Set Fixing and Solving Aside. Your Relationship Needs You to Only Listen and Empathize.

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Set Fixing and Solving Aside. Your Relationship Needs You to Only Listen and Empathize.

“The more you need people to agree with you, the less open you are to what they think, feel and believe. You cannot share with them because you are trying to change them, and they cannot share with you because you are not listening.”  ~ Gary Zukav The temptation is to come to solutions with your partner, to figure the problem out that’s causing anger or resentment between you. But what if you did something quite different? What if you put the need to fix or solve to the side and instead focused just on connecting? What would that look like? Sitting together, perhaps a candle lit, one of you shares how you are feeling. The other responds with listening and empathy, only. No defending, […]

More Than Feeling, Healing Demands Courageous Questioning and Acting

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More Than Feeling, Healing Demands Courageous Questioning and Acting

“We live in times when the call to full and critically aware citizenship could not be more urgent. We need to rediscover the careless courage, yet devastating simplicity, of the little boy who, in the middle of the numbed multitude, in naïve Socratic fashion, blurts out: ‘But the emperor has no clothes.’ When spoken, the word of truth can bring down citadels of falsity.” ~ John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings Healing is more than uncovering and feeling old pains lost in our bodies. Healing demands something else, something that can take even more courage: Questioning and acting… Questioning that invites us to brave the unknown. Questioning the old, entrenched, outdated agreements we’ve made with others, and ourselves. Ones […]

The Safe, Inviting and Eloquent Language of “I Miss” to Bring Another into Your Heart

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The Safe, Inviting and Eloquent Language of “I Miss” to Bring Another into Your Heart

Language is powerful. One word can make or break a conversation. Yes, most of what we communicate lies in the unspoken, the space between the words or energy underlying them; but the words you choose have the power to bring someone closer to your heart or further away. Connection—the tube The heart of communication is connection. Consider connection to be like a tube running from my heart to yours. The wider the tube, the larger the connection; the more can be passed through, felt and experienced between us. That tube is never static—it’s always changing given how something is communicated and what is being communicated. The tube, or openness between two people, fluctuates moment-to-moment depending on the words chosen, one’s energy and body language—the three main aspects […]

A Love Whose Time Has Come ~ Healing the Disembodied Human and Our Ravaged Planet

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A Love Whose Time Has Come ~ Healing the Disembodied Human and Our Ravaged Planet

“A person suffers if he or she is constantly being forced into the statistical mentality and away from the road of feeling.“ ~ Robert Bly We are a disembodied species, deprived of the weighted feeling of being in touch with our senses, attuned to the murmurings of our heart, the pleasures, ecstatic and intimate, that go with rootedness. We have lost touch with the once innate feeling of connectivity to strangers, the delight in a butterfly, the awe when struck by the glowing moon’s presence. We have squandered the feeling worlds of imagination and creativity born in pause and even boredom.  And we’ve lost touch with the inborn capacity to feel profound sadness and anger, fear and pain, to be unbridled in our emotional expression, […]

Healing and Self-Love: The Courage to No Longer Diminish the Truth of Our Childhood Adversity

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Healing and Self-Love: The Courage to No Longer Diminish the Truth of Our Childhood Adversity

Listed at the bottom are 25 examples of adverse experiences you may have diminished in order to cope and survive. There’s a saying: “Love is a place we go when we no longer wish to hide.” The same is true with healing. Because healing is seeing and feeling something for what it is, without diminishment, which is an act of self-love.  The response to my article COVID-19: A Call to Wake from the Perennial Dream of “Normal” has been overwhelmingly positive to say the least. So struck by the emotional response, I feel the need to add the following information as an adjunct.   Healing occurs when we no longer diminish our childhood adversity—both what happened (verbal and physical abuse, for example) and what didn’t […]

To Welcome Someone into Our Heart, First We May Need to Learn to Push Others Away

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To Welcome Someone into Our Heart, First We May Need to Learn to Push Others Away

There is a great emphasis put on letting love in. “Open your heart” says the self-help teacher. “Give yourself to love” sings the romantic poet. They make it sound so easy! Yet, for the one who learnt that love is unsafe, the heart is quite guarded. Coiled around it, usually for decades, is protective barbed wire. The closer one gets to the heart, the closer one gets to the wound and the protective mechanisms keeping people away. For this wounded one (who makes up many, if not most, Euro-westerners), asserting boundaries may be the necessary first step. Before letting love in, the old truncated impulse to protect must be exercised. Completing survival responses A precursor to the vulnerability of receiving is so often the vulnerability […]

Sacrificing Authenticity for Attachment: The Adaptive Survival Responses of Children and Their Influence on Future Relationships

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Sacrificing Authenticity for Attachment: The Adaptive Survival Responses of Children and Their Influence on Future Relationships

“If our environment cannot support our gut feelings and our emotions, then the child, in order to ‘belong’ and ‘fit in’ will automatically, unwittingly and unconsciously, suppress their emotions and their connections to themselves, for the sake of staying connected to the nurturing environment, without which the child cannot survive. A lot of children are in this dilemma – ‘can I feel and express what I feel or do I have to suppress that in order to be acceptable, to be a good kid, to be a nice kid?’” ~ Dr. Gabor Mate As children, we learn to sacrifice authenticity for connection. Done mostly unconsciously, our body’s intelligence recognizes that if we are our full, vibrant self, we’ll lose the attachment with our parents. We […]

How Better Attunement to Children Co-arises with Empathy and Care for Mother Earth

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How Better Attunement to Children Co-arises with Empathy and Care for Mother Earth

As we better attune to the needs of children, we cannot help but feel the needs of Mother Earth more deeply. And vice versa. This ripening sensitivity reveals what indigenous people have known for millennia: that children, we, are not separate from our environment. For generations, however, this awareness, empathy and care has been marginal, at best, in western culture. We’ve lived and treated our environment, including its inhabitants, as distinct from our body. And historic attachment disruptions with children have co-existed as expressions of this fundamental disconnect from the land and its manifold creatures. Colonizing hearts, minds and lands While indigenous cultures have long placed the child at the centre of the circle around which the family and community extends, western culture has built […]

“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

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“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

“New research at Stanford University encouraged middle school teachers to take on an ‘empathetic mindset’ when students were being disciplined. The study found that the number of pupils who were suspended across the academic year halved, from 9.6% to 4.8%.” ~ Study: Focus on Empathy, Not Punishment, Improves Discipline We all know how well children saturate themselves in the present moment. Lost in doodling, leaves, bugs and clouds, the present moment wraps itself around young ones like a warm, secure blanket. Here children enter a deep state of relaxation where they trust all is good in life. One reason children rest so well in presence is because they rest well in their heart. The heart dwells in what I call the “zero point”: The child […]

Discerning Unspoken Needs from Spoken Desires: Remembering What Matters in Relationships

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Discerning Unspoken Needs from Spoken Desires: Remembering What Matters in Relationships

“Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.” ~ Alice Miller When a boy asks his mom for a toy car at the store or a woman asks her husband to do his share of the household duties there is a spoken desire and unspoken need at play. In the first example, the boy’s spoken desire is for the toy car; the unspoken need is to be heard, validated, seen, valued. In the second example, the spoken desire is for the husband to clean the oven; the unspoken need is for shared responsibility and rest. […]