Remembering Gratitude

26 Aug

The Breast Blog #14

Reframing; Remembering Gratitude; Doing My Spiritual Work

August 26, 2011

The interesting thing about writing a blog (or an email or a book) is that sometimes you send thoughts out into the world that maybe later you wish you hadn’t.  Actually I am glad that I documented how I was feeling.  It was important, at the time, for me to be authentic.  However, this morning I am remembering over and over again the importance of doing my spiritual work.  I had allowed my worries and fears and physical discomfort to derail me.  I had become spiritually lazy.  I had allowed myself to wallow a bit too much in pity-party energy.

Well, I’m getting back on track.  At least for now.

So let me reframe my “truths.”  The truth is: I am exceedingly blessed.  I live in a place of extraordinary natural beauty.  I have oodles of friends scattered around the country. I have a family who loves me.  I have a foundation of good health and a body that is physically able to move, walk, sing, dance, eat, breathe.  My goodness!  I have so much!

I am faced with some challenges at the moment, but, my goodness, everyone is!  I have friends with worse health challenges.  I have friends who are grieving the loss of beloved members of their families.  I have friends who are facing foreclosure on their homes.  I have friends who are battling debilitating depression.  And then, of course, there are people all around the globe who are facing starvation, who have suffered from tsunamis or earthquakes or nuclear meltdowns.  I am so freaking blessed.  I can’t believe I forgot how blessed I truly am.

How can I help sustain this level of gratitude?  How can I help keep my fear at bay?  Here are some tips that help me:

  • Greet the sun each day with a spirit of gratitude.
  • Give thanks for the beauty of the trees, the birds, the air, the water.
  • Remember and offer prayers for others who are struggling.
  • Begin the day by reading from spiritually uplifting books.  We all benefit from spiritual sustenance.
  • Find beautiful music to soothe your soul and lift your spirit and make your heart sing.  Play it often.
  • Move!  Dance, walk, skip, run, swim, stretch.
  • Make noise.  Sometimes silence is good and necessary, however when we are in our fear, making noise helps release the energy.  It can mean crying or screaming or wailing.  It can mean simply talking with friends and giving voice to the fears so they don’t fester in the inner recesses of our being.  It could mean singing or chanting sacred songs.  Or belting out rock songs!  Or try howling at the moon. (It’s fun.)
  • Take time to be with people who love you.  Spend time with people who make you smile.  Sit in the company of people whom you spiritually admire.  Let yourself be lifted up by their energy and their love.  Remember that we are One.
  • Do something fun.  Whatever that means for you.  Let yourself be glad.

Okay, that’s my sermonette for the day.  You may think I’m writing this for you, but I’m writing it for me.  I need to remind myself often to lighten up and be freakin’ grateful for all I have!  Life is a gift.

Thank you.

Blessed be.

5 Responses to “Remembering Gratitude”

  1. kitlynstar at 2:52 pm #

    I honor your spiritual work and your ability to experience gratitude in the face of your current health issue. That being said, let me suggest that you allow yourself to feel your feelings of fear, anger, uncertainty and grief. They’re a reasonable response, and need to be felt to be moved past. I may be telling you something that you already know, but sometimes we try to be too “spiritually correct” and don’t acknowledge that this kind of diagnosis packs an emotional and physical wallop that can even result in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and emotional numbing. I think you’re amazing, and hope you know that I’m here if you want to talk again anytime. Keep safe/dry with the oncoming storm.

    • cindygreb at 7:40 pm #

      Nancy, you’re absolutely right. I do indeed need to give voice to the feelings. And I agree about the “emotional wallop.” That’s exactly why I haven’t been earning any income to speak of for the last few months! For a while I was just incapable, it seemed, of focusing on anything else.
      Thank you for your continued support.
      Love to you.

  2. kitlynstar at 9:17 pm #

    I’d like to recommend a resource for you. It’s from Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s online archives. Dr. David Sachs, MD, a psychiatrist w/ Penn, did a paper about the emotional impact of a BC diagnosis, which he presented during on of LBBC’s teleconferencess on 11/9/07. It’s called “Managing Your Complex Emotions and Anxieties about Breast Cancer”. I have it on CD , but the transcript of it should still be in the archives of the LBBC website ( I thought that it was ground breaking, and I’ve referred countless chatters in the BCO chat room, and clients with the LBBC Helpline to it. I’ve even had LBBC put it back on the site after they’d taken it off a couple of times. It’s not only germane for those with a BC dx (diagnosis), but for caregivers, family and friends.
    Many times, what’s seen from the outside as bravery, “getting on with it” or strength is just an outward manifestation of PTSD. (emotional numbness, rote actions, for example) It can also explain why someone who seemed, at least initially to be coping, who has an emotional crisis brought on by something seemingly trivial is really just moving past numbing and is finally expressing their true feelings and fears. Even oncologists and others who treat cancer patients may not understand this dynamic. I think it should be required study for anyone caring for cancer patients in any capacity.

    • cindygreb at 12:40 am #

      Sounds important. Thank you for telling me about it.
      I just realized it may be a bit like what it was like for me when I first started doing hospice work. I was surprised that I was able to go for months without being too emotional. Then I would have a period of rest (like when I walked a labyrinth at a conference) and suddenly all the accumulated grief bubbled over.

      I really appreciate all your suggestions and feedback, Nancy. Thank you.

  3. kitlynstar at 1:41 am #

    You are more than welcome. I’m happy to help. How is the weather by you at this point? It’ odd, but my area of NC was totally unaffected by the hurricane, but now, hours after it’s passed by the coast, it’s gotten MUCH cooler, and very windy.

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