non-smoker...I can do it...I will use this spot as my support system for a little bit as I remember how I used to deal with stress and worry. I've got to tackle my taxes this weekend...it won't be fun...but I can handle it.

My thought for today is to consider something big in your life that needs to change...get educated on how to change it, prepare for the change, wrap your mind about the things that must change in your thinking...work on changing those thoughts, get yourself a plan and start doing things differently. Then, get yourself some support...tell someone about the change you are making and then, just do it. Make a positive change to bring balance to your life in some way. When the stress strikes to force you back into your old coping mechanisms...stop for a minute and think...do you really want to go back to the old way or are you ready to learn something new...learning new things is what we're here for...be brave, be courageous and do something positively differently. I wish you the best.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Agitated

It’s Wednesday morning and I’m agitated. I’m agitated because I intended to return to being a non-smoker this week and I failed. But within failure lies opportunity and, speaking of lies, I intend to spend some time contemplating the lies I’ve told myself, took in and believed about smoking. I notice with everyone that I smoke, I’m instantly agitated after just a couple of puffs. It’s the nicotine that makes me anxious…I am not anxious by nature. More food for thought. I need to spend time destroying the WANT to smoke. I never want to want to smoke again and I’m getting there very fast. I only want to light a cigarette. After a couple of puffs, I notice that I wished I was done…so many other things I could be doing. So, again today, I won’t smoke at work. I’ll walk up and down 8 flights of stairs every hour again instead of smoking and will think of other things…like how other people don’t need to smoke to function. I can be like that too…just as soon as I kill this desire in me.

I’m not losing anything by stopping smoking. But, until I can completely eradicate the thoughts that I’m missing something or giving up something or attempting to bargain with myself to keep doing something that just may very well end my life prematurely, I’m stuck. But I’m not floundering. A friend sent me a great book called Easy Quit. I read it yesterday and will read it again today. The book makes sense and I’m starting to see things differently. Today, I definitely had no enjoyment at all in the cigarettes I smoked and clearly see that it was only nicotine addiction that drove me to it. I’ve got nicotine gum but that doesn’t really get to the source of the problem…oh, I’ll use it because at this point I will do anything. Friday is my new quit date…I will be successful this time and have no doubts about it. I will make it this time as my mind set is different. For the next two days I will spend time noticing how every time I smoke, I hate the taste, I hate how it burns my throat and I hate it when the nicotine kicks in…it’s not calming or relaxing at all.

Eventually, I’ll kick this addiction and that eventually is not a dragged out incident for a far off future date…it’s this week, it’s right now, it’s tomorrow and it’s Friday. I cannot fail to return to my natural state…I’m working on remembering how life was fine before I smoked and life will be fine when I quit. I remember how to function without them…I had forgotten. I’m going to spend the next two days remembering…remembering…remembering how to cope with stress, anger, frustration and sadness. I had those skills as a young teen when I started smoking…I will remember those skills when I give them a new try this week. Don’t wish me luck, help me celebrate freedom from my self-imposed prison! Peace.



If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also like my books.   I'd be honored if you'd visit my author spotlight at:   http://www.jaiehart.com.  Blessings.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cool Rainy Monday



I woke up to the sound of the rain's steady cadence on the roof. I left the window open again and the sill was all wet. I beat the alarm so I sat up to turn it off, sat on the edge of the bed for a few seconds that seemed like minutes. I flipped on a light and I saw my reflection. I guess I didn't move much last night when I slept...I was shocked that I didn't see a horror in the mirror as I climbed out of bed.

I was grateful today that I was able to work from home. I was glad today was a school holiday so I could take care of my youngest. I was happy today that although I felt a bit lonely, there is someone out there in the world that I love and who loves me. I miss him terribly but he'll be home soon.

I went about my business this morning, warm coffee in hand, long thick terry robe that nearly hits the floor, comfy warm slippers and the sound of the rain still creating an interesting cadence but now I notice it's on the pavement below my living room windows. I looked outside and in the reflection from my window I can see water pooling everywhere.

I got ready for work (not one to work in my PJs when I'm at home) and plugged in my computer. I got the day done, often staring out the window watching the rain. At the end of my work day, with the sun still shining, I shut down my computer and drove a few blocks to the beach. I parked the car and walked to the edge of the cliffs. I stood there for a few minutes that felt like hours. The wind was so cold and I watched in awe at the sun's light reflecting off of the water. More storm clouds were coming in I noticed. I snapped the picture attached and just stood there in silent contemplation.

The sky looked amazing but nothing can distract me for long it seems. I'm missing someone, thinking about the future, tomorrow, yesterday. So many things on my mind just now but one more than anything...someone, that is. The chill surrounding me seemed to be growing right through my skin right down to the bone so I slowly walked back to my car. Where ever he is, he's got my heart...I won't rest easy again until he's home. I headed back home listening to a favorite song. A peaceful and uneventful Monday. I like those. I like them a lot.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Back-Lit Clouds/Black Sky

Tonight I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. I looked up at the night time sky as I often do and beheld a most amazing view. Huge white cotton ball clouds back-lit with glowing silver moonlight in contrast against a pitch black sky. It was cold out with the most recent storm moving through and I just stood there in the quiet stillness of the evening. I'm contemplative tonight as I often am. I'm quitting smoking tomorrow so tonight will be my last night standing outside watching the smoke twist and turn catching particles of light. Instead I'll step outside just to see the sky without causing myself bodily harm. That's a much better way to enjoy the sky.

With all I've been through these last 4 hears, I'm incredibly grateful and ultimately humbled by life's lessons. I'm not bitter in any way. I picked a few paths or they picked me and learn I did and then some. It's all good today now that I've got a little time and distance from the first cuts of each of the wounds I suffered or did I inflict them upon myself? I'm really not sure. It's likely the latter and the sole reason for my healing...I was able to forgive, to remember what choices were mine. I'll not make some of those choices again and will strive ever to do better.

I've been working off and on with Al-Anon...I've worked through steps one through three but struggle with step four. Moral inventory of my defects...they are many..that much I do know even though I can't bring myself to articulate them now, right here on the internet. Oh, I plan to admit them and I plan to articulate them and I intend to allow them to be removed and replaced. I think I'm finally ready for that...ready to set down childish things, hurtful things and move on to a life that is full of love and magic every where I turn. I count myself among the luckiest of women. I have beautiful children, I have a job that I love, a hobby that is beginning to pay (now that I've got two books published) and I also have the love of a kind-hearted man. These things mean so much to me. My heart is so full and I've achieved so much. Actually, a lot more than I thought I would ever have achieved. So, now it's time to allow some new dreams to take hold. Maybe create some new ones or resurrect one I've seen shattered one too many times. That's one I really want to manifest!

In all honesty, I'm really preoccupied with way too many things to even write but I felt the need. I'm missing a loved one and I feel his absence intensely and deeply. It's true, the old axiom, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." I couldn't imagine feeling any stronger for him than I feel right now but I know this is only the tip of the iceberg. Instead of being mostly afraid, I'm mostly not. No matter what happens, I'm grateful for this moment, grateful, truly, that after all I've been through in matters of the heart, that I had the ability to remain open one more time...give love one more try and see if I can't make it work beautifully, perfectly, unconditionally. I feel like I'm missing a piece of my soul when he's gone. But I know that I also have a part of his to comfort me. It feels really amazing.

So, I think I'll close now...my thought for the day (or rather for tomorrow) is on love in all of its facets...just like my book, "Ravenous Reflections" (available on lulu.com by the way, plug, plug, plug) says. Love has many facets and can bring you the highest highs and the lowest lows but no matter which end of the spectrum you find yourself on, count yourself lucky...if you feel love of the lack of love, your heart is close to the surface of your consciousness...in other words, open. Enjoy that...give love and you will have love. Happy Valentine's day. May you all find the love of a life time and for those who hold it now, may you never take it for granted...I pray you hold it unconditionally and that you keep the fire of your own love inside burning ever-brightly!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Change...Just What I Need!

Well, parenthood is the focus of late and man, am I really getting an education. My oldest child is almost 19. For a year, she has done nothing but hide out in front of the computer screen. She hasn’t worked, doesn’t help much around the house and is royally mean to her siblings. She’s not doing drugs, isn’t hanging out late at night and I’ve done nothing but encourage her to get out, get a job and meet new people to enjoy reality as opposed to virtual reality. So, this has gone on for 18 months with no change…sometimes marginal in all fairness, but mostly no change. So, I get ready to have “the big talk” with her about…contribute to the household by doing your chores, lay off the little ones and get out and get a job or find a new place to live. I figured something drastic was what was going to be needed to get some kind of about face.

Well, my little sweetheart had a surprise for me. For the last two months she has been planning to move to the opposite coast with a male friend. Okay, my heart broke in that moment because I know how ill prepared she truly is but as she aptly reminded me…whether I think her decision is a mistake or not, it’s her decision to make and not mine. She’s right. How can I argue with that?! So, I had to back track and tell her what I think would make me feel less worried about her decision. Namely, buy a round-trip ticket with an open ended return date…that will help her with a way out if it doesn’t work out well. My motto has always been “plan for the worst but hope for and believe in the best outcome.” So, she agreed. I also told her it would be best to get a job fast so she can save up as much money as possible so she’ll have a little breathing room when she gets there…until she gets a job. So, instead of leaving in March, she’s going to wait until May. Ugh! Not enough time to save up much money but I do have a sneaky hope that getting a job here might introduce her to friends HERE that might make her want to stay HERE. Moving out would be a great idea for her…absolutely. She needs to test her wings. But, going without thinking or planning is just so not a good idea.

So, she got herself a job her first day out looking and I came home to a clean kitchen and living room. Amazing! If only she could have done this a while ago. I’m excited for her journey and think she is incredibly courageous for what she’s doing…to go so far from home her first time out…but then I realized, my daughter, who has also often times been my friend, is leaving me and all of a sudden I feel so very sad. If she was moving close by, I could visit or she could visit but the opposite end of the continent just won’t allow that so it’s a cut it quick, rip off the band aid kind of thing and I just don’t like it. I’ve got enough change to contend with right now and this one will be tough.

Aside from this, my boyfriend and I are moving in together in a few months, we’ll be renting a new place that is a bit less expensive and hopefully more roomy and then trying to adjust to all the kid’s comings and goings. At the same time, now my 9 year old has brought up wanting to go live with her dad. She misses him and I know how hard it is. I’ve suggested to her that she wait to finish 5th grade. When she changes schools to go to Junior high, it’ll be the perfect opportunity to make a change then. I don’t want her to go. My son did this just 2 years ago. So, I’m dealing with too much impending loss and potential loss and I’m feeling really sad and depressed. It’s hard but I know better than to get too worked up. Life’s happenings some times are just not about you and the changes, well, you get used to them eventually and move on. The day I learned my son wanted to live at his dad’s across the continent, I was devastated…it felt like the end of the world but I adjusted. Right now, I’m not adjusting. My oldest is at work, the two younger ones are out playing, my boyfriend is visiting family up north and I’m sitting here all by myself trying to make sense of my own feelings. It just feels weird. I’ve been tired for days despite going to bed early and…I’m quitting smoking this weekend. Ugh! Whatever, if you’re gonna go with change, go BIG, I guess. I’m also moving my office at work 18 miles south. It’ll be a closer drive and a nicer office (with a cafĂ© down stairs that proudly brews Starbuck’s). Too much to deal with.

So, I had a little glass of Bailey’s, smoked like 5 cigarettes and just decided that no matter what happens, I should never be afraid of my own feelings…even when I feel bad and like I want to crawl outside of my skin. I know that ultimately, balance will be restored because that’s just who I am. I got good news today that was a bright spot…I actually still get a bonus. It’s a few K shorter than normal but in today’s economy, that’s awesome and I’m grateful. Got an “A” on my annual evaluation and have lots of plans for the next year to get me busy. I also just published two books and hard-launched my website…http://www.mysticfyre.net. I’ll certainly have more time for some side work and work that I love, helping people, so it’ll all be good. This too, no matter how difficult it seems, shall pass and life is still beautiful and amazing, the sky is still a beautiful cerulean blue, the sea breeze is still a comfort, and I’ve got lots of people in this world who love me. The cool part about all of it is after all the crazy stuff I’ve been through, I still love me and that’s how I know this will turn out just fine even though I don’t feel so hot right now. I realize I’m on change overload and ultimately it will be good and I’ll adjust. Wow, with kids moving out quicker than I expected, I may get to go back to school…take that journalism class I wanted to take, the psychology classes I wanted to take and well, start to focus on my impending move.

So, my thought for the day is this...I’m sort of having a really bad day today but even though I don’t feel good emotionally or physically right now, I fully realize this is just a normal response to life stress and I will adjust. I’m also still quitting smoking. That’ll make things seem worse but who knows…maybe the nicotine I’m ingesting now is making this all seem worse than it is now. I’m in for a rough couple days starting the day after tomorrow but, maybe I might actually be over the worst of it before my boyfriend gets home next week. That’d be a great surprise. I’ll bet he thinks I can’t do it…well, I can, and I will because I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I allow my addiction to be right now. I’m also a lot stronger than all of this change going on. I’ll get through it one feeling or maybe one tear at a time and I know I’ll feel better a little at a time. So, whatever you’re dealing with or feeling, realize you can get through it one moment at a time, you can still find silver linings and appreciate the sun. My prescription for myself for the next few days is to notice as much beauty in my surroundings as I can. That will generate some positive happy feelings to combat the ones I’m struggling with. You should try it…even if it feels like your heart isn’t in it. Peace to you and to me my friends!!!! LOL

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Peculiar Part of the Journey

Something is churning at the core of my soul and it doesn’t feel good. It feels like a painful lesson beginning to emerge or, maybe, it’s just a strong dose of hormones. I’m not sure which but I know I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I’ve had feelings like this before, sometimes preceding some of life’s tougher lessons. I’m feeling like I’m in freefall just now…you know what I mean…it’s that space between the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another…before you can fully see the newly emerging patterns of learnings. I think that what I’m starting to see sends a few frightening thoughts spiraling outwards and it’s hard to articulate. It’s sort of a feeling that all of my weakest parts are being pulled outside of me in the daylight for not only me to take a look at but everyone close to me as well.

It’s alarming but I know such things are necessary. If all your weakest parts are exposed, what is left? There isn’t anything left to fear. It’s sort of a “well, there it is…what can you do? What can I do? What am I gonna do?” There is no hiding when you are exposed. You can tuck your tail between your legs and run away where no one knows you and you can beat the exposure in that manner. Or, you can stay put…stand tall even when you might feel weak and stupid in some areas. I guess that’s where I’m at right now. I’ve made decisions that probably weren’t the best but they were mine to make and I made them the only way I felt I could at the time. Wrong or right doesn’t really matter today…let the cards fall where they will…nothing I can think or do or say can change where I’ve been, the path I took to get to where I am today or the resulting scars I feel still very strongly in my own heart. But, that pain doesn’t bring me fear any more. It lets me know I’m alive, that I’m human…very human, quite fallible, imperfect and bound to make many more mistakes along the way. As much as that thought is alarming to me, I cannot be perfect and I cannot be anyone other than who I am.

Some days I wonder who that is? Some days I feel smart and I make great decisions and other days, I seem to lose my head and make bad decisions I’m just not proud of. The one thing I notice though is that I will beat myself up for the mistakes I’ve made five times as much as I congratulate myself for all of the good things that I’ve done. I’m my own worse enemy most days and I’m not 100% certain that will ever change…maybe some day I’ll learn to tolerate my own judgment of myself, brush it off, quell that voice that drives me too hard towards an unachievable goal of perfection. It’s a ridiculous and impossible goal to do everything perfect, to be perfect and without fault. So I wonder about the way I feel today. I feel raw, emotional and like I’m struggling to keep one step ahead of a bout with the blues. It’s got to be hormones as my problems and worries are really so few at the moment. Perhaps its time to go back and take my own advice…don’t become alarmed at such feelings, make no attempt to resist or over-analyze such feelings…just feel them, acknowledge them…know they are there for a purpose and will soon pass to be replaced, as usual, with complete emotional stability which follows such bouts. You walk through miles of the dark sometimes to find the light but it’s always there just waiting for you to take the steps necessary to lead you there. This I know is true and a fact, at least it is based on my experience.

I just feel peculiar today and wow, hmmm, that’s really a good word to describe it. I feel neither bad nor good just peculiar. Yes, that’s it. I like the description…it doesn’t imply a wrong-ness or a right-ness to anything, just something notably different. That, I can be okay with and that I can just roll with until whatever is trying to get my attention becomes more a part of my awareness. I do realize as I type this that part of this feeling has to do with an aspect of my consciousness, my emotions that are not dwelling in the present…they are quickly washing over the past and thinking of an immediate future where a separation will bring some uneasiness, a yearning and well, I guess that’s really all there is to it. I’m sad when I think about that but I realize it’s just another step in a journey I’m on and that step will lead to another and yet another as the whole thing unfolds. There is a fear underlying it all that comes from a long ways away and it’s silly and really irrelevant so I’ll have no choice but to let it go, send it packing, banished to that place that I stowed away other childish things. As I said, I won’t let this ruin my day. I felt like crying when I started to write this piece today and now, just mere minutes later and I’m smiling even if still feeling quite subdued. I didn’t pick any easy journey this time but it is one that called out to me so I had to take it. It will be worth it in the end as I sense so much growth potential here. It’ll all be well, I know it…that’s just the way it is with me…the curiosity, the discovery, the struggle, overcoming fear and hurdles, success and then rest. Common themes in my journeys it seems. Ah well, enough of that.

My thought for today is, tackle emotions head on. When you’re feeling fearful and wanting to run away and hide…stop right there and try to understand why…when the ego is exposed it becomes very fearful but it’s only through that exposure that you become more refined, more whole and content. You can do it now or put it off and pick it up again later but why wait…why not engage in the inevitable and see what you have to learn from the experience. That’s where my thoughts are today…riding the waves again, staying afloat again, enjoying this feeling of nebulous drifting again trying to trust my innate ability to tread the water of my own emotions successfully, as always.

Blessings to you on your journey.