Grief Work

“And she said losing love is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you’re blown apart
Everybody feels the wind blow”
Paul Simon
I love working with grief. Partly because people’s defenses are blown down and it’s easy to make deep, meaningful contact as fellow mortal humans. Another aspect is I’m just especially good at it. This type of pain is far from burdensome; it deeply touches me. I feel honored to work with it, to hold it and have it flow through me back into the ground. Finally, the main reason: grief is the flip side of joy. The depth of our grief reflects the depth of our love. In Battlestar Galactica the cylons envy humans for their mortality, for without impermanence they find it hard to appreciate or enjoy anything. It’s the fleetingness and unknown duration of each moment and relationship that’s at the source of the magic of being alive. Working with grief reminds me of all this, so it feels like a gift to do this work.
For more of my thoughts on grief listen to this interview of me with Beth Ruyak on NPR’s Capital Public Radio show “Insight.”http://ia601503.us.archive.org/13/items/Insight-121210/Insight-121210a.mp3
For more on my work with The Conscious Dying Network: http://theconsciousdyingnetwork.com/speakers/

Expressive Art Therapies

I do a lot of things with scarves. There’s something about the textures and colors that brings us into the moment and wakes up our right brains. Suddenly we’re no longer talking about the issues abstractly, but playing together in a way that’s fun and alive. I also use found objects, psychodrama, empty chair, inner characters or parts work, ritual, drawing, maps, crystal balls and time machines. I believe these techniques can fast track  our work, going straight to the emotional core and uncovering new perspectives and insights that are hard to access when we’re just talking in the familiar and perhaps tired story of how we see and relate to our issues. These offerings are always optional, so if you’re most comfortable just talking, I am fine with that too.

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