Cheating (Economic) Grief Through Solitaire

04/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

If you are a reader of these posts, you know that a person dear to me died recently. Monday will be six weeks. Death makes life clear, but grief clouds everything. For we who are left behind, grief is part of the process of living.

I am no stranger to grief. Much of my family has died during my lifetime. I know how to do grief, but this time, I am doing something different. I'm cheating at computer solitaire.

For years I have used solitaire as a meditation, a Zen activity that keeps my conscious mind busy so that my subconscious mind can yield its secrets. It works almost every time. Here's how I cheat. There is a function key on my PC that lets me re-deal the cards till I start with cards I like. It's F2. I just hold it down till there are at least two aces in the starting line-up.

There is an adage about the art of living being the ability to play the cards we're dealt. I was dealt a death, a death I didn't want, a death in every way I tried to help prevent. I realized that I'm manipulating the cards I'm dealt on the computer. I laughed out loud in delight when I realized what I was doing. I was rewriting the cards I was dealt.

Then I got to thinking about grief in our world and the world economy came to mind. The collective consciousness of the world is in a huge grieving process over our economy. Doesn't it make sense? We're scrambling to place blame. We're lamenting our choices. We're looking a lot of places but to ourselves for explanations.

Get still for a minute, and look at your own experience of the finances of the world. Have you been pushing the envelope somewhere? Carrying a large burden of debt? Over-extending yourself for outrageous mortgage payments? Bought too much with too little meaning?

Dear one, we're all in this mess together. Our economy is dying, and we are grieving. So, let's grieve. Let's grieve consciously. Let's let our grief -- for this is its purpose -- cleanse our sadness, our regret, our if-onlys, our doubts, our fears, our worries.

If you've ever been through a personal grieving process, you know the secret of grief. We don't finish with grief; grief finishes with us. No matter the missing, the longing, the possible futures that will not come to be, the inexorability of the quotidian carries on relentlessly. Fancy words, aren't they? What they mean is: everyday life goes on, and takes over.

Eventually, we live ourselves into wholeness again. The spaces between the missing grow longer. Our loved one is still gone, but we begin to see a glimmer of how to carry on without that particular beloved.

While I'm still in the aching, missing stage of grieving my dear friend, I'm cheating at solitaire to make myself feel better. Go on, join me. It might make you feel momentarily better. Especially when you win.

The other realization that blessed me is about our economy. It has self-immolated before. It will self-immolate again. Then, like the mythical Phoenix, we, and our economy, will rise again from the ashes of our regret and grief, to live and grow anew once more.

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