We are facing challenging times. While this Pandemic will end soon, life challenges will continue. I believe that what I am about to put down on paper will help some people cope during difficult times. I think we can all agree that life is not easy. There will always be challenges and pain. This is normal and how we learn and make changes. I wanted to share my experiences and coping tools in the hopes of helping those who struggle but cannot see beyond the pain.
A few weeks ago, I had a mini-breakdown that, thank G-d I was able to overcome. I posted about it on Facebook since I needed to get my thoughts out as to not explode. The hundreds of responses were overwhelming.
“This morning was a rough one. First Passover without my family. Alone with my thoughts for 4 days. Then learning how many members of my community were taken by this plague over the holiday. Parents of friends etc. I could not get out of bed. I cannot remember the last time I felt this way. I had to dig deep, REALLY deep to pull myself out of bed. The tears were uncontrollable so I figured this would be a good time to have my daily conversation with G-d in my own words without a prayer book. I could not start with #gratitude. I simply could not. Instead, I begged. Literally begged. Make this stop. I tried to reason with him saying “this must end so that we can be together with our friends and families to celebrate holidays, sabbath, go to classes. “I begged for healing those who are sick. The hysteria slowly calmed and then I got to gratitude. The first thing I expressed was recognition of the angels that were protecting my family and I asked that more angels be sent to fight this plague. I was inspired by the fact it was Passover and there are very eerie parallels. I am not feeling 100% myself but calmer and better. I have hope. Why am I sharing this? Because I know how many are struggling and how many cannot see an end to this. Make no mistake WE are all being tested. ALL OF US. Every religion, must stand together, keep the #faith. Beg and show gratitude. If you do not believe in G-d I’m sure you believe in some sort of power bigger than us so speak to the #universe. If I am wrong about this, do we have anything to lose by putting #positivity out there? Power in numbers. I am going to be thinking about more ideas during my walk that I will share. And once again PLEASE if you need to talk DM me and I’ll give you my number. This is not me being selfless. This helps me feel useful. If you reach out to me you will me helping me stay sane. Sending #love #comfort and #positivevibes to all. Wishing my friends a #happypassover and #happyeaster. Having these two holidays coincide is very meaningful #strongertogether. #strengthinnumbers”
A former mentor of mine, Reuben Ebrahimoff had said to me “Estelle, you should be spreading your positivity as much as possible” His words inspired to try to help others gain perspective. It could not hurt! I will start by saying I AM NOT a trained health professional. My life experience is my PHD. I have also gained tremendous knowledge from books written by experts and spiritual leaders. I will share several tools I use during difficult times. I hope my words resonate with those struggling now and in the future.
Over the years, I have been asked: “how do you remain so positive”? Positivity does not come easy. This is especially true during challenging times. It is a process and, something that I have worked on over the years. About 15 years ago I was at an extremely low point in my life. A relationship that I thought would lead to marriage had failed. I was in a miserable job. I could not see the light. A close friend of mine handed me the book, “The Secret” and said, “Just read this”. At this point, I was willing to try anything to get me out of the depressed state I was in. Reading it was so eye-opening that I decided to buy the DVD as well. The main premise of “The Secret” is the Law of Attraction. We have all had those days when our day starts out lousy and only gets worse as we focus on the negative. The trick is to catch those thoughts and consciously change them or in other words “flip the switch from negative to positive”. Focusing on a single negative experience will lead to more negativity. The same holds true for attracting positivity into our lives. I highly recommend these books. https://www.thesecret.tv/
There are loads of examples proving the Law of Attraction. How many times have you thought about someone and suddenly the phone rings and it's them. You must open your mind and recognize when it happens it is not just a coincidence. I experience this phenomenon quite frequently. For example, every time I had traveled to Miami I said, “Why don’t I live here”. I said it. I verbalized it. Words have power. Believe it! Today I am living my dream in Miami. I honestly believe it is because I put this thought out into the Universe.
My number one tool for remaining positive is expressing gratitude. Reflecting on life and recognizing all the blessings is life-changing. Human nature leads people to dwell on a single negative experience, and to focus on others who APPEAR to have more. What about all those who have less? We must always view life from a “glass half full” perspective. Appreciate what we have and verbalize gratitude. Keep a journal and include the good with the bad. After a week, you will notice that because you focused on the positive experience, the negative ones will be minimal. When you see it in black and white, you will realize how much you must be grateful for. Gratitude brings positivity and this concept will become obvious to you during your journey to positivity.
Sometimes we need inspiration from outside sources. I highly recommend finding a religious or spiritual inspirational speaker to motivate you.
My “go-to” for inspiration is Gedale Fenster. He has a way of showing how to put life into the proper perspective. He suffered from a gambling addiction and turned his addiction into something positive. He established a treatment center to help those overcome the same challenges he dealt with and gives motivational classes daily. His teachings resonated with me because he incorporates the concepts in The Secret with faith. He also draws his knowledge from several experts and inspirational leaders.
One of my favorite sayings is “you cannot control the uncontrollable”. This is a concept Gedale addresses in great detail. I believe that grasping this concept will change your perception and will help you put a positive spin on even the most stressful situation. For example, we cannot control this plague and we cannot stop death, yet there are many things we CAN control. We can control how we perceive a situation and the actions we take as a result. For example, I limit my Plague coverage viewing to 1 hour a day. The media thrives on presenting negative stats. How about showing the stats of the thousands who overcame the plague and survived? Watching the gloom and doom reporting cannot possibly change the outcome and is not healthy. We are physically affected by negative reporting which leads to depression and sadness. There is science behind the fact that stress kills. The action we can take is staying, safe, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle., both mentally and physically. We can choose to empty our refrigerators daily, or we can get dressed go outside for a walk if it is safe to do so. Walking 4000 steps or more increases lung capacity which is crucial during this plague. If walking is not an option, find a daily exercise routine. There are many available on Amazon Prime and YouTube. Exercise raises endorphins, which give you a natural high and feeling of well-being. It also helps boost your immune system. This link tells a little about my personal fitness journey.
These are just a few examples of what we can control. We must realize we are an exceedingly small player in a much larger game. There is a higher power in control. I personally believe G-d is in control. For those who do not believe in G-d, I am sure you believe in some sort of higher power. Faith is a huge factor that helps many cope during difficult times, and look to the future. I spoke to a friend of mine who’s father was taken from her by the Plague. Of course, she was devastated. I cannot even imagine how she felt. I cannot think of anything more painful than the loss of a loved one. She mentioned that by understanding that we do not really understand the workings of G-d brought her comfort. I will delve into the power of prayer and how it brings comfort during difficult times in my next segment. I have seen several friends cope with immense pain by drawing from their faith and they have inspired me.
We must always search for the silver lining, which is not apparent most of the time. How we look at a situation is crucial. You may ask “what could possibly be the silver lining of losing a loved one”. It is a tough one, but it can give you an opportunity to do something in their memory like encouraging people to donate to a charity in their name. Money raised could lead to saving the lives of others.
You can have two people looking at the same exact scenario in completely opposite ways.
Two people can stand in front of the ocean. One may say “oh no there are sharks I’m not going in”, when, the odds of being attacked by a shark are lower than getting hit by a car. Another person will look at the same ocean and dive right in. I often see two people react to the same situation in opposite ways. It's all about perspective. We must fight to look for the positive in every situation. It is a choice and how we choose will determine how fulfilling our lives will be.
I have found a silver lining during this plague. Gedale Fenster said it best. “Stuff your face or face your stuff”. During this plague, I chose to look inside myself and work on my character flaws. Introspection is something we normally do not have time for. Now is the perfect time to take a class, work on a project, work on yourselves, explore opportunities and connect with friends
We can choose to sit in front of the TV and eat Bon Bons OR choose to work on ourselves both physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I promise you if you choose the latter, you will be a happier, healthy, and stronger than before.
All the above takes work. It will not come easy, but it will be worth the fight. Be patient since it is a process. Trust me. I lived it.
Stay positive. Express gratitude. Keep the faith. Recognize what you can control, and act accordingly and PLEASE stay safe!