In his book ‘One Fine Day’, Sameer shares the many tools/practices he has implemented to bounce back from extraordinary crises. He believes the book will help people facing adversity to move forward in difficult times. December 2020.
What is One Fine Day ?
It’s my memoir, story of my adversities and my experiences dealing with them and how I have slowly tried to embrace my new ‘normal’ with positivity, grace and gratitude. It is a story of resilience and hope in facing my new ‘normal’. It is definitely not a sob story. I had no idea before what it takes to heal your mind, body, and spirit. I certainly wasn’t prepared, so I want to share the many experiences, tips, suggestions, ideas, approaches and lessons learned from my journey that are helping me heal, with others who are facing any life change or adversity.
One Fine Day is not a prescriptive memoir (i.e. a list of top things to do to face life changes or adversity). I believe it to be a cross between a teaching memoir (informing and educating readers about eastern holistic medicine, India, USA, resiliency, positivity etc) and an inspirational memoir which hopefully provides some comfort and inspiration to readers facing any life changes—good or bad—and a new normal.
I believe my story is a demonstration of the power of a positive attitude, the power of gratitude, and the strength of diversity and humanity.
My mission now- starting with this book is to help/guide people on how to prepare and embrace their new normal with positivity, grace and gratitude.
To put it in perspective, I came back from the brink of death with the help of a diverse community of friends, caregivers, colleagues and other people around me in my adopted country (USA) and my country of birth (India) besides my family. I first thought I would title my journey in this way: “How I discovered the power of meditation and a clinical psychologist, to heal my mind and spirit” – A stroke survivor’s perspective.
It was an alternative title but ‘One Fine Day’ summed it up. It is one fine day that awful things can happen. Over the past three and half years, I have been building up my life that had come crashing down with three major life-altering events: First – I had a massive and an extremely rare genetic form of stroke which led to a brain hemorrhage. I had two brain surgeries, spent 30 days in a medically induced coma and rehabbing ever since. Second: After 24 years of relentless work, I had to quit my job after the stroke. Third: I had another personal crisis and went through a divorce.
I felt like a rug had been pulled out from under me. These events would be enough for anyone to spiral into a deep depression and to second guess the value of life. Not so for me though. I am extremely thankful and grateful to have survived the massive stroke. I chose to overcome and embrace my new normal with ‘grace and gratitude, no matter how hard it was’. Of course, I was sad, pissed even, and a little depressed. Thoughts like “Why me? Why am I suffering? Why does my family have to go through this?” kept hounding me.
Clinical Psychologist and I
I had started a strict regime of physical and occupational therapy to heal my body. But I wanted to do something to heal my mind and spirit, which was equally, if not more severely, damaged. So, against my comfort level, I started consulting a clinical psychologist to see if that will help me. I was not comfortable at all talking to a complete stranger, although a professional, about what I was going through. Being an analytical and data-driven person, I had never thought much about such ‘touchy-feely’ emotions and had discounted the need for it, before my stroke. Over time, however, I developed trust with my psychologist, and it helped me to cope better. She did not offer her opinions or judge me in any way. She listened and allowed me to confide in her. I had never done that with anyone before. I would say that helped me become emotionally calm and relaxed. I still seek her counsel, even today.
Meditation and yoga
The other thing which helped me deal with my mental agony was the practice of meditation. I had never done meditation before either. But my desire to heal was so strong that I decided to give it a try. I slowly started doing guided meditation. I now try to do it for fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening. Meditation is not easy. It was a breakthrough for me when my yoga teacher said “While meditating, if other thoughts come into your mind, and they will, it’s perfectly okay, don’t get mad. Let them come. But don’t dwell on them, just focus your attention on your breathing.” Meditation improved my sense of well-being and gave me the strength and ability to accept my destiny, with faith, and relinquish the need for control.
Both talking to a clinical psychologist and doing meditation, were two things I had never felt the need for before my stroke and these are the two things that helped my mind to calm down and accept my new reality. ‘It is what it is’ became my new mantra.
One Fine Day means: “Life can and will change for good or bad (physical or emotional, big or small, personal or professional, planned or sudden)
One Fine Day for anyone (rich or poor, black or white, old or young, etc.) and anywhere. And we all will have a new normal from it that we need to face.”
It is not necessarily only bad life changes but also good ones, it could be any adversity like physical illness, layoff, divorce, loss of a loved one or good life changes like getting married, birth of a child, relocating to a foreign country, promotion, retirement etc which results in a new normal.
I also could not help but notice that the entire world had its One Fine Day and is now facing a new normal due to the corona virus pandemic and my message is more relevant now. No matter what type of new normal one is facing one has to accept and embrace this new normal with positivity, grace and gratitude, as hard it may be.
Bottom-line Messages of One Fine Day: We all are one fine day away from a new normal. Accepting life’s changes no matter what they are and embracing the resulting new normal is the only choice we have. Self-Pity and Complaining are not options.
Excerpts from the book: Excerpt 1:
“What the hell happened? That was the question that began to form in my mind after I emerged from my coma. I felt like a rug had been pulled out from under me. I came to in an ambulance that was taking me on a forty-minute ride to the rehabilitation unit at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.
You can imagine how frightening it must have been to wake up on a stretcher and have no idea how you got there or where you were going. I was scared, yes, but more than anything, I was confused. Sorting out what had happened to me would take some time. Accepting it would take even longer.”
“I was finally heading home after sixty days in the hospital. I was grateful to have survived and just be alive, but so ready to go home. My journey back to health was just beginning, of course. I left Inova Mount Vernon thankful for the excellent care I’d received, but I was still pissed. “Why me?” and “Why us?” continued to hound me. I had come to understand what had happened to me. But there were many more questions I would need to answer”
“My new reality had begun, but facing it was not easy. I kept asking myself why a young man of forty-seven years found himself sleeping in a basement like someone’s elderly relative. Yes, I was back home and with my family and was very grateful, but things obviously weren’t the same as when I’d left. I kept thinking of metrics to measure how I used to be and how I was now. I had been going 100 miles an hour before the stroke. Now I was reduced to twenty miles an hour at best. I waffled between thinking I would go back to my old normal soon and wondering if I could ever be the same again. I could only think in extremes. Mostly, I was just pissed off.”
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