The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi


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Life Without Cigarettes: Year One

Today,  I celebrate my one year anniversary of being smoke free.   Yesterday one year ago (April 5)  I smoked my last cigarette and swore that was the end.   (If you’re new to my blog and would like to read about how I quit hop on over to my post, “How I Quit Smoking Cold Turkey“. )  I had quit smoking at various points in my life in the past but always failed to make it past the year point, this time however I was mentally armed and that is what has kept me free from cigarettes for the past year.

How has my life changed without cigarettes?  First off, I have had more money in my pocket, I estimated that I’ve saved myself approximately $1050 dollars by not smoking last year, that’s a conservative number and it’s definitely not less than that.  (If I’d finished my taxes already I would have a much more accurate estimate based on my smoking habits from the first four months of last year.  I could have done a nice little estimate from the average.)   Considering I was saving money by not smoking I had extra money to join a gym, buy a pair of tennis shoes and work on improving the health of my body.

I also eat a lot more now and more regularly than I used to.  I’m hypoglycemic and instead of eating I could frequently use smoking cigarettes to give me a stimulant boost to keep my energy up.  I did gain weight by not smoking, in total I’ve gained about fifteen pounds and gone up a size in clothing.   I really struggled with that and had convinced myself that I needed to drop that weight and get back to the size I had been and thus spent almost all of last year berating myself internally for not having accomplished that yet. (Yes, I know I posted all those posts about self-love.  I need them just as much as everyone else.)  Last month as I was contemplating another milestone that I’m about to celebrate the self-love kicked in and I was finally able to appreciate this new shape that my body has settled into.  Now, I know I’m healthy and while I still would like to be physically more fit and active (for the sake of being strong and having the endurance to do activities) I no longer feel the pressure for my body to go back to the way it was.  I’m celebrating this more shapely form I’ve settled into because it represents who I am when I’m making healthy lifestyle choices like getting enough sleep, not drinking, not smoking, eating regularly and being more active.  I know that as I make more changes in my life and as time passes it will continue to change and each new transformation is really just an opportunity to celebrate the change and explore something new.

I’ve been a lot more productive because I channel my anxiety, nervous energy, fear, whatever it is into improving my life.   I’ve managed to make a lot of changes around my house and in my life and its been really rewarding to see the results of my efforts.

I gained faith in my own willpower and earned trust in myself that I could keep my word to myself and follow through with a promise I’d made to myself.   I gained self respect by honoring that commitment to myself and both of these things really helped to build my overall confidence in myself.   When you start out on a journey it’s always scary because it’s uncertain where the road will lead and what sort of dark patches you may have to stroll through and sometimes it’s more pleasant to only remember the rainbows when we’re on the other side.  I can tell you there were dark patches but I never once took a single puff from a cigarette.  It was not for lack of wanting to either, there were many, many days where for my own sanity and that of others I thought maybe I should just go buy a pack but didn’t.  I still wonder if I’ll ever have a cigarette in the future.  Time will tell.

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Exercise? Get rewarded with Earndit


We know that getting healthy can generate some awesome non material rewards like better health, happier state of mind, longevity, stress reduction, better sleep, and less overall health problems.  However, it’s still nice to receive some outside rewards as well to keep you motivated and give you incentive to keep working harder at your fitness goals.  The long term rewards of looking and feeling great are fabulous, but sometimes you just want to see results now!

Introducing Earndit, a fantastic new FREE website that rewards you for exercising.  By syncing with popular fitness tracking apps, websites,  and devices like Nike+, Fitbit, Foursquare, MapMyFitness, EveryTrail, GarminFitness, and BodyMedia Fit you earn points that reward you for your fitness activities.

Earndit is based on hyperbolic discounting, meaning that humans tend to prefer a more immediate reward instead of one that occurs in the distant future. Exercise and you earn points which you can redeem for cool stuff. It’s that simple.  As long as you move your body it’s easy to rack up points.  Today for example I walked 2 miles and ran 1 mile, activities that I would have done anyway.  I earned 36 points as a reward.  Points can be redeemed starting at the 100 point mark for cool items such as healthy foods, clothing gift certificates, beauty products, or fitness gear.   Earning stuff not your style?  Not to worry, Earndit has you covered there too.  You can also use your points to give to charity.

There’s also challenges you can participate in to win even more free stuff and a social aspect allowing you to follow other people and they can follow you.  It’s one big happy instant reward communicate for physical fitness.  Visit the Earndit FAQ questions page to learn how many points you can earn per activity, there is a 60 point maximum that you can earn per day.

Now you can have your fitness and uh eat it too, or wear it.  The choice is up to you!



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LIFE: Love thyself

I have wanted to write about being yourself and the importance of doing so, but the words just wouldn’t come out.  Then I realized that I had already written about this topic in November of 2009, not that it is not important enough to repeat again, but not now.  If you would like to read that post and more on this topic go to Fly Your Own Course: Having the courage to be yourself.

While my thoughts were musing and circling around about being myself I realized that there is one important element that it would be near impossible to truly be yourself without.  That’s loving yourself.  I’m not talking about arrogance or being cocky or even egotistical.  Think more along the lines of believing in yourself, having self-confidence, and enjoying your own company.  Often we look outside of ourselves for things that we should be looking inside of ourselves for.  We tend to be mirrors for each other reflecting to one another what we project or projecting our own problems onto other people.  Therefore we seek out people, or people come our way to teach us more about who we are and how we are behaving.    Instead of looking for someone else to complete us we need to focus on completing ourselves.   Life really isn’t a fairy tale where Prince Charming will come and rescue us and sweep us out of indentured servitude or awaken us from a deep slumber.  We must do these things for ourselves and be our own best partner.

Give yourself the unconditional and perfect love you seek.  If you can’t accept yourself with all your past mistakes, perceived flaws and imperfections then you’re probably going to look for someone else to validate you.  Recently life has brought a few situations my way to help me heal some of my past scars even though at the time it felt as they were being ripped open and I was being torn to shreds.  Out of necessity I try to look on the bright side of life because I’d be endlessly depressed and quite fatalistic if I didn’t.

“I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” -Antonio Gramsci

I started looking into the situations that I was encountering with people and seeing how my behavior contributed to the end result and what I needed to learn from the experience.  I try to live authentically and be the genuine me, but I realized that without loving and accepting yourself as you are there isn’t any room for the self to explore, try new things, learn, succeed or fail.   I had forgotten to love and nurture myself and was resenting the people that I was giving my time to because they weren’t doing anything to help me nourish and replenish myself.   I was mad at them because I felt like I was the only one doing all the effort and they were getting my time and energy in return.   While this may seem completely obvious, I assure you that even though it seems like common sense I don’t believe it’s that common anymore.

Lesson 1 – You must take care of yourself and give your body, mind, and soul the nourishment and sustenance that it needs to thrive or at minimum survive.

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”
~ Barbara DeAngelis

So, loves, let us all remember to be our own best lovers and remind each other of the beauty that lies within each other and within ourselves.


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CHOOSE YOUR COURSE FOR 2010

Spiral - fdecomite(flickr)

Spiral by fdecomite

“When you’re stuck in a spiral, to change all aspects of the spin you need only to change one thing.”

~ Christina Baldwin

Every day in life we are faced with choices.  We have the power to choose for ourselves how we conduct ourselves, our values, what we choose to do with our time and energy, which commitments we choose to create, and the people we choose to love.  As 2010 has begun these issues have been on my mind as I set my goals for the year.  I feel that 2010 is going to be a miraculous and magical year for many, and a list of goals or priorities can help keep intentions in line with the desired outcome for the year.  I don’t like thinking of them as resolutions, because it seems then as if there is something wrong with me as I am.  Visually looking at my goals and seeing how they can be achieved helps me see where the best use of my time and energy should go.  I’m also a believer in Serendipity and Synchronicity.  I try and be aware of why certain events occur, and set intentions for what I want to happen.  I’ve learned to not judge the process too much of how something happens, but instead look at each step as a learning experience and chance for growth. Sometimes the best things come out of plans being upset, cancelled, or delayed.

Magic by Bohman.

With intention and focus in the new year I plan to shed some habits that no longer fit, dwelve deeply into the world of massage therapy and bodywork, dedicate more time and energy to staying fit, and develop my passions further and allow my creativity to flow.

What intentions have you set for yourself in 2010?

Set your course, and choose your flight path! 🙂

~spiritedwildfire