We need to learn skills for coping with our feelings of sadness, anger and terror evoked by tragedies like those in Fukushima, Katrina and Haiti, so that we rise to these occasions rather than collapse into them.
That bumper sticker kept going over and over in my mind: "The best things in life aren't things." And yet, as true as I knew it to be, I still couldn't help but feel somewhat sick to my stomach that most of my things were now in a pile of ash.
Contemplating death in a conscious way doesn't have to freak us out. Knowing that our human experience is limited, and that at some mysterious point in the future our physical bodies will die, is both sobering and liberating.
This new grief is different. For one thing, it includes the loved one with the diagnosis. It also draws in the entire family into a prolonged crisis that some of our interviewees aptly described as "learning to live with death."
The reason the Seven Steps to Recovery works is that in essence it reconnects the thinking, feeling and acting parts of your personality. More than that, it enables you to adapt to the reality of what is, as opposed what no longer is.
In that valley of death, Monae invites slumbering citizens to replace the American lullabies of selfish spirituality with the vivifying intonations of lament. Daydreamers, please wake up, we can't sleep no more.