By Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos
“There is nothing more life changing than gratitude. This I know for sure.” ~Oprah Winfrey
What do you feel at this moment? If it is love, anger, fear or sadness? Be grateful because gratitude is an emotional game-changer and fuel for life. As a three time breast cancer survivor whose precognitive dreams diagnosed illness the medical community missed each time, gratitude played a huge part in my survival. Gratitude is a game changer. ..
This is wrong—so wrong! No one should have to fight this hard in a hospital to get the tests they know they need to live. I burst into my doctor’s waiting room for the second time in ten minutes.
“That’s it! I’ve had enough! I don’t want any more run-around!” I hiss at the secretary. Her big blue eyes stare in disbelief. Is she astonished at my anger or my return from the ridiculous quest to find my own medical information?
This is not the way I want to start the week after my healthy mammogram. I had burst into this same office that day too, but then it was out of fear after my unexpected visitor “from the other side.” A monk spirit guide dressed in a brown robe and invisible to everyone except me had appeared at my mammography reading, pointed to a spot on the film, and said, “Tell the doctor to look there.”
“Thank you, God.”I thought, pulled the hospital gown tighter around me and repeated the message to the doctor reading the film. He responded with, “You’re healthy. Go home.”
So I did. But, that night another dream warned me of the real nightmare unfolding again in my life. Who could forget monk Spirit-guides dressed in scary circus clown suits showing you a life threatening problem on a mammogram? “Wake-up!” I screamed.
Nightmares are blessings in disguise and a call to action. I immediately gave thanks for the Divine intervention. And, that brings me back to here and now, at the hospital —pissed off and panting! “Thank you God for guiding me. I can’t do this alone,”I thought. Then, the power of gratitude flowed into intention which began to manifest results.
“I want an appointment for an MRI and I don’t care if they can give me a false negative. I’d rather sweat through a negative biopsy than have another missed positive mammogram. You have my records on your computer. See who made the last appointment and then make one for me, please!”
The secretary must have pushed a hidden panic button because Dr. Harold appeared.
“I already told you, we don’t write MRI prescriptions here. Who wrote your last one?” he said.
Those words had echoed in my mind as I ran between the lower floor of nuclear medicine to ninth floor oncology to fifth floor surgery, to find who had written the last prescription. Isn’t that why I have medical records? My dream said an MRI is a matter of life and death. So, I’m not leaving until I have that appointment, even if it means lying on the floor of his waiting room and throwing a full-fledged temper tantrum like a two year old brat denied candy.
“I don’t know who wrote the last prescription, nor do I care. I want you to write this one, now, please.”
“Kathy, you are healthy and it’s not hospital policy to give MRIs without a reason.”
Is this déjà vu or have I been transported back in time to the same response five years ago? I need to pinch myself, or better yet pinch Dr. Harold. Instead, armed with gratitude for guidance I step closer for effect. “ I want an MRI. If I hadn’t convinced Dr. Wagner to perform exploratory surgery on me, against hospital policy, I’d be dead now.”
Four months later my MRI results showed stage four breast cancer recurrence.
I could have sued and won but chose not to. I could have chosen to remain angry but, that would drain my immune system. Anger is debilitating. Instead, I chose to stand in gratitude and immediately said a silent prayer. “Thank you for giving me strength and guidance to self-advocate. Please use me.” I decided to let-go-and-let-God with the statement, “Thy will be done. If I am to die thank you for giving me time to get my house in order. If I am to live, thank you for allowing me to be of service to others. ” With those words of gratitude I could not loose, and that made me a winner, which was reason for more gratitude creating a cyclone of positive energy. That was 12 and 17 years ago. Gratitude is still swirling.
Gratitude is a big part of my daily healing and can be used to pay-it-back or pay-it-forward. My favorite prayer is, “I thank you for all that I am, all that I will be, all that I have, all that I choose to give away, and all that I will receive.” So simple. So powerful!
No matter what you are feeling right now give thanks for it. Breathe in healing gratitude and exhale any limitations. You always have a choice. You can bemoan your lot in life or look for the silver lining and give thanks for the opportunity to rise above your challenges. Every challenge is a stepping stone toward gratitude. Be grateful and give thanks.
Giving thanks means more than a seat at the Thanksgiving table. It is a daily event that involves taking a momentary break from your fast paced life to put a smile on your face.
Gratitude is a mind-set that holds the key to shifting your awareness from an attitude of rejecting and defending to one of acceptance and appreciation in order for more abundance to magically flow.
Studies by Robert A. Emmons PhD, a leading expert on the subject of gratitude, show people who live in a state of pervasive thankfulness experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of joy by not feeling grateful.
Have you ever noticed how good you feel when you are thankful for something or someone? When present in the moment of gratitude we feel more open, more generous, more connected, more aware and more alive.
Why save that special feeling for a certain day, occasion, or time of the year? Don’t wait for a reason to be thankful, paying it forward and give thanks for anything the Universe may send you in the future. Make it a game. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and give thanks now. Begin a new life of gratitude this moment. Your Spirit-guides and Guardian-angels love to play the Gratitude Game. The rule is simple: The worse the problem the more grateful you must become for receiving inner- guidance to grow from the challenge. You simply can’t lose at the Gratitude Game.
photo credit: posters owned by author.
BIO: Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is an international, multi-award-winning author, contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Internationally Syndicated Columnist, TV/Radio host/producer of Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod. ™and The Kat Kanavos Show. She is a three time cancer survivor whose dreams diagnosed her illness, is written in medical journals and invited on National Talk Shows like Dr. Oz. Kat lives her life daily in gratitude and grace. Learn more at KathleenOkeefeKanavos.com