Exactly four months ago, someone I loved dearly passed away.
I loved her dearly and she had helped me tremendously with many problems I had been struggling with for years before I met her.
It was the 1st August 2012.
Today I would like to write about smoking, and I think I will write about other things she helped me with, too, but later.
I had become a smoker when I started to go out with my elder brother and sister, to look older (I looked very young and all the people I was with were always around five years older than me) I have never smoked much, but I have smoked for ten years an average of 7 cigarettes a day.
When I met this woman, on the 1st August 2012, she asked me : « Do you smoke, Lucie? » I was very embarrassed, but I did not lie : I said I did.
She looked at me with so much compassion : « why? »
And I realized I had no answer to that question. Only excuses. And this woman had triggered so much admiration in me as soon as I had met her that I would have prefered to die than using excuses to answer to her. I did not say anything.
She recommended to me a recording from Belleruth Naparstek : a guided imagery to help with stop smoking.
In a week, I stopped smoking. Months later I tried again : felt like eating ashes to me.
From the day I stopped smoking I started playing the piano again, riding, dancing … Of course, I am not saying that it is the fact that I quitted smoking that made me resume these activities, but there is a correlation.
When I heard she had died, after a few weeks, I started smoking again, and hated myself for it. I found it was completely stupid. But as she had been such an important woman for me, and that she had given me so many tips and ideas in so many areas, and that she had died at the relatively young age of 75, I think unconsciously I was like : « Well, why depriving ourselves from pleasures of life if it is to die so young? »
And so I stopped doing many things she had given me the habit to do, and I took back some of my bad habits.
But it only lasted for a few weeks.
Because living healthy and free from addictions is not about living for a hundred years, it is about living connected to yourself and the ones you are meant to be connected with.
And having any kind of addiction prevent you from doing so.
I remember one day, I was on the East Coast of Kenya, near Mombasa, with a dear friend of mine. We had been raised in the same religious community, had both emancipated from it, and happened to be at the same time in Kenya (I was working at the Embassy, and she was on a world tour). We settled on a beach, and spent 5 days there, eating fishes, talking about what had happened in these years we had not seen each other, singing, walking, climbing trees, swimming …
I remember one day, I saw the sun rising on the ocean. It was the first time of my life I could see that. I had often seen the sun setting on the ocean, as I am from France, but never the other way round. And as I was enjoying this incredible experience, that filled me with a deep sense of communion with the whole world, I had to get out from the natural swimming pool from which I was watching the sunrise, go back to the beach, and look for my cigarettes.
When I came back, the sun was already above the horizon line, and I had missed the most beautiful part of the sunrise. And I did not feel connected to it anymore. But I had to fetch that cigarette.
During these few weeks during which I went back to smoking (I am not looking for excuses, but I have not bought myself the cigarettes. I could not have done it, out of pride I suppose, but seeing someone smoking near me for the first time of my life in years had triggered in me the irresistible desire to take one puff, then 1 cigarette in the evening, then 2, then also one in the morning … and I ended up smoking 5 per day, sometimes more)
And since I stopped again, I feel so much more connected to myself. Every time I am feeling the urge to smoke, I do something else, and most of the time, it is something creative, beautiful, or fun. Because I suspect that a habit of addiction is a response to something very deep in us :anxiety, sadness, stress, but also sometimes, joy … actually … any kind of emotion we are not sure to know how to deal with.
So, using drugs, or overeating, having sex all the time, smoking, over exercising … all of these addictions help numbing the emotion feelings, but what a shame! Because actually when you have no addiction to run to, you have to face the emotions, you have to listen to them, and to act on them.
Heroes are the people who listen to their soul’s whispers (emotions) and respond to them in a sensible and brave way.
They are the people who lost all their children in a car accident and who spent the rest of their days fighting against drinking alcohol before driving … They are the ones who have been raped and who decide to heal and to help other people to heal … They are the ones who have lost a dear beloved and who want to honor them.
Me too, I want to be a hero. And I want to honor that woman, who has taught me so much. Who had taught me that life was so rich, and interesting, and could be so intense, and fascinating.
And yes, she died relatively young for someone who seemed to be so good at thriving and guiding others on the path to radiant health etc … but I wish you had met her! How alive she was!
Health is not about living until 100 years. Why not? But to me, it is about living free from everything that refrains us from becoming who we really are. To develop and give, and meet, and feel.
To experience as much joy as the earth can possibly give us. Sharing it. Enjoying life to the fullest and helping others to do so.
This is what healthy and free means.
And thank you for teaching me this.