On this day nine years ago I had surgery to repair a hole in my heart. The hole, a PFO, was a congenital birth defect. It went undetected until at the age of 19 when I had a stroke. Tests revealed that the hole wasn’t the cause of the stroke, but the pathway. After the mixed opinions of many doctors, I fought to have the procedure to close the hole. Gratitude doesn’t begin to describe the emotion I feel for this chapter in my life.
Though gratitude wasn’t always my go-to feeling while this was all going down at 19. Mostly I felt like a victim. The best answer my doctors had for why I had a stroke was “dumb luck of a perfect storm of conditions.” This answer made me feel like life was happening to me. I felt like I was a pawn: helpless, damaged, and at risk.
I wasn’t grateful that I had a stroke or a hole in my heart. I wasn’t grateful that I had to miss school, slow down, and experienced a deep depression for 7 months. I wasn’t grateful for the hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills piling up.
I wasn’t grateful because I thought I was the victim who had to just take life as it happened. Slowly, I started to have a shift. I began to understand that life was actually happening FOR me. I learned that I’m not a victim, but the source. I understood that I made a powerful request and my body gave me the best solution it could create at that time.
I remembered lying in bed that Friday night thanking God for getting me through an intense week of exams, extra shifts at work, and the pressure of being a 19 year old girl trying to find her way. I said “I cannot do this again.” And I meant it.
I sourced what came next, a way out. I had a choice, that night when the first stroke hit I could have opted out of the pressure and pain I was feeling. Instead, I apparently made the choice to stay and slow down to a new cadence of life.
I generated evidence of my power. The power that I have to create the experience of life I desire. For this, I am grateful.
It doesn’t stop at gratitude. Once I cultivated this deep sense of thanks I realized that I could put the very thing that I’m grateful for into action.
I started to intentionally step into my power. As I continued to do that and create amazing results for myself I realized that my real gift was to be able to co-create this same power so that life could happen for others too.
The gratitude continues, each day I connect with another person, experience, and result that I’m grateful for and use that to catapult me to the next. Gratitude is my drug.
And to think, all this from a broken heart.