It was a morning like any other morning…I woke up early and went about my usual routine getting the kids organized for school. This was the day I had planned to write my monthly newsletter; the theme for June was Father’s Day.

The phone rang…a friend of mine called to share with me that her husband had passed away suddenly on the weekend. I was shocked and saddened by the news…so tragic, it was just days before Father’s Day and I thought of her two children who now had lost theirs. I moved into my compassionate heart as I felt her pain through the phone.

I asked if there was anything I could do for her or for them, and she responded, “When everyone has left and we’re here alone, could you please check in on us and make sure that we’re okay? And when you see the kids, please wrap your arms around them and give them a hug… hold them.”

As I hung up the phone, I allowed my tears to flow. I was feeling the grief that I knew they all must have been going through as I had been there…I was 18 when my mom had died.

I too wanted to be held, but back then I didn’t know how to let anyone do that…I was shut down and I continued to bury my feelings of grief for almost 20 years as I didn’t know what to do with them. But did any of us as children? Do we now as adults?

I wish I had known then what I know now…how to feel safe enough to allow myself to feel my feelings. I am so grateful that someone held a safe place for me to feel, even though I was 38 by the time I learned how.

Now almost 10 years later I have the privilege of creating a safe place to let my children feel their own pain…their anger…their fears; teaching them that not only is it okay to have feelings, but inspiring them to release them in a healthy way, so they don’t grow up into adults, chock-full of suppressed emotions, as every one of my clients comes to see me with.

We’re all the same…we all have feelings. But if no one taught us what to do with ours and if we don’t know how to create the safe place that they need, our kids won’t know what to do when they go to the dark places of pain inside them, then our emotional pain will get triggered, we’ll shut down or react and the cycle will continue.

I will continue to hold the space in my heart as my friend and her children feel their loss and I send my love and compassion to another close friend whose father just suffered a stroke as well as any of you experiencing similar family traumas.

I feel so grateful that I still have my father in my life…he’ll be 70 next year and based on a recent check-up he expects to be around for many more! Happy Father’s Day to my dad and to all of the men who will be celebrated on this special day.

This is also a perfect time for me to honour my dear friend and teacher, Colleen Hoffman Smith by wishing her a very Happy Birthday! The Inner WorkoutTM was like the flashlight that allowed me to find my way through the world of feelings. It is the best gift I have ever received and I am grateful to be able to re-gift it over and over again everyday! Thank you!

Author's Bio: 

As an author, speaker and awareness coach, Jo-Anne Cutler has become a passionate voice for children by building the awareness of what we are teaching them by our example and following her vision to inspire and empower others to be the connected parents, teachers and role models our children need them to be. She has created an audio program called Breaking the Cycle, is in the process of writing her own book (scheduled release early 2008), is a certified life coach using The Inner Workout™ program and is also the author of several published articles and co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Vol. 2. She offers personal/telephone consultations, seminars, and a free monthly e-newsletter, opening hearts to the harmony that we all desire in our homes, our classrooms and in our lives; one connection at a time. For more information, please visit