Thursday, November 13, 2014
Charting Your Path (part 1 of 3)
Have you ever heard of mapping or blueprinting for life? Basically, it means establishing your desires for the upcoming years. I am sure by now, you understand that you have to know what your desires are before you can see them, feel them and believe them.
At the first of every year, I do this thing called mapping, and it has been a tremendous blessing in my life. I sit in the middle of my den in front of the fireplace, and I have with me a blank, full-size photo album page – the kind with the peel-back plastic and sticky sheet. I also take a pair of scissors, a glue stick (just in case I need a little extra sticky stuff) and all of the magazines I can find in the house. Sometimes, I have to buy a few beforehand to add to the collection.
I ask God to guide me and inspire me as I make my desires known. I also ask Him to help me have the faith I need to see my desires materialize into the substance I hope for. I thank Him, and then I begin.
I always go through each one of my magazines searching… looking for pictures and words that represent my desires. And I always cut out the numerical year as large as I can find it and stick it at the very top of the page.
I remember the first time I did this. Included in the many desires I had posted all over my photobook page were a happy family, healthy looking hair, divine guidance, financial security, vacation getaways and inner beauty. Also represented were my desires to quit smoking and lose weight down to a healthy size.
To impress upon my mind the idea that I had quit smoking, I found an ad showing a cigarette between a woman’s fingers. I cut that part of the picture out in the shape of a circle and stuck it to the page. Then, I cut out a thin strip, put glue on the back and placed it diagonally across the picture of the hand with the cigarette. In my mind, that image said, “No Smoking.”
To impress my desire to lose weight and look good, I cut out the words “slim” and “sassy” and stuck them on the page. Beside these words, I put a small picture of women working out in a health club facility, exercise machines and all.
By the time I actually quit smoking, I had forgotten that it was among one of my goals for that year. When I do my mapping at the beginning of the year, I try to make a lasting impression in my mind with the pictures I choose. I always pray for guidance in this area because the better the impression, the easier it is to feel it. And if you can feel it, you can allow yourself to believe it. So, I make the best impression I can and go on.
I had tried for years to quit smoking. I called getting through the day on a pack and a half, “Cutting back.” The biggest problem was that I really enjoyed smoking. Smoking was very relaxing, and I especially enjoyed the after-dinner smokes and smoking on long road trips. But I knew smoking was not a good habit to have. My kids were in elementary school, and they were learning about the hazards of smoking and pleading with me to stop. Craig had stopped cold turkey a few years earlier during a bout with the flu, and he never picked up another one again.
One time, I decided to take a carton of cigarettes, box and all, and put it on the barbecue grill. I thought, maybe if I burned the cigarettes on the grill, the smell would be so strong that it would make me sick from the fumes.
Well, I put the carton of cigarettes on the grill and started the fire. And guess what? The smell of all those cigarettes did make me nauseous. I made myself stand there in the midst of a hot Texas summer afternoon until the last piece of paper turned to ash. The smell was so strong, I vowed I would not touch another cigarette. That lasted until two o’clock the next morning.
Before the year I started mapping, every attempt I made at quitting smoking was futile. I just put the suggestion on my board and forgot about it. I did not worry about how it was going to happen and when, I just believed it would.
During that year, I was working on a temporary job when a friend of mine told me about a guy we worked with who had just been diagnosed with cancer. When the surgeon opened him up, he determined that the cancer was too bad and there was nothing he could do. The cancer had spread all over his body, so they just closed him back up. Now, let me tell you, that did something to me. I just kept seeing flashes of this guy chain smoking like he always did.
I told Craig that I had to quit smoking, but I didn’t know how. I had tried everything. He advised me to call a counselor. The counseling center told me that it had a one-week program that cost $400. I told her that the price was pretty steep and that I would have to talk it over with my husband. “Do it!” Craig said. “I’ll check with our insurance and see if they will reimburse us.”
I started the program on a Monday evening. The counselor told me over the phone to have my last cigarette the Sunday night before. When I arrived for my appointment, I had not had a cigarette all day and I was very apprehensive. I sat and talked with the counselor and told her how I had tried to quit so many times in the past. As I was still trying to make up my mind to go through the program, she looked at me and said, “If you still want a cigarette Friday, I’ll give you your money back.” And with that, I said, “Okay, you’ve got a deal.”
I started the program right then. She took me into a small room with individual cubbyholes. I sat down at one of the stalls. All that was there was this big ashtray, a waste can and a big cut out picture of a diseased lung.
There were ashes and cigarette butts everywhere... the desk, the floor, the waste can, the ashtray. Everywhere! The counselor explained all the rules, “During this week, the only time you can smoke is in this room. Don’t wash your hair or your outer clothing this week. Just put your clothing in a pile in your closet each evening until this week is up.”
After those instructions, she laid a carton of my brand of cigarettes in front of me. Then, she put a little box shaped device on my right hand. She explained that every time I raised my arm to smoke a cigarette, it would give a little shock that was more of an annoyance than anything else.
The counselor opened the carton of cigarettes and took out a pack. She opened the pack, gave me one and told me to light it without inhaling. She told me to smoke it all the way down to the filter, taking short puffs, being careful not to inhale, and then blowing the smoke out. The object was to try to get through that whole carton in one session, which caused rapid movement of my arms, which caused that box to shock me every second to the point of utter annoyance.
I did that every evening for five days. On the third day, I was shown a tape about emphysema, which is what my grandfather died from a few years earlier. The counselor also told me that the cigarette ads often times show beautiful women, but they never show the beautiful women with a cigarette in their mouth. They know that smoking does not make a woman look beautiful. That was something that really hit home. After all, that was the reason I started smoking. I started smoking at age 16 because I thought it would make me look sophisticated, beautiful and cool – just like the women in the ads. But my counselor was right. I have yet to see a cigarette ad with the cigarette in the woman’s mouth.
My counselor told me that once the week was over, if I never gave in to smoking that first cigarette, I would never smoke again. I tell you, after enduring those daily smoke sessions, smelling smoke in my clothes every time I walked into my closet and learning it was okay not knowing what to do with my hands without a cigarette stuck in them, I did not want to see, taste nor smell another cigarette ever.
The thought of smoking today, well over ten years later, causes me to have a slight cough. It’s a reminder that smoking is not for me.
Would you believe that in that year of mapping, I quit smoking and I was on my way to losing 65 pounds? I sure was.
To Be Continued... Copyright 2000 by Abby Gail Smith (pen name of Robbie S. Redmon) All rights reserved.
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