When I woke up this morning, I realized I needed to tell you the honest story about the passing of my father-in-law, Carl.
In my last article I shared the story of my mother-in-law’s death. Mike, my husband, and I suspected that Carl would pass quickly after that; he was devoted to his wife, he was 98, and in a lot of physical and emotional pain. Last week he died in his sleep. We are grateful that his suffering is over.
It was not the beautiful, precious passing like his wife’s; though he died peacefully, he was not surrounded by loved ones. This is a reflection of how he lived his life. Carl was very loving in many respects, but in other respects he was cranky, resentful, and angry. When he was younger he was outright abusive to his kids.
So Carl’s passing is not producing the profound reflections on life for us that his wife’s passing did. Instead, it’s inspiring me to reflect on how we teach love and attunement – especially to men.
Carl grew up in the 1920s and 30s. Back then, no one said to young men, “Hey son, I want to teach you how to drop into your heart, look someone in the eye, really hear them, understand them, and empathize with them.” That is so far from reality, it’s almost comical!
Instead, the message Carl got was, “Toughen up or die.” During the Depression and WWII, that threat was very real. As a child of an alcoholic father, he just had to cope with his hurt; there was no therapy or Al-Anon in those days. Is it any wonder he was angry, often immature, and sometimes abusive? It’s not an excuse (I don’t believe in excuses) – but it does help me to understand.
It also makes me even more grateful for every man I know – including those of you reading this email – who dare to defy cultural conditioning and stay present in their hearts, attune to others, and simultaneously own their strength and power. When men don’t do this, when they don’t heal, it is a loss for our communities.

We actually need the same from women, but while women are supported to stay in their hearts, they often aren’t supported to be strong and powerful. As women, we also need to embrace it all – love, attunement, strength, and power.
In a bizarre synchronicity of timing, this is part of what I find remarkable about the work in the business world I am sharing with you today. As business has often been the domain of men who were asked to “toughen up or die,” I never thought that companies would invite anything spiritual or heart centered.

Though many companies aren’t changing yet, there are individuals and businesses who are now seeking compassion, empathy, emotional intelligence, and even Consciousness at work. It touches and inspires me that they invite me into their realm and ask for Divine Light to shine in their world. You can read more about this work, and the classes and sessions I’m offering, here: http://www.awakenatwork.com/.

Perhaps you too are processing the need for love, attunement, strength and power in our families and at work. I would love to hear from you; let me know what resonated for you and what you are discovering too.

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