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2020

~~He said, "One life is on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.~~  Frederick Buechner

 

I see that here.  People who live life fully and bravely and beautifully as they can.  Not that haven't had adversity...they have!  Not that they haven't known sorrow.  Not that they haven't been broken.  Or depressed.  Or stunned.  Or shaken.

 

But still they go on.  And they give of themselves here fully, too.  They support.  They share.  They uplift.  They care.  

 

Not just the elders....but by gosh, the elders are true heroes in my eye!!  They not only stay here after their quit but they share, they open themselves up, they listen, they seriously give their all here.  Sometimes it's appreciated, sometimes they get slapped down, sometimes they get ridiculed....but still they stay.  And I am honored to call many of them my friends.

 

And the newly quit?  Oh, how they shine!!  They are eager to share, they are enthusiastic learners, they are brilliant in their desire to know!!  They, too, open up and share bits and pieces of themselves.  They are quick to help others.  And they care so very, very much!!

 

It doesn't matter if you are an elder or a new quitter.  It doesn't matter if you have a quit clock that says 1 or 1000000000.  It doesn't matter if you are starting or if you are solid in your quit.

 

It matters that you are here, period.  It matters that you share so much of yourself.  The still healing bits of your heart....the newly healed bits of your recovery....the broken pieces of your spirit.  You share and that makes you a hero to me.

 

Because quitting isn't just laying down the cigarettes.  If it were that easy, everyone would quit.  Quitting is creating a lifestyle where you don't need cigarettes or any other addiction.  Quitting means creating a life you don't need to run away from.  And the best way to do that is to learn from those who have been there.  The ill.   The broken.  The defeated.  The lost.  

 

And so, here we are learning from those who wear their scars like wings!!  We are awed.  We are humbled.  We are appreciative.  But in being human, we often forget these things and get defensive and angry and offended rather than treating these people with the kindness, the gentleness, the honor that they deserve.  

 

And so I apologize for forgetting.  And I acknowledge that I forget sometimes to empathize rather than react.  Everyone here deserves respect.  Everyone.  And if I failed to show it, I am sorry.

 

I am always thankful for you all.  And I come here when I need to smile.  When I need a little spirituality.  When I need comfort.  Because all of that is found here with you.  Every day.  What a glorious way to keep a quit!!

 

We have some beautiful, brave people here who live life fully.  And I am so grateful for each and every one of them!!  You do more, much more. than just support my quit.  You show me a better me.  Thank you!

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

I Will Not

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 22, 2020

~~Just for today, I will NOT self-sabotage ANYTHING.  Not my relationships, not my self esteem, not my plans, not my goals, not my hopes, not my dreams.~~  Unknown

 

That's right.  Just for today, I'm not going to do anything that hurts my heart, my body, my soul.  I'm not going to dwell on what's wrong with my life but I will acknowledge it instead....it's imperfect and so am I.  That's ok for today.

 

Today I'll enjoy each minute.  I'll look at my grandson and feel pure love.  I'll work on my yard and feel peace in nature.  I'll think of you here and send you sweet thoughts of comfort and joy.

 

Today I'll feel satisfied that what I have is enough.  That I'm doing the very best I can do for today and that's enough, too.  I'll love my family.  I'll love my little house.  I'll love my life and feel blessed and thankful.

 

I'll walk with those who aren't able to feel blessed today.  I'll hold their hands.  I'll offer a shoulder.  I'll listen.  I'll care.  I'll simply be there for them.

 

And I'll cheer loudly for those who triumph over addiction.  I'll applaud for those who receive abundant blessings.  I'll be happy for those who have all they need.  They are just as important to life as those who need more.

 

And most of all....I will not self-sabotage.  I will not feed my fears.  I will not overreact.  I will not give in to my sadnesses.  I will not talk myself into harming myself in any way.  Not spiritually, not emotionally, not physically. 

 

Today I will be ok.  And I will reach out to those who are not ok.  I will share what I have and find what I need.  Today will be a good day. 

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Let Yourself Be

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 21, 2020

~~I give myself permission to be human this week.  I am no machine, no robot, no superhero even.  I won't get it all right.  I don't want to get it all right.  I just want my free, my happy, my peace.  To let myself be.  To let myself feel.  To grow.  To learn something new.  To get up close to the beauty and not give stress the go-ahead to rule me.  ~~  S, C. Lourie

 

Being human is just about the best thing to be, isn't it?  To make mistakes and be ok with them.  To apologize when you're wrong.  To offer kindness.  To fall and get back up after deciding to lay there for just a bit.  To feel.  The highs and the lows.  Getting through the bad by just remembering it won't always be like that.

 

I'm gonna be human this week.  Not perfect.  Not a failure.  Just human.  I will say the right thing before blowing it by saying the wrong thing.  I will be kind only to find out that I missed an opportunity to be kinder.  I will laugh and I will probably cry as well.  I will be human.

 

As for you?  Well, I hope you embrace your human.  I hope when you fall, you will get back up.  I hope that you accept the kindness of a stranger and I hope you are ok being mediocre rather than perfect.  I hope you feel.  However you feel.  

 

And I hope most of all that you allow yourself to be.  That you don't try to be better or braver or smarter or prettier.  Just be.  And may you find peace in that.  And a wonderful sense of contentment.  

 

No need to smoke over today.  No need to hide from yourself.  No need to cover up what you see as less than.  You. Are. Human.

 

And that it pretty perfect, don't you think?

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The Power

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 20, 2020

~~At any given moment, you have the power to say, "This is not how my story will end."~~ Christine Mason Mills

 

I learned something through working with women who have addictions.  Not that they told me, because they don't much correct people's misconceptions and judgments.  I learned from watching their faces...their body language....their demeanor.  

We so often think we know better than they do.  "You need to quit doing drugs".  "You need in-patient treatment".  "You need to be tested for HIV because of your needle use".

They've heard it all.  And they've learned to let people talk because that's what professionals do.  Professionals know, don't they?  And then these women hear it from family as well.  "You're going to kill yourself".  "You're choosing drugs over your family".  "You just don't care, do you?"

 

Sound familiar?  I bet it does.  Maybe from your doctor?  Maybe your children?  Maybe from someone who is now dealing with cancer?  They KNOW you should quit.  They KNOW you need help.  They KNOW you need to stop killing yourself.

 

All these well meaning, intelligent people who want to help save you.  They talk, they advise, they urge.

 

Guess what?  I learned from my girls that you have the right to choose smoking.  You have the right to decide not to quit.  You have the right...the freedom...to chose how to live.  Even if it's not the right choice.  Even if it's not the best choice.  Even if it may kill you.

 

Because I've seen the women who are addicted.  I've seen their faces after someone tells them they need to go to rehab.  They lose that little spark that keeps them alive.  That little "maybe things will be better today".  Hope.  I've seen these women when their families say "You are selfish".  These women break just a little bit more.  

 

They know.  They know they need to quit.  They know they need help.  They know it looks like they are selfish......

And so do you, don't you?  The you who is addicted to cigarettes.  You know you need to quit.  You know you need help.  And you may even have been called selfish.

 

But you know.  And so as people talk, you may be losing a little more of your spark.  That little "maybe things will be better today".  Maybe you break just a little bit more.

 

Please don't break.  Don't feel shame.  Don't be embarrassed.  Because you know what?  You have the power to decide what to do with your life and if you want to smoke, you can.  If you choose not to quit right now, you can.  YOU have the power to do whatever you want to do with your life, no matter what anyone says or how anyone feels.

 

Take your power back and turn it inward.  You get to decide.  Just you.  And when you're ready, you may decide to quit.  But that, too, will be your decision.  No one can take that away from you.  And no one should.

 

I respect your right to decide.  I respect your right to live however you decide to live.  And I will always respect whatever it is you decide.

 

Because I know that when you are ready, you will quit.  And you won't be strong in your desire to quit, but you will know in your heart that this is YOUR decision and you will honor it with everything you have in you.  Because it's yours.  

 

There lies your power.  It's you.  It always has been.  Don't be swayed by the advice of others.  Don't be carried on the enthusiasm of others.  Don't be led by someone who's done it.  Choose it instead.  

 

Don't let your quit be written by anyone else, no matter how well meaning they are.  You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end."  Write it.  Create it.  Live it.  I have faith in you

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

When It Hurts

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 16, 2020

~~It hurts because it matters.~~  Unknown

 

My family has been going through our 'stuff' recently.  My ex-husband passed away suddenly....wow, first time I even let that out   Tracy died.  And he died without mending his relationship with his kids.  Our kids.  He died without making things right or better.  He died unexpectedly and I knew I'd have to go through my 'stuff', but not until I helped my kids go through theirs.

 

Now, they are all adults, my three children from my marriage.  They are simply amazingly wonderful people   But their father's death hit them sudden and hard.  It hurt me to see them struggle.  It hurt me to see them hurt.  It hurt me to realize all they lost without ever knowing what they may have had.

 

I think that hurt the most.  And then there was the pain of losing the only husband I ever had...the memories that were good as well as those that weren't.  The people we were in our youth with our hopes for our family and our beliefs that everything was good.  

 

So, this is a very emotional time.  And in all that pain is the realization that pain means it mattered.  I'm not going to ignore or mask or cover these emotions through smoking or any other negative coping skill.  I'm just going to feel and to remember that I'm feeling because it matters.  

 

My children and their feelings matter....my ex-husband and all he left undone matters....and I matter.  So I'll hurt and feel it and know that I'll work through it.  Do I want to feel this?  Absolutely, 100% not.  But it's here and I'll deal with it because pain matters as much as those marvelous, joy filled moments that create our beautiful memories.  I hurt because my life with Tracy made me largely who I am. 

 

Now you can smoke because you're stressed and it helps you 'calm down', 'forget', and 'relax''.  You can smoke because you're anxious.  You're hurting.  You're depressed.  You're lonely.

 

But all those feelings are yours for a reason.  They matter.  So feel them and know they matter and then release them.  No need to avoid what is meant for you to feel.  Even negative emotions heal you rather than leave you bleeding when you allow yourself to feel them.  

 

As for me?  I'll end up crying at some point.  For all that didn't happen...for all that did.  And for a man who's choices kept him away from the children he helped create.  

 

You'll be fine, you know, even through those hurtful times...because you remember they matter, too.  

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

I Make Mistakes

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 15, 2020

~~I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world.  You are doing things you have never done before, and more importantly you are doing something.  So that is my wish for you, and for all of us.  And my wish for myself.  Make new mistakes.  Make glorious, amazing mistakes.  Make mistakes no one has ever made before.  Do not freeze, do not stop, do not worry that it is not good enough, or it is not perfect whatever it is.  Art or love or work or family or life.  Whatever it is you are scared of doing, do it.  Make your mistakes.  Next year and forever and ever.~~  Neil Gaiman

 

We so often apologize for being human.  For being less than.  For falling.  For slipping.  For...living.  For those 'ops' moments that are part of simply being here.

 

I laugh instead. My mistakes make me who I am.  I'm the girls who trips over her pants leg...who says the wrong thing while trying to say the right thing...who spits out coffee when laughing.  I'm the girl who cries over a happy ending...who veers off the road to miss a squirrel...who means well even when it seems to go wrong.

 

But I'm trying.  And I'm learning.  Growing.  Experiencing.  Adventuring

 

And when I finally took my quit seriously, I quit.  I learned from my mistakes and didn't want to do the serial cycle anymore.  I stopped apologizing for my lost quits and started understanding them.  I didn't totally let go of smoking when I quit.  There was always that thought of "I hope this will take...." and "Maybe this time it will happen..."  I kept that door open for relapse by allowing failure thinking.

 

My quit happened when I stopped all that.  No more "I hope I can do this".  Instead it was "Smoking is off the table no matter what".  No more "I'm afraid I'll fail again".  Instead it was "I cannot fail because I will not smoke".  

 

It's ok to make mistakes.  Shows we're trying.  But when it comes to your quit, learn from those mistakes.  Maybe it's how you talk to yourself.  Maybe it's keeping that door open.  Maybe it's simply learning, step by step.  Regardless, it's ok to make mistakes.

 

It's also ok to move on...past the mistakes.  It's ok to laugh at them.  It's ok to learn from them.  It's ok to even embrace some of them as part of who you are   Then let 'em go.  Release them.  Fight the urge to apologize...to beat yourself up...to be stuck in them.  Just blow past them and resume living.

 

Because that's what life is made up of....moments of making mistakes and moments of learning from them.  There is so much life out there!!   Adventure awaits  

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

You Are More

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 14, 2020

~~Today is a new day!  Although time seems to fly, it never travels faster than one day at a time.  Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest.  In each waking day, you will find scores of blessings and opportunities for positive change.  Do not let your today be stolen by the unchangeable past or the indefinite future.  Today is a new day!~~  Steve Maraboli

 

I love to come here and read how someone who relapsed yesterday is full of hope for today!!  I love how a new quitter posts that he/she can do this and won't allow nicotine to steal another day!  I love how elders support those who need a friend or simply advice.  

 

Ok, so there isn't much I don't love about this site   It allows you to be who you are....positive and hopeful or stressed and depressed...while guiding you to a successful quit.  People find forever friends here.  People find their health.  People find...well...themselves!!

 

Because smoking is something you did.  Even if it is over and over again.  Even if it's addiction.  Smoking has never been who you are.  Seems logical but I think sometimes we forget that because smoking takes up so much of our time and quitting even more.  It becomes the center point of our lives.  But it's only something we did.  

 

You are so much more than that.  You are talent and adventure and exploration and joy.  You are faith and courage and strength and integrity.  You are life.

 

Take this day which will never come again and just be present in it.  Enjoy it, work through it, breathe it, live it.  Let yesterday remain in yesterday.  Let tomorrow be in tomorrow.  Just live today and feel today and let it be enough.  And remember through it that you are more than a smoker.  Or a quitter.  You are life.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The Difference

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 13, 2020

~~Honesty is more than not lying.  It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.~~ Faust

 

I like honesty.  I can admire someone who comes here and is honest about feelings, thoughts, or behaviors.  It helps to get these things out here rather than just keeping those words bottled up inside, building and building until you've managed to make a mountain out of the proverbial molehill.

 

There is a difference, however, between honesty and being snarky.  There is a difference between honesty and opinion. 

 

Honesty is coming here and saying, "I don't want to quit, even though I know I need to."  Or "It is hard for me to get through these craves."  Or even "I hate feeling this way so I smoked one last night."  Honesty means focusing on you and your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.

 

Opinion hidden as honesty is "NRTs don't work".  "Vaping is better than smoking".  "Planning a quit date is a recipe for failure". Opinions are your thoughts and ideas and feeling about other things other than yourself.

 

Snarky is "Putting your head in a freezer is silly".  "I cannot abide those positive people who are constantly cheerful.  There has to be something wrong with them".  "He's too full of himself to understand anyone else."  Snarky is bullying behaviors or passive-aggressive attempts to let others know how little you think about them or their advise.

 

Truth does not mean putting your focus on someone else's quit or advice or personality and sharing your conclusions.  Truth does not mean twisting facts to your way of thinking.  Truth does not mean poking fun at another quitter. 

 

We share here.  We offer advice.  We support.  We learn different ways and different behaviors and different points of view.  And we gain from them and we grow from them.  And we learn that each quitter is a magnificent human being with unique skills and talents who offers something precious to our site by simply being here and being honest.

 

Now you can be who you are here.  Even if you give your opinions and they are damaging.  Even if you are being snarky and it hurts someone else.  Even if you are wrong in what you say. That's the glory of this site.  Everyone is welcome and everyone can post a blog.

 

But don't call it being honest if all you are doing is being critical of another.  That's not honesty and that's not truth.  That's simply you being who you are. 

 

Thank you to the EX community for offering everyone a place to share their truths   I've seen you support even those who are a little less than kind.  I've seen you offer words of comfort, hope, and sweetness to those who answer with less than gratitude.  I've seen you encourage when you've been rejected and you still are here tomorrow. 

 

Truth?  I admire these quitters wholeheartedly.  I respect these quitters tremendously.  I'm in awe of their grace and courage and strength of character.  I strive to be more like them....the kindness, the caring, the gentle support....but this is who I am.

~~Create a life you don't need a vacation from.~~  Unknown

 

My quit journey is really what led me to creating a life I don't need a vacation from.  I stopped thinking of myself as a 'victim'.  I stopped bowing to people who didn't have my best interest at heart.  I stopped thinking "I can't" and I stopped stopping myself from reaching my potential.

 

Now?  Now I have a family I simply couldn't do without.  Now I have possibilities each and every day.  Now I have the courage to try.  Now I have an understanding of myself that takes me on adventures.

 

I forgave others and myself.  I set down the burdens I was carrying because they didn't need to come with me.  I reached for the positives.  I allowed myself to grieve over what was gone so I could heal.  I allowed myself anger so I could set boundaries.  I stopped apologizing for making mistakes and started allowing myself to recognize them as growing opportunities.

 

I stopped trying to control how others saw me and began to understand that those who love me, love me and those who don't, don't.  I started recognizing stress as just a way that I saw a particular situation or event and that stress was self-made.  I started rolling with the punches and allowing life to take me along.

 

I have my fair share of ups and downs.  I'm not perfect and I hurt sometimes...I am sad sometimes...I get so very tired sometimes.  But my joy is found in life itself and I am always grateful for one more breath, one more opportunity, one more day.

 

I hope you create a life you can be happy in.  I hope you create a life you can be proud of. And I hope you know that if you aren't, you have an opportunity to change that whenever you decide you want to.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The Burden

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Mar 9, 2020

~~Let go...How would your life be different if you learned to let go of the things that have already let go of you?  From relationships long gone, to old grudges, to regrets, to all the 'could've' and 'should've,' to the dead friendships you still hang on to....Free yourself from the burden of a past you cannot change.~~  Dr. Steve Maraboli

 

I hear it all the time here.  The regret of losing a quit.  The sorrow for not quitting soon enough.  The guilt for sneaking a few more even though the quit date had gone by.

 

Give yourself some grace, my friend, and release the need to beat yourself up.  You cannot change what's already occurred....and you deserve better that a life drenched in shame, regret, and guilt.  So you smoked.  You fell.  You took a step backwards.  And....you learned.

 

You learned that you don't want to be that serial quitter.  You learned that smoking changed nothing and that stress is still waiting for you to handle it.  You learned that it's ok to make mistakes and your actions by no means mirror who you are.  Because who you are is so much more than a lit cigarette.  Who you are is so much better than a swirling grey cloud of smoke.  Who you are deserves so much better than that next puff of poison.

 

Who you are is imperfectly perfect.  You live.  You err.  You learn.  You grow.  Because you are wise enough to know that learning doesn't happen in your comfort zone.  You learn by falling...by failing...by struggling....by being imperfect.  

 

So please, please let go of all that self-loathing.  You. Are. Learning.  At the beginning of your quit.  At 60 days.  At 120 days.  As you learn to live smoke free, you also learn how to navigate life without the addiction that chained you all those years ago.  You may stumble.  That's ok.  Take a deep breath and straighten on up.  You've got this.  You are ok with being imperfect.  You know that by learning, you grow your quit into exactly what you need it to be.

 

Believe in yourself.  You've got this.  No more doubts.  No more wondering.  No more fear.  You will move through your quit with quiet confidence and gentle courage.  Because you won't give in and you won't give up.  And that is to be respected and honored.  YOU are to be respected and honored.  

 

"Free yourself from the burden of a past you cannot change."  I like that.  I hope you do, too.  

~~It's funny how we outgrow what we once thought we couldn't live without, and then we fall in love with what we didn't even know we wanted.  Life keeps leading us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us.  Don't be afraid.  Have faith.  Find the lessons.~~  Unknown

 

And so it is even with smoking.  We don't think we can live without it.  Some don't really want to live without it.  But then we quit.  And slowly we emerge from the smoke and the smell and the poison and the addiction....and then life catches our attention!  We found out that we can sing beautifully!!  Or maybe we are in the midst of a cluttered home overhaul!!  Or maybe we went back to school and find out that we love it!!  Some are busy repairing broken relationships...finding self-love...enjoying nature...starting a new, exciting job...life itself has endless possibilities for adventure and growth and journeys.

 

And if our families didn't 'pressure' us to quit smoking?  If the studies didn't catch our attention?  If society didn't frown upon it?  If it didn't cost so much?  If it were up to us alone?  Would we be here?  

 

Don't be afraid of your quit.  It is opening up life that would otherwise be passed by in a haze of smoke.  Because addiction robs us of so many beautiful, wonderful, interesting paths.  Not saying that smokers by any means lead boring lives....just lives that are interrupted by 'just one' 20 to 40 times a day.  Hiking?  lets take a break so I can smoke.  Painting?  I'm just going to step outside for a moment.  Cleaning house?  Boy, do I deserve to sit down and smoke.  

 

Quitters, on the other hand, move from one adventure to the next not worrying about 'just one'.  Quitters can flow from one activity to the next.  Quitters can relax with a cup of coffee and a good book.  Yoga and nature.  A garden and sunshine.

 

Let life take you by the hand and show you adventure!  Let life engage you in living your wildest dreams!  Let life help you fulfill your goals.  Don't be afraid to turn towards living smoke free.  It's glorious   

 

And during those times that are not so glorious...during the hard times...the sad times...the less than good times...let life comfort you.  Support you.  Help you through.  There is no need to hurt yourself by smoking.  The hard time will still be present when you're done with that cigarette.  It changed nothing.  It healed nothing.  It hurt you.

 

Don't be afraid of your quit...life is waiting for you.  Go play   

~~Sometimes, it only takes one person to change your life.  One to be there for you, to push you, to believe in you.  It only takes one.~~  Unknown

 

My son was talking the other day about the 7+billion people in the world.  Wow!!  And we only hear about, read about, watch maybe....what?  100?  Between celebrities, politicians, internet 'influencers', sports stars....those are who people know.

 

But most of us glide through life under the radar of notoriety or celebrity.  We aren't Mother Theresa.  We aren't Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters.  There's only one Oprah.  All the people who have 'achieved' their dreams and made a name for themselves while doing it.

 

I don't know how many of you want to make a name for yourself...but you do here.  With every kind word you write, you make a difference.  With every wise post, with every sweet gesture, with every encouraging thought expressed...you make a difference.

 

Each minute you take from your day to be here...it's noticed.  The time you devote to helping others...it's appreciated.  The sharing you do, the laughter you bring, the propping up and the hand holding you offer....you make a difference.  And this site may not be the United Nations or CNN or YouTube, but it plays a vital role in saving people's lives.  YOU play a vital role in saving people's lives.  One of my favorite all time quotes says:  "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. And go do it.  Because what this world needs is people who have come alive."  I believe that this site is filled with people who have come alive.  And they want to share it and pass it on and let others know that they, too, can come alive.

 

Out of the 7+billion people in the world, my friends, I am here to say that YOU are needed here.  YOU make a difference.  YOU make this site what it is.  Never doubt your importance, never doubt your impact, never doubt that you have changes someone's life for the better.  You have made yourself a name here, you have brought a unique vitality to us, and, oh my goodness, how your words and personality heart shine! 

 

To the elders...to the newbies...to those who come and go....I thank you.  I thank you for taking time with that smoker who has decided the time isn't right for her to quit.  Your words mattered to her.  I thank you for supporting that quitter who lost a loved one.  It's obvious you care.  I thank you for looking for those who haven't been heard from for a while.  No one should be forgotten.  I thank you for showing me that the world isn't passing us by but rather including us in it's journey.  That knowledge is priceless.