In 1997, my father passed away in the waiting room of his dentist's office while reading a large-print Readers Digest. My life shifted dramatically when I received that phone call. Grief settled in. Although 20 years have passed since my father's death, there is still a degree of that grief alive and well within me. At the Dan Anderson Renewal Center, we offer a retreat on grief twice a year. During the weekend the participants are invited to take this time away from their day-to-day lives and honor the grief within themselves. Grief comes from a variety of losses, which include death, divorce, loss of a dream, loss of a friendship, changes within a career or loss of one's career, health changes, role changes, miscarriage, lifestyle, and youth. While these are very different catalysts, the feelings of grief that accompany them are universal. Within the introspective and reflective time of the retreat, healing occurs. Queen Elizabeth once stated, "Grief is the price of love." Grief is the natural response to loss and mourning is the action elicited by grief: Mourning is the outward manifestation of grief, the process used to deal with it. Loss burrows in deeply and permanently, unlike other situations encountered in life. The intensity may wax and wane but it remains present eternally within the heart space. Grief takes up residency. There are certainly times when we would prefer that it move on, evacuate the premises. Although it may vary in degrees of intensity with time, grief has its own time frame and is insistent that we pay homage to it. Often a recent loss can and will compound the impact of previous losses. This can create a sense of overwhelm when a backlog of losses surfaces. What is needed to navigate the grief journey already lies within. This sense of overwhelm won't paralyze us or last forever: there is an ebb and flow. Trying to pretend that the pain does not exist can be hazardous to your health. Just as laughter is a ritual for humor, so are tears a ritual for sorrow. It feels uncomfortable to suppress either laughter or tears. Simply allowing the expression of our authentic feelings promotes healing. Healing is a significant part of the grief process. Healing will occur if you allow yourself to participate fully in the Grief and Recovery Retreat. Over three days we engage in specific, written exercises and each exercise is shared with a partner. If you choose to participate in this retreat you will work very closely with your partner in sharing your Loss History Graph and Relationship Graph. The written work is shared with a partner so each participant has the opportunity to share the fullness of their story and their emotions with another individual. If you arrive willing to allow your emotional truth to surface and be shared, there is no way you can go away from it without having experienced a modicum of healing through your process. There are a variety of symptoms that accompany grief. Some of these symptoms are: can't sleep, sleep all the time, guilt, anger, obsession over the loss, shock, and numbness. Part of the grief process is in allowing the clumsiness and awkwardness of being hurt and unable to "hold it together." There are times when no matter how mature or how well we are, a loss can and will take us to that place of becoming unglued. Our culture is not comfortable with intense emotional responses. Trusting that the pain will not remain this intense helps it to become bearable. Let people who love and know you well share in your process. To quote Thomas Horn, "Grief, no matter where it comes from, can only be resolved by connecting with other people." When we lose someone or something we're not only cut off from that someone or something, it also cuts off the part of me that the other represented. We have lost a part of our own self. It is in finding our way back to that missing part of the self and reclaiming it from the person or thing now gone, that is the process of grieving. Grieving is a process and the process is lifesaving. Grieving well is to discover the nature of our losses, as well as their meanings and the impact of the feelings within ourselves. This is the time to find appropriate ways of responding. Really, there are no shortcuts.