On stumbling….

Yes, life is a dance, that whole two steps forward one step back…sometimes one step forward two steps back.  I get frustrated with myself on such occasions where my stumbling lands me back at a place I struggled to get out of.  Recently I quit smoking, for what seemed like the 100th time (in reality it probably was my 10th really good one…meaning longer than 3 weeks with really good intentions of being DONE).  Well, the last time I quit prior to this I went through quite the ordeal, the bad moods, the restless sleeps, the headaches and worst of all, the weight gain.  I swore it would be my last time putting myself through it.

Now I’ve quit again, a month into it and I went through it all again, all for the non-pleasure of falling back into the trap for a mere month.  It was a colossal waste of energy and time. Yes, I am proud that I made the choice to quit again, but I don’t want to spend my life fighting the same battles over and over again all because these battles are familiar and I know how to win them.  I need next level business. I need a new view of life, this one has become dull.  Going back to the gym to lose the same 5 lbs I’ve lost 100 times before, instead of moving towards a new level of fitness.

I am taking on new things this year, I am finding my way back towards the dreams I had before I learned to doubt myself. That requires NEW beliefs…I have become certain I know what is best for me, how to attain the goals I wish to achieve, now its time to put new plans into action.  Now its time to do and be not want and need.  Theres a saying “When you know better you do better”.  Yes we are supposed to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, but the “moving on” requires that we learn from them and then MOVE ON…no more repetition for me…goodbye cigarettes, hello new and healthy body!

Advertisements

On Change

I am in the midst of change, though aren’t we all? Change, the one inevitability, the one thing we can count on.  I figured out, if change will happen regardless, we may as well do it on purpose.  My body will change whether or not I go to the gym, but if I apply effort to this equation, it can change for the better instead of for the worse (time, in some way serves us, in some ways, not so much).

I will outgrow my career (in some ways, most ways, I already have) so I can either get worn down by the repetitive nature of being unfulfilled or I can take steps to create a more suitable career that I can slowly merge with in the future. Either way, I will change, for the better or the worse. Either way I will not be the same person this time next year. It is up to me, and only me, if future me is happy or grown bitter.  Whether I have renewed dreams, or I become disenchanted by the dreams I once had.

I have acquired, perhaps, the greatest gift I could have ever been given by life, 2015 taught me accountability.  In my forties I am long past blaming parents, schools, and ex boyfriends for the pains that keep me from my pleasures. I can no longer blame ignorance for poor eating habits, or lack of knowledge when it comes to personal power in regards to my small but defeating addictions.  I quit smoking because I can.  Because we all can. It only requires believing in the personal power we all have access to.

I am now taking on fitness, grateful to my body for seeing me through so much, nourishing it so that it can sustain me for all the years to come, finally giving it the love it has always deserved.

I am embarking once more on a road that may or may not lead to greater things, unattached to the outcome, just thirsty for the experience to try again.  I am in search of the adventures that life will only offer if I take the chances, put forth the efforts, and forego the instant gratification of things that detract from my longer term goals. (I was never very good at this, but am getting better now that I have lived long enough to have experienced the consequences of living for the now often at the expense of my future, totally not worth it).

So cheers to change, may it more often than not be the kind you desire, may you give it all the helping hands it needs to work within your favor.  May we take accountability, if not the control we wish we had, to play a part in the way change can bless us, move us, and as a ripple effect, create a better future for all the lives we touch.  “You must be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

on commitment to oneself….

I haven’t blogged in a while, silly thing for a blogger to do (or not do).  I have to, above all else, learn consistency in my life and recognize it as the key to success in any and all of life’s endeavors. Consistency is, in my opinion, an expression of commitment.  I have been half heartedly “committed” to many things throughout my life, which has never served me well…or at least, as well as it could have if Id put my whole heart into it.

I eat half healthy, I work out hard for at least 3 weeks out of every 2 months (I usually slack as soon as I start to reap the benefits) and I keep three quarters of my apartment clean at all times (you will hardly ever see dishes in my sink but my floors are often in need of cleaning, like wise my living room is spotless, my bedroom closets in disarray).

Well, here’s the good news…I have recognized this as a fault in my life (a detrimental one at that).  The recognition of a flaw being the first step to mending/fixing it  leads me to this…I hereby declare as God (and anyone one reading this) as my witness to change my commitment-phobic ways.  I have committed to quitting smoking (another thing I had previously half heartedly done for the past few years until realizing a part-time smoker is still a smoker) and I have never felt more better.  I am, therefore, kicking up my commitment to the following things in life:

  1. My fitness (watch out gym here I come…no….really…I mean it this time, I’m coming for you)
  2. My career goals (I’m back again oh sleepy dreams of mine, time to wake up)
  3. My blogging (You’re just so good for me wordpress!)

Sure, I have other goals…but if I can work on these (they each support the other) the others will come quite naturally…as quitting smoking inspired these commitments, Im hoping these positive changes will inspire more to follow.  Success begets success…so here goes….

 

On Metamorphosis

Ok Metamorphosis might be a bit of an exaggeration. The changing of oneself does not turn one into something other.  If anything it is the evolution of the self that ironicaly brings one “back” to their original selves.  Anyone who is going through attempts at life change or improvements knows this.  Quitting smoking is a return to who you were prior to obtaining that filthy habit, changing our eating practices from processed to whole food, is once again a “return” to ourselves rather than an alteration into something other.

Heres the tricky part…the human condition likes to hang on to what is NOT us.  Something about this life, be it the stress of work, the hardships of relations, or simply the media, the factory farming, the wars…one need not look far to find the things that may cause one to seek vice.  Vices help us (or do they?) cope. Be it bad food, or cigarettes, or heroin, or alcohol….they all offer escape.  The issue with vice is that it creates dependence for escape, the problem with escape is that you become an inactive participant in your life during periods of such escape.  To become dependant on vice takes one further and further away from what a persons original glory is. At 42 I had smoked for more than half my life, I had eaten all the nutra sweet and refined flour that one could lay their hands on, and still I look pretty good.  I often wonder what if….what if I had taken care of myself always…what would I look like? How would I feel? I mean feeling like a Honda aint so bad, until you feel what it feels like to be a Ferrari.

So, getting back to basics looks pretty much like stripping yourself down.  This feels incredibly vulnerable, vulnerability feels scary, and what drives us frantically towards our vices more than fear? Nothing. So, yes, its scary, and its hard…and more than anything its out right frustrating to stick to what you want regardless of “what you want”. Two quotes to mind….one is that you are supposed to strive for what you deserve, regardless of your feelings. Makes sense to me.  Feelings are so very temporary, what you deserve is non negotiable.

If you have to go to the gym, don’t think about it…its not about how you feel…you get up you tie your laces and you walk towards the door…no thought required, just a promise to yourself that your going to be commited to your best self, regardless of how you feel. The next quote I think of has to do with peace…that it is something that happens when your beliefs, your thoughts and your actions are in harmony.  We have a responsibility to self. Its not an easy one, but I need to fight that battle…something tells me that the more I fight it the better I will get at it, and it will seem less like a struggle and more of a blessing. Switching cigarettes up for the treadmill might not feel very good for a while but fast forward 6 mths? Bet it feels pretty good. Im counting on it.

On Quitting Smoking…

I don’t remember how I started, Im sure it was my way to claim some kind of independence as an early teen, thinking I looked cool, thinking I was making some kind of statement about how I felt about my parents (not good), thinking it helped me fit in to a crowd I was perhaps better off not having had fit in with.

I cant say I didn’t enjoy my habit. Throughout my twenties it was my best friend, my me time, my party accessory, my private consoler when times got tough (a break up, a break down, a 20 something period of angst or self created drama)  It wasn’t until my mid thirties that I started to have disdain for the habit.  The world had changed, smoking was no longer allowed in bars and restaurants…or anywhere for that matter.  For a short time businesses scared of losing money built separate rooms, closed off from the people who didn’t want to cut short their lives or reek of the toxins being expelled from the unhealthy lungs of others.  These rooms were, for lack of a better word, repulsive.  They stank.  Badly.  They were enough to make a smoker want to quit (which is not, as every smoker knows, the same thing as being ready to do so).

By my late thirties (a good 20 years into my habit) smoking had begun to take a noticeable toll on me. I was always tired, my skin was not the healthiest of colors, my teeth were yellowing despite a rather committed regimen of whitening toothpaste and various bleaching trays/strips. I also started seeing the toll it took on my fellow smokers, my friends who were just as much in bondage as myself, the strangers outside in the dead of winter, anxiously trying to suck back on their cigarettes just enough to kill the craving before frost bite set in.

There was a commonality amongst smokers over the age of 40….we looked unhealthy, we smelled unhealthy, we sounded unhealthy (with our raspy voices and our speech often interrupted by unexpected bits of phlegm expulsion from our weary lungs).  I don’t want to overgeneralize, but we were also out of shape (it is almost impossible to be a person who loves themselves enough to adhere to a consistent workout schedule and put efforts into eating well and living right and also be a smoker, it is simply inconsistent with a self-love state of mind)

Over the years I have managed to overcome many things, some quite naturally as the obsessive nature of youth fell away. I have kicked my addiction to love (being a hopeless romantic is not as pretty as it sounds),  I have gotten past a pretty detrimental eating disorder (though I would think twice before leaving your cinnamon bun unattended with me in the room) and I have championed over other addictions that Im not quite ready to reveal to anyone but my therapist yet…smoking seemed to be my final frontier….

Heres the thing….the thing smokers don’t know, the thing I didn’t know until one day I just knew it…and it changed everything. We are who we decide to be.  Yes quitting smoking is hard…but it is so much easier than thinking yourself so weak that you cannot end it.  Whatever pleasure is derived from smoking, the bottom line, is it is an abusive relationship.  It has you believing you are too weak to leave, it has you believing your life will not be the same without it.  No one smokes anymore because they love smoking, they smoke because they  fear what their lives will be without it.  Smokers have decided they are smokers.  They have decided that they cannot picture their lives without it.  They believe that without cigarettes there will be nothing to comfort them, nothing to calm them, no joy in coffee, or wine for that matter….and whatever is there to do after sex?  Some people wont quit smoking because they don’t want to gain weight, others because they don’t want to crave for a moment something they cant have…it seems cruel.

Lets “clear the smoke”  so that we can see things clearly…yes, you might gain some weight , I did, I also lost it, and will continue to get even more fit now that I can run, now that I can breathe.  Coffee and wine…will ALWAYS be good, actually better as you can relax while enjoying it rather than feel the anxiety of fitting a cigarette into the equation (for the record, I don’t know a worse smell than coffee/cigarette breath). Waking up becomes a delightful experience, no sore throat, no dreariness, a clarity of mind I did not have as a smoker, and an excitement to begin a day free of any addiction.  I did not have to rummage to find my cigarettes, did not have to curse as I get into my car and start driving to realize their not in my purse. I am in control of me, and I am beaming…because I know, I am taking care of myself.  There is no better feeling than knowing you are your own best friend, that to the best of your ability you are treating yourself kindly, you are honouring your health, you are actively participating in your own health and well being.

I boil it down to this….once upon a time I made a decision to smoke, I was uninformed, rebellious, full of the false immortality of youth. Today, I decide NOT to smoke (because I can) because Im an adult now, and I am informed, and I don’t want rebellion I want love, and I know Im not immortal, and I want to be, choose to be, healthy.  I realized smoking was a selfish choice, that I owed it to my nephew, my sister, my friends, hell… my dog, to put out that cigarette…to not be the person whose risky behaviour could inadvertently bring sadness into the lives of those who love me.  I don’t want my dreams cut short because I believed a lie that I could not choose otherwise.  I cant in good faith hear stories of women fighting breast cancer, children with Lukemia, etc…and then be so unaffected, so ungrateful for my own health that I light a cigarette.

This is my journey, and these are my reasons and I do not judge anyone for their habits or addictions. I am frustrated by the ones I love who still do take to their cigarettes, I see their lives so ill affected by an inability to see how easily they could end  their addiction just by believing that they can…but then….there I was, not long ago, inhaling like that nicotine was more precious than air….and I don’t know what changed, I don’t know why I suddenly understood, but I have never been more grateful, I have never felt so free, or proud. I pray daily all my loved ones do the same. I hope something I may have written here can help. Nothing good comes easy, quitting smoking is no exception, but my God, if we only knew the power we had, if we only tapped into it, we would see smoking for what it is, the biggest lie weve ever been sold (which is worse than “told” as we pay for the privilege of making ourselves sick). “If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” -Thomas Edison