From River Abel:
This past spring I was visiting a friend in Seattle and we drove to Vancouver to spend some time with a woman named Julie Ann Patteton that he knew as they had friends in common from programs at Option. On the drive to Vancouver, I heard a bit about Julie Ann and was very interested in meeting her.
Julie Ann interacted with me in a sweet, playful, and engaging manner. I liked her quickly and was impressed when I heard more of her journey. Upon meeting me, she said that she was very excited to meet me as my name and some of my story had been mentioned during a few programs she attended. Throughout the years since I started to attend Option programs in 1994, I've heard this before and would accept it as a compliment yet still did hesitation to really accept it and take it in as somehow I was not worthy of it.
Back to Julie Ann for a bit. She had kidney disease prior to attending her first Option program in 2003. Six months after attending that program the disease turned into kidney failure which lead to dialysis to stay alive. Because of learning that she could ask for what she wanted during the Option program and creating beliefs to empower that , she reached out to friends, family, co-workers, former co-workers, etc. explaining of her illness and asking if anyone would be willing to donate a kidney if they matched. This would have never happened prior to Option. As she moved thru this experience she said to me she was calm, giving herself ease and comfort without knowing if anyone would respond, and if they did, if they would they be a match of blood type, tissue type and size. Four responded and one of those was a match. And she asked this person to give a part of his body so she could live, something she would not have even considered prior to Option.
Surgery was the next step and then the possibility of organ rejection. Fear of death ran thru her mind and she decided to accept her situation. Ultimately she created a place of peace and comfort as she moved thru the surgery and healing process.
It has been a handful of years since Julie Ann had the surgery. She is now filled with buoyancy and excitement and leads a busy life. She credits her Option learnings as her pathway to embrace the situation and to use her attitude to move thru this experience in a very different way from her pre-Option days.
In a recent email from her, she again referred to her excitement in meeting me and knowing me as a friend as I was, to use her words, an "Option legend". Legend huh? Wow. What about you? Me? No way. If I saw myself as a legend then somehow I was worthy. I decided I was worthy and I now own myself as a Legend. And thru that lens, I now know that by being myself I have the ability to inspire others.
I replied encouraging her to see herself as a Legend because of what she has done, how she moved thru the world then and now. And how she too has inspired. I share my response to her below as a way to celebrate her and all the multitude of people who have made decisions to change their attitudes and beliefs to be happier.
"And a might fine howdy do to you, sweet pea ...
My thanks for the compliment. As for being an Option legend ? My friend ... knowing what you did concerning your body and how you moved thru that experience and where you are with yourself now.... don't you know your sitting next to me and the MANY others on the Bench of Legends ? Think of it as a bench in a baseball dugout during the World Series of Belief Makers. Everyone sitting on this L-O-N-G bench has "qualified" to be here by stepping up and changing their own life in provocative and profound ways thru changing their beliefs. We're all here to play with each other, to learn from another, to support each other, to give each other an occasional swat on the ass to get going, and to grow. So no one keeps score, heck there isn't even a score board. No one wins or loses. We're just here to play and stretch ourselves. The stadium is filled with all those we individually interact with on a daily basis, watching us .... some get it and some don't. Some learn from watching us. Some cry foul. Some eat hot dogs and guzzle beer. Some leave early to beat the traffic. Some just don't really want to be there but are there anyway. And some are fans but really only interested in watching while never thinking they could step onto the field themselves. You see ... every day in countless ways the ball is tossed to everyone to play in this Series. Some don't just throw it back.