We have said that our conference addresses the whole person — body, mind, and spirit. I recently read in an article by Thomas Moore that “The classical trinity has always been “body-soul-spirit.” He said, “Even ‘enlightened’ healthcare workers speak easily of “mind-body-spirit” medicine, not even noticing that the soul is missing.”
That ‘enlightened’ healthcare worker could be me. I feel like I have often ignored my soul, giving all my attention to body, mind, and spirit.
For the sake of this conversation, “Spirit” is the non-material world, the energy through which we all connect, and through which we connect to the Divine, however we conceive of it. “Soul” is the thing that makes me unique. It’s my personal life force. It’s what makes me feel alive. Thomas Moore says, “a soulful life and fun go together.”
When I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1989, I had just spent the previous two years putting all of my energy and time into developing a new business — a retail furniture store. I hadn’t given any thought or attention to my soul. I didn’t have much music, beauty, laughter, good food, or time with friends in my life. I thought being productive and creating the business was more important than having fun.
I think this was part of why I first developed cancer and I’ve been making an effort to change it ever since. It’s been a long and continuing process. It’s exciting for me to re-discover the work of Thomas Moore because it gives me a framework in which to explore and expand how to nourish my soul.
To quote Thomas Moore again, “I’ve encountered people who, in dealing with their problems, just don’t have enough space in them. Maybe they haven’t allowed life to affect them much. Life experiences stretch you, when you let them have their impact. Maybe they haven’t allowed emotions that frighten them, like anger, sadness, or desire. Let some of those in, and your soul will get bigger, fast. Maybe they haven’t reflected much on their experience. An unconscious soul is a small one.” This is from the article Care of the Soul: Mega-Soul.
So part of my on-going “treatment” is to nourish my soul, and also to fully feel my emotions, even if they frighten me. Thomas Moore’s article above ends with, “However simple your life, however ordinary and retiring, you can have a mega-soul, a vast source of vitality, and the capacity for pain and failure as well. You can be noble in your simplicity and deep and wide in your ability to contain life.” This sounds as important in addressing cancer as eating an anti-cancer diet.
I think the Cancer as a Turning Point conferences have always been a way for me to receive what I needed in my own healing journey. It seems like other people often have the same needs. To continue that practice, I’m excited to announce that Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul will be one of our speakers at our free conference in Spartanburg, SC on June 23rd. You can get more information and register here.
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In the spirit of healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director