By: Blair Nelsen, Executive Director, Waterspirit

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Capitol in the Dark Fog by Pat McDonald

There are new bullet holes in the American Capitol today.

Yesterday, crucifixes and “Jesus Saves” signs peppered the mob landscape outside the building.

Jesus would never have supported the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The actions of the insurgents were anti-Christian and antithetical to the democratic process. I shouldn’t even have to write these words. This should be self-evident.

The work continues.

“This Isn’t America”: Living Through a Coup

Yesterday, I felt like I was in high school again. Nineteen years ago, I was a senior in high school in Caracas, Venezuela. Hugo Chavez had been president since his democratic election in 1998. In April 2002, he was violently ousted from power for 48 hours. CIA-funded protestors wreaked havoc in the streets, culminating in a violent shootout in front of the presidential palace. I watched them in the distance from our apartment’s balcony. Our electricity was intermittent and, given the extreme media polarization, it was nearly impossible to learn the facts of what was happening. I remember feeling frozen by fear, wondering how violent the city would get and whether our embassy would evacuate us. I remember US President George W. Bush coming on CNN to support the anti-democratic coup, and later backpedaling. …

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by LaUra Schmidt & Aimee Lewis Reau, Good Grief Network Cofounders

Dear Waking One,

The world is burning, literally and metaphorically. The soles of our feet feel the flames. Heat seeps into our lungs and smoke makes our eyes water. Do you feel it? Do you question how we’ll ever be able to fix this juggernaut we have set in motion? Are you afraid? Do you feel paralyzed to act?

We are facing collapse and the potential extinction of humanity. We are drastically altering the biosphere from which we evolved. …

by Laura Johnson | PhD | Lecturer at Humboldt State University

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Art by Samantha Stone. Find more on Instagram: @abaloone

The deepest and darkest parts of each night
since my daughter was born some months ago
I’ve spent startling from fleeting and sweaty sleep,
hand darting out instinctively, holding my breath
as I search for hers.

Finding that soft, round belly,
I rest my palm and outstretched fingers there,
cupped slightly, like an oyster shell,
locating its rise and fall.

That sweetest, most kissable belly,
protruding like the Buddha’s, bobbing like a buoy
on calm sea, each wave of breath a gift
given and returned:

reciprocity in real time,
source of all life,
our birthright,
this breath. …

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by LaUra Schmidt** | Founding Director of the Good Grief Network

TW: Suicide, Mental Health Struggles, Systems Collapse

“There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.” Adrienne Rich

“People say we’re all seeking a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I believe we’re seeking an experience of being alive.” Joseph Campbell

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

My Rite of Passage

It’s 2014 and I’m wrapping up thesis work at the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities program. I’m searching for ways to live in this world as systems collapse creeps up on the horizon. My intentions for the three (and a half) day solo experience in the mountains have been building inside me. It’s time to let go of other peoples’ unrealistic expectations of me, my impossible expectations of myself, my complacency with the problems of the world, and my clinging to the comfortable falsehoods about the state of the planet. I’m participating in this wilderness rite of passage, yearning for clarity and wisdom. I’m seeking courage to live in integrity with what I understand to be true and the humility to live by new, emergent truths. …

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LaUra Schmidt | Founding Director of the Good Grief Network

For the past few days, I’ve been enveloped in the recently released documentary, Planet of the Humans. After watching the film, I was left with many complex feelings. The overall tone is dark and combative, and the ending that features suffering orangutans was torturous to witness. I was left in tears. Questions that lingered for me after my initial viewing were: What is real? Who is telling the stories I believe to be true? Was I hoping that renewables would save humanity? What triggered me? …

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By LaUra Schmidt| MS | Co-Founder of Good Grief Network

Aimee and I bring our dogs to a nearby lake a lot in warm temperatures. The dogs run and play and Aimee and I soak up the sun, hug trees, and listen to the mini waves roll in. It’s a beautiful sanctuary for us to unwind after our daily work in the world of collective grief.

I also spend significant time picking up glass and other pieces of trash along the beach.

Glass shards are in such abundance that I cannot walk more than two steps without having to pick up another one. People also leave behind beer cans, fishing lines, straws, plastic bags, and toys. Yesterday, I found a headless Barbie and a GI Joe. Each day we go there, I pick up a grocery bag full of debris left over because of people’s careless actions. …

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by Aimee Lewis Reau, MFA, Yoga Teacher

After I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I lived with retired Sisters of Mercy for a year while I tried to write a book about mental illness and spirituality. The experience so radically shifted my perspective that I abandoned work on the book, because I wasn’t even sure who this person was that was trying to write it anymore.

One morning, not long after I had moved in with the sisters, I was writing. One of the sisters interrupted me to say she wanted to show me something. In the beginning, I took my writing time very seriously, probably too seriously. Additionally, this particular sister was known for being a bit socially-off/awkward. I couldn’t imagine what she wanted to show me, but I got up and went outside with her. She bent over and asked me to look at the drops of dew on the grass. I did, but I didn’t know what to say about it. She said, “Aren’t they beautiful?” I nodded and smiled. Then she said, “Look at all the colors that the sun makes in just one droplet,” and I looked a little closer. …

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By LaUra Schmidt, MS, CoFounder of Good Grief Network

With the abundance of information flying around each moment, how are we to know what’s true and what information is being bent for someone else’s agenda? Who can we trust when it’s been proven that Exxon and Shell knew about climate change decades ago and engaged in a campaign to cover it up so they could still sell their products?

Did you know that six corporations own 90% of our media in the United States? How can we possibly be provided with fair and balanced news when we’re eliminating independent journalists and replacing them with businesses interested in driving up profits? The news isn’t a business; it cannot be — if we want to know what’s really going on. …

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By LaUra Schmidt, MS, CoFounder of the Good Grief Network

I’m writing this hours before a dog I love will be put to sleep. He’s not my dog — he’s my older sister’s. I love him regardless of ownership. My niece-phews will miss him and sobbed on the phone with me last night. Grief can be so heartbreaking.

This, after having to put down my beloved cat of 18 years about a month ago. This, after my little sister had to euthanize her shetland pony-sized dog who saved her life more than once. …

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By Aimee Lewis Reau, MFA, CoFounder of the Good Grief Network**


Good Grief Network

Building personal resilience & strengthening community ties to help combat despair, inaction, eco-anxiety, and heavy emotions in the face of systemic probs.

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