Cards for Bearing the Unbearable

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“The transformative fire of grief calls for a contemplative response. This doesn’t mean peaceful and calm. It means clearing through the roar of distraction and settling into presence with what is. In the case of shattering loss, this is no easy task. Fortunately, we have Joanne Cacciatore and her revolutionary teachings on the beauty and dignity of our broken-open hearts. In this beautiful deck, Dr. Jo distills the essence of her tender inquiry process and offers a potent series of contemplations to help us cultivate intimacy with the reality of our most profound losses, allowing them all the space they need to ripen and flower inside us, to ignite and awaken our hearts.”—Mirabai Starr, author of Caravan of No Despair and Wild Mercy

“Dr. Cacciatore's teachings get right to the heart, and they’ve helped me with my own grieving. The simple direct practices in her cards are a beacon and a buoy in what can seem like an overwhelming murky sea of loss and sorrow. It feels like she’s with you, a kind voice that is gentle, curious, and respectful. We all face loss, and we all need the help she offers.”—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness

“The gentle prompts on these cards may serve as conversation starters for couples, families, or peer support groups who are grieving a loved one, or—equally well—for individuals wanting to explore, journal, or simply ‘sit with’ their loss and grief.”—Donna L. Schuurman, Sr. Director of Advocacy & Education, The National Grief Center for Children and Families

“Emotions do not come easy for me, as I have a tendency to dissociate, so having these cards to come back around to as I gently eased into exploring where I was emotionally was very helpful. The Relationships section helped me to see and really affirm where I am with my spiritual practice.”—Michellanne Bradley, columnist at The Tattooed Buddha


52 Prompts for Exploring Grief and Having Conversations That Matter

Joanne Cacciatore

Grief sometimes leaves us without words. Yet narrating our feelings, thoughts, and experiences can be so helpful in relating to our inner world. These cards are an invitation to begin that process.

From the bestselling author of Bearing the Unbearable, here are 52 cards with prompts for exploring grief and starting conversations about those whom we’ve lost. These cards can be used as part of a contemplative practice, as journaling prompts, by or with therapists, or used in community with family, friends, or with a grief support group. They can be read aloud, alone or with others. You can read one card prior to meditation, or simply take one in and reflect deeply on what arises. However you use these cards, please take the time to really be with each one, dive deeply—and do so with a spirit of love and compassion for all beings, including yourself.
Click here to watch a message from Dr. Jo.
You can also explore Dr. Jo’s books, Bearing the Unbearable, Bearing the Unbearable: A Guided Journal for Grieving, and Grieving is Loving, as well her her Wisdom Academy course, Bearing the Unbearable.
book information
  • print
  • 54 pages, 4.2 x 5.8 inches
  • $24.95
  • ISBN 9781614298748
about the author
Cards for Bearing the Unbearable

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore has a fourfold relationship with bereavement. She is herself a bereaved mother: her newborn daughter died on July 27, 1994, and that single tragic moment catapulted her unwillingly onto the reluctant path of traumatic grief. For more than two decades, she’s devoted herself to direct practice with grief, helping traumatically bereaved people on six continents. She’s also been researching and writing about grief for more than a decade in her role as associate professor at Arizona State University and director of the Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement program there. And, in addition, she’s the founder of an international nongovernmental organization, the MISS Foundation, dedicated to providing multiple forms of support to families experiencing the death of a child at any age and from any cause, and since 1996 has directed the foundation’s family services and clinical education programs.
Cacciatore is an ordained Zen priest, affiliated with Zen Garland and its child bereavement center outside of New York City. She is in the process of building a “care-farm” and respite center for the traumatically bereaved, just outside Sedona, Arizona. The care-farm will offer a therapeutic community that focuses on reconnecting with self, others, and nature in the aftermath of loss through gardening, meditation, yoga, group work, animals, and other nonmedicalized approaches. All the animals at the care-farm will have been rescued from abuse and neglect.
She is an acclaimed public speaker and provides expert consulting and witness services in the area of traumatic loss. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as The Lancet, Social Work and Healthcare, and Death Studies, among others.
She received her PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in psychology from Arizona State University. Her work has been featured in major media sources such as People and Newsweek magazines, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, CNN, National Public Radio, and the Los Angeles Times. She has been the recipient of many regional and national awards for her empathic work and service to people suffering traumatic grief. She travels quite often but spends most of her time in Sedona, Arizona, with her family and three rescue dogs. She also has three horses that are part of her Rescue Horses Rescue People equine therapy program.

Other books by Joanne Cacciatore:
Bearing the Unbearable
Grieving Is Loving
Bearing the Unbearable

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