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As a new year begins with new hopes, or renewed hopes, one thing we know for certain is that it takes good health to be able to do most of what we desire. I am not talking about gym membership, or pledges to walk 5 miles a day. I am thinking about a far deeper level of awareness of how we experience our health and our physical body.

I have been speaking this week at a number of places about wholistic health about how our stress levels and emotions, as well as our beliefs, impact our health. Most of the medical community will now acknowledge that stress is the major precursor of disease and that predispositions never need to be actualized.  

For true health, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, we need to step back and acknowledge our stressors while knowing our stressors are not the same as everyone else’s. Also, even if we have some of the same outward stressors, we are most likely not experiencing them in the same way. 

One person feeling financial stress may be feeling overwhelmed and completely like a victim to their profession, their upbringing etc. Another person feeling financial stress may be feeling betrayal because they did not get all that they were promised. Another feeling of financial stress may be feeling like a failure since they should have done better, more, etc.….  A similarly identified stressor, yet absolutely different experiences. All because of the stories they are telling themselves. Know the power of your story; that truly is a massive indicator of disease or health, and it is always a major tool for healing. 

As a former chaplain, I know that when a doctor would tell a patient they had a year to live, in a vast majority of the cases that person lived a year. They believed a story and took it on.  My mother was told at one point in her 50’s that she had so much cancer (Colo/rectal which was spreading up the spine) that they could remove some and if she was alive, which they doubted, they would remove the rest in 3 months. She told them she had 5 kids, some with major life issues happening and she was going nowhere. Her employer, TWA, gave her a lifetime pass thinking she may take one trip before she dies. My mom spent almost 30 years traveling with that free pass, spending winters in Portugal and so much more. She didn’t want the story.

Do you tell yourself you need to work 80 hours a week to get the job done, passing on sleep? Relaxation? Laughter? Do you tell yourself you are the only one who can do a job correctly therefore practically collapsing while trying? Are you convinced that the more stress you have is proof of the harder you are trying? Do you stay in a position you hate, and that is literally making you sick, because it pays well? Are you surviving life rather than living it? All these are having a massive impact on your health, multidimensionally.

Truly believing that life is a gift, that each day is a new opportunity for growth and for change, is a day of gratitude and for all of us that is where health lives. Whether it contains a chronic disorder or heals it or prevents the development of so many other diseases and disorders, gratitude brings health and healing on all levels. I hope you have healing on all levels this month and this year. It’s the first step in creating the life you want and so deserve. 


Dr. Dorothy’s life story of coming from an orphanage, being raised in the housing projects of South Boston, becoming a Catholic nun, an international airline stewardess, a wife, mother, graduate faculty member, Clinical Instructor at a Medical School, and so much more provides the perfect backdrop for her message of joy, humor, passion and faith as the necessary tools for life.