Give Up Tension for Lent

24 March 2012

We smoke cigars to relax and find distance from the trials of existance. After slogging through a day, week or month of challenges faced, barriers overcome, stings and bruises suffered — in short, life — cigars are a transition for slipping out of the work day into a period of relaxation. Cigars satisfy our instinct to seek a much-needed respite: a simple, comforting pleasure.

Cigar smokers set aside the time to relax and spend an hour with a cigar chosen for just that moment. Not seen hunched over, staring at the ground, or huddled outside in a doorway at work, a restaurant or bar, those enjoying a cigar will be comfortably seated in a place of their choosing, the body in an open position, sitting back and relaxed. Most revealing, however, is their expression. The smile on the face of a cigar smoker makes it clear that this is someone who is enjoying themselves. The time spent smoking a cigar is often one of reflection. For many, it is a time of enhanced mental creativity, a way of finding solutions. Letting things percolate in the brain while sitting down with a good cigar not only uses the time to great advantage, it allows us to return to busy lives afterward feeling refreshed and renewed.

I like to suggest to cigar smokers that they not ‘worry’ their cigar. You’re relaxed and time has slowed since you lit up; allow your cigar the same advantage. Instead of tapping off the ash as soon as it has formed, let the cigar burn down a bit.  The cigar holds onto the ash for a reason, and the formation of a long ash is the sign of good construction. Not for nothing do cigar enthusiasts bid each other, “Long ashes.” When the cigar is ready to release the ash a single tap will shed just the right amount, the rest adhering to protect the burning ember.

Many like to see how long an ash they can get. This provides some residual entertainment among cigar enthusiasts with a competitive streak, but be warned that you do run the risk of wearing your ash if you’re not mindful. Competitive games aside, you’re better off not tapping the cigar over the ashtray until after it has burned down at least an inch. If the ash continues to adhere after a single tap, let it ride. You’re smoking a well-constructed cigar. Continue to enjoy, relaxed and worry-free, connecting with your instinct for one of life’s simple pleasures. That’s what cigar smoking is all about.

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