I Quit! No, no, not life – though sometimes I would like to.
I quit smoking. Cold turkey. December 19th was my last day. I haven’t mentioned it before because I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep it up, but so far, 43 days later, I’m still at it.
Oh how I love to smoke, so letting go of this habit is a big deal for me. I recognize and appreciate all the long-term benefits to quitting, however, I was surprised by a hidden benefit: it has allowed me to practice my spirituality in a big way. Let me explain:
We have learned and hear it repeated over and over that two of the main tenants to living a spiritual life are being present and making conscious choices. Well quitting smoking has given me the opportunity to practice both. It has forced me to be in the moment all day, every day. For in every moment, I get to choose whether I am a smoker or not. In the morning when I return from my run, I decide whether or not to have a cigarette with my coffee. After lunch or dinner, I again must choose. When I get in my car to drive somewhere, I decide if this a smoking moment or not. In the evening with a glass of wine (My favorite time to enjoy a cigarette.) the opportunity presents itself again. Sometimes the urge is overwhelming, but at least, in that moment, I can decide not to smoke. For it is only that specific moment I must consider. I don’t think about the rest of the day or tomorrow, or next week – I only consider the moment and make my choice.
Not to say I might choose differently in another moment. And that’s ok. My friend, who quit smoking several months ago relates it to running a race. If you fall, you get back up and continue running. You do not have to go back to the starting line and begin over.
I actually have a full pack of cigarettes at home, sitting on top of my refrigerator. I leave them there because I know that if I desire, I can choose to have a cigarette if I really want one. It reframes my mindset, from one of deprivation to one of control. I am in charge of my choices, no one else. It’s a very liberating feeling – feels good!
The Universe/Spirit gives us ample opportunity to practice our spirituality, some more obvious than the other. In each case, we have the ability to decide who and what we are. Our choices may vary, depending on the circumstances. The key is to choose consciously, be aware.
A friend who happens to be a vegetarian, in response to the question: “When did you choose to become a vegetarian?” replied “I choose every day, at every meal, to not eat meat. It is not something I did once, it is something I do every single day.”
What conscious choices are you making? And which choices tend to be automatic? The choice is yours.