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Original Short Fiction: "Graveyard Whistler on 'The Coffee Memoirs'" (3)

Short literary fiction is one of my areas of writing interests, so I dabble in composing short stories and flash fiction from time to time.

Coffee in Filter

Memoir 3: Foreword by Graveyard Whistler

The late Stoney's coffee journey continues with more ups and downs. What remained a constant in his journey to become caffeine-free was his devotion to his spiritual routine and his yearly "Spiritual Retreats." That devotion kept him striving to achieve his goal of spiritual unity with the Great Divine, which I take to be another name for "God."

Stoney's life journey is fascinating, and there is much more to it than one could ever imagine. His treasure trove of literary works remains a marvel to me. After he first allowed me to use his writings, we kept in touch through email, discussing many literary topics from poet biographies to ways to think up stuff to write about. I will miss him terribly, and I have heard that his husband will be creating a foundation for Stoney to offer scholarships to students who wish to work in the area of literary studies.

The original form for these Coffee Memoirs was a seven installment series. I have combined them to reduce the installments to three. The first pieces of the series were longer, and Stoney seemed to become less and less detailed as his progressed. Nevertheless, it's a remarkable journey. Continue to enjoy with the this final installment.

Dangers vs Advantages: October 23, 2006

Today is October 23, 2006, and since I last wrote I have continued to have problems trying to quit coffee. I can’t even keep track of the episodes of on-again off-again. Those books I mentioned in an earlier entry amount to little real help in the problem: one is too stilted toward the dangers, and besides the author is promoting a line of products that depend on his overdramatizing the adverse effects of caffeine. The other one has little to say about the so-called “Caffeine Advantage” except that caffeine makes one more alert. That’s common knowledge, and if there are definite disadvantages even to a moderate level, it would be important for them to mention those distinctions which they, of course, do not. So those two books just cancel each other out. But my own reason for needing to eschew caffeine is still the only one that matters for me: it is incompatible with my spiritual goal.

My present status in this on-going saga is this: Last Christmas 2005 I gave in to the urge and began drinking coffee regularly. I continued the activity until July 2006, when I decided that attending Spiritual Retreat 2006 would be much more difficult, if I were taking caffeine regularly. I would have to have it in the morning and several times a day, which would make me have to go the restrooms to urinate at inconvenient times. It would make attending the spiritual ceremony impossible because I have to be able to go at least four hours without a bathroom break for that event. So I stopped in July and after indulging daily for those seven months, I went through those ghastly withdrawals of headaches and vomiting.

Nevertheless, I accomplished my goal of quitting for Spiritual Retreat and was able to attend the spiritual ceremony. (Except for the first Spiritual Retreat I attended in 1996, I just realized that I have been off coffee for each Spiritual Retreat since 1996.)

During Spiritual Retreat I had decaf with Edison one morning, and then at LAX waiting for our flight back home, I had decaf with breakfast. Then lately at home I have been drinking decaf fairly regularly. It is nice to be able to not have to have it. On weekends I usually don’t drink it in the morning. This past weekend I didn’t have any until lunch Sunday; I could never do that with regular coffee!

Now today I talked myself into have some regular coffee, and I have buzzing from all that caffeine. Bad idea? No doubt! But I will report back in few days to see how I’m doing. Either I’ll be whining that I’ve done it again, or maybe, I’ll be able to explain what I’m hoping will be that I have managed it, and am not taking it regularly.

I have an idea that if I can substantially improve my spiritual routine, I can finally kick the caffeine habit once and for all. Improved spiritual routine is the panacea for all ills. Of course, it is important to make certain connections with regard to how the spiritual routine is relieving specific ills. Caffeine stimulates the nerves outwardly or physically, and spiritual routine calms the nerves internally which would result in the same, actually better, heightened awareness, but with much less wear and tear on the physical nerves.

The problem is having the patience to continue the practice until the desired results are attained. Patience and practice—I must strive for those virtues. At this point if I don’t continue caffeine consumption, I will not have to suffer those headaches and vomiting, but if I do, I will. I know that tomorrow I will experience a let down because I will have a comparison with today’s high caffeine buzz. Oh Great Divine, help me not let it throw me!

July 30, 2008

Today is July 30, 2008, and I am off coffee. My last stretch of habitual daily intake lasted from my birthday in January until about the middle of June. Again, it was Spiritual Retreat that motivated me to quit. This time I followed the instructions on the herbal coffee label to quit gradually. I mixed 3 tablespoons of regular coffee with one tablespoon of herbal coffee, and gradually reduced the coffee as I increased the herbal coffee. It worked quite well. I got down to a minuscule amount of the real stuff, about 1/12 of the usual amount, and then finally braved it totally with herbal coffee and no coffee.

A couple of times I had to backtrack, like going from ⅛ back to a ¼, but after a few days I was able to continue lowering the doses. I felt some pressure in my head with the very low doses, and after having eliminated the coffee, but I did not get a full-blown headache, and I did not go into vomiting fits. This has been my best effort at quitting.

I am virtually certain I will not go back to drinking caffeine; I have become very sensitive in two major ways that tell me I cannot tolerate it: a sporadic sharp pain in my head, and violent heart flutters. Since I have been off the caffeine about a month now, the head pains are not sharp but just a dull ache and less often, and the heart flutters are less severe and less often.

I think that at my advanced age, I have to be more careful of what I put into my body. So I am drinking herbal coffee, and really enjoying being caffeine-free. I am hoping this case is closed.

Back on the Sauce: September 21, 2009

Bummer! Bummer! Went back on the sauce after Spiritual Retreat 2008. So, I have decided to drink coffee and not worry about it. How long will that attitude last?

The Final Reckoning

As of January 22, 2012, both Ed and I had been coffee-free, for almost two years. It is much easier for me staying off the stuff now that Ed doesn't drink it. He drinks tea with caffeine, but his intake of caffeine is greatly reduced, and I don't have to be tempted by smelling coffee and having a coffee machine sitting on the counter. I have some herbal coffee now and then and have no cravings for coffee. My spiritual routine has greatly improved, and the increased devotion to my spiritual goal helps keep me clean.

In the end, it was my spiritual routine that finally heralded my elimination of caffeine from my life. The more my desire to engage my spiritual body, the less my physical body can remain a roadblock. Today is January 22, 2018, which means I have now been caffeine-free for close to eight years. I have heard that it takes eight years to form a habit. I am therefore encouraged that the habit of caffeine freedom has finally taken hold of me, and I know I am likely to remain caffeine-free.

Painted Coffee Cup

Whistling Past the Graveyard

"To enter a situation with little or no understanding of the possible consequences."

"To enter a situation with little or no understanding of the possible consequences."

Afterword by Graveyard Whistler

Throughout these Coffee Memoirs, the name of Stoney's husband has been changed to protect his identity. The couple did wish to remain unidentified. Interestingly, Stoney did not actually "die" as we ordinarily think of that concept. His spiritual routine had caused him to advance to a state that the Hindus call "samadhi." Thus he was able to experience his soul leaving his body, a phenomenon the Hindus call "mahasamadhi." "Edison," Stoney's life-long companion, partner, and spouse, explained to me about this spiritual level of being. I can't say I truly understand it, but I respect it, and I do see that Stoney was deeply devoted to his spiritual life. What he went through to quit coffee is only one part of his story. Such devotion needs to be shared; it can give all of us encouragement in our lives that if we work for it we can achieve anything that we want strongly and deeply enough.

Literarily yours,
Belmonte Segwic,
aka The Graveyard Whistler

Some good whistlin' goin' on!! Enjoy!

© 2019 Linda Sue Grimes