Discover Silver Linings from Sheltering in Place

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Today, my father turned 75 years old. Though he is stuck in his home, he said it’s been the best birthday ever. I organized a family Zoom call for my dad and uncle in Florida, and my half brothers and their families in Atlanta and Nashville. Though my father has seen all of us, we have never been all together. It has been 10 years since I saw either of my brothers in person. Today, our kids met for their cousins for the first time. A special highlight of the call was sharing a slideshow of family pictures I’d created to mark my dad’s birthday.

Earlier in the day, I was on a Zoom call with my other family getting ready for Passover.  My sister and her family in Orlando and my brother’s family in Israel.

When I waited 10 long days for my pathology to come back 15 years ago, it was the longest, scariest 10 days of my entire life. I was 34 with one and three year old daughters. It was also an opportunity to look at my life, realize my mortality and examine my life. This time to pause and wait and my subsequent diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer was my personal “silver lining” and why I left my career and named my company Silver Linings Transitions.

If we look, we can always find a bright spot even when there are dark clouds. I couldn’t help but notice all the rainbows that came out the first week of “shelter in place” orders. It’s unusual for San Diego to get so much rain and seeing those rainbows reminded me of this message.

Almost all of us have been forced to slow down. Almost all of us have some fear around the illness.

But it is also an opportunity for us to examine our lives. What’s important to us and whether we are fulfilling our purpose. It is also a time to look at how we experience grief and allow ourselves the grace to move through grieving. Grieving is cyclical not lineal. Eliminate the “shoulds” and guilt – today might be a day you binge watch television. Tomorrow, you might tackle a project. You will likely experience a range of emotions on a daily basis.

Practicing self care means identifying what is going to offer you comfort in that moment. When I was going through my cancer diagnosis, the therapist asked me to identify my “happy place.” I never stopped to learn that about myself. Having the time to pause and figure it out was a gift.

Regardless of our age, all of us can examine our lives. All of us can practice self care. And, there are universal activities anybody can take on to make this time more meaningful. Mediation is a wonderful example of a way you can take care of your mental health. Making a phone call or writing a letter to someone to cheer them up, organizing photos, keeping a journal or writing a book.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail and wrote his autobiography bestseller.

Gandhi was locked up 6 years when he wrote his now-classic memoir.

Piper Kerman did 13 months of jail, which she wrote about in Orange Is the New Black.

Anne Frank spent two years in hiding and captured it in her famous diary.

Even prisons can be opportunities.

Helen Chang, CEO and Editorial Director of Author Bridge Media is busier than ever. Her business helps ghostwrite the books many of us have been wanting to get out. Sandi Masori is a publisher with Expert Book 4 U and helps people become best selling authors. If you have a book inside you, reach out to one of these ladies.

The circumstances around us are getting more dire, and we are told, is likely to get worse.

“What you resist, persists.” We can not change the circumstances we are facing but we can lean into them and find the opportunities that come from slowing down. Even the aging body can feel like being stuck…aware there are things we might have done before but no longer can. But being stuck doesn’t mean we stop pursuing our dreams and examining ourselves. 

One day, we might look back on this, and be grateful for the opportunities it gave us.

Stay safe and healthy!

Jami Shapiro, Owner, Silver Linings Transitions