What are you grateful for? – the Power of Gratitude
by Dr. Nelie Johnson, MD
"There is power in gratitude. It eases fear and suffering. It opens the path to Love. Love is the most powerful energy for health and healing."
The recent celebration of Thanksgiving here in Canada has given me some reflection.
I heard a discussion about gratitude. I was intrigued by the comment that gratitude is something that has to be learned. As infants we cried when we were are hungry or in pain. Later as children we were taught to ask with 'please' and respond with 'thank you'. Many of us forget to show thanks. How many times do we complain to get what we want, remark about what we don't have and see the negative in a situation?
In times of adversity finding anything to be grateful for seems impossible. Yet just at these times, more than any other, we need to reach deep to find gratitude. There is power in doing so.
Take for example, getting a disease such as cancer. The first reactions are shock, fear, disbelief, anger. Many respond with intense activity to get rid of the cancer, and once the cancer has been cut out, 'killed' with chemotherapy and radiation, they continue to be highly vigilant and fearful of relapse. Does this story apply to you? Are you feeling fearful and stressed? This is not a state of being that is pleasant to live with.
What might you find to be grateful for with a diagnosis of cancer?
Firstly you have to deal with what is. You cannot wish it away. Yet somehow you have to find a way to respond to it beyond fear and anger.
You can be grateful for all the other aspects of your body, your mind and your life that are whole, healthy and are supporting you.
You can be grateful for those moments in your life that you may have taken for granted.
You can be grateful for the care and treatments of your medical doctors.
You can be grateful for family and friends that are there for you and loving you.
I invite you to make a list for yourself, "In this moment/for this day I am grateful for ...."
There is much, much more that you can be grateful for.
You can be grateful for the disease itself. I don't wish disease on you or anyone but it happens, and my knowledge allows me to understand why it has to happen. When a person experiences a high level of a particular stress or a prolonged severe stress, disease can show up. Disease is your brain's best solution for managing the high level of stress energy which, if allowed to continue, would threaten your survival within a few weeks of not eating, sleeping or paying attention to your surroundings.
Disease is a natural biological mechanism for managing stress, emotional and mental conflict. The stress energy is held in just one small region or tissue and the rest of the body can function normally. Thus the person is given time to find another way to deal with the stress.
Every disease, including every type of cancer, carries a message. The message directs you to the emotional conflict and provides you with opportunity to find another way to resolve the stress.
You can be grateful for the message that your disease carries, for it can bring you to what you need to give special attention to.
You can be grateful for what you know about yourself and your life, especially that which can help you clear the conflict and regain your health.
I have heard and read many accounts of experiences with cancer. A common theme in these stories is being thankful for the wakeup call which the cancer provided. The cancer became a sign that their life was heading down the wrong road – and that change was needed!
For example, a patient of mine got cancer of the tongue. Once he recovered from the initial shock of the diagnosis, he not only did medical treatment but also examined his life. 'What kind of person am I? How have I treated others?'
He discovered that some of his actions and communications had been hurtful. He expressed regrets for what he had done and said, and asked the people he contacted to forgive him which most happily did. He created healing for both parties.
Today he is not only alive and cancer free for 4 years but he also has grown into a better and happier person. He is no longer preoccupied with the question of the cancer returning, but rather is grateful for his new perspective on life and the kinder, more compassionate, and thoughtful person he has become.
There is power in gratitude. It eases fear and suffering. It opens the path to Love. Love is the most powerful energy for health and healing.
Use the power of gratitude and ask yourself 'What am I grateful for in this moment and for this day?' and keep on asking.
About the Author
Dr. Nelie Johnson is a family physician and facilitator for healing - inspiring and guiding people to tap into their own healing potential. She is a contributing author to a bestselling book and provides seminars, workshops, and private consultations.
Visit www.awarenessheals.ca for more information.
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Updated October 19, 2011 ©