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Education or Wisdom?-Shared Heart 6.7.23

Shared Heart Friends Newsletter Power of Saying Thank You

Dear Shared Heart Friends,

A letter about Education or Wisdom?

Summer Couples Retreat  June 22-25

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.

The Greatest Journey  Nov 2023-Apr 2024
Find and live your dream, your passion, and your purpose! Individually and together with a small, carefully chosen group of 8-14 participants (singles or couples), these 6 months will help you recreate your life.

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

This month’s article excerpt: “Do you ever feel inferior to others because they have more education? Or do you ever feel superior to someone with little education?”

Our latest book:  Heartfullness: 52 Ways to Open to More Love, is available only on as a Kindle e-book for only $5.99 (or paperback for $15.95). Read what one reviewer says:
“I love love love this book!! For me, it’s like a thought for the day … I read — then carry that nugget of love, joy, or peace to ponder and bathe in throughout the day, –or even take into my meditations!! such a treasure !! priceless!” –Trish Turpel 
Here’s the link:

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. Please call Paris at 831-684-2130 to order.

Shared Heart Column
Heartfulness     June 2023
with Joyce and Barry Vissell
“Education or Wisdom?”
Do you ever feel inferior to others because they have more education? Or do you ever feel superior to someone who has very little education?
In my family, including my brother, his wife, and four children, and my family of Barry and three children, there are three PhDs, three college degree nurses, and one master’s degree, and the rest have college educations. My father had an engineering degree from an outstanding college, and my mother was proud to have graduated from high school, the first one of her poor immigrant family with eight siblings. With all of the education in our family, it was my mother that we all went to for wisdom and understanding.
Wisdom does not come from education. It comes from living a life with gratitude, being open to learning from each experience, whether hard or good and allowing it to teach you. My mother allowed life to teach her, and her life had many difficult aspects. Her mother died when she was six, leaving a newborn baby to be raised by the older siblings. Her father died when she was just sixteen. She had twin boys that died one week after birth. She had to support our whole family with her little church secretary job when my father got a recurrence of his childhood polio. There, of course, were many amazing positive aspects to her life as well. But she learned from it all in the sound and challenging times and trusted God. So when the rest of the family had challenges, we all turned to my mother for her wisdom. It did not matter that she only had a high school education. She had allowed life to teach her and drew upon this wisdom.
My parents moved from Buffalo, New York, to live next door to us when my mother was 75 and my father was 82. My mother lived here until her death at 90, and my father until he was 89. It was wonderful having them live so close. Barry and I conducted our counseling practice in a small room near their home. My mother would sit in her living room each week and watch a young man come to see Barry for counseling. My mother noted that he seemed so sad. One day as he walked by her apartment, she called out, “I just made brownies. After seeing Barry, you could come up and have one.”  Well, he did, and then each time he came, he went up to my mother’s apartment for fresh brownies and coffee. He would spend one hour with Barry and then one hour with my mother. One day, he came to see Barry and announced that he did not need further counseling as he was doing much better. Then very shyly, he asked, “Is it alright if I continue to come and see your mother-in-law? She is giving me so much right now, just what I need.”  And so he continued to come and see my mother each week for perhaps two more months. We teased my mother that she would run Barry out of business.
Ten years ago, a couple came to me for counseling. The man had two PhDs from Harvard and Stanford, and the woman was a highly accomplished medical doctor with fellowships from Stanford in three different areas. They were the most educated people I had ever met. I started to feel inferior. What could I say to help them? I have a master’s degree, but it seemed like nothing compared to their education. Then I reminded myself that the wisdom I had learned from my life experience, as well as my decades of counseling experience, were what they needed from me. Once I realized that and stopped feeling inferior, the session went very well, and I realized that I had a lot to give them that their education had not.
When our older daughter, Rami, graduated from her Ph.D. program, we took my mother to graduation. At the close, when we congratulated Rami, my mother asked if she could put on her black robe and the scarf of the Ph.D. graduate. She explained that she had never worn a graduation gown as her high school was too poor to afford something like that. We helped her with the robe and took her photo. She looked so proud. Then she said, “When I die, I want this photo used at my memorial. And I want you to tell people that I have graduated from life and moved on to higher education in heaven.”  And so we did just that, and surely my mother had learned enough in this life to grant her a Ph.D. in wisdom.
When the Hospice nurse came to help me dress my mother after she had died, she spent a long time studying the wrinkles on her face. Then she told me, “I have been a hospice nurse for a very long time, and I study the wrinkles on each person’s face. Your mother lived a good life, and she did not have resentments or regrets. She learned from each experience, whether it was challenging or accessible. She died with much wisdom. “Then she pointed out to me the wisdom lines on her face.
May we all learn from life and die free of regrets and resentments, genuinely grateful for it all, and may the lines on our faces reflect a well-lived life.
(Please read A Mother’s Final Gift for more about the beautiful lessons our family learned from the last weeks with my mother.)

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, passionate about conscious relationships and personal spiritual growth. They are the authors of 9 books and a new free audio album of sacred songs and chants. Call 831-684-2130 for further information on counseling sessions by phone, online, or in person, their books, recordings, or schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their website at for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationships and living from the heart.

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

June 22-25:  Summer Couples Retreat
July 21-23:  Esalen Couples Retreat
November 2023 – April 2024:  The Greatest Journey (Mentorship Program)

Quote of the Month:

“When a decision is right, no matter how small or large, it is always accompanied by a feeling of lightness, joy or ease, even if difficult to carry out.” – The Shared Heart, p. 32

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 2023 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 into the heart of love and deeper awareness, where real-world healing begins. Peace be with you all.

June 22-25:  Summer Couples 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.

July 21-23:  Esalen Couples RetreatLearn skills to dramatically improve your relationship while luxuriating at one of the most uniquely beautiful retreat centers we have ever visited. 

November 2023 – April 2024:  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.


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 need help, you can choose from one hour to a two-day intensive with either one or both of us.
An easy way to support The Shared Heart Foundation. Now you can help us with every Amazon order you make. Just go to, sign in like you usually do, specify The Shared Heart Foundation (you only have to do this once), and 0.5% of every order supports us. Thank you for this support.
Our love and blessings to you all,
Barry and Joyce Vissell
Please click on for inspiring articles about relationships and consciousness and our updated schedule.

If you missed our last Shared Heart post, it is here.

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