Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Review: The Wild Edge of Sorrow

by Francis Weller

“The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.” With this quote by Joanna Macy, Francis Weller introduces one of the chapters of his new book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow. He encourages us to embrace the losses and sorrows of our lives as a natural part of living.  He says we need to acknowledge and attend to these losses, so often covered over by the busyness of our lives. These are not only the griefs over loss of loved ones through death, but the letting go of dreams as the days and seasons of our lives come and go, the hidden aspects of heart and soul tucked away out of shame, and the acknowledgment of the suffering in our world, that affects us on a daily basis. If we turn away and live in denial of our hurting hearts, the feelings accumulate and impact our bodies and souls. He speaks of these four types of grief as gateways through which our consciousness can expand. A long time psychotherapist, who draws upon indigenous cultures, anthropology and other wisdom, gently invites us to open and look, to allow ourselves to be fully human. He shares stories that reveal our common humanity. Then he leads us through processes, practices and rituals that support the human heart into not only healing but being more fully present for all that we are and all that life is. The fifth gateway is that of our ancestral pain into which we were born. In this recognition and healing we can come to realize that we are passing on our own ancestries to those who shall follow us. From this perspective, this book and the understanding it presents is important, not only to each of us individually, but to the healing of our world. As he quotes Carl Jung, "Embrace your grief, for there your soul will grow."

Review by Rev. Ruth Barnhart, a staff minister at Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.

Francis Weller is giving a reading from The Wild Edge of Sorrow on Friday March 11 at Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.  Details are available here.

The Wild Edge of Sorrow is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts.

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