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 delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. She is an internationally recognized, sought after, colorfully creative journalist, interviewer, author and editor, a dynamic and inspiring speaker, licensed social worker and interfaith minister, BLISS coach, event producer, certified Laughter Yoga Leader, certified Cuddle Party facilitator, and Cosmic Concierge.  Edie is the founder of Hug Mobsters Armed With Love, which offers FREE HUGS events world- wide on a planned and spontaneous basis. She speaks on the subjects of wellness, relationships, trauma recovery, addiction, mental health, spirituality, sexuality, loss and grief.   Edie is the author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary and co-author of Embraced By the Divine: The Emerging Woman’s Gateway to Power, Passion and Purpose.  She has also contributed to several anthologies and personal growth books, including Taming the Anger Dragon: From Pissed Off to Peaceful.  Her work has been seen in Beliefnet,  Elephant .Journal  Psych Central, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project,  as well as a growing number of other publications. She was the host of Vivid Life’s It’s All About Relationships on Blog Talk Radio for more than three years. Over the past 30 years, she has had the honor of interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Louise Hay, Judith Orloff, Debbie Ford, Arielle Ford, don Miguel Ruiz, Wayne Dyer, Bernie Siegel, Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson, Grover Washington, Jr., Dan Millman, Ram Dass, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Weaver, Mariel Hemingway, Ben & Jerry and SARK. In the last four decades, she has worked with those who have been diagnosed with life-altering conditions, including mental health issues, cardiac disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, end-stage conditions, eating disorders, addiction, traumatic brain injury, stroke, depression, and anxiety. She focuses on her clients’ resilience and assists them in developing a solid toolkit of coping skills. As both a clinician and a patient, she is aware of what it is like to be on the other side of the treatment relationship and can be of service to the patient, their caregivers, as well as the treatment team. Edie can address the issues that arise such as body image, trauma, sexuality, relationship changes, vulnerability, change in physical or cognitive ability, aging, end of life issues, and communicating needs. If you want to: 

    • Embrace life fully
    • Release patterns that have kept you from moving forward
    • Re-write the narrative to create the life of your dreams and desires
    • Enhance your relationships
    • Become an Opti-Mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility
    Contact me today to see how I can meet the needs of your organization, publication or the person who looks back at you when you gaze in the mirror.

    For more information, please visit opti-mystical.com.

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