When was the last time you felt empowered? No, I don’t mean at some “Yes, I Can” rally or while you were at the gym burning calories and such like. I’m referring to feeling empowered while going through a divorce or after you’ve lost your job, or even while grieving the suicidal death of a child/loved one. Often in life, we are faced with different/difficult circumstances. With every up and every down, our choices can either move us forward or cause us to become stagnant, which ultimately leads to our demise (emotionally, mentally, etc). Hay and Kessler are impressing upon us the notion of moving forward and how that can be done in a healthy way, in their collaborative work – “You Can Heal Your Heart.”
Empowerment is a strong undercurrent of this work that wants to transition us from suffering through grief and loss to peace and stability and growth. The title says it all – You can heal Your heart; but empowerment and loving yourself is understood from their constant recurrences of affirmations in each chapter. There’s a responsibility we have that does not have to be negative. Hay and Kessler talk about the emotions many go through with life’s changes and how we tend to blame and/or criticize ourselves; taking on responsibility wrongly. They say that we should take responsibility during these unforeseen and uncomfortable situations but as one refusing to be utterly distraught the rest of one’s life from it. It’s their idea of taking in the grief without the torment. Accepting that it happened with or without your help or permission or understanding and now moving into your future without being haunted.
Take losing a pet for instance. About 5-7 years ago, my husband and I was entrusted with pet-sitting for inlaws who were going out of town for a few days. Unfortunately, before they returned, their bird died. I felt so bad. What made it difficult for me was the fact that this wasn’t the first time a pet had died in my care/on my watch. Many years prior (20+) my brother had a bird that was given to him by a friend who was moving away. One morning I woke up first and decided to check on the bird. It was dead! My mother asked me if I did something to it, since I wasn’t fond of animals. I know that I didn’t but she gave me a look of suspicion and her tone was of ridicule, nonetheless. Now as I’m getting older, plants were dying too. I would do everything my friends would tell me to do and they would still die. So now with the in-laws bird dying, I’m faced with the fact that another living thing has died and it must be my fault. Well its not. Hay and Kessler would have me affirm myself with the understanding that maybe it was just those birds timing. I am not a killer of the things God has created. To confirm that, I now have plants in my new house that are growing.
“Life is always moving toward healing.”
Now what I’ve just done is an example of the layout of the book. It is flooded with stories, and I mean flooded. This can work for or against them. For some readers, it’s important to see that others are dealing with or have overcome the wave of life they, themselves, are currently in. While that is good for group A, group B is still feeling that someone else’s story is still not their’s – thus annoyed. As for me, I found this book to be easy reading on one hand and a struggle on the other. Let me explain it this way:
- The book in itself was not written on such a collegiate level that adults with only a middle school reading level would become frustrated from lack of vocabulary in their arsenal and the use of puns and such like. It’s almost conversational in a sense, when reading through other lives. You find yourself talking with the book. It would make for a great group discussion for people of all ages and walks of life. Children should be taught early how to deal with lost so that they would mature better and understand how not to internalize everything the wrong way.
- On the other hand, as a Christian, I wavered with whether I should continue to read it or not; but because neither I nor God lives in a box I continued. So this book is not for the very religious who is not open to broad conversations for the betterment of all. I say this because, Hay -and I believe Kessler also, use the term ‘universe’ a lot. As Christians, we do not speak of the universe as though it is a supreme authority but rather as one that is controlled by One. Also, it seems as though their view on divorce -“When they’re no longer needed, they are complete and successful,” and ‘untimely’ death may be a problem for some Christians too. Yes, there are many Christians who have divorced but there is still a large group that frown on it. And dying too young will probably be debated on the grounds of bible history showing that some people received length of days and the 5th commandment that indicates that days are stricken due to dishonor.
- Personally, I understand their idea of sometimes knowing when to let go and say good-bye for peace’s sake but I also believe that divorce is a lot more about pride and fear and selfishness than a change in the tide. One of my favorite sayings is, “
Remember that you come into this world in the middle of the movie,…so do the people you love.”
For me, this says that we should not put such demanding expectations on people, or ourselves, who are functioning within ongoing drama or a scene that none of us were prepped for. Some were never taught to love and others know nothing less than giving of themselves completely.
No matter who is reading this book, or any other book, it is important to know that no person has all the answers to life. The authors are not suggesting that they know it all but their field of study have led them to this resolve on life, that I’d like to call – Just because I’ve lost…, doesn’t mean I’ve lost. It’s okay to cry and feel hurt, but then what. Anything that’s alive should be growing; each scene of life presents us with this awesome privilege whether you’re very religious or cringe at the thought.
This blog is all about inspiring people and so we’re careful about what we say and suggest. I have no trouble recommending this work for your enjoyment and journey and curiosity. Be inspired to live and love and be loved and grieve without painful memories. Be inspired to know that You Can Heal Your Heart. Get your copy today.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.