On Thankfulness

Theri Griego Raby, MD, ABHM 

 

As the year winds down and the nights seem to arrive too quickly, I can't help but be thankful. The holidays are all about giving thanks for what we have, but these early sunsets also have an effect on me. They encourage reflection. And reflection creates space for gratitude.

 

I make a conscious effort throughout the year to be thankful for what I have - a loving family, supportive colleagues, inspiring patients, and a world that believes in the power and importance of healing. I give thanks for each of these aspects of my life in different ways.

 

Tonight, for example, I'll give thanks to Raby Institute staff and practitioners at our annual holiday party. With my patients, I show appreciation by taking as much time as possible to listen to their stories of struggle and success.

 

And it's my patients who have taught me what gratitude truly comes down to: perspective.

 

I've heard patients say things that would shock most people, such as, "Being diagnosed with cancer was the best thing that could have happened to me."

 

Take a moment to let that sit with you. Cancer is a cellular malfunction that wreaks havoc on the body and the people around it. But it also creates a sense of immediacy for those it affects, showing them what really matters in their lives. Because suddenly, there's not enough time left. Not enough minutes in the day to share with the ones you love, to express how much they mean to you, or to sit quietly together and just be. Now is the time to make the most of every moment.

 

I've also heard a patient say that he was thankful for slipping on ice and breaking his leg. The weeks of recovery let him reclaim his time for himself and focus on healing and living a healthier life, instead of rushing from one task to the next. And even though he struggled during his recovery, he kept perspective by reminding himself that it could have been worse. There were people nearby to help him when he fell; he had devoted friends and family to support him as he healed; doctors knew what was wrong with him and how to fix it.

 

Our culture today is a chaotic whirlwind of due dates, events, and responsibilities. Carve out time for yourself through it all for gratitude and reflection. Think about what gratitude means for you. How does it fit into your upcoming new year?

 

Resolve to find the perspective that makes getting out of bed worth it morning after cold morning. Make the most of these short days. We're in this together, and I'm forever grateful for that.

 

Here's to the new year!
Theri Griego Raby, MD, ABIHM

 

"Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion."
- Buddha