Expand Gratitude

The air is lighter and my favorite season has arrived. Thankful is what I feel. For health, community, partnerships and choice – it’s not success as the world may see it; and it’s every bit of success for me. My complaining has minimized. My gratitude has expanded. My mat is where I’ve fallen in love all over again. I am blessed and I have rooted (again) into the power of knowing my words create my world.

Last month, I had the adventure of my first MRI. A bit naive, I arrived to the hospital excited and with no hesitation. My doctor started precautionary steps with me about four years ago because of a long history of breast cancer in my family – and although I thought I was way too young, too healthy, and of course the claim ‘this wouldn’t happen to me’ – I agreed to all that he asked.

So this day came. And I went. ‘You’re probably going to throw up. But I need you to stay completely still. The IV is going to feel cold as it moves through your veins. You’ll feel it so don’t be scared. And the process, if you don’t move, will last about 25 minutes. I need you to minimize your breathing. If you move, we’ll have to reschedule.’ These were the words of support the MRI tech gave me – although her intentions were pure, she sure knew how to breathe some fear into me. And all of a sudden – I was scared.

What happened during the next thirty minutes is a story within itself. I was given a mantra – words that I couldn’t have come up with on my own. They just flooded me. ‘God with me. God in me. God for me’ became my anchor . . . and only once during the entire ride did that mantra leave my thoughts. When I let the fear in and those words out, I felt my heart rate accelerate to a point where my chest felt like it was lifting me off the platform I was pressed into. Ear plugs kept me from hearing the full effect of the loud beeps and clanks that carried me through that huge, spaceship-like tube. And as she had forewarned, the cold IV was unnerving. I was able to hold back nausea and the forced, uncomfortable stillness in that dark place reminded me of a sweat lodge I had voluntarily sat in 12 years prior (but this made that sweat lodge look like a walk on a cool spring day).

I was held in the tube longer than expected, ‘because your breath was so strong at times there was too much movement. And I wanted to make sure we got what we needed,’ she said. I heard her words as a compliment and thought to myself – THANK GOD for ujjayi!

The release when I got out on the other end was too much to hold back. I felt emotion for myself, for her, for my family – and for every human who has ever had to move through that experience of being held down, fear pulsing through their veins, thoughts that can take you out any second, and not knowing what the outcome might be. And I hope I never forget it.

So this day came. I got the call. I’m clear. And although my gratitude has expanded and my body is lighter, I hurt for anyone who goes through this and gets a different call. I am for you. I am for me. And I am so thankful to have had the experience that has brought me to a new place of thankfulness, generosity, and compassion. We’re all in this together.