Healing is beyond words.
But to offer a few, perhaps healing is
opening to the truth about ourselves 
no matter how beautiful it is,
opening to our natural state as spiritual beings,
opening to our divine place in the order of things,
deepening our capacity to love and be loved,
to give and receive, and to serve and be served.
~ Barbara Shipka, 2002


Healing and cure are different.
Cure occurs in the body.
Healing occurs in the soul.

Since, as physical beings, we are mortal, cure is temporary.
Since, as spiritual beings, we are eternal, healing is forever.

Healing and cure are not mutually exclusive.
We can receive cure but not receive healing.
We can receive healing but not receive cure.
We can receive both healing and cure.


Tami and I have known each other for a long time. In fact, at the end of 1990, I went to visit her in Indonesia. She, her future husband Api, and I spent New Year’s Eve in Ubud, Bali. When she and Api came to live in the US a couple of years later, they cared for my infant son, Michael, while I traveled for work. And Michael was the ringbearer at their wedding. We are good friends!

Some time ago Tami found out that she had cancer. In the very first email she sent to me she wrote, “I will do the traditional treatment absolutely. I also, though, need prayer, healing energy and all kinds of natural healing and cancer fighting activity and diet changes and new practices for life. Could you think on this and then share your thoughts, please?”

“I will do the traditional treatment” means seeking a cure. The rest of her words relate to the initiation of her healing journey. Clearly, she was choosing to receive both cure and healing.

And she has followed through stunningly! She is a model for what healing looks like. Here are a few excerpts from her journal entry of October 10, 2020, on CaringBridge:

“I switched my Oct 13 scans at Mayo to Oct 18 in Philly. I did this so that my scans are done where I am being treated….Of course I have scanxiety. And so in this in-between time I strive to embrace daily life fully, and with authentic joy, versus just waiting. I do my very best to breathe deeply, stay present in the moment, and not make up scary stories in my head. Last week I found myself playing ball with my dog, running and chasing him around and around, feeling the sun and breeze caressing me, while singing at the top of my lungs and dancing when my dog was busy running after the ball.

This is a constant learning journey I am on. It is such an odd thing to feel, on the one hand, so very healthy and be busy living life and envisioning my future, and on the other hand, when I open the global Facebook group for people who have this type of cancer, I read regularly of those who have passed. This sends me into a tailspin of anxiety, which I work through with some combination of prayer, breath, meditation, writing, song, scripture, qi gong, reiki, talking with my meditation teacher and others.

“The biggest thing I remind myself is that other people’s stories are their own stories, not mine. I tell myself to stop projecting their experience and outcome onto me as if it is also mine, when that is not true. I have my own story. And I refuse to give the pen away to anyone else, as my unique story is still being written by God and by me. I am living my story minute by minute and it is good. I love my life! Thank you for being as part of it! Tami”

Photos of Tami, Fall 2020.
Wearing a prayer shawl gifted to her by a group of women friends.
Hiking in Itasca State Park (Headwaters of the Mississippi).
Excerpts and photos used with Tami’s permission.