I just spent a long weekend participating in something called Gratitude Training outside Charlotte, NC. Gratitude Training is a company “committed to inspiring you to create the extraordinary in your life and in your community, and teaches you to fully access authentic gratitude and joy.” There were a multitude of life altering take-homes from this training that I am indeed very grateful for, but there is 1 that really sticks out and is very relatable to my experience as a kidney donor. That lesson is that I am 100% responsible for all the choices and experiences in my life.
If you have read my blog, you know that I expected that I would have a relationship with my kidney recipient, and that I was really looking forward to meeting them. After all, donating a kidney to me was the equivalent of having kids- it’s the way I decided I would give life. More than 6 months later, I have not heard a peep from the recipient, and am open to the possibility that I might not hear from them ever. If I am being honest with myself, I had a lot of feelings of disappointment and anger that the recipient has not reached out, I also judged my recipient for not thanking me. This wasn’t the focal point of my experience, but these feelings have been with me now for way too long and are not helpful. I allowed the feelings to take away from my overall very positive experience, and worst of all, I subconsciously allowed it to kill most of the energy I had about making a difference in the world of organ donation. I mean, how can I inspire other people to want to be a donor, or be a spokesperson for my cause when my energy is coming from a place of anger, judgement and negativity? I let go of any of the power I had over my feelings, and started doubting that organ donation would continue to be one of my life themes- my cause- the thing that I put my energy into to make a difference in our world.
The good news is, I have moved on and set the bar higher for myself. It’s up to me to put a positive spin on the experience. Putting a positive spin on it, and holding myself accountable for my choices is a hell of a lot easier than being upset and disappointed! I knew it was a possibility that the recipient wouldn’t want to connect, and I chose to donate anyway. Nobody is responsible for that but me! It’s quite freeing to just let it go! My new take on the experience is that at the end of the day, not getting to meet the recipient may actually be more powerful of an experience than getting to meet them. It’s out of my hands, and there is much to be learned about why I felt it was so important to meet and be acknowledged. There is far more joy that comes from the experience as I focus on the other facts.
When I go back and read my very first blog entry, I clearly define my motivations as the following:
Reason #1: My family (I have a great family) benefited from organ donation, and I feel extremely compelled to give back to that system because I am grateful in a way that’s difficult to express in words.
Reason #2: There is a SURPLUS of organs, yet when you go online all you find are statistics about the alleged “organ shortage.” A cultural shift in the way we talk about living donation is on the horizon, and more living donors will bring change to a tipping point faster.
Reason #3: Demonstrate that living organ donation is a non-event.
All of these things did or will happen whether or not I meet my recipient. I am just taking the meeting part out of the equation, and focusing on the gratitude I have for my recipient for helping me reach my goals. So thank you recipient wherever you are! I couldn’t have done it without you!
With this new found positivity and perspective, I feel like my passion is back. I have far more power to use my experience to positively impact future donors, and with that I know I will make a difference in my corner of the world. Next step is to figure out what that will look like which IS the exciting part 2 of this journey.
Thanks to all my new friends from Gratitude Training for helping me shift my perspective! Can’t wait to connect with you again this week in part 2 of the training! To change the world, all we have to do is change ourselves and break free of false belief systems to experience our highest potential.
Thanks for reading!