Emotional Intelligence – Yoga For The Mind

I Am Grateful

natural looking label with thank you

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

-Melody Beattie

I am grateful for family and friends.

Recently, I was explaining to a friend about my upcoming surgery. Her reply was, “Kidney surgery. Yuk!” I thought she nailed it. It is certainly how I am feeling with the date now only three days away.

This all began with an ordinary kidney infection, which was discovered when I ended up in the emergency room with chills, a temperature—all indicators of another kidney stone—of which I have been plagued for over twenty-some years.

After 24 hours, they sent me home from the emergency room with antibiotics for 10 days and instructions to drink plenty of water—always a challenge for me. How did I get to the hospital and home again? With the help of my friends, of course.

My doctor gave me permission to travel and so I spent several days in New York attending a cert course—and then traveling to New Haven to participate in the Emotion Revolution at Yale sponsored by the Born This Way Foundation, Facebook, and Six Seconds.

During this week in New York while I was lunching with several friends, the waitress came to our table with a small paper bag. On it was printed the words, “Not worms, but hearts”—a phrase from a speech I had given several years ago.

Inside, was a divine collection of yummy chocolate hearts. My friends at the table denied this anonymous gift—but someone-somewhere—knows who you are. Thank you.

By the time I was home from Yale, I was feeling disastrous again—another fever, nausea, etc. So, back to the hospital—again driven by a friend–in  his very sporty car. About five miles from the hospital I knew I was going to throw up—however, it seemed very impolite to do so in his car, especially as he was doing me a favor. Therefore, I picked up my purse—and threw up in that item instead. What a mess—but I saved his leather upholstery. And, I am grateful for the ride—as well as his staying to hold my hand until they wheeled me away.

Upon learning that I had just been into the ER approximately two weeks earlier, the doctors on emergency call took a significantly more aggressive approach. I had an MRI, an ultra sound, an EKG. In addition, soon a urology specialist arrived to say that I would need an emergency procedure to place a stent into the urethra tube between my kidney and bladder to make sure that the infection in the kidney was draining appropriately.

The following day—my regular nurse-physician arrived to report to me that I had been quite the topic of conversation the preceding day in the urology department. Apparently, the bug by which I was bitten carried quite a bite. She told me that this particular infection had a 50/50 chance of survival.

WOW. I was grateful to be alive.

Then while recuperating, I was also informed I would need to have a pyeloplasty. A pyeloplasty is the surgical reconstruction of the renal pelvis to drain and decompress the kidney. Most commonly, it is performed to treat an uretero-pelvic junction obstruction if residual renal function is adequate.

So, this is scheduled for Thursday, Janauary 14, 2016. Interestingly, it will be performed robotically. This laparoscopic procedure provides a safe and effective way to perform this reconstructive surgery with a much lower morbidity rate. Yea!!! I am grateful for this less intrusive method.

While preparing for the surgery, I cut back dramatically on my output, but I did continue to teach at NDNU. I must share that my students took exceptional care of me. I was inundated with candy, flowers, jam, and wishes for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. I was grateful for their compassion.

At the conclusion of the semester, my sister and her husband came to spend the holidays with me. They arrived with a ton of presents from other Idahoan relatives, who could not make the trip. I was so impressed with the care and thoughtfulness with which the gifts had been chosen. Each came with a personal story as to why.

And, the three of us had such a good time together—we explored the Dickens Faire, saw a musical in the city, went holiday gift shopping, saw the new Star Wars film—and all at a pace I could handle with the stent (which creates continual bladder spasms). It was a delightful time. I am grateful.

Two weeks ago, a college pal, who lives in Utah called and said, “Anabel, I will come and stay after the surgery when you get out of the hospital. With the numerous stairs in your house you need someone there to wait on you. This was above and beyond the regularities of friendship. I am grateful.

Someone else said, “Do not worry about your dog. She can have several play dates with mine. I will come and pick her and keep her until you feel up to taking care of her yourself.” I am grateful.

Two days ago, a friend called and said, “My husband and I would like to give you a massage. It will reduce the tension, help you sleep, and you will be more rested for the procedure.” And, did it ever. What a treat.  I am grateful. I may have another (my own treat this time) because it was so calming.

In addition to these specifics, I cannot tell you how many calls I have received asking, “May I drive you to the hospital? May I go grocery shopping for you? May I pick up some soup from the supermarket? Do you need some chocolate candy? May I pick up your friend from the airport? May I bring dinner by? Do you need a book to read? May I visit for just a minute? May I tell you a story that will make you laugh?

My generous, thoughtful friends and relatives who are practicing so conscientiously and consistently the precept of empathy amaze me.

The words of William Arthur Ward describe how I am feeling as I contemplate the multiple kindnesses that have been or will be performed on my behalf. He wrote,

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

While New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep, one of mine that I will be tending regularly is to tend my friends and relatives. I wish to take as good of care of them as they have taken of me. This I promise. I want to help gratitude grow.

A request for all

I would like to ask a favor of all of you who read this blog. Think of me on January 14, 2014, from 11:15am to 2:14pm (PST). There is clear research about the power of positive regard and its impact on those who receive it.

Pierce Howard, Ph. D., reports in his book, The Owner’s Manual to the Brain, about the effectiveness of positive, conscious thought to improve the health or situation of a given individual. For example, cardiac patients who received such positive thoughts were five times less likely to require antibiotics and three times less likely to develop fluid in the lungs. For even more data, see Dossey’s book, Healing Words.

I thank you in advance. If you want to check up on my progress, drop me a line, etc., please use the link below.



E-mail me here.


  1. Dearest Anabel,
    You will be in my thoughts from this moment on. I’ve never known such a strong and compassionate person as you. The world is a brighter place just for your presence in it.
    I’d love to see when you’re feeling up to it.
    All my love…

  2. Hi Anabel!

    I’m sitting here in my living room after a great meeting with Barb, Bill Overton and Aline Kaprive. We’re going to have a great Bay Area EQ Collaborative event, now in May.

    Finished two of my Self Science classes today for 5 & 6 and 7 & 8. Handed out wires so they could make symbols of their fears! What a class, the kids out did themselves. Got so many requests for 2nd, 3rd and even 4th wires! Plus, we talked about agreements highlighting the need for respect and not to be judgmental.

    This Friday I’m doing a 1/2 day workshop for Spark Charter School teachers on the “ins and outs” of SEL – or something like that. Next week Susan Stillman is coming to Baywood. Plus we’re kicking off our spring EQ education at EPACS.

    And, I saw our good friend Noa today. Bright, cheery and adorable, Noa is doing great!

    When you’re rested, I’ll meet you at Starbuck’s off El Camino in San Mateo!


  3. Hi Anabel,

    I’m sending wave after wave of healing and loving thoughts to you today. Anabel, you give the very best hugs in the world and now I’m sending one huge one back.

    Warm hugs,


  4. Dear Anabel,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Wish you a safe surgery and a speedy and total recovery.
    We are grateful to have you in our lives.
    With love,
    Dexter & your friends in India

  5. Anabel, I just sent you a private email. My thoughts and prayers are with you sweet girl. With Love, Sonia

  6. Hi Anabel,
    I just read your blog. I will most definitely be sending you healing , positive thoughts tomorrow. As I was reading your words I thought once again how much your positive outlook in all things teachs such strong lessons of how to view personal experiences and life events. I loved having you be my first teacher at NDNU and I love how you are still teaching me through your words and actions. Sending hugs and two stars and 1 wish (for a speedy recovery and that you feel better very soon) (okay 2 wishes)

    With affection and hugs,

  7. Anabel,
    You are one of the bravest ,optimistic and kindest woman I have had a chance to meet. I am sending you positive energy and lots of love for you to have a successful surgery and a comfortable and speedy recovery. Let this be the last surgery you have to go through in order for you to feel better. Looking forward to seeing your smiling face soon! XO
    Analia Penney

  8. May the forces be with you and the hands of your healer(s) and wishing you a speedy recovery.

    You really are my beacon when it comes to compassion, optimism and empathy.

    Sending you loads of love and positive energy!


  9. Hugs, Hugs and more Hugs.

    With good wishes and prayers that you get well soon.


  10. Anabel,

    Sending positive and healing thoughts in your direction this morning and look forward to seeing you soon!


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