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All People > Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 > Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Blog > 2016 > September
2016

Can I be honest?  I am insecure.  It's part of who I am.  When I write, especially, because I don't know if I'm helping or just taking up space.  Comments or lack of comments don't bother me, it's not about that.  But it is about being able to guide someone through a newborn quit....offering wise support....and being a constant presence to ease their journey just a bit.

And so I wonder how best to help.  I have decided to stop posting here in the blogs.  Not by any means leaving EX.  I will be here.  Maybe commenting on posts, maybe....I just don't know right now.  All I do know is that I have wondered lately if I help or if I am just entertainment (and I don't mean that in a bad way).

I am insecure.  But aren't we all in some ways?  I have confidence in other areas of my life.  Writing makes me vulnerable in a way that I can't explain. 

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am not gone from EX, I'm just modifying my presence here :) My quit continues on, cherished and spoiled rotten.  Much love.

~~Life turns deliciously quirky when you stop resisting yourself and, instead, honor the intuition that tugs at you like a puppy on a leash in the park.  Follow the magic and the magic starts to follow you.~~ Tama J Kieves

Honor the intuition that tugs at you......aren't you doing that?  By finding this site, by knowing it's time to quit smoking, you are honoring your intuition.  Now you may not think that life is deliciously quirky at this time, but let me assure you....if you want quirky and fun and magic, it is there waiting for you. 

I teach religious education at church on Wednesday evenings to 5th graders.  I adore these kids every year and I feel at home and.....content....when I teach.  Doesn't matter how tired I am or how much is on my plate, I love teaching them.

I have a favorite antique place I go to called the One-Eared Rabbit in Florala, Alabama.  You can find them on FB.  I go there to get away...to shop....to dream.  It's another one of my feeling at home and comfort places.

I have so much in my life that I love!  Yoga, my 1k challenge (667 miles down!), my Jake, my family....

In other words, my life is deliciously quirky and unique.  It fits me, if that makes sense.  And I was able to create my life once my addiction no longer was able to create me.  I had the time, the money, the freedom to develop my interests.

So how about you?  What do you have in your life that you love?  What do you do?  Where do you go?  How do you develop your world filled with contentment?  Filled with freedom? 

Maybe....just maybe....if you concentrated on creating a world you love, you wouldn't be so stuck on what you think you are missing when you quit smoking?  Because I can promise you, you aren't missing a thing.  You just need to fill your life with what you love.  And that is fun. 

I would love to hear from you about your life...your world...your loves.  What are you filling your world with?

~~As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each of us really is, that each of us have something that no one else has--or ever will have--something inside that is unique to all time.  It is our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and provide ways of developing its expression.~~  Fred Rogers, The World According to Mr. Rogers

It's a lovely sentiment, isn't it?  At least I think so.  And it's what I like to do in life.  Sometimes I do it well and sometimes it falls terribly flat.  But that's ok.

What this quote doesn't quite say is that you have the right to reject my opinion that you are rare and valuable.  You have the right to say that I am wrong.  You have the right to totally dismiss anything I attempt to pull you into.

Including smoking.  I want you to see how much more life you'll have if you quit.  I want you to know life is truly beautiful without smoking.  I want you to know that of course you can quit!!! 

But you have the right to reject that.  And everytime you exercise your right to smoke, a little piece of my heart goes with tyou.  Because I know how much effort you will have to put into your next quit.  I know how secretly bad you feel about smoking after quitting.  I know that you wish for different even though you chose the same. 

You have that right.  But I will be here, over and over again, reminding you that you are rare and valuable.  Reminding you that you have sometime unique for all time and no one else in the world will ever be able to replace you.  So please think about that.  And know that I mean it.  It may be flowery words...dramatic effects....but it comes from a good place in my heart.  I want you to live.

But I can't quit for you and I respect your right to reject my words.  Your quit is entirely up to you and I hope you treat it as the precious gift it is rather than a punishment you hate.  But if you chose to smoke, I am not going to hate you or feel disappointed or offended.  It is not in my nature to hold you to standards I didn't always hold to either.  

Andy Warhol once said "When people are ready to, they change.  They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it.  You can't make them change if they don't want to, just like when they do want to, you can't stop them".  Sounds harsh but it is true.  We can give you the tools, but you have to chose to use them.

I would rather be flowery than harsh....but only because it helps me function in my sometimes ugly work world.  Either way, I care and I will continue to care whether you smoke or not. 

Just my thoughts for the day..... 

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

I Believe

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 19, 2016

~~I believe people of gentleness and faith can change the world one unseen, unsung, unrewarded kindness at a time.~~ Unknown

Sometimes listening to the story of our little victims of abuse can be so painful that it brings tears to my eyes.  The courage it takes to tell their stories to perfect strangers is stunning.  The atrocities inflicted on our children are completely horrifying.  So I came here...my little slice of heaven!...to find my balance and bring peace to my heart.

It didn't happen this way, of course.  Because sometimes life can be ugly, harsh, and cruel.  And it can take your breath away with the pain of loss, the devastating effects of addiction.  So in between the harshness of the world and the heartbreak of friends, darkness threatened.

But in that darkness, a light also shines.  Because I believe in people.  The goodness of people.  I hope.  I hope that cures are found and health can be restored.  I have faith.  I have faith that we can hold each other through our pain, that we can find comfort in the hearts of friends, that the world is still more good than bad.

There is purpose in each of us.  There is a reason why we are here.  And one kind word....one smile...one gentle hug...can change the course of someone's life. And everyone...absolutely everyone....deserves that chance to change the course of his/her life, especially when it comes to smoking.  No one wakes up and thinks "I think I'll be an addict today".  It is sneaky and evil and deceptive and eases in when our defenses are down and our thinking cloudy.  The trap snaps closed and we find ourselves sucking in smoke like we need it to survive. 

So when the world gets dark and the pain gets unbearable and I just don't want to go one step further, I stop.  I grieve and I rant and I hurt and I rail against the injustice and the unfairness and the ugliness.  But that light is there somewhere in my soul, keeping hope and faith and belief alive while I wallow in my darkness for a bit.  When I grow tired, the light grows enough to warm my heart and allow me to rest.

Tomorrow is another day. 

~~Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.~~  Albert Einstein

Just a quick reminder!!  We worry about weight...numbers!  We worry about our bank account...numbers!  We even worry about our smoke free days...numbers!

Every precious moment in life counts whether you can count it or not.  It shouldn't be as much about numbers as about moments.  Those heart melting times that make your glad your alive.  Hearing your grandbabies laughing.  A gentle hug from a loved one.  Watching the rain. 

Don't allow numbers to rule your world any more than you allow nicotine to rule it.  Simply enjoy it instead!!  Weight will come off when you're ready.  Bank accounts grow.  Smoke free days stack up.  Whether you pay attention to them or not.

But hearing "I love you".....seeing a sunrise....feeling his hand in yours....these are the things you should be paying attention to.  These are the things that will make your heart come alive and your world sparkle. 

A kind word from a friend.  Contentment of being home after a hard day at work.  Your mom.  Music.  Making memories.  Sundays. 

All the things that you can't find in a a bank account or on a scale or in a ledger.....all these things should count :)

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Beyond Wanting

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 18, 2016

~~Ask yourself honestly, who do you want to be and what are you willing to do to become that person?~~ Unknown

It's really easy to say that you want to quit smoking.  Or that you need to quit.  (We all need to quit!)  But sometimes that is as far as you go.  You don't think beyond that point so that when your quit day comes, you are a panicked, nervous, unprepared wreck.

So stop and really think hard.  What are you willing to do to become an ex?  Are you willing to go through the withdrawal process?  Are you willing to wait out the craves?  Are you willing to change your routine and face unpleasant emotions and avoid triggers to become an EX?

Because you will be doing all that.  We all did.  And as long as you are willing to do that, nothing can stop you!  As long as you understand that it is a journey...a process...a path, not just a one time event that goes away when you put the cigarette down. 

So what are you willing to do to become an EX?  Are you willing to learn about addiction?  Because it helps to know.  Are you willing to educate yourself about living a smoke free life?  Are you willing to change?

You are about to begin a journey that will bring out the warrior in you!  You will feel things you haven't felt in years.  It will challenge you, surprise you, stun you, and delight you.  You will explore, discover, dismiss, and create. 

You will live.  Your life will take on new meaning.  You will soar and you will stumble and you will gain.  But as long as you are willing to do what it takes to become an ex-smoker, you will not fall.  You won't fail.  You won't lose.

So please don't just say "I want to quit smoking".  Say, "I want to quit smoking and I am willing to do anything to achieve that goal."  And then you will.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

For You

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 16, 2016

~~The purpose of this glorious life is not just to endure it, but to soar, stumble, and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence.  You were born to live, my dear, not to merely exist.~~  Becca Lee

Just a reminder.  For you...the quiet one reading posts and wishing you could quit smoking.  For you...the one who slips a lot and wonders sadly if you'll ever quit.  For you...the one who has successfully quit but always seems to be hanging on by a thread. 

And for all of you who want.  Who wish.  Who hope.  Who wonder.

Life is what it is.  Good, bad, stunning, awful.  It isn't about what happens to us.  It isn't about what we have or don't have.  It isn't even about what we do or don't do.

To fall in love with existence....wow.  It is about you.  What's inside you.  The heart, the spirit, the soul of you.  Being able to listen to the morning birds and feel peace.  Being able to sit in two hour traffic and smile at the child peering at you from the next car.  Being able to be that hope, that wonder, that wish that others need.

To be able to stumble and laugh at yourself.  To be ill and know with certainty it will be alright no matter what happens.  To be scared and go forward anyway.  To be alone yet content.  To feel the thrill of a win while understanding the defeated.

Smoking isn't who you are.  Addiction isn't all there is.  And to give you a quit on a silver platter will do nothing that allows you to soar.  So release that need to bury your existence and fall in love with it instead!  The pains, the discomforts, the falls.  The wonders, the magic, the heights, the majesties.  And everything in between.

It shows on my profile I have 1200 smoke free days today.  I have hit rock bottom...several times...and I have met personal goals as well.  I have loved, lost, been shamed, felt stunned, and survived.  And I never, ever have to miss the glory of life because I needed to skulk away to feed my addiction again.  Freedom!!  Because we were born to live, not just exist.

Just wanted to share....

~~I like flaws and are most comfortable around those who have them.  I, myself, am made up entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.~~ Unknown

I am far from perfect.  And I like that about myself.  I don't strive to "be good".  I didn't quit smoking to enhance my personal perfection.  I don't come here to say "Look what I did so you can do it too!"

My flaws are my saving grace.  They are comfortable and familiar and entirely who I am. 

And you know what?  it wasn't until I learned how to embrace those pesky little flaws that I was able to quit smoking.  Not because I could "slip" and get away with it, but because I could let those past "failures" be part of my growth rather than part of my downfall.  Every mistake I have made in life has brought me to this point and time.  So I could choose to beat myself up for being "stupid", "ignorant", and "flawed" or I could choose to believe that mistakes are learning opportunities.  Mistakes are part of life.  Mistakes are simply ways that didn't work.

I am flawed.  Flaws teach, flaws challenge, and flaws enhance.  I didn't want to smoke anymore when I quit this final time.  Because smoking was a flaw I wanted to let go of.  But I didn't beat myself up for years of smoking.  I let it go.  I didn't regret all those wasted years.  I let them go.  Because it is in letting go that you can heal.  It's in letting go that you can grow.  And it's in letting go that you can live freely.

So I have flaws.  Some of them I work on.  Some of them I simply smile at.  And all of them make me who I am today just as much as the good parts of me do. 

Don't let your flaws hold you to addiction.  Don't let your flaws create shame, humiliation, or negativity in your life.  Fix what you feel you need to, let go of those things you can't fix, and embrace all of you because you are perfect in your imperfections.  I like you just the way you are :)

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Do You Know?

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 15, 2016

~~She knew not how lovely she was....not until he gave her all the reasons to love herself by showing her a tiny glimpse of what he saw in her every day....~~  Unknown

Do you know?  Do you know how strong you are?  How brave?

Do you know how witty and bright you are?  How charming?

Do you know how very talented you are?  How creative?

So often our quits...just like our smoking...becomes the center of our universe.  While that is ok for a time as we adjust to our new, smoke free lives, staying focused on our quits to the exclusion of other things in our lives can be quite damaging.

So hear those around you.  You are lovely.  In mind, in body, in spirit.  There is no one in the world with your style, with your brilliance, with your character.  You are unique, you are remarkable, and you are irreplaceable.

Keep your head up.  Take care of that precious quit by taking care of that precious quitter.  Know yourself, love yourself, and be your own hero.  Your own best friend, supporting and encouraging and cheering yourself on.  And allow those who love you to continue to love you.  Continue to share your journey.  And continue to find you the most amazing you in the world.

I hope you see the glimpses we see in you.  The warrior.  The grace and strength.  The stunning brilliance.  It's magnificent.  And so are you.

~~Beautiful minds inspire others.~~  Unknown

One sentence that helps you keep your quit......

"I don't do that anymore".

What is that one thing that helps you?  Let's share in the hopes that these words spark something in a quitter who's struggling.....

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Your Dance

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 14, 2016

~~When you dance to your own rhythm, life taps its toes to your beat.~~  Terri Guillenets

My 14 year old crawled under a van last night at Wal-Mart to rescue a little dog who had been wandering the parking lot, scared and lost.  Jake spent about 20 minutes trying to coax the little thing out rather than simply grabbing the dog and scaring him even further.  I stood there, watching my boy with a mixture of pride and awe.  He is a delightful combination of little boy, young man, and tender heart. 

These are my moments.  The moments that I thank God for.  The moments that make me glad to be alive.  Nothing grand....nothing financial....nothing newsworthy to anyone but me.  I adore watching my family live life on their terms.  I enjoy feeling like this is what my life is about.

You don't have to be a celebrity.  You don't have to be outrageous.  You don't have to have glamor.  But you do have to dance to your own rhythm.  You have to do things that make your soul sing.  You have to be true to your spirit.  You have to live your life with honesty. 

None of us were meant to be smokers.  None of us were meant to be addicts.  None of us were meant to waste our time, our talents, our lives smoking in a corner, alone and forgotten.

Step out from that side of you that wants to remain hidden.  Step out from that addictive thinking.  Step out from those unhealthy habits that shrink your shine.

Live your truth.  Enjoy those moments that make your soul sing.  Seek out those who make your heart sparkle.  And do those things that allow you to feel complete. 

That is what life is truly about.  The world offers us a ballroom and it is up to us to dance to our own rhythm.  Allow it to happen.  Revel in your dance.  And life will tap its toes to your beat.

  Can you name 5 things you do/did to distract yourself or ease those pesky craves?  Here are mine:

1. Butterscotch candy--Loved them!

2. Walking the lakeyard-still do it!

3.  Blowing bubbles in the car--still have them!

4.  Yoga--still do it!

5.  EX site--still here!!

What do you do, newbies?  What did you do, elders?  I would love to know.....

~~All you need to know is that the future is wide open and you are about to create it by what you do.~~  Pema Chodron

Think about it....you get to create your future!!  How exciting is that?  You can decide to be healthier.  You can choose to be an artist.  You can delightfully learn how to dance.  Learn a foreign language.  You can be kind.  You can volunteer.  You can continue to love animals.  You can be a friend. 

But it's yours for the making.  Note the action words here...making...creating...deciding.  The future will come whether you are ready for it or not but it's your choice what comes.  You can choose to continue to smoke.  Your future may be filled with doctor's appointments.  Missed opportunities.  Loneliness.  Regret.

I hope not.  I hope that you have the courage, the wisdom, and the childlike glee to fill your future with love, with fun, and with everything you've ever wanted to do.  Decide to truly live.  Choose activities that speak to your soul.  Be daring...be adventerous....be you. 

You were never meant to smoke through life, alone and emotionless.  The universe wants so much more for you.  No one smiles quite like you.  No one charms quite like you.  No one creates quite like you. 

So create your future with everything you've got.  Talents...skills...dreams.  And fill your life with everything you love.  Get interested in you!! 

Yesterday, part of my quote read something about "...don't fast-forward to a future you haven't earned...".  By quitting, by choosing life, and living in truth you have earned that future.  So its time to begin!!  Live your adventures!!  And create a future you can look forward to.

~~Don't get stuck.  Move, travel, take a class, taske a risk.  There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness and this is neither.  This season is about becoming.  Don't lose yourself at Happy Hour but don't lose yourself on the corporate ladder, either.  Stop every once in a while and go out for coffee or crawl into bed with your journal.  Now is your time.  Walk closely with people you love.   Don't get stuck in the past and don't try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven't earned.  Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can and keep travelling honestly along life's path.~~  Unknown

When you come to EX, you find lots and lots of good quit smoking stuff.  Stuff about triggers, stuff about tracking, stuff about addiction.  And you get lots and lots of support.  Good support, kind support, and encouraging, wise support.  And you obtain lots and lots of good advice.  Read this.  Try this.  Remember this.

But what do you bring to the table?  Do you actually have a quit plan?  Have you made a list of coping skills?  Do you understand addiction?  Have you made that commitment to quit?

Or are you more here for information without the intent to quit right now?  Are you lonely and need a little attention but you haven't firmly decided that you will quit smoking?  Are you playing with the idea of quitting but simply want to gain a support system first?

We can give you lots.  But quitting?  It comes from you.  You alone.  Do not rely only on our words.  Do not rely only on us to be here to prop you up.  Do not rely on what worked for us to also work for you.

You are in for the ride of your life.  Exhilarating, liberating, and so very life changing!!  Because it comes from you.  You are about to embark on a journey where you lose nothing but find your voice, your power, your life.  Whatever is inside you, whatever you have stuffed inside while puffing away on the outside, is about to let loose with a warrior's intensity. 

The world has been waiting for you to find yourself....to let yourself shine....to come out from behind the curtain of smoke that cut you off from everything wild and wonderful!!  Don't be afraid, be excited!!  Life is about to unfold in a way you never imagined and it is going to be worth every pang of discomfort you first feel in your quit.

We give you the tools.  We applaud you.  We support and lift you.  But this is your show.  Your journey.  Your evolution.  I am proud be a very small part of something so vital to the person you are.  Your quit matters because you matter. 

A bit long winded today and I apologize.  I get carried away on the thrill of you finding yourself.....

~~Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.~~  Unknown

 

When I first found the EX site, it was Giulia who welcomed me on my message board.  After my first post, I "met" more and more welcoming, friendly people who wished success for me.  They held my hand, they checked on me, and they made me feel like somebody.  I don't think I ever thanked them....but I'm getting to that.

I found out through staying with EX that there are many worlds within this world.  Kindness, wisdom, understanding, support can all be found here as can grief, fear, stubborness, and narcissism.  Some EXers exude kindness, generosity, and support.  Others delete comments, ignore questions, and focus only on those who praise and agree with them.

They are all here, however, to keep their quits.  To reach out to those who wish to quit.  To share their stories.  And it can take courage to share personal stories of addiction, loss, and shame.  It takes even more courage to offer opinions that may differ from the popular opinions or to question the status quo.

We have those here who believe in "tough" love.  Those who can be honest without the harshness of that "tough" love.  Those who simply want others to feel welcome here. 

The first time my comment was deleted from someone's post, I was confused.  Attempted to talk to this individual through message board and private messages.  Deleted from the message board as well.  This "triggered" in me the feelings that I wasn't important or worthy of a response simply because those are the feelings I had back when I was married to a less than kind man.  Back when I smoked through feeling bad to numb myself from life.

Now, of course I can recognize triggers like that now.  And I can easily dismiss them as past references to a bad time in my life and let them go.  But still, it's a trigger.  And I'm sure that many people here are triggered through statements or words or actions of others here.  And since we can't control those statements or words or actions, I hope you remember that you can control your response to them.  Identify what you're feeling and then let it go. 

I wish that all of us here can be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody, but that is simply not realistic.  Which is why you will here over and over again, "Take what you need and leave the rest".  It works.  It really does.

And now, for those of you who have made me feel like somebody....Giulia, Rickie, Thomas, Dale, Tommy, Daisy, Neen, Aztec....and all the rest, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!  You changed my life.  I began to believe in myself because of you.  And for those of you who today make us feel like somebody.....Marilyn, Jackie, Bonnie, Terrie, Mike, Wendy, and all the other honest, kind, amazing EXers, thank you as well.  You are changing lives. You may not always hear that or see it, but I guarantee you that it's happening.  Every day.  Don't take what you do here lightly.  It matters.  And so do you.

~~Grief never ends....but it changes.  It's a passage, not a place to stay.  Grief is not a sign of weakness, not a lack of faith....It is the price of love.~~  Unknown

So much grief, disbelief, and pain since Betty's passing.  And many of us are still grieving for those in our own lives who have gone.  It hurts.

It hurts and it is heartbreaking and it is one of the most intimately melancholy emotions in human existence.  Someone we love is no longer here.  So we grieve and we cry and we long for them and we feel loss so sharp it's almost like a physical ache.

But such is the price of love.  And love has binded us together through all the days, all the moments, all the occasions shared.  The laughter.  The dinners.  The stories.  The hopes.  The fears.  The never ending faith that someone has our back and someone has our hand and someone shares our lives.

Grief is not something to be avoided.  Grieve as you love, with your whole heart and soul.  Because grief will allow you to continue loving as well.  When avoided, grief can lead us to fall back on negative coping skills.  Unreleased grief can cause addictions to rear their ugly heads.  Unspoken grief can cause us breakdowns that can need a lifetime to heal.

I choose to honor those I have lost.  Not only to remember our times together nor to simply miss them but to honor them in a way they would find amusing or touching.  My stepfather has been gone 14 years and it still feels like yesterday.  I have sponsored a room in his memory at the Children's Advocacy Center.  He was the best dad and grandpa!!  I have planted flowers for friends.  I have helped fundraise for playground equipment for children who have passed.

I will not allow love to die.  Love balances my grief so that all the times I had with my loved ones will stay in my heart.  No addiction will cloud my memories.  No nicotine will dull my love.  And I will not allow smoking to ever, ever win.  I've won that battle no matter what may happen due to the years I abused my body with smoking.  I've won.  And my dad would have been the first to say, "Good going, girl.  I'm proud of you."

So grieve when you lose someone or when you have lost them even years ago.  But remember the love and honor that.  And never, never let addiction win.  You are stronger, braver, and deserve so much more.

~~To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.~~  Ann Rand

Maybe you don't understand.  Maybe you think it's different for you.  Maybe you think it really doesn't matter because you're not 'really smoking' anymore. 

My dear quitter, let me gently correct you.  Smoking is smoking whether it is a 'few puffs' or a 'few packs'.  You are no different than any other smoker trying to quit.  And I think that most of all, if you really were honest with yourself, you truly do understand.

So stop trying, please.  Stop testing yourself.  Stop buying them, even if you throw them away.  Stop thinking about buying them.  Stop thinking that you will just have one.  Stop trying to fool yourself into thinking you are quitting.

Because, dear quitter, quitting means not smoking.  Not one cigarette.  Not one puff.  Not buying them.  Not toying with the idea of buying them.  No, I am not being mean.  I understand those half-ass quits....I used to do them quite often.  The "I have to quit" to the "I have it this time" to the "I'm the most stupid quitter in the world!!".  The excuses.  The whines.  The reasons.  The hopes that someone will make me feel better about being a smoker.

Just stop.  Breathe.  Breathe again.  Clear your mind.  And let these words sink in.

Either quit or don't.  If you choose to smoke, be honest with yourself and be honest with those around you.  You are an addict and you are chosing to allow your addiction to continue.  As an adult, you have that right, no matter how very much we wish a better life for you. 

If you choose to quit, never pick up another cigarette.  Ever.  period.  No matter how much you think you want to.  That's just addiction talking.  No matter if you want to challenge yourself.  Addiction talking again.  No matter if you just need one puff to make it through.  Addiction talking. 

Quitting means not smoking.  It's that simple.  

~~You start dying slowly if you do not travel, if you do not read, if you do not listen to the sound of life, if you do not appreciate yourself.  You start dying slowly when you kill your self-esteem, when you do not let others help you.  You start dying slowly if you become a slave to your habits, walking everyday on the same paths...If you do not change your routine, if you do not wear different colors or you do not speak to those you don't know.  You start dying slowly if you avoid to feel passion and its turbulent emotions, those that make your eyes glisten and your heart beat fast.  You start dying slowly if you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job, or with your love, or with your surroundings.  If you do not risk safe for what is uncertain, if you do not go after a dream, if you do not allow yourself, at least once in your lifetime to run away from sensible advice.~~  Pablo Neruda

Listen to the sound of life?  You may be thinking not positive things right now.  After all, you are busy.  You are upset.  You are simply trying to hold onto your quit with everything you've got.  How on earth do I expect you to listen to the sound of life???

How on earth can you not?  How can you not appreciate yourself when those around you could not do without you?  How can you allow life to pass you by without wanting to jump into it with both feet?

The world is glorious, even in it's chaos and destruction.  Out of chaos comes peacemakers.  Out of destruction comes heroes.  Out of struggles come warriors.  And when you come out of struggling with your quit, you will find peace on the other side.  Colors.  Music.  Life.

Addiction is a slow death and I don't mean just a physical one.  It saps our energy.  It robs our time.  It isolates and greedily takes over our functioning.  Everything is now run on nicotine time.  Until the next cigarette.  Until the next store run.  Until the next break.  Where is life in that?

Grab life.  With everything you've got!  Leave the worries of addiction behind.  Leave the struggle behind.  Don't look back because you aren't going that way.  Look towards life.  Meet new people.  Get a haircut.  Wear white after Labor Day.  Be silly with your best friend.  Allow those who love you to love you.  Hug often.  Sing loudly.  Dance down aisle 8 at Wal-Mart.

Don't die slowly from addiction....and I am still not talking about physically.  There is that, of course, and if you are worried about your health...well, stop worrying and quit smoking.  But also don't allow addiction to drain your life from you.  I bet you have a killer smile!  I bet you used to be the life of the party.  I bet you have someone in your life who is waiting for you to choose them instead of a cigarette.  So, what you waiting for?

Grab life.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

This Is Me

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 7, 2016

~~I've learned that if you look deep inside, you'll find things you really car for and things you really want and people who really care for you.~~  Unknown

I just got home from a religious education meeting.  I teach 5th graders at my church and have been doing so for about 6 years now.  It makes me happy.  Really happy.  This year we are going to be raising money for a new building for our children so it is added fun.  And there is nothing more peaceful for me than working with my kids.

I also simply love working with our local domestic violence shelter.  I donate positivity art and positivity books for the victims and their children.  I also am part of creating a social media campaign to spread awareness of the huge domestic violence problem in our community.

I am still working on my 1k challenge as well.  I am walking 1000 miles in a year.  Kinda being slow about it as I am only at 620 miles but I have time to complete the challenge before December 31.  And I continue my daily yoga.  I am thinking I want to be a certified yoga instructor but haven't signed up for classes yet.

If you look deep enough, you will find things you really care about.  Truly you will.  And the more you do these things you truly care about, the less likely you will fall back on negative coping skills such as smoking.  And the more you really love the things you do, the more you will find people who belong in your tribe and who enhance your love of life.

When I come here to ex, I often talk about....myself :)  But not to gain friends.  Not to toot my own horn.  To show you that anyone can quit.  That anyone can change.  That life opens up when you break free of addiction rather than closing off.  That I understand your challenges and can tell you that once you find the warrior, your challenges will slink away.   Including the urge to smoke.  Including the fear of quitting. Including the anxiety you may feel finding yourself once the smoke has cleared. 

I have an urge to help here as well.  I don't know exactly how much my posts help those who are quitting, but I continue to write in the hopes that I do help.  It's different being online as when I do things in person, I know what works and what doesn't.  Here I'm not so sure.  But I kinda figure, at least I'm not hurting anything!  Some read, some don't, and some are such delightful friends, they would support me no matter what I do!

So look deep within and find things you really care for.  Do those and what what happens next.....you'll be amazed!

~~Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.  Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy--the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.  Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.~~  Brene Brown

Be brave enough to explore the darkness.  Often we stop short of exploring our feelings by simply identifying them.  "I'm afraid".  "I'm depressed".  "I'm stressed".  When we go deeper into discovering why we are afraid, depressed, or stressed, we begin to own our stories because we can find solutions to help ease those feelings.  Afraid of failure?  You have a choice...you don't have to fail.  Depressed by the thought of losing your best friend?  Find a true best friend.  Stressed due to family issues, finances, or work?  Breathe through it, find support, and know that the feeling won't last forever.

That is the infinite power of light.  Finding that we own our stories.  That we make things happen for us.  That we live without excuses, without fear, and without flinching.  What we can control, we will.  What we can't control, we allow to simply happen without fear, frustration, or stress.  It cannot control us in the same way we can't control it.

When we quit smoking, we own our quit.  No exuses.  We honor ourselves by maintaining recovery.  Only then can we step into freedom....releasing that need to have nicotine control our lives.  This freedom brings all good things to our lives.  A sense of delightful joy that we did something remarkable.  A sense of our own power because if we can quit smoking, we can also do other things in our lives that we have been avoiding.  A sense of contented self-love because quitting smoking is a journey that can lead to a path of better health and well-being.

So explore the darkness.  Discover yourself...the fears that keep you stuck, the emotions that keep you frozen, the dreams that seem so far out of reach.  And you will most likely find that the only thing stopping you from stepping into your infinite light is....you.  Get out of your own way, own your story, and embrace the life you've only dreamed of.  It's your story.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Walking Away

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 6, 2016

~~Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness and everything to do with strength.  We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value but because we finally realize our own.~~

You are strong enough to walk away from smoking.  I know it with a conviction that is unwavering.  You are strong enough.  And you are worth so much more than being tied to an addiction that isolates you and keeps you chained to an unhealthy way of life.

Do you recognize your own worth?  Your value?  Or have the years of smoking whittled away your self-esteem and confidence to the point where you are your addiction?  Until you regain some perspective, let me tell you over and over again, you are worth more!!

You are worth more than a cigarette.  You are worth more than hacking coughs, yellowing teeth and fingers, and isolation from family and friends.  You are worth more than nicotine, than the many other chemicals you are inhaling into your precious, life-giving lungs.

You are worth everything.  You were born for a reason and that reason has nothing to do with addiction.  You are loved.  You are so very much wanted.  And you deserve so very much more than what smoking can ever give you!!

Walking away takes strength but let your strength come from those who have been there.  Let your strength come from those who love you.  Let your strength come from that inner spark that smoking has not been able to diminish.  Let that strength come from knowing your worth and value.  Shine your light and let it overpower the darkness of addiction.  Know your worth.

Feel your strength.  Feel your worth.  Allow those magnificent emotions and thoughts and behaviors carry you on a path of healing, recovery, and....joy.  Joy in your quit.  Joy in your strength.  And joy in knowing that you are worth everything.

~~You exist.  You are real.  You are right.  You are capable.  You are valuable.  You are not alone.~~  Unknown

Sometimes quitting can seem like the loneliest place to be.  Maybe because no one close to you can begin to understand what you're going through.  Maybe because you feel like you have lost the only "friend" you ever had.  Maybe because when you quit smoking, you have to avoid those who still smoke.

Maybe you even feel like you can't express what it is you are going through.  The feelings of loss...fear....anxiety....depression.  When you read how marvelous it is to quit smoking yet you don't have those feelings of joy and relief, the silence can be deafening.

You are not alone.  Regardless of how you feel, you are not alone.  You don't have to post your feelings.  You don't have to utter those heartbreaking words "I am lonely" or "I feel totally alone" or even "I don't get it.".  But I want you to know that.  You.  Are.  Not.  Alone.

I have been there.  I have been the one afraid...of not just quitting but of everything.  I have felt those feelings of isolation and despair.  I have been the one hesitant to reach out to anyone. 

Some here can post updates, post cbatty blogs of family gatherings and personal feelings.  Some may not write their own posts but comment on others, social butterflies who bring smiles and warmth to all.  Some just read, too busy in their own lives to comment much less post blogs.  But they read to strengthen their quits and maintain their recovery.

Then there is you.  Of course you read here...but maybe you just don't understand why you don't feel like the majority of quitters.  Of course you may post a comment or two to encourage another quitter.  But you don't feel like your quit is quite like anyone else's.  It's harder or more painful or just more difficult to maneuver.  You feel odd, like you don't fit in.

Yes, I've been you.  Still are you to a certain extent.  Many of us have been exactly where you are.  That, my dear quitter, is why we blog.  That is why we reach out.  That is why we are here.

So you don't have to post your feelings if you hesitate to do so.  But know that when you are feeling isolated and lonely, I will be the one squeezing your hand, whispering "You are not alone".  When you are feeling defeated and scared, I will be the one gently wiping away your tears, whispering "You are not alone".  And when you don't think you can take that next keeping your quit step, I will be in front of you, gently tugging your hand whispering "You aren't doing this alone". 

We are here for you regardless of whether or not you communicate with us.  You are the reason we are here.  Because you exist.  Because you are real.  Because you matter. 

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Why?

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Sep 4, 2016

Real quick question.  Why do you/did you want to quit smoking?  I know...we all know...smoking kills, but we smoked through that information for years.  So, just wondering, why now?

For me, it was the image of my kids at my funeral.  Rather than simply mourning, they were saying "If only she had quit smoking".  Morbid, I know, but I didn't want their last memories of me to be ones of me alone with a cigarette on the back porch.  It was all it took to want to quit.  Then I read, "Quitting isn't rocket science."  Easy peasy...just don't smoke!!

How about you?  Why did you quit?  Or why do you want to if you aren't quite there yet?

~~Your words have the power to to hurt, to heal, open minds, open hearts, and change the world.  Never forget the responsibility you have over the words you speak.~~  Steven Aitchison

I confess that sometimes I forget.  I forget that you don't know me well enough to understand what I'm saying as here I am only words on a page.  I forget that words can seem harsh when not linked to a gentle touch, a smile, a hug.  I forget that good intentions are not enough to ease a crushed spirit or hurt heart when the words have already been written.

I forget that you haven't seen my own struggles.  I forget that you weren't around for the beginning of my forever quit.  I forget that you can't finish my thoughts because you have no idea who I am.

And, mostly, I forget all this about you as well.  I forget that you may mean well even when I read something different in your words.  I forget that you are not simply words on a page and maybe an avatar, but also a person with thoughts, feelings, and intentions.  I forget that you may be trying to reach those whom may appear lost.  I forget that you may be reacting to something in your own life.  I forget.  I forget that you are human, too.

We are all human here.  We make mistakes but we are not those mistakes.  We are hurt but can also heal.  We try and some may fail while others thrive.  We are human.

And we are individual as well.  I may see life as delightful while another may hesitate to leave the house.  One may quit with ease, another may not understand that a quit comes from within.  Some respond.  Others react. 

I apologize for not always being gentle with my words.  I apologize for not always recognizing that you need support rather than advice, an ear rather than more words, peace rather than a debate.

This site is an eclectic mix of givers and takers, advisors and peacemakers, warriors and gurus.  I have yet to settle into any of those catagories as I am still evolving into the person I am meant to be.  But I can say that I will be better....more gentle with my words, kinder in spirit, and wise enough to know when to let go or hold on.

May you find peace in your hectic world today....laughter in air....and joy in your quit.

~~Addiction is a relationship....a pathological relationship in which....obsession replaces people.~~ Patrick Carnes

You may read here that understanding addiction is vital to a quit.  But reading words on a screen or in a book or on a page doesn't always have the impact that experience has.  And, being an addict, you have the experience to write the book.

Don't think so?  Maybe you never have panicked realizing that you don't have enough cigarettes to get you through the week-end?  Or wondered how long the meeting was going to last before you could have a smoke break?  Or scrounged for change to buy a pack until you get paid tomorrow?  Or bummed a cigarette because you were out?  Or felt stressed or frustrated and just needed that moment alone to smoke and cool down?

Maybe you never left your family at the dinner table while you stepped outside for that after dinner cigarette?  Maybe you never burnt the seat in your car or accidently brushed up against someone and burned the back of their hand or had to bend over while driving because you dropped a cigarette?  Maybe you never "had" to smoke or maybe you never thought about a cigarette when it was impossible to sneak away?  Maybe you never smelled that awful cigarette smell on your breath or on your clothes?  Maybe you never felt the least bit guilty for smoking as your family begged you to stop?  Maybe you never had to run in to buy another lighter?  Maybe you never used the stove burner to light up?  Maybe you never felt shame for ruining your quit? 

Smokers who can't quit...who won't quit because they don't think that they can or they "need to"....are addicts.  Addiction is a bunch of wicked, horrible, twisted lies that the brain comes up with in order to keep the addiction alive.  There is no relief in smoking again except that addiction springs back to life.  And the addict in you doesn't care about your family or your health or your finances.  It only wants nicotine, period. 

The good news about recognizing that you are an addict is that recovery can happen.  If you are willing.  If you work at it.  If you understand it.  If you are knowledgeable.  You don't have to be the strongest or the most courageous or the wisest.  You have to simply let go of smoking and turn towards freedom.  Surrender to your fears, accept that you will want to smoke, and give yourself the gift of time to heal.  Support to get through.  And humor and grace and self care because you deserve them.

So really, read up about addiction and then apply it to your own life.  It may be a bitter pill to swallow but it is opening a door to recovery at the same time.  And you will never again be able to say "I feel like I'm losing my best friend".  Because when you quit smoking, you are losing nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

I wish for you everything I found for myself....beauty in a quit that has given me everything.

~~Remember that you are more than skin and bones.  You are one thousand stories of before.  One thousand stories of potential.  One thousand stories you have yet to see and know and feel and breathe.  There is more to come.  And it's something beautiful.~~Victoria Erikson

Of course it's important to quit smoking for your physical health.  It's vital, as a matter of fact.  But some people are physically here on earth but live on the fringes of life....hidden away, skulking quietly in the shadows, skimming silently over the crowd while never making sound.

It could be shyness.  It could be poor social skills.  It could be that they never learned how valuable they are.  I know that feeling of ackwardness and I've lived the shy life myself.  What's more, smoking allowed me to sit on the sidelines, withdrawn and alone in my addiction.

But when you quit smoking, not only are you saving your physical health, you are allowing those one thousand stories of potential to spring to life!  One thousand stories you have yet to see and know and feel and breathe.  Life is brought into focus when you quit.  The colors entice you...the aromas enchant you....the pulse of life itself promises adventure.

So put down what is limiting you and enter what is promising to be the adventure of a lifetime!!  Allow life to grab you by the hand and dance with you!!  Don't be stopped by fears or hesitations or a longing for what you are leaving behind.  Because truly what you are leaving behind is isolation, limitations, and certain death.

I hope you choose life.  I hope you choose to live those one thousand stories.  I hope you dance with life and feel the sheer glory, joy, and happiness that has been waiting just for you......

~~It is in herself she will find the strength she needs.~~ Unknown

Major changes in my life the past month.  My home was invaded by two little energizer bunnies and a very, very lost soul.  They needed time, attention, boundaries, and love.  But so did my wonderfully amazing freshman.  And work has been a series of heartbreaking stories of trauma, abuse, and loss.

It was a struggle to get from moment to moment, much less day to day.  It was juggling picking kids up after band practice, dropping others off a cheer practice, and sitting in between.  It was worrying about making the bills as I was the only one bringing in income.  It was phone bills, pull ups, and bigger meals.

I recognized the feelings of being overwhelmed, resentful, and bruised.  I used to sit and smoke through those same feelings.  I used to hide them as I puffed away, allowing the nicotine to wash all emotions away until I was an empty shell of a smoker. 

This time, I didn't think of smoking.  But I know how easy it would have been to allow those trigger feelings to take me into a downward spiral.  So while I didn't think of smoking, I did think of sinking into the negativity.  A danger zone that could have been disasterous.

Instead, I took a week off work.  I set some boundaries for my lost soul of a daughter.  I worked with the energizer bunnies about schedules, respect, and sharing.  And, most of all, I worked on me.  Because those negative feelings of being overwhelmed, resentful, and bruised came from me, not them. And I am the only one who could heal them.

So I did.  I took the time.  I didn't hide behind any addictions.  I didn't make excuses.  I focused on the uncomfortable in order to adjust my views of myself.  My strength lies in me...not in others behaving the way I wished them to behave. 

I went to bed last night feeling peaceful.  I woke this morning feeling calm.  I can do this.  I am taking a second job to help make ends meet but it's a job I think I will love.  I gave my daughter the gift of allowing her to find her own power as I will not...cannot...fix things for her.  But I will be here to support her.  And I gave my Jake the gift of knowing he is still my focus no matter how many other people are in the home.  He is not only my responsibility but my joy.  And I released once again my resentment of being an only parent.  It is what it is and I am a lovely only parent.  Its the father who is missing out on the true delights in life.

Ok, sorry to ramble on!!  Bottom line is that your strength lies within you if you take the time to find it.  You do not ever have to numb yourself with nicotine. 

Sheri