Heather Sellers experienced so much pain in her relationship with her father that she disconnected from him for decades. Then, in the last year of his life, when he was placed in a nursing home after a debilitating stroke, she began having weekly Skype calls with him: “Those conversations don’t cancel out the years of trauma and neglect. But neither does the bad cancel out those final moments of grace. Both are true. I hold both in my heart, and I am grateful. In the year before he died, I got to love my father—some.”
Heather’s poignant story, recounted in a recent New York Times Modern Love column, reminded me of a family I’ve been working with for the past year, helping them articulate and soothe deep pains that were formed over forty years ago and have been restimulated countless times since. The restorative process—which has involved individual, pair, and family empathy sessions—has been vulnerable for each of them. At the end of many family sessions, they say how hard this process is, and yet how “worth it” the experience has been. They’ve developed new understanding of each other’s feelings, needs, and perspectives, and a much greater capacity to speak and listen from their hearts. Whereas in our early sessions, the word “hate” was bandied about, now various family members will often interrupt a heated moment to say, loudly, desperately, “I love you!” Like Heather, they are getting to love each other—some. What could be more important in this life?
When you read about these families restoring their connections, who in your own life comes to mind? Parents? Children? Ex-loves? Close friends? Those are the places in your heart that are waiting to be restored. When any of your primary connections are damaged, disrupted, or detrimental, you need deep, sustained empathy to soothe your heart so you can reopen to love’s fullest potential.
Restoring your heart doesn’t always involve reengaging a relationship—sometimes the person has died, or you don’t feel physically or emotionally safe connecting with them, or they’re unwilling or unable to engage in a healing process. Regardless of what’s possible or desired from the relationship, you owe it to yourself and your life’s potential to tend to those wounded, achy, or numb places inside you that were left in the wake of disconnection, trauma, conflict, or loss.
This July Restorative Empathy is offering a special six-week depth healing package for individuals wishing to restore their hearts around a particular relationship or open up a stuck area of their lives (romantic, familial, social, professional, creative, spiritual, etc.). These prepaid packages offer the sixth session for free. While each person’s healing path is unique, a custom constellation involving these approaches will be included:
- Tending to long-buried or neglected needs
- Resolving inner conflicts
- Rescuing your past self
- Reclaiming your voice in healing dialogues
- Engaging the internal mourning, healing, and reconciliation process
- Creating an integrated plan for moving forward
New clients receive a free 30-minute phone consultation. Contact me today to begin your heart’s restoration.
With love and empathy,