As the weekend arrived, I was a little nervous. I'd been working all week, and as my quit started on Monday, I was fairly preoccupied working all day, going to yoga (most days), and working out at the gym. Actually having free time was to be a test, and Friday night was the first time I felt the pull of weakness.
As with every day this week, I arrived to work at 7 a.m., and worked until 3:30 p.m. Afterward, I had committed to taking a train ride across the bridge to Oakland to meet a dear friend whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. (We don't live that far from each other, but we're just those kind of friends that can neglect each other for an extended period of time because we're assured that our love for each other keeps us divinely tethered).
This was to be a special occasion because we planned to see a special screening of our favorite movie, "The Big Lebowski" at a beautifully ornate old classic theatre (think art deco, velvet & gold, and rooms inside rooms inside rooms). As with the last screening we attended quite a few years ago in a dingy theatre in San Francisco, the sweet rank smell of marijuana started wafting through the theatre from a mysterious source once the movie began (it's a tradition with the movie. If you don't know, and are the least bit interested, look it up). It was the first trigger I encountered in my confrontation with weakness, as I often smoked marijuana when I would smoke cigarettes at night.
The movie is so good, so funny, even without such partaking in such stimuli, and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening out with my old friend, finally making it home around 11 p.m. after a very long day. The heavy pull of weakness was felt in simply finding relief from being around and engaged with people all day, and then finally achieving the payoff of sweet solitude. It's like getting out of your formal clothes after having worn them stiffly all day, and changing into fresh, fluffy, clean pajamas. Previously in this scenario, I would close myself off in my bedroom, open the window, and smoke languidly while leaning on the sill. It was my end-of-day ritual, and now I had to work through the change I'd initiated. Of course, I thought, "Well, maybe I can just declare this time right now as not really being part of the journey, an exemption from reality, and I can just pick it up again tomorrow, no problem"...but I know the folly of that thought, and recognized the pattern...so I just fixed myself a fat egg white omelet slathered in tomato paste, showered and preened, and stared at television for an hour before going to bed. Day #5 was in the bag!
I would have liked to just sleep for 16 hours since I was off today, because my sleep hasn't been great the past few days as I go through withdrawal, but I had committed to volunteering at my yoga studio --cleaning in exchange for doing yoga for free-- and I needed to do yoga anyway since I hadn't for the past couple of days. I got up at 7 a.m. to take a 9 a.m. class, and as I was moving through each of the poses, I could feel strength coming from me that I hadn't felt in a while. My lung capacity was increasing! I felt myself breathing deeper, and then able to go deeper into certain poses. I've heard it said that breath is life, and I have to say I'm starting to feel a little more alive with the feeling of accomplishment and incentive to keep going, and breathing, deeper. In short, I feel relief to have been able to give myself another chance.
After my morning of working in the yoga studio, which I hardly count as working since I'm "working" in bare feet and not supervised by anyone --maybe it's like a thinking meditation, I don't know-- , I went to the gym for a nice shoulder workout, then followed my crazy notion to take a second class. As I lay on my mat waiting for the classroom lights to come on, I started nodding off, and wondered if I hadn't made a rash decision. Once the class began though, I felt a lot stronger than I expected in the first hour. The last half hour, however, I just felt like I was getting my ass kicked, pushing myself to get through it, which I barely did. As the cowboy said in "The Big Lebowski" : Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.
Speaking of which, I'd pretty much forgotten to eat all day, mostly foraging on snacks like an apple, a granola bar, a protein bar, and plenty of water. When I left the class, I was blind with hunger. So that was the problem in the second class, and a common problem at that. I forget to eat. I made my way desperately to a Vietnamese restaurant, ordered 2 fat tofu spring rolls, a beef bowl with veggies and brown rice, and a hearty cup of bone broth. Then I stopped at another place to get a nice bowl of frozen yogurt, which was just before I stopped at the grocery store to grab some of my favorite trail mix and some milk to make a nightcap protein shake. And you know what? I don't feel guilty. I worked too damn hard. I'm going to post this, and watch a little tv as I levitate on the couch. I might even drool while I'm doing it. I don't feel guilty about that either.
But you know why I especially won't feel any guilt tonight? Because I'm not going to smoke. I want to see what else I can achieve within myself. Day #6 is a done deal.
The Dude Abides.