The SoulCare Course
Most of us try to focus on keeping our bodies healthy and happy. Nourishing meals, regular exercise, fresh air and restful sleep are all things we strive for in our daily lives. We also seek to expand our minds and intellect – we tackle challenging assignments at work, think through complex issues and come up with creative solutions to sticky problems.
And, then, if there’s any time left over, we look after our souls.
Yet what years of mind-body-spirit medicine research has discovered is that our lives actually work much better when it’s the other way around! When we start with our souls and prioritize nourishing our spirits regularly, we’re able to access its guiding energy and generative healing powers – and experience our utmost vibrancy, health and wellbeing.
“Soul Care” will be the deep inquiry of our upcoming course with renowned holistic health and wellness pioneer Joan Borysenko. In 7 weeks, you will learn her powerful approach to healing and creating your greatest health, wellbeing and vitality – while deeply nourishing your soul.
As a Harvard trained medical scientist, psychologist and director of a spiritual mentor training program, Joan has discovered that living your best life is a multi-dimensional process of caring for your body, mind and soul. Through this course, you will dive deep into your own “soul care” and experience something that doesn’t lend itself well to words.
But it shows up in your life as deep contentment, a quiet clear mind, energy to act at the right moment, the emergence of love and harmony and seeing the beauty in who you are, what you do and everything that’s around you. This experience is really what we mean when we think of “full-spectrum health.”
Living from the soul is contagious. It is a precious transmission of love and human potential that infects the people around us. And with a conscious community led by one of our greatest mind-body-spirit pioneers, you will nurture your soul while bringing healing to your family, your friends, your clients, your community, and to our world, especially in this powerful time of global shifts.
Watch this short video message from Joan
HOW YOU’LL BENEFIT FROM THIS COURSE
The skills you’ll learn in this course are particularly important in this time of great changes. Learning to deeply nurture your soul, live with uncertainty and be courageous, open and curious in the face of the unknown opens the door to tremendous guidance. When we live in this way, we can experience greater health and wellbeing as well as claim our part as co-creators in the rapidly emerging future.
Here’s what you can expect to gain from this course:
- An enhanced connection to your own core Self, to others and to the Source of Being
- Greater balance between your right brain and left brain
- Enhanced energy and creativity
- Deeper attentiveness to synergy and guidance
- The realization of compassion, forgiveness and self-acceptance
- A deeper expression of your natural states of mindfulness and gratitude
- Fewer stress-related physical symptoms – including headaches, digestive disturbances, back pain, inflammatory disorders. Your blood pressure may become lower and your sleep more restful. (Remember to consult your physician before stopping any medications that you might be taking.)
- A vibrant community of inquiry and practice that can go forward into the future together
A SOULFUL INVITATION FROM JOAN BORYSENKO
More than 50 years ago I experienced serious childhood mental illness – psychosis and OCD. After several months I recovered almost overnight through a profound spiritual experience that changed my perception of life. A few moments of contact with the soul – what I call my inner physician or authentic Self – provided me with the inner strength and guidance I needed to heal.
Reconnecting with the soul, which came as a fleeting glimpse during a very dark time in my life, became my deepest longing and professional calling in medicine, psychology and the art of spiritual guidance.
Western healing arts center on the physical body and, to a more limited extent, on the mind and the interactions between the body and mind. Medicine and psychology can certainly be powerful and lead to much needed cures.
Yet the source of much of our chronic dis-ease, dissatisfaction, addiction and failure to protect and enhance our health is a false sense of identity. Like human computers, our response to the world is programmed and limited. We live from what Quaker educator Parker Palmer calls our “role” rather than from our soul.
Healing comes from the root word for wholeness. And when we expand beyond our personal and societal programming, we become available to the energy and guidance of the soul. That experience doesn’t lend itself well to words. Yet it is the feeling we most cherish – contentment, a quiet clear mind, energy to act at the right moment, and the emergence of love, harmony and beauty in who we are and what we do.
The best part is that living from the soul is contagious. It’s a precious transmission of love and human potential that infects the people around us.
The nascent field of spirituality and healing provides a small research database about the value of living from our center. My background as a cancer researcher at Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools, a medical educator, health psychologist, author and trainer of spiritual mentors is what I want to build on with you through this 7-week SoulCare Course. Bringing together the heart, the mind and the soul is what I love the most.
I’m grateful to Stephen Dinan for giving me the opportunity to share what I’ve learned so far, to be instructed by what you’ve learned, and to form a community of inquiry and practice that can nurture your soul while bringing healing to our families, our clients, our communities and our world in this powerful moment of global shift.
Please join me and let your friends know about The SoulCare Course, too. I know that we will co-create a transformative and exciting growth experience together in this new and powerful social network learning format!
From my heart to yours,
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: COURSE CURRICULUM
Every class in The SoulCare Course is 90 minutes and has four components: an in-depth presentation from Joan; a small group exercise or inquiry; a large group discussion; and a guided imagery or meditation practice. You’ll also have a place to post online, interact with other course participants and gain further guidance from Joan between sessions.
Entering the Temple of the Soul (April 4th)
Research in spirituality and health has identified meaning and faith as central to wellbeing, prevention and recovery from illness and surgery. In this session we will explore the nature of spirituality, enter the temple of the soul through inquiry and practice, and begin our exploration of the two intersecting worlds of chronos or clock time and kairos or eternal time. In this first session together, you will:
- Explore your personal experience of the soul
- Discover exactly what helps you connect to your spiritual center
- Receive guidance for deepening your spiritual practice, or discover how to undertake a new spiritual practice
- Uncover any blocks you have to connecting to your soul
For the seven weeks of the course, your invitation is to commit to a practice of your choice so that we can explore the nature of the soul together, in a real and present exchange both in weekly sessions and online between our meeting times. Holding ourselves and each other accountable for moving into the kairos realm together will ensure that the course not only feeds our minds, but also reaches into the depths of the soul beyond words and concepts.
Listening Deeply to the Body-Mind Conversation (April 11th)
In this session we will explore the pathways through which your emotions and beliefs become embodied – from neuro-hormones to immune function; from stress to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that can predispose you to illness; and from adrenal fatigue to burnout and depression. We’ll deeply explore this circle to understand how illness and stress can guide you back to your soul. You will:
- Discover how spiritual principles help you to become “stress hardy”
- Learn how your thinking predisposes you to health and illness
- Recognize and overcome “New Age Guilt” and simplistic thinking in the mind-body realm
- Discover how illness acts as a metaphor for our lives (or not)
- Learn to use stress and burnout as course corrections
Restoring the Soul of Childhood (April 20th)
Twenty years of research has shown beyond any shadow of a doubt that time does not heal childhood wounds. It only conceals them. There is a dose-response relationship between the number of adverse childhood experiences (neglect; emotional, physical or sexual abuse; a missing, addicted, depressed, incarcerated or mentally ill parent; violence toward the mother) and physical health for the remainder of the lifespan. Learn to:
- Truly heal any childhood wounds
- Create rituals (which operate in the realm of the soul, the imagination and the amygdala) and create healing of a different order than talk therapy (which operates at the level of the hippocampus)
- Discover when spiritual practices can help heal childhood wounds and when they act as “bypasses” and block effective healing
- Embody the archetype of the wounded healer
- Access psycho-spiritual healing resources for you as an individual and for your clients (if you’re a healthcare professional)
Forgiveness and Healing (April 25th)
One of the most active areas of research in integrative medicine is in the link between forgiveness and health. An interesting research tidbit: 94% of people believe that forgiveness is a good thing for their health and peace of mind. But only 48% have tried it.
The conditioned self is averse to self-reflection and change, yet is always pushing us to improve and judging the parts of ourselves that are not yet developed. It encourages self-hatred rather than compassion. The soul is ruthless in pointing out our conditioning, yet as loving as the Great Mother who encourages the still sleeping parts of us to wake up and shine. In this session, you will:
- Realize the power of forgiveness and its direct correlation to your health and wellbeing
- Discover what you gain (and lose) by holding on to grudges
- Understand the misconceptions of forgiveness that prevent people from experiencing it (and how it differs from reconciliation)
- Learn soul practice that open the door to forgiveness of self and others
Navigating Change with Resilience (May 2nd)
The universe comes into being now, and now, and now again, freshly creating in every moment. Change is the only constant we can depend on. The way we approach unwanted change leads to stress or despair on the one hand, or to transformation, soul growth and service on the other. Change begins with the death of what was and culminates in the dawning of something new. The intermediate or liminal stage is “the place between no longer and not yet.” This is the most fertile, but also the most challenging, part of the process. Navigating this change is an essential skill for living in these times of global shift. Moving through liminality with grace, and without allowing the fear of the conditioned self to move to premature closure, requires a set of soul competencies in the area of resilience. In this session, you will:
- Learn to get comfortable with the unknown
- Discern between allies, mentors and “enemies” (those who drain your energy and collude with the conditioned self to create fear)
- Practice the power of mindfulness and gain the capacity to still your mind and calm your body
- Develop your curious self and learn to listen to your intuition
- Become a resilient, soulful shelter and support to others
Entering the Imaginal Realm (May 9th)
The conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg. The soul lives in the unconscious realm where imagery, rather than words, is the mode of expression. Fantasy, imagination and dreams convey a lot of information about physical and emotional healing, the meaning of symptoms, undiagnosed illness and the means to recovery. In this session, you will:
- Discover the link between fantasy and healing
- Explore your dreams and see them as “letters from the Divine”
- Understand how your waking dreams and imagination convey information about your health and wellbeing
- Learn to awaken in and from your dreams
Your Soul’s Compass: The Art of Spiritual Guidance (May 16th)
As human beings we are masters in the fine art of self-deception. Discerning the flow of guidance from ego reactivity is an important – and often neglected – healing art. Is that strong hunch I have about my health or another issue a true unfolding of the inner guide/physician or something else? When you tune into your guidance and learn to trust it as part of your daily life, you will be directed on how to evolve and free yourself from the repetition of karma to experience the dharma of life. In this session, Joan will draw from her book, Your Soul’s Compass: What is Spiritual Guidance, in which she and her husband Gordon Dveirin interviewed close to 30 male and female spiritual leaders – Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sufis, Quakers, Hindus, shamans and intuitives. You will:
- Explore the four-part cycle of guidance: alignment with Source, discernment, action and retrospection
- Learn to embody energy as guidance
- Discern the difference between synchronicities, knowings and red herrings
- Learn the art of the SoulCircle (experienced in small groups)
- Realize the joy of being and having an “anam cara” or soul friend