I used to say our conference, Cancer as a Turning Point, From Surviving to Thriving™ was about including the whole person – body, mind, and spirit – in the healing process. That’s still true, but I’ve found myself re-framing that into something that has more meaning for me now. It’s about what we can do to impact our own healing journey. It’s not about treatments that are done to us from an outside source.
Researchers at University of Toronto, studying spirituality as it impacts length of survival with late stage cancer, discovered that how involved a person was in her own healing journey had a greater impact on survival than what she specifically did. My goal in our conference is to promote and support our involvement and effectiveness in our healing journeys. The presenters at our free conference this weekend in Spartanburg, SC, were chosen because I think they will stimulate and guide this process.
Thomas Moore’s most recent book, Care of the Soul in Medicine, talks about the importance of caring for the soul of the patient, not just the body. He says, “If you are looking for your soul, look deep into any aspect of your life. Go down into it: deep into memory, deep into feelings, into your deepest thoughts. There the soul is like a spring from which life pours out.” I think moving from surviving to thriving involves more consciously feeding my soul and I need both guidance and reminders to help me do that.
Laura Pole, an authority in health supportive cooking, will talk about nurturing ourselves through our food choices. She will teach the basic principles for selecting health supportive food and how to individualize our food choices. At least three times a day I have the chance to improve my health through food choices. For me, this is a key ingredient to thriving and something I want more knowledge and practice with.
Jonna Tamases, actress, and Gaye Adegbalola, singer/songwriter, both make me feel good. Jonna does it by making me laugh, and Gaye does it with music. Both humor and music are languages of the soul that can go deeper than words. Their presentations are meant to be more than entertainment. Jonna’s moving and hilarious one-woman play takes us on a wild ride into the realm of health, illness, joy, and the beauty of life. Gaye’s song, Bald Headed Blues, makes me feel stronger every time I hear it.
Lise Alschuler, naturopathic oncologist and author of Five to Thrive, will talk about how our lifestyle can transform our internal landscapes to fight cancer. This presentation will focus on the most impactful ways to make our bodies inhospitable to cancer by highlighting the best researched diet, exercise, sleep, and dietary supplement anti-cancer strategies.
James Navé wrote a poem every day for 100 days after his surgery for prostate cancer. He says he will “explore how to use essential elements of creativity, poetry, and storytelling to anchor yourself in the creative core of your interior during times of change and trouble.” That sounds to me like another way of saying “nourish your soul.” I was inspired when I heard him interviewed on the radio, and I want more.
Emmett Miller, MD, will close the conference with a powerful experience of what a difference we can make with the conscious use of our imaginations. He is one of the fathers of Mind/Body medicine, probably best known for his creation of the first deep relaxation/guided imagery tapes (1973). I have used his guided imagery CDs for decades, and am transported by his velvet voice that is so full of wisdom.
I picture the program as a buffet of options that can enhance our healing journeys. As in any buffet, you will like some offerings better than others. I encourage participants to try them all so they can experience what is most effective for them.
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In the spirit of healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director