Linda Espie, author of Symbols, published by St Luke’s Innovative Resources, has just released a new book, The Soulful Art of Pondering Grief. As a friend and colleague of Linda’s, Karen Bedford, our managing editor was asked to review the book. This is what Karen had to say.
‘Ponder’ is such a beautiful word. Round, deep and slow. Quiet and meandering. Full-hearted and spacious. No wonder this word features in the title of Linda Espie’s new book Pondering Grief—a collection of words and images about change and transition. Readers will find qualities of the word ponder abundantly present on every page, as are the different nuances, hues and faces of grief.
Linda is a Melbourne-based counsellor, psychotherapist, educator, photographer, art therapist and author. In her closing note at the end of the book, Linda says, ‘Respecting grief in all its unfolding and passion has offered me some deeply valued lessons. Though excruciating at times, as well as breathtaking, heart aching, head pounding and confusing, I am thankful for what I have gained in strengths and conviction from my experiences.’
There are 23 key words or themes in the book beginning with ‘Story’ and ending with ‘Courage’. Each theme inhabits its own double-page spread, featuring one or more visual images (mostly photographs) and a prompt for reflection. This prompt may be:
a quote: ‘It matters if you just don’t give up’—Stephen Hawking
a question: What nourishes you?
a suggestion: What symbols would you use to describe your grief today?
an intriguing statement: Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.
a sentence starter: Those moments that …
While this book offers is a rich abundance of threads to follow as you walk through the territory of your grief, the abiding feeling arising throughout these pages is spaciousness, simplicity, silence. And time—time and space to feel and heal, to wonder and ponder. To gather up the sorrows, and when you are ready, if you agree, if you can bear the heart to become that full … the gifts of a grieving heart as well.
Linda’s book can be purchased through her website.