Healthy connection allows healing to occur


Dear Ted: I have read many of your articles and I appreciate the insights, and they leave me with something to ponder during the day about emotional healing. As we are in the middle of many different holiday events, I can feel levels of stress as well as excitement to see family and friends. Your article speaking of sitting with two sets of feelings made sense. My question is this: How do you navigate the emotional ride? Thanks, Dennis

Dear Dennis: Thank you for reading the article and writing in with your question. I appreciate your identifying that we may recognize a certain day, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and others. During this season, there are many events and gatherings, and we honor the coming together of many traditions, as well as friends and family. This can be overwhelming and daunting and yet it gives the opportunity to take time from the everyday patterns and actually see someone and connect with them rather than rush by without actually getting to connect, see, hear and value the people and traditions that are important to you. Taking this time to truly be present rather than checking off a box and surviving is important and can allow healing.

True relationships cannot be seen as a task that you accomplish. Otherwise, a part of you cannot be present, as it is already in exit mode. True connection demands a level of being open, allowing connection to be an organic process in which there is a level of vulnerability and of not having an agenda of completion, but opening to know one another on a deeper level. Hopefully, the holidays can allow that space and time rather than multiple tasks that overwhelm and prevent authentic connection from being seen, heard and valued.

To help allow that time, it is beneficial to choose who you wish to spend your precious time with and how you spend that time. Being conscious of your behaviors in areas of not overindulging in food, alcohol and/or other substances can allow for a better quality of time spent with the people you are connecting with, as well as feeling better the next day!

Most holidays are a chance to stop and allow for connection and self-reflection. As a species, we need connection and to find ways to share our true self while also witnessing others as they share about themselves. This can allow healing with the recognition that most people are trying to navigate the world around them. Finding empathy for the human struggle while enjoying the celebration of life can allow for healthier connections and a better world.

Thank you for the question. I wish you well. Until next week, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Wiard, founder of Golden Willow Retreat, at (575) 776-2024 or

This column seeks to educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.