November:  Being Grateful for Life this Thanksgiving!

by | Nov 29, 2023 | Connection, Serenity

Exercise, Nature and special moments shared with those we love!

These last few months have been an emotional roller coaster. First there was COVID, then the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, then along came the war in Ukraine and if all of those were not difficult enough to be part of our lives and our world, along came the attack of Hamas in Gaza and the war in Israel which has stimulated alot of discord in our own country. It all seems too much; it all seems overwhelming to the human spirit. And yet, there is a part of me who needs to believe that these are presented to us to get us to really look at the world we live in and experience and ask ourselves what do we want? What kind of a world do we want to create moving forward for ourselves and our children?

This has led me to want to, get outside in Mother Nature each day at least once if not twice a day to take a run in the morning and a walk in the afternoon to process these events, to release the stress, to breath in the fresh air and to recharge my battery. When I do that in my neighborhood or local Nature Trails and take some moments to listen to the wind blow through the trees, to listen to the birds calling to one another, to watch the sunrise or to notice the moon rising above the trees into the sky, I feel so blessed to be part of this peaceful corner of the world, to experience the quiet and live in a diverse community that values family, education and giving to the community. That is the world that I want to Dream and to Believe and Know is possible!

Likewise, As a long term Clinical Oncology Nurse/ Nurse Practitioner, I have helped so many, many patients who are part of a family and community, all affected by the diagnosis, treatment, upheaval and often suffering that goes along with the diagnosis, It is never easy; each story is unique and each is a lesson to all of us of this disease, it’s challenges, emotional traits and unique outcomes. My patients have taught me so much over the years from the first weeks as a new nurse at 21 years old, to my most recent acute care experiences. I will share here a few of those lessons.

1. The most important lessons they have taught me is that the three most important gifts in our life are our health, our family and our friends. Beyond that little else really matters.

2. Another important lesson that surprised me is that, for many, cancer was a gift that helped them to reprioritize their lives in ways they never would have imagined. No longer would someone cutting them off in line mean much and was not worth mulling over. Likewise, when someone cheated them out of $20, it would not be a great concern worth fighting about. Yes, we all need to stand up for ourselves but not to drag it out. When one is faced with the fact that they may not survive another year, it is easier to deal with these more calmly, hold people accountable and let go. In the great scheme of life, they did not matter. They had more important things to concern themselves with like having special memories with their family, being grateful for having the chance to wake up another day being able to breath and get up out of bed and walk or to give their children a hug and tell them that they loved them and possibly hear it reciprocated. For them, life was potentially shorter than they had realized, life was precious and a gift to saver.

3. As a young nurse, I believed that treating patients and giving them their prescribed medications was the most important thing I could do for them to make a difference. As a more experienced nurse, what I learned is that while certain medications can be lifesaving, equally important is empowering patients with Lifestyle habits that can give them a better chance of preventing, treating, reversing, and healing from their diseases. They are complementary and equally important. This has helped me to understand that there are steps that one can take to heal from various diseases, like cancer, heart disease or diabetes. They tend to have similar root causes and our lifestyle habits have a major influence. Our exercise patterns, our eating habits, our management of the stress in our life, the amount of sleep that we get each day and the relationships in our life all contribute to our overall health and recovery from chronic illness.

4. In regard to relationships, I always thought that a healthy, nutritious diet and consistent aerobic exercise were the most consequential elements of a healthy life. While important, it turns out that positive, connected, loving relationships are the Most important factor for Long term Survival!! WOW, that was a Huge Lesson!!! So it is not just being in a relationship but being in a Positive, Nurturing, Supportive relationship that can make the difference and it is best if we surround ourselves with these types of people for our good, better, best health!

5. Another important factor is our life purpose, our “Will to Live”, which is also a vital factor for survival and healing.

With all of this said, I am most Grateful to the many patients who have taught me such vital life lessons and for which I try to practice in my life and share with this Parenting Community. Yes, I do have to practice because I am still learning how to navigate this challenging earthly life in some little ways and big ways but my patient’s wisdom that they have shared with me over 40+ years has been a guiding light to living my best life. At this point in my life, I feel that it is important for me to share the wisdom of my many blessed patients with others so that they can spend more time doing what they love and less time being sick or experiencing any unnecessary suffering. Most importantly, I have seen that these Lifestyle habits can have a major benefit for those that practice them!

So tell me, what do you Dream for yourself and your family this Thanksgiving month? I cannot say that taking these steps are easy, but I can tell you that they are worth it and best done in a community of support; the payoff is HUGE! You will be so pleased when you get to share this life having fun, to learn and grow, to be your best self and shine a light of goodness, kindness and compassion in this world that needs you and all of us more than ever. 🙂

To your Good, Better, Best Life through WELLNESS© 🙂