The Losses of Our Lives: The Sacred Gifts of Renewal in Everyday Loss

Overview

Find hope and renewal in life's natural cycle of ordinary losses and new beginnings.

"When we intentionally enter into our everyday walk through small losses, the terrain of larger losses, the valley of the shadow of death, is not totally unknown. It is not completely unfamiliar, alien, terrifying, for we have walked some of this way before with our lesser losses. We can journey through this valley of loss, for journey through it we must. And we can emerge markedly changed, but ...

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The Losses of Our Lives: The Sacred Gifts of Renewal in Everyday Loss

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Overview

Find hope and renewal in life's natural cycle of ordinary losses and new beginnings.

"When we intentionally enter into our everyday walk through small losses, the terrain of larger losses, the valley of the shadow of death, is not totally unknown. It is not completely unfamiliar, alien, terrifying, for we have walked some of this way before with our lesser losses. We can journey through this valley of loss, for journey through it we must. And we can emerge markedly changed, but alive, on the other side."
—from the Prologue

Going beyond loss as a problem to be resolved, a grief to be worked through, Dr. Nancy Copeland-Payton, a spiritual director and ordained clergywoman, reframes loss from the perspective that our everyday losses help us learn what we need to handle the major losses. Weaving in spiritual and classical themes, personal and scriptural story, Dr. Copeland-Payton shows us that by becoming aware of what our lesser losses have to teach us, the larger losses of our lives become less terrifying. Each chapter includes a spiritual practice and questions for reflection to help you:

  • Mine the hidden depths of painful losses of things and places
  • Traverse the devastating loss of relationships and the heart-wrenching death of people we love.
  • Overcome the steep, dark slopes of loss of beliefs and faith.
  • Venture past our fear of the losses of aging and our own death.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Capture[s] beautifully the paradox that the losses of our lives can become our gains. By weaving story, experience and faith … shows how our deepest hurts may be the soil that nurtures the seeds of our transformation."
Sr. Clarissa Goeckner, prioress, Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho

“An extraordinary and wise guide in the treacherous terrain of loss.”
Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, author, Jewish Visions for Aging: A Professional Guide for Fostering Wholeness

“Walks us step by step through the stages of life ... helping us delve deeper into the meaning of gift and loss—inconsequential or catastrophic—when they are considered together.”
Terry Taylor, author, A Spirituality for Brokenness: Discovering Your Deepest Self in Difficult Times

“Offers a way to reflect on loss that is integrative and practical. Invites the reader on a journey of depth and care.”
Mary C. Earle, author, Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness

“An extraordinarily wise, practical guide … on how to develop a deep spirituality grounded in the matrix between the wounds of everyday life from birth to death and the longing for God as the sacred ground discovered in the everyday gifts of life.”
Dr. Tyron Inbody, professor emeritus of theology, United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio; author, The Transforming God: An Interpretation of Suffering and Evil

“[This] beautifully written and deeply pastoral book touched my soul as [the] stories melded with my stories to explore ever more deeply the fabric of gift and loss in our lives. To everyone who deals with losses—and that's all of us—I highly recommend it.”
Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, president, World Alliance of Reformed Churches; visiting professor of ecumenical studies and global ministries, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594733079
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,049,417
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Nancy Copeland-Payton is a spiritual director and ordained clergywoman in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is author of The Losses of Our Lives: The Sacred Gifts of Renewal in Everyday Loss. A pastor, hospital chaplain and physician who practiced medicine for twenty years, she now leads retreats at church centers, monasteries and with church groups to help people explore their experiences of loss.
Dr. Nancy Copeland-Payton is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Sacred Gifts and Difficult Losses in Life
  • Listening for God's Voice – The Art of Discernment
  • The Prayer of Silence
  • Living Advent Each Day
  • Nurturing the Monk Inside – Living Monastically in the Everyday

Click here to contact the author.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue xi

1 The Human Tapestry 1
Spiritual Practice: Breath Prayer 10
Exploring Deeper 11

2 Birth Pangs and Passages 15
Spiritual Practice: Walking Meditation 29
Exploring Deeper 30

3 Awakening: Patterns of Gift and Loss 35
Spiritual Practice: Examen 47
Exploring Deeper 48

4 Things and Places 51
Spiritual Practice: Sand Mandala 64
Exploring Deeper 65

5 The Ebb and Flow of Relationships 69
Spiritual Practice: Labyrinth 86
Exploring Deeper 87

6 Relationships That Unravel and Tear Apart 89
Spiritual Practice: Accompaniment 108
Exploring Deeper 109

7 When Foundations Shake and Crumble 113
Spiritual Practice: Lectio Divina 129
Exploring Deeper 130

8 The Passing of Time: Our Final Loss … and Gift 133
Spiritual Practice: Guided Meditation 146
Exploring Deeper 148

Epilogue 151
Notes 153
Suggestions for Further Reading 155

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Useful Tool For A Difficult Subject

    I believe the best way to describe Dr. Copeland-Payton's work is to say parts of it made me very uncomfortable as I read them, and created that "churning" feeling deep inside my gut. That's a sure sign that we're getting to territory I don't want to discuss or think about. However, this is not the typical self-analysis type of work. It's written from a Christian and loving perspective, and one that makes the reader feel comfortable going where they might not want to venture. Dr. Copeland-Payton's references to personal issues and losses makes it even more compelling. I highly recommend this book as a tool for anyone seeking a new perspective on the issue of "loss" in our lives, something we all have to deal with, but often are unprepared to do so.

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  • Posted November 9, 2009

    An Uplifting Treatise on a Difficult Subject

    This book takes a subject from which we often retreat and helps us look at our varied losses in an uplifting way. Copeland-Pqyton has a beautiful way of painting pictures with words, looking anew at difficult concepts, and expressing the ways of a loving and universal God. Personal stories from her own life and the lives of others bring the chapter content alive, and are set apart not only in typeset but because of a rich and varied background as a medical doctor, pastor and spiritual director, wife and mother, and from living abroad (including in Iran).

    If one was to take seriously the nudging toward looking at our losses in a deeper way through the help of the suggested and fleshed out practices at the end of each chapter, one could find themselves returning to this book over and over and gaining new insight and direction each time.

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  • Posted November 5, 2009

    Not Just for Christians

    The rhythm of life which entails a flow between loss and gift is integral to the human condition. When we are visited by loss, often we focus on the pain we feel which blinds us to the beauty of the gift that accompanies it. Dr. Copeland-Payton explores the depth s of this connection throughout the various stages of our lives. But this is not merely an intellectual exploration of the topic, rather an invitation to a deepened spirituality. Through practical exercises from the world's major faith traditions, she invites us to reflect on our own experiences in order to mine the wisdom they hold. As I journeyed through this book, I uncovered many blessings that arose from the very losses that caused pain in my life. I recognized how frequently I turned my attention to the loss and failed to identify the accompanying gifts, and I was challenged to look for them.

    Although Dr. Copeland-Payton is grounded in the Christian tradition, this book is not just for Christians. I highly recommend it to all those willing to explore the territory of the everyday losses of their lives that contain within them the seeds of renewal.

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