The Space Inside
There is a space inside of us. We call it the human soul. In it there is a mirror. This mirror reflects into the spaces outside of us all that we are of soul inside. Our bodies are a reflection from this mirror. They are the materialized expression of our soul as it is reflected into the spatial field of form. Our soul desperately longs for an outer expression of itself. As John O’Donohue writes, “All our inner life and intimacy of soul longs to find an outer mirror. It longs for a form in which it can be seen, felt, and touched.”5 Our soul longs for the intimacy of relationship so that it can be seen, felt, and touched. It longs to be known.
Our soul did not create itself. It was born from the space of Divine Spirit to become the space we occupy as self. This is essentially a Platonic and Neoplatonic concept. As the ancient Greek philosopher Plotinus instructs: from the One there is the Intelligence, there is Soul, from which comes souls. We are our soul and from this space of soul we reflect our inner presence into the outer world of form to become known. Our bodies occupy the space of our soul. They interpret the presence of our soul into the facial expressions and physical actualization of its essence. Sometimes our faces occupy the greatest presence of our soul. In some people, the story of their soul is most clearly written in the lines and structure of their faces. In others, it is written more clearly in their bodies and the way in which they carry themselves and act. Yet, in still others, their soul story is most clearly told in their speech, their voice and the words and phraseologies they choose to describe their lives and the livers of others.
The most predominant and clearest presence of our soul, however, is appreciated most commonly in our eyes. It is said our eyes are the windows of our soul. Actually, they are the windows through which we can see the space of our soul. When someone says, “His or her eyes are so deep.” It is because the space of that person’s soul is so deep. I find the more life experience we have had, the more transformational changes we have struggled and toiled through, the deeper and more expansive the space of our soul becomes.
Wisdom is a result of the deeper and more expansive space of our soul. With wisdom, we see the wholeness and “bigger picture” of a situation because we can accommodate more of it in our soul space. Love also deepens our soul space. Love is expansive and inclusive. It makes room in our soul for the people and things we love. When we love, we let what it is we love into our space. The more we love, the more we let into our space and so, the bigger our inner space becomes. There are things that limit and shrink our soul space, however. Of these things, fear is the biggest. Fear is restrictive and exclusive. It retracts and shrinks away from that which it fears and so, it restricts our soul space. We have less room for anything when we fill our soul space with fear; less room for people, family, friends, ideas, even facts when they are presented to us. When fear shrinks our soul space small enough, we perceive everything as a threat and we strike out at everything with a vengeance to save our soul. We end up saving nothing while our soul eventually shrivels up into nothingness as it starves itself of the very nourishment it needs to survive.
We are the spaces we occupy and we are born of Divinity. We are known through the spaces between us. How we are known is dependent on how we dance and with whom we dance in these spaces. Sometimes the dance is painful and not easy and other times it is ecstatic. “The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errors and comes short again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”
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About the Book
After forty-three years in the sacred space of caring for patients, Dr. Donovan shares his observations and thoughts about illness and healing. He believes illness serves us by acting as life’s transformative process. As such, the journey through our illness may be precisely the very experiential journey we need to realize our healing and ourselves more fully. After all, we don’t “get” cancer. Cancer, like any illness, is a process. We “are” the cancer we manifest. Our cancer arises out of our own tissues and cellular make up. To rid our self of our cancer is to rid our self of a part of our self. Instead of thinking about illness as something we “get,” something separate from ourselves needing to be removed or defeated, Dr. Donovan thinks we might well do better viewing our illness as a transformational journey that must be undertaken and completed for our healing to emerge. We can’t get rid of our selves but we can transform ourselves and our illness provides us with that opportunity. It allows us our healing.
About the Author
Dr. Donovan is a Primary Care Naturopathic Physician, author and educator voted by his peers as one of Seattle’s “Top Doctors” in the Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. He has also served as an adjunct Clinical Professor of Medicine at Bastyr University for many years and was one of 23 physicians featured in Burton Goldberg’s book, An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer. He has over 40 years of professional patient care experience.
Dr. Donovan is also a poet, artist and musician. When he is not seeing patients at University Health Clinic, he can be commonly found puttering in his garden at home in Shoreline, Washington with a cup of tea or glass of wine waxing philosophical or “jamming” on guitar with his son.