Addiction affected by style, manhood, ignorance and mixed belief, enhances a strong desire to grow up, that flow people in a dark lagoon that makes them feel high and delight, confident and tough, pushing them down underneath the fumes of a burning golden stick made by brownish humble leaf. Cigarette, a minimalist design that burns up the nose and mouth of millions of people, since the 19th century, a word that stinks of colonialism, aristocracy, and arrogance.
We are facing 5 million disregarded deaths due to foggy puffs each year, a plague that chokes and rots people from all over the world. If we are stressed, if we are happy, after a coffee, in our break time, before sleep or in front of a glass of wine, it is always a good time to inhale the grey cloud, a stimulant that turns on receptors in our brain that makes us feel better, the addiction kicks in and you become dependent on it, a lovely dose of endorphin that produces the famous nicotine buzz.
I have been a zombie craving tobacco for 7 years, not too long, but more than enough to be miserable and moody. I spent my teenage years washing my hands with essential oils and brushing my mouth with soap to prevent my parents from finding out my recreational addiction. It was terrible, because after family lunch or dinner, instead of thinking about having a cake or hot tea with my family, the priority was to light up a cigarette and feel good. My budget as a student was quite limited and I spent a couple of years waiting to be home alone to rummage into plant pots where my mom was putting out her cigarettes.
I remember the bliss I used to get after lighting up all the leftovers I could scrape together from clay pots, so much joy closed inside the bathroom hiding myself to have a smoke. When I think about that time, I’m always wondering how this substance is permitted and widespread in our society with such a normality and acceptance.
After a few years of struggling with this ongoing addiction, I moved abroad and I didn’t have to hide from my parents anymore. I grew up and, getting older, this pleasurable smoke was not something forbidden anymore but got a scent of freedom and maturity; probably through that deadly smell I always felt holding my dad, the man who always wrapped me with so much love in his beautiful jacket soaked with smoke. I felt the fabric in every hugs and kisses of his and now every puff abroad was like his kisses on my forehead; and this is probably how emotional attachment becomes an addiction.
Years later, I got rid of meat and spirits in my diet but I couldn’t remove the tobacco from my lifestyle. Then, one day, I attended a breathing workshop. Mindfulness and spirituality were tackling my soul for a while but this Wisdom of Breath workshop enlightened my inner self. We started breathing, feeling, perceiving and noticing the outside world with tranquility, peace, and quiet. My mind started fizzling and tingling all over the room. Mindfulness and meditation allowed my mind to understand and tackle the addiction, to face this issue. My curiosity allowed to rip off the chains who were making me sink.
Cigarettes are like breathing for our toxic society; today it makes more sense to puff or vape in our break time than sitting down and gazing in a lovely valley full of lush. Why is it socially accepted to go out for a smoke during our work time and not laying down under a tree, breathing? Why are we encouraged to smoke with wine after a stressful day at work, smoking if somebody lets you down, comforting ourselves if something makes us suffer? It makes sense, it’s so normal to share addictions to comfort ourselves, it’s usual and normal to poke our shoulder and hand out a cigarette to your mate or colleague. Breaths, kisses, and hugs are not welcome in our society, tranquility and love are seen as a weakness and delusional. We prefer dragging poison inside our throats instead of inhaling air, pure oxygen, the life-supporting component of life; but what if we just had to breathe, yes breathe consciously from the belly, like the kids, what if our anxiety could be lulled with the wind inside our body instead of capitalistic poison?
The average smoker burns 12 cigarettes per day, one pack contains 20 cigarettes, which is the amount that many consume on a daily basis. When will you replace your puff with air? When will you stop getting burned from the inside instead of thriving from your spine?
Figure out how to put out. Breathing is the key and what allows us to feel and perceive, clarity is in the air, oxygen is on your side. A cigarette takes 8-12 puffs, a group meditation takes 8-12 AUM’s; what about trying to inhale the power of purity, indulge in the blossom of love and set you free. The power is in your hands, hold on the flowers of love and throw away the dirty leaf.
Author: Walter Giangreco
Walter is a human being with an open heart, everlasting energy, and good vibes. He loves the sunshine and taking time for breakfast.
He never stops questioning, curiosity is his reason to live. He enjoys connecting with inspiring individuals and comparing himself with different cultures; he’s fascinated with people that he doesn’t know and enjoys getting a window into their lives.
His priorities in life are nature, animals, and humankind. As a true travel lover, he loves getting lost taking pictures around the world, enjoying amazing landscapes surrounded by the wonders of nature, visiting bookshops in every place he visits, watching the sunset on the beach in a warm evening and listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore.
Being a vegan activist and natural lifestyle advocate, he really believes in a future based on living on fresh fruits, surrounded by nature, where people can have a great time all day long enjoying the beauty of simple living.
“Love is everywhere, unleash your soul and let it shine!”
The inspiration for “ Just Breathe ” first came about a little over a year ago when I overheard my then 5-year-old son talking with his friend about how emotions affect different regions of the brain, and how to calm down by taking deep breaths — all things they were beginning to learn in Kindergarten at their new school, Citizens of the World Charter School, in Mar Vista, CA. I was surprised and overjoyed to witness first-hand just how significant social-emotional learning in an elementary school curriculum was on these young minds.
The following year, I decided to take a 6-week online course on Mindfulness through Mindful Schools (http://www.mindfulschools.org/), figuring that if my son was learning about this, it only made sense that I should learn too. Within the first week, I felt the positive effects of this practice take root not only on my own being but in my relationships with others.
As a filmmaker, I am always interested in finding a subject worthy of filming, and I felt strongly that Mindfulness was a necessary concept to communicate visually. Thankfully my husband, who happens to be my filmmaking partner, agreed. We made “Just Breathe” with our son, his classmates and their family members one Saturday afternoon. The film is entirely unscripted – what the kids say is based purely on their own neuro-scientific understanding of difficult emotions, and how they cope through breathing and meditation. They, in turn, are teaching us all …