This has been a big year of transformation for me. It started off January 1st with what I was calling my ‘Resolute Salute’ project. New agers and other Californicated types had been talking about the year 2012 being the world’s end. And while I judged their prophecy as grossly confused, I did (and do) agree that, in many respects, our way of life needs to be brought to its conclusion, that our ‘world’ should end, that we’re overdue to evolve… economically, eco-socially, spiritually.
The way I see it, evolution is not always a gradual process. It can and often does happen very fast, with the arrival of something new and different, something obviously more favorably adapted than the old. I also think, with what we’re facing in the destructive aspects of our global culture, we need to try to establish conditions that will favor the emergence of something evolutionary. For me, this part of the work has involved rescinding my consumer support from many of the more problematic industries, and directing my energies instead toward feeding various relationships with nature.
Around the time I was turning forty, last May, I began including fitness-oriented resolutions into this broader project. Soon I was back into martial arts practice, and my involvement in FMK is part of this. But there has been one habit that I feel has always held me back in the martial arts progress I’ve made as an adult, one aspect of my life that has always made me feel like a fraud or hypocrite, while at the same time limiting my capacity to develop further strength, speed, stamina, and flexibility. That obstacle is tobacco. With exception of just a couple very brief reprieves, I’ve been a cigarette smoker since I was eighteen. I picked up the habit while in the military, when I was depressed, and thought the smokes were rebellious and cool. And they’ve been a part of my reality ever since. Though I’ve kept myself in reasonably good physical shape, in spite of all the smoking, I wonder what might have been if I’d never indulged, or at least put them away at some point.
Well, nothing’s ever going to come from wishing differently of the past. Best to focus on the present, on what can be done right now. So three days ago, this is exactly what I chose to do. I woke up that morning feeling empowered, ready to make a change. I sat down with my video recorder and announced it. I was done smoking. I wasn’t “quitting”… I had already quit… in my mind. And it turns out, that attitude is exactly what I needed to make it real, to live it. As I write this post, it is the end of my third day with no cigarettes, and the urges are rapidly vanishing. I’ve beat it. In hopes that I might inspire someone else who has an addiction he needs to let go of, I’ve been recording a video journal of the experience. Here’s the first 48 hours:
I’m planning to continue the video journal, making a report at Day 7 or so, and maybe two weeks out, or a month. I don’t think the message is going to change at all. The heart of the matter is, the only way to quit something as addictive as nicotine is to absolutely settle it in your mind first, that it’s over. But I do want to confirm that this approach works, and to post it on YouTube in case anyone needs to hear it.
One of the early benefits from this smoking cessation has been a rush of extreme energy. I’ve been sleeping less, and waking up in the dark hours before dawn just excited to get the next day going. I’ve also been eating a lot more. And so, the way I figure it, these two things go together. Eat more, and direct that rush of energy toward some vigorous activity that will guide the nutritive chemicals through my body in healthful ways. What I’ve chosen (thus far) is pre-dawn cardio exercise in semi- free-running fashion. Yep… I’ve been tearing up the neighborhood and nearby coulees looking for obstacles to leap and balance upon. Here’s my video montage from the first two mornings:
As you can see, the river by my house is absolutely gorgeous at dawn. I’ll be running down that way a lot in the mornings to come.