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Updated on December 18, 2009


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Healing can be found particularly in our relationships
Healing can be found particularly in our relationships
Healing can be found particularly in our relationships


This blog is part of a series. You might want to check out the initial blog of the series to get a quick overview snapshot of the series and how this blog fits in. BUT this blog also stands on its own!! Well, maybe it’s tilting just a tad! Okay, I’ll shush so you can read.

Heal and be healed. Some folks believe or know that inside each of us is a very powerful healing energy. Perhaps even the same healing energy that emanated from Jesus’ hands and fingers as he touched those who wanted healing.

I had an experience with a therapist many years ago. He placed his hands about an inch above my back, and then the skin on my back began to ripple. The energy coming from his hands was warm to hot. It wasn’t anything planned or anything I had asked for other than I had made an appointment for therapy. Therapy comes from the Greek word, therapuein which means to heal.

I did not see this therapist as a particularly holy man (nor unholy for that matter) or a guru, so I was open to taking the experience in as a gift that is perhaps inside all of us. All we have to do is recognize it and humbly allow the gift to do its thing, so to speak. I suppose there is a spiritual component to the recognition because it seems to take one to a realm beyond what is ordinarily considered SOLID. And as we know from quantum physics, solid simply means that the atomic and subatomic particles which make up matter are moving at an extremely slow pace. So, in reality, there really isn’t anything that is solid after all. There is so much in this universe that is beyond our scientific vision. It seems to me almost insulting even for a scientist to be bound by so-called empirical data because some times the only empirical data are the "tracks" left behind. Kind of like finding reindeer poop on your front lawn on the morning of December 25th! And you don’t live in the mountains.

When we talk about healing, obviously there are all kind of "wounds." Some are physical while others are more internal or emotional. If the Eastern folks are correct, it may not make a difference because at rock bottom, it is the energy upon which our body is "built" that ultimately gets wounded or out of whack!  Check out Anjalichugh's hubs 

The great mythological stories of any culture seem to be saying that wounding is just a part of life. Birth, itself, seems to be a bruising experience, sometimes leaving us "crippled" for the rest of our lives. I don’t know if either Michael Mead or Robert Johnson are still on the workshop circuit, but those are two of the great mythological storytellers of the twentieth century and it was always a treat to be in their presence.

Many ancient cultures believed in sacrificing their children to the gods. What a wounding that was. I think the story of Abraham and Isaac is a left-over of that tradition and less a story of obedience and more a story of God redirecting Abraham to enter into a new kind of covenant with God.

Unfortunately, we continue, even in the twentieth first century, to sacrifice our children to the gods. We sacrifice them in war, in politics in general, in academic settings, and we sacrifice them in divorce. We also sacrifice them to the gods just by being too busy to be physically present to them.

Relationships, in particular, are a "venue" for wounding, so it is paramount that we have a way or a ritual for healing. What has become more and more apparent to me is that I am not the only one wounded in my relationships. When I take the time in the morning to rub my sweetie pie’s back and make sure she has breakfast and a lunch and then she screams at me for not being more helpful in getting her to the car and on her way, I can instantly feel wounded, instantly turn on the silent treatment, instantly switch on sulk mode, and on some mornings, I bring up the howitzers and big guns and yell back a few goodies myself. So it’s easy for me to see that I–I–I am the wounded one and not recognize that her lashing out at me, for what seems insignificant, is a big red flag that she is obviously wounded as well, AND it may have nothing to do with me or may have ALL to do with me and US. I’m not doing this really well yet, but I am beginning to recognize that perhaps my "hurt" over her lashing out at me may be less important, so to speak, than the hurt she is feeling and unable to put into words at that moment. Maybe the back rub, the breakfast and the lunch doesn’t begin to fill in for all the other times and ways in the relationship that I am NOT there for her. This is NOT about taking blame, or being the bigger person, as they say, but IT IS ABOUT becoming aware and observant and a little less narcissistic.

I also want to mention the so-called placebo effect. For me, the so-called placebo effect is not about magic, but about the powerful energy to heal ourselves that each of us possesses.  Check out Veronica Allen's hub

I thought I might complete this blog on healing by sharing with you pieces from a Chapter entitled "Rituals for Healing and Forgiveness." It is Chapter twenty in my book From The Frying Pan To The Jacuzzi, Gourmet Recipes For A Gourmet Relationship.

When we first meet and for sometime afterwards, perhaps the time extends through our engagement and all the way into our early marriage, we practice numerous rituals. We go to our favorite restaurant, we walk our favorite path at the beach, and we go to our favorite beach, not just any old beach. We might even have our favorite seats at the movie theatre. We watch our favorite movies over and over and over again. We listen to our favorite songs. We go to a particular church service to hear our favorite minister. We snuggle in our favorite position, we light candles and sit back to back on the couch and read, sometimes reading out loud to each other. We barbecue our favorite meat with our favorite sauce. We make a very special drink and serve it in a very special glass to remind us of our first date or the moment when we got engaged. Wow, there’s that word, engaged! It certainly didn’t mean going to war at that moment, did it?

We already have a long history of rituals in our relationship. And maybe we already have a ritual for forgiving and healing. But if not, then it is important to create one.


The ritual can be as simple as approaching your partner and saying, "I am really hurting and I want to be healed. Will you heal me?"

At this point, the other partner really needs to hear the word., "I." The statement, "I am hurting," is not an attack. It is not a back door way of saying, "YOU hurt me." It is one partner taking FULL OWNERSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY for his or her hurt in contrast to blaming.

The other person can then wrap his or her arms around the partner, hold them close, or go so far as to lay hands on their head and say, "I want to heal you and I heal you."

You can ritualize this mini-ceremony even more by turning off the lights, lighting a few candles, and turning on your favorite music. You can even agree that when one person turns off the lights and lights a few candles and turns on the music that you will both take this as a cue that healing or forgiveness is in order and is about to begin!


In terms of forgiveness, either partner can take the initiative. Either one of you can simply approach the other and say, "I am really sorry for this morning...last night...last week (hopefully not last year!)."


At that point, it is important for the other partner to hear and accept the apology. This is not a ritual for getting even but for forgiveness. This is not a ritual for determining what the partner should be sorry for. Let it be sufficient that the partner is saying, "I’m sorry for this morning...."

Remember the chapter on winning and losing. If saying "I’m sorry" becomes equated with losing, then it will not be life-giving to the relationship. Part of accepting a person’s "I’m sorry," is letting go of your need to pick apart the conflict, letting go of your obsession to assign blame, letting go of your insidious desire to hold on to your hurt, letting go of all of your plans to even the score. It may at times be harder to ACCEPT an "I’m sorry" than it is to give an "I’m sorry."

Apology vs I’m Sorry

I hesitate to use the word "apology," because a heartfelt "I’m sorry," goes far beyond an apology. Apologies tend to carry too many political components. They tend to focus on regaining the peace, the status quo, and tend not to reach deep into the soul. An "I’m sorry" is more like a warm, almost burning suave, that goes deep into the skin and radiates for quite a distance!


George Bach wrote a wonderful book back in the sixties entitled Creative Aggression.

In it, he describes an interesting and fun ritual for healing old and older hurts that have stacked up like a pile of bricks or better, manure. I have elaborated a bit on the ritual.


When you both realize that you have collected the memories of hurt after hurt in your relationship, and that every time you fight, you start slinging all the old sh-t at each other, then it is time to put into play George’s ritual.

Setting The Stage

So you start out picking a time where you can have at least an hour together alone without any distraction. Then you choose a favorite spot to have the ritual. If you are at home, turn off the lights, light candles, turn on your favorite music.

Make A List

Either at this time or at a prior time, make a list and try to make it exhaustive, of every hurt in your relationship that you cannot seem to let go of. Simply list each event or hurt–one sentence. For example, "The time you invited your mother to go with us on Valentine’s day."

Read YOUR Partner’s List

Sit close to each other and take a moment to just appreciate how much you love each other. Then read each other’s list. Remember when you read the list of hurts, you are reading about your partner. You are reading about his or her hurts. Do not read the hurts as attacks and thus shift the focus to yourself!.

NO Discussion

Once each person reads the other’s list, there is NO talking about the lists. There is no defending, no discussion about your intent, NOTHING. You both simply begin to check off the hurts. "If you’ll scratch off that one, I’ll scratch off this one," and you keep going like that till you have either scratched off ALL THE HURTS or perhaps ONE, at the very, very most TWO remain. The one or two seem unerasable!

The Virtual Family Museum

Then you take the remaining hurts and agree to put them into the FAMILY MUSEUM behind glass. In other words, they are there in the museum to look at and perhaps cry and laugh about, but they can never again be brought up as a weapon, as a retaliatory response, as part of a fight, or as a reminder to your partner of how crazy, awful, or mean he or she is.


When I suggested to one couple that they try the ritual, the man said, "Sounds hokey to me."

Now the wife had called prior to the session to make sure that I was a strong enough therapist to deal with their impossible relationship! She was desperate, wanting so much to stay in the relationship, but wanting to find a way to turn it around.


So when I turned to her and asked her what she thought of it, I was expecting her to say that she was ready to light the candles! Instead she said, "Sounds hokey to me too!"

I have to be honest here. My buttons got pushed. So I responded to them with this wise comment. "So I suppose if I told you to go home and screw your brains out, that would be hokey too."

Needless to say, they did not make another appointment!

Lost Rituals

It is sad to me that we have lost our connection with rituals, and sometimes we even think of rituals as hokey or old fashioned or beyond us. But rituals are what bring back the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and the tinglings of love to our relationship. Try them, you’ll like them. Make up your own. Use the ones you put away in the attic, you know all the sweet things you used to do when you first met. "Oh, all that stuff is for young couples, not for us oldies." Not true. We all need rituals. They are good for us and good for our relationship.


When it comes to healing and forgiveness, some of you are going to be absolutely stuck because you cannot even utter the words, "I’m sorry." "I’m sorry" is some kind of post traumatic stress trigger for you. It brings back images of having to apologize to mom or dad even when you were not at fault, or something. Unfortunately, there is a line from a famous movie, "Love is never having to say you’re sorry." I think that line had meaning for those of us who lived in the Sixties because, as kids, we WERE having to say "I"m sorry" far more often than it was healthy.

What Does "I’m Sorry" Mean?

Saying "I’m sorry" does not mean "uncle." It does not mean, "I give in" or "I give up." It does not mean "I admit that I am wrong." It does not mean that you LOSE and your partner WINS. It simply means that I regret we had this awful fight. I regret I said hurtful things. I regret that I am sometimes still two years old. I regret that our relationship is so bruised from my sarcastic words. I regret that at age sixty four, I still have so much to learn about loving you. Saying "I’m sorry" simply means that I’m ready to get back on track, I’m ready to start our journey again, I’m ready to be "in love" with you instead of "in cahoots," or "in the doghouse" or in the frying pan!

SO THE SOLUTION to your inability to say "I’m sorry" is to PRACTICE. When you’re in the privacy of your car, practice saying out loud "I’m sorry." Practice saying every variation you can come up with. Practice, practice, practice, the way you would practice any activity you want to get better at.


Bon Appetit!


1. Share with your partner what you remember doing to heal the hurts in your relationship when you first met and when you first fell in love.

2. Share with your partner what you remember seeing your parents do in the way of healing or forgiveness rituals.

3. Share with your partner if it is difficult for you to say the words, "I’m sorry." Share with your partner why you think that is.

4. Share with your partner if you remember hearing "I’m sorry," expressed between your parents. Share with your partner if you were forced to say "I’m sorry" when you were growing up.

5. Together, create your own rituals for healing, for forgiveness, for settling old hurts.

6. Share with each other who you see taking the initiative in your relationship and why that is.

So we all have some work to do! Share with us your take on healing and being healed.   


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    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      aefrancisco, Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

    • aefrancisco profile image


      8 years ago from somewhere down the road

      Great hub... :)

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      I don't say crap like that very often, but everyonce in a while, it just comes out. The other day I told someone, "Oh yea, you're very controlling!" I finally convinced him it was okay unless he didn't own it!

      Anywho, thanks again for reading.

    • palmerlarryray profile image

      Larry Ray Palmer 

      8 years ago from Macon, Missouri

      Great advice and interesting experiences as well... I can see it now when you told the couple that they would think being told to go home and screw their brains out would be hokey too.... lol.... Maybe I need to go back to school so I can say things like that to people.... :P


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