MEMOIR LOGO CONCEPT: The aleph and a Sufi mystic inspired my creation and design of the syzygy logo, which I initially based on the symbolism of the yin and yang.



But the concept expanded when I first saw the aleph in Judith Cornell’s    
Mandala Healing Kit, My inexplicable attraction to it led me to incorporate it into my logo before I knew what it meant. 

I later read that the “Aleph (the first letter of the sacred Hebrew alphabet) embodies the primordial, divine potential of the universe. ... Aleph contains all the universe’s potential and all of its emptiness   simultaneously. Aleph represents a dynamic process of movement from unity to diversity and back to unity,” Jennifer Judelsohn, Songs of Creation.

And the  mystic poet Rumi inspired me to use the fire and water concept after I read The  Question.  Here is an excerpt:  

“The presence is there in front of me. A fire on the left, a lovely stream on the right.

One group walks toward the fire, into the fire. Another toward the sweet flowing water.

No one knows which are blessed and which are not.

Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream. 

A head goes under water, and that head pokes out of the fire.”

LOGO ART: Cropped fire and water images from Free Images

LOTUS LOGO: In spiritual and religious literature, “the lotus is a symbol for the macrocosm and the microcosm, the universe and man. The lotus represents the divinity of the cosmos as well as the divinity of man. 





The lotus is the center of the infinite, omnipresent consciousness which connects with the consciousness of the universe. Through the intuition, one of man’s divine gifts, the spiritual student can see the infinite, omnipresent consciousness as the lotus flower within himself.” 

LOTUS ART: Courtesy 
Homestead, my website service provider. (Temporary art while I design of my own lotus logo.)


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THE MEMOIR
CROSSING THE BRIDGE TO SELF
THE QUEST
THE MEMOIR
Quitting smoking impossible until I believed I could

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“You’ll never quit smoking,”
said the pulmonary specialist 
who had just diagnosed me with airways passage disease when I was in my 20s. I almost wanted to quit just to prove him wrong, which was probably his intent, 
but I just couldn’t see myself quitting either. 

I had been smoking since before I was born. My mother smoked when I was in her womb, and both my parents smoked throughout my wonder 
years. At age 12, I smoked my first cigarette. At age 13, I was smoking a carton a week, courtesy of my parents who preferred I not pose a fire hazard by smoking stolen cigarettes in my closet. 

I did try to quit smoking a couple of times over the years. The first time, I quit cold turkey, but when I gained five pounds in five days, I decided it was not worth it. The second time, I decided to go to one of those group hypnosis sessions. But as the session began, the agonizing pain of a toothache filled my every thought—a toothache which disappeared as soon as I left the room.

You could ask any of my friends at the time, and they would agree with that doctor. My indignant fits at no smoking policies and my unwillingness to go anywhere where smoking was prohibited proved I had no intent or desire of ever quitting smoking.   

Then in 2010, I made an exception by agreeing to share a nonsmoking room with a couple of friends at a beachfront motel in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After all it would be warm with a view, so I could easily go outside to smoke. But a severe, of course unexpected, heat wave that summer with, temperatures breaking records at 100+ degrees made breathing—much less smoking cigarettes—out of doors difficult.  

So that afternoon, as I worked a crossword puzzle, I played a little game with myself, promising myself that I could go out for a smoke as soon as I solved  x-number of clues. Just 20 more. Just 10 more. Just five more. Just two more. Before I knew it hours had passed. And for the first time in my life it occurred to me that I could quit smoking if I really wanted to. 

That fall, on Labor Day, as I was preparing to move into a brand new apartment, I talked myself into quitting smoking. About 30 days later, I found myself crying over my vodka and tonics like I had just lost my best friend. I begged my adult son to go down to my car to get a pack of Virginia Slims, which I had stowed in my glove compartment—just in case. He said he would not go get them for me, but that if I wanted them he would walk with me (as it was well after midnight).  

Dejected, I threw myself on my bed crying and soon fell asleep.  That was the worst of it. My nicotine urges dwindled in the days, weeks, and months that followed. And now five years later, I realize it is the best thing I ever did. It was not until I quit smoking that I realized how much it ruled my life—how much it enslaved me.  

No doubt, quitting smoking was the most difficult thing I have ever done. But by the same token, I realized that if I can quit smoking, I can do anything—but first I must believe it.
In nearly every photograph taken of me in  my adult life, I have a cigarette in my hand or in my mouth. In this photograph, I had already been smoking for almost 35 years.
THE POWER OF THOUGHT