Would you now prefer to LISTEN to this month’s article read by Barry? Turning 75 Please let us know if we should continue with the audio version of our monthly column. We know some of you like to listen to podcasts and such while driving or walking.
First In-Person Retreat in 16 Months! Summer Couples Retreat June 24-27 (click link to see what we’re doing to make this a safer retreat)
We are excited to offer our free album of sacred songs and chants, 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.
Excerpt from this month’s article: “We become old when we stop wondering at the world or learning new things.“
Our latest book: Heartfullness: 52 Ways to Open to More Love, available only on Amazon.com as a Kindle e-book for only $5.99 (or paperback for $15.95). Read what one reviewer says:
“This book is unique among the Vissell’s line of books because there are short 2-3 page inspirational chapters with a theme related to what it is to live from the heart, enjoyable to read in the evening when one wants inspiration. The stories always relate to a personal experience, and often are little gems that delight the reader. Read and enjoy this beautiful little Kindle book for wonderful stories from two masters in the Heartfulness movement.” –Caroline Cunningham
Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Heartfullness-Ways-Open-More-Love-ebook/dp/B081K926GY
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 2021
with Joyce and Barry Vissell
This month (May 2021), both Joyce and I turned 75. May 18 for Joyce, and May 27 for me. Three-quarters of a century! It’s a milestone for sure.
When I was younger, 75 years old seemed ancient. The house-mother in Joyce’s dormitory at Hartwick College, when we were 18 years old, seemed ancient. And she might have been a bit younger than us right now. One of her jobs was to vigilantly watch the young couples returning from their dates by the 10 pm curfew, to make sure all was appropriate in the little lobby, and nothing more than kissing was happening. It was under her watchful eyes that Joyce and I had our first kiss, a kiss that truly blew our minds.
They say you are only as old as you think. In some ways, Joyce and I are still those 18-year-old children, discovering new ways to love, learning the lessons this world will teach us. If we remain open to learning and discovering, we remain youthful. And yes, the reverse is also true. We become old when we stop wondering about the world or learning new things.
Last week, as part of our birthday gift to ourselves, we were in Yosemite National Park, truly one of the most beautiful places on this earth. We biked throughout the valley, stopping to take in the sheer rock walls, the waterfalls in their spring fullness, the dogwoods in full bloom, all the majestic trees, my favorite the majestic Yellow Pines (Ponderosa Pines), over two hundred feet high. We explored the banks and beaches of the Merced River and Tenaya Creek, finding our own little power spots to rest, or dip for a moment in the frigid water. As long as we touched upon that magic state of wonder, we remained young. It’s a moment-by-moment decision. You can choose at any time to enter the state of wonder, and that is a youthful moment.
I will not deny my vulnerability about aging. Sometimes I feel truly scared at what these next few decades may bring, and what I will physically or mentally lose. Year by year, I have watched my body slowly lose its abilities. I can no longer run. Softball, a real passion of mine, is a thing of the past. I can’t carry heavy loads anymore. At the local hardware store, I need to ask someone to help lift the bags of cement into my truck. But hey, asking for help is a much-needed skill at any age.
Many of you know about my passion for out-of-doors, especially river trips and backpacking. I realize that my fear of the window closing on these kinds of activities sometimes has me scrambling to do as much of these things as I can before I am forced to let go of them. Joyce loves nature just as much as I do. It’s just that she is more at peace staying home on our beautiful property. But she gives me her blessing to go off a couple of extra times a year on my solo adventures.
Then there’s our two grandsons, ten-year-old Skye and four-year-old Owen. I have had to accept my physical limitations more and more. I’ve gone from actor to director; from rolling around with them on the living room floor, to sitting on the couch challenging them with new games or routines. I not only come away with fewer bruises, but it is still a lot of fun. Everyone has a great time, even with Grandpa on the couch.
I love tennis but have had to quit playing with my more competitive (and younger) friends. Now I can still enjoy tennis, but it’s a special kind of tennis, with my friend, Charlie Bloom. We call it “Old Farts Tennis.” We have strict rules. First, there is no keeping score, except we often call out our favorite score, “love-love.” Then, the object of the game is to enjoy hitting the ball, no matter where it ends up going. If we hit the ball back to each other, great! If the ball is not hit right to us, and we have to move fast to get to the ball, we get cheered by the other for letting the ball fly by, rather than make some heroic effort which may end up getting us hurt. And if one of us makes an amazing play, like a really great serve or return, everything stops for a proper celebration! It’s another “wonder” moment.
Not long ago, I asked myself what I most wanted in this life. The answer came in the form of a song, which someday I hope to record for you all. Here are the words:
“I only want to love and feel my open heart.
Of all the things I do, this is the highest art.
There’s always more to do.
The world won’t stop for me.
But I can stop and feel what I most want.
I only want to love, and see beauty everywhere.
The joy it gives to me is far beyond compare.
I want to see the light
That dances in your eyes.
I want to hear the song of your heart.”
This is all I want, just to love. It’s what makes me happiest. Loving my beloved Joyce makes my heart sing. Loving our children and grandchildren fills me up. Loving the divine helpers, the angels, and great ones fills me with gratitude. Then there are the retreats we lead, even on Zoom throughout the pandemic. I long for those magic moments, often introduced by someone’s vulnerability, and the whole group feels that welling up of goodness, where breathing is a pleasure, and love becomes a tangible thing, a noun and a verb, a feeling and a doing, two things joined together in one.
And then I know, I can love for all the days of my life!
Join Barry and Joyce Vissell in their first in-person event in 16 months: Summer Couples Retreat, June 24-27.
Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are 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 their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their website at SharedHeart.org 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):
Quote of the Month: “Rather than pretending to be strong and independent, we can find our true strength by freely admitting our human emotional need. The humble person is not afraid of dependence.” – The Shared Heart, p. 24
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 2021 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.
June 24-27: 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.
Nov 2021-Apr 2022
The Shared Heart Foundation needs volunteers. If you would like to support our vision and work, no matter where you live, email email@example.com
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. http://sharedheart.org/counseling/
For children, teens, or young adults, our daughter, Rami, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you ever shop on Amazon.com?Now you can support The Shared Heart Foundation just by shopping online? Just go to smile.amazon.com, sign in like you normally 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 SharedHeart.org for inspiring articles about relationships and consciousness, as well as our updated schedule.