As we at The Cramer Institute move forward after the passing of Dr. Kathy Cramer, I want to share some of her Asset-Based Thinking inspiration that we are drawing upon.
About a year ago, Kathy started a new book: Staying on Top When Your Health Turns Upside Down: How to Navigate the Heroic Journey Back to Vitality and Wholeness.
The book was to be the story of how Kathy made her way through her bout with cancer and with it, she was creating a format designed to help others see dealing with a serious illness as a “heroic journey.” She planned to show how the Hero’s Journey could be a valuable framework for staying on top while dealing with the trauma of a major health crisis.
In the first few weeks after Kathy died, I re-read the book proposal and found the question she had challenged herself with:
Yes, and now what?
It stopped me in my tracks.
Wow, here was a classic Kathy Cramer question! And why did I have to find it now? And do I really have to answer it for myself? And wait, do we each have to answer it for ourselves?
I did try to answer it right then; however, I could not muster the strength or clarity to actually say anything about my “now what?” at the time.
Let me go back to the new book to provide a little more context. Below is an excerpt from the introduction of Kathy’s unfinished book. I hope it will be as comforting and inspiring to you as it was to me to hear her words and through them, sense the strength and resilience that she possessed and that she worked so hard to help others find in themselves.
After several scans and consultations, I found out that I was facing stage 4 breast cancer that had by that time metastasized to my bones and liver. As my heart sank, I knew full well that my only (and best) response needed to be: Yes and now what?
But for me, knowing how to respond was a far cry from actually responding in the best way possible.
I remember feeling waves of sadness descending on me like a dense, dark fog. At a moment’s notice, while I was doing something mundane like sitting at the breakfast table eating scrambled eggs, all of a sudden my eyes would well with tears as it dawned on me that I could very well be losing my wonderful life — my husband, my work, my colleagues, friends, my home, my lake house, my puppies, everything might be gone in a flash, without warning, due to the indiscriminate hand of breast cancer that was running wild in my otherwise healthy body. It all felt like a bad dream.
In other moments that came just as frequently as the “fog of sadness” ones did, I felt deeply grateful. Grateful for being given the opportunity to live such a wonderful life. Waves of gratitude would rush over me, bringing with them vivid flashbacks of events and encounters that reminded me just how blessed and fortunate I had been for the past 67 years. From having the life-long support of my mom and dad, to receiving a first-rate education from kindergarten all the way through graduate school, to having the closest, best friends, to marrying the most amazing, loving, generous human being on the planet. I was bowled over by the sheer number of gifts I had received over the course of many years.
These were Kathy’s thoughts at the time she was facing the biggest challenge of her life. All of us who knew Kathy are not surprised at her courage and optimism as they represented her approach to life in general. It is who she was and is, as she lives on each of us.
I am letting her words settle deep into my heart and it is from that place that I am now best able to answer the “now what?” question for myself and for The Cramer Institute.
We will continue to envision a world filled with awakened leaders.
We will further Kathy’s mighty cause of guiding leaders and their organizations on heroic journeys of transformation.
We will honor her legacy by leading positive and shining the spotlight of our attention on the assets in every situation we find ourselves in, including this one.
Will you join us?
Here is a list of our upcoming workshops at The Cramer Institute. Sign up for one today! You can also call us at 314-725-0500 to discuss your specific individual or team leadership opportunity.
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