Wednesday, 27 April 2011

a Moment for Wisdom…


“Grief is the laxative of the soul.”

Alexander Besher

Personal Wisdom:

· What is your grieving process? What are the rituals you use to come to terms with your grief?

· Do you tend to shut down or to engage when grieving?

Societal Wisdom:

· Give an example of societal grieving
(besides the aftermath of 9/11)?

· As a society, have we grieved the
pain of slavery? Of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

· What other events or aspects of our
society are in need of a grief process?

a Moment with Sharif…


We live in a society that is afraid to grieve.

We are not taught how to grieve, or we channel that grief into shallow, “acceptable” expressions. We carry our grief stuffed inside us, until we need an emotional laxative to free us from its energy. Or, until it bursts forth in inappropriate ways.

In those moments of great pain and suffering (and also great joy), we manage to stuff our extreme pain and our extreme joy into “acceptable” channels. There is an acceptable level of tears at a funeral, or tears of joy at a wedding.

But, what about the daily pain of living in a toxic society? Where are the outlets for dealing
with the grief of seeing trees cut down to widen a highway? The grief of eating food that
tastes good, but does not nourish you? The grief of being forced to attend a school that does not stimulate you? The grief of seeing scores of hungry people on the streets, day after day? The grief of needing a connection to the Earth, and not knowing how?

Our souls are stuffed full of grief, with little outlet. Our doctors call this soul-grief “depression” and prescribe a variety of pills, so that we can further stuff away the grief. And… it’s NOT WORKING. (There are whole new classes of anti-depressant drugs on the market… to take when the original ones stop working.)

Unfortunately, this soul-grief manifests itself by bubbling over as anger, rage and violence. Every school shooting, every instance of workplace violence, every rape, every “terrorist” action is a manifestation of unexpressed soul-grief. Pain causing more pain.

We know how to end this type of violence – connecting ourselves and others with the actions, rituals and energies that will allow us to drain the accumulated grief from our souls.



PS: Some of you receiving “Moments” are from cultures and societies that are reasonably healthy and where there are appropriate and adequate opportunities to express grief and
joy. If you are… show us the way!


All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.

“Grief” image


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One Response to Wednesday, 27 April 2011

  1. Victoria Clevenger says:


    Your wisdom never ceases to inspire and touch me. I heard Donna Beegle speak recently and she called you her good friend. Though I don’t personally know either of you, I do strongly feel you both are my soul friends, and I hope somehow I can work more closely with you toward the shifts we are passionately trying to help facilitate in ourselves and in each individual and system. Thank you so much.

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