The grandmothers look like storyteller dolls – small pottery figures with open mouths, surrounded by children. They are, however, storylistener dolls. The importance of this skill, listening, is emphasized by the earrings found on each grandmother. Instead of having an open mouth, as if to instruct; her mouth is closed and empathetic, to understand. In the shift from teller to listener, roles are reversed, and knowledge is passed through a different means. The grandmother is deep and grounded, to hold and bear witness to whatever the victim of trauma needs to release. 

When I interviewed different types of healers on the topic of healing (in order to incorporate as many needful aspects into the form of the grandmothers), there were some helpful insights:

  • “The return to normal function,” was how a cardiologist defined healing. This is important as it gives hope. Wholeness is “normal,” the process of healing gets us back to our “default,” our natural way of being.
  • A social worker said, “Narrative therapy is powerful,” but then added, “When the brokenness is overwhelming, simple things like walking with people where they need to go, and being present to the grief, is sometimes all you can do to help (in that moment)”.
  • An energy healer affirmed, “(Healing is) an internal walk that takes time. It is possible to heal something so deep and so profound that everything else ripples out from that space of wholeness”.
  • A conflict mediator stressed, “Listening to a person and reflecting back in paraphrase helps the story be told and releases the feelings that are trapped. Listening is essential to repairing relationships”.
  • A spiritual adviser stated that because healing is “a communal experience,” when there is someone to listen, “(We) find ourselves in relationship to overarching love”. This connectedness allows the broken to feel whole again, creates well-being, and allows for transformation to occur.

The act of listening is just that, an intentional action. It respects another’s story. Listening demonstrates individual lives are valuable.

For more information, please see –

If you would like to help, there is a Kickstarter here – Thank you!

#FamiliesBelongTogether #LoveThyNeighor (NoExceptions) #Peace #StandWithImmigrants #LovingKindness #LoveKnowsNoBorders #AJustWorld4All #GrandmotherHealingDolls #PeaceLoveUnderstanding

Share your thoughts in meaningful dialogue –

(Please do not comment here, instead use these posts as opportunities for respectful communication directly with someone you know. Here’s an idea…how about talking with someone who disagrees with you on this or other issues?)

What is dialogue?

What is the biggest barrier to listening?

Please tell about a time you felt truly heard.

When asylum-seeking parents and children were separated and put in detention centers; compassionate, creative action was needed & Grandmother Healing Dolls was born. Follow the journey of their creation and the 3000 mile trip to three detention centers, courthouses, and more on this Thrive Global series.