I’ve been thinking about a theme for tonight’s Inner Work support group for women who have experienced breast and/or ovarian cancer. We meet once a month and this is our fourth session. The women have been quite patient with me as I both facilitate and participate. The idea for the group came from a book by Jean Shinoda Bolen that I’ve found so helpful: “Close to the Bone”. It offers reflections about how one can make meaning of a life-threatening illness and thereby allow the experience to be a life-transforming event.
We’ve been sharing about how to do “soul work” as a part of the healing journey. Discovering “soul” in our lives is a project to which most of us give little thought. We spend a lot of time researching the best treatment regimen, the perfect diet, the most skilled surgeon, the latest discoveries. We undergo therapies that ravage our bodies and exhaust our energies in the hope of cure. Many of us try to be attentive to the deeper realities of healing even as we pass through those dark valleys. But on the other side of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, as the body recovers and we enter the new terrain of surveillance, there is still healing work to be done in the realm of the soul.
Shinoda-Bolen and others who have worked with cancer survivors encourage us to tend the soul as important ongoing therapy. But how do we know soul when we see it? One place we find the soul is in “kairos” time, the experience of time in which we can lose ourselves, the moments that can stretch to hours without our even noticing. So what am I doing when I am prone to “lose myself”? What transports me from being the slave of my Blackberry calendar app to being content to waste time noticing hummingbirds at the feeder or appreciating how green the elm leaves are against the blue sky? Who am I with when the time flies? What activities can absorb me so completely that I am surprised to discover that the sun has set?
Tonight we’ll take time to remember when we have experienced kairos time. Hopefully we’ll enjoy some of those moments together. Maybe we’ll help each other discover how to find them again every day. And guess what? This healing strategy is for everyone- not just those of us who have had an encounter with a life-threatening illness. Find your soul in some kairos time.