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Opening to Grief
Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace
Co-Author Claire B. Willis, Co-Author Marnie Crawford Samuelson
ISBN: 9781590035122
Book (Hardcover)
Red Wheel Weiser, Dharma Spring
5 x 7
October 1, 2020

Currently Not Available for Purchase

“A wise and sensitive book, this guide to working with grief is a treasure.”— Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Center, Author of Living at the Edge and Being with Dying

“Reading Opening to Grief is like sitting with a wise friend who has walked the difficult road of sorrow ahead of you. Full of gentle and nourishing practices, this kind book offers a supportive hand when the ground beneath you has been shaken by loss. Listen to these two experienced travelers in the land of grief and you will find your way through the darkest of nights. A beautiful gift to all.”—Francis Weller, author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

“In a world of increasing isolation and deep sorrow, Opening to Grief offers the medicine needed: a companion of voices, deep reflection, and masterful guidance.”—Koshin Paley Ellison, Guiding Teacher of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, author of Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up, coeditor of Awake at the Bedside

“A compassionate, tender, and lovingly crafted guide for those who have suffered any kind of loss and are struggling to make their peace with it so that they can find their way back, Opening to Grief is chock-full of sage advice, thoughtful suggestions, practical exercises, guided imagery, mindfulness meditations, healing prayers, inspirational poetry, and comforting words of wisdom that are at once both simple and profound. Genuine grieving requires of us that we be fully present with the anguish of our grief; that we be “open” to the pain of our heartbreak; that we be fully present, engaged, and in the moment; that we enter into, and even embrace, our sadness; that we not run from it; that we not absent ourselves, dissociate, or refuse to feel the depths of our despair. Open this book and know that you are not alone on your journey back from loss.”—Martha Stark, MD, Harvard Medical School, co-founder and co-director of the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies at William James College

Opening to Grief is a treasure— a book destined to support and inspire anyone living with grief, whether recent or from the past. The authors, skillful and experienced guides in lighting the way through grief, have assembled a sensitive, caring approach to one of life’s greatest challenges. Written as a companion or guide for handling grief, the poems, meditation guidelines, and many creative suggestions contribute to making this a reassuring, beautiful, and heartwarming book.”—Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle, author, Aging with Wisdom and Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows

Opening to Grief is a beautiful new offering extended to bereaved people everywhere. This book is a guide, support and handbook for anyone grieving any loss. The authors create in the pages a space of support, connection, compassion and validation for people experiencing the pain of loss. It is a small treasure of inspiration with brief chapters that are easily digestible in short sittings. A reader can pick up the book and turn to any page to find a helpful suggestion for right now, a poem or inspirational quote to provide solace and connection, a prompt for writing or artmaking, an affirmation of lovingkindness or a suggestion to support beginners as well as adepts at the practice of meditation. Opening to Grief affirms that expression and self- compassion in grief are soothing to the soul and that allowing our feelings to simply be is the most helpful way to move through and integrate them, no matter how painful. In this lovely book, Claire Willis and Marnie Crawford Samuelson invite the bereaved to meet grief with compassion and intention and lovingly show the way.”—Karla Helbert, author of Finding Your Own Way to Grieve and Yoga for Grief and Loss: Poses, Meditations, Devotion, Self-Reflection, Selfless Acts, Ritual

Opening to Grief invites readers to approach and be with their grief, rather than turn away and try to avoid it. The authors mix reflections with simple yet profound practices anchored in mindfulness. It's easy-to-read and a wonderful addition to the grief literature.”—Sue Morris, Director of Bereavement Services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Opening to Grief is a simple and profound book for all who grieve. The authors are sure-footed, trustworthy guides on this complicated journey, and they lead with loving-kindness. This small book brims over with compassion, mindfulness, gentle guidance, permission and well-chosen poetry to enhance the lessons of each chapter. A helpful appendix lists the often-asked questions about grief with respectful and accessible answers. I will have more than one lending copy on my office bookshelves.”—Kathleen Adams, psychotherapist, founder and director of The Center for Journal Therapy

“Never have I seen this much useful information about grief presented in such a clear and inviting way, in so few pages. Opening to Grief is carefully and exquisitely structured to include grief education, easy to understand meditation techniques, simple actions, inspiring poems and quotes, and blank pages for personal writings. Generously filled with resources, it’s a practical book of wisdom that I will recommend above all others.”—Connie Baxter, Bereavement Program Coordinator, Brattleboro, Vermont, Area Hospice

Opening to Grief is a comforting and insightful companion for anyone navigating life after loss. The book offers validation, solace, and compassionate insight into the universal yet very personal experience of grief. Chapters on art and writing, as well as meditation practices, empower readers to do important grief-work, while simultaneously cultivating self-compassion and coping skills that will last a lifetime.”—Heather Stang, author of Mindfulness and Grief

“With beautiful language, comforting thoughts, useful suggestions, and accessible practices, Opening to Grief is a gift to anyone who is bereaved.”—Hester Hill Schnipper, author After Breast Cancer: A Commonsense Guide to Life After Treatment

“A wonderful companion as we grieve, regardless of the reason or the circumstances, this compact book offers gems for practice, support, wisdom, and companionship.”—Deborah Ross, co-author of Your Brain on Ink: A Workbook on Neuroplasticity and the Journal Ladder (It's Easy to W.R.I.T.E. Expressive Writing)

“Claire Willis and Marnie Crawford Samuelson offer a clear, concise, and tender companion book to those grieving the loss of a loved one. Having myself facilitated thousands of support groups, including ones centered on bereavement, I appreciate the emphasis on not trying to shoulder the burden entirely by oneself. The authors gently encourage the reader to accept and fully experience her or his grief, which ultimately will lead to new discoveries, greater compassion, and a deeper understanding and appreciation for life. Included are many helpful suggestions and guidance on turning to art, nature, meditation, and writing to aid in the process.”—Bob David, Manager, Cancer Support Programs, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts

Opening to Grief is a wise and gentle companion, a refuge as we move through the pain of loss. We learn to honor and cherish what has passed and to embrace our living moments ever more deeply.” —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and Radical Compassion
A warm and wise companion for anyone facing grief and sorrow.

All of us are experiencing loss. Some of us lose a spouse, or a child, our parents, a beloved pet, a dear friend, or neighbor. In the pandemic, we have lost tens of thousands of lives in the United States and around the world. Many of us have lost our livelihoods. All of us have lost our familiar daily routines and textures of work, family, and community. And the losses are not over.
Opening to Grief is a companion to this tender time. With the demeanor and tone of a loving friend, the authors offer an invitation to grieve fully, to turn toward your emotions and experiences however they arise, and to choose a path that is healing for you.

"Claire B. Willis, a clinical social worker, has been working in the field of oncology and bereavement for more than twenty years. As a lay Buddhist chaplain ordained by Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, she focuses on contemplative practices for end-of-life care. She is a student of Koshin Paley Ellison, a founding teacher at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. She maintains a private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts."
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Marnie Crawford Samuelson is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, and multi-media producer.
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