Spiritual Sisters

Spiritual Healing Serene Salad

Spiritual Voices Creativity Bakery

Spiritual Inspiration TeaRoom

Inner Sanctuary Growth Brew

Spirituality In The WorkPlace

Spiritual Parenting PlayRoom

Angels Miracles & Noble Deeds

Spirituality Message Boards

Feeling Our Feelings

    Leo Buscaglia loved Joyce. More than being her preceptor in her master's program at the University of Southern California, he was a spiritual teacher and friend. And through Joyce, I had also felt close to Leo, although most of my time was occupied as a medical student at the same university.

    "Whatever she feels is written all over her face," he used to say to me. "When she's sad, she cries. When she's happy, she smiles. When she's angry, it's visible. When she's at peace, her face is relaxed." Then, with sometimes brutal honesty, he'd say to me, "Sometimes I don't know what you're feeling. You can smile when you're angry, or look peaceful when you're sad. So I can't trust your smile or your peaceful appearance. Stop being phoney Barry!"

    He was right, albeit blunt. I was hiding my sadness, anger, fear, and every other emotion I considered unpleasant. I had learned all my life, as many of us have, to cover up and ignore these unpopular feelings. Another one of these hidden feelings was my human emotional need for Joyce - and for love in general.

    After having an affair to try to prove (mostly to myself) that I didn't need Joyce, my life collapsed. Joyce left and I was alone - with my feelings. And up to the surface they came - agonizing pain, an aching hole of sadness in my heart. I was shocked and surprised by the intensity of these feelings.

    After enduring the agony for a few days, I knew I needed to see Leo. Our apartment was a few houses down the street from his, in the Highland Park suburb of Los Angeles. I slumped up to his door and knocked. Leo opened the door a crack, saw that it was me, and quickly slid out closing the door behind him. I had no idea that Joyce was staying at his house, and she didn't want me to know where she was. As far as she was concerned, our relationship was over.

    Leo looked at me inquisitively. Completely devoid of self-pride, I blurted out my despair, my face and tears finally matching my inner pain. Leo studied me until I finished blubbering. Then, to my utter surprise, a giant smile lit up his face and he grabbed me in one of his famous hugs. While squeezing me, he excitedly spoke, "Barry, you're finally real ... you're finally real!!"

    Although I didn't share his rejoicing, I knew he was right. I was no longer pretending not to have pain. And it did feel good to finally let my feelings out, and be comforted by another human being - and a very loving one.

    That evening, for the first time in my life, I made peace with a little boy inside me that needed love, acceptance, and nurturing - the part of me that needed Joyce, needed God, needed everyone and everything. I made peace with my humanity, instead of pretending to be above it. I had been convinced that need and dependence, sadness and fear, and all so-called "negative" feelings, were signs of weakness. Now I realized the courage and strength it took to feel all my feelings. I had been convinced that feeling my humanity would prevent me from feeling my divinity. Now I knew that feeling my divinity depended upon my feeling my humanity. We are human beings on a spiritual journey, and spiritual beings on a human journey.

    Now I invite you to be courageous and feel your feelings. Show on the surface what you are feeling inside, especially to those closest to you. Risk being real.

    � Shared Heart

    For a powerful guided meditation on forgiveness as well as three other healing themes, "Help in Time of Need," "Knowing Your Beauty," & "Living Your Purpose," Joyce has just finished a new tape (or CD) called, Four Paths to the Heart. Call TOLL-FREE 1-800-766-0629 (locally 831-684-2299).

    Joyce and Barry Vissell have been a couple since 1964. A nurse and medical doctor, their main interest since 1972 has been counseling and teaching. As a result of the world-wide interest in their previous books, The Shared Heart, Models of Love, and Risk To Be Healed, they travel internationally conducting talks and workshops on relationship, parenting and healing. They are the founders and directors of the Shared Heart Foundation, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the healing and integrity of individuals, couples and families.

    Call TOLL-FREE 1-800-766-0629 (locally 831-684-2299) or write to:
    The Shared Heart Foundation
    P.O. Box 2140
    Aptos CA 95001

    � Copyright The Shared Heart Foundation
    For a free newsletter from Barry and Joyce, further information on their books, tapes and training programs, or their schedule of talks and workshops.


    Shared Heart