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More meandering on Assateague Island

Perched on the dunes.
Perched on the dunes.

The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.

~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 

Edging the marsh.
Edging the marsh.

I quit smoking a little over sixteen years ago.  I quit with the help of a (now defunct) online group.  We wrote posts, left comments, and didn’t call it blogging at the time, but that’s pretty much what it was except that our main focus was quitting smoking.  Not that our posts and comments and topics were limited to that.  During the early days of quitting an addiction, one’s focus naturally stays on the addiction, the quitting, the recovery.  Even so, life is life and such a huge part of addiction that of course we would write about our lives as well.

Gathering by the bay.
Gathering by the bay.

It was a large group.  I don’t recall how many passed through during the time I was there, but I’d venture to guess it was more than a thousand.  Maybe someone who used to follow me there is following here and they might remember the numbers.  What I do remember most about the site, in addition to the lifetime friendships I formed, is that we had the camaraderie and commonality of the struggle of getting past the quitting itself so we could resume normal life — a new normal — and we had differences in how we approached that struggle.

The bay beach.
The bay beach.

For some, the best approach was to demonize cigarettes and to think of themselves as warriors in the great crusade to quit smoking.  Demonizing the substance (in this case, cigarettes) works pretty well, and some, as warriors, went full anger on the demon, the tobacco companies, and the addiction.  Every single day they got up and fought the good fight.

Meandering over the water.
Meandering over the water.

Others were not able to quit through the use of anger and going to war with their demons.  Those folks, and I’m one of them, learned that anger would not propel them forward towards change.  The approach had to be one of love.  Not love of the cigarette, of course, but love of self or life or something.  It had to be quieter, gentler, and from the heart-space rather than from the head-space.  In my experience, and now I am only speaking for myself rather than telling you what I observed in others, anger beget anger and I could not sustain that sort of thing for a long period of time.  It was too exhausting, it made me a grumpy old bear to live with, and long-term anger is bad for my health.

Resting in the waves.
Resting in the waves.

Yesterday I read Carrie’s recent blog post, look for the helpers.  You might be wondering what that has to do with quitting smoking.  Nothing, really.  And everything.  Go read the post.  It’s not that long.  I’ll wait for you.

A fresh clam dropped on the boardwalk right in front of me.
A fresh clam dropped on the boardwalk right in front of me.  (So glad the gull didn’t decide my head was a good place to break open a clam!)

I have loved words for as long as I can remember, and that love of words has also meant that I believe the words we choose to use are important.  Carrie’s post put into words things I have been thinking but had not yet formed into words of my own.  Just as I felt that anger beget anger when I quit smoking, I believe Carrie is right about resistance meeting resistance.

The gull wasted no time picking up the clam he or she had freed from the shell.
The gull wasted no time picking up the clam he or she had freed from the shell.

I have no answers to any of the small or great questions about life, politics, or resistance.  What I do know, and this is in regards to me, is that I cannot sustain four years of shock, outrage, and resistance to every single thing I disagree with and/or dislike.  I do know that I have to detach.  I do know I have to find a new normal.  I’m not saying I need or want to normalize what is happening in our country or in the world.  I am saying that I have to normalize my own life, particularly my inner life, by chopping wood, carrying water, spending time with family and friends, loving, writing, meditating, walking, experimenting with my art, communing with nature, and living in the present.  That does not exclude contacting my representatives or any of the other things we’re being asked to do to try to protect what is important to us.  But it all has to come from a place of love rather than from a place of hate or anger.  Love of life, love of my fellow humans, love of nature, love of earth, love of country, love of something.

Going elsewhere to eat.
Going elsewhere to eat.

One or two more notes before I go:  I’m thinking out loud here, exploring my thoughts, my actions, my path ahead.  In case you are curious and you don’t have time to follow the links in the last paragraph, the first leads to a 2012 blog post at Zen Revolution that I think is relevant (I especially love the Call to Action at the end), and the second is a link to Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness meditation challenge which began today.  Registration will remain open until February 6 if you want to join.

The wild horses were out and about eating, too.
The wild horses were out and about eating, too.

If you made it through this long post, thank you so much for visiting and for reading my ramblings.  I will try not to make this habit, but with all that is happening in the world lately, I can’t make any promises in regards to things of a political nature.  I will, however, try to stay away from specifics.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Simply beautiful.
Simply beautiful.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  106)  Having my shaggy hair cut.  107)  Lunch with M at a local restaurant.  108)  The way the gray clouds are streaked with various shades of gray and blue.  109)  The warmth of fleece.  110)  Settling and centering.

Yesterday evening out at the Point.
Yesterday evening out at the Point.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

19 thoughts on “More meandering on Assateague Island

  1. What a lovely post, Robin. You speak your truth so eloquently…heartfelt and compassionate. I love the pictures! I do believe that words are important. I choose them wisely and carefully before I speak. The beauty of writing is that we can create slowly, thoughtfully and choose words which express our truths in honesty and kindness. Like you, I love words. Thank you for linking to my post on helpers. When I feel lost or bereft, I look for the helpers. I am able to pull me out of my funk when I do that. Blessings to you, dear courageous woman.💕​

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post, Robin. Yes, words are a wonderful thing. Taking the time to choose them benefits ourselves as much as others.
    I know writing has helped me get through a number of things. I quit smoking twenty years ago (the day I found out I was pregnant with my second) and have not regretted it a day since.
    By the way, I love your little on-going list of things that make you happy. I just may have to steal that idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I quit smoking over ten years ago, for the umpteenth time. A weekend in the hospital did it, despite the fact that the reason I was there had nothing to do with smoking. But it was frightening, it was a wake-up call. Just as I think that was a wake-up call for me, I think where our country is now, where it seems to be headed, should serve as a wake-up call for every single one of us. It’s time for thoughtfulness, for reason, for intelligence, and for logic. It apparently is up to us, the citizens of this country, to pass those things forward, because it seems our elected officials cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. for me, i choose the word taking action, acting not reacting
    i get being present in today too, however many when dealing with what feels like emotional pain bury it in doing everyday things, which mean tolerance.

    If i just mind my own business and stay to myself I won’t bring the attention of the Nazi’s to me. A more balanced approach, for me is taking care of myself, taking my own inventory and noticing the things that have me reacting, fear, powerlessness, resentment, anger and asking for those to be removed or mediated, and to be shown the next right thing to do.

    Sometimes, when I detach in a healthy way (not the i’m a doormat so I may as well lie down and let stuff happen to me victim head) I am more clear from my own stuff, which enables me to be of service to my fellow humans. When doing this, becomes a way of living, for me, I am then chopping wood and carrying water. And I get a choice.
    Thanks for the post!

    Like

    1. OH how neat! I left here to go on about my morning online reading and yay more about your topic!
      Sociologist Anne Wortham on Authenticity, the Real Meaning of Individualism, and the Choice to Abstain from Activism
      “A civilized society is one whose members expect that each will address at all times, as far as possible, the rational in man.”
      “The less we are free to decide who we are or to live as we like, the more we try to pump up a front, to hide the facts, to play roles,” Hannah Arendt wrote in the 1940s as she reflected on….”(follow the link to read more)

      Like

    2. Interesting take on it, Elisa. Tolerance, or hiding one’s head in everyday things, is one possible outcome. Honestly, there are days (and this is one of them) when I wish I could do just that. Or pack up my whole family and move to another country. Neither of those things is a realistic option for me so I have to find a way to balance between the activism and some semblance of a normal life.

      Thank you for passing on your morning read! It was quite interesting. 🙂

      Like

  5. A lovely post, Robin–words and photos (of course!)–and much to think about. I always believe in looking for the helpers and looking for good, but. . . well, things are not looking too good. I’m hoping our system of checks and balances will last.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice post! And you had me right away with Marcus Aurelius. Many years ago during a stint at a tempestuous workplace I read Meditations, and posted a few of my favorites above my desk to help get through the day. (And in the amusing way our minds connect things, now when I think of Marcus Aurelius’s meditations I’m reminded of those crabby, fearful people in that over-stretched, stressful workplace–and somehow, his tranquility ascends all the more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m reaching similar conclusions. I really must take care of my inner self, in order not to burn out. I do not want to be swayed by the collective fear and angst. I must turn away from fear and toward faith and love. No matter what, we all sparks of the Infinite and are united as One. More walks in nature and meditation!
    LOVE your pix, as always. Wow, the blue line at sunset – exquisite. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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