Okay folks, I’ve been away for a while— doing my day job (as a stop smoking coach!) I’m happy to report that I’ve recently cut back my hours there so I can spend more time here. Look for more regular, and more radical approaches to stepping away from the smokes. Here’s a warm-up:
“Just Be ”= the Easiest, Most Natural Way to Quit
Over the year’s I’ve collected and refined over 30 different tools—or “steps”—that I share with smokers at particular points along their paths to freedom. I suggest different steps in response to a person’s own particular needs or personal concerns at the moment. Where I work they have independent evaluators who have found that what I and my colleagues have been doing has been very effective for many people. Yay.
Still, when all is said and done, quitting is in fact a “one step” process. At the physical level, that step is made when at some point you don’t pick up a smoke ever again. Physically, if you don’t have a smoke in your hands, you’re a non-smoker.
At the mental and emotional level, the “one step” is a little more subtle, but still, it is a relatively simple step and can be taken quite easily. Here’s how it’s done:
“Smoking” is something that smokers do, for a hundred or a thousand different personal reasons, both conscious and unconscious. On the other hand, quitting smoking is not fundamentally something smokers do. It’s something they stop doing. And there’s the rub: many smokers find that smoking is something they can’t stop doing!
When friends or family ask, “Why don’t you just quit?” what they mean is “Why don’t you just stop doing it? But smokers report they can’t stop doing it! How curious.
It gets even more curious. When smokers find they can’t stop “doing” their smokes, they start looking around for something they can “do” that might help them stop their “doing!” So they “do” hypnosis or do cold turkey or do cutting back or do nicotine patches or gum or they “do” a mixture of all these. Alas, for many smokers nothing they “do” seems to work to help them stop “doing”!
So how do we stop “doing?” Here’s the key: we simply be, for brief moments.
We let the doing pass on by, let it happen or not happen—and just be. Come to find out, our being is already free! Our basic being never was addicted. We discover the open secret that just being is the key to freedom itself.
So how do we stop “doing” and allow ourselves to simply be, for a moment? Here’s the good news: “Just being” is not something we do! We are already doing it! We are already being. It’s our natural state. Our deepest state. Our free state!
So we simply give ourselves permission to be where we already are. Give ourselves permission to take our focus off of doing, for just a brief moment.
Our being is our power. We can rest in our being for brief moments, and let the “doings” come and go. “Doings” include all our thoughts, feelings, sensations and worries.
“Just being” is the “simple step” that every smoker takes to quit smoking, whether he or she recognizes it or not. Ex-smokers may cover up their “just being” with other doings. When asked how they quit they’ll tell you, “I chewed a lot of gum, I painted the house, I ran, I meditated, I prayed, I cried, I slept, I snapped a rubber band, I yelled at my cat.” All of these things may indeed have been “done,” but at root what they “did” was stop doing the smokes. They allowed themselves to be free of that doing. By allowing ourselves to “just be,” we are no longer enslaved to any particular doing.
“Just being” is peaceful. It’s easy. It’s also very energizing, very interesting and empowering. To quit smoking we let the thoughts, feelings and sensations”do” and for a brief moment we just “be.” We don’t try to stop the doings. We just move our attention—move our loyalty—off of doing and onto being. In just being, we find freedom.
“Just being” is the easiest way to quit smoking, if we are brave enough to “do it”