a QWERTY kind of life

Change is difficult.  Unwanted change can be painful and challenging.  Recovery from addictions, hard or soft, is no exception.  Anyone who has consciously made the effort to rid their lives of a behavior they deem destructive or no longer useful can attest to this.  So why is it that when we come to the realization that we desire change it then becomes difficult to follow through?

Personally, I have chosen recently to stop drinking coffee or any other caffeinated beverages.  It has been 18 days of complete abstinence for me, yet I know this territory very well.  I have quit before for longer periods of time.  The difference this time is, I have been seeking the support of others and remaining aware of my tendencies.

Thoughts create our urges and cravings.  Sometimes the triggers are subtle, other times they are very predictable.  I have just about every Starbucks in the greater Orlando area mapped out in my head.  When I am driving, occasionally I will have the thought “hey, there is a Starbucks right around the corner.”  This is the moment of choice.  Do I react or do I create?  Do I give in and damage my self-esteem or do I acknowledge my own power and move on?   I have found the best way to choose the latter is to enroll others in my journey.

The frontal lobe of the brain is the cognitive center, and its function is to separate out thoughts and filter them in the way we direct.  The midbrain is the impulsive, reactive center in the brain.  The midbrain sends its messages 7 times faster than the cognitive brain operates.  This is because the midbrain’s function is to preserve life.  When we practice cognitive behavior, we are much better prepared to handle the impulsiveness of the midbrain.  Increasing our awareness is a slow process that takes practice and willingness.

So how do we direct the frontal lobe to make choices that support us in where we say we want to go?  This is the great challenge all of us face in life.  What are the voices in my head? How many of them are there? And which ones do I listen to?

Life can be a lot like typing.  We can hunt and peck our way through, hoping we create a document worth reading before we die.  Or we can blindly stroke keys and end up with a mess of letters on a page that do not form any meaning at all.  Or, lastly, we can train ourselves to memorize where the keys are and which fingers to use to hit the keys and really create a work of art in a much shorter period of time, allowing for greater amounts of creation during our lifetime.

The “qwerty” way of living life takes a little more upfront  work in the form of practicing healthy patterns of living so that we can start to direct our life with more focus and determination.  Have you noticed that the things in life you pay most attention to are the things that manifest in your reality?  Positive and negative, this is how life works.  God provides us with exactly what we place the majority of our intention on.

This is why it is so important to make sure you are sending out the message that you want to experience and not place your energy on what you do not wish to experience.  Many of us tend to fall prey to the thinking that life is not on our side and that we are somehow at a disadvantage to others.  So long as we play out that belief, it will appear true.

“The Universe is like a big Xerox machine.
It simply produces multiple copies of your thoughts”
Conversations with God, Book  1

When we decide to make a change in our life, circumstances will present in the form of “are you sure?”  I have had many “are you sure” moments over the last 18 days of abstinence from caffeine.  From the wonderful smell of the coffee tray coming down the aisle of the airplane I was on and mercilessly stopping right next to me for what seemed like 5 minutes.  God, it smelled good!  But I had support, people who knew what I had called forth in my life.  And whether or not I didn’t take the coffee because I would have been embarrassed to admit I didn’t succeed or I simply chose not to, doesn’t matter.  I remained resolved in my quest.  One day at a time.  One craving at a time.  One “are you sure?” moment after the other.

The moments when a craving hits or an opportunity presents itself to relapse into past behaviors and we choose to rise above and recreate ourselves in a new way, we reinforce our new pattern.  After doing this repeatedly, the new pattern becomes the norm and the “are you sure?” moments become less frequent.

So I choose to embrace these “are you sure?” moments and recognize them for what they are.  They are the spiritual barbells of the universe, making us more powerful in our ability to create our lives in a more conscious way.

What are your experiences with “are you sure?” moments?

(Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, life coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery and also co-facilitates spiritual recovery retreats for the CWG foundation with JR Westen.  The next retreat will be September 19 – 22nd in San Jose, California.  More information on retreats can be found here. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com  To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@TheGlobalConversation.com) 

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  • Mike Brown

    I don’t smoke I don’t drink and I go to the gym. Enjoy your coffee free world.

    My world includes coffee. This may amuse you from a play from Kander and Ebb:

    Coffee in a cardboard cup:

    The trouble with the world today it seems to me
    Is coffee in a cardboard cup
    The trouble with the affluent society
    Is coffee in a cardboard cup

    No one’s ever casual and nonchalant
    No one wastes a minute in a restaurant
    No one wants a waitress passing pleasantries
    Like “Hiya miss”
    “Hiya sir”
    “May I take your order please”

    The trouble with the world today is plain to see
    Is everything is hurry up
    It’s “rush it through”
    “Don’t be slow”
    “BLT on rye to go”
    And coffee
    I think she said ‘coffee’
    I know she said ‘coffee
    In a cardboard cup’

    The trouble with the helter skelter life we lead
    Is coffee in a cardboard cup
    The trouble the psychologists have all agreed
    Is coffee in a cardboard cup

    Tell me what could possibly be drearier
    Than seaboard from the Belnord cafeteria
    Seems to me a gentleman would much prefer
    An “afternoon, how you been
    Would you like the special sir?”

    The trouble with the world today is plain to se
    Is everything is hurry up
    There’s Reddi Whip
    Instant tea
    Minute rice and my oh me
    There’s coffee
    I think she said ‘coffee’
    I know she said ‘coffee
    In a cardboard cup’

    The trouble with the world today beyond a doubt
    Is coffee in a cardboard cup
    The trouble is the way we like to take things out
    Like coffee in a cardboard cup

    No one knows the meaning of utopia
    Is dining at your coner cornucopia
    Seems to me we wouldn’t be such nervous wrecks
    With ‘hello there, be right back
    Would you care for separate checks’

    The trouble with the world today is plain to see
    Is everything is hurry up
    It’s all become Looney Tunes
    With sugar packs and plastic spoons
    And coffee
    I think she said ‘coffee’
    I know she said ‘coffee’
    I’m sure she said ‘coffee
    In a cardboard cup’

  • Stefanie

    So great to hear someone talk about this ! Caffeine has huge impact on some people ! ( And some love it and it seems “normal” so off they go drinking their coffee its a free world – i like smelling it – and we are in such a world too where coffee is sold next to cake and cookies and Tobacco next to lollies – alcohol next to deli items )
    The Kundalini Yoga people do try to stay away from caffeine – since it really influences the human system – especially when you are receptive to it – clean inside from a gluten free diet – and meat and diary free . The caffeine can enter the bloodstream much faster – hence have a much more severe impact on body – mind and – yeah – then you do not even hear the spirit anymore . But you might feel normal entering the hasty world of rushing people – that talk fast and always seem to be achieving so many things – being so busy ( at least that is what they seem to talk about all the time ?!) that it could leave even a zen monk with an empty guilty feeling of being an underachiever : )

    I know a couple of people who are not religious but still aware of the effects of caffeine – considering it a drug – legally sold – one is a climber and needs utmost concentration at any given moment – no time for being dosed or fogged with substance .
    The other one who struggles with giving it up even – does find himself with a very confused biorhythm if he drinks any caffeine at all .

    It is a real shame that green tea has caffeine aswell – and the process of decaffeination apparently destroys all benefits the green tea inhibits in its natural form – and there are so many benefits to it .

  • Sarbari Ghosh Dasgupta

    Interesting article ! More so, because I am going through a similar phase right now. I am avoiding all sweet things – quite difficult for a person like me. And after 2 weeks of abstinence, I failed twice -yesterday and today. However, this time, I have made up my mind that the key is to fight back…so every time a craving starts and I fail, the very next day, I fight back and go back to the routine.

    The key, I think is to love the sweet-free diet or in your case, a caffeine-free diet. If we can do that and appreciate the positive energy we are giving to our body, we will be successful. Here’s wishing all the very best to all food-addicts of this world.

    • Sarbari,
      I agree that the least productive thing to do is beat ourselves up. Like feeling bad isn’t enough we take it out on our self esteem for future self abuse. Notice what doesn’t work and move on. Slip is only a fall when we come from a place of self abuse. If you have a sweet and you simply call it “feast day” and go right back to honoring yourself the next day, so what?

      For me I have looked at my history with quitting caffeine and I see the similarities with my drug and alcohol use. Meaning that the phrase “1 is too many and a thousand never enough” applies. When I slip I fall. So I am just now playing the complete abstinence role with it.

      Yep it’s hard some times. I had a good craving yesterday and one today. I ratted on myself quickly and it passed before I knew it. I know I’m not out of the woods and it could be quite some time before I lose the cravings. It is all good. It is the process that I have chosen.

      Thank you for letting me know that we are in this together!

      Kevin