From Thankful To Grateful

| November 21, 2013 | 8 Comments

growWhen I was grow­ing up, Thanks­giv­ing Day had lit­tle to do with being grate­ful and every­thing with  food.    We took a mere two min­utes to men­tion the Pil­grims and ate.  Most of the foods were richly laden  with fat, car­bo­hy­drates and sugar.

My sib­lings and I would spend hours look­ing through the big name cat­a­logs and ini­tialed what we wanted for Christ­mas.   Thanks­giv­ing was the start of the hol­i­day sea­son cul­mi­nat­ing with Christ­mas.  I do not ever recall the word grate­ful being mentioned.

Once mar­ried and hav­ing a child of our own, my hus­band and I were deter­mined our daugh­ter would grow up know­ing the real mean­ing of Thanks­giv­ing.  We men­tioned the Pil­grims and the Amer­i­can Indi­ans and how they peace­fully ate din­ner together.  I do not recall a dis­cus­sion on grat­i­tude.  Yes, a prayer was lifted and our home adorned with decorations.

Our daugh­ter grew up and mar­ried into a fam­ily of gourmet cooks.  We hit the jack­pot!  We were invited to her in-laws for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner.  We brought wine and  a cou­ple of casseroles and life was good.  Prayer was always lifted before each meal.  We had a good time in fellowship.

Sev­eral years ago, the in-laws moved to Illi­nois.  Oh no, what would become of Thanks­giv­ing din­ner?  For­tu­nately, our daugh­ter and her hus­band stepped in and helped.  Din­ner was good but not quite the same.  All this prepa­ra­tion was work — 99% of which my lov­ing hus­band did.  My con­tri­bu­tion was clean up.  Did I men­tion in 40-years of mar­riage I have never owned a dish­washer.  We shared good food with good com­pany but crashed when our guests left.

Last year my life changed.  I was diag­nosed with breast can­cer in July.  By the time Thanks­giv­ing came around, I was back at work exhausted and angry.  In early Decem­ber, our 15-year old nephew died unex­pect­edly.  Three weeks later, his father (my brother) died.  We were not close but I was furi­ous that my fam­ily was under such an attack.  My anger and exhaus­tion grew.

Some­where in the begin­ning of this year, I found my voice.  “She lis­tened to her heart above all the other voices.” –Kobi Yamada.  I took this anger and I put it to work.  I stood up for myself at the can­cer cen­ter.  I tack­led ser­vice issues with the CEO.

In March, I decided to leave a posi­tion I had held for 12-years.  I was exhausted, burned-out and angry.  I did not want to feel like this any­more.  I had learned life was too pre­cious to spend it an envi­ron­ment where our goals were not congruent.

All of sud­den, I real­ized I had stepped out­side of my com­fort zone and traded anger for fear.  What was I going to do?  I started blog­ging about my expe­ri­ences.  Inter­est­ingly, I had received favor­able responses from read­ers who became followers.

I went on the Breast Can­cer Well­ness Thrivers Cruise in April.  I was blessed to have con­nected with Bev­erly Vote.  She encour­aged me to keep writ­ing and we became good friends.  As I started con­nect­ing  the dots, I  real­ized it  was breast can­cer that brought us together.

Around the same time, the founder of  “A Woman’s Jour­ney” approached me and asked me to be a con­tribut­ing writer for her site. Debra had been drawn to my posts and blogs about my breast can­cer expe­ri­ence.  Another dot was con­nected.  She encour­aged me to write from my gut, my heart and to keep it real.  For months I did that but kept it safe.  Tonight I wrote about dig­ging deeper and writ­ing from an uncom­fort­able place.

The dots do not stop there.  I became actively involved in breast can­cer well­ness and advo­cacy.  I have made new con­nec­tions and new friends, many of whom are involved in breast can­cer work.  We all agree that it is time to erad­i­cate this insid­i­ous dis­ease.  I also real­ized our goals are congruent.

When we are faced with a life-changing event we need to look at the energy stream align­ment.  Love = the true self, the higher soul.  Fear =  the energy of our lower self, the ego.  Believe me, no one is going to jump up and down and say, “I have breast can­cer!  I am so happy.”  If we can step out of the fear and leave our ego behind, we can move for­ward in love.  It is pos­si­ble to find breast can­cer a reward­ing yet ter­ri­fy­ing experience.

Am I grate­ful for this qual­i­fy­ing event?  You bet.  For with­out it, I would have con­tin­ued my life of medi­oc­rity.  This year, Thanks­giv­ing has new mean­ing as I truly under­stand what it means to be grate­ful from the inside out.

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”  -Ralph Waldo Emersoninspire














Category: Grow, Inspire

Comments (8)

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  1. Paula Good says:

    Well done Wendy! A very good read. May the dots con­tinue to lead you to new horizons.

  2. Jeanne Sarnicola says:

    Hooray for you and hooray for all those who read your hon­est and inspir­ing words. We are all blessed with diver­sity so we can real­ize the things we can be grate­ful for. I feel blessed to be shar­ing your jour­ney with you. You have come a very long way in the last year. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Rachel says:

    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother and nephew. Between those unex­pected losses and your breast can­cer expe­ri­ence, sev­eral chal­lenges were placed before you all at once. You could have got­ten stuck in grief and fear mode, but instead found your voice and are inspir­ing others.

    I agree with your assess­ment of the breast can­cer expe­ri­ence being both ter­ri­fy­ing and reward­ing. It is cer­tainly a fright­en­ing thing to face but, like you, I have found that going through that myself has given me more insight about myself and the per­son I want to be. Fac­ing breast can­cer can be a cat­a­lyst for pos­i­tive change and when we expe­ri­ence per­sonal growth (and love) that is rewarding.

  4. Wendy Doherty says:

    Rachel, thank you for your insight­ful com­ments. I wish there was a way we could con­nect with women when they are first diag­nosed and share this bit of wis­dom with them. It truly is a solo jour­ney but it is all about help­ing others.

  5. Gai Comans says:

    Great arti­cle Wendy,

    it is amaz­ing where the threads of life take us isn’t it.

    Grat­i­tude is such a won­der­ful virtue that is for­got to often. I remem­ber is every­day, when I hit my yoga mat. Thanks for remind­ing us here are well


    PS Look­ing for­ward to meet­ing you on the cruise this year Wendy

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