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July 29, 2020

Its ok to smoke, sometimes.

I think its ok to smoke…. sometimes.

Let me explain.

According to the late, great, Louise Hay, author of Heal Your Body, the lungs are related to the emotions; depression, fear and grief.

​Bessel van der Kolk MD, a scientist and psychiatrist born in The Netherlands, spends his career studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences, and has translated emerging findings from neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study a range of treatments for traumatic stress in children and adults. His seminal work, “The Body Keeps the Score”, explains how trauma and it’s resulting stress harms us through physiological changes to body and brain, and that those harms can persist throughout life.

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” (p.97)”

If the body keeps experiencing the trauma or the pain, it makes sense that louise hays observations of malady related to psychological causes were mostly accurate.

It has been my own personal experience on a growth edge between trauma and the ‘life I seek’, that those of us actively healing, may employ certain techniques to tame the pain so that we can begin to look at it.

For some people who have a lot of stored grief in the body, using cigarettes is a way of ‘smoking’ ie. Converting raw pain into preserved edible bits.

Have you ever smoked pork ribs?

You start with this hunk of raw carcass. A rather confronting sight – chunks of fat and gristle, bone and bloody meat (sorry to my vegans).

After a few hours in the smoker, out comes fall-off the bone, tender, juicy, succulent, sweet and sour BBQ!

Smoke transforms.

There are traditions from around the world called mother roasting. Where the new mother is smoked – from a safe height with warm coals for a period of 40 days after giving birth to restore her lost heat and preserve her chi.

And who among your new age friends doesn’t smudge (smoke) their new home – or new boyfriend before going to bed.

Smoke transforms.

When my lungs are activated – when I feel awash in those emotions of depression, fear and grief, I want to smoke – I want to transform.

Because i’m quite aware of the carcinogenic compounds in commercial cigarettes, I generally choose loose, additive-free tobacco. But I allow my body to smoke when it needs to.

In Louise Hays’ book, Heal your body A to Z, she catalogs 100’s of dis-eases and their mental origins. Lungs she proclaims “represent the ability to take in life. Lung problems signify not feeling worthy of living life fully”.

Her positive affirmation: “I have the capacity to take in the fullness of life. I lovingly live life to the fullest”.

It may seem contradictory, however, for those of us who suffer from complex post traumatic stress response, before I can take in the fullness of life, I have to experience the fullness of pain.

As Dr. van der Kolk reminds us, “Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.”

Befriending my pain is a lot easier when it comes out of my smoker tasting like pork ribs, rather than looking like the raw meat I feel like.

Smoking everything would make for a very poor diet and also might murder the taste buds -so to keep the smoke as ‘medicine’, I have yearly limits – no more than 2 months a year.

During those times of growth, I smoke out my pain and eventually devour it rib by rib.

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