The World’s Worst Family Tradition

No matter who you are or whether you are an ex-smoker or not,
If you’re in the U.S., over the age of 10 and fogging a mirror…
You’ve heard about this vaping thing.

You may be totally pissed off and judgemental about it (as a non-smoker who is shutterstock_337723556dead-set against anything that even resembles smoking) and I get that. Anytime you are looking in from the outside of another human’s plight (having never walked a mile in their shoes) it’s easy to judge and look down your nose at others reactions, losses and addictions) and just…scoff.

I mean, it’s not hard to understand why non-smokers, and committed smokers alike, would believe the fear propaganda over vaping that the media and Big Tobacco are pumping out into the airwaves these days. It seems like there is another headline story every day about how “vaping kills.” I mean, when the media (funded by Big Tobacco) and your State (again..funded by Big Tobacco) put out these heavy duty “Public Service Announcements” about how bad vaping is…they’re only doing it to protect you right?  shutterstock_262932707

If you are buying into any of this madness and are committed to holding on to those belief systems…we should simply agree to disagree here and now, and then you need to just click the little “x” and be on your way to the next “just say NO to vaping” rally in your area. However, if you smoke or if you or someone you love has a smoking-related illness like cancer or emphysema,  just know that I was just like you and now I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore and I have committedly put a stop to The World’s Worst Family TraditionI can breathe again, I can walk up stairs (without dropping a lung) again, and I can do those things (and more) because I found and chose vaping instead of smoking.  For the first time since I was 12 years old I am nicotine-free.  And because of these gifts, I will do my damnedest to convince you and others of the benefits of vaping over smoking and of the harm-reduction in making the choice to vape instead of smoking tobacco.)  Still, here??

Ok, now that they’re gone…let’s talk seriously about this “vape” thing. I was a nicotine addicted smoker since…well…BIRTH. I pregnant_smoking450came into this world, born of my Mom’s 1968 (totally unaware) nicotine-riddled uterus, into a cloud of Winston smoke and sat there breathing the only “air” I knew exclusively for the first 5 years of my life. It was the late 60’s and early 70’s…(No one knew.) My mom was an amazing mother. She would’ve given her life for me any time…any day. Babies and kids (with GREAT MOM’s) sat in smoke-filled rooms all day every day until they went off to school. I had a few years of clean, fresh air until I hit the ripe old age of  7, when my older, next-door neighbor had me stealing cigarettes out of my parents packs and meeting her and my other neighborhood friends in the woods to smoke.  I WAS 7!!!  I took 2 drags of that nasty thing and was SO sick when I got home that my mom was ready to take me to the Emergency Room! I fessed up (before she got me in the car) crying…begging and promising I would NEVER EVER do it again…and I was sure I was telling the God’s honest-truth. It held all the way up until the next time (I was probably 9.)

Welcome to 1981-82, when kids weren’t cool unless they were smoking.  Back then we could buy smokes at 16 y/o and pass as 16 y/o by the time most of us were 13 y/o and back then… no one was checking ID! It was a totally different world.dawn_smoking_7thgrade

I was fully addicted to smoking by the time I hit High School and I remember being SO psyched that we had a smoker’s patio off the cafeteria! As I said, it was a totally different world back then. Nowadays, we know too much. There’s so much information that we are afraid to eat (most foods), we’re afraid for our kids to go out and play…we’re afraid to (fill in the blank)…it’s a VERY different world we live in now, and some of it I resist and resent…(but gaze right and see me…at age 14, fully and completely addicted to nicotine, smoking a half a pack a day…and you may agree that there’s good reason for at least some of these newly found fears and subsequent changes. When we broach the topic of smoking tobacco, nicotine addiction and the gift of vapor – I’ve got alot of experience with these topics and therefore carry VERY strong, passionate and biased opinions on them. So, pardon me while I step up on my soap box and lift my megaphone.

Here’s why…

RIP RocksBy the time I was 24 years old I had buried both of my Grandmothers, My Grandma’s sister (who helped raise me), and…my Mom. She was only 46. Her dad dropped dead of a massive heart attack in front of her when he was 47…when she was only 12 years old. She, 34 years later, had a massive heart attack in bed next to my dad minutes after she dozed off to sleep. He called me in a state of dread and panic)because well, I was 911.) I was an EMT on Newtown Ambulance and lived 3 mins from their house. I ran out in the snow in bare feet and I will never forget his words: “I can’t wake up mommy and she’s making funny noises.” I called 911 immediately and told them I’d meet them there and literally flew to my parents house, green light flashing, and 6 months pregnant…flying up my parents drive way and up the stairs to her bedroom. I pulled my (blue) mother off of the bed and did CPR til the ambulance arrived. I knew she wasn’t coming back the whole time. The CPR I did was to save my Dad, he needed to know we did all we could (and honestly…so did I). All of the matriarchs in my family were dead by the time I was 24 years old and the were all dead from smoking-related illnesses.

I was very broken and shutterstock_296221391very alone (being an only child) in my grief and there was no one left to help this Humpty Dumpty put her pieces back together again from those years of loss after loss.  What I can tell you for sure is, the damage showed up in countless ways over the next 20 years of my life. The other thing I can tell you is, I knew I wanted to put an end to the horrific family tradition of dying very young in front of our children . I didn’t want to drop dead in front of any of my kids in my mid-forties and I most certainly didn’t want to raise them as addicted smokers!

freaking_outFast forward to my 43rd birthday, I’m working from home, stressed out of my mind by a business project that exploded. I’m burning through 2 packs of Newports a day and I look around and see everyone in my house was smoking cigarettes. I stopped in my tracks and just took it all in and I knew it was an epiphany. I needed to
make a change now. I wasn’t doing this to my kids or their kids. I had to stop smoking and I needed help. I didn’t know what to do (because I didn’t know anyone who had successfully quit smoking in my circle of influence, so…I GOOGLED. I had seen and tried an e-cig 6 months prior (my son had brought it home) and although it didn’t work well, I knew I loved the idea and I knew the technology was improving fast. I went looking for reviews and found one that seemed like it had pretty impressive reviews, bought it, tested it out, loved it and that Christmas I bought them for EVERYONE in the house. It was the “ciga-lite” version of vapor – 101 stuff. It wasn’t the end of tobacco for me, but I was down from 30-40 Newports a day…down to only 5 cigarettes a day. It took me over a year to stop.  I probably never would have without stumbling into my first official “vape shutterstock_337032956shop” while we were working a consultancy contract in the Houston area. One of the guys at work over there had a mod set up and took us all down on a field
trip. I walked out with a Vision Spinner and a proper tank and REAL eLiquid (not a pre-filled cartridge with a battery that dies a little more with every drag). I sampled the eliquid and found the flavor that did it for me and the shop owner made sure I walked out with enough nicotine to replace how much I was getting with smoking and I kicked the tobacco habit that very same day.)

Within a month I knew I was going to make it my trade. Why? Because I could truly believe in what I was doing!
Since then (June 2013) my family has been full-time in vapor and eLiquid manufacturing as our life’s work. We walked away from everything we’d ever known and made the decision to re-invent ourselves as vapor professionals. The beautiful community we are now a part of is comprised of a million other stories…just like ours…and it is an industry of passionate believers.

Liam_18
I will be writing more on this topic because I love my family and I know you love yours. I am SO grateful for the invention of vapor and eLiquid and for the people who have worked side by side with us fighting for the salvation of this industry against the powers that be. I am committed to paving the way to a healthier reality for my future generations and for this amazing technology that is saving so many lives and helping the tobacco addicts on this planet to actually QUIT SMOKING. I will fight for this industry and to end the worlds worst family tradition: Tobacco-related Death. 

Thanks for reading, keep on vapin…

"D" for the Hippie "D"iva, Dawn, my nickname "D" and my newest role and title "Didi"

 

 

 

Suggested Reading:

“The academic research and evidence suggesting e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent and as much as 99 percent healthier than combustible cigarettes continues to mount. Despite the potential boon to public health, tax-hungry lawmakers and fraudulent “public health” groups have waged a war on vaping, pushing for excise taxes on the products throughout the U.S.”

https://www.atr.org/new-cdc-data-more-9-million-adults-vape-regularly-united-states

 

 

The HippieDiva Returns

Last week, I recommitting to writing.  I have been stuck on it in my head for months – but just didn’t know what to write about – until Alex told me about the practice of “free-writing” which is simply – just write.  Write about anything you want.  Just let it flow.  So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m praying I don’t bore the living shit out of my readers – but at the same time…this is way more for me than anyone else.

I have found over the past few years that I’m more stifled then ever.  Lot’s of “can’ts” have entered my realm (and I don’t believe in “can’t” so it’s been a helluva process.)  They aren’t really “can’ts” as much as they are topics and opinions riddled with consequences that aren’t worth the “sense” of freedom the discussions would offer (although there have been many days I would have argued that point.) 🙂 I’ve learned to bite my tongue in my fifth decade on earth. Miracles will never cease.

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As a woman of 47 (gulp) I have the honor of looking back AND forward on my life now. I do so with a great deal of intrigue and with what i like to think of as some semblance of wisdom.  The problems with gaining wisdom (for me at least) is the shit I had to go through to gain it.  It’s not like it’s available in a book.  That’s purely knowledge.  Wisdom is different.  Wisdom (for me) has alway come through grief, loss, strife, pain, death & what the Tibetan’s call bardo (1).  I’m learning a lot about bardo by living in this often torturous space of “in between” I’m currently residing in.  It can be a real bitch.  Whether one believes in reincarnation or not – I see life, death and rebirth cycles inside this journey playing themselves out over and over.  I don’t necessarily LIKE that very much – but that’s irrelevant.  It simply “IS” so attaching an opinion other than acceptance to it is a waste of energy right?  So why do I do it?  lol who knows?  I find myself wasting a great deal of my energy and qi (life force) on incessant questioning and total resistance over what “is” these past few years.

 

d_noclueI find the resistance mantras and confounding, unanswerable questions like to rear their ugly heads and hijack my day. Every time I see tragedy or come up against an injustice I’m going: “It’s not RIGHT!”, “HOW can this be?”, “WHY??!!!”, “How did I create this?” running laps in my monkey-mind like a junkie trying to solve a damn rubix cube!  What if…I didn’t “create” this thing this time? What IF there actually is a bigger game board and sometimes I’m not the one in control?  What if there are major reasons (like really big GOOD ones) that I’m (we’re) walking through darkness and I just can’t see the end game? What if I have lived my life with integrity and purpose and listened well to my inner self and to the divine guidance I’ve received and have been operating in dharma and light and love and I can put the hammer down? What if this shit heap I’m sitting in (and working to actively dig out of) is simply a critical place with mission critical lessons I MUST walk through for my highest and
best wisdom?  (Ugh…there it is again – the big “W” – wisdom is only gained through trials and tribulations…blah blah blah.  Can you tell that really pisses me off?)

The thing is…I DO know in the place of my knowing (based on my journey) is that there isn’t one singular belief system that sums it all up for me.  That’s the illusion I 2012-10-11 01.41.49keep building my foundation on time and time again…and I’m 90% sure that’s why the earth shatters every decade or so. I keep trying to pigeon-hole my core belief systems into being “right” and comprehensible with my current mind/knowledge/understanding and then I look around and the “I’m right and You’re wrong” of organized religion doesn’t flesh out. I bump into the same truth/message/mindfuck again and again. Expand your consciousness further. If God knows “everything” and I’m created in His image (for the sake of comfortable terminology – feel free to fill in the blanks that suit you there). Every time I open up…I smack my face into the same wall of “ah HA!” (There is NO SPOON Neo!:)) – and then I am not sure but I think I must chicken out (or my old taught comfort zone programs kick in) or something…because I go looking for THE (singular) answer (that someone else already figured out and lots of people believe in) again.

What if it’s not JUST “To think is to create” and it’s not JUST pre-destination and it’s not JUST the holy trinity or Godhead or Goddess and what if it’s not JUST karma and dharma?  What if it’s all of it and more?

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A gold spray painted cow patty that hangs on my wall. It reminds me of when I am in my shit. That no matter how I may try to cover up my shit…it’s still shit at the end of the day. And last, that EVERYONE gets into and has their own shit to deal with. 🙂

Being a mother and grandmother and walking through some of the stuff I’ve been walking through the past few years – I am questioning literally EVERYTHING. Here’s my spin on the “Believe THIS WAY or you will GO TO HELL power and damnation thing; knowing and coming from the pure and unconditional love (and total instant forgiveness) I have for my family (my 3 children, and my grand child especially) I just can’t fathom that the Creator, (composed of pure spirit, love and light) Source of all of humanity has set us all (or at least a large chunk of us) up to fail and fall in our most intimate relationship and space.  If we are created beings that were created with minds that are built to differ, question and manifest (with countless other functions we have yet to scratch the surface of), and then we were parked (scattered) in totally different places, with different faces,

cultures and spiritual leaders…all over the world, how could a loving entity with exponentially more love, unconditionality, diversity and power than I possess ever love or accept their “children”/creations less than I do? It simply makes no sense to me. That would be like my putting my 3 children into 3 different schools, 3 totally different churches in 3 different countries/climates/cultures and speaking 3 different languages to them individually – and then telling each of them they were the only one who was correct. Who would do that? So, I don’t choose to believe that story.   Liam_d_hand

 

What I believe in (so far) is:  Beginninglessness.  Endlessness. Agape Love. Compassion. Forgiveness. Kindness. Giving. Receiving. I believe
in gentle acceptance of our own and other’s humanity (which is often a supreme effort for me).  The journey to enlightenment and the realization of our unlimited potential (whatever that may be for each and every one of us). Seeking the face of God in ordinary, every day things as well as during meditation and prayer (and that the smell of a puppies breath, a river, an ocean and the wind carry as much spiritual healing power as any doctor or church.) I believe in practicing dharma every single day.  I believe in karma (both good and bad.)  I believe we need both sun…and rain, to grow.

 

2012-11-09 19.42.16I have lived what seems like many lives already inside this earthly body’s journey, and I believe they will continue long after it’s gone to dust. Most of the lives I’ve lived, I’ve cherished. All of them taught me a great deal and are why I am who I am today.  I have been divorced and both times those ten year marriages were utterly destroyed by the time they finally ended. I take my share of the responsibility for that.  Those failures taught me a great deal. They taught me compromise and unconditionality. They taught me to cherish every moment and to be very careful to honor my tribe, my partner and my life as I know it.

 

I’m the best of friends with Jeff (the father of my 3 kids) today, he and my husband/life/business partner Alex (left) are also the best of friends. We have a truly beautiful and amazing combined family. It took a long time, a lot of work and the elimination of all other toxic relationships to our combined top priority (maintaining the closeness of our family) for us to transition into what we  are now…but damn…it was worth it on every level.

 

I can’t write about my beliefs without diving into “To think is to create” and a bit of my current conundrum.  My “I am” has quite honestly sucked for a couple of years. I have allowed external influences, situations and other people’s beliefs ABOUT me, in and as one of the closest people to me so eloquently pointed out to me recently, I’ve been consciously and unconsciously projecting myself into happenings and situations that haven’t even happened. (Yep…I heard you Mike 🙂 thanks for always having my back and knowing just what to say for me to hear the audible “clunk” so quickly.)

 

Aka., My mind is giving me a world of shit and I see it. I’m gonna chop that toxic thinking down like a tree.

 

29912_1489653321771_2808912_nOne of my lifelong, best friends told me that I had turned into a negative person a couple of months ago. That’s what best friends are for right? 🙂 It pissed me off beyond belief, and…well..I was totally in my shit about it. I let it eat and me and justified all of my totally good reasons I had for talking from such a negative place. I was back home to help a friend bury her daughter at the time, so it was a very hard couple of weeks…I was physically and mentally exhausted and I’m facing some heavy duty stuff with terrifying possible worst-case scenarios.  I’m the matriarch in my family – aka “the glue” – aka “Didi” – aka “mentor” and business mind and and and… so my mommy, wife, money, emotional, spiritual, physical concerns and burdens are running high…and my fears admittedly consume me at times.  She was correct in her assessment because I absolutely was letting my thoughts dive into to the darkness and worst case scenarios. In truth, I have been sitting on a fence.  The two sides of this particular fence are:
 Side 1 = Faith/To THINK is to CREATE vs. Side 2 = Prepare for the worst/Hope for the best.
I always say: “When you sit on the fence…all you get is splinters up your ass.” Thanks Bean…Love you. 🙂


I have been totally and completely double-minded over my own outcome
for way too long now and I’m done with it.  470-LI see my miracle every single day. I live it. I’ve lived freer than most human beings on this planet and I cherish that freedom every single day of my life.  I don’t take it for granted. I see myself walking holding hands with Liam (my first grand baby) as a toddler in the sunshine with his brown full head of hair…picking flowers for his mom next year (and for many years to come) and fishing with him in my favorite river on earth the second he can hold a pole.  I see myself at my daughter Suzi’s and Emily’s weddings and at the birth of their babies.  I see myself backpacking and camping with Alex again. I see myself with Emily at her grand opening of her first business and at Suzi’s grand opening of her first professional theater production.  I see tons of kids and love and my family surrounding me long into the future…every vision I have.

I have chosen to “see” both sides of this fence for what they are (glimpses) because when I was only seeing one outcome as “good” and everything else as “bad”, I was absolutely terrified every single day and fear focused all of my power to manifest on the very thing I don’t want. So now, I have chosen to focus my energy and intention on everything good, that is and that the rest of my life is going to being amazing. I am choosing to eat healthy (stay tuned for my upcoming post on The Whole 30) and to get strong again physically, so I can live out the rest of my life with a strong healthy body, liberty, power and goodness, surrounded by my beautiful family, with my husband by my side til death do us part.  And so it is.

I’m walking the path focused on light, love and family, and working diligently to take control of my my mind every minute.

“The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.” Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Join me. 🙂 xo

"D" for the Hippie "D"iva, Dawn, my nickname "D" and my newest role and title "Didi"

 

(1) (bardo |ˈbärˌdō| noun

(in Tibetan Buddhism) a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death.• an indeterminate, transitional state:wandering adrift in a bardo of intense negativity, blame, disappointment, criticism, and denial.ORIGIN Tibetan bár-do, from bar ‘interval’ + do ‘two.’)