The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
In 1990 Jacek Mostwin, a young surgeon working in a large university hospital, began to sense there was a deeper, more timeless, meaning to his work and the lives of his patients. There was a spiritual dimension to medicine and he needed to be closer to it. He began to follow some of his patients to the shrine at Lourdes in France.
Dr. Mostwin has been traveling to Lourdes with the Order of Malta as a volunteer physician and has returned 17 times since his first pilgrimage in 1992. In 2004, he completed a film, Engaging the Spiritual Dimension: A Doctor’s Tale It is his attempt to show the human side of this experience, his own, and that of others, engaging the spiritual dimension. The mystery of Lourdes is timeless. It has given rise to many stories. This is one story, a doctor’s tale.
We were fortunate to have known Alan Mermann, a dear and glorious physician who, during his earthly tenure, wore many hats: cared for pediatric patients, investigated art, music, philosophy and attended to the spirit. He was a pioneer in death and dying studies at Yale; a patient and gentle man who cared for many both physically as a pediatrician and spirituality as the pastoral leader for Yale Medical School.
As chaplain, he created a safe space for medical students to come and decompress from their crazy schedules. We visited this sanctuary once and remember a quiet place with comfortable chairs, coffee, tea, cookies, the New York Times and a pervasive feeling of welcome. We also recall a lecture Mermann gave around 1990 on van Gogh’s life called “Starry, Starry Night.” It had music, great images and inspired introspection. How many presentations are still vividly remembered after a quarter of a century?
Rabbi Hanniel Levenson, 32, is the associate rabbi at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons. The center has long sought to integrate religion with vacation, offering Friday night Shabbat services on the beach. This summer, Rabbi Levenson went a few steps further.
When the rabbi learned that two brothers in his Hebrew class were avid surfers back home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., he approached them.
They worked out a deal. One afternoon a week, the students would diligently study Hebrew; one afternoon, they would ride waves. The surf sessions would be open to young and old, male and female — “anyone who wants to get out on the ocean and talk about God,” Rabbi Levenson said.
Conference Announcement Spiritual Views of Death and the Afterlife
Where? Berkshire South Regional Community Center, 15 Crissey Street, Great Barrington
When? Sunday, February 3, 2013
1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
How Much? A $10 contribution to cover basic costs.
For more information contact: Rabbi Stern-Kaufman or Deborah Alecson
The Rimon (Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality) is presenting an interfaith forum on the spiritual beliefs and rituals related to the process of dying, death, and the afterlife as understood by many of our world religions.
The Forum will take place at Berkshire South Regional Community Center in Great Barrington on Sunday, February 3, 2013, 1:30 – 4 pm. Topics to be explored will include: customs surrounding care for the deceased; the journey of the soul after death; the relationship between the living and the dead; and what these traditions teach regarding preparation for this ultimate transition.
The presenters and their respective traditions or congregations are as follows: The Rev. Mr. Charles Van Ausdall (Congregational Church) Ann-Elizabeth Barnes (Sacred Undertaking) Iman Salim Chishti (Islam)
Sharon Coleman, Ph.D. (Buddhism)
Sister Colette Hanlon (Catholicism The Rev. Liza Marcato (Christian Community Church, Movement for Religious Renewal)
Rabbi Kaya Stern-Kaufman (Judaism).
The moderator for the forum is Deborah Golden Alecson, M.S., adjunct faculty for the School of Health Sciences, Excelsior College, where she teaches, among other courses, “Death, Dying and Bereavement” and “Spirituality in Life Transitions.”
This conference is an opportunity to address one of the
greatest existential concerns for each of us; and to learn more about our own
faith tradition and those of others to help us find meaning in our
mortality. Our distinguished panel of
presenters will first talk about their spiritual views and rituals as
understood by their specific faith tradition, to then be followed by questions
from the audience.
This event is co-sponsored by First Congregational UCC,
Great Barrington, Hevreh of Southern Berkshires, HospiceCare in the Berkshires,
Sacred Undertaking, Women’s Interfaith Institute, and the Christian Community
Church Movement for Religious Renewal.
The fee for this program is $10.
Please contact either Rabbi Kaya Stern-Kaufman, (413)
274-1034, email@example.com or Deborah Golden Alecson, (413) 881-4065,
Reservations are not
necessary. We look forward to what we will learn from our presenters and from the attendees.
Brian Maurer would like to alert you to a FREE AUDIO BOOK, available until December 20. Beyond Religion, written by the Dalai Lama and read by Martin Sheen, will be free from Audible.com until 12.20! Is it a come-on? Does it matter? If you listen to books, this is a great opportunity. Go to: Beyond Religion Audible.
Product Description from Amazon: "A stirring call to move beyond religion for the guidance to improve human life on individual, community, and global levels—including a guided meditation practice for cultivating key human values. Beyond Religion is a blueprint for all those who yearn for a life of spiritual fulfillment as they work for a better world.
In Beyond Religion, the Dalai Lama elaborates and deepens his vision for the nonreligious way. Transcending the mere "religion wars," he outlines a system of secular ethics that gives tolerant respect to religion—those that ground ethics in a belief in God and an afterlife, and those that understand good actions as leading to better states of existence in future lives. And yet, with the highest level of spiritual and intellectual authority, the Dalai Lama makes a claim for what he calls a third way. This is a system of secular ethics that transcends religion as a way to recognize our common humanity and so contributes to a global human community based on understanding and mutual respect."
Emilio Estevez's 2010 epic cinematic journey “The Way”unfolds along the panoramic backdrop of el Camino de Santiago—the Way of Saint James—the medieval pilgrimage route across northern Spain to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela where the remains of the Apostle are interred.
Filmed on location against the gorgeous landscapes of northern Spain, the spiritual journey of American ophthalmologist Thomas Avery (Martin Sheen) begins as he is called from the comforts of his California home to Saint Jean Pied de Port in France to identify the body of his only son Daniel (Emilio Estevez). Avery elects to walk the Camino on behalf of his son, embarking with Daniel’s ashes which he dutifully portions out along the way. more»
Brian T. Maurer has practiced pediatrics as a Physician Assistant for 32 years. His "Marginal Notes" column appears periodically in the Cell2Soul Blog. The title "Marginal Notes" is taken from a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "I love a broad margin to my life."
Today is the holiest day of the Jewish year. Today is for reflection; for Awe. Most religions have a similar day.
Today, sheer chance directed me to an amazing video. Most of you will like it. It's a real "keeper" -- perhaps it is a "Yom Keeper." Click on the image and wait a few seconds for it to load up. The video is six minutes long.
When I was in the hospital (she said) with this last illness --- and I was delirious --- (she said) people were kind. They were very kind. You see those flowers? Yellow flowers, over there? My neighbor sent them; those are only part of what he sent, (she said) and there were many more, so many flowers.
"The poem dates from 1985 and almost wrote itself," Ms. Bruder tells us. "I simply transcribed and shaped an experience recounted to me by my friend, an extraordinary lady, now long gone. She was Irish, which perhaps explains its everyday poetry."
Author Bio: Judith Bruder is a free-lance philosopher whose published works include a novel, a memoir, a translation from the French, and numerous articles and short stories. She trained in addictions counseling and chaplaincy, and worked for eight years in Campus Ministry at Fordham at Lincoln Center.
In case you missed this amazing NY Times Op-Ed piece, you might want to read it.
"Most of us are perfectly capable of making distinctions within the
Christian world. The fact that someone is a Boston Roman Catholic
doesn’t mean he’s in league with Irish Republican Army bomb makers, just
as not all Orthodox Christians have ties to Serbian war criminals or
Southern Baptists to the murderers of abortion doctors.
Yet many of our leaders have a tendency to see the Islamic world as a
single, terrifying monolith."
"Few in the U.S. or Europe remember that a devastating Taliban attack occurred last
spring at the shrine of the 17th-century poet-saint Rahman Baba, at the
foot of the Khyber Pass in northwest Pakistan. For centuries, the
complex has been a place for musicians and poets to gather, and Rahman
Baba’s Sufi verses had long made him the national poet of the Pashtuns
living on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. “I am a lover,
and I deal in love,” wrote the saint. “Sow flowers,/ so your
surroundings become a garden./ Don’t sow thorns; for they will prick
your feet./ We are all one body./ Whoever tortures another, wounds