The Family project is based on the Contemplative Discovery Pathway Theory (CDPT), which motivates persons to move beyond their hurt, pain and shame to experience the discovery of their authentic self based in love and gratitude. A developmental model, CDPT postulates that the self follows the step-wise path from the natural self at birth to the shame self and its antithesis, the addictive shame false self, leading to the development of the authentic self and eventually, the contemplative transcendent self (Allen, Mayo, Allen-Carroll, Manganello, Allen, & Singh, 2014).
In The Family, all of us are hurt and have shame experiences. We believe that our hearts and psyche are like a sponge which absorbs the hurt, shame and pain of a lifetime. And even though love surrounds us, there is no space in our hearts for it.
The Family seeks to create a contemplative atmosphere of silence, acceptance, love and non- judgmental listening. As a result, persons are able to share their stories of pain and shame, releasing the hurt from their heart and making space for love. This is not a one shot experience; it takes time, trust and insight. Eventually, a healing bond develops among those who are sharing and those who are listening. This allows our self to become enveloped in the love that never lets us go and the face that never turns away, giving persons a sense of meaning (purpose), identity and value (the authority card). This is manifested by the appreciation of solitude (the joy of self acceptance to experience the adventure of our inner being). This results in a vulnerability and empathy which allows us to be compassionate to others and develop meaningful community. The internalization of love creates a prevailing sense of humility in which we appreciate others without devaluing ourselves. Humility is a validation of the realization that life is a mystery with many variables and all we have is a result of God’s love. The highest expression of the appreciation of that love is gratitude. When we experience being grateful, it means we have moved from being a victim of our shame and hurt to the discovery of the glorious freedom of our authentic self based in love and gratitude.
The Family’s mantra is summed up in this quote: “Each person’s life is a challenging journey from being a victim of their shame false self based in fear and anger to the discovery of the glorious freedom of their authentic true self based in love/compassion, humility, forgiveness and gratitude”. The Family is a place where we tell our authentic stories to empty our heart so that we can absorb the love coming from the contemplative environment of the group. All love comes from God, ‘the Love which will never let us go and the Face which will never turn away’. When that love enters our life, we change our mind, change our life and change the world. As T.S. Eliot said “we shall not cease from exploration and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.