Facebook cracks down on Opioids Sold on its Platform

TechCrunch has released an article, “Facebook cracks down on Opioid dealers after years of neglect.” Recent information from the Center for Disease Control, Facebook plays a role in the opioid crisis.  Xanax, OxyContin and other painkillers are often bought online, with dealers promoting themselves on social media including Facebook.

 

 

SUMMARY + DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Drug dealers were using Facebook (and IG) pages, FB marketplace, and hashtags to sell drugs.
  • Once the CDC released statistics about the number of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, Facebook took action.
  • You can no longer hashtag drugs like heroin or fentanyl thanks to Eileen Carey.
  • If you search to buy drugs you’ll be taken to resources for recovery on the SAMHSA site.
  • It is believed that Facebook contributed to 72,000 deaths last year. That’s about 20% of all opioid deaths last year.

 

  • DISCUSSION: Do you think with Facebook’s new policies there will be a big impact on the opioid epidemic? Why or why not?
  • DISCUSSION: Is Facebook the problem? Why or why not?
  • DISCUSSION: Do you have any examples of times where you saw something on Facebook that you wanted to report but it didn’t have a policy?
  • DISCUSSION: How do you envision Facebook having the biggest impact on the epidemic?
  • DISCUSSION: Would you consider Facebook to be neglectful? Why or why not?
THE STATISTICS

Statistics on Opioid Overdose Deaths from CDC

Estimated 30,000 synthetic opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017

There were roughly 20,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2016.

SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION OF ILLEGAL DRUGS

Once the statistics were released, Facebook removed groups, pages, hashtags and marketplace ads that were illuding to selling drugs.

 facebook opioids sold

facebook fentanyl sold page

People are changing their name to appear in the search for fentanyl.

Facebook-Drug-Search-fentanyl

FACEBOOKS RECENT CHANGE FOR SEARCHES TO BUY DRUGS

If you try to search to buy drugs on Facebook, it’ll now bring you to resources for addiction. I tested this out and here’s what happens.

 

THE BEGINNING OF CHANGE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA’S DRUG DEALING

Eileen Carey

eileen carey.jpg
PC: diversitybestpractices

 

 

Eileen Carey is the hero here as she is the woman that got the policy on opioid sales to change on Instagram in April 2018.

She used Social Media and got the attention of  Facebook VP Guy Rosen.

Read the full article HERE

 

 

 

 

FACEBOOK’S IN HOT WATER

Mark Zuckerberg

In April 2018, Mark Zuckerberg sat down with caregivers of the opioid crisis and was shocked to hear the news that so many families are struggling with this epidemic.

 

 

mckinley.jpg
PC: Congress.gov

 

He was under hot water when Representative David B. McKinley of West Virginia put the pressure on him to make a change.

“With all due respect, Facebook is actually enabling an illegal activity, and in so doing, you are hurting people. Would you agree with that statement?”

 

 

 

OPINION

This is a great change, and it’s so easy to reflect and say, of course, you shouldn’t be able to create a hashtag promoting the use or selling of illegal drugs. However, I see a problem more about how desperate people are to sell and get drugs in any way possible.

Personally, I am apart of a lot of addiction groups that don’t encourage drug use or sell drugs but offer a safe community for people struggling with addiction to share their experiences and struggles. It’s heart-wrenching to see parents posting photos of drugs and asking the community in desperation if it’s what they think it is. Together the community comforts one another and sends words of encouragement.

With all good things come the bad as well. I don’t think it’s ethically right to blame a social networking problem on being the causation of hurting people. This TechCrunch article seemed to have a tone of blame, which is a dangerous mindset to have when talking about addiction. I would argue that the issue was not neglected for a long time. Hashtags of #heroin or posts about selling drugs are something that unless you’re searching for it or see it close to home, it isn’t top of mind. This isn’t just the case for Facebook, this translates into everyday life. The opioid epidemic effects so many families and we really need to be compassionate to those struggling but also patient with those who don’t understand it.

Another critique of TechCrunch’s article was the number 72,000. Where did the statistic that 72,000 of the opioid overdoses have a correlation with Facebook. If there is an article or a statistical graph that shows what source the overdose came from, I’d be very interested to see it!

Read the full article HERE

Facebook was reactive and not proactive with the removal of drug content and that’s a part of having a product/ecosystem bigger than yourself. The outcome we all agree on is helping those who are struggling and reducing the number of those affected in the future.

What if we saw the solution to ban the selling of drugs and buying them on social networks an issue of out of sight out of mind? Imagine if instead of disabling the ability to search or sell drugs online, we take action on those who participate in the activity. What if the DEA catfished the sellers?

What are some different viewpoints on the issue? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The power of breathing

Sometimes when I think about my dad on his last day I almost feel that feeling. That one that people usually feel when you lose someone. Like that the world is ending and that you’ll never recover and that you don’t have any internal organs just shattered fragments of your heart infiltrating your body.

averie-woodard-114288

Today I was working on something and I noticed my breathing. I was breathing through my nose and became ultra aware of my chest rising and falling. It brought me back to the hospital. Before I saw my dad, I was told that he was brain dead and if it weren’t for the breathing machine, his organs would shut down completely.

It made sense to me. It made sense that because of westernized medicine some people would find it normal to keep their loved ones breathing just so they could feel their presence for as much time as possible. But it didn’t make sense to use that as an excuse for the cold truth that my dad was no longer ever going to say I love you again.

The doctor was so strong as she looked at me in the eyes and told me my dads brain was no longer functioning.

When I saw my dad I watched as his chest rose and fell. I heard the sound of the breath. Sometimes I take deep breaths to get through times that make me feel weak and vulnerable and nervous and it just hits me that my dad will never get another breath and that he isn’t there to call to substitute my meditation practice.

If I ever had a tough day where I thought the world was unfair, that people didn’t understand me, I’d call him and he’d just make all my worries disappear because he loved me, he believed in me, and he knew exactly what to say to make me feel like I could conquer the world.

I think a lot of people are surprised at how well I’ve handled the passing of my dad. I guess you could say I’m back to “normal” but when I have these moments like the thought of my dad in the ICU I feel my brain physically moving the feeling of pain out of me. I wouldn’t say I’m in shock but in order for me to go on with my life and do what I’m meant to do in this world, I can’t let the shattering infiltrate me completely. I have a mission in this world. Hope for addiction will be spread through the story of my dad and me.

I get the feeling that once the pain infiltrates my body I will be nothing. I will lose my health. My organs will literally shut down. I will begin the process of death. My dad was truly my everything. My world will end when my mission is over.

For now, I’m here and as I am crying at the thought I just experienced I am slowly starting to snap back into pilot mode.

“Work hard, stay on track. Your dad is dead. You’re okay,” is what my mind is saying. My tears are drying and I am ready to get back to work.

Love is confusing because we don’t know whether to define it as a weakness or a strength. Well, I’d say it’s both. It’s what’s keeping me going but I think it’ll be what kills me too.

The important part is that I remember to breathe. Even if sometimes it brings me back to the most painful moments – just keep breathing. The simplicity of breathing seems a fleeting thought but the power it holds is tremendous. I guess when you see someone taking their last one it reminds you of it’s power.

 

How to Become The Richest Person Alive

I am rich, lucky, loved, connected, grounded, and alive.
All the love and the gifts and the money in the world couldn’t get me to the state I’m in.
I purged my room of anything that didn’t have a meaning to me.
I keep my dad’s letters on my bed along with our photo album.
Those are my riches.
I write in my journal every day.
The ability to write and express myself is my luck.
I write letters to my loved ones weekly.
I feel more connected than ever.
I’m experiencing relationships that challenge my trust and
relationships that make me feel unworthy of their love.
That’s what keeps me grounded.
I have a story to tell the world and that is what makes me feel alive.
It’s not just my story, it’s my families, my dads.
That’s what makes losing my father feel like he is eternal with me.

-Leanna Olbinsky

Becoming rich

If you haven’t watched the movie I made for my dad, it’s a reflection on his life and a dedication to the people who struggle with addiction and their families. My dad passed away while battling addiction in Massachusetts for over 25 years. Regardless of his struggles, he was the greatest father in the world.

It made me the richest person in the world. I could lose all my money, my home, my things and I would still feel full-hearted. If the feeling of losing all the things around you is what makes you feel rich, you’re being condemned by society.

Watch Emily Esfahani Smith explain the four pillars of meaning and find an insightful glimpse into why we struggle with happiness and have ups and downs of disappointment in our life.

You can be as rich as I am.

First, you just have to find out what you’re holding on to. If its possessions I suggest watching the Minimalism Documentary. Clearing the clutter in your physical surroundings makes you focus on your internal clutter – the thoughts and problems that you’ve been voiding with things.

Richest person alive

Once you let go of the things that fill the void, start writing. No structure, not on social media. Just get yourself a $5 journal and a pen and write. You can find things to start with here.

Your hand might get tired and you might run out of time, just don’t forget to come back to it. As Emily Smith explains, writing your trauma helps people recover better because they understand their story.

Next read your story a week or so later. What narrative are you taking on? The hero or the victim? Rework your story until you’ve perfected a narrative that you’d be proud to tell others on your happiest day.

There are lots more ways to continue this journey of becoming the richest person in the world and I’m not an expert at all, but having a network of someone who you can trust is really important and if you need someone to talk to, to help in the rising of hope, I am always here. You can contact me here on my Rising Hope website. 

I hope you become as rich as I am and we can share our riches together.

 

 

Growing Up with Heroin

steven-wang-352869.jpg

I was told by someone that they wanted to understand what growing up around heroin was like for me and today I woke up with the greatest amount of anxiety I have felt in so long. During these moments of weakness I felt it’d be best to explain what I’m feeling. Please, if you haven’t dealt with addiction and come here to treat me as though I look for sympathy or to criticize me for being weak, you don’t know me at all and I want you to leave. This is something I’m writing to those who can relate to what I am feeling right now and not for you to judge.

I woke up with a feeling that was painfully unclear where it was coming from. I couldn’t tell if I felt it in my heart, in my bones, or in my entire body rushing through my veins and into my brain. It felt a bit like panic. I felt like I couldn’t keep my own head on my shoulders and I still am having that feeling now. I am shaking beyond the normal amount I shake and I have taken more deep breaths than I do during my nightly meditation. When I touch my skin it feels unreal. It feels like I’m dreaming a bit. I feel like I can’t hold a conversation. I feel like I can’t sleep but I can’t bare to stay awake. I feel like everything around me is gone and I’m alone yet everyone is looking at me.

 

I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that made me feel this way. I didn’t have a nightmare which I have very often. And things in my life are going fairly well.

 

Then I stepped into the crisp air of fall and I almost burst out into tears. I was brought back to more than ten years ago. The month of October was the month my dad had been released from prison the first time, the time when my grandma would only have 3 more weeks to live and I felt alone and scared. My dad was released and I felt I had my dad back. Sober, muscular and refreshed.

dads prison release
My dad and I the day he was released in 2006, three weeks before my grandma passed away.

It didn’t last long as a week after my dad was home, after he had tried making up for lost time and bought me a new wardrobe. I remember sitting at my computer that day when I picked up my phone and my mom told me that my grandma had died. I cried and with my eyes full of tears I was by myself thinking of how painful it was to hear the words that I had been scared of hearing for the past year and a half when I found out my grandma had cancer.

At my grandma’s funeral I remember the leaves were finally falling off of the trees. It was sunny but the air was crisp just like today. It stung more than the anxiety and depression. Is it just me, or is anxiety and depression a feeling of nothingness and everything at the same time. Two very conflicting feelings attacking each other inside of your soul and bringing a numbness to our mind?

My dad showed up to the funeral an hour late and in a distressed condition. My grandma, Anna, was his best friend in the entire world and he had missed out on 9 months of her last breaths in prison. I hadn’t seen my dad for the next two days and I could hardly swallow that he had relapsed and I would experience the frightening sight of burnt spoons in the bathroom and sporadic bursts of anger throughout the house. But when he finally came home in his Outback, it wasn’t the same.

This time my dad wouldn’t speak. He walked like a zombie into the house with his pants falling to his ankles. On my way to school as I walked past his car I glanced inside to see two needles in the trunk.

My first time seeing heroin.

I felt I had lost my dad again but this time he wasn’t paranoid and angry. Now he was soleless. He was gone and yet he stood right in front of me. I was no longer his daughter. I was just another human that couldn’t give his body what it needed.

It was the second time I had seen him transform into something that he wasn’t but it was the first time I felt that I had experienced wanting to not be alive. The unexplainable paranoia and anger when my dad was doing crack cocaine was scary but seeing my dad lifeless and zombie-like was like seeing someone’s life be sucked out of them. It’s like in the movies when they tell you, you shouldn’t bring back the dead because they’ll be a different person. My dad was someone I didn’t recognize and I had never felt so alone.

 

I guess when I first felt the crisp air this fall my mind took me back to this moment. I’m certain of it because I haven’t had this clear of a revision of this memory since. Just like 11 years ago,  I’ll get through this too.

 

So what’s it like for me to grow up around heroin? It’s the spark that reminds me that I can love harder, survive anything, accept everything, and still keep going. It’s the reminder that there is a feeling of real pain, that feeling so down you are numb is the most unique feeling that sometimes feels quite safe. It’s almost like the opposite of love. You’re filled with something that you can’t explain. It’s taught me that we’ll all feel or be alone at some points in our lives even if we have everyone around us. It’s okay to feel alone and sad and confused, as long as you make it through. It’s a reminder of how lucky I am to have a relationship so strong with my dad. It made me passionate and relentless. It made me kind and appreciative. It made me understand that life can be unfair but sometimes the most unfair things in life are what make life so beautiful.

 

I can’t say that I’m happy I am feeling this anxiety today but it’s a familiar feeling that brought me back to the weakest time in my life. I may have a cry but not because I am weak, because I am so proud of myself for making it through what seemed impossible to get through. I’m proud to have this familiar feeling come back and to know that nothing will ever defeat me. Not my own body, not another human, not my own weaknesses.

There was nothing bad about growing up around heroin because my dad is my best friend in the whole universe and I am the most appreciative person for it. Everyday my dad struggles with the disease I know that he is trying to fight to be in my life and that is the most beautiful thing anyone can live for.

If you grew up with heroin tell me if you agree:

  1. We love harder than anyone in the world.
  2. We don’t take things for granted.
  3. We know that life isn’t fair. We know anxiety and depression.
  4. We understand the concept of losing someone more than once.
  5. We push people away who make us feel that we aren’t independent.
  6. We believe in loyalty but know to what extent loyalty jeopardizes our safety.
  7. We know pain.
  8. We’ve seen things we didn’t want to see but makes us strong.
  9. We live deliberately. We stick up for what is right because we know the consequences of not.
  10. We are healers in some way or another.

The Blessing of Life: Being Born Sick

IMG_7593.JPG

After I watched the very emotional clip of the Jimmy Kimmel Show about his son’s heart condition I realized the necessity to reflect on the blessing of my life more often. If you haven’t watched it please do. As I listened to him explain how his son was born completely fine and suddenly was surrounded by nurses and doctors only to find out there was a hole in his heart, it completely made me feel a sense of gratitude for being human. It’s not something we take for granted necessarily, but rather something we don’t really assess until something bad happens. We as humans have to have so much for us working in order for us to be healthy. There are so many things that could go wrong and so many parts of our bodies that we can’t even comprehend and somehow they all come together and make us a human.

As I took a moment to appreciate every single part of my being I thought it’d be an important time to share that with you all. I’m not trying to make a statement that we should always be conscious of our being because life truly is busy but instead, I’d like to invite you to in this moment think of how crazy it is that we are living, breathing, and sustaining life. We get stressed out, have anxiety, and have all gotten our feelings hurt before. We can teach ourselves to turn off that social part of our brain when we need to that tells us to respond to the pressures of society such as fitting in, having a good job, or making a lot of money. Instead, we train ourselves to remember that we are human. We are living. And we are lucky for just that. There are so many things happening inside of our body to make that happen and for us to not at least once remember that in good health is a devastatingly tragic regret we may have if one day our health does fail us.

When I was born, I had a tumor attached to my aorta. At under 4 lbs, I was sent to Boston Children’s Hospital all the way from Oregon. With a touch of two fingers on my tiny stomach, Dr. Murray Feingold immediately knew what was wrong and called for immediate surgery. With the tumor so close to a major artery it was never fully taken out but at nearly 25 years old, I am a very happy, healthy, and very very lucky patient. It’s nothing to be sorry about, I was quite too young to remember, of course. I can’t imagine what my parents were going through. I imagine it was toughest for them.

IMG_9197.JPGI have a scar that runs across my whole stomach and one year that never fully developed. I’m so lucky to look in the mirror and be reminded that I have a functioning body and that it needs to be appreciated. After watching this video, it was an extra reminder. Every Christmas I spend my day at Boston Children’s Hospital because as an important holiday for family, I want to be a spirit among those that have to spend that day in a place that reminds me that we aren’t all so lucky to be safe at home with our loved ones knowing they are healthy.

I have recently been thinking of how we never grew up learning much about our health. And our body. And the importance of being a human and how that works. Before we learn to tell time and understand that we run on a 24 hour day, shouldn’t we know what happens in our bodies in each second of every minute? It’s quite a lot, starting with a heartbeat. Isn’t important that from the day we are beginning our education we understand how precious each breath is?

As I digress I want to come back and just feel so aware that I don’t want to take my health for granted. Sometimes a job or a life situation makes us forget that our health determines every single other part of our life. Even if you hate your legs or don’t like the hair you were born with, at least have the self-love that you’re breathing and reading this, and sometimes that’s enough to be thankful for.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

In the amazing words of Jimmy Kimmel, “no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life.” I’m not quite sure how my parents were ever able to fly me out across the coast and get me to see the best doctor in the country without any money at all, really. I guess that’s a testament to their ceaseless, relentless love for me. I’m ending my night feeling covered in love and very thankful for my body.

Please email me on my website if you feel worried about your health or someone else’s or if you just want to talk. I’d love to hear your story.

Make Each Month Impactful

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Are you excited and on track each month towards some type of goal or mission so that you are making the most impactful life?  Sometimes life can become mundane if we do the same thing over and over again and expect to wake up one day and be the best versions of ourselves. That’s why to keep it continually better, we must find new ways to challenge ourselves. This doesn’t mean we have to change the way we live or start brand new. It can mean trying something new, doing something differently, or building a new habit.

Here I’m recapping what I challenged myself to for May. This is the first of the series called #missionofthemonth! Be sure to check out each months missions and share yours in the comments below!

After you check out my months missions below, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to learn how to begin your months missions, too!

It’s officially May in 2 hours and I’m so excited. I’m feeling super motivated to get out into the world and start spreading confidence, happiness, and joy to anyone who needs it in their lives. We all deserve it. Life’s too short to be mean to others and in order to be supportive instead of mean, you have to have the confidence and a soul burning with passion for making it happen. Confidence is not something you have or don’t have. It’s a feeling we get. I’m going to list out my goals for the month of May before I get too far ahead of myself talking about confidence. That’ll come at a later date.

Around every start of the month, I make challenges or missions for myself to follow. Usually, I have two or three that I voice out loud or hint at in social posts, but I’ve never formally shared on my blog what those goals look like and why I choose each one. I thought it’d be nice to write out my thoughts to either confuse you completely or inspire you to do the same. Have you ever met someone and you didn’t know their intentions, life goals, or drive? That always is something I look for in people. What are their overarching passions and why? I suppose I’m supposed to stay a bit mysterious or what not, but I personally love to see passion missions and goals shine through. I typically write as my brain comes up with things, so sorry if this is tough to follow along. Welcome to my sporadic thoughts.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Challenges Accepted for May

  1. Don’t wear black and share what fashion means to me: I wanted a fun challenge. I love seeing bright, vibrant outfits that are full of life and color. I want to do not wear one single black outfit this month. I think it’s really easy to snug into a black outfit and I’m pretty notorious for wearing all black, especially in the cold weather. Now that the weather is starting to look a little more promising, I think it’s going to be fun to eliminate black from my wardrobe for a while and see what I come up with. It doesn’t count for gym clothes though because I’m about to invest in my first pair of LuluLemons and they are going to be black and I’ll be too excited not to wear them. I am hoping they make my butt look like the peach emoji especially as I kickstart my gym challenge, too. I am also hoping this goal transcribes into my social media and blogging mission to get back into consistently writing and posting. A very long time ago, I found a safe and fun community on Youtube where I’d watch hauls and makeup tutorials for hours. When I started doing my own videos I loved it so much! It was a super big secret that I kept from people at my school because I thought they’d make fun of me and I was embarrassed. Well… look at where that is today. I think that it’s safe to say that nowadays it’s impossible not to have all your close ones looking at what you’re posting and which communities you’re a part of. And the truth be told, sometimes the friends that are closest to you are the least supportive. They’ll be the first ones to ask “Why are you even doing this?” Well to heck with that negativity. I’m going to start posting more of my fashion on social and blog. It used to make me happy. The only thing that is very important to me about it is that I only want to influence people to be happy, confident, and do whatever they want to do. I don’t want to encourage people’s buying choice. I want to inspire people to find what works for them, feel confident when they know what works for them, and not feel pressured to compare themselves to what I have or what others have. Another big thing I want to stress as I continue to share more fashion is the importance of shopping and being financially comfortable. I like to stay completely open about what I spend on shopping and encourage others to make smart purchases. I used to use shopping as therapy and spend a lot of money. I think that clothes shopping should only be an accessory to your confidence. The more money you spend on clothing doesn’t mean you’ll be any more confident or happier in the long term. I’ll share what I’m wearing because I love to, and I hope that you can take away more than a recommendation of what to buy and instead become more aware of how your fashion makes or breaks your confidence.
  2. Share more of what I do at my job: My job is absolutely amazing. I work for the fitness app Sworkit that I fell in love with about 2 years ago while I was working out at the gym. I opened the app put on their amazing rap playlist and did the best ab routine of my life. I was determined to get ahold of someone from the company and be of any service I could. Long story short- two years later I am on the team with 5 amazing people doing things I never would have thought I’d do as my career and I absolutely love it. I have the opportunity to work remotely, travel for the job, instruct group exercise classes, learn new skills every day, and make huge contributions to the success of this amazing exercise app. We’re a small team. We are like a family. And we all truly care about health on a different level than any other company I have ever seen. I guess it shows most through our own personal goals to stay healthy and to have healthy families. Family is important to each one of us on the team and we’re a family fitness app. Starting this month I am beginning to study for my ACSM personal training certification and as I go through the journey of learning so many cool new things, I’m happy to share it.
  3. Speak at an AA Meeting: My passion for drug addiction prevention thus far has been sharing my story on my blog and to people I see daily. Sometimes we forget that in order to make an impact we have to start outside of the digital world. It’s absolutely long past due that I hit the ground running and start getting involved with the issues I care about face-to-face. I am here for parents that are suffering from addiction because as a product of addiction I have absorbed that helpless feeling at times from my parents. I am so lucky my parents love me and took care of me and continue to support me. I know it’s why I am where I am today. I can’t take any credit. I also know that some parents are struggling with the balance of addiction and parenting more than my parents did and I want to be there for them as they attend these meetings and are truly trying to get better in order to be there for their kids. I know I can be a reminder to them that yes, saying I love you and being supportive can be enough to give them a bright future. I am a college graduate completely financially independent with parents that have struggled their whole lives with addiction. Sometimes there were times I felt alone or scared but there was never a day I didn’t know they loved me. Love goes a long way. I’ll tell them all of this and more in a meeting and I hope they leave feeling a little less weight on their shoulders and go home and tell their children how much they love them no matter what.
  4. Spend more time at the gym/working out: Freshman year of college I hadn’t ever had a gym membership. In the following years of college, I spent about 2 hours a day at the gym. I went from being nervous of how to use equipment to confident in my workouts. Moreso I found joy in going to what I think of as an adult jungle gym. Seriously- I’m moving my body, listening to my favorite music, and improving my health all in one big area. Does that not sound magical to you? There seems to be some pressure on how to use the gym or how to act in exercise classes like yoga or cycling that scares people away but really it’s just a place to improve yourself and that’s why everyone is there. Even sometimes when I hadn’t gone to the gym in a while I’m intimidated a bit. Once you lock in on your mission to improve life it gets less intimidating. Anway, it’s something that I love to do and I haven’t been doing it a lot lately. I’ve been exhausting myself with other projects that I convinced myself were more important. Well, no longer will that happen! I’m very excited to listen to my favorite Sworkit Rap Playlist at the gym and move my body more.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

How do I decide what my goals for the month are?

Okay, so there you have it. I don’t really ever set a certain amount. Sometimes I have one challenge to start or complete by the end of the month and sometimes I have more. Sometimes the goals are super specific and sometimes they are really broad. It’s really just about improving my life one month at a time in ways that I’ve assessed I can improve on it. This isn’t an activity that you need to sit down for. It’s something I just do as I fall asleep at night and as I decide how my day has impacted my overall happiness. One secret to my happiness is knowing that happiness is something you have to create and each experience in your day can affect the quality of your overall happiness. An example is if you continually let someone mistreat you day-to-day one day you’ll wake up and it’ll feel like at some point you just became unhappy, but if you analyze it more often and more closely, you can pinpoint the problem and fix it right away. Our quality of happiness is determined by small experiences that we don’t even realize have an affect on us. The assessment can be as simple as asking yourself these questions.

Questions to ask yourself to determine your month’s goals

  1. What can I think about that’ll make me really happy about my future?
  2. What can I think about that will make me really uncomfortable and unsettling?
  3. What can I think about that’ll comfort me and make me feel okay to go to bed?

I usually do those three questions every night in that order subconsciously.  The first takeaway from this is that I actually am thinking about what I will think about. Wow, that sounds intense but it is different than what makes you happy. Thinking about things that make me happy is going to have different results than if I begin to think about what to think about to make me actually feel happy. For example what makes me happy? Dogs, family, bubble baths. What can I think about that makes me happy? Having people know my passion as soon as they meet me and going to bed with that feeling you get after going to the gym that day. Second, the order is important

The unscientific science of the ‘goal’ questions

The first takeaway from this is that I actually am thinking about what I will think about. Wow, that sounds intense but it is different than what makes you happy. Thinking about things that make me happy is going to have different results than if I begin to think about what to think about to make me actually feel happy. For example what makes me happy? Dogs, family, bubble baths. What can I think about that makes me happy? Having people know my passion as soon as they meet me and going to bed with that feeling you get after going to the gym that day.

Second takeaway- the order is important. Start with what makes you happy because it’ll get your mind going. We love thinking of our future and the good things that can come. I then move onto thoughts that make me so uncomfortable my stomach begins to turn. Yes, I have those thoughts and I have things in my life that are very hard to bear the thought of that are out of my control. It’s normal to worry. I get myself through these thoughts with the most basic plan of actions even if it’s as simple as reminding myself that it’ll be okay or that I need to make a change and that I have a nights rest before I need to make it happen. I end my night with the calm thoughts that ease my mind. Usually, for me, this is thinking of my loved ones and the people I had talked to within my day.  Thinking about the love that surrounds me and the people who I care about. It’ll be much easier to fall asleep with these general conversations in your mind that don’t require much thinking. This step is more about reflecting.

Sometimes this process goes on 2-4 times before I actually fall asleep but it’s a great secret of mine to becoming more confident and happy. A balance of these three questions is a great way to determine your missions for the month. I hope that if you try this it works for you and I’d love to hear if it does.

Love you my hero!

Thanks for reading along. Please, if you do do this challenge, tag it with missionofthemonth or tag me. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make your life more impactful. We all deserve to feel great every year, every month, every day and sometimes in the most mundane of days it has to come within!

Meet My Parents: Steve and Angela

As I’ve said before, it’s important to never forget where you come from. Whether you were raised by the two people who made you or you’ve just had someone in your life that is has been there every step of the way since you were little, they are permanently imprinted on your heart and to take the time to cherish those people in your life should take a priority in your life. Mending and maintaining those relationships are so important. After all- you wouldn’t be who you are without them.

I’ve been so lucky to have both of my parents in my life. I’d like to introduce you to them as they have made me into a human and shaped my morals and values so that I love myself.

My life has been filled with love. So much love I could explode. So much love that, even when people are mean, hurtful, or cynical I can still find a bright side and accept a person for who they are. We’re all here to do something extraordinary with our lives. We can take what makes us love hard and live passionately and turn it into an ambition that we’ll let no obstacle stand in our way. Our love comes from something in our adolescence that we’ve embedded in our hearts to love. Our passion stems from what hurts us most. When we hit absolute breaking point, to the point where we don’t think we can live on, but we do that’s when passion is created. The love and pain come from my family. My passion, my love, and my ambitions in life, all stem from my parents.

IMG_4788.JPG

We don’t choose the family we’re born into but I wouldn’t trade mine for the world. I’ve written about my dad’s drug addiction and about the pain of not being close to my mom over the years, but I really want to start this 2017 blog revival off with the things that I love about these two amazing humans who each have a story of their own that led them to where they are.

We all come from somewhere and somehow, no matter how hard life starts out, there’s something about our past that we can embrace and take with us on this journey to mold us into who we want to be. We’re a product of our environment and genes. It’s up to us to take what we’re made from, polish it, and embrace the heck out of it.

 

Meet My Parents and What I Love About Them: 

Meet my Mom Angela Lucero

25266_419894827541_5399161_n.jpg

My mom is the smartest woman I know. She knows every answer to Jeopardy and if you ask her about a movie she will have answers faster than IMDb. She’s never been the type to ask people for advice. Even if she’s conflicted, she sticks by her decisions and doesn’t turn to anyone for approval. I love that about her and I’ve never noticed till my friend recently pointed out that she loves how I just do things when I say I want to. I get that from her and I’ve never appreciated that about my mom till recently. She thrives on getting better. No matter how sick she gets, she loves to impress herself and go above and beyond what the doctors expect of her. I know a lot of people say their mom is the best cook ever but I challenge that. My mom is Mexican but gosh, does she cook Italian well. In fact, I didn’t even realize that most of our meals at Christmas were Italian dishes till I moved to North End and I pieced together lasagna and stuffed shells to Italian. She’ll never sit down to eat with us because she’ll be cooking until everyone has had their dessert and she has cleaned the entire kitchen spotless. I myself love cooking for friends and I now see the enjoyment my mom has when she did this for us. It’s about creating the conversation without even being there. You do it with a meal full of love and that’s the most rewarding part. My mom’s sense of humor is dirty and twisted, just like I like it. Most importantly, the way my mom raised me as a baby is something that will always amaze me. Watching the tapes of her talking to me and telling me to take care of my dolls, taking them for a walk and making sure to tell them they look beautiful. Her voice has more love than a lullaby when she speaks to me.

angela lucero

My favorite memories are in the car singing down the winding mountains in Washington State and when I really needed a cup of tea to do homework, she was always by my bed side. She made me soup and never forgot to bring me the pepper because she knows I love to spice everything up. Splashing around in the pool was always an adventure for us. She taught me how to swim, which is a bigger accomplishment than I thought! Recently I overheard co-workers talking about how nearly impossible it is to teach your own how to swim. When there were thunderstorms at night we’d hide underneath the plastic row boat and blow bubbles under the water at each other. The pool light made the raindrops glisten and the fun we were having removed any fear of lightening striking us. I remember one night she looked at me and asked if I wanted to make out. It’s now one of my favorite things to tease my friends with when we make awkward eye contact. Thank you, mom.

Meet My Dad Steve Olbinsky

steve olbinsky

My dad is the most stubborn and sweet man. It will always seem to me to be the 8th wonder of the world how a man so masculine can have a daughter and instantly melt into a cute teddy bear. I’ve never seen someone who would sacrifice so much for someone. Living in Allston, I remember a woman had locked her keys in the car and was crying and my dad made sure to help. I remember thinking of my dad as Superman from that day. When I scraped my knee riding bikes at the Charles River he told me he’d ride both bikes and I thought he was so silly, but when he rode his bike with one hand and the other hand on my bike, as I hobbled along I thought he was a genius. Whenever I’d have friends over, my dad would give my friends $20. He was so generous with money, he just wanted everyone to be happy and has never had an ounce of greed.

School was the most important aspect of my life and that was because my dad put a value in my accomplishments at school higher than anything else. The only thing that my dad instilled that was greater than my education was my morality. Right and wrong, ironically, was something he didn’t take lightly. I remember sitting on the steps of our basement while he did laundry, explaining to me the importance of being honest and kind. Making sure to only use honesty as a way to better serve someone, and to not take actions that will hurt others. I remember the conversation lasting for two hours and I wasn’t allowed to leave the steps. I really think he enjoyed my company but he really didn’t want me to think dishonesty was ever okay. Brushing stress and negativity off my shoulders has been much easier remembering all the phone calls where my dad has reminded me not to make mountains out of molehills.

IMG_0447

I have a lot of favorite memories with my dad because he was always looking to do anything and everything with me. The amount of concerts, shows, games, parades, and city activities we did were endless. I loved asking my dad to watch hocus pocus three times a day and my dad always agreeing and quoting, “A mok, a mok, a mok” with me. I especially loved when I took him to try on my very first prom dress. I really didn’t think much of it. It didn’t seem like that special of an event until I walked out and my dad started crying his eyes out. My dad will always have a way of making me feel the preciousness of moments in life. When I asked my dad his favorite memory of me he tells me that day will always be it because as I walked out he saw me grow up right there. Thank you for making me feel like the most special girl in the world, dad.