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Unattended Sorrow


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STEPHEN LEVINE 's many bestselling books include A Gradual Awakening and Who Dies? His renowned work in grief counseling has been featured in television programs on PBS and CNN, in radio segments, and in magazine articles. He lives in Chamisal, New Mexico.


According to Levine, "unattended sorrow," even years after a loss, casts a shadow over one's entire life, leading to fear, doubt, shame and, more concretely, eating disorders, troubled sleep and sexual dysfunction. These sorrows, he writes, involve not only death but "the ungrieved losses of love betrayed, of trusts broken, and of the repeated bruises left by unkindness" that, unheeded, "sink well below the level of our awareness." In this valuable addition to the literature on mourning and bereavement, Levine writes in a soothing voice informed by many of the principles of Buddhism, but also encompassing all the major spiritual traditions. Levine (A Gradual Awakening), who has done grief counseling with concentration camp survivors, Vietnam vets and many others, points out that a new loss may be intensified by earlier, unresolved griefs about the death or divorce of parents, the loss of a sibling or other psychological traumas. Levine identifies three stages on the path to easing the anguish of loss: softening the pain, cultivating mercy and making peace with the pain. He recommends a number of techniques, including a breathing exercise to loosen a stomach constricted by fear and denial and periods of silent time spent meditating or walking. All of his easy-to-follow suggestions involve extending kindness and forgiveness to the self, which, Levine says, will lead to the practice of dealing with others in the spirit of mercy and love. Although, as Levine acknowledges, the healing process is slow, opening the pain-filled heart can lead to the unfolding of a new life. Agent, Loretta Barrett Books. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Stephen's work is magic. His work with the grieving and dying is amongst the most skilled and compassionate that I am aware of." --Elisabeth K bler-Ross, MD"Your heart and soul can be made whole again, be rejuvenated. . . . All this is thanks to the gentle, insightful, user-friendly wisdom of my friend, Stephen Levine." --Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator, #1 New York Times bestselling series, Chicken Soup for the Soul"There is no one better to turn to in times of loss than Stephen Levine . . . A must, must read." --Richard Carlson, PhD, author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It's All Small Stuff and What About the Big Stuff?

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