The book, “Healing Conversations Now: Enhance Relationships with Elders and Dying Loved Ones,” was written to inspire and teach you to engage in Healing Conversations with elders while you still have the opportunity. They offer a form of intimate connection that we all crave and don’t always know how to create. We know people are hesitant to start these conversations that connect at a more personal level than they may have before; people often ask how to initiate these interactions. The book gives step-by-step instructions for how to connect in a meaningful way. It addresses conversations to know people better, enhance and mend relationships. It tells stories of Healing Conversations that will inspire you to initiate different kinds of conversations. It guides you and provides specificl questions for those situations where you don’t know what to say. The book addresses relationships with elders and dying loved ones. However…
The Healing Conversations Now process can be used with anyone, any relationship.
It works to initiate, enhance or mend any relationship.
Contact Joan to show you how. Ask her for a coaching session, Intuitive Relationship Scan, speak to your group or to facilitate a workshop.
More on Healing Conversations:
- What is a Healing Conversation? It is an intentional interaction between two people, which is more meaningful and purposeful than most. It builds bridges of understanding, trust and caring. At least one participant is committed to knowing the other better, enhancing or mending the relationship.
- What is Healed? From the book: “Separation and isolation is our answer.” “… healing does not mean physical recovery so much as emotional, interpersonal, spiritual and personal well-being. Healing is a process of becoming more whole and connected. “
The book, “Healing Conversations Now” provides a format, which guides people to initiate these conversations. People often say, “ I don’t know what to say.” The format of Healing Conversations Now answers that concern. You don’t say much, instead, ask an appreciative question about something you are curious about and the other will enjoy sharing. Healing Conversations Now asks for question responses in story form. Everyone wants to be heard and understood. They are energized by telling their stories to a compassionate, curious and nonjudgmental listener.
The Basics: “Healing Conversations are engaging and energizing. At first it is helpful to have a structure for starting the conversation; once you know the form these conversations will happen spontaneously. Whether you plan ahead or it just happens, the basics will be the same. They are:
Be Curious: When we assume we know the person or what they will say, we miss the complexity and layers of each person and situation. If we stay curious and question, we’ll learn more and are likely to be surprised and delighted by this fascinating human being we are talking with – no matter how well you think you know them or how disinterested or uninteresting they may seem at first.
Ask engaging and energizing questions: Questions focus and set the tone of the conversation. The suggested questions are appreciative and designed to energize and engage. They ask for stories about positive, valued and meaningful experiences. There is a specific format.
For a list of sample questions to initiate Healing Conversations,
Listen to Connect: Empty yourself of assumptions and judgments. Become a sacred, empty vessel receptive to whatever the other person is willing to share. Doing so builds trust and invites even more intimacy.
The 1, 2, 3’s: Healing conversations are all about connecting and enhancing relationships. The 1, 2, 3’s are conditions that magnify the power to connect with people. Often easier to say than to do, these basic elements are:
No. 2: Presence
No. 3: Connected listening
No. 1: Be intentional about your desire to enhance relationships: The main purpose of Healing Conversations is to heal the “dis-ease” of isolation and separation, and to build more satisfying relationships.
Sometimes you, the initiator and listener will have to put aside your own reactions, judgments, suggestions etc. if you are to connect with the person. They may say something that pushes your buttons. If connecting is your intention, you have to put aside your personal feelings and assumptions – and even hurts.
PM Amidon tells the story of a conversation with her mother when she was near death. When her mother said that the best time in her life was a “family” party that PM was not invited to, Pam had to choose between personal hurt and connecting with her mom. She remembered it was her intention to connect and put aside her own feelings. Upon reflection she was happy that she had remembered the purpose of this last and healing conversation.
No. 2: Be present, mindful, nonjudgmental, and step out of the storyteller’s way: Presence is a state of being. It is the opposite of multi-tasking. It means having a singular focus on the present moment and person. Presence amplifies our ability to see and hear beyond the surface. As a present, mindful, non-judgmental listener, you will be relaxed and more able to connect – the original intention. Presence can also mean silence, often a golden gift.
The power of presence is well described by Jack Cole as he tells one of his stories that appears in the book. As a hospice volunteer he was called to spend Christmas Eve with a dying person who couldn’t speak and was moaning loudly in pain. At first, he didn’t know what to do. When he remembered the power of silent presence, he gave the woman the invaluable gift of a peaceful death.
No. 3: Be a connected listener: Listening in Healing Conversations is different from everyday listening. It goes beyond active listening. The first priority for the listener in Healing Conversations is to create a bond, providing support so that the storyteller can share freely. Remember, this is not the opportunity for you, as the listener to share your feelings, thoughts, advice, or old hurts. Instead, your responsibility is to listen to really understand. It is the time to be able to be amazed by the person you are with.
You Never Asked: Marcia was visiting her parents and had just learned of Healing Conversations. She was determined to engage her father who usually sat with his eyes glued on the TV and never took part in conversation. She walked around his chair, sat facing him and began asking about his boyhood. When he told the story of being on a champion baseball team, Marcia and her Mom were surprised. His wife commented, “You never told me that before.” He replied, “You never asked.” After this conversation he got up and went into the kitchen to join in with the visit.
Difficult Mother: Nora’s mom had her standards for everything and was quick to point out all of the ways Nora failed to meet them. Visits were dreaded. When she heard about the power of questions she came to the next visit armed with questions and a recorder. She asked questions about her Mom’s best memories, what she liked, her values. Before long Nora’s mom was totally engaged. The visits changed from that day forward. The questions refocused Nora’s mom, changed the tone of the conversation, and they both enjoyed their time together more than ever.
Relationship in Conflict and Pain: Paul and Alice had a tumultuous relationship. On one occasion Alice was furious and hit the “send” button after she wrote a scathing email. Paul was furious and questioned the viability of the relationship. He called me for guidance. After much questioning, Paul realized his core emotion was actually hurt not anger. With coaching he was able to go home and say, “I know you are hurt; I am too. I don’t know what to do about the troubling situation.” He didn’t ask a question, but allowed his vulnerability to be visible – to himself and Alice. At first, Alice responded as usual with a potentially hurtful comment. Paul was prepared and didn’t react. Instead he repeated himself. Uncharacteristically, Alice became quiet. After a while she said, “I’m sorry too.” Paul reported that they then had the best conversation they had ever had in their fifteen-year relationship.
to speak to your group or to facilitate a workshop.