Grieving - The Sacred Art:

Offers the griever an adult understanding of the emotional world of loss and provides tools to mindfully participate in grief’s healing role. Without denying the pain of loss, it offers educational and imaginative insights that deepen the understanding of the process of loss and helps the griever generate more compassion for his or her experience.

Lisa Irish

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Develop skills of conscious grieving while reclaiming love that transcends death.

For most people, the pain of loss dominates their experience of grief. Grief then becomes something to be avoided or completed as quickly as possible. In her new book, Lisa Irish presents grief as our “ally” in the Land of Loss and offers pathways and resources to navigate the confusing and challenging terrain. She explores “conscious grieving,” as she gathers the wisdom of bereavement experts, spiritual leaders and everyday people walking their own individual paths. Lisa encourages us to let seeds of hope find their way into our grieving hearts, to allow self-compassion during the journey, and to trust grief’s healing process. Grieving - The Sacred Art makes a space for love in our sadness and leads us into a Land of Hope.

Lisa Irish takes grief out of the too-uncomfortable-to-talk-about closet and invites the reader to participate in the process as a conscious griever. Using creative imagery and current research, she offers the reader an adult understanding of the emotional world of loss and provides tools to mindfully participate in grief’s healing role. Without denying the pain of loss, she offers educational and imaginative insights, which deepen the griever’s understanding of the process of loss and helps the griever generate more compassion for his or her personal experience.

Primarily intended for those experiencing grief from the death of a loved one, many of the themes are transferable to the human experience of loss in all its forms. Stories from people in all stages of the grieving process serve as waypoints to help the griever navigate loss. Practical exercises and questions for reflections offer support on the tender and sacred journey through grief to healing.

“Lisa Irish shows us that grief is our ally in the Land of Loss, and indeed her book becomes our ally as well. Her insightful study and creative descriptions of grieving tap into our own experiences of loss. The roadmap is wise, but sensitive - grounded in hope - and reminds us to rest in God’s healing love.” — Richard Rohr, OFM, The Center for Action and Contemplation

"Grief and grieving are natural to life, but somehow we have convinced ourselves otherwise. Lisa Irish's Grieving - The Sacred Art returns us [to] the truth, and helps us navigate the sea of grief that we might arrive at the other shore with a greater appreciation for life and a greater boldness for living." — Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The World Wisdom Bible

“Lisa Irish’s approach to grieving in this volume invites the reader on a journey through the Land of Loss, through the regions of Alone, Passage, Surrender, and Changed. She shares in this context current research on grief and resilience, many evocative examples from her extensive experience in bereavement work and spiritual direction. Throughout Grieving: The Sacred Art, she includes consoling and inspiring quotations, carefully described exercises or rituals that might assist a grieving person, and exudes a surplus of encouragement that people grow and eventually discover their own resilience and wisdom as they travel through the terrain of grief. Spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, chaplains, and the bereaved themselves are likely to better understand both the challenges and gifts of grieving. This might result in more effective accompaniment on the part of professionals and greater self-understanding and courage for the bereaved as they journey through The Land of Loss.” — Dr. Janet K. Ruffing, RSM, Professor of the Practice of Spirituality and Ministerial Leadership, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT.

“There is a path from darkness into light. It is long and lonely. Lisa Irish has assembled a community of companions for this journey whose wisdom and whispers of encouragement lift the most broken among us. This book is a hand stretched out, an arm around the shoulder—it is tender, strong, reliable. Of all the books on grief, this is the one I would offer to a fellow soul on that bewildering journey through loss.” — Jan Phillips, author of No Ordinary Time

“A beautiful work of the heart. Lisa Irish speaks not only from a professional knowledge of loss, but from her own lived experience. Her exercises, meditations and rituals offer valuable counsel, and her understanding of the vulnerability of the journey is key. 'The heart initially begs for certainty,' she tells us, then goes on to show how the pathway through loss evolves, opening the door to a greater love that we may each find in our own way and time.” — Paula D’Arcy, author of Gift of the Red Bird and Stars at Night

"Armed only with the tools of psychiatry, I have found my ability to salve the wounds of grief often inadequate. Whether the bereaved is religiously minded or not, there is an inescapable, fundamentally spiritual aspect to grieving. Lisa Irish’s Grieving—The Sacred Art compellingly speaks to this truth. But her missive does not flutter in the realm of imponderable metaphysics. Quotes from a variety of learned minds guide and inspire. Vignettes movingly illustrate the wisdom Ms. Irish shares. Her many entries headed “Promptings of Hope” offer practical help in navigating the Land of Loss to find hope." — Joseph Fickes, MD, Associate Director, Psychological Medicine Service, Yale New Haven Hospital

Lisa Irish, MEd, MA has been offering retreats and presentations for over twenty-five years. As the bereavement coordinator for Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of St Raphael in New Haven, CT, she ministered to grieving individuals, groups and community organizations. A chaplain and spiritual director, Lisa’s writing creates connection and insight for her readers. Her work has been published by Abbey Press in the Elf-help book, Grieving with a Grateful Heart and several CareNotes; Open to Hope, an online grief forum; and her blog at