Survivor To Thriver

  • by Rev. Edie Weinstein

    A few months ago, I reconnected with a dear friend from Willingboro High School with whom I haven’t spoken for 30 years. Along with Abe came the gift of his wife Andi Morris…a definite Goddess Sister and kindred spirit. A Center City Philadelphia area Realtor, Andi is also a two time breast cancer survivor, who shares, “I was diagnosed when I was 37 and then when I was 43, I was re-diagnosed.” With the initial diagnosis, she was frightened and shocked. With the second diagnosis, came anger, “because I was working so hard to get beyond breast cancer.” Andi has a full, rich life that includes travel, returning to work and volunteering for an amazing organization called Living Beyond Breast Cancer. An active board member and dynamic public speaker, testified in front of the FDA in favor of Silicone Implants for breast cancer survivors.

    She recognizes how fortunate she is to have had phenomenal treatment and solid support systems. This delightful woman with a contagious laugh seems to have a ‘there but for the grace’ attitude and expresses, that “It has been my passion and pleasure to give back in any way I can.”

    I came face to face with this thriver, (by my definition: someone who has surpassed survivor mode and reaches out to help others because of his or her own experience) who has made such a difference in the lives of so many through her fund-raising and educational endeavors, when I joined a group of 200 some brave souls who gathered on the steps of Philadelphia Museum of Art, on May 17, 2009. This same structure made famous by the pounding feet and upraised arms of Rocky was the holy ground for a gentler endeavor; the 7th Annual Yoga Unites For Living Beyond Breast Cancer. More than $100,000 was raised on a day that carried wind gusts which threatened to blow us into the Schuylkill River.

    When I arrived, the gray over-hanging clouds loomed ominously and the steps were already puddled and slippery. Finding a space to lay down my purple ‘magic carpet’ as I sometimes refer to my mat, it snuggled in between others already in place. As I stood from the next-to- top tier of the steps and gazed downward, I beheld with delight, a rainbow sea of mats and people gathered. All ages, body sizes, levels of yoga-expertise, some familiar faces from the yoga community (which I have come to know has some of the biggest hearts in the world) some new companions in the mission to support survivors in re-creating their lives…family of choice and chance, we were becoming.

    Her team of friends that surrounded her during the yoga event, is coyly called “Andi’s Girls” which is a double entendre’ in reference to her reconstructed breasts that she affectionately refers to as “the girls”. She adds, “It keeps me laughing.”

    Edie Weinstein-Moser is a free-lance journalist, speaker, social worker and interfaith minister. Her website is www.liveinjoy.org

    Edie Weinstein

    Edie Weinstein (Bliss Mistress) is a work in progress, like everyone else on the planet; the artist of her own design. She is a career journalist with 24 years experience interviewing some of the most amazing movers and shakers on the planet, including Joan Borysenko, Ben & Jerry,Shirley MacLaine, Ram Dass, Michael Beckwith, Jack Canfield, Alan Cohen, Karen Drucker, Judith Orloff, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Dan Millman, Wayne Dyer, Elizabeth Lesser, Arielle Ford, Debbie Ford, SARK, Bernie Siegel and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In addition, she is an interfaith minister, dynamic motivational speaker, opti-mystic, (seeing the world through the eyes of possibility), transformational coach, social worker and PR Goddess. From 1988-1998, she was co-publisher of Visions Magazine. She facilitates workshops; subjects include spirituality, transformation, recovery, weathering the winds of change, relationships, love, communication, co-dependence, stress management, time management, manna-festation, loss and grief, sexuality, re-creating your life. The presentations/workshops are experiential, interactive and lively. The style is conversational and dynamic. People laugh and cry. The workshops include music, movement, meditation, art, writing, small and large group interaction. She writes a regular column for Wisdom Magazine called The Bliss Mistress Guide, a daily blog for the interfaith website Beliefnet called the Bliss Blog and a weekly blog for VividLife, and a monthly column for Bellesprit. She is a contributor to Elephant Journal and The Whirling Blog as well as a growing number of other venues. She is the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. Edie's weekly radio show, It's All About Relationships, airs on Vivid Life Radio each Thursday night from 8-9pm Eastern.

    View all posts by Edie Weinstein.

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