Gratitude and Hope: With a  Lot of Help from My Friends by Carol P. Christ

Last Friday my oncologist gave me the best birthday present I could have imagined. (My birthday was 7:30 pm last night December 20, California time.) Without going into details, my latest CT scan was so much more positive than the last one that it feels like a miracle. I have reason to hope.

Today I am full of gratitude. I am grateful to my doctor Dimitrios Mavroudis who is the head of Oncology at the University of Crete and at the Pagni Hospital in Heraklion. I am grateful to medical science for the chemotherapy that is healing my body.

I am grateful for the national health system of Greece that is covering the cost of my treatment because I am a Greek citizen even though I never contributed to the national health insurance.

I am grateful to the nurses at the Pagni hospital who are unfailingly kind as they take my blood and regulate my chemotherapy.

I am grateful to Vera Dervesi, my cleaning lady and now friend, who with her husband Eddie, took me to the hospital where I was diagnosed, and who has helped me finish unpacking and moving in to my new apartment, and for her sweet presence in my home that soothes my soul.

At the time of my first not so positive CT, I read a book by my friend Shanti Jones’ sister Dale Figtree about curing her cancer through visualization and diet after the medical treatments were declared a failure. This prompted me to focus my meditation on the healing powers of the Sacred Myrtle Tree and the Panagia of Paliani, the convent I had just revisited following a deep intuition, and on the healing energies, prayers, and love that are being sent to me by my friends. I am grateful to Shanti and Dale for guiding me in this direction.

In my meditation, I sing “Oh oh heal me, heal me Goddess heal me,” followed by “Resting in the arms of the Mother Goddess, I open myself to the healing power of the Sacred Myrtle Tree and the Panagia Paliani and to the healing energies, prayers, and meditations being sent to me by friends and relatives.” I may or may not name names. Sometimes I call on the ancestors. I finish my meditation by repeating a song that is a variation on Julian of Norwich’s prayer: “I shall be well, I shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”

I am grateful to Cristina Nevans who sends the healing energy of the Blue Buddha in her daily meditations and who calls from Athens nearly every day to cheer me and to remind me that she loves me. I am grateful to Ellen Boneparth who Skypes at least once a week from Virginia to check on me. I am grateful to my second cousin Bill Christ who emails me every week from Texas, sending his love, and to my first cousin Dave Calfee in California who invited me to stay in his home if I needed to be treated in the United States. To Patrick Scanlon in Ireland to who arranged for a mass in my name. To Eirini Delaki in Valencia, Spain, who includes prayers for me in all of her women’s rituals. To Miriam Robbins Dexter in Los Angeles, who sends me Reiki healing every day. To Christina Moustakaki in Skoteino, Crete who lights candle for me in the church of Saint Nikolas. To my friend the nun Theofilakti who lights a candle for me every day at the Holy Myrtle Tree of Paliani.

I am grateful to Natassa Kanaki who lights candles for me to Saint Foteini in Pachia Ammos, Crete, assuring me that I will be well, stating that I will light a very big candle in her church in the harbor when I am healed. I am grateful to Mara Keller who shares her cancer story and helps me to understand what is happening to me. To Alexis Masters who calls me in the early mornings and sends prayers every day. To Jenifer Giannakou and Mary Staples and Janet Gibbard who call from Molivos and to Laura Shannon who calls from Athens almost every day. To Chloe Erdmann in New York who shares the Moon Salutation yoga and meditation with me via Skype. To Naomi Goldenberg who calls from Ottowa. To my pal and co-author Judith Plaskow who sent a Kindle. To Joyce Zonana who sent daily photos of her new kittens as I was beginning chemo that made me smile. To Dina Adam and Ruth Mantin who sent flowers. To Barbara Dahling and her husband Hatta who brought a delicious catered meal and joined me in the first “party” in my new home. I am also grateful to many other friends not named here and to followers of my work, including you in the FAR community who have sent your wishes and prayers for my healing.

I am grateful to Eirini Kouraki who was with me when I first learned my diagnosis and at my first treatment. I am grateful to Martina Sterbova who grocery shops for me every 10 days and visits me afterwards. To Adamantia Koutalaki who insisted I must have a Christmas tree and who helped me to decorate it. To Kostas Aggelakis, my architect, who has expressed great concern about my illness and who runs errands for me that I cannot do myself. I am grateful to new friends Jack Dempsey and his wife Angie who joined me for Sunday lunches at a restaurant in the Heraklion marina before the quarantine and will do so again when it is ended.

I am grateful to my taxi drivers Manolis and Vangelis who take me where I need to go and willingly and lovingly offer their arms to steady me as I walk to the cab or my destination.

There are so many people who have helped me in large and small ways these past months. I have needed a lot of help, and I have been astonished at how willingly it has been offered by friends, acquaintances, and strangers. It is not easy for me to ask for help, but necessity is a teacher, and I am learning a great deal about human kindness. For that too I am grateful.

A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have helped me in this time of need.

With your help, “I shall be well, I shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”

Blessed be.

Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator who lives in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.

Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.

Author: Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ is a leading feminist historian of religion and theologian who leads the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete, a life transforming tour for women.

34 thoughts on “Gratitude and Hope: With a  Lot of Help from My Friends by Carol P. Christ”

  1. Ah-la-hu-ya! What wonderful news on this solstice day of transformation. May you continue (esp as the virus begins to lift) to enjoy many years of love, friendship and leading people to find the goddess through your guidance, your work and your tours. Gratitude rules!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hadn’t been aware how much I had been holding my breath awaiting this welcomed news. A huge exhale on your behalf. Yes, all will be well. You are held in compassion by people all over the world and cared for by so many. Your expression of gratitude is a beautiful tribute to each one. You hold a special place in the hearts of so many of us. Continued blessings to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, Happy Birthday dear Carol… your news is so heartening… and I am sure that your Tree of Life and chants are part of this healing – Life is so mysterious – and we are all connected on such profound levels… When you needed help you received it and will continue to do so. You are loved by many…and your deep gratitude is a gift that we all need to cultivate…

    I wish it was not so hard for us to ask for help. I am needing help this winter and I find myself acknowledging feelings of deep shame that I need to release…

    I send you love and blessings…


  4. Hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray! It’s wonderful that you’ve got such a wide and powerful community and so many healing resources. Hooray! Happy birthday and brightest blessings for a new year with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. beautiful news and happy birth day. your positive force shone bright in my life, as a young woman finding her way in the very different world of 35-40 years ago. it helped guide me on the way to feminist spirituality, scholarship and relational community. may you feel the presence of the love and healing energy coming from all of us you helped by being a pioneer, shero and trailblazer – as a healing cloak you can pick up and wrap around you on your journey. thank you. i share my gratitude for you and send blessings of continued healing and feelings of connected peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am relieved by this news of your CT scan, and inspired by your Post that brims with examples of friendship and acts of kindness. I hear anxiety from women, over and over again, about our fear of leaving an unhappy, even abusive, partnership (particularly older women) because “what if I get sick? who will care for me? I don’t have/don’t live near/am estranged from my children”, etc….and, Carol, you have demonstrated what a woman-without-a-partner being deeply cared for by friends, family, and community LOOKS LIKE–and it is beautiful!! Your Post is a teaching for all of us who live on what we believe may be a precipice of so-called “aloneness”–perhaps it is not. Blessed Be, for All of Us, on this Sacred day…Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Congratulations on your scan. I am one year post mastectomy for breast cancer. At this writing I am find my way back from the taxing treatments of chemotherapy and like you, I am finding gratitude in my family, friends and professionals who have sustained me. To be sure ,”it takes a village” to navigate through cancer treatments but the discoveries along the way can be priceless. O Blessed Be and Happy Birthday!


  8. this is great news, Karolina! so glad you have supportive people around you. you can see here that women around the world are with you through this journey, and sending blessings for your healing. I hope you will avail yourself of the medicinal mushrooms (chaga, turkey tail, reishi). Shatawari / tian men dong (asparagus root, used in both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine) is something you may find helpful to relieve the heating/drying action of chemo. I’m happy that is working. All medicines and prayers on deck! love, Max


  9. It’s so great to hear your good news on your birthday and the winter solstice! Happy birthday! Happy healing! As Max already wrote, you are not alone. There are many of us all over the world who are heartened by your news and pulling for your recovery. I can tell you from experience (I’m six years out from my breast cancer) that when you finally realize that you’re healed, there is a gush of joy and energy that is wonderful.


  10. Wonderful news! I am a 25 year survivor of ovarian cancer and I remember the joy when the numbers improved and I could hope again. I have thought about you with wishes for your recovery.


  11. Miracles can be part of everyday life! So very glad to hear that you have embraced hope and meditation as the powerful tools each can be. I’d like to recommend the book Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie Siegel. A friend shared this book with me in 1987 when I had my first cancer diagnosis. The book is full of positive and encouraging stories.

    Love, Medicine & Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon’s Experience with Exceptional Patients

    “Unconditional love is the most powerful stimulant of the immune system. The truth is: love heals. Miracles happen to exceptional patients every day–patients who have the courage to love, those who have the courage to work with their doctors to participate in and influence their own recovery.”

    Also, I encourage you to keep laughing whenever possible.

    You continue to be in my thoughts! I’m visualizing all of us walking to the labrynith by the sea in Crete next fall. Perhaps we will have puppy join our procession to the site once again as happened in 2017.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great news, Carol! You have many more people on your team than you could ever imagine. Peace, health, light and many blessings at Yuletide and in the new year!


  13. Blessing to you, Carol. To the coming of the light and healing energy. I will send you Reiki healing. I was on one of your Goddess journeys about 2000? I was living in Saudi at the time and was depleted. The pilgrimage was exactly what I needed. Thank you for being who you are.


  14. Oh that is wonderful news, Carol! Belated Happy Birthday wishes to you! I pray that you will continue to heal and I am so glad that you have such a wonderful and extensive support system! All will be well with you! Blessed Be.


  15. Really glad to hear this good news, Carol!

    From: “”
    Reply-To: “”
    Date: Monday, December 21, 2020 at 12:04 AM
    To: Vicki Noble
    Subject: [New post] Gratitude and Hope: With a Lot of Help from My Friends by Carol P. Christ

    Carol P. Christ posted: “Last Friday my oncologist gave me the best birthday present I could have imagined. (My birthday was 7:30 pm last night December 20, California time.) Without going into details, my latest CT scan was so much more positive than the last one that it feels l”


  16. Our collective human need for retributive ‘justice’—regardless of Jesus and great spiritual leaders having emphasized unconditional forgiveness—may be intrinsically linked to the same unfortunate morally-flawed aspect of humankind that enables the most horrible acts of violent cruelty to readily occur on this planet.

    Thus, we may be making God’s nature in OUR own vengeful image.


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