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Finding Joy After Grief

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.
Hafiz of Shiraz

Dear Exchange Community,

Near the end of March, the Harvard Business Review published an article called “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.” The article’s author, Scott Berinato, quoted well-known author David Kessler about ways to cope with the inevitable feelings of grief the pandemic brings up for everyone. Berinato explains: “Kessler is the world’s foremost expert on grief. He co-wrote with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss. His new book adds another stage to the process, Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief. Kessler offers this piece of advice when the grief of feeling “out of control” hits us:

“You can think about how to let go of what you can’t control. What your neighbor is doing is out of your control. What is in your control is staying six feet away from them and washing your hands. Focus on that.

Finally, it’s a good time to stock up on compassion. Everyone will have different levels of fear and grief and it manifests in different ways. A coworker got very snippy with me the other day and I thought, That’s not like this person; that’s how they’re dealing with this. I’m seeing their fear and anxiety. So be patient. Think about who someone usually is and not who they seem to be in this moment.”

Another way to move beyond grief into a place where you’re ready to find joy again is by reading Holly Elissa Bruno’s new book, Happiness is Running Through the Streets to Find You.

Even before the pandemic hit, Holly Elissa had made the courageous decision to tell the story of her own traumatic childhood and how she moved beyond her grief and even used it as a catalyst toward the meaningful work she does today.

“Learning from trauma, even admitting we were traumatized... is difficult,” she writes. However, she also describes the joy that can follow once people are honest about their challenging experiences:

“Witness our resilience. Trauma faced has become our spiritual guide home.”

She offers hope that trauma can actually be a path to growth.

“Walk beside me through the streets?” she invites. “We don’t have to run. Happiness is patient and devoted to finding us.”

As we begin this Monday together, my wish for all of us is that we can recognize our grief and also find ways to move beyond it into the joy that is possible...and that is waiting for us with open arms!

Nancy Rosenow
Exchange Publisher

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