It’s now been fourteen years since I had surgery for prostate cancer at the very dangerous age of 49. Like all who experience cancer, this period in my life has been a journey of fear, uncertainty, hope, but ultimately a realization of an opportunity that in illness often lies the very seeds of our own healing. But even more importantly an opportunity to heal the greater dimensions of our whole being. Much attention has been given to the concept of Wellness in healthcare in the recent decades. And that concept has been front and center in my consciousness in my years long journey of insight, understanding, and ultimately, transformation.
I have come to understand wellness is a way of living, a way of being. It is a way of understanding ourselves and our place in the world. Above all it is the profoundest realization of the inseparable oneness of mind, body and spirit. To this point I think of how the term "mind/body” connection is currently used in medicine and healing. To me, this very term is in itself highly descriptive of what has long been the perception that there would be a separation of the mind and body in the first place. My experience has taught me that there is no "connection” because there is no separation, all are but one. And as such, from my cancer experience, I have come to firmly believe that the patient experience that produces the best healing outcomes are ultimately rooted in the nurturing of our whole being.
Most illnesses, but cancer particularly, seem to most often illicit the immediate response: "Am I going to die”? I found that working through this fear was key to moving forward into healing. I consider myself most lucky because, as a fine art nature photographer, in my art there was an enormous cathartic opportunity to face this fear with not only courage, but unexpected insight. It has now become an endeavor of mine to share with others those insights and feelings that helped me through that process.
Toward that end, I have developed a series of short multimedia inspirational videos entitled: The Fine Art of Healing. Also as a musician who has throughout my career presented my images with music and words in concert, I am keenly aware of the profound power of these three components of our sensory awareness when experienced in consort. In my first video, Imagination Inspired, I encourage the patient to imagine their life beyond today and into a future healed, to understand that what we can imagine already exists. We need not assume that what we experience today is what we must experience tomorrow.
In the second video: Love and Gratitude Are The Fairest Blossoms Which Spring From The Soul, I explore the profound healing power of loving and being loved, for there is nothing more powerful in the healing process than this.
I have begun placing them in healthcare facilities for their broadcast on monitors and for use on iPads for patients to watch when undergoing treatments such as chemo or rehab. The value of inducing a state of relaxation and pleasure in these settings towards creating better patient experiences and resulting outcomes can hardly be overstated.
Connecting with a patient at the deepest emotional level during the healing process with images of beauty, inspiration, and yes, even thought provoking ideas, ideas to help them see themselves in their world as healed, and in a state of wellness, is to help them access the power of their own life force, from which ultimately, I believe, all healing comes.
My journey from cancer to healing has lead me to the realization that what we think, believe and feel, largely determines the conditions present in the state of our wellness. Thus, with this understanding, the providers of patient experience have the opportunity to create an environment in which these essential elements of our very being, are understood and nurtured, with the ultimate goal of producing the very best outcomes.
Lastly, it has been this realization that has made the last fourteen years, truly the transformational journey of my life. And as such, it is my desire to share this powerful and uplifting healing process with others, that they may find their own transformation in it as well.
Bruce W. Heinemann is a fine art nature photographer, writer, publisher and speaker. His speaking presentation includes his four videos and is entitled: The Fine Art of Healing: A Journey of Personal Transformation.