Month of Mindfulness Day 28: Chance

Happy Monday everyone,

Today I was really productive. And I don’t mean productive with work, but productive with settling in my new life here.

I started the process of changing my California license plate to a Washington one, I found  a place to get oil changes (and got on) and even saw that I am part of this team challenge thing going on at my gym.

You’re probably wondering why this is important: so let me explain.

Right now, in my totally completely new life, as you all know, things are hard. Every part of my being as a whole is suffering except for my career. My heart is hurting for my family and my body is hurting for their hugs.

I don’t mean to say I haven’t had great times here because I really have (hence yesterday and a few other times) and I don’t mean to say I haven’t made friends here because I have, really amazing ones too.

But no matter how many new great things come our way, it takes time for us to heal from the old things that once brought us comfort-for me, its my family, friends, old favorite hiking trails, or old favorite restaurants and so many small things that I only realized once I didn’t have anymore.

So to spend a day like today doing things to make my new life more stable and productive here is a big deal. Changing my license plate, doing things for my car, being part of something at my gym that’s a team effort for the entire summer–it shows I am committing myself here.

The same mentality can be applied to those of us in recovery or especially starting recovery.

When we first start recovery or when recovery is hard, it’s so easy to just throw our hands up and go back to old ways.

It’s so hard to continue to go to our nutritionists, therapists and treatment centers.

But we go-we go even though in that moment every single part of it sucks.

We go anyways. And we go because doing those things are setting up our future-our future for freedom from Ed.

By me going and setting up these more permanent things here, I am fighting every urge in me to give up hope. I pushed on today . I used my telescope vision.

It wasn’t easy. But it was a step in giving this new place and new life here another chance.

So today’s word is chance: how all of us fighters continue to give recovery and life after hardship a chance is something only we will understand.

Giving anything a chance after it has let you down is scary and challenging and unknown.

Recovery sometimes lets us down when it’s not what we think it will be or if it doesn’t pan out how we thought, and  Washington has kind of let me down too. Yet I have decided to give it another chance.

Just how we continue on with recovery even when we don’t understand how we can ever live life without Ed, I will continue trying to find the factors and building blocks that will make my experience whole here.

For all of us who didn’t give up today and  for all of us who did give up yet are ready to give it another chance again tomorrow, hello life.

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Month of Mindfulness Day 27: Surroundings

Happy Sunday everyone,

Well guys, I went to a BBQ today. With really, caring and genuinely kind people who have shown me so much love since I’ve been here.

Linking back to what I said yesterday about physical connection, today was a big part of that.

It wasn’t my family or my brothers or sister or something like that, but it was a different kind of connection-it was a new and blossoming connection.

It’s different from the old and already built strong connections I have back home, but I am starting to really see that different might not be bad.

This is a chance to build something new from the ground up-just like my life here. While hard, something inside me continues to say it will be worth it.

SoI knew there would be food there and cake there (you guys know how much I love cake)and I knew no one would pressure me into anything.

When we fight for recovery every day, social gathering and social events are still always hard, no matter how long we’ve been in recovery for.

It’s still a major conscious decision we make to go to them. It’s a recovery choice we make day in and day out-event in and event out.

I made that choice today to go. And by doing so, yes, it put me around food, but it also put me around people-real people-not just me alone.

I am reminded today of the power that isolation and Ed have over us when we get to comfortable in it and the beauty and freedom we receive when we push ourselves to break the rules and go to these events where we are not isolated and alone with our own Ed thoughts.

It’s so scary to do, and so unknown of what we are walking into, but yet somehow someway, when we walk in, Ed is no longer the only person with us, and I think that can be a relief a lot of times.

And no one made me or even asked me about the birthday cake—that was all me, and it was all me because I simply love cake.

I always have loved cake. And it’s a birthday cake so it’s almost like I feel even more deserving of eating it because I really love birthdays.

So my word of the day is surroundings.

My surroundings today were so drastically different from yesterdays.

Yesterday I was alone and today I was not.

It reminds me that while our temporary day-to-day situations like loneliness can feel so permeant in the moment, they are not.

They change just like our surroundings change.

One day we are surrounded by one group of friends, the next we are not.

Some days we are surrounded with fun food and cake and others we’re not.

Surroundings come and go like our feelings, struggles, cries, tears and moments of happiness.

But if we happen to be able to enjoy a piece of cake while enjoying our surroundings, then I think it’s safe to call it a a pretty decent day.

Hello life.

Month of Mindfulness Day 26: Connection

Hi everyone,

So I started today by watching this documentary called Happy, and it basically just explored why the happiest people in the world are happy.

The one thing all the happy people around the world had in common was that they had a strong connection with family and friends. They were bonded.

At first, this made me really sad, because it made me feel like without my family and best friend here with me in Washington, how could I ever truly be happy?

I even turned my phone on silent for an hour and just sat on my couch and felt bad for myself.

But then something inside me told me to go get my phone, stop running from everything and be proactive. I was going to text someone or get on Facebook.

Right then, a close friend from the Hello Life Fighter support group texted me.

My brother who is in Israel called me.

My best friend called me and we talked for  3 hours (we usually never talk on the phone).

My sister called me.

My mom texted me.

Another Hello Life fighter messaged me on Facebook.

What was I thinking feeling bad for myself that I don’t have connections here? Yes, I might not have them right here beside me, but they are in my life-so much in my life.

I could continue to sit here sad since I am yet again alone on a Saturday night, or I can sit here and appreciate of  what I do have and wow-do I have a lot.

I was surrounded with so much love and connection today that I’m so blessed and feel so lucky.

I don’t care that I ate ice cream today or that I didn’t go to the gym today, because that’s not what is really important.

If I let Ed win today, today would be a loss because of the food and non-working out. But if I let recovery win, which I am, today is beautiful.

Today is connection. It was family. It was love. Those things…those make up so much a bigger part of me than what I ate or what clothes look good on me do.

In times like this when I am struggling with my faith in why I am going through such a hard journey, days like these are crucial to celebrate and appreciate.

We are all connected. We are connected here through this blog. We are connected through our struggles. We are connected through our support.

I am have deep gratitude for whatever higher power blessed me with those connections today-with those phone calls, texts and messages.

So my word of the day is connection: While there’s nothing like physical human to human connection, and the warmth of hugs and kisses, maybe our spiritual and heartfelt connections only strengthen when we are away from those we love.

Also, the more I reach out and connect with others, the more I heal myself.

But most importantly, I think connection is kind of like faith. It’s not something we can see. And not always something we can feel or even believe to be true all the time.

Often times, even though I know I have these connections, I still feel alone.

But today, it was there. And I’m so grateful for it. It’s one of those things, like faith, when it does present itself, we just need to grab on and hold onto it for as long as we can.

We are deserving of connection. Regardless of what our Ed’s are telling us today-we are all deserving of someone loving us. And telling us they love us. And most of all, we all deserve to love ourselves.

I know how good it felt for people to connect with me today, and it makes me want to reach out and do the same for others. Maybe every day I can try to reach out to one person.Just an idea.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone here being a part of what makes me feel so connected.

Together, we have, can and will continue conquer our way to self love.

Hello life.

Month of Mindfulness Day 24: Alive and Shining

Happy Friday Eve guys,

This is the first time all week that I’m home from work before 11 p.m. and I already fell asleep twice, so I am so excited to go rest. But before I do, I want to share my word/experience for the day.

Yesterday I wrote about having telescope vision.

The vision has grown on me a lot, and I was thinking about it all night and day, really trying to imagine what I’ll see in my telescope in even a year from now.

So then today, I was visiting a local barber shop to talk to some of the local people to see what’s going on in the community, and there was an older man who walked inside. All the seats were taken, but someone had offered him a chair. He had a cane, very little hair and could barely walk.

At first I wasn’t even sure what hair he had to be cut by the barber.

It wasn’t his turn in line to go, but he got up and said, “does anyone mind if I go? I have six  months to live and I’m not in the best shape.”

He was honest as honest could be and so humble when he said it. I think the whole shop went silent. It wasn’t news to him or attention-it was simply the truth of his life at this moment. It was his telescope vision for the next six months.

There’s nothing like truly understanding telescope vision than hearing someone say they only have six months to live.

It made me thankful to have all those burning stars right now in my universe. While hot and scary and on their way to possibly exploding into dust—they are alive and shinning.

I guess I don’t have a word for the day today, but rather this experience.

To be able to look into my telescope today after hearing what that man said, my universe is already a little bit more peaceful.

I can only imagine if that man knew what I was going through right now, he would tell me this experience will be one of the best of my life—that man is my telescope for today.

He showed me exactly what I needed to see-that regardless of the darkness in my skies right now, I am still alive and shining.

Hello life.

 

Month of Mindfulness Day 23: Telescope Vision

Hi guys,

I’ve been trying to think of the right positive optimistic words to write here all day.

I feel like so many of my posts in the past three months since moving have been on the sad side (with a few exceptions of course), and I so desperately want to give you something new and refreshing to read .

But if I did that tonight, I would kind of be lying.

I say kind of, because I am not so sad or devastated or something extreme like that, but really, I’m just having a hard few weeks here in Washington.

Sometimes people tell us to take new adventures day by day, and usually, I do that myself.

But I am starting to think that my journey in Washington needs to be looked at from a bigger telescope perspective than a tiny day by day perspective.

Day by day, things are challenging, emotionally draining yet also rewarding, new, different, and often times, lonesome.

Day by day, I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my life in Los Angeles—really, really, really miss it.

But if I take a step back and see this entire experience from a telescope view, I see how much I am learning, growing and how much I will learn and continue to grow.

It’s kind of like each day is a tiny star in the sky.

If I look at each star individually, I see only the excessive heat it gives off and see how bright it shines or how it’s about ready to die out. That star can look like it’s own planet if it’s all I look at.

But if I look through my telescope, all those stars are just part of the big night sky, simply existing.

And that’s what I think I need to start doing here, otherwise, my stars will literally burn out very fast, as I feel like they already are.

There are many stars in my life right now: a star for my new career, a star for the new people in this town, a star for moving to Washington, a star for my recovery, a star for my old friends, a star for my family, a star for fun, a star for validation and a star for faith.

So many stars that all keep getting hotter and hotter and hotter the more closely I look at them.

I really don’t’ know how this journey will take me.

I usually try to figure out everything and what lessons each journey will teach me. But I am realizing I just can’t do that right now.

It would mean focusing all my energy on yet another sole star.

Maybe part of me being here is learning how to be alone.

While the human part of me doesn’t think that’s fair and almost cruel, I know that when I look through my telescope in one year, it will have taught me something.

I like this telescope method. It’s a different method than what I’ve used before when I’ve taken things day by day.

Of course this whole journey is a day by day, even minute by minute adventure, as is recovery and almost any other challenge in life, but those days are the building blocks to how I’ll see my whole universe from my telescope in time.

Star wise, I am flying solo in the sky right now slowly burning out, wishing someone will see, make a wish and let this hardship transform into some easy journey as a piece of dust in the sky.

But fighter wise, and Shira-wise, I don’t give up when things get hard. And wow, are things hard right now.

So my little star will have to  just keep shinning until it finds its place in the beautiful quiet universe that I’ll see through my telescope in one year.

I will just keep imagining what I will see through my telescope lens.

Some people fake it till they make it, others put on masks to hide true feelings, and as for me- I’m going to imagine and imagine hard the beauty I will one day see from this difficult path I am currently on.

Hello life.

Month of Mindfulness Day 22: Validation

Hello everyone,

Today’s word is validation and today is also a day that I could not make everyone happy.

Part of me was so happy today, because a few months ago I had written a story about a women’s shelter needing donations so they could move to a bigger and better location for its victims.

Today I went to their open house of their new facility and they had donated a star on their wall of stars for me.

Everyone who made a donation got a star on the wall.  It almost made me cry I was so touched and grateful for their appreciation.

Later , things when I faced by people who were upset at me for a story I wrote, that while didn’t necessarily portray my beliefs, it portrayed the truth about that situation I was reporting on.

I can’t make people understand my job, my responsibility to be unbiased and my responsibility to leave my own opinions out of things I report on.

To see people so clearly not understand that and be on the other end of not appreciating my work is a feeling I can’t explain.

It feels chaotic.

It’s like a second kind of Ed, but he’s not telling me about food, he’s telling me to try to please every single person and thing I encounter and I just can’t do it.

Some days I can’t even please myself in all areas of my life. Ok, well, let’s be honest, most days it’s really only Ed that I mostly don’t please myself.

Part of learning to be mindful is going to have to mean I learn how to find new validations for myself.

Today, between the people mad at me, my bosses at work who expect 12 hour shifts and 5 stories a day, the people at the gym who I feel I disappoint if I don’t show up, myself, Ed and then the few cheer leaders for me like my family and like the people at the shelter today, I find myself needing to figure out my own validation for myself.

Right now, my validation of myself rest within the opinion of others.

If the shelter donated a star for me, I was a good person.

If someone else got mad at me about a story, now I am  a bad reporter.

If I eat healthy, I am good. If I don’t, I am deemed bad by Ed.

I so urge and long and thirst to just put these people aside and see me through my own eyes.

The question is, I don’t even know where to begin to do that.Or how to do that.

I did it before in my recovery. But being here in a new place and new career, I’ve put a lot of power in other people’s hands-power in my reader’s hands and power in my bosses hands-power in friends and families hands (which don’t get me wrong has been my saving grace because they remind me I am doing something great).

But where do I come in?

How do we begin to get a sense of how we’re doing and how we’re progressing when we stop letting others determine that for us?

Not our recovery teams-not our bosses-not our friends or family-but us.

I want to sit here and be able to say that I think I am doing good because I think so and that’s it-not because someone told me I did good, not because I got a star on a wall and not because someone told me I did a good story.

Then again, as humans, don’t we all feed off that validation?

I don’t have answers tonight. I just have a goal: I want to take my power back from others and learn to validate myself again through my own perception and own eyes.

I’m not sure how to do it over here, but like every other challenge I’ve tackled along this journey, I always somehow find a way–even if it takes multiple tries, attempts and efforts.

Tomorrow I am going to wake up and live that day for me.

I will find one thing tomorrow that makes me feel good about myself that comes totally 100% internally from me and not from the validation of anyone else.

I don’t know what it will be yet, but I will find something because I know I am deserving of being validated by no else other than the  most important person of all: me.

Until tomorrow, hello life.