Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Silver Lining Theory

This blog entry will be devoted to an endless topic of fascination: hope.

How can I tell you that hope is a competency? Hear me out and decide for yourself whether it is true that your life can turn around.

Life at 30 was far different for me than life at 40 and life in my twenties was unremarkable. The psychic told me I went for years not using my talent and that I was supposed to use my talent in the coming years.

Do you want proof that things can change?

I submit to you this:

A woman living in a 5 apartment: the one good thing about her life in 1993- way back 17 years ago. A life lived in the moment. She attended the Summer Garden concerts at MoMa. Took adult education courses at the Learning Annex. Went back to school four years later in the fall of 1997. Obtained her degree and a good job in June 2000. Four years later started her freelance writing career. Six years later signed a contract with a literary agent.

That was the trajectory of my life in the past 18 years I've been out of the hospital. So I can tell you this: you do not know. You cannot throw in the towel. My life is proof: I remember when I was 28 and that time is in sharp contrast to when I turned 40. This was the time span: 12 years.

I urge you to give yourself the gift of 10 years. You simply do not know what the future holds. Every day is a stepping stone to your goal. Honor the dream that won't die.

My second book talks about an exercise I'll describe to you here: honoring your three selves: the one from the past and the person you are today and the one you'll be tomorrow. Write a letter to your younger self and send her on her way. Start where you are now and have compassion for your struggle. Be scrupulous and mine the rocky soil of the path you're on to uncover your diamonds-the good things you have right inside you to speed you on your way. Visualize a day in the future when what you want has already happened and you are living the life you always dreamed of.

So there: a way to honor the past and the present and the future.

I decided to write about this as a preview to my second book.

The idea for this exercise came to me when something someone said sparked me to examine my life in my twenties. It clicked that I needed to honor myself and to do that I had to reflect on the disconnect between then and now.

Are you still not convinced there is hope? Hope coupled with action makes all the difference. So I will always tell people to do at least one thing each day to move towards a goal.

Today I viewed an apartment for sale that turned out to be too small for my furniture. It had a large closet and a coat closet in the hall. Only the kitchen did not have enough cabinets for my dinnerware and glasses and the living room would not fit everything I owned.

Still: viewing the apartment was my one thing to write down in my greatful journal-oh a Freudian slip that is grateful journal. You get the idea.

Do your one thing today and do your one thing tomorrow and keeping doing one thing throughout the days of your life.

Remember: hope coupled with action will guarantee success. I have just given you proof of this. It is irrefutable.

I urge you not to give in to the voice of doubt. Hold a lantern up to your fear and examine what is holding you back. For people with SZ and other mental illnesses I submit the internal roadblocks are far worse than any stigma.


The phone rang when I was typing and it was a friend who I spoke to about my hope theory. He said it could go the other way and there could be a downturn. To that I said sure it's possible yet it's how you respond to the troubles that determines whether you're successful.

So be it. It is not my role in life to talk about the hell though. There will be plenty of sorrow for all of us in our lives. How do I propose we deal with this? With the courage to live true to ourselves and the understanding that we have everything we need right inside ourselves to succeed.

Every cloud is said to have a silver lining. We must look for the silver lining and stitch it into a coat to comfort us as the clouds pass by in our lives.

Hope is an almost irrational response when there is no objective evidence that things will get better.

One last thing I can tell you is that things might not get better what will change is that you can cope better with what goes on. Look fear in the face and do your one thing anyway. Changing your response is sometimes all that is needed to change your life even when external obstacles will always be there.

So you see.


Take action.

Carry on.

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