Archive | Lifestyle

What is the Heart Chakra? What Does Anahata Mean?

What is the heart chakra? Back up – what are chakras? And what does Anahata (the Sanskrit name for this chakra) mean? Who cares? Why should we care? Just because it’s Valentine’s Day?

The heart chakra, also know as Anahata, is located over the heart and is in the middle of the seven common chakras, which gives this light well a special significance. In the middle, this chakra integrates opposites – male and female, self and community, mind and body, lust and reason, earth and divine. A healthy, balanced heart chakra enables us to offer compassion, love deeply and bestows a sense of ease and centeredness.

In Sanskrit, chakra means “wheel.” Some think of the chakras as energy centers or filtration systems or “wheels that heal.”

Anodea Judith offered that last definition. She also describes the chakra system as the architectural of the soul. She is most knowledgable and accessible writer about the chakras I have encountered. Her book Eastern Body Western Mind is, as John Friend puts it in his blurb, an “Absolutely brilliant synthesis of the chakra system and the heart of Western psychology.”

In the Hindu tradition, seven main chakras exist –

  1. Root Muladhara, which means root
  2. Sacral Svadhisthana, which means sweetness
  3. Solar Plexus, Manipura, which means lustrous gem
  4. Heart, Anahata, which means unstuck
  5. Throat, Vissudha, which means purification
  6. Third Eye or Brow, Ajna, which means to perceive
  7. Crown, Sahasrara, which means thousandfold

The three below focus on the physical and emotional realms and the three above the heart chakra focus on the spiritual. The heart is the connector between the two realms along this system. And it’s the place of human love and feeling.

According to Dr. Brenda Davies, there are 27 minor ones and many lesser chakras. I read a book last summer by Alberto Villoldo who there noted that in the Native American Indian tradition, there are 9 chakras. Unsurprisingly, he elaborated that other living beings have chakras, even trees. I found his teachings very interesting because of the similarities and dissimilarities between these two distinct and apart cultures. Though separated by the Atlantic Ocean, each culture came to recognize these energy locales in the human body and soul. In the Inka tradition, chakras are called ojos de liz, or eyes of light. His Inka mentor called them pukios, light wells. Isn’t that lovely?

Chakras can be imbalanced if there is too much energy or too little. With the heart chakra too much energy there is characterized by possessiveness, jealousy and poor boundaries. Too little is associated with isolation, loneliness, bitterness, critical, shyness and lack of empathy. Imbalances in this light well are deeply connected to our own self-acceptance.

Associated with the the element of air, Anodea Judith writes of the Anahata,

Air is formless, largely invisible, absolutely necessary, and the least dense of our first four elements. Air is expansive as it will expand to fit any space it is put into, yet it is soft and gentle.

So, too, is love. Love is the expansion of the heart, the transcendence of boundaries, the interconnectedness of spirit. Love is balance, ease, softness, forgiveness. And love at the heart chakra is felt as a state of being, existing independently of any object or person.

Rather than reinvent the wheel (pardon the pun), for a brief overview of the heart chakra, I refer you to this terrific brief essay Anodea Judith wrote on Anahata – The Heart Chakra for the Llewellyn Encyclopedia. There she notes that the Sanskrit name Anahata means “sound that is made without any two things striking.” She elaborates the meaning clearly and beautifully and also refers to the Celestial Wishing Tree, which is related to the heart chakra.

I also took a very rewarding online course Chakra Activation with her at Sounds True last fall. You can check out her other offerings here.

Also for your information, Villoldo runs the Four Winds Society in Park City, Utah. They had an exhibit booth at the Yoga Journal Conference in May, and I find the work they are doing very intriguing and personally meaningful. Another really good book on this subject is The 7 Healing Chakras by Brenda Davies, MD. Her book is short and is really a workbook – offering guided meditations, exercises, questions to ponder. Indeed, turns out she also has a workbook based on her book! Check it out here.

Michael Bernard Beckwith Coming to DC

This weekend event in Washington looks like it could be good – A Weekend Workshop with Michael Bernard Beckwith, Author of Life Visioning and Spiritual Liberation.

It’s Friday night and all day Saturday, March 23-24th and being held at Unity Church on the 12th block of R Street, NW.

From the description —

Here is a chance to join this dynamic teacher as he shares breakthrough insights for navigating every stage of your evolutionary journey—and fulfilling your highest calling as only you can.

Beckwith has seen time and again what happens when people engage in the practice of Life Visioning. “When your thoughts and actions begin to align with the imperatives of your soul,” he explains, “you enroll the full support of the universe.”

Michael Bernard Beckwith’s gift is to reveal how we can answer these questions and live in sync with our inner calling through his Life Visioning Process— a method of deep inquiry and spiritual practice to enable our growth, development, and soul-level unfoldment.

This event is produced and sponsored by SoundsTrue. To me, that fact alone is an endorsement.

Feng Shui Tips for Love

Carol Olmstead is the author of Feng Shui for Real Life. So if you can’t afford to move the door to the entrance of your house, she offers some real life tips that you can implement.

If you are single, if you are divorced, if your love has gone stale – she has some doable suggestions for you. Check out her Feng Shui tips for Attracting Love.

My favorite is:

Add red accessories to your bedroom in shades of scarlet, crimson, and burgundy to activate the Fire Element and ignite your love life.

Well, I have an orange wall. Activation!

Kama Sutra? Yoga Sutra? What’s the Difference?

In a word – much!

They were both written in India in Sanskrit about the same time and have the same word in the title. So genre, time, place, language are common to both texts, but as you would learn from listening to the recommended BBC interview on the Kāma Sutras – many other topics were written about in that time and place and language on a variety of subjects in sutras.

Sutra means thread or line that holds or threads ideas together. The Kāma Sutra’s were written about 2000 years ago and is about sensual pleasures (among other lifestyle tips). Vatsyayana is thought to be the author. The Yoga Sutra is estimated to be written between 1900 and 2400 years ago and written or compiled from an oral tradition by Patanjali.

I briefly wrote about the Yoga Sutra a few months ago here. The Yoga Sutras offers four chapters, while the Kāma Sutras is seven chapters, so the Kāma Sutra is much longer. And sex comprises only the second of seven chapters. So there is much else there to explore and learn.

There is a new translation of the Kāma Sutra just published, and The New York Times printed a laugh out loud hilarious and favorable review on Sunday. When to Quote Poetry or Moan like a Moorhen: The Kama Sutra, Newly Translated by A.N.D. Haksar. Reviewed by Dwight Garner.

There is this:

You might not think the Kama Sutra and “Downton Abbey,” the warm <a “=”” abbey”=”” downton=”” href=”http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/” style=”color: #004276; text-decoration: underline;” title=”Web site for “>PBS soap opera about intrigues on a large rural estate in England, would have a great deal of thematic overlap. You would be wrong. Both are to some degree investigations into the kind of life a gentleman (or gentlewoman) should aspire to lead.

And then this:

your partner might find this sleek new Penguin Classics edition an intellectual aphrodisiac, though it contains no erotic illustrations, except several sublime ones on its cover. (For a certain audience, all Penguin Classics are trance-inducing objects of lust.)

And then this:

There is an impressively esoteric list, for example, of varieties of moaning during sex. These include: “the whimper, the groan, the babble, the wail, the sigh, the shriek, the sob and words with meaning, such as ‘Mother!’ ‘Stop!’ ‘Let go!’ or ‘Enough!’ Cries like those of doves, cuckoos, green pigeons, parrots, bees, moorhens, geese, ducks and quails are important options for use in moaning.” America’s porn actors have clearly not made anywhere near a proper study of this sonic landscape.

See? Funny! I’ve had a tiger but not a green pigeon (?!) or a geese, quail or duck!

If you don’t have time to read the book but are still curious about the origin and context of Kāma Sutra, I can very highly recommend this BBC4 Radio broadcast from the show In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg . There I learned that the arts and culture of India was at a height. And how the Kama Sutra is part of a popular genre of the time. Not only the yoga and kāma sutras were recorded then but also on a wide range of topics including logic, astronomy, politics, aesthetics, medicine and social ethics.

The discussion about 42 minutes long, free and you can download from iTunes here. He interviews:

  • Julius Lipner, Professor of Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion at the University of Cambridge
  • Jessica Frazier, Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent and Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
  • David Smith, Reader in South Asian Religions at the University of Lancaster.

Check it out. Or if you don’t have 43 minutes, you can also download this eight minute free podcast from SoundsTrue on Taoist Sexual Secrets. At eight minutes, it’s only a teaser but the entire series is about how to transform lovemaking into a spiritual practice informed by ancient and somewhat arcane material.

Losing Your New Year Resolve?

Do you feel like you are losing your new year resolve? Are you wondering about your “overriding purpose for being here?”

This article – Inspired Intention – by Kelly McGonigal is the best I have ever read that shows how yoga philosophy and ideas can inform our choices and our resolve. She teaches yoga, meditation and psychology at Stanford University and I’ve long appreciated her for her book Yoga for Pain Relief. She is making constructive contributions to the field of yoga and pain and the body/mind connection, and I very much hope one day to meet her.

She starts the article with a definition (a mind after my own heart!) —-

A sankalpa is a statement that does this for us. Stryker explains that kalpa means vow, or “the rule to be followed above all other rules.” San , he says, refers to a connection with the highest truth. Sankalpa, then, is a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth. “By definition, a sankalpa should honor the deeper meaning of our life. A sankalpa speaks to the larger arc of our lives, our dharma—our overriding purpose for being here.” The sankalpa becomes a statement you can call upon to remind you of your true nature and guide your choices.

She goes on to explain how sankalpa or resolve can take two forms – a goal/intention or a heartfelt desire. (that adjective is important). Then she describes how you uncover your heartfelt desire and goals, how best to state them, how to plant and nourish the seed and finally concludes with quoting Rod Stryker –

According to Rod Stryker, this apparent contradiction is the essence of both sankalpa practice and nondual teachings. “It all goes back to this idea that each of us is both being and becoming. There’s the part of us, para atman, that is transcendent, inherently one, and doesn’t need anything. We also have a jiva atman, that part of us that comes into life with a purpose and a destiny and is always becoming.” Stryker explains that to fulfill your dharma, you must find a way to integrate these two seemingly opposite aspects of being. “It’s vital for happiness that you walk both paths simultaneously. Direct your energy with intention, but be mindful that your nature is unchanged whether you achieve your goals or not. Live as contentedly as possible in between the goal and realizing the goal.”

The essay is long and full of content, but trust me, it’s worth the click over. Or you can listen to or download an hour long public radio interview with her here on the subject.

“Change In An Instant” The New Field of Energy Psychology

Insights from the Edge is a free podcast sponsored by the publisher SoundsTrue. It’s one of my favorites and always interesting. I always learn a lot.

The one from the other day, the 29th, the anniversary of my mother’s death, is about energy psychology which is a new area of psychology, trying to help people live better and happier lives.

Dr. Henry Grayson, the guest who is a psychologist and a physicist, defines energy psychology this way:

the field of energy psychology is just one that recognizes that everything is comprised of cell energies and that consciousness plays a role in it. And so the field of energy psychology recognizes both the dealing with the energy meridians that we’re talking about; dealing with the field of energy that surrounds a body; dealing with the “non-local mind” that it has been called in physics—that our mind is not contained in the brain and the skull but in fact reaches out to countless others around us because it’s all a part of “one mind,” as physicist Erwin Schrödinger put it. Whether it’s the subtle energies of the Eastern tradition of energy—not just meridians but the chakras. And so the broad field of energy psychology has people that work with various ones of these dimensions or all of them. Or just how consciousness seems to affect it without using any specific focus on any of those. That would be the broader field of energy psychology, I would say.

Here is the description of the podcast which you can listen to here or read or print out the transcript. Or you can download from iTunes. All free. And I highly recommend.

Tami Simon speaks with Dr. Henry Grayson, a leading psychologist who has spent decades exploring the connections between psychology, physics, and the spiritual traditions of the world. Dr. Grayson founded and served as chairman emeritus at the National Institute for Psychotherapies in New York. With Sounds True, he has created the nine-hour audio training course The New Physics of Love: The Power of Mind and Spirit in Relationships. In this episode, Tami speaks with Dr. Grayson about the role of thoughts in our relationships, how the non-local nature of the universe impacts our consciousness, and the possibility of “deleting undesirable and obsolete core beliefs in the twinkling of an eye.” (60 minutes)

SoundsTrue has published a CD, which is a 9 hour course, called The New Physics of Love. Dr Grayson also has a book called Mindful Loving.

In the podcast, Dr. Grayson describes a process he went through on himself to release the disturbance caused by a childhood trauma. He said it takes about 45 minutes. I’m not sure what you do for the unconscious traumas…, but here is his process:

  • Place the fingers on the forehead – to focus. Through the centuries people often did that. Even Rodin knew that in his portrayal of his statue the thinker. We learn that it stimulates the frontal lobes of the brain, subtle energies, helps us focus. Focus on the trauma, memory, who was in that scene, the scene, how i felt, where i feel it in the body. Breathe.
  • Place the fingers on the eyebrow I release all fear related to this trauma. Take a deep breath and exhale.
  • Place the fingers on the outer edge of the eyebrow. And i release all anger and rage related to trauma. Take a deep breath or two or three.
  • Place the Fingers underneath the eye I release all anxieties related to this trauma
  • Place the fingers on under the nose I release all embarassment related to this trauma
  • Place the fingers on under the lip I release all shame and guilt related to this trauma. And a deep breath.
  • Place the fingers on under the arm – I release all worry and excessive concern related to this trauma. Deep breathing again.
  • Place the fingers on under the rib cage in front. I release all hurt and sadness related to this trauma
  • Place the fingers on over the heart – I release fear. breath in love and exhale fear. 6,8 or 10 slow breaths.
  • Place the fingers on the collar bone (one either side). Has to do with fear again. I release all fear related to this trauma

I would assess what came up, how much disturbance remained for me on a scale of one to ten. Was a 10 when I started. On the first round I got it down to a 6, second time it came down to a 3, third down to 0.

Then he addressed, for me a key question, the obvious question:

TS: I think of all of the people who have physical challenges and who have wanted so much for there to be a healing. They have brought all of their intent, all of their openness and capacity into the situation and it hasn’t changed for them. They’ve remained ill. And so when I hear your story about the fingers burning and your belief, I think, well … how do we understand all of the people who aren’t healing?

HG: I think that’s a wonderful question, Tami. It’s one that inspired the book I just finished writing, actually.

What I discovered—I was giving a seminar in Boston a couple of years ago, maybe three years ago and I had the inspiration to start it off by saying, “How many people here want to have a totally happy and healthy life?” Of course everybody’s hand went up. And of course my asking this question was inspired by what I experienced clinically and with myself in other dimensions but I thought I’d ask this larger audience. Everybody’s hand went up and I said, “With your permission, I’d like to come around and do this muscle testing on everybody very quickly and to see if you believe you deserve to have a totally healthy and happy life or if it’s safe for you to have a totally healthy and happy life.” I thought that maybe 25-30 percent would have some of those.

The results blew my mind, literally. Everybody agreed to participate in it. And in this workshop there were probably 75 people who were there and I quickly went around and did this. Eighty-two percent of the people had both of those barriers as beliefs. They don’t deserve it and it’s not safe to have a totally healthy and happy life. The other 18 percent had one or the other. And these are only two of many barriers we could have.

I thought, “Well, let’s check this out further. Is it just New Englanders?” I was doing a seminar in New York a few weeks later and got the same results. Raleigh, North Carolina? Same results. Chicago—same results. San Francisco, Austin, Texas, all across the country, I got the same results. Almost identical. There was just a point or two off. And these were only two, as I say, of many different barriers that could be beliefs or traumas or world views or secondary gains or whatever it might be. Most of those are not conscious to us. And all of these people in all of these audiences were mostly people who had done a lot of work in different kinds of self reflection—spiritually or psychologically—and still were not conscious of it.We can’t blame ourselves for it because that’s what the ego mind always wants us to do: to blame ourselves for making ourselves sick or whatever. No, we can’t blame ourselves. We’ve just had those downloads. We had those conclusions from childhood. It is part of the human condition that we carry that. You can’t sail a boat if we’ve got anchors holding it back. And maybe the anchors aren’t visible to us. We’ve taken sailing lessons. We’ve learned how to hoist the sails, how to set the rudder, how to set the sail. The wind is there but the boat’s not moving. We’ve not been taught how to look for all of those anchors. It might be hidden, holding the boat back.

And I think the same thing is true for us, that when we don’t get the results that we want there are other hidden anchors. If 90-95 percent of all of our behaviors are not conscious, it’s very likely that we have a bunch there that are just not conscious to us. One reason I do the muscle testing is because it helps us access that quite quickly as to what they are and where they are and what it would take to cut loose those anchors.

So I think that that is a role that keeps a lot of things from working. And then the other thing is that sometimes we just have a need, for some reason, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, but we have some strong gains for keeping or having the sickness. We haven’t dealt with it otherwise. And if we’ve not dealt with it, whether it’s in a relationship or in the body, or whatever it is, we’re not ready to let it go. And so we have to be ready to do that. And that’s why I like these other methods too because it helps open up that dimension. That’s when I say that whether you want to have a healthy and happy relationship or whether you want to have a healthy and happy body or mind, or business success, or money, or whatever it might be, the same thing applies.

How to Transform Suffering

Great dharma talk online with David Nichtern last night the six paramitas, which are teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. David offers these every Tuesday at 7 pm, ET. He was my first and is my foremost buddhist teacher.

Paramita means perfection or perfect relationship. I also read that the Chinese character for this word means “crossing over to the other shore,” which according to Thich Nhat Hanh means the shore of peace, non-fear, and liberation.

There are six:

  1. Generosity (dana)
  2. Discipline, precepts, mindfulness training (shila)
  3. Patience, inclusiveness, capacity to receive, bear, transform pain inflicted on you (kshanti)
  4. Exertion, energy, perseverance (virya)
  5. Meditation (dhyana)
  6. Discernment, wisdom, insight, understanding (prajna)

I was reading up on these concepts in Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (p. 195-196) regarding generosity, what can we give?, he asks. He answers – our stability (or solidity), our freedom (freedom from craving, anger, jealousy, despair, fair, and wrong perceptions), our freshness, peace (and lucidity), space.

The person we love needs space in order to be happy. In a flower arrangement, each flower needs space around it in oder to radiate its true beauty. A person is like a flower. Without space within and around her, she cannot be happy….And the more we offer, the more we have. When the person we love is happy, happiness comes back to use right away. We give to her, but we are giving to ourselves at the same time.

Giving is a wonderful practice. The Buddha said what when you are angry at someone, if you have tried everything and still feel angry, practice dana paramita. When we are angry our tendency is to punish the other person. But when we do, there is only an escalation of the suffering. The Buddha proposed that instead, you send her a gift. When you feel angry, you won’t want to go out and buy a gift, so take the opportunity now to prepare the gift when you are not angry. Then, when all else fails, go and mail that gift to her, and amazingly, you’ll feel better right away…You get what you offer. Instead of trying to punish the other person, offer him exactly what he needs. The practice of giving can bring you to the shore of well-being very quickly.

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That is the message he is sending. If you are able to see that, offer him what he needs – relief. Happiness and safety are not an individual matter. His happiness and safety are crucial for your happiness and safety. Wholeheartedly wish him happiness and safety, and you will be happy and safe also.

What else can we offer? Understanding. Understanding is the flower of practice…when you offer others your understanding they will stop suffering right away.

The first petal of the flower of the paramitas is dana paramita, the practice of giving. What you give is what you receive, more quickly than the signals sent by satellite. Whether you give your presence, your stability, your freshness, your solidity, your freedom, or your understanding, your gift can work a miracle. Dana paramita is the practice of love.

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That is the message he is sending if you are able to see that, offer him what he needs – relief. Happiness and safety are not an individual matter. His happiness and safety are crucial for your happiness and safety. Wholeheartedly wish him happiness and safety, and you will be happy and safe also.

I also really loved what Thich Nhat Hanh says about patience. He notes,

Kshanti is often translated as patience or forbearance, but I believe “inclusiveness” better conveys the Buddha’s teaching. When we practice inclusiveness, we don’t have to suffer or forebear, even when we have to embrace suffering and injustice. The other person says or does something that makes us angry. he inflicts on us some kind of injustice. But if our heart is large enough, we don’t suffer.

The Buddha offered this wonderful image. If you take a handful of salt and pour it into a small bowl of water, the water in the bowl will be too salty to drink. But if you pour the same amount of salt into a large river, people will still be able to drink the river’s water. (Remember, this teaching was offered 2,600 years ago, when it was still possible to drink from rivers!) Because of its immensity, the river has the capacity to receive and transform. The river doesn’t suffer at all because of a handful of salt. If your heart is small, one unjust word or act will make you suffer. But if your heart is large, if you have understanding and compassion, that word or deed will not have the power to make you suffer. You will be able to receive, embrace, and transform it in an instant. What counts is your capacity. To transform your suffering, your heart has to be as big as the ocean.

I just love that.

Elisabeth Lesser on Spirituality, Grief and Loss

I am a fan of Oprah’s. And I am even a bigger fan of Elizabeth Lesser because her book Broken Open really helped me deal with the emotional turmoil in dealing with a painful and chronic untreatable illness.

They sat down and talked about the nature of spirituality, how to make pain useful, how to deal with grief and loss – on Sunday morning, November 13th for Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday on Oprah’s OWN channel. I took some notes:

Lesser – When you say a spiritual path what you’re talking about it – it’s already there inside us, this instinct that we are more than our mind and our body. The path is just getting the obstacles out of the way so we can wake up and fully know our full aliveness, and know that’s who we are.

Oprah – Most times people think that spirituality is, well, people have their own definitions of it but a lot of people think it’s a lot of woo-woo talk. When it is really quite the opposite. It’s the most grounding awakening path you can ever pursue in your life.

Lesser – I’m not a very woo-woo person.

Oprah – Yeah, it’s not out there, its always right here (gestures towards herself)

Lesser – I came to the title – Broken Open – through an image – the image of a rose tightly wound around itself, the bud, like we all feel so much every day tightly wound, anxious, shut down. And in order for that bud to open and blossom into the flower we love so much, it has to break its shell, it has to break open. And it’s an irony of this human life, strangely enough it is our most difficult, broken times – loss of a job, loss of a marriage, illness, loss of a child – those are the times when we are brought to our knees and we open. Our hearts can open during those times. And if we fight those times and fight the bud opening, we sort of a half of a life. But when we open into our brokenness, that’s when we blossom….And fighting life, as I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling of life is happening to us, we are in this stream of life and instead of relaxing into it, we are swimming as hard as we can against the current. That’s sort of the opposite of the spiritual instinct. The spiritual instinct is to relax into the mystery of life as it’s happening.

Oprah – And the spiritual instinct allows you to move through life no matter what is going on in your life, when you are on the spiritual path – it means no matter what happens to you and difficulties will come and challenges will come because that’s all part of the human experience. But the spiritual connection allows you to know that no matter what – you are going to be all right

Lesser – Everything that is happening in our life is a spiritual moment

Oprah – I like what you said on page 105 – “Nothing has awakened my heart as much as the pain of a broken family; nothing has given me as much strength as the time I spent alone in the ruined aftermath of a marriage.” How is that a spiritual path? I think when you have the most devastating things happen to you, that those are your holiest moments. That’s when you get to see who you really are.

Lesser – Yes, because we spend so much of our life trying to be what we think we are supposed to be…what society wants us to be, what our parents thinks we should be, our husband, our wife, our image….just our image of what a spiritual or a good person should look like….so through that experience of divorce and becoming a single mother, I lost everything – my financial security, my self-image, my home, my support. I was really a single mom and everything changed for me. And in the depths of that loss, I found out who I really was. I began to trust who I was. I began to find a genuine me who could withstand anything.

Oprah – how do you do that

Lesser – Well, you can either break down, stay broken down and shut down or you can break open. It’s a decision you make. A commitment. I am going through a very hard time, I’m not going to waste this precious experience, this opportunity to become the best me.

Oprah – I also ask the experience, the crisis, the experience in the moment, what are you here to teach me? What did your divorce teach you?

Lesser – The first thing that it taught me is that i couldn’t blame anyone for what had gone wrong in the marriage. I had spent a lot of time blaming my ex-husband. But I had to take responsibility myself. I had to say – what does this have to teach me about me, not about him, not about how unfair life is. It wasn’t about that. It was what did I do to make this happen. And if I could really sit in the pain of that. The pain is really looking at yourself and what you did to create the mess you’re in and if you can look at it head on fearlessly and say teach me. Teach me about myself so I can grow.

Oprah – Most people search for closure after the loss of a loved one, but Elizabeth says its one of her least favorite words. Why?

Lesser – Because if you don’t take the time to grieve and to let yourself feel what happens, you just put a scar over it and it doesn’t go away. In fact, it festers. And it becomes something else. Perhaps it turns into bitterness or anger or blame and you never get over it. So letting yourself descend into grief…and letting it do what it will with you for as long as it takes, it a much more intelligent response to loss than cleaning up real fast, going back to work, you get your three days of grief days and then you go back to work. That’s not a very wise way to handle it.

Glenn (another guest discussing the grief of losing his young adult son) – And you never get over it. It’s always there. You always live with it.

Lesser – You wear it as a badge of how well you loved. Grief is an expression that you loved well.