• D

The Many Faces of Grief: A - C

Dear Reader,

Grief is the universal issue that we all deal with, and she has many faces; you’ve seen these faces, but you may not have recognized them as grief. It’s human misery that we transmit if we don’t transform it.

This is an invitation to recognize and acknowledge the face in the mirror, the face of your loved one, the face that you fear or hate. Or the face that hasn’t yet been named. Or met.

From suffering to thriving, with great compassion, we have to pass through the necessary darkness. In doing so, we finally wear the authentic face that radiates peace and well-being. Meanwhile, let us bless every face that we meet, for we never know the grief that another carries.


Abuse, Aging, Addictions, Abandonment, Anger, Abortion, Attachment disorder, Anxiety, Adultery, Attack, Alcoholism

On Addiction:

What the ego hates more than anything else is to change—even when the present situation is not working or is horrible. Instead, we do more and more of what does not work, as many others have rightly said about addicts. The reason we do anything one more time is because the last time did not really satisfy us deeply. As the English poet W. H. Auden put it:

“We would rather be ruined than changed,

We would rather die in our dread

Than climb the cross of the moment

And let our illusions die.”

Addicts—which I’m convinced are all of us, in one way or another—have an intense resistance to change. We like predictability and control. That’s one of the reasons addicts find it easier to have a relationship with a process or a substance rather than with people. Unlike objects, people are unpredictable. Having a drink, making a purchase, or turning to our devices can change our superficial mood very quickly. Even though the mood shift doesn’t last, it makes us feel like we are in control for a while. We don’t have to change our thinking or way of relating to people. We don’t have to sit with our boredom, discomfort, or anger, which short-circuits our ability to grow up and to move beyond whatever is in our way.

Until we bottom out and come to the limits of our own fuel supply, there is no reason for us to switch to a higher octane of fuel. Why would we want to change? We will not learn to actively draw upon a Larger Source until our usual resources are depleted and revealed as wanting. In fact, we will not even know there is a Larger Source until our own source and resources fail us. Until and unless there is a person, situation, event, idea, conflict, or relationship that we cannot “manage,” we will never find the True Manager.

~ Richard Rohr

On Abuse:

I stayed devoted and loyal to men who hurt me. Why? Because I had been treated worse. At least there were a few good crumbs and I could cope and survive on them. But I was dying. You can’t thrive on crumbs. You can’t grow or develop on crumbs. You can’t heal. You’re still an abused child.

Children don’t fight or flee when traumatized – they attach. I was attached to men who hurt me. I gave them control over my life. That’s the only way I know how to be in relationship with men. There’s no blame here. It’s just the pattern. NO safety. NO trust. Powerless. This is my woundedness – the perpetuation of childhood abuse.

Dis-regulated people will partner with other dis-regulated people. Go figure.

I’m breaking down in sorrow and tears; so, what am I doing? Moving furniture – trying to get some control here in my little corner – to get it right – to bring some order to things that I can control. My furniture.


On Aging:

My friends, let’s grow up.

Let’s stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.

Or if we truly haven’t noticed, let’s wake up and notice.

Look: everything that can be lost, will be lost.

It’s simple – how could we have missed it for so long?

Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings.

But please, let’s not be so shocked by them

Let’s not act so betrayed.

As though life had broken her secret promise to us.

Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,

And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.

To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,

And her compassion exquisitely precise:

Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth.

She strips away the unreal to show us the real.

This is the true ride – let’s give ourselves to it!

Let’s stop making deals for a safe passage:

There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.

We are not children anymore.

The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost. . .

~ Jennifer Welwood

Aging offers a thousand opportunities to crash into our own beliefs, a thousand opportunities to crash into the truth of loss and impermanence. We may experience the chaos of confronting unexamined beliefs. We may experience the chaos of dealing with our reactions to aging bodies gone awry. We may experience chaos in our reactions to the rudeness and indifference with which we may be treated. Or we may experience chaos in our reactions to the kindness with which we, now among the old, may be treated. Unexpected expenses, illnesses, falls, diminishments push us up against our assumptions about the way things should be, push us face first into the unexamined attachments and aversions that have led us through our years.

~ Kathleen Dowling Singh, author of The Grace in Aging

On Anger:


Bullying, Blame, Betrayal

On Bullying:

“School administrators can’t say it’s up to the parents. Parents can’t say it’s up to the teachers. Teachers can’t say it’s not their job. And kids can’t say, “I was too afraid to tell.” Every single one of us has to play our role if we’re serious about putting an end to the madness. We are all responsible. We must be.”

~ Megan Kelley Hall

On Betrayal:

Betrayal hurts so badly. It is one of the most devastating experiences in life and one that’s difficult to understand. It shatters the trust you had in others and leaves you feeling like you’re all on your own.

When a person close to you violates your trust, it calls everything into question and provides no easy answers. You can recover from a lot of wrongs but betrayal is hard to process.

But although you may not avoid feeling the sting of betrayal, you can heal from it. Understand that it’s not your fault. It’s not you. It’s humankind.

Instead of allowing the other person’s behavior to negatively shape your life, learn to grow and evolve from the experience. Move on and trust those who you can count on.

Focus on the things that will nurture your spirit and fill your soul with happiness. Remember that you’re in control of your emotions and of how you treat others.

~ Everyday Power


Crime, Care-taking, Community tragedy, Childhood trauma, Character assassination, Climate change, Civil rights, Climate anxiety, Corona Virus

On the Corona Virus:

The Corona Pandemic has taken over the airwaves. We don’t know yet what this thing will end up doing to us, but so far it seems to be really good at bringing anything resembling “business as usual” to a halt.

There seems to be something missing in the news reporting on this situation. Media outlets are peppering us with stats, info about where the virus came from, what it can do to us and how we should act to protect ourselves and each other. But it’s hard to find out what could’ve caused it. And there’s precious little wondering about what it can end up meaning for the future should we take this opportunity to reimagine our relationship with the planet and each other.

What if the current, interest-based economy collapses under its own burden – what might eventually come to take its place? And what could our future look and smell like if we reject the temptation to rush back to “business as usual” when this has blown over? Is the corona crisis a horrific affliction or a golden opportunity? Or is it both?

~ Stephen Jenkinson, author, palliative care worker, founder of Orphan Wisdom School

On Childhood Trauma:

Inner Child:

Please don’t hurt me anymore

Please don’t leave me anymore

Without you I’m lost

But with you I’m scared

I’m little

I’m fragile

I’m yours


I’m sorry you had to see that my child

It’s not your fault

It’s not your fault

I won’t let anybody hurt you again

With God’s grace, I will learn

To protect you

And defend you

I’m sorry

I love you

My child

~ James Finley

On Climate Anxiety:

In a recent "PBS NewsHour" survey, in partnership with The Generation Lab, children and young adults said they expect climate change to have major implications for how they live.

Nearly two-thirds said that climate change will influence where they decide to live. More than half said it will change how and where they travel. And a third said it would affect their decision to have children. That is on top of growing resurge that shows that young people are increasingly experiencing what's now known a climate anxiety.

  • Sofia Palau, Youth Vs. Apocalypse:

Of course, I have panic attacks about climate change. It's the biggest issue facing our society today.

Truly, what we are facing right now is the apocalypse.

When people think, oh, no one's going to die of climate change, then they're already discounting all of the people who have died in California wildfires, or all of the people who've died in hurricanes, or islands that are slowly going underwater, and people's lives who are being uprooted.

Lise Van Susteren, Climate Psychiatry Alliance:

It's clear that we have passed certain tipping points already that have convinced children that they are in trouble, that their futures are imperiled.

Kids have told me that they don't want to pursue a secondary education. What's the point? Kids have said, of course, that they don't want to have children because they don't want to bring a child into the chaos.

And then there are other kids who have just become anxious by themselves and might take all sorts of responses, maybe eating disorders, some people, or just a general feeling of apathy.

The kids are not dreaming this up. They aren't living in a cave. They have seen with their own eyes. It's no longer just scientists telling them. They have seen what is happening. And for us to sweep this under the rug makes them feel even worse.