Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit: 101 Words to Inspire and Affirm

Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit: 101 Words to Inspire and Affirm

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by Caren Goldman, Belleruth Naparstek

Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit offers inspiration and illumination to everyone on the path toward physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing. Veteran spirituality writer Goldman offers 101 compelling words-each accompanied by inspiring quotations, a central illustrative story, and an affirmation that, taken together, illustrate and evoke


Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit offers inspiration and illumination to everyone on the path toward physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing. Veteran spirituality writer Goldman offers 101 compelling words-each accompanied by inspiring quotations, a central illustrative story, and an affirmation that, taken together, illustrate and evoke that word's special healing powers. Beautifully designed, and with quotes and stories drawn from a wide variety of traditions and sources, Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit is sure to become a beloved volume of wisdom and guidance.

Editorial Reviews

David Yonke
The pages present familiar but powerful words, linked with quotations and illustrative stories, that draw attention to their healing aspects. The potency of words such as blessing, humor, passion, darkness, grief, and solitude becomes increasingly apparent as the pages are turned.
— The Blade
LeMoyne Mercer
"There is a whole publishing industry based on Americans' love of self-help and self-improvement. What most self-help books have in common, though, is that the way to help yourself is to do what the author prescribes. Caren's book diverges from the pattern in its assumption that self-healing is not achieved by following her prescription but by finding your own. Healing Words is filled with memorable stories and sets up a dynamic for self-exploration and self-understanding. The only requirement is an openness to the possibility that you really can help yourself to heal."
Healthy Living News

Product Details

Da Capo Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 7.34(h) x 0.65(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


a great or plentiful amount;
fullness to overflowing

* * *

A man there was,
though some did count him mad,
The more he cast away,
The more he had.
John Bunyan

When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are
grateful for the abundance that's present ... the wasteland of illusion
falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Abundance is not a question of how much one has but of what one's
attitude is toward what one has.... The experience of abundance cannot
be found at the discursive or even at the emotional level. It must be
experienced within the body.
Rick Jarow

My husband, Ted, is a minister in a large inner-city church. Whenever the subject of abundance comes up, he's apt to tell a story about a woman named Roslyn who visited on a Sunday when the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed in the church. Silently, as she sat before 16-foot sections of the tapestry that's helped millions of people to grieve the loss of friends, loved ones, and strangers who have died of AIDS, Roslyn seemed oblivious to the choir, clergy, and others who scurried around her.

    That morning, Ted's sermon was about living out of abundance and sharing one's resources. "Our neighbors are having a very difficult time this year because of cold temperatures and welfare cuts," he said. "Daily, they knock on our doors for help."

    After the service, Ted stopped to greet Roslyn, but she brushed him off. "I couldn't leave any money in the collection plate, but I did put in something else," she said before leaving. Moments later, an usher handed Roslyn's envelope to Ted. "This is all I have," the note inside began. "It is the last of what I received before getting a job. I'm sure that someone else needs them more than I do."

    Enclosed were her food stamps.

    Author Henry Miller tells us that the one desire that grows more and more is to give. "Giving and receiving are at bottom one thing, dependent upon whether one lives open or closed. Living openly one becomes a medium, a transmitter; living thus, as a river, one experiences life to the full, flows along with the current of life, and dies in order to live again as an ocean."

* * *


I am grateful for the places where
I feel abundance in my life.

* * *

Riches are not from abundance of worldly goods,
but from a contented mind.

He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.


the act or process of accepting

* * *

Inside yourself or outside,
you never have to change what you see, only the way you see it.
Thaddeus Golas

You play the hand you're dealt. I think the game's worthwhile.
Christopher Reeve

Never deny a diagnosis, but do deny the
negative verdict that may go with it.
Norman Cousins

An old Zen story goes like this: An old Chinese farmer had a mare that broke through the fence and ran away. When his neighbors learned of it, they came to the farmer and said, "What bad luck this is. You don't have a horse during planting season." The farmer listened and then replied, "Bad luck, good luck. Who knows?"

    A few days later, the mare returned with two stallions. When the neighbors learned of it, they visited the firmer. "You are now a rich man. What good fortune this is," they said. The firmer listened and again replied, "Good fortune, bad fortune. Who knows?"

    Later that day, the farmer's only son was thrown from one of the stallions and broke his leg. When the neighbors heard about it, they came to the farmer. "It is planting season and now there is no one to help you," they said. "This is truly bad luck." The farmer listened, and once more he said, "Bad luck, good luck. Who knows?"

    The very next day, the emperor's army rode into the town and conscripted the eldest son in every family. Only the farmer's son with his broken leg remained behind. Soon the neighbors arrived. Tearfully, they said, "Yours is the only son who was not taken from his family and sent to war. What good fortune this is...."

* * *


More and more I know I can acknowledge and accept what I feel,
without criticism or blame.

* * *

I dance to the tune that is played.
Spanish proverb

You have to take it as it happens, but you should try to make it happen
the way you want to take it.
German proverb


to make amends or reparation for
an injury or wrong; to expiate.

* * *

What is past is past,
there is a future left to all who have the energy to atone.
Edward G. Bulwer

The beginning of atonement is the sense of its necessity.
Lord Byron

The purpose of healing is to bring us in harmony with ourselves.
O. Carl Simonton

I find the archaic definition of the word atone anything but outdated. Rooted in the Middle English word atonen, it once meant "to reconcile or harmonize" and had none of the breast-beating baggage the contemporary usage can carry. "To reconcile or harmonize"—how appropriate those words feel, since atone literally breaks down into two simple words—at one.

    What does it mean to be "at one" with oneself, especially when we're ill or feeling ill at ease? If I know I am not "at one" because of hurts that I've caused another or acts I've committed that leave me uncomfortable, fragmented, or guilty, what must I do to heal those schisms?

    Many years ago, Owen Ringwald told me a story that led me to a path of reconciliation. I met Owen at a human relations training workshop, where he was facilitating my group. Outside the workshop, we shared some meals and quiet walks and discovered we had many paths and friends in common. Months later, Owen and his wife, Mary, came to visit us in Ohio on their way from Delaware to their son Alan's home in Indiana.

    The next morning, as we rocked back and forth on the swing on our porch, I asked Owen, then in his seventies, a question that I can't remember now. However, his answer changed my life. Owen began talking about Alan and said, "I had bypass surgery recently. Beforehand, Alan kept calling and insisting he wanted to fly in to be with me. `It's not necessary,' I kept telling him. `You don't have to be here.' But he persisted until I finally said, `Alan, whatever the outcome, it will be okay. I love you, and I have no unfinished business with you.'"

    Unfinished business. Why does unfinished business with another keep us from being "at one" with ourselves? What must we do to finish unfinished business with others—spouses, parents, children, relatives, friends, and adversaries both living and dead? Owen left later that day, and we never saw each other again. Yet, each time I tell his story, it reminds me that before I can know the healing that comes with being "at one" with myself, I must complete my unfinished business and be reconciled to others.

* * *


More and more I'm aware of my unfinished business with others and myself.

* * *

On the day of atonement—you shall have the trumpet sounded
throughout all your land.
Leviticus 25:9

The hidden harmony is stronger than the visible.


a state of mind or a feeling; disposition;
a general cast of mind

* * *

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.
Helen Keller

We who lived in concentration camps can remember
the men who walked through the huts comforting others,
giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few
in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken
from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose
one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.
Victor Frankl

Attitude is everything. Mae West lived into her eighties believing she
was twenty, and it never occurred to her that her arithmetic was lousy.

We often hear that attitude is everything and that it's important to have a positive one. However, for many people suffering from physical, emotional or spiritual disease, the call to have one overarching state of mind may be disheartening. Might we not feel more aligned with ourselves if we abandon the quest for one idealized attitude? That way we can give ourselves permission not only to hope for a positive outcome, but to have attitudes that are gracious, kind, loving, upbeat, confident, forgiving, bitter, angry, melancholy, depressed, fearful, gloomy, pessimistic, or even horrible, too. In the book The Feminine Face of God, Sherry Andersen and Patricia Hopkins write, "An attitude of 'not-knowing' can be like rain falling on the hard-packed soil of our lives. If we are willing, it can soften us, so we can feel gratitude and compassion and our own human vulnerability."

    Author Dan Millman often tells the following story about the healing power of a courageous boy's willing and eager attitudes. According to Millman, there was a little girl in a California hospital who suffered from a rare, life-threatening disease. Her only chance of recovery depended upon a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother. Miraculously, the boy had survived the same disease and now had the antibodies to combat it. The doctor explained the situation to the little boy and then asked him whether or not he would be willing to give his sister his blood. He only hesitated for a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz."

    During the transfusion, the boy lay in bed and smiled as the color returned to Liz's cheeks. Then his face grew pale. With a trembling voice he asked the doctor, "Will I start to die right away?" Being so young, he had misunderstood the doctor. He thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood.

* * *


My willingness to acknowledge all my attitudes helps awaken
me to my potential to heal my wounds.

* * *

A clever person turns great troubles into little ones
and little ones into none at all.
Chinese proverb

The dog that wags its tail won't be beaten.
Japanese proverb

Excerpted from Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman. Copyright © 2001 by Caren Goldman. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

What People are saying about this

Elizabeth Lesser
I will keep Caren Goldman's book, Healing Words, by my bedside, as I go through this time of healing called life. I am sure everyone-whether they are suffering through an illness or a time of transition or merely the ups and downs of everyday life-will find Caren's sense of wisdom and humor a refreshing tonic and a graceful companion.
—(Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of the Omega Institute and author of The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure)
Rachael Naomi Remen
In Healing Words, Caren Goldman shows us how to find the profound healing hidden in words that we use every day. A wise and helpful book, based on human experience and transparent to eternal light. In a word: WONDERFUL!
—(Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdomand My Grandfather's Blessings)
Sandra Ingerman
Healing Words For the Body, Mind and Spirit is written beautifully and in a way that we can truly understand how to use the magic and power of words to transform our lives.
—(Sandra Ingerman, author of Medicine for the Earth and Soul Retrieval)
Barbara Dossey
This inspiring book offers a path that patients can follow to help transform helpless and hapless feelings into hopeful ones. The 101 healing words on these pages will not only help to empower men and women dealing with physical, emotional, and spiritual dis-ease, but those who care for and about them, too.
—(Barbara Dossey, RN, MS, HNC, FAAN, author of Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer; Rituals of Healing; and Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice)
Emoke B'Racz
Emoke B'Racz, past president of the South Eastern Booksellers' Association (SEBA)
Caren Goldman is making it possible to take a thoughtful journey inward and achieve a quality in life we all desire. Guides and mentors are a great blessing, and Caren is just that for this reader.
Mirka Knaster
You don't have to be diagnosed with a disease to benefit from the 101 healing words Caren Goldman offers in Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit. You just need to be willing to embark on the mysterious and magical journey called 'healing.' Using heartwarming anecdotes, practical affirmations, poetic verses, and thought-provoking quotes, Caren invites us to participate in healing on any or every level of our being. The goal is nothing short of embracing life fully. A skillful and clear writer, Caren is also a sensitive and compassionate guide who speaks heartfully and wisely-from her own experience of the ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows we all face as human beings.
—(Mirka Knaster, author of the best-selling book Discovering the Body's Wisdom)
Jane Voorhees
Jane Voorhees, recipient of the Charles Haslom Award for Excellence in Bookselling and co-owner of Malaprops Bookstore, Publishers' Weekly Bookseller of the Year (2000)
An inspired idea whose time has come. A great way to overcome the hopelessness and helplessness of the many mind-boggling illnesses that plague out society today. Caren offers us a positive transformative experience that can lead to a whole new definition of healing. Every writer, every reader, every speaker knows that words hold power it's time for all of us to allow their power to heal us, not just instruct or entertain. It is a much needed book.
Elise NeeDell Babcock
This is an inspirational, enriching, sensitive guide for anyone facing a difficult time. Caren Goldman's unique insights, thought-provoking ideas, and practical ways to approach life will inspire her readers. She writes with wisdom and heart and gives her readers a wonderful journey through healing.
—(Elise NeeDell Babcock, author of When Life Becomes Precious)
Larry Dossey
Words create images, which can generate healing effects throughout the body. These effects are too powerful to be left to chance. Caren Goldman gives us a tool we can purposefully use for the healing of body, mind, and spirit. She is an eloquent, compassionate, and skilled guide who has been there.
—(Larry Dossey, MD, author of Reinventing Medicine)
Margaret Bullit-Jonas
What a helpful and readable book, full of wisdom. Ponder these pages, for Caren Goldman's Healing Words offers a wealth of anecdotes, reflections, and stories that give fresh energy and insight for the spiritual journey.
—(Margaret Bullit-Jonas, author of Holy Hunger: A Woman's Journey from Food Addiction to Spiritual Fulfillment)
Jennifer Louden
The power of language never ceases to amaze me. Caren Goldman shines a healing light of new understanding and clarity on how we can approach language with intention and transform our bodies and spirits in the process. A truly remarkable book.
—(Jennifer Louden, author of The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life and The Woman's Retreat Book)

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Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit: 101 Words to Inspire and Affirm 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was able to use this book with my student's to assist them in their own understanding of death, forgiveness, grief, as well as trust, joy, and courage. I was able to use the stories, and then discus them with the children, which assisted them resolving their own conflicts.