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November, 2005 

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

 Volume 9, Issue No. 9, Theme: Dealing with Loss




- Quote of the month
- From the Editor
- This Month's Theme: Resources for Dealing with Loss
- Links for further information
- Happiness Is...All in Your Head?
- A Prayer for Assistance
- Good Advice Floating about the Internet
- Book Reviews: 'Adopting Alyosha'
- Health in the News
- Letters
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Subscription Information
- Web Site
- Web Log



December: Living, and Healing, with Chronic Illness.  Please share what inspiration and activities work for you. 

January: The Healing Powers of Pets.  Do you have a story to tell? 

February: Music - Sustenance for the Soul.  How has music improved your health?  Send your recommendations and experiences. 

March: The Importance of Celebrations.  What kinds and how do you and your family use them to make life better? 

April: Feed the Creative to Heal the Body and Mind.  What arts and activities inspire you? 

May: Nurture the Spirit for Better Health. Retreats, walks, music, poetry, prayer: what makes you feel refreshed and energized? 

June: Coping with Catastrophe.  Share spiritual resources.




"The divine messengers come to bring joy to this earth, for this is the planet of tribulation and torment and the mission of the great masters is to turn men away from these anxieties and to infuse life with infinite joy. 

"When the divine message is understood, all troubles will vanish. Shadows disappear when the universal lamp is lighted, for whosoever becomes illumined thereby no longer knows grief; he realizes that his stay on this planet is temporary and that life is eternal. When once he has found reality he will no longer retreat into darkness." 

      (Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 69)


"[Life] brings each one of us crises as well as victories. Our own lives and even the lives of the central Figures of the Faith have been fraught with agony as well as blessing, with failure and frustration and grief, as frequently as with progress. This is the nature of life. 

      (Baha'i Universal House of Justice, "Quickeners of Mankind," p. 117) 




Dear Readers, 

The Newsletter theme this month is of great interest to me personally because I am presently dealing with some loss of both physical and mental faculties, which turns out to be as difficult for me as losing my loved ones.  It is clear that I never prepared for the inevitable aspects of aging to be visited upon me! 

The struggle to find information and support for my transition, not to mention acceptance to this new reality has been challenging.  What is particularly encouraging is the extent to which the world of electronic communication can provide so much more than just a mind-boggling amount of information to help.   

The Internet gives us access to a support network of people who actually care about the same things we do.  The new direction that this interconnectedness can take us is no less than the vision of a true, grassroots democracy.   

Even as the printing press presaged access for Everyman to all knowledge of that day long before the average person had learned to read, so the next step for the Internet -- the interactive Internet, or Web2 -- one person, one voice -- makes the technology available to facilitate one world, when the mass of humankind decides to make it happen.   

'It' being a globally connected, aware and concerned human family dedicated to solving the major and minor issues of this Day, and building God's Kingdom on Earth.   

Healing Through Unity was a forerunner when it made a beginning almost ten years ago using the Read Only Web to connect people around the world to improve health.  And now it will be moving into the Read/Write Web2 with our very own weblog, or 'Blog.' 

Healing Through Unity Weblog will allow for both content and comment on a daily basis, and lots of information and interaction that the format of an email newsletter does not allow.  It will also provide for a greater diversity of content and reader comment, for which there is never space in the Newsletter. 

Of course, right now, this infant weblog is mostly a collection of "Look what neat stuff I found on the 'Net today that probably won't fit in the newsletter," instead of a conversation or set of conversations. 

You, our readers, can change that state by posting comments, suggesting links, asking questions and telling us what you liked, what worked -- about the weblog and the newsletter both.  In this way, the Healing Through Unity Weblog will grow up and be shaped by its participants -- like any good conversation. 

The monthly email newsletter will continue, enriched by more a timely chance to make comment and communicate with one another.  Interesting links to topics on the weblog will show up in the newsletter format for those who do not yet have easy access to the Internet other than email. 

I'm looking forward to greater collaboration of thought and development in the months ahead! 

Cheryll Schuette, Michigan, USA





"Real life is the collision -- day in, day out -- of the improbable with the impossible.  [The poet] Longfellow believed that situations that call forth our coping abilities are "celestial benedictions" in dark disguises, sent not to try our souls, but to enlarge them.  Just as dough rises in a bowl, expanding before it becomes bread, we become larger than we ever thought possible when we rise to occasions, performing miracles with good humor and grace.  Coping well enables you to see beyond the circumference of circumstance, so that the Real in the center of your daily round is not hidden by happenstance." 

      (Sarah Ban Breathnach, "Simple Abundance: a daybook of comfort and joy," November 6)

According to prominent researchers and mental health counsellors, grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of any kind.  It is comprised of a conflicting set of feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior -- that aching sense of personal loss, loneliness, and limbo that so often results when life goes a different way than planned. 

Dealing with loss means first acknowledging and then dealing with the emotions that roil about and make up grief. 

These are normal and natural feelings, say John James and Russelll Friedman, authors of "The Grief Recovery Handbook."  The problem is that in modern cultures, people are socialized to think these feelings are abnormal and unnatural.  Grievers are encouraged to 'get over it,' or 'get on with life,' or to replace the dog/job/car/house/parent figure/significant other. 

According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, one of the most well-known researchers on death and dying, "Grief is the intense emotional response to the pain of a loss.  It is the reflection of a connection that has been broken.  Most important, grief is an emotional, spiritual and psychological journey to healing...Grief alone has the power to heal...Grief always works...Grief always heals."  ("On Grief and Grieving," See book listed below.) 

When people do not accept and deal with their feelings, and especially those feelings attendant on losses of various kinds, all the experts agree that their health will suffer. 

Fatigue can be the first symptom, the first hint that there is something that needs attention.  "Unresolved grief consumes tremendous amounts of energy.  Most commonly, the grief stays buried under the surface, and only the symptoms are treated.  Many people, including mental health professionals, misunderstand the fact that unresolved loss is cumulative and cumulatively negative."  (James and Friedman, see below.) 

Kubler-Ross comments, "Many problems in our lives stem from grief unresolved and unhealed.  When we do not work through our grief, we lose an opportunity to heal our soul, psyche, and heart.  In today's culture there are so few models of grief.  It is invisible to the untrained eye.  We don't teach our children how to cope with loss." 

In the last few years, a number of good books have been published dealing specifically with loss, grieving and recovery.  The number of resource sites on the Internet has also expanded, and many offer ongoing support and often real time interaction.  (See the links below for some starting points.) 

Throughout history, however, it is religion that has provided guidance for understanding and working through losses.   

"There is no human being untouched by these two influences [sorrow and joy]; but all the sorrow and the grief that exist come from the world of matter -- the spiritual world bestows only the joy! 

"If we suffer it is the outcome of material things, and all the trials and troubles come from this world of illusion. 

"For instance, a merchant may lose his trade and depression ensues. A workman is dismissed and starvation stares him in the face. A farmer has a bad harvest, anxiety fills his mind. A man builds a house which is burnt to the ground and he is straightway homeless, ruined, and in despair. 

"All these examples are to show you that the trials which beset our every step, all our sorrow, pain, shame and grief, are born in the world of matter; whereas the spiritual Kingdom never causes sadness. A man living with his thoughts in this Kingdom knows perpetual joy. The ills all flesh is heir to do not pass him by, but they only touch the surface of his life, the depths are calm and serene." 

      (Abdu'l-Baha, "Paris Talks," p. 110) 

It is the compounding of these big and little losses, unmourned, unprocessed, that builds up into health shattering crisis, according to John James and Russell Friedman, who founded the Grief Recovery Center after they couldn't find the resources they needed to deal with their own losses. 

Their Grief Recovery program is particularly action based, not just spending time talking to a counselor or group, but a step by step plan to help identify the emotions and their sources.  Their process is neither mystical, nor technically complex -- but they do not claim it to be easy, either. 

Stephen Levine, in the introduction to his book, "Unattended Sorrow," says that in 25 years of working with concentration camp survivors and their children, Vietnam War veterans, and victims of sexual abuse, he has observed that the long-range impact of unresolved grief was painfully evident in every area of these lives.  "Over the years it became increasingly obvious that grief and the spirit were the two common denominators, the two underlying characteristics of all people, the ever-present potential for hell or heaven at any moment."  (See book below) 

Common health issues that can be symptoms of grief include the big stuff, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a galaxy of smaller ones (fatigue, for instance) that can build over time into major problems.  Diseases have an emotional component, as newer research into the mind body connection is discovering. 

"Despite what we learn daily about healthy exercise practices, healthy diets, and good medical care, the bottom line is that the most significant way of contributing to our own good health is through the quality of our thought processes."  Dr. Christiane Northrup, recognized expert on women's health issues, from "The Wisdom of Menopause," p. 65. 

Religion has over the ages, sought to teach the practice of acceptance and faith in the purpose of life, even when the understanding was not there.  This is the ultimate in changing the way one thinks. 

"Today, humanity is bowed down with trouble, sorrow and grief, no one escapes; the world is wet with tears; but, thank God, the remedy is at our doors. Let us turn our hearts away from the world of matter and live in the spiritual world! It alone can give us freedom! If we are hemmed in by difficulties we have only to call upon God, and by His great Mercy we shall be helped.  

"If sorrow and adversity visit us, let us turn our faces to the Kingdom and heavenly consolation will be outpoured. 

"If we are sick and in distress let us implore God's healing, and He will answer our prayer. 

"When our thoughts are filled with the bitterness of this world, let us turn our eyes to the sweetness of God's compassion and He will send us heavenly calm! If we are imprisoned in the material world, our spirit can soar into the Heavens and we shall be free indeed! 

"When our days are drawing to a close let us think of the eternal worlds, and we shall be full of joy! 

"You see all round you proofs of the inadequacy of material things -- how joy, comfort, peace and consolation are not to be found in the transitory things of the world. Is it not then foolishness to refuse to seek these treasures where they may be found? The doors of the spiritual Kingdom are open to all, and without is absolute darkness." 

     (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 111) 

For specifics on building a personal recovery system, especially for those physical ailments most closely associated with unresolved grief, the following links and books are starting points.  




* The Grief Recovery Program information, training and handbook: 

* Grief and Loss Resource Center web site is a good starting place to explore resources available on the Web.  It lists many, many links sorted by type of loss in three main categories: Grief links, Other loss links, and memorials (which area provides insight into how other people are dealing with their losses).

 * US national Mental Health Association has a short fact sheet on coping with loss, bereavement and grief on their site:



"How to Survive the Loss of a Love: 58 things to do when there is nothing to be done," which the authors describe as a different kind of guide to overcoming all your emotional hurts, written by a medical doctor, a psychologist and a poet: Melba Colgrove, Ph.D., Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. and Peter McWilliams.  Bantom Books, probably in about its 50th printing since the first in 1976. 

"Unattended Sorrow: recovering from loss and reviving the heart," Stephen Levine, Rodale Books, 2005. 

"The Grief Recovery Handbook: the action program for moving beyond death, divorce, and other losses," John W. James and Russell Friedman.  Harper Perennial, 1998. 

"On Grief and Grieving," Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler.  Scribner, 2005.  The last book from an established expert on death and dying and helping the living go on. 

"Fire and Gold: benefiting from life's tests," compiled by Brian Kurzius.  George Ronald, 1995 (from the Baha'i Writings) 

"Divine Therapy: pearls of wisdom from the Baha'i Writings," compiled by Annamarie Honnold. George Ronald, 1986 




"Our notion of the brain is roughly that described by Rene Descartes in 1694.  He said the body communicates with the brain by nerves, like a bell ringer pulling on a cord to ring the bell.  And, as Quasimodo knew, the bell can also ring the ringer.  That notion was elaborated to the recent view of the brain as an intricate computer: a hundred billion nerves, each of them connected with up to two hundred thousand others.  It gets mind-bogglingly complex.  Like a computer, happiness is programmed, sort of, and it you could fix the circuit, you could fix the lack-of-happiness problem. 

"Some neurophysiologists have explored the basis of happiness in the brain.  The latest view of the brain differs from this image of a fixed wiring diagram.  It turns out that nerves change in response to stimuli and their environment.  Signals sent to the brain are not just received; they actually alter the brain.  That explains the effect of exercise or playing with puppies--the physical act also affects the brain.  Signals entirely within the brain change it, too.  "a happy thought, amazingly, causes a physical change.  So simply by pretending to be happy, you can truly become happy.  The happiness ability of the brain is like a muscle--work it long and hard enough and you can become the Schwarzenegger of ecstasy. 

"So, if feeling blue is a matter of chemistry, and we can change brain chemistry by sheer thought alone, then it seems logical to stop feeling blue just by deciding to do so." 

(Paul Gahlinger, quoted in "100 Ways to Beat the Blues" p. 152-153)M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., FACOEM, professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Utah. 


"The spirit is changeless, indestructible. The progress and development of the soul, the joy and sorrow of the soul, are independent of the physical body. 

"If we are caused joy or pain by a friend, if a love prove true or false, it is the soul that is affected. If our dear ones are far from us -- it is the soul that grieves, and the grief or trouble of the soul may react on the body. 

"Thus, when the spirit is fed with holy virtues, then is the body joyous; if the soul falls into sin, the body is in torment! 

      (Abdu'l-Baha, "Paris Talks," p. 65) 




"Dispel my grief by Thy bounty and Thy generosity, O God, my God, and banish mine anguish through Thy sovereignty and Thy might. Thou seest me, O my God, with my face set towards Thee at a time when sorrows have compassed me on every side. I implore Thee, O Thou Who art the Lord of all being, and overshadowest all things visible and invisible, by Thy Name whereby Thou hast subdued the hearts and the souls of men, and by the billows of the Ocean of Thy mercy and the splendors of the Day-Star of Thy bounty, to number me with them whom nothing whatsoever hath deterred from setting their faces toward Thee, O Thou Lord of all names and Maker of the heavens!" 

     (Baha'u'llah, "Prayers and Meditations," p. 247) 


BOOK CORNER: 'Adopting Alyosha'



Adopting Alyosha: A Single Man Finds a Son in Russia. By Robert Klose; University Press of Mississippi; 1999; hardcover; $22. 

In writing his deeply personal story, biology professor Robert Klose of Orono, [Maine, USA] may very well have taken a giant step for mankind. 

No, he didn't walk on the moon or map every canal on Mars, although in some ways, it might have been easier. 

Instead, Klose opted to adopt a son from Russia. 

When first hit by the hunger to raise a child, Klose was in a perfect position to adopt. In his late 30s at the time, he had a good teaching job at the University College of Bangor in Bangor, Maine USA, health insurance, a home with raspberry gardens, a view of "silver maples sweeping the bank" of the Penobscot, and a canoe to go with the idyllic scene. 

"God, what a wonderful place to raise a child," he writes. 

Although he told few people of his plans, his parents and siblings had supported the idea. He had even built all his future son's bedroom furniture, draped a superheroes comforter on the bed and hung "dinosaur curtains" on the windows. 

But, there was a hitch: He was a single man. 

What follows, is a witty, well-crafted tale, the first book to be written by a single male adopting from abroad. 

Klose's journey into fatherhood is uncommon, to say the least. Single women far outnumber single men in the adoption circuit. 

"There are certain fixed phrases in our culture," he said." You'll hear, 'motherless child,' or 'mother and child,' but you don't hear 'father and child.'" 

His ordeal took large amounts of tenacity, time and money. One less-than-honest agent cheated him out of $4,000. 

To wannabe, adoptive dads, Klose offers terse words of advice: "Persistence ... patience.... Even if things are perfect in every way, it's still not the smoothest process in the world. You have to have a willingness to believe. It's easy to get discouraged." 

A Bayonne, N.J. native and Fulbright scholar, Klose first came to Maine in the early 1980s to earn a graduate degree at the University of Maine in Orono. 

It took Klose almost three long years to finally adopt a 7-year-old boy from an orphanage in Russia. The adoption process normally takes a year. Along the way, he learned that boys are far less likely to be adopted than girls. Handicapped and older children are also deemed less desirable. 

"The American agencies in Maine, and other agencies, were working with me, but they had limited, or no experience working with single men. Klose says. "My case was not a priority. There were so many traditional families. It was so much easier to fill their needs." 

He describes in detail the interview process. The sexual preference question inevitably came up. 

"I'm a heterosexual," Klose said. "They almost apologize for asking this. But they need to know what they're working with. Homosexual individuals and couples have adopted, but it's almost the kiss of death if you say you're gay and want to adopt overseas."

An agent asked why he had never married. 

"It's not as if I've shut the door to the possibility," he wrote. "What could I tell him? I am a very independent man who is attracted to very independent women. It is not a recipe for success." 

Klose's honest storytelling fills a neglected literary niche. Not enough is heard from fathers of any type or stripe -- single or married. It's as if a code of silence keeps males from pounding their chests and publicly proclaiming the pangs and pride of fatherhood. 

"I had not grown up until, at the age of 39, I had adopted a child," he wrote. 

His easy narrative style, wry humor and upbeat tone are never mawkish. He does not lapse into bitterness, despite false leads, frustrations, painful days, sleepless nights, endless fees and dashed expectations. 

He is, however, quick to brush off any applause. 

"I didn't intend to be a standard bearer for single men who want to adopt. I don't want to be a leader of the movement, or a resource, because I am a writer, first. I saw it as a unique story, an interesting story, and along with that -- a neat testament for my son. I wrote it as a special gift for my son. 

"This is not my first writing. I've contributed essays to the Christian Science Monitor for more than 10 years. I write human interest stories -- about teaching school, life in Maine, raising my son -- his first allowance, first dance, my learning about soccer through his eyes." 

"Adopting Alyosha" will deeply interest anyone seeking to adopt a child. But Klose's multidimensional book is also a travelogue, keen social commentary and overall, an excellent read. In it, we get a heartbreaking glimpse into foreign adoptions. Countless children pine away in orphanages overseas, yet the adoption process remains desperately mired. 

"Interestingly enough, Aloysha bucked the post-adoption profile," he said "Normally, they (children) are in state of euphoria. Once they feel secure enough -- they have an emotional crash, until they slowly gain emotional footing. Alyosha came here on a high, and always stayed on a high. He's secure in his own skin. I'm very lucky." 

Transitions, however, are never easy. 

"The language barrier was a difficulty, but not insuperable. There were quite a few Russians in the area -- a real resource. For several months, he would cry at school. I'd have to sit with him for a half hour, until got himself collected and I was able to leave him on his own. It was hard to see him unhappy." 

In "Adopting Alyosha," readers will hear a rare voice -- the primal yearning of the father -- a lament that fortunately for Klose, turns into a song of triumph. And though we know his story has a happy ending, nothing can prepare us for its final burst of joy -- for a father's hard-won epiphany. 

"The advent of my son has suddenly forced me to lean into the future, like the figurehead of a tall ship," he writes. 

For more information about "Adopting Alyosha" go to: 




(Attributed to Mother Theresa, but good even if she didn't say it) 

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self centered.

-Forgive them anyway. 

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

-Be kind anyway. 

If you are successful you will win some false friends and some true enemies.

-Succeed anyway. 

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.

-Be honest and frank anyway. 

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.

-Build anyway. 

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.

-Be happy anyway. 

The good you do today, people will often forget about tomorrow.

-Do good anyway. 

Give the world the best you have, and it may not be enough.

-Give the world the best you have anyway. 

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway... 


"Verily the most necessary thing is contentment under all circumstances; by this one is preserved from morbid conditions and from lassitude.  Yield not to grief and sorrow; they cause the greatest misery.  Jealousy consumeth the body and anger doth burn the liver; avoid these two as you would a lion." 

     (Baha'u'llah, "The Compilation of Compilations, Vol I," p.460) 




- Eating just a few calorie-packed fast foods per week really add up. 

After 15 years, healthy, young adults who ate fast-food meals two or more times a week gained approximately 10 more pounds and had twice the increase in insulin resistance compared with people who ate fast food less than once per week, researchers have found. (Insulin resistance is a condition that can precede diabetes and heart disease.) 

Besides being packed with calories, sometimes 50 percent to 100 percent of a person's daily energy needs, fast foods are deficient in fiber and other nutrients, and are high in trans fat, saturated fat, sugar and starch. Also, people tend to overeat fast food or eat the food too quickly; and the large, sugary soft drinks that often go with the meals, cause health problems. 

A previous study in children showed that kids who consume a fast-food meal don't compensate for the extra calories by eating less for the rest of the day. Studies on soft-drink consumption show that the more calories people consume from liquids, the more likely they are to overeat throughout the day. 

The study appeared in the January, 2005 issue of Lancet. 

      (from Los Angeles Times) 




- 'Health Eternal' 

What a joy it was to read the wonderful review of Lynn Ascrizzi of "Health Eternal" written by Dr. Evelyn Pritchard.  My Mother, will be 93 years old in a few months and she is such an example of a vibrant, spiritual, and energetic person.  She walks and swims everyday and as you can imagine her nutritional diet reflects the principles of health that she espouses in her book. "Health Eternal" also provides an excellent opportunity to teach The Baha'i Faith to those individuals interested in alternative medicine, science and spiritual health.  

I wanted ask if you would kindly inform your readers that “Health Eternal” can be purchased in the United States through Special Ideas.  To order the book call 800-326-1197 or e-mail: 

Thanks so much again for your excellent publication of Healing through Unity, and your laudable efforts to promote the science of good health. 

-- Carole, Maryland, USA


- Parenting email newsletter 

BAHA'I PARENTING is a bi-monthly email newsletter dedicated to raising families with strong spiritual values. If you are interested, please email: or check out the website at: 

-- Nima & Negin Anvar [pioneers living in Grenada and serving as editors of 'Baha'i Parenting'] 




"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health.  Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. None of the material published in this newsletter is intended to be a substitute for the advice of a physician. 

You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 




Distribution of this newsletter is free by email.  Please email requests for all new subscriptions, subscription cancellations and email address changes (please include old address along with new one) to




You can visit our Web site, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at: 




Visit and post comments to the Healing Through Unity Weblog: 




All of us have had healing experiences, as well as climbed out of low points along life's way - physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.  Please share your stories, tips, useful links, and quotes from the Baha'i Writings about staying healthy in a stressful world.  Your articles do not have to be long - even a few paragraphs in length is fine.  Baha'u'llah gave us each other as a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and sharing stories and ideas that work for you brings encouragement to others.  Asking for information and support from others can bring encouragement to you! 


Many thanks to all of you who share helpful ideas for the Healing Through Unity Newsletter.  The decision to select and edit material submitted for publication is determined by the editor.  We welcome submissions from everyone. 

Please e-mail your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to the newsletter editor, Cheryll Schuette, at:



Editor - Cheryll Schuette

Contributing Editor - Lynn Ascrizzi

Founding Editor - Frances Mezei

Medical Reviewer - Dr. Diane Kent

Circulation Assistant - Kathy Yonash

Web Master - Russ Novak


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