It’s moments like these that give meaning and purpose to my life. I very often receive private messages like these, many of whom are total strangers. It truly warms my heart to know that my story is helping others on their own journey or that my journey is bringing some comfort to others. But just know that even though I may inspire you, you truly inspired me even more ❤
I often have very good intentions by setting my mind on a task or by making a plan to do something in advance but then my illness tries to make other plans for me instead and last night was no exception. I was determined however to not let my illness stop me from attending a Healing Service at a Synagogue in Toronto that I’ve had in my calendar for the last couple of months and thanks to Rich I made it. We had originally planned to attend the January service but unfortunately it was just a few days after my concussion happened and so I made a promise to myself that I would make it to the next one, which was last night.
The Healing Services are part of the Centre for Spiritual Well-Being at the Synagogue and are meant to help those of us who “feel broken, turn to our tradition for strength and renewal” and “enrich our lives and strive for a sense well-being.”
Along my journey I have had the privilege of meeting many incredible people, some of whom have left an everlasting impact on my life in some way or another and the Rabbi leading the Healing Services has quickly become one of those incredible people for whom have left an everlasting impact on my life. She is a true Spiritual Leader with so much empathy and kindness in her heart.
I am not a religious person by any means, in fact if you follow my blogs religiously (that is what I call a play on words!) you will know that both my husband and I have struggled to find a place for God in our lives over the last several years but since meeting Rabbi Fryer Bodzin this past fall I have definitely found a place in my heart for Spiritual Healing.
Spiritual Healing (which is not defined by one religion or by one God) is more about finding a connection to something greater than ourselves and could be in a form of friendship, or being part of a community or even by a higher power. Spiritual Healing can help revitalize both our body and mind and also help us to find more meaning and purpose in our life.
I felt a sense of belonging last night, I felt a sense of friendship last night, I felt a sense of community last night and I even felt a sense of a higher power last night; a very loving and caring one as we delved into “The Mindful Way To Happiness”.
With Purim being less than a week away the Healing Service tied into the spirit of the holiday and the meaning behind the month of Adar which is the month in which Purim takes place on the Jewish Calendar. When you think of Purim you can’t help but feel happy and the month of Adar is meant for us to “increase in joy and happiness”.
I spent the evening listening and being mindful. I took comfort in hearing stories of other people’s healing. I heard reflections of how to face adversity and fear in the face, how important it is to seize the moment and how pursuing our dreams is key to finding happiness, something which has been a very big struggle for me along my journey.
I chose to sit quietly and just observe last night, soaking it all in because I quickly became overwhelmed with emotion and found myself fighting back tears for the better part of the evening. But as the evening was coming to a close and Rabbi Fryer Bodzin led us through one last exercise, a mindfulness one, she had me smiling from ear to ear.
Fifty days smoke-free today! 50 is a pretty big number don’t ya think? But I’m not gonna lie, the road to get here has not been an easy one. There has been an exorbitant amount of overwhelm in my life over the last 50 days. Many days I’ve wanted to “quit” quitting smoking, many days I’ve walked by second hand smoke and inhaled it, only dreaming of lighting up myself but the cravings are getting less and less each day and so too are my triggers.
Addiction of any kind is difficult to maneuver and is a constant battle; kudos to everyone who conquers their quest every single day. I don’t know if there will ever be a day where I don’t think about smoking but for today I choose to crush my cravings and not give into temptation!
So for today can I get a Woot Woot or a high five please!! 👐🤜🤛🙌✊
Next month on April 4, 2020 it will be exactly 6 years since I have held a full-time job because it was on that fateful day in 2014 that I walked away from a very toxic and fearful situation at my place of employment and it was on that very day that my life began to unravel, and quickly. It was on that day that I lost my will to live and I have struggled to find meaning and purpose in my life ever since. I have spent the last 6 years feeling worthless and nothing more than a burden and failure to those who love me.
My illness has taken me down many unpaved and bumpy roads along the way and I have been met with one roadblock after another but at the same time my illness has also opened up so many new and unimaginable possibilities, none of which would have ever happened if not for my illness. Because quite frankly if you were to have asked me 6 years ago if I would have started writing a blog or been able to self-publish a children’s book I’d written on any given topic, let alone, Depression, I’d have looked at you like you were the crazy one!
So I guess that in many ways my illness has helped me find some meaning and some purpose in my life after all because I do know that both my blog and my book have made an impact on many people’s lives and when I’m not too busy putting myself down with all the negative self-talk I can actually feel that impact in my heart and it feels good. It feels so good to know that I have helped make a difference in someone’s life which is why about two and a half weeks ago I decided to take a leap of faith. I certainly didn’t make the decision alone, I consulted with several confidants and loved ones first because if left up to me that same negative self-talk would have slammed the door right in my face.
I’ve mentioned many times through my writing how I feel as though I took so many wrong paths in my life and that I never pursued my passions or desires which ultimately has left me feeling like a worthless failure and a burden to my loved ones for the past 6 years. So a couple of weeks ago when I came upon a job posting on a local Not For Profit organization’s Facebook page that I follow (and who had taken the time several months ago to post my book on their Social Media channels), it caught my eye and by the time I finished reading the posting I saw my name written all over this job.
I mean, helping others through my own lived experience with mental illness, isn’t that what I do now? Isn’t this the path that my illness has led me to? Isn’t this why I started writing my blog or turning a silly idea for a children’s book into reality? Isn’t this the meaning and purpose I’ve been searching for? Well I only had 24 hours left to answer those questions and many more because by the time I saw the posting on Facebook the deadline was the following day at 5pm. But before I could even take a breath, Rich had already dusted off my resume and began helping me update it (adding children’s book Author did feel quite empowering). I had to take that leap of faith, there seemed to be no turning back after getting so much support and encouragement from loved ones, even my kids seemed excited for me.
For those of you who aren’t sure what the meaning of “leap of faith” is, it’s that if you take a leap of faith you are doing something even though you are not sure it is right or that you will succeed. Well once I hit the send button then began the endless negative self talk again, I mean it chatted up a storm for hours. How could I ever commit to a full time job? I am a failure so why would anyone ever hire me? Oh ya it got even worse, and then I put it out of my head because, well why would they even consider my application? That was until Friday afternoon when I received an email that they would like to meet me next week. I’ve got a whole list of reasons that my negative self talk has told me why I can’t do this job, but I guess now I need to come up with the one reason to prove why I can.
Please check out a recent blog that was written up about my book by retired Teacher and Author Dr. Susan Schwartz. I am humbled that she chose to write about “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and that she believes that Mental Illness needs to be at the forefront of classroom discussions everywhere and that my book would be a valuable tool in doing so! She is the co-author of a series of 5 “must have” books for Teachers called “Creating The Dynamic Classroom” (available in both e book and paperback) and in the 1st book “Creating an Inclusive Classroom Atmosphere” they discuss the importance of Mental Health and Student Wellbeing.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Well at 48, close to 49 years old I am still searching for the answer.
When I was a child I had big dreams of becoming a veterinarian because I loved animals but the problem was I sucked at science, refused to dissect a frog and not to mention that I was way too sensitive to work with sick animals.
At one point during my days of baton twirling I wanted to become a professional baton twirler if that’s even such a thing! But after winning the Miss Congeniality award and twirling my baton in a local Santa Claus parade I was hooked.
Of course there was the time I dreamt of becoming a cartoonist. I had sketchbooks upon sketchbooks of cartoon characters I had created and cartoon strips to go along with them. I was pretty darn imaginative and maybe even a bit funny.
Then there was the time I really wanted to become a hairdresser (and to be honest it’s still something I long for). I would play with my doll’s hair for hours on end, styling it and giving them some pretty cool haircuts too, that was of course until I started practicing on real human hair, (I had some pretty brave friends I must say) and I was the queen of french braiding which I still am to this day (or at least my girls think so).
Oh man the list of what I wanted to be when I grew up was endless; a model, a fashion designer, a social worker, an art therapist and even a journalist. Yes almost 49 years now and still searching for what I want to be when I grow up and feeling very inadequate in so many of my life choices but if I have learned anything along my journey over the last 6 years it’s that growth is an ever-changing process and that it’s okay to keep changing and that it’s okay keep growing and that it’s okay to keep pursuing your passions, your purpose and your reason why even if it takes a lifetime and even if you have to go through hell to get there first.