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Turning Points – October 2009

In this issue:
Director's Reflections - by Jan Adrian, MSW

Jan Adrian Dear Friends,

On October 15, 2009 the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) celebrated its 12th annual Outstanding Women Leaders (OWL) Awards Banquet. I was nominated for a Luminary Award (an individual/organization lighting the way for others).

When I was told that I had been nominated, I was asked to provide two letters of recommendation. I asked two people who had attended our conferences—one as a caregiver and one as a survivor. Even though I didn't receive the Award, it was encouraging for me to again hear (in their letters) how powerful our conference has been. I want to share excerpts from both of them:

From Shirleen:   "Jan Adrian is one of the most inspiring women I know or have met in my lifetime. I am honored to recommend her as she has inspired my life more than she knows. A few years back when my mother was dying of cancer I took her to one of Jan's seminars.

It was so very moving and inspiring for my mother and myself to be among so many other cancer patients. For the first time in her journey my Mom didn't feel alone. For the first time in her journey my Mom felt part of a family, loved and supported. The day was wonderful and we laughed, we cried and we were inspired!"

From Fran:   "Attending that conference changed my life. The gamut of left brain information, combined with performance (music and Taiko drumming), humor, art, imagery, and ritual contributed to making the conference into a sacred experience that continues to set the standard for being reminded of the variety of modalities that contribute to healing.

Jan created the conference to get what she could not get elsewhere in hospitals, cancer centers, support groups, or psychotherapy. Her personal need led to sharing it with others in a unique public format for which thousands of people are grateful.
When I hear how much this conference has meant to people, my passion is renewed to continue offering it. I'm already in the midst of planning three conferences for 2010, plus some very exciting workshops. I love doing this, and the reality is that I can't continue without financial support. I've just let my assistant go because of lack of funding.

I saw a card this week that said, "Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith." That's exactly where I am again with Healing Journeys. After 15 years, sometimes I can lose track of why I'm doing this so I appreciate this award nomination coming along just when I needed to be reminded. And I will appreciate your support now—in words of encouragement, and in donations to Healing Journeys.

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Healing Story

Note:  Gail Coufal lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two cats where she is busy reading, writing and exploring a life changed after cancer and treatment.

Gail Coufal
Reading and Writing for Pleasure and Denial
by Gail Coufal

The best thing about my life has always been reading. I can read when I am not well, I can read in bed, in the bathtub, even while I'm walking. I can read while the TV is on and in any moving vehicle. I can delve into someone else's universe in a big, fat book when I am in denial about issues in my own life. It is the Great Escape I have chosen my whole life. ... Full Story.

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Healing Poem

Lauren Carley Note: Lauren Carley performs with her ensembles Polyhymnia and Schola, and tours her original cabaret interpreting the music of Kurt Weill. Ms. Carley teaches choral music for San Francisco State and UC Berkeley, maintains a private voice studio, leads on-going sight-singing classes, conducts local community choruses, and leads the Joy of Singing in Sacred Spaces vocal workshop each summer in Calvi del' Umbria, Italy.

In addition to leading on-going retreats, performances and workshops in singing for healing, sacred services, and community engagement, she is deeply grateful for the opportunity to write with Autumn Stephens and her merry band of writers.

Living Still
by Lauren Carley

Living still, quietly, lest pain return, a self-induced slowness, bordering on entropy. Not moving too fast, lest an inadvertent bump trigger the distant galloping horses, bringing them closer than I can bear. Listening to my breath, I hear children's voices playing along the squeaky white beach of my great inland sea. Red hypodermics and bits of hair can be found in the water. Hard to call it medicine. . . . Full Poem.

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Book Review

It's Not About The Hair: And Other Certainties of Life and Cancer
by Debra Jarvis

Reviewed by Fran Haynes

Book cover: It's Not About the Hair Debra Jarvis, the proclaimed "irreverent Reverend," is an ordained minister who has worked as a hospice spiritual counselor, and currently serves as a general oncology chaplain for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Within a five-day period Debra's mother and Debra were both diagnosed with breast cancer. Using her unique style of truth telling with humor, Debra invites us to follow her along the path of her healing journey.

Each chapter begins with an amusing and gut wrenching reprint of her blog from April to December, which makes the reader feel a part of her honored support circle.

In the introduction Debra states that while she learned much about cancer from being a patient, only a small part of the cancer experience is about medicine. "Most of it is about feelings and faith, losing and finding your identity, and discovering strength and flexibility you never knew you had."

She goes on to say that she realized that the most valuable things in life are not things, but relationships. "It's about laughing in the face of uncertainty and having the courage to ask for more chocolate and less broccoli."

This warm, wise and funny book tells an amazing story of mingled accounts of a health professional dealing with other people's life threatening conditions at the same time she is facing her own. Debra's lens of perception views the interwoven world of medical technology and procedure, human vulnerability and strength, and the spiritual issues that converge in the experience of living through illness and life.

Additional information:
  • Debra Jarvis will be an instructor/facilitator at our upcoming workshop, The Existential Expedition, in Berkeley, CA on November 14-15, 2009. You may learn more about her by reading her bio.
    Register by October 31 to receive an early-registration discount.

  • If you purchase this book, we'd appreciate it if you would use our Amazon Associate link, below, or in the bottom left navigation on our website. Your price will be the same, and Healing Journeys will receive a small percentage of the sale. Every bit helps! Whenever you are buying anything from Amazon (books, CDs, even TVs and appliances), we benefit if you first go to www.healingjourneys.org, click on the Amazon link, and make your purchase.
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Existential Expedition
The Existential Expedition

November 14-15, 2009
Berkeley, CA

Early Registration Discount!
Register by October 31

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CDs from the Greenville 2009 Conference

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