The Bitter Truth: Befriending Loss and Moving Through Grief

The Bitter Truth: Befriending Loss and Moving Through Grief

21st April 2016

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Is it possible that grief is not just wretched sorrow? If so, to experience anything more than destruction in grief, what is asked of us?

Moving through loss is to not bypass the transformation it has in store for us. But to move through it, we first have to let it in. Once we allow it to settle in us — seeming to occupy every cell of our body — grief leaves us when it’s ready. So, in reality, we let grief occupy and move through us, leaving us changed to the degree we allow it to do its work.

At the center of grief is a strange sweetness, the tenderness of what we loved, that has left us now. So afraid we are of feeling wretched pain, we push our sadness away. This is a learned behavior, as we want to protect ourselves from what hurts. We can unlearn it and move counter-intuitively, and wisely, into our longing and heartache.

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Being Enough

Being Enough

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

The feeling that we are not enough is often a throwback to childhood. No matter how much we tell ourselves that we are enough, it is not going change much how we feel about ourselves as adults. The cure to this bedeviling feeling is to go back and do the healing work from childhood, for the love we did not get. This was the unconditional acceptance of our beingness into the world nourished by the grounded forces of caring, respect, and honor that allowed to us to feel whole, and enough.

As adults, we carry our childhood inside us. Yet, many confuse insufficient feelings from childhood with the adult experience of being enough, as if to be enough as an adult is not to have to show up for anything and just be, or at least not have to show up more than we did as children. As adults, we are rewarded and recognized more for what we contribute to others and to the world, for our responsibility and generosity to the whole. In other words, as adults the bulk of our worth and enoughness is not just for being alive, but for what we contribute to others, for giving.

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11 Relationship Tips for When the Shit Hits the Fan

11 Relationship Tips for When the Shit Hits the Fan

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

For many, intimate relationship is not easy, at all. For all the excitement of attraction and attachment, we also get stirred up, hurt, neurotic, frustrated, stressed, and challenged to the max. Whether it’s longing, disagreements, misunderstandings, or simply our own unhealed emotions surfacing, it’s helpful to have some tools to navigate the tricky and tempestuous turns of deeply loving and being loved by another human being.

I hope these suggestions and invitations help you; please add any thoughts you can offer in the ‘comments’ section below, or join the conversation on Facebook.

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Criticism – Why We Need It and How It Helps Us

Criticism – Why We Need It and How It Helps Us

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Many take offense to advice when they don’t ask for it, including suggestions. Unsolicited advice can feel intrusive. It can threaten our personal space and privacy. There are also different degrees of criticism and advice, and the tone of delivery has lots to do with how well we can hear it. So does the nature of our relationship with the person from whom we receive it.

Criticism is another level of “advice,” which often comes with more punch and can push our buttons. However, I also invite us to consider criticism in a positive light, and if we don’t like its delivery, perhaps we can at least hear the core information — the helpful message — in the criticism. We also can ask for our needs — asking that criticism be delivered in a way that we’re better able to receive.

Style of delivery aside — be it angry, frustrated, insistent, blunt, etc. — let’s focus on the content of criticism.

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Pilgrimage: Stepping Into the Blessed Unknown

Pilgrimage: Stepping Into the Blessed Unknown

25th January 2016

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

“Pilgrims are persons in motion passing through territories not their own, seeking something called completion, or perhaps the word clarity will do as well, a goal to which only the spirit’s compass point’s the way.” ~ H. Richard Niebuhr

Life is a pilgrimage, whose heart is experience. Yet, some sojourns are especially poignant and change our lives forever. That’s why the most meaningful experiences and rites of passage require our courage, patience, and our passion. They also require our intuition, to determine where our spirit’s compass is pointing, so we know what direction to take, even moment-to-moment.

In the moment to moment experience of feeling into and following our gut sense — approved by our right yet daring mind — is our innocence, our newness, our ability to encounter the world as freshly as we humans might be ever be able, given the cargo of our pasts we bring to the present.

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Radical Simplicity – Making Space to Thrive

Radical Simplicity – Making Space to Thrive

16th January 2016

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Complexity and busyness characterize our times. Most of us don’t have enough time to do the things that matter most. If we don’t have a way to digest and simplify, we can easily feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Thus the great de-cluttering movement to simplify our lives.

Simplicity, therefore, should not be a dumbing-down of life’s complexities but an embrace of them. This way we arrive at a radical, comprehensive simplicity as the force of our presence and expression in the world.

Simplification, however, can backfire when it’s superficially engaged, by which we might do more harm than good. If you find yourself unable to find time for what matters most to you, I recommend cutting out the superfluous, unnecessary busy things you can do without. I bet you can name three of these things off the top of your head right now.

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A Green Christmas: Gift Ideas for a Sustainable Holiday Season

A Green Christmas: Gift Ideas for a Sustainable Holiday Season

18th December 2015

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

With the holidays swiftly approaching, we should be seriously considering where to cast our purchase-power votes. Already the pollution factories in China are shifting into high gear to produce the cheap, throw-away goods that first-world cultures have supported for decades. Let’s all band together decrease this mindless addiction and pollution this year, shall we?

With the trillions of dollars spent each year on gift-buying, we owe it to the revolution now afoot — to justice, the protection of the Earth and our collective health on every level — to support our local economies this holiday season.

Here are a few sustainable and creative gift ideas to support the planet and a truer new light for the holidays.

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Ravishing Desire – Navigating Love’s Passions

Ravishing Desire – Navigating Love’s Passions

14th November 2015

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Being in love. Ah, nothing feels better. At first, anyway, as long as it goes smoothly, which it rarely does, and ultimately shouldn’t. At least not always. And precisely for this reason, we should be careful — oh so careful!

To assess your empowerment when you are madly in love, or when your partner whom you want to hold onto is becoming an ex, or to glimpse just how helplessly out of control you feel (which most of us are in these wilds, so don’t feel badly), ask yourself this question: “If I suddenly discovered the person of my desire is a sociopath or a drug addict or a murderer — or whatever hyperbolic assessment would otherwise reasonably be a deal-breaker for you — how would I feel about them?” Is there any news that could truly rupture your affiliation from what you know on some level of your being — either obviously or deep in your gut — to be true and ultimately right?

The purpose of this extreme question is to gain insight into how crazy-blind our hearts can be, how attached we are (for better or worse). And to shine some light on the next logical consideration: Is acting out our extreme feelings the best course of action for our eventual wellness?

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Heart of Hearts – Following Our Deepest Callings

Heart of Hearts – Following Our Deepest Callings

28th October 2015

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

To live a fulfilling and meaningful life, without which life is meaningless, we have to inhabit more and more our heart of hearts — our deep hearts, the center of our inner knowingness. We can tap into this knowingness if we are sensitive and can deeply feel ourselves. It is informed by our minds, yet often has a different message for us than what we think we know.

This knowingness in our heart of hearts can share with us right from wrong. This means that we are organically and inescapably accountable for what presents to us in our heart of hearts — a morality of the heart if you will.

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Finding Freedom in the Least Likely Places

Finding Freedom in the Least Likely Places

20th October 2015

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

By “freedom” I mean the capacity to live a full life. Living a full life depends both upon external circumstances as well as internal capacities, or psycho-spiritual resources.

Many spiritual paths claim that all we need for freedom is not to be perturbed by life’s ups and downs, to abide in the unchangeability of consciousness, so to be in eternal peace. While I find worth in this state of mind, it also denies many other freedoms, is impractical and unrealistic, and is far from all we need. I find such to be a disengaged disposition, especially because it denies our humanness, living in the world, being in dynamic relationship, appreciating art, and creating justice for all.

Some think the other extreme: that freedom is simply an external experience, to do what one chooses. This seems equally, if not more, problematic and leads to excessive selfishness, consumerism, and a lack of compassion for the biosphere we all share. Indeed, a middle-ground between internal detachment and external attachment would allow us both internal and external freedom, in both easy and difficult circumstances.

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When We Love an Addict – Courage and the Limits of Compassion

When We Love an Addict – Courage and the Limits of Compassion

13th October 2015

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

At some point in our lives, we are asked to show up for an addict. When we love or are attached to this person, the ride can be rough for us, for the relationship, and everyone involved. Addictions most often conceal emotional pain, some form of despair and self-dislike. They either numb physiological pain, or distract the addict on a psychological level. Most often, both physical and emotional denial and numbing are at play.

The damage that addictions cause is usually more damaging than what one feared facing in the first place. When we face a challenge, or pain, we fear dying. But the challenge usually presents a death and rebirth experience from which we can emerge more whole and healed, not a literal death threat. While we may fear the death of our sense of self, and avoid that reckoning through addiction, ironically, our addictions are what actually kill us. What the addict does to counteract fear is scarier than what he avoids. Presented with an opportunity, the addict misunderstands the opportunity and takes it as a threat to his survival, and ends up killing his life.

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Sacred Space – What Is It and Why Do We Need It?

Sacred Space – What Is It and Why Do We Need It?

By Jack Adam Weber

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

In a recent conversation, a dear friend for many years asked me, “I wonder why it is that people need to hold this special view of what is sacred… why some things are sacred and others aren’t.” This is fascinating inquiry, one that invokes a number of subjects, such as the nature of healing, activism, our working definition of spirituality, and our emotional lives — all of which I hope to touch on here.

Sacred Space is time and space we set aside, or which spontaneously arises, to experience a depth, richness, and sense of meaning that usually escapes us in fast-paced everyday life when we are not as connected as we could be with our body, intuition, good thinking, compassion and empathy, and other emotions.

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