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Unattended Sorrow: Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Unattended sorrow is unresolved grief that has never been given a chance to heal. This lovely, spiritual book from one of the nation's most trusted grief counselors offers a series of techniques to help heal this pain so readers can lead full and joyful lives. The book not only guides those who have experienced a fresh loss to face the hurt before it settles in, but it als ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Rodale Books (first published February 5th 2005)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Oct 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
why we should be sweet with ourselves and others: "we are not alone in our feelings of sorrow. we are part of a worldwide community of loss. if sequestered pain made a sound the atmosphere would be humming all the time"

this is one i will be reading and rereading.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: grievers and those who love them
This book was almost too raw for me. It is rich, dense writing and very very hard to face the statements being made here. But the reality is, his observations are true and real. It's hard to see your tortured self so clinically laid out in print. And accept the recommendations being made. I want to talk with this author and understand where he is coming from. Some place as painful and dark and depressing as me, I am certain.
This isn't the best book on grief I read. But it leaps out as one of br
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Embrace your sorrow, breath into it, forgive yourself, be compassionate, serve others. By recognizing your great sorrows and living openly with them, they will not take over your life.

"May you be free from suffering, and may you be at peace."
A gem. Grief, writes Stephen Levine, is "an innate response to loss in a world where everything is impermanent." The longer we live, the more we will grieve; Levine acknowledges this on every page, and applies, for every wound, a balm of mercy. "How merciless we can be with ourselves," he says, and then he invites us to understand the minutae of grief ... our countless, often mindless reactions; so many of them our "need for denial just to feel sane." He offers a loving "Yes" to every nuance, to ...more
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was my favorite book of 2007. I picked it up while looking for background about a film I was working on that deals with grief and loss. EVERYONE who has experienced loss (umm, that would be you and me) and is looking for a way to work through it should read it. Levine's writing is beautiful, too. ...more
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A deeply moving, emotional book about loss and recovery. There was so much here that it took me some time to read this. I would read only a small section at a time and allow it to sink in before proceeding. It is very intense and there was so much that spoke to my heart and soul. I liked the author's suggestions for days devoted to different practices to speed healing - a day of walking, a day of loving kindness, a day of silence, a day of forgiveness, a day of singing, a day of compassion, a da ...more
Oct 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Only read half this book, but the first part was strikingly relevant to my life. "What does unattended sorrow look like? It is like a low-grade fever; it troubles our sleep and drains away our days; it scatters intuition and creates an underlying anxiety; it sours the eye and the ear and leaves a distaste in the mouth; it's the vague uncertainty that permeates every thought before every action; it's the heart working as hard as it can."

I appreciated the confirmation and affirmation that 'small'
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Love this book. It came to me at a time when I really needed to learn this "Buddhist type" detachment. The information is explained in such a clear and thoughtful way - I think Levine is totally inspired. ...more
Andrea Stoeckel
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The long- range impact of unresolved sorrow flows along a hidden spectrum...The work throughout this book does not purport to stop grief from arising, but only to help process the grief in whatever way it manifests..." (from the Introduction)

As an ordained minister, I was a skeptic regarding some of the practices of this book. I had been taught and in turn shared with others e aspects of grief, how it manifests, how it physically, emotionally and spiritually cripples us. However, it has taken ma
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is unique among books on grief that I have read. It is full of profound insights about the role of grief in self-growth; Unattended Sorrow helped me make sense of grief in new ways. Levine's writing is fantastic; in fact, since I borrowed my copy from the library I want to purchase a copy so I can highlight favorite passages and quotes.

Levine's discussion of "unattended sorrow" is insightful - how we accumulate many losses over a lifetime, and how to gently approach them with love and
Jackie Jameson
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I agree, in part, with Tara's review...a little too "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" for me. I don't need to know what grief feels like. I already do. I read this for some help in trying to get past it and for advice on healing. I came away empty. I guess there was some validation of sorts, like a doctor giving you a diagnosis of something that you knew you already had. ...more
Cathy Ferringo
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book to help you through a tough and emotional process. I enjoyed it very much and feel like I'll want to drag it off my shelf a time or two to reread parts as I get through this 1st year without my mother. ...more
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: self-help
I found this book irritatingly too long. He repeats the same exercises throughout the book. Its far too wordy, and feels like its never ending. I get the mindfulness of it, but being mindful during grief is a lot to ask, and i was unable to really get into it because of that.
Linda Bloedau
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The MAJOR book of 2007 for me.....

Quote --"Memories may always be bittersweet, but we may also find peace flickering at the edges of what once caused us agitation. Healing, the, becomes not the absence of pain but the increased ability to meet it with mercy instead of loathing."
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I primarily used this book as a daily dharma reading, and it's suited quite nicely to that. There's so much distilled wisdom in these pages that I know I'll keep this book in the pile of those I refer to regularly. ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I little bit sappy at times, overall helpful to me in my grief process.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I believe he mentioned that this started out as a pamphlet that he expanded into a book. I think it should have stayed a pamphlet. He repeats himself a lot while also using too many words to describe them. There are a couple of suggested things to do and ways of thinking to work on "recovering" and "reviving", but mostly it's just describing grief and loss and pain and then rephrasing those descriptions ad nauseam. ...more
Claire Holtz
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I recommend to EVERYONE.
Andrea Nguyen
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Very in depth and nurturing to the mind and soul. Gives hope to the other side of grief and sadness.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Insightfully brave and real. This book has awakened me.
I've picked up, read and skimmed through a few books on grief over the past few months. The title of this one caught my eye in the library, as my current grieving process is so mixed in with grief that I haven't really come to full terms with.

This book is so much more than many of the others I've poked through. Brutally honest and yet compassionate, the author explores the many reasons for grief, such as the death of a loved one, the effects of a major illness, the loss of one's way of life, et
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Superbly amazing for grief, loss and whatever transition life brings to us-open your heart, soften your belly and breathe.
Dale Kushner
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The author, Stephen Levine, has been working with issues of death and dying for years. What’s really interesting is this book is about the sorrows we all carry, from disappointment in life to the loss of a human being. They’re all locked inside us and affect us in painful ways. We are better off if we’re able to express grief, acknowledge loss. This book gives us ways to work with grief. It shows us how to open our hearts in hell.
One of my favorite quotes: “Unresolved grief is like a low grade f
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read if you're in the counseling field or looking how to cope with your own emotions of feelings. The Author displays a phenomenal understanding of how other people feel and was able to describe very heart felt emotion with kindness and warmth. Kudos to Mr. Levine for having such a brilliant, poetic way of putting words. I will take his ability to empathize for other people with me as I begin my own career in the counseling field. ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and found it to be quite informative. He has interesting concepts on how to work through grief and loss that many may not have heard about before. My only wish for Stephen Levine is that he would write a little less formal, though this book was better than some of his others
Nov 20, 2009 marked it as to-read
I can't really rate this until I read it, but everything by Stephen and Ondrea Levine is wonderful. ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a huge comfort to me, helping me shift from ruminating on the specifics of my own loss to bigger picture concepts of grieving and recovery.
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lovely book. Tender & gentle
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book! Strongly recommend this book that has encouraged me and is very real at the same time.
Jun 04, 2009 is currently reading it
one of the best books i've read in a while, at least in this genre. ...more
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American poet, author and teacher best known for his work on death and dying.

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