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Awareness Magazine
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Healing Relationships and the Heart Center

By Jim Gilkeson


When you work with another person, it can be said that healing work takes place in the zone between you and your partner, which Diane Tegtmeier, author of Relationships that Heal, calls “interspace.” As your need to gather new tools and techniques relaxes, and as you evolve something of a personal approach to your work, there comes a point when the healing relationship that you have with your partner comes into the foreground.

This expresses itself in bodywork in the unspoken, unseen negotiations between you. It shows in the way a new client will check you out — maybe completely unconsciously — before a word is ever said, to see if they feel safe. When there is

Often it is enough to create a trustworthy space for the person to be in, and their process will unfold with only minimal external intervention on your part. The establishment of this safe space or “energetic kiva,” is what provides your partners with an environment in which they can slip a bit more easily into other states of consciousness and then return, ready to meet their world again.

In many people, this ability is quite developed and all they need is that extra bit of energetic support. The container of a healing relationship between you and your partner is often where that can happen.

A fascinating illustration of the workings of healing relationship is in Nicholas Evan’s book, The Horse Whisperer, in the description of the healing space that grows between Tom Booker, a healer of horses, and Pilgrim, an aptly named horse that has been savagely injured. There is a scene which contains all the elements of the creation of healing space. In this scene, Pilgrim gets spooked and bolts, and the horse whisperer takes off after him, following but never forcing himself on the frightened animal. Little by little, he skirts the horse’s visual field, keeping a respectful distance.

Day turns to evening as the horse whisperer crouches, patient as a tree, across an open meadow from Pilgrim, their eyes trained on each other. A palpable energy moves in the space between them. They wordlessly negotiate their space and, by and by, fear subsides. The zone between them opens and the horse approaches. Finally, Pilgrim is standing in front of the horse whisperer, less than an arm’s length away. Still, the man does nothing until finally, the horse nudges him with his snout. Only then does the horse whisperer reach out and slip a rope over his head and lead him back to the corral where the healing work can continue.

Like the best bodyworkers and healers I know, the horse whisperer moves in a dance between being and doing. His mastery of technique is so seamless that you don’t even notice it. His approach is so uncomplicated as to be virtually invisible, but through it all it is his empathy and ability to be unflinchingly present that stitches man and horse together into a unified fabric.

There is more than one healing relationship going on when working with another person. The obvious one is the healing relationship between you and your partner. The other, less obvious one is the relationship you and your partner have with the wisdom residing deep within each of you. Your effectiveness as a healer depends on the interaction between the healing qualities active in you and that same area of quality in your partner.

This does not happen through words. In fact, it doesn’t even happen between you and your partner without first happening between you and yourself in your own personal inner work. Facilitating a healing process in another, if it is to go beyond a merely technical level, begins with you.

As the healing relationship grows between you and your own inner world, the healing qualities set free in the process transmit wordlessly to others and stimulate similar qualities in them. They sense it and respond spontaneously. If I were to give a name to what makes this possible, it would be compassion, your feeling for the other per-son. The reason is simple: Whatever you feel your calling to be, its expression into this world involves your Heart Center, and it is the nature of the Heart to reach out and set up an energetic exchange between you and other people and the world around you.

When compassion — a feeling for the other person — expresses through your Heart and the way it touches others, it acts as a vehicle for your deeper qualities, the ones associated with your calling, to move outward into the world. The compassion that fills the space between you and your healing partner is what makes it a healing relationship.

This article is an excerpt from Jim’s current book, “A Pilgrim in Your Body: Energy Healing and Spiritual Process,” iUniverse, Inc.

Jim Gilkeson is the author of two books and over fifty articles on energy healing. He is a bodywork therapist, a teacher of meditation and energy-oriented healing, and an amateur musician. For more information, visit: