Healing Arts Report

Practices for an Evolving Life

They Don't Tell You How

“You need to love yourself more.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Always put other people first. Don’t be selfish.” The one thing that is missing from all this good advice is telling you HOW to do it. We introduce you to practical tools using your own character traits to support you in creating practical answers to those questions. Read more here.

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Two memoirs tell about times of extreme personal growth in the author’s life. Sunny Side Up is a window into the early 70s when certain young adults were searching for a way to head off society’s path bent on materialism. The Transparent Feather tells of a dying author passing the torch of writing to her new friend cum student.

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You can love yourself and other people as well. At Healing Arts Report we explore fulfilling personal development that at the same time serves to create the shift to a peaceful new world paradigm.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―C.G. Jung

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Art Of The Story–Part II, Forgiving The Unforgivable

I ignored my childhood hunger for stories for years. So it’s taken me by surprise that late in life I’ve become an enthusiastic listener to them on the radio. It turns out that there are numerous non-fiction story-centered shows on our public radio station.

Each organization that sponsors them has a different focus. However,  the ones I am writing about share the concept that the storyteller is speaking about something they personally experienced.

Although the stories I mention in this article are somber but uplifting, I’m concerned they might give the impression that all of the radio stories are this grave. They aren’t and I’ll talk about some of those in future postings.

The first program I want to introduce is Transom. Transom describes itself as channeling new work and voices to public radio and public media. For those of you who are interested in producing programs, they offer education in using recording tools, workshops on production, and providing community. “We focus on the power of story and the ways public media can be useful in a changing media environment.”

When I looked up their website, I came across a story called “Forgiveness.” Bianca Giaever, a college student, had stumbled upon the possibility of this interview while she was working on a project recording veterans’ war experiences.

Hector Black

Hector Black

Someone had pointed out Hector Black as a person she should interview. She describes her appreciation of the power of Hector’s story and the tenderness with which he tells us his dilemma.

I’d not been able to forget his story since I first heard it over a year ago. A crack addict murdered his adult daughter. She came home after the addict had broken into her apartment and he strangled her to death. After hearing the full story I couldn’t remember how Hector came to forgiveness.

I had to listen a second time to take in his process and recall how he and his wife Susie came to care about the man who murdered their daughter. If you think we have souls, maybe you’ll join me in believing that this couple changed the murderer in a way that no amount of punishment ever could.

Although I’m filled with admiration and conviction that Hector and Susie did a better thing, I don’t know if I could have done what they did and hope I’ll never have to find out. To hear Hector’s gentle voice speaking from his pain and his 86 years of wisdom, click on his picture above. The story is 11 minutes long.

Not long after listening to Hector’s story for the second time, I learned about StoryCorps, a huge oral history project founded by David Isay. Each conversation is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Anyone can sign up to tell his story.

There is something about the intentionality of the interview process that brings out a depth I think most people don’t usually speak in. Because the thousands of interviews collected are with “ordinary” people and their chosen topics of discussion are so varied, from what I’ve listened to, I’m guessing that most every topic must be touched upon. Their stories are at once both ordinary and extraordinary.

Imagine my surprise when in the first few minutes of exploring StoryCorps I came upon another interview, just short of three minutes, between a woman and the young man who murdered her son. Twelve years after the two sixteen year old boys fought with each other, Mary Johnson visited Oshea Israel in prison, initiating a journey of healing and forgiveness that took them both into living lives of working together that neither had ever imagined for themselves.

Mary and Oshea

Mary and Oshea


Now, after Oshea completed his twenty-five year prison sentence, they are next-door neighbors, speaking at schools, prisons, and churches together. More important is the inspiration they give each other and other people. Oshea’s mother has also joined with Mary in establishing the two mothers’ healing groups as part of the organization named From Death to Life.

Their mission is to end “violence through healing and reconciliation between families of victims and those who have caused harm. We offer support groups empowering parents to come to terms with the impact of homicide through emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical healing.”

As mentioned earlier, anyone can sign up for StoryCorps interviews. Consider what stories you’d like to share with others. “We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters.”


PRACTICES: Think about the meaningful experiences you’ve had in your life. Write, record, or tell at least one of them to your family or through an oral history project like StoryCorps or through an ethical will as described here in earlier posts, Ethical Will Part I and Ethical Will Part II.

Is there an experience in your life that caused a dramatic change or that made you struggle with the issue of forgiveness?

What did Hector and Mary do with their grief and pain? (hint: they didn’t stuff them.)

Consider a situation you’re experiencing now. Could you behave in a way that goes against your automatic reaction to it and yet provides a road of expression? What would the challenges be for you?


Contact: EFT is one of many practices I use to teach you a way to forgive even if you can’t forget. If you are struggling with an ongoing hurt that just doesn’t go away, consider giving me a call. I will talk with you at no charge about whether I think EFT could help in your situation.



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