Shared Heart

Autumn Couple’s Retreat with The Vissell’s Newsletter 6.30.24

Dear Shared Heart Friends,

Autumn Couple’s Retreat November 14-17

Autumn Couple’s Retreat November 14-17: Would you like your relationship to reach a new level of love, healing, intimacy, and commitment? Couples describe these three-day weekends as a safe and loving place to learn and practice new skills for their relationships.

Excerpt from this month’s article:

“As humans, we often think that we are not enough just how we are. “

“A Couple of Miracles is an amazing book by two amazing humans. I was brought to tears many times. I don’t want you to miss a word of this outstanding book.”—Susan Campbell, PhD, author of Getting Real

Semi-Finalist, Book of the Year, Online Book Club

A Couple of Miracles: One Couple, More Than a Few Miracles, available only on as a Kindle e-book for only $6.95 (or paperback for $18.95). Here’s the link: A Couple of Miracles.

“I would add to Joyce and Barry’s number of miracles … this book! When two health professionals, despite our training, can open their minds and consciousness to the truth of life, miracles can happen. Read this book!”—Bernie Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine & Miracles

“A truly inspirational story that can open our hearts to appreciate the many miracles that can come through love, compassion and wisdom. A real page turner!”—John Gray, PhD, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

“The Vissells’ latest book, A Couple of Miracles, will bring tears to the eyes of readers: tears of joy, tears of compassion, tears of heartache, and tears of laughter. It’s got everything! Readers who are skeptical about miracles should be warned that this book could turn you into a believer! Read this book if you’re looking for a jolt of pure inspiration!”—Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW, authors of 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married

Unbelievable Book Sale: To Really Love a Woman and To Really Love a Man (each regular price $15.95) now $15 for both with free shipping; and if you buy both, as a bonus, just $3 each (and free shipping) for as many as you want of the following books: The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk To Be Healed, Rami’s Book, Light in the Mirror, and A Mother’s Final Gift.

Shared Heart Column, Heartfulness July 2024, with Joyce and Barry Vissell

“A Blue Ribbon for Love”

Barry and I have a delightful family hobby of raising a litter of Golden Retriever puppies every year or so. We’ve owned and loved Goldens since 1970 and are dedicated to bringing only the highest quality dogs into the world. The entire family comes together for this project, and we have so much fun with the puppies, raising them with as much love as we can. As part of this hobby, we used to march in our town’s parade (Aptos, CA) each July 4. We invited as many of our former puppies and their owners as possible to march with us. This is definitely a small-town parade, with children on bikes, antique cars, local bands, dancing troupes, and seven or eight dog groups. Although blue ribbons are given for the best entry in each category, we are totally unattached to winning.

This particular day, the dog groups all gathered in the parking lot of the local veterinary clinic. Our family and three of our four dogs arrived first and waited for the other Goldens and families (we leave home one senior dog who is not fond of parades). Right next to us was a group of Bernese Mountain Dogs. These are beautiful large black, brown and white dogs. The woman in charge of them told me that all of her dogs were famous champions, well known in the show circles. They participate in parades all over California. I looked at her elaborate set up, with signs, flower harnesses for the dogs, a small fire engine for them to pull, and each dog immaculately groomed. I looked over at our three dogs and saw Barry and our children brushing away at our dogs, trying to remove the weeds and dirt that had collected in their fur from living in the country. No, they were never going to look immaculate. I thought to myself, “Surely this woman with her fire engine, signs, harnesses, and champion dogs will win the prize this year.”

The next group of dogs to arrive was the Pugs, all 25 of them. They were being pulled in wagons. They were followed by the Dachshunds. Each little dog had a darling costume on. They looked cute, but didn’t seem so happy about the clothing.

Eventually, eighteen Goldens were ready to march. None of them had costumes or decorations, just the pure love in their hearts to offer the crowds of people gathered along the short parade route. Instead of marching down the middle of the road, we encouraged the owners to go from side to side, letting their dogs greet the crowds, which they loved to do. And yes, the oohs and ahhs were plentiful, as golden love was exchanged by all. When we passed the judges’ stand, the Goldens all wiggled up to them to give their love. The parade was fun.

The next day, we were called and told that we had won first prize in the pet division. I could hardly believe it. Our dogs didn’t have any of the special things the other groups had: elaborate costumes, wagons, accessories, championship show-ring status. The only thing they had was love and enthusiasm, and in the end that was why they won.

All that day, I felt how this is so true of life. In the end, it’s our love, pure and simple, that wins. As humans, we often think that we are not enough just the way we are. Thoughts such as, “If only I had more money, a better degree, more possessions, better clothes, nicer hair, thinner or stronger body, more experience, or a better job. If I had these things or even some of them, then I could be happy and live the life I want. Then I could help other people.” But we ignore the power to love within each one of us, a gift we received at birth.

There is a true story of a woman who was dying in the hospital. During the day her friends and family came and brought her loads of flowers, candy, and balloons. They ignored the fact that she was dying, pretending that she would come back home soon. They filled the time at her bedside by telling jokes to one another, discussing politics and in general ignoring what was really going on. The woman grew more and more unhappy.

One night, the old cleaning woman, Margaret, noticed her and came into her room and sat down. Margaret was in her seventies and had been cleaning the hospital floors at night for fifty years. She had seen death many times. She knew the woman was dying and she knew how to love her best. She reached for her hand and merely said, “I can see that you are suffering. Do you want to talk about it.”

Night after night, the woman poured out her heart to Margaret, who merely sat quietly and listened. Margaret wasn’t a trained therapist, doctor, nurse or social worker. She didn’t even have a high school education. She couldn’t afford to bring this woman any flowers or presents. All she did was listen to and love the older woman. In the end it was dear Margaret’s love that helped the woman the most, and helped her to die in peace.

The love in our hearts makes us more than enough. We don’t need all the other trappings of life to reach out to another. In the end, it is simply our love that wins the prize blue ribbon of life.

Semi-Finalist, Book of the Year, Online Book Club

Order our new book HERE

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are passionate about conscious relationship and personal-spiritual growth. They are the authors of 10 books and a free audio album of sacred songs and chants. Visit for their free weekly inspirational video and monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationship and living from the heart.

Our schedule at a glance (details below — All events are now in-person):

July 19-21: Esalen Couples Retreat
November 6-10: The Greatest Journey (Mentorship Program)
November 14-17: Autumn Couple’s Retreat

Quote of the Month:

“If we’re running away from love because of a feeling of unworthiness, then we need to stop and remember who we are: children of the Creator, sons and daughters of the light, rightful heirs to all the love and power of the universe.” –Risk To Be Healed, p. 121.

Please join Joyce and me in holding a vision of a world where women, men and children of all nations, races and religions can see and feel the divine in themselves and one another. Here is our current 2024 workshop schedule. Joyce and I would love to see you at one of these events. Please remember how important this spiritual-emotional growth work is. Together let’s take another step on this journey into the heart of love and deeper awareness, where real world healing begins. Peace be with you all.

July 19-21: Esalen Couples Retreat
Learn skills to dramatically improve your relationship, while luxuriating at one of the most uniquely beautiful retreat centers we have ever visited.

November 6-10: The Greatest Journey (Mentorship Program)

Find and live your dream, your passion, and your purpose! Individually and together with a small, carefully chosen group of 8-14 participants, these 6 months will help you transform your life.
November 14-17: Autumn Couple’s Retreat

Would you like your relationship to reach a new level of love, healing, intimacy and commitment? Couples describe these weekends as a safe and loving place to learn and practice new skills for their relating.

spiritual erasure secret power of need

We are excited to offer our FREE album of sacred songs and chants, “I Stand for Love,” our first musical recording. You can download the whole album for free, or listen to it on YouTube. Wait till you hear the exquisite harmonies added by our son, John-Nuri.

Free Album Download
Listen on YouTube

Volunteers Needed. The Shared Heart Foundation needs volunteers. If you would like to support our vision and work, no matter where you live, email
Counseling with the Vissells. For individuals or couples who want help, you can choose from one hour to a two-day intensive with either one or both of us.

Our love and blessings to you all,

Barry and Joyce Vissell

Please click on for inspiring articles about relationship and consciousness, as well as our updated schedule.

If you missed our last newsletter it is here.


BeckyWillis is a "glass is half full" type of person, so she decided that she would share that with others. After going on 15 years in the blogosphere she decided it was time to make a change and in doing so help uplift others. Her husband is her biggest cheerleader; you can visit his site at

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