After 3 days in limbo, I have a tingling sensation in my fingers so maybe the blood flow is getting better. The vivid dreams of stopping smoking are back which is fantastic as last night i went on holiday to Bolivia in a white van stacked with old furniture, fridges and a goat! So even though the sparkle seems to have disappeared as my life has been put on hold for a bit, the imaginative side is still playing away in my subconcious.
I read a good story last night, retold by Clarissa Pinkola Estes which is about taking time out, re-examining the situation and starting afresh. In the last few days I have read stories from posters who are struggling to keep up the momentum of their quits (as I myself have done on various occassions). Maybe this will help if you feel you're in a rut or banging your head off a wall...
The Three Gold Hairs
'Once, when it was deepest, darkest night, the sort of night when the land is black and the trees seem like gnarled hands against the dark blue sky, it was on exactly this kind of night that a lone old man staggered through the forest. Though boughs scratched his face, half-blinding his eyes, he held out a tiny lantern before him. Therein the candle burned lower and lower.
The old man was a sight to behold with his long yellow hair, cracked yellow teeth, and curved amber fingernails. His back was rounded like a bag of flour, and so ancient was he that his skin hung in furbelows from chin, arms, and hips.
The old one progressed through the forest by grasping a sapling and pulling his body forward, grasping another sapling, and pulling himself forward, and with this rowing motion and by the small breath left in him, he made his way through the forest.
Every bone in his feet pained like fire. The owls in the trees screeched right along with his joints as he propelled himself forward in the dark. Way off in the distance, there was a tiny flickering light, a cottage, a fire, a home, a place of rest, and he labored toward that little light. Just as he reached the door, he was so tired, so exhausted, the tiny light in his little lantern died, and the old man fell through the door and collapsed.
Inside was an old woman sitting before a beautful roaring fire, and now she hurried to his side, gathered him into her arms, and carried him to the fire. She held him in her arms as a mother holds her child.
She sat and rocked him in her rocking chair. There they were, the poor frail old man, just a sack of bones, and the strong old woman rocking him back and forth saying, "There, there. There, there. There, there."
And she rocked him all through the night, and by the time it was not yet morning but almost, he had grown much younger, he was now a beautiful young man with golden hair and long strong limbs. And still she rocked him. "There, there. There, there. There, there."
And as morning approached even more closely, the young man had turned into a very small and very beautiful child with golden hair plaited like wheat.
Just at the moment of dawn, the old woman plucked three hairs very quickly from the child's beautiful head and threw them to the tiles. They sounded like this: Tiiiiiiiiing! Tiiiiiiiiing! Tiiiiiiiiing!
And the little child in her arms crawled down from her lap and ran to the door. looking back at the old woman for a moment, he gave her a dazzling smile, then turned and flew up into the sky to become the brilliant morning sun.
Things are different at night, so to understand this story we must descend to a night-consciousness, a state in which we are more quickly aware of every creak and snap. night is when we are closer to ourselves, closer to essential ideas and feelings that do not register so much during the daylight hours.
In Mythos, night is the world of Mother Nyx, the woman who made the world. She is the Old Mother of Days, one of the Life and Death crones. When it is night in a fairy tale, for interpretation's sake, we know we are in the unconscious. San juan de la Cruz, Saint John of the Cross, called such "the dark night of the soul." in this tale, night typifies a time when energy in the form of an old, old man becomes weaker and weaker. It is a time when we are on our last foot in some important way.
To lose focus means to lose energy. The obsolutely wrong thing to attempt when we've lost focus is to rush about struggling to pack it all back together again. Rushing is not the thing to do. As we see in the tale, sitting and rocking is the thing to do. Patience, peace, and rocking renew ideas. Just holding the idea and the patience to rock it are what some women might call a luxury. Wild woman says it is a necessity.
The story delineates the entire cycle of an idea, the little tiny light accorded it, which of course is the idea itself, and that it has become fatigued and is near extinguished, all as part of its natural cycle. In fairy tales, when something bad happens, something new has to be tried, a new energy has to be introduced, a helper, healer, magic force has to be consulted.
The hair is symbolic of thought, that which issues from the head. To throw some away or down makes the boychild somehow lighter, activates him to shine even more brightly. Likewise, your worn-out idea or endeavour can shine more brightly if you will take some of it and throw it away. As a sculptor removing more marble to reveal more of the hidden form, a powerful way of renewing or strengthening one's intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.'