Donovan presents radical theories of illness and healing in this philosophical, thought-provoking debut.
Trained as a naturopath as well as a nurse, Donovan informs his theories with many years of experience in allopathic as well as alternative medicine. He is also a “poet, artist, and philosopher at heart,” so it’s not surprising that many such thinkers are quoted in support of the framework holding together his opinions. They include his position that illnesses mirror our psychological issues, which means that every disease provides an opportunity for “a creative act of self-discovery and self-transformation.” For example, he says, anger and blame can manifest as inflammation, whereas self-criticism can present as autoimmune disorders. He also makes the controversial argument that “we are our cancer and our cancer is an expression of us.” We should respond to the psychological pathologies underlying our illnesses, Donovan maintains, by trying to slay them as if they were mythological dragons. And, like other alternative healers and psychologists, he warns that many of us avoid slaying these demons because “death and illness are easier for some to handle than the freedom and self-revelation offered by healing.” Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, many people would push aside as gobbledygook any assertion that deep-seated emotional wounds are causing their diseases and opt for pills, chemo, radiation and endless tests as their treatments of choice. Even doubters, however, would benefit from reading the quotations from such powerful thinkers as Paul Tillich, Teillard de Chardin, Erwin Schrodinger, Joseph Campbell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Voltaire and others. The number of quotations in this relatively brief book is actually a distraction at times, as is the overuse of such clichés as “Be all that you can be.”
Despite minor flaws, Donovan provides a veritable smorgasbord of nutritious thoughts for anyone interested in the topic of healing.