An amazing thing happened to me the other day.
I was in a deeply upsetting place with a close friend of mine. We had what started out as a discussion about a sensitive personal issue for her, but the discussion soon escalated into a full blown argument. Have you ever had a big argument with a friend or family member, or someone you feel close to and love: crazy question really, because of course you have!
I’m sure we all know the hardest conflicts are when love is present as well as anger or hurt. For me, it was excruciating to be in this place with someone I feel connected and close to most of the time.
Then, my wise friend told me about something she had learned on on a retreat recently, called Heart Dialogue. She suggested we try it.
So, we did! It involved stopping the fight, and that’s the hard bit, then each tuning into our own hearts.
We both took the time to connect to our own hearts and inner emotion of the moment and then each saying what we noticed, speaking as if the actual words were coming from the heart. And also talking about any bodily sensations we were aware of. I was unsure but made a big effort to be open to this idea. After a few minutes of tuning into my heart, I found myself saying:
I feel a huge tension in my chest and I know it’s about the fear of our friendship falling apart completely. I feel scared of losing our special connection. This fear in my chest feels like it’s burning a hole in there.
Then my eyes filled with tears and so did my friend’s eyes.
I feel like a naughty child. It’s an overwhelming feeling that I have to look after you and my needs won’t be heard. Now, I feel weak in my body with the overwhelm. My head hurts.
Something extraordinary happened then… we both spontaneously opened our arms to one another and hugged. Somehow all the words and trying to make it alright between us fell away. When we held each other, the emphasis quite spontaneously shifted to deep caring and simple friendship. We both felt it and our hearts softened towards one another. I guess you could say: Love led the way.
I’m sure you can guess what I might say here… a Heart Dialogue like this can be very effective if you are in a situation of locked battle with your partner. It’s not the usual way we go about things when we are in big, escalating disagreement, so it may feel awkward at first.
So here is a little resume of how to do the Heart Dialogue when you’re arguing:
Both pause, then you each close your eyes for a few minutes and explore what your heart is feeling in the moment. Then share this with your partner, almost as if your words are coming directly from your heart. Take your time and slow it all down. And also share any body sensations you notice. You both do this and really take time to listen to each other.
Then allow whatever happens next to simply happen. This is not about finding a solution. Indeed, struggling to find a solution is often not what’s needed, though we think it is.
Trusting the deeper dialogue of the heart can often break through the ghastly feeling of being in conflict with someone you love. It would be great to hear if you already do this or similar. Or if you gave it a go for the first time. How did it go? Good luck! Comments below.