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  • Kristin Miller, PhD, Psychologist, DCEP

Find Your Heart in Winter's Darkness

As the darkness of winter surrounds us, it is so hard for those that live in abusive relationships to find that stream of love so many of us celebrate this time of year.

Where is the manger that will hold the baby Christ, the persistent light of the menorah, or the hope of the Solstice? Certainly not in my household. Yet, could it be right there in your own heart?

This time of year, I sit with so many clients that have lost touch with love and hope. Many have never experienced a holiday filled with joy. Abuse has slammed their heart’s door. It is too painful to embrace love laced with abuse.

Shame has smeared the heart with feelings of worthlessness, self-blame for others’ actions, or the absurd belief that somehow, we deserve this treatment. Many have settled into this dark loveless world of abuse.

You don't have to settle. You are important and you matter. Even if you are not poised yet to get out, you can reclaim the sanctuary of your own heart.


Love for yourself is hard to find in the midst of abuse. Take time to release the shame and bath yourself in love and acceptance.


(adapted from Roger Callahan and David Gruder, known as Global Reversal)

Repeat the statements below 3 times each while rubbing in small circles the Sore Spots (From the middle of the collarbone (halfway between the midline and shoulder) go approximately 3 inches down.

  • With all my faults, weaknesses, and limitations, I want to deeply and completely love and accept myself.

  • With all my gifts, strengths, and ability to love, I want to deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Take a deep, releasing breath and check in with yourself. Notice what’s different.

Repeat throughout the day (and at least 8 times on really rough days!).


Breathe into the heart. Get to know your streams of love and joy. Come to meet your aching heart with comfort and compassion.


(An adaption of the ‘Quick Coherence’ technique from the Institute for Heart Math:

Heart focus: Place both hands over your heart at the center of your chest.

Heart breathing: Breathe gently and deeply, as if you are breathing in and out through your heart.

Heart feeling: While maintaining your heart focus and heart breathing, recall a positive feeling, of love, appreciation or gratitude.

Continue heart focus, heart breathing, and heart feeling for as long as you wish. When finished, gently express appreciation and gratitude for all the love and blessings in your life.


  • What is it that I am feeling?

  • How can I respond with love and understanding?

  • What are the small things that bring me joy like a cuddle with the cat, decorating a tree, music, a warm blanket, or looking at the night sky?

  • Who do I want to be with?

  • Where do I feel safe?


Weave these streams of love and joy together, building a safe place for you to heal. Could the New Year be about building a deep connection in the sanctuary of your own heart?

Please visit to learn more about these amazing self-care tools.

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