Grief that Brings Us Back to Our True Home

This poem by Alice Walker appeared on She teaches us about the grief that brings us back to our true home.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches the our true home is living in the present moment. This is accompanied by the insight of interbeing, which is the interconnectedness of all things and the theme of the poem.

Alice Walker explains this insight in her own way.

Grief Bringing Us Home | November 28, 2014

If my sorrow were deeper
I’d be, along with you, under
the ocean’s floor;
but today I learn that the oil
that pools beneath the ocean floor
is essence
of all our
our ancestors who have died and turned to oil
without our witness
eons ago.
We’ve always belonged to them.
Speaking for you, hanging, weeping, over the water’s edge
as well as for myself.
It is our grief
heavy, relentless,
us, however resistant,
to the decaying and rotten
bottom of things:
our grief bringing
us home.

– Alice Walker, “Turning Madness into Flowers”

Fragrant Orchid

Quick photo of the fragrant orchid
© 2012 Jerome Freedman

Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, essayist and activist. Her book, The Color Purple won her the Pulitzer Prize and the movie made Oprah Winfrey into a world class celebrity and facilitator for spread of wisdom teaching for all over the world.

I intend for Oprah to allow me to present the 7 Principles of Mindfulness in Healing on Super Soul Sunday when the book is published.

This poem reminds me of how desperate the situation of life on earth is right now. This is where most of my grief comes from. When I think about the destruction of the rain forests, the severe drought in many places in the world, the degradation of our soils because of profits to big chemical and big farming companies, and global warming, I feel extremely sad for my children and my children’s children.

Will we be able to spread the insight of interbeing fast enough and far enough to save human life on earth as we know it? What do you think?

Note: The poem is copyright © 2013 by Alice Walker. It originally appeared in The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers (New Poems). Tricycle only sent out the last stanza.

Books by Alice Walker

The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers (New Poems)

Alice Walker

“Poetry is leading us,” writes Alice Walker in The World Will Follow Joy. In this luminous collection—a bestseller in hardcover—the beloved writer offers sixty poems to inspire and incite. Penetrating and sensitive, playful and wise, these intensely intimate poems establish a pers… [Read More…]

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