I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you all my experience here in New York City at Hope Lodge. I have been in New York this week taking care of my cousin Michaelene who is part of a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for stage 4 cancer patients. This experience has been deeply meaningful, at so many levels – spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally – for me. It has rekindled my passion for the work that we do – and also has reconnected me to the essence of my own calling to serve others.
Last night I facilitated a guided imagery session for residents here at Hope Lodge – all of whom have advanced stages of cancer. I scrambled all day Monday to get approval from the staff here to present last night. They were hesitant because they like to plan things way in advance and were skeptical about anyone actually attending the session with just one day’s notice. I told them if one person came it would be fine – but that I wanted them to make 12 copies of the Imagery protocol handout I made. The volunteer coordinator gave me an indulgent smile – but made the copies anyway saying “Sometimes no one comes to these events…” I smiled back and said, “People will come…” I knew a few would come because I had been connecting with individuals in the kitchen and lounge and around the building – chatting and drawing angel cards for them.
We met in the little meditation room. Earlier in the day, I walked downtown 20 blocks to a fun little bookstore and purchased Rossman’s book on Guided Imagery to leave here when I left. I also bought 4 decks of animal and angel cards to leave with the residents. A half hour before the class was to begin, I set myself in the meditation room, put on some Reiki music (very healing and beautiful) and meditated – opening to spirit’s guidance and knowing whomever needed to come would come. The little meditation room filled up. I had promised a copy of the imagery protocol to give to a patient who knew he couldn’t come – and then 11 people came to the session – a total of 12 people as I had hoped.
The session was deeply moving. We started with angel and animal cards – and using the images and messages on the cards people shared their fears, challenges with cancer, grief for their families and hopes for the journey they are on. They experienced great comfort just from this exercise in drawing loving guidance and sharing their feelings. I talked about mobilizing all aspects of healing – body, mind, spirit and community. I talked about the benefits of stress reduction, shared a bit of the research on the role that the mind has on the body – but more importantly I took them on a deep healing inner visualization that moved some of them to tears – and brought all of them to a state of deep relaxation.
It was a beautiful experience for me of living on purpose. The love that filled that room was transcendent. I felt it and so did they. We were surrounded by angels and felt deeply connected to each other and to the divine. This work we all believe in and do, is so powerful! We can’t forget that in the piles of papers and tasks we have on our desks.
Lisa L. Kelly, PhD
Director of Instructional Excellence
Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine