An Excerpt from If Joan of Arc Had Cancer
by Janet Roseman
Guidance with Joan of Arc
If Joan of Arc Had Cancer is divided into two parts: Flames of Courage and the Gateways. Because your intuitive mind is activated by each Flame of Courage theme, it can be beneficial to work with both sections of this book during the same sitting; however, that is not the only way. The Flames can be read in order for thirty-one days, a new theme each day for one month, or you can choose to work with the sections out of order, depending on your relationship to the themes identified in the book. Always trust your judgment.
Part 1 presents thirty-one Flames of Courage — attributes each based on a particular theme. Each Flame is explained in detail, and many are accompanied by the actual words Joan spoke during her trial, to reinforce the Flame. Following this text is a message from Joan that was intuitively written, and a corresponding meditation and directive. I wrote these messages from Joan of Arc by connecting with her energy during my own meditations. As an experienced intuitive healer, I am comfortable with the practice of “listening” in order to make connection with the spiritual realms.
Part 2 contains thirty-one Gateways to Courage, each corresponding to and expanding on the themes of the Flames of Courage. The Gateways encourage you to cultivate your internal brand of courage and reclaim your personal power using contemplative exercises, narrative, and art. Many of the exercises in this book are based on my experience leading workshops with women with cancer and have proved to be powerful and healing. The Gateways offer you additional opportunities to reach deeper and explore your lived experiences in a safe and sacred arena, to become the heroine of your own journey.
You will notice that the instructions in each section do not dictate specific responses, and offer open-ended opportunities to evoke and access your internal wisdom. Some of the themes explored suggest concrete ideas, and offer you guidance including “seeking a second opinion” or “creating an army of support,” while other sections are devoted to deeper psychological and spiritual study. The methods were designed to help you connect deeply with your authentic self to provide emotional sustenance, especially important for readers who are working with this book without the support of family and friends.
When Do I Use This Book?
If Joan of Arc Had Cancer was written to be used whenever you have the need for guidance, courage, or reflection. You may choose to read a particular Flame of Courage theme before you go to your doctor’s appointment (traditional or integrative practitioner), consult with an herbalist or nutritionist, have chemotherapy or radiation treatments, or when you are feeling particularly vulnerable. You can explore the options that work for you. Some women have told me that they have copied the image of Joan of Arc and brought her with them to their treatments and meditated during that time. I encourage you to make this book your own and find your way.
Meditation as a Healing Modality
Each Flame of Courage in part 1 provides a suggested meditation for you to follow, and I encourage you to participate. The healing powers of meditation are well documented and meditation has both a calming and a restorative effect on the body. I have discovered, as I hope you will, that a committed meditation practice opens opportunities for self-knowledge, guidance, self-healing, and engagement with the spiritual realms. You may wish to make an audio recording of each meditation so that you can listen to the instructions without opening and closing the book, and enjoy the process more. If you are working with the book with a friend, you can take turns reading the meditations for each other’s benefit.
Feel free to improvise on the suggested meditation in any way that appeals to you. You may find that, over time, you’ll wish to add further elements to a particular meditation, such as free writing, drawing, or painting — all elements you can preserve in the pages of a journal. Use the meditations in this book to your greatest advantage to discover what is best for you and what makes sense for you.
There are countless ways to meditate besides formal practices, and you may wish to experiment and expand your beliefs. I believe that drawing, writing, gardening, cooking, coloring, or even walking can be forms of meditation. In my life, ballet has served as my healing meditation because the physical movement and visceral attention needed during ballet class help me to move my attention from mind into body.
The common thread of any type of meditation practice (whether it is active or passive) is “presence.” You are present in the moment and not thinking about yesterday, tomorrow, or next week — you are simply present to yourself. This is really the beauty of any meditation because it allows you to be truly available to forge connections with spiritual, some might say Divine, principles.
The Process of Meditation
Take a moment to acquaint yourself with how to meditate, using the meditation exercise below. (As previously noted, it can be helpful to make an audio recording of the meditations in this book, including the one that follows, so you’ll have the freedom to go deep without consulting the book’s pages, able to participate fully in the process.) Choose a time when you know you will not be interrupted, and if necessary, take the phone off the hook, turn off your cell phone, and even put a sign on the door that declares, “Do not disturb!” Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing and take off your shoes. You can meditate while sitting or lying down; the choice is yours. If you are sitting in a chair, uncross your legs and let your hands rest gently on your knees or by your side.
Close your eyes and imagine a blank movie screen in front of you. Allow your mind to witness the day’s events — and all that you are thinking about. When you are ready, mentally pro-ject these thoughts onto this blank screen; and fill it with all your concerns. Breathe. This movie screen is large enough to hold all your worries in this moment. You may notice that as you release your thoughts, it is easier to concentrate on your breath. Breathe deeper. Relax your jaw, your face, and any areas of your body that may be holding tension. Put your hands on your belly and feel the breath as it enters your body; and notice the lightness of your breath as you exhale.
Continue to breathe and notice how the screen in front of you that was filled with thoughts and worry is slowly turning blank. Enjoy this quiet and let your breath fill you with energy and a feeling of lightness and calm. Keep breathing and know that the information you will receive during your meditations will always be for your best and highest good. Notice any tension in your body and allow yourself to be liberated from thoughts. You do not have to think about anything; you do not have to do anything; just be present in this moment. Continue to breathe as you notice you are feeling more relaxed and comfortable. If you fall asleep, that is fine. This meditation is for you. Remind yourself that you are able to feel this deep relaxation and calm whenever you wish. Keep breathing.
Imagine that there are large anchors at the bottom of your feet. The anchors can be made of any materials that you wish. Imagine sending these anchors down deep into the floor (below your carpet — if you have one), below the foundation of your home. Send them below your home, into the firm ground. These anchors will hold you and allow you to firmly inhabit your body during your meditation. Once the anchors are deeply embedded in the earth, continue to breathe, knowing you are safe, you are protected, and you are at peace. Whenever you are ready (and there is no time limit), gently open your eyes. You will probably feel a renewed sense of calm and peace, and perhaps a tingling sensation as the energies of your body are circulating.
When you return to the outer world after a meditation, it is important that you ground yourself. I enjoy the anchoring meditation shown above, because it places me firmly in my body and allows me to feel “held” by the earth. Some people who are not used to meditating can feel a little dizzy afterward. So, after meditating, it is always good to take the time to shake out your hands and feet, and slowly stand up, to return to ordinary consciousness. Stamp the floor so that you can truly reinhabit your body completely. It is also helpful to drink a glass of water to rehydrate yourself.
If you are unfamiliar with the meditation process, I suggest that you take a week or so to practice and experience meditating before using this book.
The Intuitive Process
If you wish to go through this book sequentially, beginning with the first Flame of Courage, moving on to the second Flame, and so on, please do so; however, you can also work with this book using intuitive techniques. The intuitive process is a wonderful practice that can help you build your confidence to the point that you truly trust and believe that you have the innate wisdom to identify the theme that is most important for you to explore at this moment. We all possess intuitive abilities, and for some, these abilities are more familiar and easier to access, because of practice and experience. This book will help you enhance your intuitive abilities. If you would like to explore how to work with your intuition, try the following exercise.
Put your hand on the headings in this book’s table of contents and close your eyes. When you feel connected to a particular theme, place your finger on that heading, or you can place your finger where you feel drawn. You can flip through those pages in the book and decide if that is where you want to begin reading. You may be surprised to discover that your selection is a topic you are attracted to at this time in your life and need to investigate further at this point in your journey. This is a process of intuitive wisdom.
Working with Intention
There is another way to use If Joan of Arc Had Cancer that you may find helpful. This is the “way of intention” that calls forth your innate wisdom and purpose. By working with intention, you can amplify the synergy of your thoughts with Joan’s wisdom. Intention allows you to direct your thoughts with clarity and focus. When you declare to yourself that “you will be well,” this is intention. Think about this sacred intention as a vibrant, precise ray of white light that you can access whenever you like. Joan of Arc used her power of intention throughout her life and trusted her inner knowing at all times. She knew that she was being led by Divine guidance, although her voices did not always reveal the complete plan to her — just the information she needed at the time. Trust that you will receive information that will help you each time you use this book. The following exercise can guide you to working with the way of intention.
Think about what wisdom you wish to know at this time in your life and create it in the form of a question. Write it down. Once you have formulated your question (working with one question at a time), concentrate on that thought deeply to focus it like a beam of light. The following options will help you locate the theme to explore during this session:
• Open part 1 of the book at random to receive the information that addresses your question.
• Look through the table of contents and locate the theme toward which you feel the strongest intuitive pull.
• Open the book to the table of contents, close your eyes, and while keeping your question in mind, choose a theme by using your finger like healing radar to guide you to the proper heading to work with.
• Write down all the headings listed in the table of contents on slips of colored paper and place them in a bowl, and with your question in mind, close your eyes and select a slip of paper that will intuitively identify the proper theme to work with to address your needs.
Once you have identified the theme you need to work with, take a few breaths and close your eyes, trusting that the information you receive will be the exact wisdom from Joan of Arc that you need. Make notes in the journal that you have dedicated to the exploration of the sections in this book, to chronicle your relationship with Joan. Many women find it helpful to place her picture in their office, bedroom, or other “room of their own” to amplify her presence.
Aligning with Joan of Arc
Before you begin reading If Joan of Arc Had Cancer, complete the following writing exercise, which is designed to help you connect with Joan’s legacy of courage and strength. Please allow her to guide you.
You will be writing for this exercise, so you will need paper or a favorite notebook. You will be answering a short list of questions using the “free-writing” method. This method asks you to write down whatever comes to mind, truthfully, without editing or thinking about the “correct” response, and without trying to make the writing perfect. Let your pen guide you. There is great wisdom in this method, and it was not chosen haphazardly. In my experience teaching writing/healing workshops, I have discovered that when you give yourself permission to write down your responses without using the logical mind, you can circumvent thought and begin to access your intuitive voice. This intuitive voice was the foundation of Joan’s life — a voice she trusted wholeheartedly.
Answer the following questions and write whatever thoughts arrive using the freewriting method, and without censoring yourself.
• What do you hope to learn from this book?
• What particular wisdom would you like to access from Joan of Arc to help you on your medical journey today?
• What does Joan of Arc mean to you symbolically or spiritually?
Take some time to reflect on what you wrote and examine whether any particular theme comes alive, perhaps one that you may not have given thought to before. You may be surprised by what you wrote or discover that feelings you may not have allowed yourself to possess are now consciously surfacing. Please be aware that there are no right or wrong answers — whatever you wrote is true for you. Always trust your writing.
Writing a Statement of Healing
Before you begin working with this book, I would like you to create a Statement of Healing. This statement is an act of commemoration of your courage (even if you don’t feel courageous right now) and will help invite Joan’s wisdom into your life. Choose a statement that is authentic and speaks to you now, wherever you may be on your cancer journey. The first thought that enters your mind is usually best. Write down all statements that immediately come to you — that have resonance. If you are have difficulties getting started, a universal Statement of Healing you can borrow until your own arrives is “I know I will discover the highest and best healing wisdom for myself at this time in my life.”
Some women have told me that before they begin reading, they perform a ritual of sacred invocation that holds special meaning for them. Prayer or sacred invocation of any kind is very powerful, and I encourage you to create your own meaningful rituals while using this book. You may wish to light candles or say a particular prayer when you work with Joan of Arc. It is best to honor your commitment to yourself and your healing by choosing a regular time to use this book each day. You may also prefer to work with Joan only during your treatment sessions or when recovering from procedures or surgeries. Welcome to Joan of Arc’s wisdom.
Excerpted from the book If Joan of Arc Had Cancer. © Copyright 2015 by Janet Roseman. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com
An Excerpt from If Joan of Arc Had Cancer
by Janet Roseman