Loss and Grief (from the work of Brene Brown, in her latest book Atlas of the Heart)


Loss - while death and separation are tangible losses associated with grief, some of the participants described losses that are more difficult to identify or describe.  These included the loss of normality, the loss of what could be, and the loss of what we thought we knew or understood about something or someone.    

Longing - related to loss is longing.  Longing is not conscious wanting; it's an involuntary yearning for wholeness, for understanding, for meaning, for the opportunity to regain or even simply touch what we’ve lost.  Longing is a vital and important part of grief. 

Feeling Lost - grief requires us to reorient every part of our physical, emotional and social worlds.  When we imagine the need to do this, most of us picture the painful struggle to adjust to a tangible change, such as someone dying or moving away.  But this is a very limited view of grief.  The more difficult it is for us to articulate our experiences of loss, longing, and feeling lost to the people around us, the more disconnected and alone we feel.  Talking about grief is difficult in a world that wants us to “get over it” or a community that is quick to pathologise grief. 


 "Compassion is fueled by understanding and accepting that we're all made of strength and struggle - no one is immune to pain or suffering.  Compassion is not a practice of 'better than' or 'I can fix you' - it's a practice based in the beauty and pain of shared humanity.  

 Gratitude is an emotion that reflects our deep appreciation for what we value, what brings meaning to our lives, and what makes us feel connected to ourselves and others".  

 Connection is in our neurobiology, this is why our experiences of disconnection are so painful and can lead to social isolation, loneliness and feelings of powerlessness.  Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship."




“When a person adapts to a loss, grief is not over”.  (The Centre for Complicated Grief, Columbia)

Grief is a force of energy that cannot be controlled or predicted.  It doesn’t mean that we’re sad for the rest of our lives, it means that ‘grief finds a place’ in our lives.  Imagine a world in which we honour the place in ourselves and other rather than hiding it, ignoring it, or pre-tending it doesn’t exist because of fear or shame. 


A central process in grieving, is the attempt to reaffirm or reconstruct a world of meaning, that has been challenged by loss.  (Robert A. Neimeyer, Psychologist)

The process of Anguish is an almost unbearable and traumatic swirl of shock, incredulity, grief and powerlessness.  Not only does it take away our ability to breath, feel and think - it comes for our bones.  Anguish often causes us to physically crumple in on ourselves, literally bringing us to our knees or forcing us all the way to the ground.  The element of powerlessness is what makes anguish traumatic.  We are unable to change, reverse, or negotiate what has happened.  And even in those situations where we can temporarily reroute anguish with to-do lists and tasks, it finds its way back to us. 


Loving Change