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Grief: Put It To Use!

Photo by Emmeline Ensign

“For me, action is more healing.” —Vanessa Hughes (HEART GUIDE, honoring her brother’s memory). 

“It’s helpful to have a purpose. It allows for some meaning behind the loss.” —Justin Phillips (HEART GUIDE, founder of the nonprofit Overdose Lifeline.

Years ago when my biological father died, a friend asked me, “Are you writing?” As an artist and a teacher, she understands that powerful healing can come from authentic self-expression: whether it’s through painting, photography, poetry, singing, theatre, dance, or some other creative outlet.

Taking action motivated by fierce love is a potent healing path.

The spiritual teachers I admire—such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Jesus, Gandhi, Peace Pilgrim, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr., among others—never advocated for only prayer and meditation. On the contrary, these men and women listened for guidance through silent communion with God and then applied their wisdom to actions out in the world—actions that often met with strong opposition from people who wanted to preserve the status quo. Nevertheless, these remarkable leaders persevered in their resolve because humanity does not move forward by sticking with what does not serve the highest good.

What I want to say today is this: Let’s support the Parkland, Florida students as they grieve, as they march for their lives, and as they continue, each day, the difficult work of implementing positive change. Let’s support all the parents and youth who speak out from personal experiences with grief on what is needed to create a more loving, caring, and peaceful society. Let’s move our spiritual beliefs to compassionate, collective action.

There are infinite ways we can make a difference. We can volunteer, we can plug into nonprofits, we can educate ourselves and inform others, we can make our voices heard, we can sing, we can dance, we can draw, we can write, we can speak with integrity, we can march, we can demand justice, and—despite our differences—we can join together on a path toward progress.

We are here on this planet for a reason. Our gifts and our talents are needed, now more than ever. As Gandhi so aptly said, “What you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

Stay strong friends, and shine your inner light bright for the world to see.

For more information on the March for Our Lives on March 24. 




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