A tale of unexpected healingsam
by Dr Louis Heyse-Moore
Healing is the theme of my book, The Case of the Disappearing Cancer, and how it can be found in the most unlikely places. I have always loved stories about people who painstakingly reconstruct a ruined building or who, with infinite care, clean away the dirt and overpainting from some old, faded, grimy painting to reveal a thing of beauty underneath. Healing is something like this. Just as a physical wound knits together, so our scattered and divided memories and feelings and experiences can knit together to form a pattern, a wholeness encompassing both light and shade.
Stories are the substance of my book. Many of them are about people I have known as a doctor, who have experienced significant illness, and either got better, lived with chronic sickness or went on to die. In all of them the search for meaning was present in some fashion, even if it was not explicated. It made its presence felt as one might feel the vibration underfoot of an underground tube train while walking along a London pavement. It might present itself in any guise – religious, spiritual, philosophical or secular. And it was as insistent as waves rolling up a beach.
Extract: The Cave
When I was at school, I used to go caving and potholing in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, especially in the Cheddar Gorge. I remember the mixture of excitement and apprehension I felt as my companions and I peered down into the blackness of a cave’s entrance, knowing the tunnel descended far into the dark depths below us. Caves, I learned, were classed as wet or dry. Wet meant there was a stream running through them. Dry, however, did not necessarily mean dry at all. All manner of seepages through cracks in the limestone rock and of pools to be negotiated conspired to make us almost as soaked as in a wet cave. I remember the sharp, cold, damp, mineral smell of the caves and the tart odour of our acetylene lamps attached to our blue helmets. Without their light we would be plunged in absolute darkness. Then there were the tight squeezes to wriggle through, too tight for comfort sometimes. Some of the other boys spoke of their anxiety at having millions of tons of rock bearing down on them, though for some reason this never troubled me. I do recall, however, my uneasiness about getting lost in the underground labyrinth that most caves are.
Caves are a potent symbol for the primeval aspects of our collective and individual unconscious. The earliest humans would have used caves for shelter and safety. Deep inside they painted sacred images of their world, of the animals they hunted and of their shamans. Caves were dangerous, too. Predators such as bears lived in them. It is easy to imagine how such animals might have been the origins of terrifying mythical beasts that lived deep beneath the earth. “Here be dragons”, as the old maps might say, dragons that liked nothing better than to lie greedily on their vast, stolen cache of treasure in an underground hall.
And Tartarus, the place in Ancient Greek mythology where the dead went, was also called the Underworld. Caves inhabited by early humans or Neanderthals have been discovered containing skeletons buried there. The dead were literally underneath the living.
I remember a conversation I had with one man who had been successfully treated for cancer. He told me of an image that had come to him spontaneously. It seemed to him that his psyche was like a mineshaft – an artificial cave – that went deep underground; many side tunnels branched off at many different levels, each representing an aspect of his unconscious being. As he talked, I had a sense of the hugeness of this place in his imagination. It felt as if we had explored a little of this vast network, but far more remained, waiting for the light of his awareness to plumb its depths, the work of a lifetime perhaps.
About the author:
Dr Louis Heyse-Moore is a retired consultant physician in palliative medicine. He currently works as a psychosynthesis counsellor and Somatic Experiencing trauma therapist. He lives in London, UK.
Everyone has experienced some suffering in their life, often through illness, and, of course, everyone wants to heal. This is a book about healing based on Louis Heyse-Moore’s forty years of experience as a doctor, counsellor and a Somatic Experiencing trauma therapist.
The author believes healing is much more than just physical cure. Over the many years that he has worked with ill people, it has become obvious to him that their body, mind and spirit are all affected when they are sick. Many doctors are excellent at treating and curing physical illnesses but may miss the other aspects of healing. The Case of the Disappearing Cancer attempts to redress the balance. It will be published by Ayni Books October 31, 2014.
Case of the Disappearing Cancer
ISBN: 978-1-78279-614-5 (Paperback) £14.99 $24.95 EISBN: 978-1-78279-613-8 (eBook) £6.99 $9.99