We can hasten our progress by taking an honest inventory and then mapping out where we'd like to go. For me and my nicotine addiction, I knew there was a better way to live, and I wanted to move in the direction of being free of the habit. At the same time I very much wanted to keep doing what I was doing. I loved the social bonding with other smokers; I loved the ritual of settling into the day with a smoke to get my adrenaline flowing. But I also knew I couldn't advance in my life— physically or emotionally—without dealing with my attachment to a bad dependency. I knew where I was on my continuum and decided it was time to press onward.
After I quit, my life took a leap forward. I began to work with cancer patients, teaching them guided meditation and breathing exercises, not as a direct result of quitting smoking, but more as part of a "grand plan" for my life. I certainly couldn't have taken that direction had I remained a smoker. No one wants to smell smoke on their counselor; and who would have believed I knew what I was talking about if I couldn't even shed my own unhealthy habit? The point is, once I followed through on my decision to change in one area of my life, other areas also experienced a major shift. I went from being a barely working model to being a writer and counselor. Quitting smoking had always seemed nearly impossible, but I accomplished it by staying relaxed about it, taking very doable steps, and allowing myself to be directed by an inner compass. I showed up as a willing participant in my own conscious evolution, let the momentum build, and the rest unfolded with and for me. Our development is an unfinished and ongoing story. That's what is so exciting; we are creating ourselves and our world as we go. And every little move we make, each decision and perception we land on, makes a difference in how things unfold.
Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a pond. The water is calm, placid, and smooth like glass. In your hand, you hold a pebble. You drop the pebble into the water, and from the place where the pebble submerges, ripples ruffle the water's surface. The small waves start at the point of the pebble's entry, and they make their way the entire distance to the banks of the pond, touching the earth in waves. You are the pond, and every thought, action, and feeling is a pebble, influencing your body, relationships, future, and present moment. In your existence, there is no insignificant moment. The universe is also that pond, and you are that pebble. Your life, energy, and love echo energetically to the very edges of all creation. You have that much power.