“The important thing about the many strategies we use to shelter ourselves from feeling loss is that none of them leads to healing. Although denial, rationalization, substitution, avoidance, and the like may numb the pain of loss, every one of them hurts us in some far more fundamental ways. None is respectful toward life or toward process. None acknowledges our capacity for finding meaning of wisdom. Pain often marks the place where self-knowledge and growth can happen, much the same way that fear does.
Grieving is the way that loss can heal. Yet many people do not know how to grieve and heal their losses. This makes it hard to find the courage to participate fully in life. At some deep level, it may make us unwilling to be openhearted or present, to become attached or intimate. We trust our bodies to heal because of the gift of a billion years of biological evolution. But how might you live if you did not know that your body could heal? Would you ride your bike, drive a car, use a knife to cut up your dinner? Or would you never get off the couch? Many people become emotional couch potatoes because they do not know that they can heal their hearts.
Unless we learn to grieve, we may need to live life at a distance in order to protect ourselves from pain. We may not be able to risk having anything that really matters to us or allow ourselves to be touched, to be intimate, to care or be cared about. Untouched, we will suffer anyway. We just will not be transformed by our suffering. Grieving may be one of the most fundamental of life skills. It is the way that the heart can heal from loss and go on to love again and grow wise. If it were up to me, it would be taught in kindergarten, right up there with taking turns and sharing.”