Day Twenty Seven: Feasting

Daily Journal

Today, I purchased and listened to the audiobook version of Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I was aware of the book and I may have even checked the book out at the library years ago and perhaps even returned it unread. I know the actor Ashton Kutcher had been a heavy smoker and quit using the book. I have quit smoking several times over the past few years. My most successful quit was for about a year ancigarettesd a half, 2011-2012, using the nicotine patch. I recall always feeling that I had made a sacrifice and wanting a cigarette every day of that year. I knew my days as a non-smoker were numbered when I joined the band Moonshine Millionaires and two of the guys were smokers. It was so difficult to go without cigarettes during those breaks between sets.

I had planned a quit date of February 1st, but after listening to the Allen Carr audiobook at work in only one day, I decided I didn’t want to smoke anymore and just quit immediately. No reason to smoke three more packs and wait to quit. Hard to explain how the book works but I believe it’s the best method for quitting I’ve tried so far. The author is not a health professional. He’s just a former three pack a day chain smoker who figured out how to quit and made it his life’s mission to help others quit the habit.

I would recommend the book to anyone who really wants to quit smoking. I know this will be my last quitting attempt and I will remain a non-smoker for the rest of my life.

It works like this: You have to really want to quit. If you read the book and still don’t want to quit, read it again. You have to read the entire book. You can smoke while you are reading the book too!

So far this is the easiest way to quit smoking that I have ever tried, because it address the bigger psychological problem (“brainwashing” as he calls it).

Deng Ming-Dao on Feasting:

Feasting is the flame in mid-winter
That kindles the fire of friendship
And strengthens the community.

This reminds me of trying to keep bands together- or preserving the unity of the group. It could apply to anything. Your family, your circle of friends, your Thursday night poker group, whatever. I wish I could remember the name of the documentary I saw many years ago with a quote about keeping a band together. I suspect it was the jazz fusion band Yellowjackets. Whoever made the quote, I paraphrase from memory, said that they kept the band together by getting together once a week for dinner, or maybe watching a movie, no matter how busy they were playing music. It kept them like a family. I think this is what Deng Ming-Dao is referring to, basically.

He says “like any other human endeavor, the feast is vulnerable to manipulation and politics, the selfish maneuvering of cynical individuals”- which I’m sure many people can relate to, regarding Thanksgiving dinner and family dysfunction.

He assures us that this is difficult to avoid completely. He recommends:

  • Keep intentions strictly on its purpose. (As a rule for me, in reaction to family problems when I was a kid, I do not allow arguing over problems, bad grades, getting in trouble, etc. while having dinner with my family. I grew up with anger and rage at the dinner time, with dinner plates being thrown and shattered. Family problems are to be discussed at a more appropriate place and time, with more patience. Family dinner is to create unity, not for engaging in conflict, in my opinion.)
  • Select leaders wisely.
  • The leaders need to be as enlightened as possible.

The Daily Stoic:

Today Ryan Holiday writes about the three areas of training, this time quoting Epictetus.

  • Consider what we should desire and be averse to. We need to want what is good and avoid what is bad. (Once again, a coincidence! I am learning to be averse to cigarettes and not desire them because they are not good).
  • Examine our motivations. Doing things for the right reasons? Acting without thinking first? Acting because we believe we have to do something and not for a real reason?
  • Judgment. See things clearly using reason.

Tomorrow, I will be working on my finances a little. It’s also my mother’s birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Mom!

B.G.

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