Close to the Bone
Life-Threatening Illness as a Soul Journey
10th Anniversary Revised Edition
Jean Shinoda Bolen
It is terrifying to be healthy one moment, and then to suddenly find there is a malignancy that could kill you, a sudden loss of consciousness, waking up in the I.C.U. after a heart attack, or any other close call, when something is so wrong that nothing will ever be the same. In Close to the Bone (Conari Press, April 2007), Bolen recognizes that a life-threatening illness is a crisis for both body and soul, that it can be a wake-up call or a turning point.
A serious illness has the impact of a stone hitting the still surface of a lake, sending concentric rings of disturbance out, as feelings, thoughts, and reactions radiate out from this center. It impacts relationships, it stirs the depths of others, it potentially brings the patient and those who are affected “close to the bone,” into the proximity of the soul. Soul questions arise about the meaning of life when the mind is ill or the body is ailing. Healing and recovery may depend as much or more upon a deepening of relationships and connection to one’s own soul and spiritual life, as on medical or psychiatric expertise.
Most people don’t see a connection between what ails the body and their soul’s need for authenticity, love, and purpose. Bolen affirms that the price of going into the realm of confusion, facing the fear of death and shadow, is worth the reward of spiritual growth. The outcome depends upon paying attention, becoming conscious of what truly matters, and acting upon what we know to save our life or to heal our relationships and our soul.
Close to the Bone is meant to help and heal, to make people less afraid, and to encourage them to trust the wisdom they have inside – what they know in their bones.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s “Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award.” Close to the Bone grew out of her involvement with Healing Journeys: Cancer as a Turning Point conferences, the initial Planetree project, and her private practice. She is an internationally known lecturer and a best-selling author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don’t Whine and Urgent Message from Mother. She resides in Marin County, California, and you can find her online at www.jeanbolen.com.