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Giulia Blog

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Why Elders are Elders

Posted by Giulia Champion Aug 16, 2018

You listening, newbies? The majority of Elder's here (those with a one year quit or more) who are still active (I can't speak for the ones who don't participate on a daily basis), never stop seeking and gaining knowledge about this addiction. Whether it’s knowledge about the tools to overcome cravings, or information about COPD, or about how nicotine works on our brains and ways to combat it. They read every link proffered. I think we Elders gobble it up. Why? I suspect for a number of reasons.


It keeps us emotionally and intellectually involved and active in our quits. It’s part of our quit maintenance and helps keep our quits secure. I also think many Elders have an ongoing curiosity about this addiction and their relationship to it. Speaking for myself, even though I quit over 12 years ago, I still find the topic interesting, and I pass on whatever new information I learn.


In line with that last thought - it helps all of us disseminate the greatest and latest knowledge about smoking and quitting to the newly initiated on this journey. For we have come to understand that knowledge is the key to success.

So the Elder's here, I would say on the whole (correct me if I'm wrong my fellow Elders), keep up the study of this addiction. They keep up their homework, so to speak by doing so. I think that with this addiction, (with any addiction) you really do need to stay actively attentive and participate in your abstinence from it and education about it.  Because the psychological “pull” of your emotional pleasure source comes on strong in emotionally needy times. Not just in your first week or month, but throughout your quitting journey.


When you understand that aspect of the process and accept it, when you understand the seductive nature of excuses and refuse them, when you’re willing to submit yourself to the fire of this rite of passage, you will find the Freedom of which we speak. But it really all stems from the education we get through reading. And the total ‘no-matter-what’ commitment we make.


And a PS - it’s not just Elders here who do this kind of in-depth study. It’s the new members who “get it.” Those who do their homework and sound like Elders in their responses. You can hear them. You know who they are. They don’t just spout the words of wisdom that came before them, they speak in their own quit language. And it’s a language stemming from their own personal knowledge and experience.  And we Elders can tell, right from the get-go many times whether a quitter will make it or not just in the language and approach they use.


When you “get it,” it really doesn’t matter at which stage you are. Elder, younger, newbie, oldbie - when you “get it” - you’re on your way to the cure for the desire for a cigarette. And that’s what we all want, right?!


Part of what got me here

Posted by Giulia Champion Aug 2, 2018

I found this old content of mine back from 2008 that I put up here two years after I quit (on another site), and thought wow, there's a lot of good advice here. And it's buried way back in my blogs.  Perhaps it should be brought back up.   These people taught me how to get to where I am now with a 12 year quit.  Need I say anything else?  Except perhaps - read the blogs of the Elders here.  There's a lot of educating going on there in their blogs.  If you want to know how it's done, how to do it, read it from those who have the years of successful experience at it.  That's what I did.


WISE WORDS (that helped me when I first quit) 


Waiting for the Right Time?

Posted by Giulia Champion Jun 16, 2018

Sitting on the fence?


You know you should quit.  Right?  You’re no dummy.  And you may have tried, kinda, sorta, not too seriously in the past.  You may have made it a couple of days or weeks or even a couple of months.  And you may have done that several times over the course of several years.  Only to return to your comfortable smoking self.  But then - here you are on this web site reading this blog.  Why?


Because you KNOW that smoking is destroying your health.  Because you’re not stupid.  Because perhaps you are starting to feel the consequences of smoking after 5 or 20 or 40 years.  You’re starting to cough more.  You can’t quite catch your breath after exercise the way you used to.  You’re starting to have more incidents of bronchitis in the winter, or....


What all quitters fear is that fateful diagnosis:  LUNG CANCER. What you don’t understand is that a diagnosis of COPD, or emphysema, heart disease or any other of the smoking related diseases are just as life debilitating. Let alone you probably haven’t been educated about the secondary non life threatening, but still not-so-much-fun diseases, like Periodontal disease.  Are your teeth shaky in your gums?  Having more extractions?  Well, smoking contributes greatly to gum disease.  They don’t talk about that when they talk about why we all should quit smoking.  What about sight problems.  Macular degeneration.  The longer you smoke the higher your risk of macular degeneration.  Never heard of it?  Look it up.  It won’t kill you, but your quality of life will definitely suffer if you can no longer see.


What ARE you waiting for?  That particular diagnosis that tells you you waited too long?


Quit NOW, before it's "after the fact."  You will NOT be invulnerable to the effects of smoking.  Believe it.  It’s true.  You know that.  That’s why you’re here. Right?


You really can’t afford to wait until it’s after the fact.  The right time is NOW!


Make Quitting a Priority

Posted by Giulia Champion Mar 3, 2018

Many people know they SHOULD quit but make only a half-assed attempt at it.  Nobody WANTS to quit.  They WANT to be free of the addiction, the desire to smoke, but that's different from wanting to quit.  I didn't want to have to "give up" smoking, I just wanted to be free of the NEED to smoke.  I wanted to be in control of it, not the reverse.  When one does the reading on here you learn that you simply CAN'T be in control of it.  It owns you.  There is no such things as a “now and then” smoker.  It’s all or nothing with us.


The casual half-assed attempter is never gonna make it.  As we long-term quitters keep saying over and over: this takes commitment. Total commitment.  A “no matter what” agreement to abstain.  It must become a priority in your life. Focused attention on the goal is a DAILY necessity.  Most of us with quit longevity spent time every day on a support site during the initial stages of our quits.  You can't be casual about it.  You may want to quit or you may not, I didn't, but that doesn't matter (though it helps).  If you set a goal and if you expend the necessary energy and time, study and perseverance, you WILL achieve it.


As an actress I have studied sense memory.  It can enable you to feel an emotion from the past.  So I really "get" that part of the addiction. I’ve occasionally used sense memory to re-connect to strong emotions in my life in order to replay them for a character I’m portraying.  There are many things that can trigger sense memory.  Perhaps one of the strongest is scent.  You’ll smell the perfume your mother wore and she comes alive again.  (Or a cigarette.)   Music is another strong one - a song will bring back incredible memories.  For those who reach for a cigarette during stressful times - stress has become a sense memory.


One of Uta Hagen's acting exercises was to take an object and spend time with it, give it an imaginary history, imbue it with a connection.  Could be something as simple as a glass.  When you sit there with that glass and imagine that it came from your great great grandmother (let say), or you won it at a carnival with your boyfriend the day you broke up, or it was the last glass your mother had in her hand.... Spend just 10 minutes making up a story about that glass, and every time you see it, it will now have a new value to you, a new meaning.  It's no longer just a glass.  It’s become important.  And the way you hold and touch it will be different. Same is true with smoking and the same is true with your quit.


The casual, the spur-of-the-moment quitter needs to understand that they must spend time with their quits. The more time one spends educating themselves - discovering, reading, learning -   not only about the addiction but about themselves in relation to it, the more precious and important the goal becomes. And the more important the goal becomes, the more likely one is to push through those nasty cravings.


So make quitting a priority and spend time with it.  You’ll truly understand it’s value when you do.  And when you have it, nourish it, cherish it like it's the most precious gift of your life.  Because without it, your quality of life will eventually be compromised.


(some of this is a re-working of previous material)

First we crawled. Then we learned to walk. We learned how to read and write. We learned how to ride a bike and sometimes fell off. And we learned from that falling off. Some of us learned how to drive, and swim, be good at a sport, or learned how to play an instrument. All those activities were acquired skills. To my mind quitting is no different.


What are the steps necessary in becoming a Champion Quitter? Well, think about the steps necessary for learning any skill.


Step 1: Education

If you’re thrown into a pool without knowing how to swim, you may manage to hysterically flail your way to the edge, but you’re likely never to go near water again. So it’s wise to start out in the shallow end and learn how to paddle first.

Same is true with quitting. The first thing prescribed is the necessity for education. We need to educate ourselves about the addiction - understand what happens to our brains when we smoke. We need to learn about our particular relationship to the addiction - study when, where and why we smoke - determine our triggers. And we need to come to a healthy understanding of our excuses. When we learn that putting "just one" cigarette in our mouth will inevitably lead to relapse, for example, we’ve learned that we need to adhere to the NOPE (Not One Puff Ever) tenet.

Step 2: Attitude.

Attitude plays an enormous role in the quitting process. It can help us or hurt us and the right mind set can make the difference between success and failure. One doesn’t even have to WANT to quit smoking. (Though it helps!)  But “right thinking” carries us longer and further down that smoke-free track and helps to ease the discomfort.  So does humor. We need to find the right hooks to keep us motivated, positive and excited.  That’s some of our required homework.

Step 3: Preparation and Planning

Part of our education centers around planning for the journey ahead. You don’t tromp off into the wilderness without a map, a water bottle and a good pair of shoes.  Same is true for quitting.  We must prepare for the pitfalls and triggers to come.  We need to understand our patterns and our emotional connection to cigarettes.  We have conditioned ourselves to be their slave, and we need to learn to de-condition by modifying our behaviors  - for a while - and altering our thoughts and closely held beliefs.  Quitting requires an open mind and a willingness to change.  It also requires a well-stocked quit kit of things to do instead, techniques for re-focusing, and items of positive reinforcement.


Step 4: Commitment and Perseverance

Without a one hundred percent commitment, a “no-matter-what” commitment, any success achieved will be short lived. Quitting takes a great deal of energy.  And when the energy flags, which it will, commitment will keep us on the track. Commitment is the parent of perseverance.  If one is committed, one will persevere.  Acceptance is an offspring.  When one commits fully to the journey, one accepts all that the journey encompasses. The good, the bad, the nasty, the sad, the ugly.  We will become very vulnerable.  But through acceptance we will learn that it’s ok to love ourselves, despite ourselves.  For what are we really doing but listening to that best part of us.


Step 4: Maintenance

Many is the quitter who returns to the slavery of this addiction because they didn’t maintain their quit.  They stopped paying attention and forgot the things they’d learned.   Didn't remember that “just one,” means a hundred and one. Didn’t remember what Day One feels like. They forgot their vulnerability to the addiction, and forgot that any reason to light up is simply an excuse born of the addicted mind.


If you have a car you change it’s oil. Top off it’s fluids. If you don’t, your car won’t last too long. Same is true with a quit. It doesn’t take a great deal of maintenance. Come back to this web site once a month or every other month. Six times a year isn’t too demanding. Read some blogs, rummage around Best of EX, offer a bit of support. It reconnects your brain to your quit. Reminds you of what you’ve been through, and reinforces the reasons you took the journey to begin with.

Today is my 12th year quit anniversary. I believe it is so because I studied hard, committed fully, accepted my choice to remain smoke free and I continue to perform necessary maintenance by staying connected to this wonderful site with all you beautiful, loving amazing supporters. I know without a doubt that support is what made this quit stick.


Thank you, family, for taking the journey with me. It just gets better and better.  


, Giulia


I Met a Champ Today!

Posted by Giulia Champion Jan 21, 2018

Eat your heart out kids!  Guess who I got to visit with today?  Sassy!  Aka Sharon.  Aka shashort  She and her husband, Bill, rolled up to our front door around 2 pm today on their way back from Pigeon Forge to Indianapolis (only about an extra 7 hours out of their way!)  and we just spent the most delightful four hours or so together.  What a hoot and a half.  But much too brief.  She is everything I thought she'd be and more (if that's possible!).  She even walked upstairs (in that darn "boot" she still has to wear) to take a look at our "ugly room."  A big old room that houses paraphernalia from all the shows my husband and I have been in plus things from our childhood, his old toy cars, old comic books, etc., a pair of hippie jeans of mine from the 60's (did I ever have a waist that small?)  


We had lunch and just talked and talked, about... well, everything.  About our lives, about today's 'youth,' about people on this site who have relapsed and whom we hope will come back into the fold.  The guys told of their own quit experiences.  Both got over theirs easy peasy.  (Nya nya nya nya nya!)  Bill joked about the fact that HE didn't need nor get a special 'vacation'' when HE quit.  Referring to our EX reunions.  Laugh out loud time.  He's got the greatest sense of humor.  Interestingly in talking about the "youth" of today, and how lacking they are in discipline and all that goes along with that, it kept reminding Sharon and me of this site and what we continue to say over and over again.  And the discipline necessary with which to approach and maintain a quit.  Your precepts in life go hand and hand with those of your quit.  If you have them to begin with, it makes it easier.  If you don't, then you sure as heck will learn them through the quitting process.  Because quitting WILL give those precepts. 


If you want to know what you need to do and be during your struggles with quitting, one of the Elders here to pay attention to is Sharon.  She's been through hell and back and maintained her quit DESPITE it.  She is one of the Champions on this site.  (And she's not alone in this.)  Strive to be like her, and you can't go wrong.


Before they left I made sure that we got some pictures together.  To tell you how comfortable I felt in their company, I said to Bill after he had taken a couple of shots with my camera "You're worthless!"  More mirth, more laughter, more pictures.  Here are a few.....  (The ones he took on his cell phone were much better, by the way!)  


This meeting will linger long in my heart.  Thank you Sharon and Bill for going way out of your way to grace us with your presence.  It makes my heart sing and will continue to do so until the next, (I hope) visit.


(PS - I got permission to put my blog out first!  'Cause she's not home yet.  Hers is coming about her entire trip.  Wait for it......!  And no, we didn't take any picture of the easy peasy guys.  They don't deserve pictures!  lol)





Quit For Life Info

Posted by Giulia Champion Jan 17, 2018

I was just looking at November SAG-AFTRA Health Plan Newsletter and there was an article about the free Quit for Life Program  I wanted to learn more specifically about the NRT's they offer, because many on here have inquired as to how to get free NRTs.  Thought I would just pass on what I was told when I called them.


The program is offered in 26 states only.  First, you must join/enroll in the Counselling Service/program to receive free NRTs.  You are assigned a quit coach and will have a phone conversation with them once every other week for several months.  They also do check-back/follow up emails at 3, 6, 9 month and at one-year.  Can't imagine how talking with a counselor ever OTHER week can help a whole lot.  (Though the literature states:  "you can call their toll free support line and talk to a quit coach 24/7.")  Heck, just hang out here in the EX support community.  You'll be able to communicate with a whole bunch of quit coaches 24/7.  And these people have actually gone through the process themselves unlike many "accredited" quit coaches.


The NRT that you receive and the (amount) length of time they are provided varies from state to state.  For example in TN they offer two weeks of patches.  In Mississippi it's the gum.  If you're receiving medicaid, that also can change your qualification status.  


I asked if they had an on-line support community and was told they did not.  Which is a real pity.  In my experience a support group can make all the difference between a successful quit and a failure.  People who just go to that site, for example, and have never been introduced to EX are at a distinct disadvantage.  (Although having since read the literature, it states:  "You'll get access to a private, online community where you can...... join in discussions with others in the program." So I'm not sure which is really true.  The literature also says they have 25,000 active members.  Would be interesting to know how many active members EX has in comparison and what quantifiers are used to determine "active" status by both sites.: i.e. how many times a week/month/year does one have to sign in to the site to be considered such.) 


This support community (to my mind) is the best support community out there.  And the site has the affiliation with the Mayo Clinic which ain't too shabby!  The Quit for Life program is a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and Optum.  (Optum seems to be a health management company employed by corporations to try to lessen health care costs, from what I can gather.)   Interestingly they say:  "Participants who have not used tobacco in the last 30 days are considered to have quit."  Which no doubt ups their statistical success rates.  As most of us with experienced long-term quits know - 30 days does not a quit make.  


Anyway, just wanted to pass on what I learned today.  A long-term quitter is an actively engaged quitter.


New Year - New Resolution

Posted by Giulia Champion Jan 4, 2018

How many of us have made New Years resolutions that ultimately went nowhere?   Why were some of us successful and others not so?


I think the answer lies in a variety of reasons. But this isn’t just about New Year’s resolutions. It’s about the quitting resolution itself.


1. Education

If you’re a New Years quitter and haven’t really given much thought to what the journey is going to entail - you’re likely to not make much headway.  If you’re going for a trip in the wilderness first you need to understand what the trip is all about and where it will take you.  You need a map. (We can give it to you.)  Then you need to learn how to stay safe during the journey.


2. Preparation

With the education you’ve gotten and the map in hand, you then need to understand what’s necessary for a safe trip.  So you read about the terrain (relapse traps), the temperature variances for the clothing you might need (i.e. mood swings); how to protect yourself against wild animals if necessary (what you’ll do in the case of cravings); where to find your water sources (support) and you make sure you carry enough water with you, etc.  You don’t just park your car and walk into the forest for a camping trip without a map and the camping equipment necessary.   At least I hope you don’t. (I’m talking about camping in the wild, here, not just camping in some safe designated campground. The quitting campground is definitely not safe.)


3. Commitment

If you have a fear of quitting because you’ve tried in the past and you know how difficult and unpleasant the trip is, get over it.  If you want to take the journey into the brush to capture that one incredible sunrise with that magnificent animal drinking from the pool - you simply have to go there.  The sunrise is worth the unpleasantness.  Those photographers that head out for National Geographic to capture the amazing unique splendor of God’s creations - they sit there in incredible discomfort for hours and days and months just to get that one shot. There is no time limit for them on the commitment they make for the joy of achieving that.  You don’t know the joy yet.  Trust that the freedom we speak of will be worth taking the time for the photo op and that there will be joy at the end of the journey.  But also understand that without that kind of commitment, you are not likely to achieve that photo of yourself smoke free.


4. Acceptance and the Agreement

If you think there’s going to be some magic potion (NRT) or mind trick (hypnosis) or substitute (e-cig) that will make all cravings go away - think again.  NRTs lessen cravings.  They don’t remove them.  The Allen Carr book is a tool that helps us think in a different way.  But it won’t, ultimately, take away that next craving.  What that book does is simply give us a new way of looking at and thinking about our addiction.  It’s especially useful in the beginning of our quits when everything is new and exciting.  When we get past that stage, then we move into the next and most difficult phase,

which is quit maintenance.  And this is the time we need to truly accept and agree with the choice we made.


This is the time to remember why we chose the journey to begin with. The time to reflect on the benefits we’ve gained. The time to truly accept but most importantly - agree to the choice we made to quit. Agreeing to the choice is easy in the beginning.  Much harder after months of struggle.  And quitting for the long term takes a different playbook.


5. Stamina & Maintenance

In order to free ourselves from this addiction for the long run - that “Forever” quit that people refer to here - we must have stamina and perseverance, but most importantly we must practice maintenance. Quitting is a large investment emotionally and behaviorally. To go through the slings and arrows of cravings, to finally get to the other side and not maintain vigilance is - well stupid. You invest in a car, you get oil changes, right?


There will come a time in your quit (if you hang in long enough) when you really don’t think about smoking much any more. And so you drift away from the site and the continuing education and the support, and you forget all about where you came from and the cost of your quit. And the day or the odd occasion arises when a friend offers a cigarette, and that thought of “just one” occurs, and you have that “just one,” (because you’ve forgotten you simply can’t have just one) and then you’re back to smoking as much as you always have until you return for another day one. And it could be YEARS of smoking before that happens.


I truly believe that relapse for a long-term quitter would not happen if quitters maintained their quits. Obviously this is not always the case. But oft enough it is.

How do you maintain a quit? It’s oh so easy. Just stay connected to your smoking roots by continuing education. It could be just staying connected here on BecomeAnEx.  By reading the struggles of those going through the initial stages and being reminded of what you went through.  Or by offering support here or in your community.  Or discovering new methods of lessening cravings or overcoming this addiction by new scientific learning.  It all comes down to staying connected.


Stay aware. Stay mindful of your journey to freedom. Otherwise you might forget the cost and preciousness of it all and take it for granted. And that just might be your ticket back to another day one.


Craving Time?

Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 2, 2017

Stop it in it's tracks.  

How? - focus on something else.  ANYTHING else.

Think about why you're on this site.  REALLY think about it.  Why did you join this site?  

Something in you is yelling that you need to quit smoking. Right?  Trust that kernel of the best of you.  It knows what's best FOR you.  


Our Mission Impossible isn't impossible.  If you're willing to accept it.....


Are you?


WE DID, and we we're no different than you.  So we know YOU CAN!





Posted by Giulia Champion Nov 20, 2017

Tomorrow.  I'll quit tomorrow.  If you're a serial quitter, there is ALWAYS an excuse to put that next cigarette in your mouth.  And you know that's the truth of the matter.  You can't quit 95 times and not "get" that. How many tomorrow's have you agreed to?  How many tomorrow's have you lost?


Even if you're brand new at this quitting thing - if you're not totally committed, there is ALWAYS an excuse to say "well there's always tomorrow..."  "I didn't make it today, but tomorrow....."


You know what?  There will always be a "tomorrow" as far as your quit date is concerned - until you eliminate the option to smoke no matter what, why, where or when.   


The problem is, there may come a point where there will never be another tomorrow to quit BEFORE the time when 

you've passed that point of no return healthwise.  Once you've gotten to the stage of COPD or emphysema or lung cancer or....   At that point the concept of "tomorrow" takes on a whole new meaning.


Don't wait to get there.


I hope you get to your "tomorrow" before today is over.  

Quitting is easy when we're in the mood.  Until we get rid of every excuse to do so, we will smoke. Why? Because this is an addiction. And excuses are the game that our brain plays with us.  


Quitting is about eliminating not only the excuses from our playbook, but agreeing with ourselves to do so. Which means ACCEPTING our decision.  Permanently accepting our decision. Not just today.


It's really EASY to quit when we're sick or run out of money to buy more, or when it’s New Years or our birthday, or when we're "in the mood" to quit. The problem is - there's the next day.  When we feel better, when we have the money to buy a pack, when the celebratory moment is over and our mood says I WANT one and there is nothing that stands in it’s way, because we haven’t prepared. We haven’t educated ourselves, we haven’t done our homework. We're just acting on impulse.


Quitting can’t be based upon our moods because our moods are constantly changing depending upon the emotions that bombard us every single day. And what are moods but emotions?


If you want to quit, you have to eliminate everything that your addicted brain can come up with that gives you an excuse to go to that store around the corner, bum that cigarette, or accept the one offered by a “friend.” And too, you have to ignore the one that you just found in an old coat pocket that has “Smoke Me” written on it.


How do you do that? You do it first by educating yourself about this addiction, and then making a rock solid commitment - a “no matter what” kind of commitment. There are numerous long-term quitters on here who have gone through hell and back in their personal lives and still maintained their quits. Because they had that “no matter what” kind of commitment.


That’s what freedom from this addiction takes. Are you willing?


Best of EX Advisory Board II

Posted by Giulia Champion Nov 8, 2017

Forgive me, Community, for not getting back to this discussion before now. I really just didn't know how to go about forming such an advisory board. And still don't. My forte lies more in the creative than the corporate mindset. Ever since Mark suggested the Advisory Board, I felt it was no longer appropriate for me to just add material to Best of EX on my own as I used to do. So I didn't. But I do have the many suggestions that have been presented to me over the past several months (the links to blogs recommended), and will readily pass them on to the Board once it's formed.


Most of the comments on my original blog concerning this feel that a 5 person Board would be an appropriate number with perhaps 4 active Elders and 1 newer active member. Most thought that a rotating board would be a good idea (possibly 2 permanent with 3 rotating).


To summarize some other suggestions:


  • Four votes would be required to carry a recommendation in.
  • The content should be perused to see if it’s still pertinent/valid, if not archive that which isn't.
  • Because the list will get longer and longer over time, the point was made that there should be a limit to the amount of material posted. When the limit is reached, those blogs/discussions would be archived.
  • There should be some permanent, non-archivable Bests (glued stickies).
  • Perhaps set voting periods (quarterly or once a month), with a limit to the amount of entries.


As Best of EX is no longer under my jurisdiction, I would suggest anyone who is interested in being on the Board, contact Mark to let him know.  He's much better at this kind of thing than I.


I apologize for not getting back to this discussion ere now. It’s more than past time for new Best of EX material.


You’re the BEST!

Sometimes after many days or months, or even years - a craving may take you by surprise.  Be prepared and stay strapped into your commitment.







Can Do It Street

Posted by Giulia Champion Oct 28, 2017

This is a part of a blog I  wrote way back in 2008 here called WISE WORDS (that helped me when I first quit). The piece is not mine.  I wish I knew who wrote it.  I think it needs to be newly highlighted as it holds universal truths for all us quitters.  It speaks to all levels of our journeys through life.  Not just the quitting one.  But especially speaks to the serial quitter in us. The one who has tried and tried and is here to try again.  I hope it brings you to freedom.





I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."

I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed.

One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. GOD BLESS you in finding this great place. If you can find it -- it's in your own heart -- please look me up. I live on I Can Do It Street.


Quantum Leaps

Posted by Giulia Champion Sep 26, 2017

Eric (ChangoGrande ) turned me onto this blog by Steve Pavlina.  I thought it might be of value to many here.  I've edited it to make it a wee bit shorter, as it's even longer than what I copied here.  Those items in parens are my doing, as are the bold emphases. 

" thing I can tell you from all of this effort is that personal growth is very, very hard.... If you think you can read one book or article on (xxxxxx) and instantly erase (xxxxxx) disorder from your life forever, that’s an extremely unrealistic expectation. While a single book can potentially lead you to a big change, (i.e. the Allan Carr book) most won’t. When you experience a big change in your life, it’s probably the result of a long chain of events, of which reading a particular book was only a small but perhaps critical part.
Personal growth experiences often occur in the form of a quantum leap — a strong and radical shift from one mindset to another. There may be a number of small steps leading up to that leap, but at some point there is a big change, and it happens in an instant." 
"You decide you’re done smoking, and you quit for life. These decisions can happen in a mere second – a moment of clarity suddenly hits you, and you know what you have to do. A quantum leap occurs, and from that moment on, you’re never the same again. Some of these leaps appear more gradual than others, but virtually all of them can be traced back to a moment of decision. At some point you made a decision to change. And even before you manifest this change in your physical reality, you immediately know you’re not the same anymore."
"It’s rare that reading a single book will produce a quantum leap. Quantum leaps require a large amount of consistent input and energy..... It may also occur after lots of time spent thinking positively about what life will be like after the shift. Both positive and negative factors can help generate a quantum leap.
Most of the time when people pursue personal growth, they simply don’t invest enough time and energy in a consistent direction to achieve a quantum leap. Maybe you’ve read a book on getting organized, and while you were reading it, the positive energy you experienced moved you closer to making a leap. You felt fairly certain at the time that this was going to work. But then you finished the book (or got sidetracked and didn’t finish it), and the impact of the book gradually faded. You never reached the quantum leap that allowed you to break through to a new level of order in your life. Over a period of days or weeks, your old pattern reasserted itself. Sound familiar?
But it wasn’t the book or the ideas themselves that failed you. The problem was that you didn’t invest enough sustained energy in the same direction to achieve the quantum leap. You never reached the point of no return. Reading a single book was only a small, short-term nudge, albeit in the right direction."
"  In order for a rocket launched from earth to reach outer space, the rocket must exert a sufficient amount of sustained force to overcome the earth’s gravity. If the rocket’s engines cut out prematurely, the rocket will crash back to earth. Just as it can take a massive amount of sustained force to put a rocket into orbit, recognize that there are certain areas of your life where you may need a large force to knock you into a higher state. Small efforts over a long period of time may do absolutely nothing for you. "
"So what does work? How do you achieve a quantum leap? You need to exert some effort in a particular direction where you want to grow, and you need to consistently sustain it until you achieve a quantum leap. If you stop short, you’ll likely fall right back to where you started. So first of all, if you’re going to target a new quantum leap, you need to commit to sustaining that effort until you hit the leap.
"This is why I say personal growth is very hard. Effecting a quantum leap is tough work. It requires a strong force of sustained effort, and you can’t let up until you hit the leap. If you get sidetracked for too long, you have to start over again."
"But the bright side is that after you make the leap, you can rest for a bit. You’ve reached a higher state, and you’re going to stay there by default, just as a satellite in orbit will remain in orbit."
" Quitting smoking may be very difficult. But if you’ve been a nonsmoker for years, it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to remain a nonsmoker; you may need to make some adjustments along the way, but they’ll be minor compared to the initial energy required to quit."
"So how would you pursue such a goal as a quantum leaper?"
"Immerse yourself in your goal. Get clear on your exact goal, and write it down in your own words. Post your goal somewhere you’ll see it every day."
Educate yourself on what it will take to achieve your goal. And I mean really educate yourself to the point where you become an expert. Keep pouring knowledge into your head until you succeed — continuously. Don’t just read one book on the subject. Read 10. Then read 10 more. Then 10 more. Listen to audio programs. Talk to experts. Never let up on your self-education.
"Alter your environment to support the achievement of your goal."
"Consciously change the people you spend the most time with such that your goal is supported by those around you." 
"One reason people fail to achieve a quantum leap is that they make only a meager effort in these four areas. They don’t get really clear about what they want and keep their goals in their face every day. They invest only a few hours in education instead of several hundred. They maintain an environment that fails to reinforce their new identity. And they continue to cling to people who hold them back. Year after year they remain stuck."
"Yes it’s a lot of hard work to achieve a quantum leap in any of these areas, but I think the alternative of stagnation is worse. You can pursue the quick fix methodology and fall flat on your face over and over. Or you can accept that the change you want is going to be hard and that it may take years to achieve, but it will be worth it. And best of all, once you’ve gone through a few quantum leaps, you may learn to enjoy the process of building up to the next one. It’s deeply satisfying to look back on your previous state of being and see how much you’ve grown."

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