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I can’t tell you how glad I am that there isn’t some movie this Thanksgiving about some dysfunctional family gathering.  

Much as those films can bring laughter, “Gee I’m glad my family isn’t that screwed up,” I often didn’t laugh because the families on the screen seemed saner than mine. Either way, the films often do not offer healthy modeling of the powerful healing that can happen in family gatherings.

For instance, right now I am here in Colorado, with Drew’s family.  Drew’s mom came to pick us up at the airport and brought Mabel Barth, founder of the Listening Post to have lunch there.

Mabel is 100 years old, and one of the liveliest people I have ever met. She reached her hand out to meet me, and with her one working eye, connected to me with more love and presence than most people I meet who are half her age.

For 27 years, The Listening Post has provided a safe space for students of all ages to express feelings of joy, anger, rejection, failure and confusion. Practitioners set up tables with a sign, and simply listen to whomever approaches.

Each person is respected and accepted just as they are at the moment, with the opportunity to discuss options without judgment and without advice.

At one point the organization had volunteers in over 48 states. Mabel was fascinated with the work I do with women. She leaned in close to me and said, “you know, you can make people feel like a million dollars, just by listening.”

I agree whole-heartedly. And it’s not something that comes naturally to me. Although I love people, I grew up with a father who didn’t like to listen to anyone. The longest conversation I’ve ever had with him lasted less than 5 minutes. And I’ve come to realize that it’s been a core wound that has helped to shape my life purpose. Having not been seen nor heard truly for who I was growing up, I’ve learned the power of truly seeing others. And every time I practice the art of listening, miracles abound.

If you’ve ever had difficulty with family reunions, the main reason is because as children we grow up looking for a sense of validation from our parents and can contort ourselves into all sorts of interesting positions in order to try and please them (or displease them as the case may be.) In both cases, it is very easy to go into unconscious and reactive behavior.  

A wonderful tool, to disarm old triggers, is to treat yourself this holiday season to the power of simply listening. Try and see if you can drop all agenda to fix, change, justify, or prove anything. You’ll find that your ability to be fully present to each family member allows others to show up as their True selves.  

And most importantly, turn an inner ear for your own needs. Make sure you have time to be fully present to your own emotions without judgment, agenda, or the desire to fix, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easily your true nature of appreciation and joy can surface as a result.

Happy, gracious, joyful Thanksgiving to you!


Bella Shing is a Spiritual Love Coach who helps people who believe in the Law of Attraction to Manifest their Beloveds by understanding first and foremost how to be that for themselves.  

She publishes the monthly “Beloved Training” Ezine where you’ll get Tips, Resources, and Inspiration on how to be the Beloved all the time. Get your Free subscription at:  

If you're interested in hearing her live, she'll be doing a FREE Tele-class on her work this coming MONDAY NIGHT DECEMBER 1, 2008 Click [Link Removed] to find out more!

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