Who? Me? Looking Up at You? Birds tend to hypnotize me
it took a few days for me to figure out what to do with this partners challenge. I absolutely love the word ‘partner’. I use it in place of husband a lot. Just something I have to do???????????????? he is my partner/spouse/husband/cook/bestfriend. then I thought Jax and I make darn good partners. He is half deaf, I am half blind. It just works. But I needed better than one of us. Plus a photo of us would end up being a selfie and I am not ready for that. Snoop E may post selfies. I may not.
then it came to me. I had 2 very cool partners in my life for over 14 years. They were the Beagle Brothers. and boy were they ever great partners. their partnership started early. they were from the same litter. September 28th 1999. I only remember this as it just happens to be my Babca’s birthday as well, but she was born in 1907.
So, enter our beagle partners/kids/brothers/troubletimes2/Boys
The first time I was asked, “what is different about you since you quit smoking?” I was asked this question during an interview for a documentary on using mindfulness to relieve oneself of addiction. My first thought was, “I am a nicer person.” Being interviewed by a professional interviewer type person, that answer was so not going to be enough. I continued on with, “i am able and willing to see other people better or clearer even. i am more aware of how others might be feeling or what they could be thinking.” Stay Tuned on July 4th. link available July5th
I can see that the way others react or act is not a reflection on me. maybe they just stubbed their toe 2 minutes before seeing me and it still stings. the way i interact with other people is what matters.
I quit smoking. I have done it using a mindfulness app I ‘accidentally stumbled upon’. I knew I had to/wanted to/needed to quit. I was in a fog wondering how to go about it. then One thing happened that led to another. that thing appeared to lead to another thing which led to another then another and another. Today I am smoke free and grateful.
I feel as though I have somehow moved from using Mindfulness practice to quit smoking to Mindful Living.
This was not My Plan.
My Plan was to use Mindfulness in an attempt to better control the ever powerful anxiety I experience. I needed to get a handle on this monster and pills were no longer a viable solution. I needed something better. Apparently I was ready for something better.
Enter MINDFULNESS. I should add the word Again to that last sentence. I had my 1st introduction to mindfulness 28 years ago. second exposure 15 years ago. I now see that these experiences have prepared me for where I am right now. Right Now! Right Here! Not worrying about a future that might never happen. Not dwelling on a past I cannot change.
not the worst place to be!!
Changes…. not in any particular order and not a compete list. Keep in mind these are not changes I planned. I did not sit down one night and make a list of things I wanted to change in me. To be honest, i did not know i needed to change. want to change? Not even a little.
The only change I desired was to no longer smoke
to be smoke free.
- i no longer have the need to get everything done right now. for example : i want to finish writing this post. i am not going to die if i save it and finish it later. last year or even last month, “ineedtodoit! doitnow! cantwait! mustgetitdonenow! nomtterwht.” just a tad anxiety provoking from inside. no outside trigger needed.
- i smile more. not because life is so freakin awesome and I have no reason not to smile but because if i smile, maybe someone who is lucky enough to see me smile will smile. then someone else might smile and then someone else….
- i am calmer. inconveniences and other people’s stupid behavior that would have once throw me into fits of panic/anger/depression/disappointment affect me in a different way. i am able to take a tad bit o time and breathe. This breathing thing is not new to me. People in my life have been suggesting it forever and a day. Regular, consistant mindfulness practice got me to remember to breathe when I need to.
- I am nicer. i already talked about that. I have always been a relatively nice person, but now I am even nicer and to more people.
- i sleep better. not longer, Better. I wake up earlier, yet less tired. more refreshed
- life is the same. pleasant and unpleasant things are always going to happen. That is Life. That is not going to change, But…. i can change. I deal with life’s obstacles in a new way. i am capable of dealing with the life stuff in a way that i was never capable of before.
- i stopped biting my nails while I quit smoking – it took me awhile to even notice my nails were growing.
- i eat slower and enjoy what I eat. quitting smoking definitely makes things taste better, but i enjoy that better taste more. Food was always just something I ate so I didn’t fall down. Now I take the time to savor every bite. I’ve begun experimenting with a variety of new recipes as well.
- I am more capable of thinking before i speak. I have always either talked too much or not at all. Now when a thought flies into my brain I am able to stop, breathe, give myself a chance to decide if this thought needs to exit through my mouth or do I let it go.
- I feel feelings. this is a direct result of the mindfulness app I used to quit smoking. The app suggested instead of fighting the cigarette cravings, i might try to really feel them. Truly feeling the craving and seeing it for what it truly is. Watching it leave without my having to smoke, made my mind stronger, made the next craving a bit easier to deal with. Doing this over and over again helped me form a new healthy habit. I am now applying this same technique to feelings.
- I am able to feel what is going on in my body quicker. i am a diehard jaw clencher. I always have been. Today I am able to notice my clenched jaw quicker than ever before. Once I am able to identify that I am clenching my jaw, I am able to take steps to stop it. My jaw, teeth,dentist, and head are grateful.
- i worry less and Care more
Now, how to end this. Do I even have to end this? Do I want this to end? The answer is so simple. No. I am on a new journey and I choose not to end it too soon. I finally truly and completely believe that I am Going to be okay. No, wait, I AM OKAY!!!!
To summarize. I exposed myself to mindfulness practice in an effort to relieve self of debilitating anxiety. An App that uses mindfulness to help relieve oneself of unwanted habits found me. My desire to quit and the repetition of that App not only relieved me of my habit, it opened me up to a whole new way of thinking and feeling and living.
I was on my way here to share an experience with you. I then realized it was Friday. The new weekly Photo Challenge comes out on Friday. Who does not love a Friday? I shall continue with my experience, go check today’s challenge, and finish this later. 2 days later I came up with this…………….
I went to pick up our large pizza with bacon & extra cheese.
I was greeted by the owner of the shop. I had met him once before.
He gave me my pizza and said “$11.95”.
“whoa”, i replied. “that is not nearly enough”
“Enough for you. You nice lady. You no pay extra.”I stashed my 2 $20’s
and gave him everything else I had (around $15). As he started to make change, I gestured toward his employees and said, “give it to them.” it all went in the tip jar.
Life is so Full of Curves. The owner of the Pizza joint threw me a CURVE by remembering I went out of my way to Thank him…………….Once…………….6 months ago.
I shall now throw a few curves at you. they appear to be Every where. All around me. all you have to do is Look! Do you see them too?
My very first thought when i saw this weeks challenge was water. Water is pure. I even have pictures I have already taken of water. Easy challenge this week. or so I thought. Unfortunately my pictures involved rain water and Rain Water is not so pure any more.
Could that Big Black Beast on the Left possibly be 1 reason my water & air aren’t so pure anymore?
So, getting back to Pure. My next thought involved babies. Can’t get much purer than Babies. Hmmm. I probably shouldn’t go up to a complete stranger to ask if I could take pictures of their kid. I love meeting new people, but that would be a bit Too weird. For all of us. So, Stranger’s Babies are not an option. Then I remembered, My cousin and her wife just had a lil one. I can find pictures of her. But, they would not have been taken by me and it would be rather rude to steal them.
Welcome to the big bad world Reese. No need to ever worry. Your Moms will always keep you safe. Not to mention your humongous extended family has no issue with kicking some butt for you now and again.
Pure? Babies? Babies. Duh!!!! Babies!!!! I know where to find tons of them. After all It is baby season at The Farm. New ones being born every day.
NutMeg and Spice are Nubian goats. NutMeg was born a few hours before this picture was taken. Today even. The Mom might not be so pure, but her daughter certainly is. Nubians are highly Intelligent animals, but can have a stubborness about them. Very simlilar to my last three dogs. I had to get SnoopE and the Beagle Bros in here somewhere.
Oh and here is another Not so pure. But, a heck of a lot of FUN to be around.
Recently I have been doing a lot of work with mindfulness. I figure if it can help me with other areas of my life, why not with smoking.
I “accidentally” stumbled across an App that uses mindfulness as a way to quit….
My first attempt at quitting, I used an unconventional method. I did very well for 6 months. I had no defense against stress and smoked. The second time, Patches did nothing to help me. I do not chew gum and the thought of a lozenge sickens me. I do not need or want another medication.
Everything I have seen in this app so far makes complete sense. I learned right away that nicotine leaves your system rather quickly. So nicotine replacement makes no sense. Why not just decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke day by day. This is possible with help. Other methods do not teach me about the habit of smoking and how to rid myself of it.
On day 1 I kept track of how many times I smoked and found it to be a lot lower than expected. I have done a lot in the last few years to decrease the amount I smoke and apparently it was working. Now to rid myself of them completely.
In just one day of using this App, I already learned things about myself and smoking. I always thought I smoked because I was addicted to them and it was a habit. The first time I smoked mindfully, I realized it gives the illusion of calming me. I concentrated on every aspect of smoking that cigarette. From taking it out of the pack, to picking up the lighter, to holding the butt in my fingers, to smelling it. When I put the cigarette in my mouth I was instantly calm. I never even lit it yet. This told me that it wasn’t the nicotine that was calming me. It had to be something else.
I do not want to suffocate to death. That is my future if I do not quit. I believe using mindfulness to stop is my best option. Not only am I learning how to use mindfulness to quit, I have incredible online support via this App.
I tried hard to meet today’s (day 2) goal of mindfully smoking every cigarette. I found this to be a bit difficult at times. I would start my cigarette concentrating on the cigarette, then notice I had moved into autopilot. I would then as non judgmentally as I could, bring my focus back to the actual cigarette.
On Day 3. I started the day like all others. With a coffee and a cigarette. This time I also brought my phone with me so I could see what was in store for me today. After debating with myself, I put my cigarette out so I could follow along with the body scan exercise. I found it to be difficult to focus on the scan knowing that I had a cigarette a few inches from me waiting to be smoked.
Having the rest of my first cigarette of the day waiting for me definitely affected my ability to concentrate on the exercise. I will do things different next time.
I learned If I have to make a phone call I smoke. I learned I can crave a cigarette within minutes of just having smoked one. I crave a cigarette before I finish dinner. The RAIN exercise will come in very handy in these situations as well.
I picked a quit date as suggested. 3 weeks from when I started using this App. At first I thought 3 weeks wasn’t going to be long enough for me. I had doubts that I would be ready. Now I am thinking it may be too long.
Yesterday I used the RAIN exercise a lot. I went from 10 cigarettes to 7. The number of cigarettes I am technically allowed is at 13.
I did get a suggestion that I only smoke 6 today. That freaked me out a bit. Only 6? How will that be possible?
Today’s goal is to use RAIN each time I crave a cigarette. So far RAIN has been helpful. So if I use RAIN every time I crave a cigarette and it works as well as it has, then technically I should not smoke at all today. That is when I started thinking too much again. If I don’t use RAIN when I crave a smoke, I do not meet today’s goal and I fail. If I do use RAIN all day and I am successful then I won’t smoke. I want to smoke. I still get to smoke. I get 6 today.
I don’t want to use RAIN and smoke anyway. That will scream
“it doesn’t work” at my addiction. So do I use RAIN each time I crave and let it fail so I can smoke or do I not use RAIN every time and not meet today’s goal?
I wrote, “Now I wonder. Am I thinking too much or am I just more aware of things?”
online response “Not thinking too much. This is what happens when we start to wake up to our lives.”
I am having trouble distinguishing between craving a cigarette and thinking it is time for one. For example when I first woke up I thought it was time for a cigarette. I wasn’t craving one. I just thought I was supposed to smoke one. Instead of smoking I chose to access the App and see what was up for today. I used the RAIN exercise even though I was still not feeling a craving. I did not smoke. 10 minutes later I felt a craving so I used RAIN again. I still did not smoke.
DESTROYING the habit.
A trigger hit me and hit me hard.. I had cigarette and lighter in hand. I stopped. I took some breaths, focused on feeling, easily recognized that I wanted a smoke, accepted it as well.
I put the lighter and cigarette down and proceeded to go back inside. I did not smoke.
About 45 minutes later, the phone rang. I grabbed it and immediately walked to the door to go outside and smoke. Obviously on autopilot. I stopped. This is the habit they have mentioned. This is a trigger for me.
I could see the last cigarette I didn’t smoke and my lighter waiting for me outside.
I walked away from the door.
I do not need to smoke while on the phone.
I finished my conversation without a smoke.
For those who do not understand, This a Big Deal!!!!
I spent time on my deck without smoking just to try to start breaking the connection that outside/deck equals smoke. It worked out well as I spent my time listening to a pebble meditation that I “accidentally” came across.
I need to take the word perfection and all variations of the word out of my vocabulary. This is called mindfulness PRACTICE, NOT PERFECTION.
I have done just that. My original quit date was 11/13 now it is 11/5. But if I meet todays goal, which was yesterdays goal and the goal the day before that, I should remain smoke free today. Being smoke free today is not my goal. Using RAIN whenever a craving comes up is. If using RAIN is successful, I should not smoke.
Do I really need an anticipated date to quit? The first one seemed too soon at first. Then it seemed too far away, so I changed it. No where does it say I have to smoke until my quit day. Although my mind/addiction/habit is telling me what great idea that would be.
The program I used to quit was a 21 day program. You had 21 days to decrease the number of cigarettes you smoked. You had 21 days to learn how to successfully get through cravings that WILL happen. I quit in 7 days, but I continued to follow the program to the end. It has been 6 years since my last cigarette. It has not been easy. At times it has been hard. As long as I remember that this can be done and that I am doing it, I will succeed.
This Can Be Done!!!!
Hello Folks. I have been bad. “Wicked, wicked bad”
My plan/path/road was to take the blogging201 course. I think I completed day 1 maybe day 2. I encountered a roadblock in the form of physical illness. Actually there had been a couple of illness crap things going on with me. While I took the time to care for myself, my blog and many other things were put on the back burner. At times, I have had this blog pop up in my brain, but until today I was unmotivated to write.
“What’s been going on you ask?”
“Shhhh, Don’t tell anyone But, One thing happened which led to another thing then another and another. The result being I started writing elsewhere. And now I am here.”
“Where is here?”
“On my couch, writing this.”
I am taking part in a research study that involves using a mindfulness App to help people quit smoking. When this opportunity arose, I went with it. Part of the process of quitting is writing down your experiences with this App. Writing ovah there led to motivation to write ovah here. Hmmmm. Sharing my experience with mindfulness would not be a bad purpose for this blog. I am still looking for one of those.
A year ago I had an experience that felt almost life changing. I will warn you it is a bit long if you choose to read it. Looking back, I can see that the experience gave me the opportunity to be more aware of what was going on with me. To be present. To be in the moment. Not worrying about something in my future that might never happen. Not ruminating over something I did or did not do in the past. My soul focus was on whether I could get from the couch to the bathroom without help. I was forced to look at right now and nothing else. I was forced to focus on my body and what I could or could not do. This experience was the start of a journey I did not expect to be on. This experience led me to My Mindfulness Adventure.
This new awareness led me to a new therapist. He shall now be known as Dennis. Dennis led me to a true introduction to what mindfulness is and what it can do. Learning about it and practicing a bit led me to talk about it. Talking about it led to a friend sharing a link with me. That link led me to TheMindfulnessSummit. I am presently calling this summit my crash course in Mindfulness. From it I am learning exactly what I need to learn to continue my exploration of Mindfulness. I am becoming aware
(there’s that word again) of how practicing mindfulness can make a difference in my life. My eyes are opening to the possibilities of what practicing mindfulness can do for anyone who gives it a chance.
For instance, I did not know it could help prevent a relapse of depression. There are things called Mindful parenting. Mindfulness for business. It can be used to help deal with pain. I did not know there was such a thing as mindful eating. Which is a tad odd as I recently made a decision to lose some weight. I was actually losing weight by using mindful eating techniques that I didn’t even know existed. The extent of my experience with mindfulness consisted of using it to deal with an anxiety thing.
Back to the MindfulnessSummit. One of the lectures I listened to led me to a local Mindfulness Center that I did not know existed. That centers website led me to ask questions about becoming part of a research study. That study was being conducted to see how successful a particular App was at using mindfulness to help people quit smoking. Odd, I have been thinking a lot about how much I really need to make a final attempt at quitting. Patches, gum, medication, lozenges – none of that appealed to me. This appealed to me. Is all of this one rather large coincidence? It doesn’t matter as it all came together to lead me where I need to be.
The first time I quit smoking was a bit unconventional. The last should be as well. .
When I first started this blog, I had no idea what to do or where to go with it. All I knew was that I felt better when I wrote shit down.
Here we are roughly 6 months later….
- I have taken blogging101
- writing101 came next
- then Photo101
- then Life got in the way
I became obsessive over completing Blogging101. See my history and you might understand why. I learned so much from this course. I was wicked new to blogging and I was learning stuff that a woman of my age should know. widgets, image widgets, feature, Know your audience, INSPIRATION…. COMMUNITY!!!!
I did not expect or have any clue that starting a blog came with such a fantastic community. I am very grateful I was led to WordPress. Yes Lily Pup you are to blame for that.
After Blogging101 came Writing101. I am proud to say I did well with this class. The obsession I had during Blogging101 was not present. Damnitall. I read a blog post recently where the writer talks about swearing, I’ve been swearing ever since. It is part of my Distinct Voice, which I also learned about in writing101. I learned so much more than I could have ever anticipated.
Writing 101 is where I received my first bit of criticism. Maybe it was Blogging 101? It truly does not matter now. The assignment was to write about your home. I requested constructive criticism and I got it. It basically said, “show me, Don’t tell me.” Funny how one of the very next assignments was “Show me, Don’t tell me.”
I’ve been Wicked obsessing again. I can’t really focus on random obsessive thoughts today because it is so much more than just thoughts right now. My brain feels like a family size pot of Obsessive Thought Soup, anxiously simmering on the wood stove. OTS should not be confused with LPS or Llama Poop Soup which in itself can be obsessive, but is a completely different kind of soup.
Okay, my most prevalent recent obsessions are as follows….
- obsessing over never having finished Photo101. Life got in the way of that and it was put on the back burner.
- Obsessing over last weeks Photo Challenge (Close-Ups if you missed it).
- Obsessing over this
- all those other things.
- And now I am Obsessing over how many cooking references I can accidentally have in one post.
I tried sitting with the thoughts and letting them go. I tried distraction as a way to rid myself of these thoughts. Old negative coping techniques no longer work so I shall not even go there. I could verbally rant, but I don’t feel like bothering anyone else with my batshitcrazy way of thinking right now. Maybe if I take each named obsession one by one and rant a bit, they will lessen. If I do this right, I should be able to rid myself of these obsessive thoughts, complete Obsessive Thought Thursday (maybe a day early even), do some work on Photo101, and release from my mind the other close-ups I’ve been obsessing over.
I do believe I am feeling an increase in anxiety which may be causing an increase in obsessive thoughts which definitely is causing more anxiety which leads to compulsions…………….OR did the obsessive thoughts start first which led to the elevation of anxiety which led to more obsessive thoughts which in turn led to compulsions……………All I know is I am obsessing. Other coping skills did not work, so right now I am attempting to rant them away by writing. I shall write those obsessions right out of me. Write and rant about obsessions in order to rid myself of those same obsessions. Is this making sense to anyone???? I think I may have confused even myself. I refuse to add to the anxiety by starting to obsess over the # of times I just wrote “right” and “write” or obsess over those run-on sentences I let stay.
Ah, I just took a break for breathing. Breaks for deep breaths are good AND I completely forget about them almost all of the time. How come the stuff that is the best for me when I obsess and feel anxiety are the last things I remember to try? If I didn’t mind bothering other human beings, the very 1st thing they would have told me to do is BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each and Every One of them would have said in a firm, yet tender voice, STOP and BREATHE!!!! and not in a loud voice either. I have been doing very well with firm, yet tender prompts. “No, buts, just STOP and BREATHE.” They may have to repeat it. And possibly repeat it again, but it helps.
Time to stop ranting and writing and hit save. This breathing thing is calming me down. I am obsessing less and think that I just might be able to stop writing for now and maybe eat supper. Who cares when I finish Photo101? I can’t just pull photo’s out of my
ass, I mean hat, to match the subject of the assignment in the order they are assigned. Look at this past weeks weekly challenge. It just happened to be close-ups. To start, I went looking for close-ups. After I published my 1st attempt, close-up opportunities kept popping up everywhere. Inspiration can come from anywhere.
Day Seven of Photo101 Big & Point of View. Ah screw it. I am feeling better. Less obsessive, and no anxiety. I am no longer obsessing over finishing Photo101. I also did tomorrow’s regular weekly feature today. So that leaves time open tomorrow to work on last months Photo101 assignments. and I forgot my 5:32 PM Ativan again. So here’s to Obsessing or to Not obsessing. I much prefer not.
I have again been nominated for an award. I do not usually accept awards because I can not follow the rules that come along with them. I do like this award in particular because I love answering the questions that come with it. The questions become part of my “about me” category.
I was nominated by Suzanne(FindingHerVoice)
Eleven Questions For You:
1. What ultimately got you motivated to get started and how long have you been blogging? I have been blogging since February 2015. My archives say January, but that was a minor mistake on my part. My therapist encouraged me to write because she thought writing would help me see things clearer. She also thought that the way I was able to express my thoughts and feelings via writing might be beneficial to others. I met a woman on a web site who had a blog. lily pups life – bipolar and recovery. She encouraged me to try one myself. I did and here we are.
2. Do you prefer to write best in the morning or at the end of the day? I guess I prefer the morning. I like it when it is quiet and no one is home but me. I like to sit down with my iced coffee and just write. Kind of like what I am doing right now. Thank you for helping me write today Suzanne.
3. Do you give like that it’s somewhat anonymous or do you give your blog URL the friends or family? Such a simple question that is going to get a most difficult answer. I like that my blog is somewhat anonymous. My husband has the key, and one very old friend. I let one friend in because I hadn’t seen her in 30 years and thought it would be an easy way for her to see what I have been doing. No one else in my real life knows where my blog is. Although if they truly wanted to, it would not be hard to find. I have shared a few stories with a few other relatives, but am not ready to say “hey here it is!!!! Read it all!!!! My Mom and I discussed giving her access, and we both agreed it would be better if she didn’t have it. Some things she would prefer not to know. When I write something I think she may enjoy, I print it out for her.
4. Did you keep a journal as a child/teen? I did keep journals when younger. I probably still have each and every one of them stored somewhere. Journals were different from blogging for me. Journals were for me and me alone. I shared them with no one. I do not know what I would have done had blogging been an option when I was younger.
5. Are you an emotional writer? Do you write more for your heart or your head? I like to think I do a little of both. I definitely start by writing from the heart, but then my head always seems to get involved somehow. I have tried doing it the other way around, start with my head, but it just doesn’t seem to work out as well. I think my heart is a better motivator than my head.
6. Do you have more blog posts that you have begun (in draft mode) or that you have completed)? I am going to guess and say that the number of published posts and drafts are about even. I have one particular draft that is full of random thoughts and ideas. I sometimes take these ideas and turn them into published posts.
7. If you could/did write a bestselling book what would it be about? I did not have to think about this question for very long. Angels!!!! I would love to write about angels and how I believe they have touched my life and others. Since I started this blog, I have written a bit about angels, but only published one so far. The hardest thing Evah would be my brief introduction to writing about angels. Also, I mention angels in a couple of my Relationship posts.
8. What is the best feedback you’ve received on a blog post? All feedback I get is important to me. I have 2 bests though. 1 would be acknowledgment that something I wrote made a difference in someone’s life. Especially if that meant making them laugh. The other is constructive criticism. I asked for it once so I could improve my writing. I got it and it helped me see how I could make my writing better.
9. Where do you get your ideas for your blog posts? I get my ideas from my daily life. For example, I was cutting down tree saplings in my yard and had to go to the store. It turned into a post called Has the Future been written already ????
10. What is your favourite food? This is an easy question to answer and it comes with a picture. Buffalo chicken tenders with Jojo’s. If we have extra cash, we will get either onion rings or very special crab rangoons on the side. The crab rangoons are very special because I will only eat them from this particular restaurant. They are 128% better than anything you might find in a Chinese restaurant.
11. What is the best advice you can give your fellow bloggers about how to get new subscribers? The best advice I have is the only advice I have. Engage with other bloggers. If someone likes a post of yours, visit them and see what they have written. If you like what you find let them know that. Even if you think their blog is just not for you, at least let them know you were there. The feeling I get when someone acknowledges something I have published is a darn good one. I like knowing I might be able to help others feel the same way.
Whoa. I am done already. That went quicker than I thought. It took a while, but it did not feel like awhile. Thank you again Suzanne for the nomination. Maybe if I can ever figure out how to follow rules, I will start accepting awards. For now, I will just have to go back and answer the question I missed.