"Our soul must perform two duties. The one is that we must reverently wonder and be surprised. The other is that we must gently let go and let be." Julian of Norwich

...Cancer teaches both!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Emotional Connection

Foundations of Healing #6: 

"Our true reality is in our identity and unity
with all life."
Joseph Campbell


I’ve recently reconnected with an online cancer support group through the American Cancer Society. The Cancer Survivors Network (CSN) brings survivors and caregivers together into a "virtual community" of mutual care and support. The online feature of this group has helped me to connect during times in which I am very much cut-off from community and friends because of my illness. Discussion groups on CSN are formed around various cancer types. I’m connected to the colorectal cancer group, or as they refer to themselves, the “semicolons”!! ;-) ;-)

I am always a little wary of "online community".  My experience has been that it rarely becomes "authentic" in terms of meaningful connections and shared life.  Anonymity and indifference, the great detractors of community life, can abound in on-line communities making it difficult to create a safe place where folks can open up and connect at the levels of heart and soul.   Somehow though... this particular "semi-colon" group seems to have been able to overcome many of the obstacles inherent in online communication to create a truly worthwhile community.

There is something very powerful and healing about talking with others who have shared my experience. Hearing the stories of healing and recovery provides me with a genuine source of hope and courage. Hearing the stories of those who are suffering recurrences or setbacks reminds me that I am not alone when things are going bad. Having a safe place where I am able to share my own experiences helps me to relinquish some of my fears and worries and provides an outlet for both lament and celebration. No matter what I am going through at the moment there are others who have shared a similar experience and who are available to give emotional support, share advice on conventional and alternative treatments, provide encouragement, or just simply listen.

Cancer support groups, on-line or otherwise, are one way of making emotional connections.  There are, or course, many others.  I am particularly blessed in this area by a rich circle of family, friends, and colleagues who support and sustain me on the journey.  All part of the firm "Foundations of Healing" in my cancer journey!

Vickie Girard in her book “There’s No Place Like Hope” looked up the meaning of support and had this to say…
“I once looked up “support” in the dictionary. It says: “To carry the weight; To maintain position to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping; To be able to bear – withstand; To keep from falling or yielding during stress; To furnish corroborating evidence; To aid the cause of by approving, favoring, advocating; To take action.” What a wonderful definition! Believe me, every single word applies to the experience of belonging to a cancer patient support group.” Vickie Girard

AMEN to that!!

Have a truly great day!! Rob

"Whenever we take the trouble to plumb the depths of an experience and extract from it all it contains, the simplest as well as the most hidden, we cease to speak of ourselves and ourselves alone. Instead, we enter the realm of the most precious, the realm of universal experience, which we share with all others."
Jacques Lusseyran

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From one of your semi; buddies-
I have the CSN support group bookmarked and always open when I am online- probaby check it, oh, hundreds of times a day. I laugh, cry, look for people, share my day and struggles - these are my cancer people, a group I didn't seek out, but a group I fell into with my own cancer issues. And I love every single one of them for what they give to me and what I am able to give back. You are not alone in your journey and no longer am I alone in mine. Thank you for that.
Love you!