Jean Raffa, an author I admire, invited me to join a blog tour highlighting authors who write about spirituality and intuitive understanding. I encourage you to visit Jean’s blog and website where she writes about Jungian psychology, dream guidance, the feminine, and her insights. Jean’s most recent book is Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World. I’ll return to my usual story-telling format on July 8.
Jean asked me to answer four questions about my work.
1) What Am I Working On? I kept a journal during my husband Vic’s two-year illness. He and I grieved together then. A few years after his death, I began writing Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief. Now, I’m involved with preparations for a book launch on October 3. I also write articles and a weekly blog about marriage, spirituality, the initiation of grief, and creating a new life.
Vic and I considered his illness part of our spiritual journey. We had spent forty-two years living, loving, raising a family, meditating, and searching for meaning together. After his death, I frequently dreamed of driving with my eyes closed or blindfolded. I was lost in an unknown landscape, searching for a door into my new life.
I write about what I know: love, marriage, loss, creating a meaningful life on my own, dreams, nature, ecology, and my spiritual perspective. I write and enjoy reading memoir, so I look for an engaging story.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? Many books about grief focus on getting over it as quickly as possible. They rarely explore the meaning and deep transformation available in the experience. For me, grief is a spiritual initiation. We don’t choose this path, but life brings loss and disappointment to everyone. In mythology, the hero loses everything, faces isolation, enters a disorienting time of learning and testing, and returns to life with renewed strength and wisdom. A major loss leads to a similar experience if we open to grief and let it transform us.
3) How does my writing process work? I focus on the business of writing (social media, blogging, email) in the morning and creative work in the afternoon, fueled by a strong cup of green tea. I discover new material in a class where I write with others and work from sparks or prompts that lead me to new places. I’m also stimulated by a memoir group where I hear the words of serious writers. Mostly I’m inspired by life, nature, spiritual friends, and my own reading.
4) Why do I write what I do? I was compelled to write about loss and formulate a conscious path through grief. I’m interested in the wisdom of many spiritual traditions, particularly Jung, Buddhism, Greek philosophy, and mythology. Standing close to the threshold of death with someone was a life-transforming event. I knew if I didn’t run, but stayed and looked into the chasm, grief would be a source of wisdom and teach me to live a rich intentional life. I hope my experience will help others deal with loss.
I asked Therèse Tappouni to follow me on this tour. Therese compared the death of her beloved son Michael to a cue ball slamming into the carefully formed triangle of balls that represented her family, her belief system and her relationship to her husband. Her experiences and work with Jean Houston prepared her to counsel, write, teach and speak about the human connection and the need for a new kind of understanding around grief and joy. She and her life-partner formed ISIS Institute, a place where the wounded, seeking and stressed come to create a vibrant life of intention.
Therèse is the author of six books and two CDs, (recent books are The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss, The Promise: Revealing the Purpose of Your Soul, which won the IPPY bronze medal for Women’s Issues, and Me and Green for children, which received a gold medal from the Indie Excellence Awards.) She is a a licensed HeartMath™ Provider and Trainer, a board certified hypnotherapist, Somatic Intuitive Training Practitioner, counselor, teacher, poet, artist and business owner. At the ISIS Institute, and through her personal business “Wholeheart”, licensed HeartMath™ Provider, she creates workshops, one-on-one sessions, books and CDs dedicated to teaching clients to live a passionate and stress-free intentional life. To find out more about her work and explore her books and CDs, see her website and blog.