Meaning-Making: Loss, Love, and Life Lessons with Susan Lax & Barbara Becker

Original Air Date Wednesday, October 5, 2022 

Most people in our society celebrate life once a year with lavish birthday parties, happy songs, and sweet gatherings. But, when it comes to bereavement, grief, death, and loss we tend to tiptoe around the subjects.

If we followed the philosophy of our ancestors we would appreciate life more by having meaningful conversations about our mortality. To traverse the normally taboo territory of loss, Positive Psychology Podcast Host Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two authors who have written about life, death and loss in their newest books. In her book, A Heart’s Landscape: An Invitation to the Garden of Moments, Susan Lax shares a collection of her morning inspirations. She explores how we all experience grief differently and how being a greater part of a loved one’s death offers us a greater life experience. Barbara Becker studied with Zen monks to learn more about life, death, and dying. During the publishing of her book, Heartwood, in which she shares stories from her time as a hospice volunteer, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.


Susan Lax — Loss Lessons and Meaning-Making:

  • Susan’s book, A Heart’s Landscape is a small collection of the Morning Inspirations she sent to a friend who had a bout of cancer. [2:11]/li>
  • Susan Lax doesn’t subscribe to the 5-stages of grief considering we all experience grief differently. [9:31]
  • Susan Lax shares the story of how her family dealt with the grief of the Holocaust. [11:26]
  • After losing both parents at a young age, Susan remembered her father’s saying — When your number is up, it’s up. [15:21]
  • The way we usher our loved ones out of this world helps us deal with our grief. [20:02]
  • Removing fear from experiences allows us to see the beauty in them. [23:02]

Susan Lax, guest of new episode about  meaning-making, love and loss with Barbara BeckerSusan Lax earned a teaching degree in creative drama from the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology, and the Arts in Israel. She taught creative drama at a local elementary school and continued her studies at the Chochmat Halev, where she focused on meditation and Jewish spirituality. Throughout her educational career, Lax also studied Jewish healing, sacred psychology, spiritual practice as a path of healing, healing aspects of death and dying, and guided meditation. Lax currently works as a spiritual counselor specializing in, but not limited to, those touched by illness, grief, and loving through death. She lectures and leads workshops on the topics of awareness and making room for joy. Lax is the author of Morning Inspiration, an email newsletter released three times a week. In addition, she is the co-owner of Naot Footwear, a company that ethically manufactures handmade comfort shoes in Israel.

Book: A Heart’s Landscape: An Invitation to the Garden of Moments

Susan Lax
@chofshiah on Twitter
Susan Lax Morning Inspiration on Facebook
@slaxmorninginspiration on Instagram




Barbara Becker — Meaning-Making of Loss and Love:

  • Meaningful conversations enrich our lives and deaths. [28:10]
  • Heartwood is a culmination of stories of Barbara’s time as a hospice volunteer through her journey of facing death. [30:10]
  • In the face of death, meeting people where they are is all we have to do. [40:47]
  • Barbara Becker was diagnosed with breast cancer while Heartwood was being released. [45:50]
  • Conscious dying and death acceptance is a movement trying to destigmatize death by promoting honest conversations. [51:54]

Barbara Becker, guest of new episode about meaning-making, love and loss with Susan LaxBarbara Becker is the award-winning author of Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind. She has dedicated more than twenty-five years to partnering with human rights advocates around the world in pursuit of peace and interreligious understanding. Barbara served on the faculty of the Master’s Program in Strategic Communications at Columbia University and is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics, including deepening our sense of meaning and the power of owning our stories.

Book: Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind


Barbara Becker
@MeditatingMom on Twitter
Barbara Becker Author on Facebook
@barbara_becker_author on Instagram

This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio about meaning-making, love and loss is sponsored by:

Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life A boot camp manual for greater emotional fitness. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now? 

HFactor: Where is Your Heart? — Lisa’s documentary film explores the journey of human happiness. Emotions are contagious and happiness is a universally desired state. We tend to forget we all have the freedom to be happy or the liberty to be miserable each day.

“Grief is never linear.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“When we have meaningful conversations of life and death it enriches our experience of being alive.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Deeply experience your moments.” @LisaKamen on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“How many moments in a day do we really feed our soul?” @chofshiah on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“I think grief is never experienced by two people in the same way.” @chofshiah on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Grief is a part of the circle of life.” @chofshiah on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“The way we surround our loved ones and those that we care about as we know they are going to exit really makes a difference on how we, ourselves, deal with the grief after they pass on in this world.” @chofshiah on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Hope is born every morning.” @chofshiah on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“Once good touches you, it never leaves.” @chofshiah on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“What can death teach us about life?” @meditatingmom on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We are a lot like the trees. All of the people we have loved and lost form our heartwood and we grow around it.” @meditatingmom on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“One of the most intimidating things we encounter when we go to be with someone who is not well and approaching the end of their life is we think we have to do it right.” @meditatingmom on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“The great taboos of our culture are death and illness and money and sex.” @meditatingmom on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet“We are short on rituals in our culture. We don’t really take the time.” @meditatingmom on @HHTalkRadio Click To Tweet



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