“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear…from… injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” Stephan Hoeller

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” Chinese proverb

How does one lighten the heart, ease the mind and comfort one’s soul after the damage done by tragedy?

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring.” Leo Buscaglia

The traditional healing arts recognize many other therapies have a place in the healing pantheon. Integration of literary, performing, visual arts and design can have a beneficial effect not only during a time of grief, but also on overall health. Art is always subjective, but for some, engaging in an art form can provide the strength needed to cope with grief.

But, loss always is uniquely solitary. How does one ever find joy again?

The art experience can be a refuge. A gallery or a museum is a meditative place for reflection. Words have restorative power. A book of poetry or of inspiration, with a few simple words, can diminish pain for a moment and console.

Nature can ease the mind. An urban garden oasis can give sensory comfort. Something as small as the buzz of a bee, a leaf’s waxiness as it slides through the fingers, a blossom’s sugary-sweet fragrance, or crunch underfoot of a winding garden path can lighten the heart. A simple walk through the woods can be a reminder that there is something larger that lasts. Just as the bricks and mortar places for reflection give peace, the quiet of a forest cathedral can be balm for a soul.

Water has healing powers. As one’s incessant pain flows, so too the Atlantic’s tidal wash within Cape Cod’s dune grass or the Pacific’s Ocean Beach breakers pounding underneath the rocky bluff, the glacial waters of Flathead Lake or Inez, or the timeless Clark Fork River or Rattlesnake Creek creek bed, can leach pain’s sting and bring solace.

“…in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” A River Runs Through It. Norman Maclean 1976

If you recently suffered a loss, tell us how you are coping so we can pass along more ideas for healing to our readers.

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