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2016

~~She finds peace in the little things, lives within her means, and defines her own happy.~~  unknown

 

Just a quick post to say please learn how to define your own happy!!  Learn how to find your peace.  Maybe it is in watching the sunrise, maybe it is in your daily meditation, maybe it is in spreading some joy and sunshine.  But it is there, patiently waiting for you!  And when you find that peace, that inner happy....you will realize how very precious life is.  So you will guard your quit with everything you've got because you will no longer entertain the notion of killing yourself by smoking.

Living within your means has nothing to do with money, by the way, and everything to do with letting go of the things that no longer serve you or make you happy while surrounding yourself with those little things that bring you peace and joy.  It really is the only way to truly live.

I can promise you that you will never, ever regret quitting smoking if you hold on to that precious quit with everything you've got.  Nurture it, protect it, and learn to love it as you love it in the rest of us.  Quitting is filled with joy and hope and faith that it gets better.  Quitting is steeped in the knowledge that it does get better, you get better, and the world springs to life once your addiction no longer rules your time.

Much love to my friends here.  Thank you for your words of wisdom, your support, and your unfailing faith in me.  Still smoke free no matter what!!

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Danger Zones

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 24, 2016

Just a quick note to let you know that I will be away from EX for a while.  My life has gotten a bit messy for me and I need to do some adjusting to the changes.  While I have not thought about smoking through these events and situations, I have noticed that I am reverting to some bad habits such as drinking coffee to stay alert, not sleeping well, and feeling, well, icky and out of sorts.

My quit...1177 days of it...is precious to me.  Falling back on poor coping skills can lead to disaster if I'm not careful.  So I am focusing on finding my balance and letting go of things I can't control, no matter how painful that may be. 

I am still enjoying my yoga, walking, my son, and my friends.  I still love my life.  The stress and chaos come from other areas.  It will work out.  I will work it out but I need to stay focused and alert.

No, I don't want to smoke.  But its very easy to forget that we didn't start out by being addicted. We smoked for other reasons and addiction grew from that.  I am not going to forget that.  I am committed to my quit and also committed to living a life free from whatever would drag me back down.

Not closing my account.  Not being difficult.  And not finding this site to be anything but warm and wonderful :)  Just need to find my balance and adjust to the changes happening in my world. 

May your find joy in your day and peace in your world,

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

I See You

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 22, 2016

~~I see you.  I see your strength and courage, your hesitations and fears.  I see the way you love others, and I see your struggle to love yourself.  I see how hard to you work to grow, and your dedication to heal.  I see your vulnerable humanity, and I your transcendent divinity. I see you, and I love what I see.~~  Scott Stabile

Sometimes, even when your own world is a bit off kilter, you need to extend yourself so that others may still know how valuable they are.  Sometimes you can best protect your bruised self by helping others heal.  Sometimes you can rise from the destruction around you so that others may bring out their own warrior spirit.

I see you all here.  Some struggling, some striving for better, some confident, some battling personal demons.  But I see you all....here.  Each one of you who signs into EX does so for the comfort, peace, support, knowledge, and heart that is here.  Many who simply give pieces of themselves with each word they write and each quitter they support, others who desparately need to know they are alive when their way is dark and lonely.

So I come here today and most days to let you know I see you.  I may see your hesitations and fears but they reflect my own in a different space and time.  I may see your struggle to love yourself but it reflects my own struggles throughout the years.  I see your dedication to heal and I know exactly how that feels.

I see you, I was you, and I continue my journey with the reflections of emotions, thoughts, behaviors that may also be your own.  We are totally different yet the same in our desire to truly live rather than observe others living.  So I come here today to tell you that you are not alone.  You are not unique to the struggles to heal, to forgive, to fear, to live.  I know.  Many others here know.  And you are perfectly ok just exactly how you are. 

I hope that one day you will see you as I do.  The courage, the strength.  The grace, the beauty.  The wisdom, the joy.  They are you, my friend, in all your glory.  I truly see you.  And one day when the healing has strengthened you and your growth has given you insight, you will be able to see all that I do.  And you will come here to let another know.....

I see you.

~~You can't relate to a superhero, to a superman, but you can identify to a real man who in times of crisis draws forth some extraordinary quality from within himself and triumphs but only after a struggle.~~ Timothy Dalton

So you found the EX site and you are thrilled to meet others who know how you feel!  You read blogs and make friends and....you are depressed.  And you are confused.  And you don't know what in the world is wrong with you because everyone seems happy and strong and courageous and...you don't.

You keep getting these feelings of loss and emptiness and old hurts keep popping up and everything is topsy-turvy.  You don't seem to 'get it' and the more everyone else does, the more you don't.  You rehash the pain of losing someone you love....you feel not just lonely but entirely alone.  Yet you hesitate to really spill your guts because it will be out there for the world to see.

You don't get it.  Everyone is happy with their quit....and then there's you.  Everyone understands how to ease craves...and then there's you.  Everyone looks to the future and is content with their days....and then there's you.

It's during these darkest times that you want to give up.  You want to give in because how can you go on when noone else has the difficulties that you seem to be facing.  All you see are superheroes here and you feel locked into the role of a helpless victim who needs to be saved from your addiction.

Can I gently point out that you don't have to believe everything you think?  Can I softly suggest that you remember we all came from that place of darkness and we know, really know, how you are feeling.  And can I sweetly remind you that you are so much more than these lost and lonely feelings are allowing you to believe?

It's all true.  The power in your quit is almost ready to spring forth in all it's amazing glory!!  The joy in your quit is getting ready to take you by surprise almost like those craves have been doing the past couple of weeks.  In fact you, my friend, are about ready to blossom into the unique, expressive, remarkable human being that you were born to be!!

Don't believe me?  Or maybe you are hoping for something like this but aren't sure it will happen for you?

I can tell you with complete and utter confidence that if you keep your quit no matter what, you will move from negative to positive.  Kind of like breaking free from chains.  You will be one of the ones who sings about the joys of quitting!  You will be one of the ones who says with complete confidence that quitting is the best thing you can do for you!  You will be one of the ones that a new quitter will want to be like.

Its just a matter of time.  Give yourself that gift.  Its also a matter of not believing everything you think because the addiction is still active in your brain.  Again, give yourself the gift of time.  Finally, know that no quitter magically appeared with 1000 days.  We all had to give ourselves the gift of time.  We felt what you feel and we worked through the emotions you are working through.

We did it....and then there's you.  You can do it, too.  I have complete and utter confidence in your ability.

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Finding Crowns

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 20, 2016

~~My dentist told me I needed a crown, and I'm like "I know, right?!!"~~ Unknown

So when was the last time you laughed?  When was the last time you felt joy in your heart and lightness in your step?  It's so easy to sink into the blahs, especially when you quit smoking and feel like nothing is quite right in your world anymore.

So please pay attention to how you feel.  If everything seems to be dark, dreary, and flat, it's time to shake it off and search for a release.  Now, you may not be a chuckle kind of person.  You may not be a belly laugh kind of person.  But that doesn't mean you can't find a way to feel some positive emotions!  Watch a sit-com, share memories with a friend, listen to happy music, google "silly quotes", or just watch a child as they always find fascinating things to do :)

Being happy isn't just for others and finding some delight in your quit isn't just for elders and feeling a lift in your spirits isn't just for Pollyanas.  We all need laughter and joy and happiness as much as we need air and water and sunshine. 

So rather than watch others have fun, why don't you take the plunge?  Let go, let loose, and let life take you on a getaway!!  Grab your spouse or your best friend or your grandchild...or go it alone!...and get silly.  Giggle.  Be outrageous.  Dance.  Laugh.  Prank. 

And enjoy.  Really, really have moments of sheer enjoyment.  Your brain needs it.  Your body needs it.  And your heart needs it.  Fun, enthusiasm, excitement...all things that will bring a smile to your lips and happiness to your soul and energy to your life. 

I myself am off to find that crown......

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The Adventure

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 19, 2016

~~We are each gifted in a unique and important wway.  It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.~~ Mary Dunbar

Hey, did anyone tell you that you do not have to sit on the edge of your sit, white-knuckled and tense, waiting on the next craving to hit you?  And you do not have to crawl into a ball, emptying your mind and sucking your thumb until you are out of NML.  You don't even have to eat your weight in junk food trying to convince yourself you don't need a cigarette.

You know why?  Because you were made for much, much more than that, my friend.  While you are in the early stages of your quit, it is an excellent time to discover....or re-discover....your own special light!!  If that is too vague and fru-fru for you, let me restate in clearer terms.

You have gifts.  You have talents.  You have traits and spirit and character that is uniquely yours.  Whether you are a graceful dancer or a brilliant bean counter or a kindhearted volunteer, the point is "You Are".  You are here on earth.  The world needs your kind of specialness.  And you were born to shine that marvelous, special light.

So rather agonize over the early days of your baby quit, find ways to nurture it while finding ways to nurture yourself as well.  Are you impatient?  Calm?  A multitasker?  An introvert?  Shy?  Explosive? 

However you are, take the time to get to know yourself.  Find the true you....and discover that inner sparkle.  The unique personality.  The genius.  The core. 

It should be your privilege to discover your own special light. It should be a delight.  It should be an adventure.  Don't let your quit drag you down into the shadows...let your light bring you into the world.  It is waiting for you.

Have a blessed week-end, all!!

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The Gift

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 19, 2016

~~Life is not a race, it is a gift.  Enjoy it, don't rush through it.~~  Unknown

Just a simple reminder today.  Every time you think you want to quickly wrack up those smoke free days....every time you want the early days of your quit to go away.....every time you wonder why the days are dragging by....there will also come a time when you wish you had more time.

Enjoy every moment of your life.  It's a gift.

~~She paused to think back on how far she'd come and smiled at the persistence, ingenuity, and sheer will it had taken.  She decided to think of herself as "she who could not be defeated".  Queenism

Today is my son's 14 birthday!!  Much celebrating in our household and a pizza party tonight after band practice.  And I am here today smiling because I am with him, looking forward to seeing his face when he opens his gifts.  I am alive and...thank the good Lord....healthy and free to be with my boy!! 

Part of this, of course, is God's will.  Part of it, I'm thinking, is my decision to quit smoking.  I am healthier, I am so happy that I continue to make healthier choices (yoga, walking, water, eating right, relaxation techniques) because I want to be a part of Jake's life for many, many more years.  And if for some reason I am not, it will not be because I chose smoking over my son.

So I am happy.  Very content.  And wishing you all the same realization that life is too important and too much fun to waste it puffing away in a lonesome corner somewhere.  Sure you may have cravings, sure you may have struggles.....but when you quit there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark that tunnel is.  And as long as you keep your quit and move forward, that light will lead you to a life free of nicotine and full of goodness.

That's all for today.  I'm just happy and it's my boy's birthday and I'm glad I'm alive to help him celebrate :)

Sheri

~~A goal without a plan is just a wish.~~  Unknown

The Ex site is designed, developed, and created to help you quit smoking.  The goal is to give you the tools you need to be successful.  And I believe that this is what everyone else wants for you as well.  I know I do.  Every word I write is passionately connected to my hope that you quit smoking.

But my words are from me only.  I usually do not say "we" when I offer assistance because I don't speak for everyone here, I wouldn't presume to do that.  I respect others enough to let them speak for themselves.  My ideas or thoughts are just mine; good, bad, or misdirected :)

There aren't many rules or guidelines here that aren't on other sites as well.  I'm sure things like "no profanity", "no politics" and things like that hold true here but I am not sure as I don't talk politics and don't cuss often.  I don't believe anyone here is obligated to comment on the posts of others, to pay it forward in any way, or to take the focus of your own quit in order to focus on someone else.  You can, of course!!  But for those lurkers, those reluctant "I don't have much to say" quitters, or those who choose to remain silent, you can be!  Silent, I mean :)  Please don't feel like you have to "do" anything here.  Again, this site is giving you tools for your quit.  What you do here is totally  up to you.

Some folks post blogs 2 orr 3 or 10 times a day.  Totally cool!!  Some never post one.  Totally cool!!  Some make friends.  Others are friends.  Some stay to help.  Others leave when they have solid quits.  This site is definitely diversified. You are allowed the freedom to take what you need and leave the rest.  And that truly makes a difference.

The goal is for you to gain knowledge, gather support, and understand addiction so that you can apply all that to your quit.  So relax.  Press buttons.  Lurk.  Read.  Snoop on people's pages.  Look at the different tabs.  And soak it all in!!  And then stop wishing you can quit....because a dream with a plan is a goal.  And we are here to help you reach you goal.  That's what this site is all about.  You.

~~I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.~~ Maya Angelou

I wish we had a wall of honor here.....or an ongoing blog kinda like the Freedom Train to recognize every hero here on our site.  Because one right word can save a quit.  One caring suggestion can ease the quit journey.  One gentle hug can change a life.

And I see it so much here!!  I see Jackie not only growing in her quit but offering wisdom and knowledge to others.  I see Marilyn's humor and daily posts bring out the best in others.  I see Giulia and Dale and Thomas ceaselessly encourage, support, and hold up endless quitters.  I see Nancy and Wendy and Terrie  and Nikki and so many others offer shoulders and hands and ears.  And Tommy and RickM who steady those shaky quits over and over again.

No, they are not here for kudos or applause.  They don't need the recognition.  But they matter.  Just as much as the new quitters matter.  Just as much as the NMLers matter.  Just as much as those who flit in and out matter.  I wouldn't just call them elders....that is a number behind a name. 

I call them heroes.  They are steady and strong and confident.  They are knowledgeable and kind and no nonsense.  They are the backbone of this site and the warriors who stand in front of the new quits, forging the way.  Their grace, their fortitude, their never-ending patience bring peace, calmness, understanding to all.  They add value to us, this site, and the world. 

I know I've written about this before but it's been on my mind.  So, I was just thinking that they needed something special...like a place we could thank them or honor them or jsut remind them that they matter.

~~You don't ever have to feel guilty about sharing your feelings.  It isn't desparate, pathetic, or weak.  It's self-care and there is nothing shameful about taking care of yourself by unloading some of the pain you carry.  Your feelings are important and they matter--you matter--and if you are hurting, you are allowed to reach out.  You're allowed to be honest and use your voice.  You're allowed to take up space and talk about what you're feeling.  You deserve to make self-care a priority.  Always.~~ Daniell Koepke

If it comes down to sharing your pain or losing your quit?  Don't even hesitate!!  Let it out to someone.  You can come here, of course.  Great site to gain support and empathy.  But if you don't want to let it out here, do you have someone you can talk to?

Many of us....myself included...often just "suck it up" and move on with life.  And that's not always a bad thing.  It helps move you past little annoyances, petty differences, and stress.

But when your heart is truly hurting....when you feel battered and bruised and deep in the gut pain?  Oh, my friend, you need a friend.  You need someone to listen.  To nod.  To hold your hand.  You need someone to hug you.  To brush your tears away.  To simply say ,"I'm sorry you're hurting."

Don't, for gosh sake, don't hold it in.  Don't turn to old vices because you want to hurt yourself or you don't think it matters or you don't think you matter.  Do NOT give up!!  There is someone willing...someone who wants....to brush away your tears.  They are there, truly.  You just have to be willing to say, "I need to talk".  Or even "I don't know what to do".  Or "I hurt".

Because when you think clearly once again, and you will!, you will know that you are more important than any vice you used to have.  You are worth more than a cigarette.  And this, too, will pass.  Because everything does.  And you may have scars and you may feel wrung out and you may be shaky, but you will see things clearly again.

So talk.  Allow those close to you to be your support, just as you have been theirs.  Allow people to hold you up just as you have held up others.  Allow people to listen just as you have listened. 

Because your feelings matter.  Because it will help heal you.  Because you matter.

Big, gentle hugs to all, Sheri

~~The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.~~ Oprah Winfrey

I love a good adventure!!  They keep me motivated, energized, and challenged.  And, let's face it, they're fun!!  Who knows what will happen?!  Anticipation is a delightful feeling!

Of course quitting is an adventure!!  It's thrilling and scary and exciting...all the things that make adventure fun!!  If you only had reluctance, depression, and fear to go on, quitting would become quite a.....chore!!  Who would do that to themselves????

You need something to look forward to, right?  Something to keep you motivated.  Something to get excited about.

And quitting can be that!  You are allowing your body to heal.  Not enough?  You are going to smell FANTASTIC!!  Still not enough?  You will save tons of money and I mean TONS!!  Ok, maybe just a lot of it, but still....wow!!  Money!!  You will gain confidence, you will look prettier, you will feel like you truly are a victorious warrior.

So when you are worried about your quit and you are reluctant to take that final step and you are afraid of what might happen, don't forget to weave in all the things that make adventures great!  The joys of being even a day smoke free.  The excitement of being brave.  The anticipation of a quit that will only get better.  Because all these things are also true when you quit.

Every moment you don't smoke is minutes you gain in life.  To hug your child, to thank your parents, to fall in love.  To really live the way you were meant to live.  With passion.  With joy.  And with freedom.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Getting Real

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 14, 2016

~~Say what's real. Do what's right.~~  Unknown

I have a friend here who is quitting.  So excited for her!!  I want her to succeed just as I want all quitters to succeed.  Maybe too much.  My therapist friend tells me all the time to not work harder than the person who is supposed to be doing the work.

Interesting, huh?  She went on to explain that when she gives 150% to a client and they only give 30%, she is 120% more invested in their recovery than they are and that is not good for either one of them.

I took her advice at work.

But do I do that here?   I am trying to keep it real in this post,  so I have to say no, I don't.  While I may be supportive, I don't know that I truly listen and help quitters work their quits.  And am I brutally honest?  Nah.  So, here it goes.....

  Quitting is a journey that mimics life...it has ups and downs, good and bad.  But if you continue your quitting journey, you will find as time goes on that it gets easier, better, and more natural to not smoke. 

But expecting immediate results just because you decide you have quit is setting yourself up for failure.  You will not feel better immediately.  But you will be healing whether you feel the results or not.  Your body is frantically working to repair the damage that smoking has caused.  Give it time!!  Your body is a remarkable miracle that knows how to heal itself but it needs the time to do it.  When you smoke after quitting, you not only face day one again of a quit, your body has to start all over as well.  Know this and acknowledge it!! 

If you decide to smoke after a quit, you are putting your body through hell all over again.  It gets tired.  It gets ill.  It cannot forever repair the damage that smoking does.  Be aware and stop NOT thinking of it.  When you puff, understand that you are the one damaging your body's ability to repair itself.

You cannot "slip" when you quit. If you smoke, you are making an adult decision.  Acknowledge it as such.  No "oops!" moment.  You made a conscious choice so be adult enough to admit it.  The more you make conscious choices, you see, the less likely it will be that you make poor ones.

Put more into your quit than anyone else puts into it.  It's yours.  Nurture it, cherish it, and for goodness sake, learn to love it!!  What a wonderful gift you have given yourself, even when it feels like a curse.  Your emotions are rising from the smoke induced grave....they may be uncomfortable to you, but give yourself time to get used to them :)

All in all, quitting is the highest high and the lowest low you can get.  As you recover, you will feel every emotion under the sun and the strength and intensity of these emotions can scare the bejeezes out of you.  But the world becomes a much brighter place and you become a much better person. 

Be real with yourself and do what's right.  Give it 150% because it's yours and you deserve the best :)

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Happy You Day!

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 14, 2016

~~Be kind today...to yourself, remember to be a good friend to yourself, accept that you're doing your best, love your perfect imperfections, be mindful of what you need and give it to yourself, and surround yourself with people who honor, love, and cherish you for who you are.~~ Ian Lawton

Try it just for today.  Be nice to yourself.  Look in the mirror and like what you see.  Have that extra five minutes on the back porch with a cup of coffee.  Splurge and get that manicure.  Linger on the couch watching your favorite movie.

Because it's time to take good care of you.  It's time to really stop the worrying....stop the stress....stop the what-ifs and the if-onlys and feel good about you. 

Be silly.  Dance.  Crank up the music and sing.  Plant a garden.  Bake some cookies.  Take a walk.  Spend time with your very, very best friend.....you.

Make today the day you forgive yourself for past mistakes.  Make today the day you heal your heart by forgiving others.  Make today the day you promise yourself to spend time each day to make sure you have what you need.  Because you are just as important as your children, as your spouse, as your employer, as your parents....as everyone else you give your time and attention to. 

So take some time today.  Just for you.  And do whatever it is you like to do.  Indulge yourself.  Pamper yourself.  Be naughty and have that cupcake with sprinkles.  Be silly and hand out balloons to strangers.  Read that good book.  Dance down the aisle 8 at WalMart. 

And don't forget to pat yourself on the back.  You've quit smoking.  Not just thought about it.  Not just wanted it.  Not just dabbled in it.  You've quit!!  So whether you are struggling a bit, whether you are newly quit, whether it feels awful and shaky....by gosh you've done it!!  Enjoy, celebrate that simply fact!!  You have done it.

Let today be about you, my friend.  Let this be the first day of many that you celebrate you!  It doesn't take money, it doesn't take others, it doesn't take effort....it takes you being willing to focus on all those marvelous things that bring a smile to your face. 

Happy "You" Day!!

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

You Have You

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 13, 2016

~~The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.~~Neil Gaiman

Sometimes I forget that.  My story, my voice, my vision.  I get so caught up in the moments that I don't pay attention to how I am feeling.  I even push my feelings aside to assist someone else feel better about themselves.

When I do this, it is a sudden and often harsh jolt back to reality!!  I get an attitude seemingly out of nowhere.  Or I feel crushed under the weight of the world.  Or I just start dragging to the point I wonder where I went wrong.

But if I paid attention, I would know.  So it takes me taking a little of alone time and rehashing the events of my day.  Because I know myself well enough to know when I slow down and focus, I will find the root of my behaviors.  My less than me behaviors. 

So life has handed me a few changes that I have refused to really deal with this past week.  I've buried myself in work and kids and school starting and paying bills simply so I didn't have to deal with the root of my behaviors.

But not once did I think of smoking.  Not once did the ugly addiction tease or tantalize.  Not because I am better at quitting than anyone, but because I don't do that anymore.  I've replaced those thoughts with so many other ones that my other ones still drown out any thoughts of lighting up.

Life is life.  But you can get handed some life-changing situations.  You can get thrown into the fire.  It is unavoidable.  Know yourself well enough to figure out how you are feeling, what you have to do, and how you can get through.  Don't entertain smoking thoughts because we don't do that anymore. 

Mainly, I like me.  I don't, however, like how I behave when I don't pay attention to my needs.  So I apologize if I show attitude here.  I apologize if I hurt feelings here.  I will pay better attention :)

Happy Saturday, all!

Sheri

~~It's not what you know, it's what you do with what you know.~~ Unknown

Isn't that the truth?!!  We all know how to quit smoking.  Just don't smoke.  Don't buy them.  Don't bum them.  Don't smoke.

So what's the problem? Just don't smoke.

Maybe it's simply that it's an addiction?  But we know that people recover from addictions all the time.  Again, it's not what you know, it's what you do with what you know.

So we know not to smoke and we know that we can recover from this addiction.  So what's the problem?

Maybe it's that we are the problem?  Maybe we don't have faith in our own abilities?  Maybe we don't believe in ourselves?  Maybe, just maybe, we would rather feel bad smoking than feel bad quitting?

Maybe, when we quit, we don't totally close the smoking door.  "If I fail, I'll just be smoking again and I can start another time."

You know.  You know it's time to quit.  You know you can recover.  Step forward.

Believe you can.  Have faith in yourself.  Stop feeling bad.  Quitting is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.  Yes, it will be uncomfortable.  But then it won't.  Then you will have freedom.  Then you will feel better than you have ever felt as a smoker.

I believe you can.  I have faith that you will.  And I sincerely hope that you decide to take action....because it's not what you know, it's what you do with what you know.

Sheri

~~Trust yourself.  Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.~~ Golda Meir

So you want to quit smoking.  Maybe you've even quit already but you find yourself floundering and lost in a sea of mixed emotions and overwhelming changes in your life. 

Trust yourself.  You can do this!  The more knowledge you have and support you gather around you, the more confident you will feel.

So, make a check list!!  Do you have a list of things you can do instead of smoke when those craves hit?  Do you have bubbles in your car, butterscotches in your pocket, and water in your fridge?  Do you have at least three friends or family members who will talk you through?  Do you have cleaning supplies for those times you just have to keep busy?  How about a money jar for all that dough you will be saving?

Most of all, do you have belief in yourself?  Do you have those tiny inner sparks of possibility that you can flame into achievement?  Self-talk is so vital at this time.  Even before you actually quit. 

"I can do this!"  "I deserve to be smoke free"  "No one ever died quitting"  "I would rather be a quitter who wants a cigarette than a smoker who wants to quit" 

Put post its up all over your house!  Tell your support system what you need to hear so they can remind you!  And always, always love yourself enough to do the right thing for you.  Hold on to your inner tiny sparks, my friends.  They will keep you pointed in the right direction!

May you love yourself enough to hold onto your precious quit.  May you love yourself enough to make the decision to quit and honor that commitment.  Honor yourself. Trust yourself.  Anyone can quit smoking.

Sheri

~~Great men and women are not extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.   They are ordinary people who do ordinary things with integrity.~~Jacye O'Neal

And so we have a lot of great men and women here on the EX site!  People who pour their hearts and souls into your quits.  Heart and soul into supporting you, informing you, educating you, and encouraging you.  And they do so with so much integrity and grace. 

Even when they are ignored.  Even when they are challenged.  Even when misunderstood. 

Anyone who quits smoking and maintains their quits for as long as many have here should be respected regardless of whether or not you agree with their viewpoints.  It's hard to quit, right?  So why would you not respect someone who has 1000+ days?

If you are anywhere in your quit...2 days, 20 days, 200 days, 2000 days....I respect you in your quit.  But if someone with 1000 days....2000 days....3000 days...offers me a suggestion or a piece of advice, I take it seriously.  They know what they are talking about.

So the next time you decide to ignore a post from someone who is here ONLY to help your quit, pause for a moment.  Respect them enough to read what they have written. And after you have read it, let it sink in!!  Don't read to make friends, read to learn.  Don't read to be social, read to understand. 

I don't call those with long quits elders.  I call them wise.  I call them heroes.  I call them warriors.  Because they are still here every day, beside you in your struggles, in front of you when you are weak, on the sidelines to cheer you on. 

Your quit is all about you.  So be selfish enough to focus on your quit and what you need to do to maintain it.  However, this site is about warriors and heroes and wisdom as well, all here to help you focus on your quit.  So take time to read, to learn, to listen.  Take time to learn from the best of the best.  Because they are here on EX hoping that you read, you learn, and you listen. 

Big hugs to those heroes!!  Those warriors!!  I so learned from you and I so listened....it just took awhile :)

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Whoever You Are

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 10, 2016

~~Tired of trying to cram her sparkly star-shaped self into society's beige square holes, she chose to embrace her ridiculous awesomeness and shine like the freaking supernova she was meant to be.~~ Unknown

I try sometimes to seriously pass on quit wisdom here.  I know addiction.  I understand the meaning behind "honoring your quit".  I am super knowledgeable about  creating coping skills to ease triggers and cravings.

But if I were to be honest (and I strive to be as honest as I can), that's not my forte.  I much prefer to dance with life and encourage others to dance as well.  To delight in life so much that quitting is a joy instead of a dreaded event.  To spread kindness like confetti and to laugh daily. 

I wasn't always this way.  But you aren't here to hear my life story.  I am only saying this because you may find yourself embracing your ridiculous awesomeness as you quit smoking.  Really!  As we smoked, our true selves got suffocated.  Buried beneath the clouds of smoke.  We shrink as addicts.

Quitting set me free and quitting will do the same for you.  Now you may not dance through life.  You may not delight in listening to birds or singing in the shower or jumping on the bed.  But you will change.  You will grow.  And the true you will emerge from the smoke like a warrior after a battle.  Strong, proud, and brave.

I hope you have humor in your life.  I hope you have joy.  I hope you have honesty and love and goodness.  But if those aren't things that interest you, I hope you quit smoking and find yourself in the process, whoever you are.  Because you are so much more than a smoker. 

~~This is a call to arms.  A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself.  The next time you look in the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you're too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose is too big; just look in the mirror and see your face.  When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step in transforming your experience of  the world.~~ Oprah Winfrey

I just wanted to come here tonight to bring a little hope or a little peace or a little gentleness to those here who may need it.  When I have a rough day...maybe because of  hearing a child's heartbreaking story...maybe because of some personal issues....maybe because it's just that kind of day...I have this need to bring comfort to others who may have also had a rough day.

Over three years ago, I just would have smoked my pain away.  That's what my addiction did...it erased the world, it killed my emotions, and isolated me from both the good and the bad in the world.  Frankly, I would rather feel pain.  I would rather feel anger.  I would rather feel heartbreak.  To not feel is to not live and I want to live much more than I want to die.

So I come here tonight because I want to bring some peace, some quiet joy, some hope to you who struggled today.  I want to remind you to love yourself, to be gentle with yourself as you grow in your quit.  And know, really know, that you are ok simply the way you are.  You are not "too" anything.  You are perfect.

If you've had a bad day, just remember that a bad day does not equal a bad life. Give yourself a break.  Forgive yourself for not being kind enough to yourself.  And then be kind to yourself :)

Have a good evening, all.  Know you are all in my thoughts tonight. 

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Just Imagine

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 9, 2016

~~Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind.  The real you is loving, joyful, and free.  The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.~~ Miguel Angel Ruiz

Just imagine if you quit smoking and didn't have the option to fail. 

Just imagine if you quit smoking and understood that you weren't missing anything.

Just imagine if you quit smoking and your body started healing immediately.

Just imagine if you quit smoking and you were happy about it.

You don't have to imagine any of this, really, because it could all be your reality.  You have the ability to NOT fail.  Don't give yourself the option to smoke again.  You have the ability to understand that you aren't missing a thing by quitting because smoking doesn't change anything in your life for the better.  It's an addiction, not an answer.  Your body does start healing itself immediately when you quit smoking.  It's like a miracle in action as your body knows how to keep itself going even when we try to destroy it by smoking.  And happy about quitting?  You can be, you should be.  It's addict thinking to believe that quitting is a horrible punishment rather than life giving freedom.

You may not know it, but by quitting you are killing the addicted you and allowing the true you to fully take shape.  That you who believed that you couldn't do anything magnificent?  Gone!!  That you who felt no one cared?  Gone!!  That you whose heart was small and whose spirit was heavy?  Gone!!

The true you....that part of you who longs to enter the world whole and energized?  That true you who wants to spread beautiful wings and soar with the eagles?  That you who longs to sing and discover and enjoy life?  She(He) is there....waiting for you to walk away from your addiction.  Because the two yous cannot live together.  Addiction kills anything that doesn't keep it going.  And the true you won't settle for anything less than glorious.  Because, my friend, that's who you truly are!

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The Rule Book

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 8, 2016

~~Her realization that there was no right way or wrong way to live life set her free.  She tossed out her outdated rule book and finally began to live.~~  Queenism

So, when I was a smoker, everything I did revolved around it.  Sneaking out after a meeting, leaving the family dinner table, waking up in the morning and stumbling out to the back porch for my first.  It was a never-ending cycle of times to smoke, times to wait to smoke, times to buy cigarettes, etc.....

In my unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking, my addiction was still actively involved in my life.  "You can't quit,  Never have before" went through my mind, along with "I'm so afraid!"  and "Why is this so hard????!!"  I spent more time worrying about my quit, thinking about my quit, and trying to adjust my quit until smoking again was upmost in my mind.

Addiction is a horrible way to live.  So this time when I quit, I through out the rule book.  I decided it was only going to be as hard as I chose to make it.  I decided that I would be in charge rather than my addiction.  I decided that I didn't have to fail if I didn't want to....and I didn't want to.

You will be getting a bunch of advice here, new quitters.  Those in NML will also be getting tips and suggestions.  Because quitters know how to quit.  You, however, are the only one who knows what will work for you.  You get to chose how to quit.  You get to chose what you use instead.  You get to chose how you feel.

But the one thing you need to keep in my is that even though you quit smoking, the addictive thinking doesn't magically disappear.  The addictive behaviors don't just leave, either.  Pay attention!!  If you are getting not one ounce of pleasure from you quit, pay attention!!  If you are not secretly thrilled that you haven't smoked in 2 weeks, pay attention!!

Throw out the rule book you have in your head about quitting.  You may feel better in 3 days instead of 3 months.  You may need an NRT rather than do it cold turkey.  You may need to adjust your other medication.  You may need support from a cessation coach.  You need to know what will work best for you.

I read a quote that I am trying to paint "Freedom is about being so truly, madly, & deeply attached to your own soul that you can't bear-if only for a moment-a life that doesn't honor it." Andrea Balt 

Honor your soul by creating a quit that will work for you.....forever.  Honor your soul  by cherishing your body as well as your soul through quitting an addiction that is killing it.  Honor your soul through finding peace with your quit instead of the chaos caused by addiction. Mostly, honor your soul through truly living.

Sheri

~~Because sometimes people do actually feel that way.  Sometimes it feels like your life is caving in on you.  Sometimes people really do feel like they don't want to exist, like they just want to curl up in a ball and go into that place between life and death, saying "I don't want to exist" isn't saying "I want to die".  It's saying "I wish, for the time being, I could go somewhere and not have to feel".  I don't think there is anything wrong with that and if you don't know how it feels to feel this way then you have no place to judge anyone who does.~~  Unknown

I try to write something here on EX every day.  Not because I have 'successfully' quit, but because I know what it's like to fail.  Again and again I tried to quit over the years and again and again I didn't. 

I know what it's like to feel shame over an addiction that isolates and controls.  I know what it's like to feel alone and lost.  I know what it's like to feel everyone is quitting but me.

So I come here and write to let you know you're not alone.  You're not any different than me.  I'm not any different than you.  I simply had my "ah-ha!!" moment and managed to crawl out from under what was killing me....both physically and spiritually.

There is no magic formula for quitting or believe me, we ALL would be telling you what it is.  You can read hundreds of posts suggesting this or offering that but until you understand the meaning behind the words...they are just words that sound good.

You truly have to understand "I don't do that anymore" or "not one puff ever".  You have to feel the power behind the sentiments.   And you will.  Believe me, you will get this if you just don't give up!!

So I come here every day because I believe in you.  In your ability to quit, even if it takes 999 times.  I believe in your desire to live smoke free.  I believe in your courage and your strength and your wisdom.  Because I was you. 

Hang in there and don't give up...don't give up on your quit, don't give up on yourself.  Read, ask questions, form friendships and support, and look inside yourself.  Because that is where your quit lies.  Within you. 

Wishing you all the health, the goodness, the joy this day has to offer,

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Dive Right In

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 6, 2016

~~Decisions.  We can think about things, turn them over in our minds a million times, play out possible scenarios, but really when it comes down to it, you have to go with your heart and move forward.  Maybe things will turn out well.  Maybe they will turn out poorly.  Every decision brings with it some good, some bad, some lessons, and some luck.  The only thing that's for sure is that indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they'd  just had the courage to leap.~~ Unknown

If you have ever been swimming at a lake, you know the best way to swim is to dive right in.  Some people take an hour moving into the water little bit by little bit because it's cold.  Both ways work, of course, but if you dive right in, you warm up quickly and can play sooner.

Same way with a quit.  Sure you can think about it.  Toss ideas around.  Decide you need to research it more, plan more, study it more.  Or you can gather the tools you need and simply do it.  Both ways can work, of course, but by fathering your tools and doing it, you get the hard part over with quickly and can play more.

Do not be one of those "many people who wind up wishing they'd just had the courage to leap".  Do not wait until you develop COPD or lung cancer or gum disease or any of the other conditions that rob you of life.  Do not be the shadow in the corner, furiously puffing away while your heart continues to tell you it's time to quit.

Yes, it may be hard for a few days...a few weeks...a few months.  It really depends on your attitude, your willingness, and your commitment to your quit.  But even a few bad months is so much better than being given only a few months left to live. 

Addiction is an ugly thing but it is entirely up to you whether you continue it or break it.  It is not an excuse to continue to smoke.  Again it comes down to decisions.  And if you think about it too much, it gets bigger and bigger in your mind until you feel like you are moving a mountain instead of creating a life. 

The addict in you may be saying things like "Too hard!"  "You'll fail again!"  "You can't possibly do this!", but  addiction lies.  In your heart you know the truth.  You not only can do it, you need to do it.  For you. 

So have the courage to leap.  Don't hesitate, don't look back, and don't romance the addiction.  Do listen to your heart.  Do ask for support.  Do learn to love yourself enough to never look back. 

Sheri

~~Nature is the best medicine for serenity, peace, calmness, stillness.  It's good for the heart.~~ Unknown

I took a walk around the lake this morning.  It was about 4:45am, long before sunrise.  The stars were still shining, the air was cool, and nature was just beginning to wake up.  The peace was welcome, as I haven't quite been myself lately.  I don't think when I walk, I just am in the moment.  I hear the music of the early birds, the chirp of the crickets, and stirring of the ducks.  I smell the dew on the earth and the scent of jasmine, magnolias, and other flowers.  I see the twinking stars and shadows of clouds, trees, and well manicured bushes.

To me, there is nothing like the feeling of walking in nature.  The stillness, the quiet....the serenity.  I need that to nurture my soul and to heal my heart when I am sad.  To start my day right.  And when I come back home, I bring that peace into the house, into the lives of my children and grandchildren. 

It is one of the coping skills I identified when I quit smoking.  Now it is simply a gift I give to myself each day.

I hope you know what to do to calm your mind.  I hope you know what to do to bring yourself peace.  I hope you know how to find serenity when you need it.  Because all these things will help you keep your quit.   And when your quit is solid, these things will continue to bring you peace and calmness and serenity.

May your day be filled with quiet joy and serenity,

Sheri

~~She has a gypsy soul and a warrior spirit.  She made no apologies for her wild heart.  She left normal and regular to explore the outskirts of magical and extraordinary.   And she was glorious.~~ Michelle Rose Gilman

I left regular and normal when I quit smoking.  Because when you quit and you gain days and strength and confidence, you feel like you can do anything!  Your warrior spirit is strong!

And when you feel like you can do anything, you start seeing possiblities everywhere.  Possibilities for growth, for fun, for discovery.  Your gypsy soul is blossoming!

And when you quit and feel like you can do anything so you start seeing possibilities everywhere, you start to love life.  You love the flow, the sweetness, the lightness of life. 

You want to know something else?  Life will surely love you right back!   There will be comfort in the world when you're grieving.  There will be sunshine in the world when you need to smile.  There will be an electricity in the air that makes you feel like something wonderful is going to happen....very soon!

Life is magical and extraordinary....may life bless you with both!

Sheri

~~She motivates me to act better, lead better, and bring an open mind everywhere I go.....I think that deserves some serious recognition.~~  Ava Peabody

Ms. Ava Peabody was talking about an educator who motivated her during school.  Surprisingly, I am talking about an educator as well but also a hero, a comedian, a scholar, and a quitter.  BeeJay is a teacher now retired.  She is an amazing woman, an intelligent person, and a joy.

BeeJay is celebrating her three year quit anniversary.  She does so with quiet acceptance, grace, and ease.  You would picture this woman as a dignified beauty, maybe, but she is also a bundle of fun.  Witty, sarcastic, delightful.

I can't post her link as I still don't know how so if someone would kindly do that for me, I would appreciate it.  I can't post great images because I still don't know how.  BeeJay likes me anyway :)

Congratulations, my friend, on three smoke free years!!  They haven't been easy sometimes.  They haven't been fun other times, but you have made it work.  I am honored to be your friend, I am impressed by your ability to get through anything, and I am blessed to have you hold my hand as many times as you have.

So please, if you have time, celebrate with BeeJay!!  She is a joy!!  And three years is a great, great start :) 

Sheri

~~You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in.  You are what you take from these.  You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner.  You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life.  You are every single day.  So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence.~~  Unknown

Please know that I would not have written that last post if I didn't care about each and every one of you.  Maybe I didn't say it nicely...well, I know I didn't say it nicely....so I needed to be here for just a moment to tell you that I do care.

You are such a bright light in the world.  Each of you.  Uniquely brilliant, stunningly perfect in all your imperfections and flaws.  You are what you take from these.  And you are needed in this world to shine, to love, to live.  We need you.  Family needs you.  Strangers need you.  Even if it's just your smile....your hug....your touch.

What I didn't say in that post was that I don't want to lose you to an addiction.  We may not know each other, but I've read your thoughts, I've understood your story, I've felt your joys and pains.  So I don't want to lose you to an addiction.

You are so much more than that.  You are, as the quote says, the sound of the ocean and the breath of fresh air.  You are more precious than gold and more vast than the stars.

We can't always control what illnesses we contract or what goes on around us, but we can stop poisoning ourselves.  We can.  You can.

Thank you for the kind words and thoughts today.  I appreciate them more than I can say.  Have a good evening, all.

Sheri

I wasn't going to say anything.  Everyone loses people they love.  But the closer it gets to 5 pm, the closer it gets to the memorial I have to go to as I have to say goodbye to a dear, funny, kind friend.  And I don't want to go.  I dread it.  But I have to.

I have to comfort his family.  I have to support his wife.  I have to hold back the tears, knowing I won't.  And then when it's over, I have to erase all that as I rush to a band parent meeting at the high school.  So no tears, no sadness.  Just parenting a child who needs me.

Saying goodbye is hard enough.  Saying goodbye because he wouldn't stop smoking is devastating.  It's agonizing.  He would still be here if he would have stopped.

But he didn't.  He smoked when he was told he needed to stop for health reasons.  He smoked when he was on oxygen and he burnt his face.  He smoked before he died.

For all you who play at quitting, this is what your loved ones may have to look forward to.  For all you struggling to take that final step towards quitting, this is what your loved ones may write.  For all you teetering on the verge of relapse, this is what we may be saying about you.  Not pretty.  Not nice.  No positive vibes from me this afternoon.  Just anger.  And a deep, heartbreaking sorrow that he is gone. 

I hate this.  I dread this.  And it didn't have to be this way so I am angry and sad.  Don't let it happen to you.

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Walk Lightly

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 2, 2016

~~It's dark because you are trying too hard.  Learn to do everything lightly.    Just let things happen and lightly cope with them.  Throw away your baggage and go forward.  There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.  That why you must walk so lightly.~~Aldous Huxley, Island

Don't try so hard!!  There is no such thing as a 'perfect' quit.  No one I've ever known, heard of, or read about quit smoking and immediately forgot they ever smoked.  So what if you have a bad day?  You had them when you did smoke.  So what if you have a huge crave for a smoke?  It only means your brain it readjusting its neurotransmitters.  So what if you get angry....sad....stressed.....anxious?  All those things have been in your life before.

The only difference is that now you don't let your addiction win.  You don't smoke.  And isn't that a totally magnificent phrase?!!  You. Don't. Smoke.  There is absolutely nothing dark about that, is there?  Nothing negative.  Nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.

So walk lightly.  Notice how you feel but don't allow yourself to get stuck in any emotion.  Feel angry but don't wallow in the anger.  Feel sad but don't allow yourself to dwell in the sadness.  Because they will pass on their own unless you sit and refuse to move onward.

Everything you are doing by quitting is positive.  Your health will no longer be damaged by smoking.  Your finances will get better.  You will smell better.  You will be able to taste again.  You will have more time to enjoy your family, friends, life! 

So, again, walk lightly.  Don't take anything too seriously.  Allow yourself to be excited by your quit.  Allow yourself to feel thrilled by your journey.  Allow yourself to be curious about what's up ahead.  Allow yourself to see the possibilities. 

I hope you find joy in your quit!!

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Dear You

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 1, 2016

~~Dear Me,

I forgive you.  I forgive you for not knowing everything, for not being perfect, for stumbling, being afraid, making mistakes, choosing poorly, and not thinking you were worthy of happiness.

You were wrong.  You are more than worthy of your own affection.  I forgive you.

Love, Me  ~~

 

It's time to stop.  To stop beating yourself up for not quitting when you should have.  For being less than you wanted to be.  For feeling weak and weary and afraid.

Not just because you can't change the past.  But because you deserve peace.  You deserve to look ahead with hope rather than hold on to yesterday with regret.  You deserve all the love and kindness and joy that you refused to allow yourself to have while you smoked the days into a gray fog.

So let it go, my friend.  Release all the shame...the regret....the sadness of the past.  Accept that you can't change what was.  And know that whatever happened in your yesterdays, you still deserved happiness.  You still deserved love.  You still deserved life.  And if you refused all those things yesterday, make today the day you accept them.

Smoking took away so much from us.  And we can't change that.  But don't allow it to continue to take from you now that you are quit.  You are so much better than that.  You deserve so much better.

Happy Monday, all!!  May today be the day you start to feel peace.

Sheri