in the midst of grief, fear, and despair, there is an opening to spiritual power

In a world rife with traumatizing violence, multiple cataclysms, environmental destruction, and mind-numbing distractions, I welcome you to this website as a place of grounding and healing where you can return to your heart's innate wisdom and reconnect with your spirit, even in its darkest moments  

Read an excerpt from my book, Healing Through the Dark Emotions: the Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair

Be inspired by a gallery of photos and quotations  

If you or a loved one are caught up in the epidemic of heroin/opiate addiction, read my poetry from the front lines  

If you are concerned about the state of the world, read my HuffPost blog

what happens when you befriend grief, fear, and despair? the unexpected magic of emotional alchemy




Healing Through the Dark Emotions: the Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair

Boston Globe Bestseller

Winner of 2004 Nautilus Award in self-help/psychology

  In an age of global threats and multiple  cataclysms, the dark emotions of grief, fear, and despair have become widespread and overwhelming. Our culture calls these emotions 'negative' and views them as symptoms of mental disorder or spiritual inadequacy, harmful unless controlled.

   This book takes a fresh approach to the three core dark emotions that humans most dread and devalue and makes the case that the avoidance and denial of these emotions, not the emotions themselves, have led to the epidemic of psychological disorders characteristic of our age: chronic depression & anxiety, psychic numbing, widespread addiction, and irrational violence. 

   By befriending the dark emotions, we discover their innate intelligence and purpose. We learn the alchemy by which grief turns to gratitude, fear delivers us to joy, and despair becomes a doorway to a more resilient faith in life. The wisdom of the dark emotions helps us to heal and transform our lives as well as to strengthen our connections to one another and the world.

Praise for the Book

This is a book of remarkable depth. It is also engaging and wonderfully readable. The author is a brilliant thinker and a natural storyteller. Best of all, I loved the stories from her own life. I've read countless books about the difficult emotions. None is as interesting, helpful, and riveting as this one--or offer as much hope for our personal suffering and turbulent times. This book is exactly what the world needs.  

          Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger

Thoughtful and compelling...a crucial book...(that) teaches us to alter fundamentally our fearful and avoidant relationship to deep feelings. (This book) is a road map to using our own emotional darkness to understand and...change our world.

          LA Times 

One of the best spiritual books of 2003

          Spirituality & Health Magazine

Greenspan writes intensely and compassionately...a committed, serious look at the emotions most of us would rather sweep under the rug.
         Publishers Weekly

The gold standard of books on difficult emotions. This book has the power to heal your body and to change your life and the way you live it.
         Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

A modern day alchemist, Miriam Greenspan teaches us to turn pain into wisdom and fear and sorrow into energy to improve the world. She offers us a clear and profound analysis of what we must do as individuals and as a species to survive these troubled times.

          Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia:Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

This remarkable book has taught me a whole new way of thinking.
         Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

A beautiful piece of work, destined to be a perennial classic.
         Martha Beck, author of Expecting Adam and The Joy Diet

A beautifully written, deeply compassionate, and revolutionary approach to working with the most difficult human emotions. Miriam Greenspan teaches us how to trust our emotions and... listen to the truth they reveal...a practical guide that illuminates how the wisdom of the heart can heal ourselves, each other, and our world.
         Janet Surrey, co-author of Women's Growth in Connection.

...a profound and liberating book that helps us discover the life-redeeming power of the very emotions we most fear...and thus opens ways to both our integrity and our freedom.
         Joanna Macy, author of Widening Circles



"I have turned to, and deeply benefited from, the wisdom and kindness and hope that you generously share in Healing Through the Dark Emotions.  Recently, surviving and recovering from hurricane Harvey has proven to be a trigger for the deep despair which has underpinned my life.  After wallowing and fighting and medicating for a month, your book, which sits on a shelf by my pillow, caught my eye. Thanks to you, I am back in my body, grounded, and restored to a state of gratitude, wonder and presence. There are no adequate words to express my gratitude."

     G. Gallaway, Santa Fe, Texas 

I'm reading Healing Through the Dark Emotions, for me a fiercely compelling book, because it's so evident that my troubles with addiction find their roots in not allowing the dark emotions of grief, fear, and despair into my life since early childhood...Already, I am less of a stranger to myself, and bless you for it. Thank you for this healing gift.


About Me


Miriam Greenspan was born in a refugee camp in southern Germany to two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. From her parents, she learned that even in the aftermath of genocide, it is possible to live a life of kindness, generosity, and love. Her work as a psychotherapist, author, public speaker, and poet are rooted in her abiding faith in the redemptive power of facing into the worst without flinching, and emerging with the unexpected gifts of healing and spiritual power.

Miriam is known for her unique combination of down-to-earth authenticity and inspiring eloquence. Whether as a therapist, public speaker, or poet, her lifelong work is about encouraging people to discover that the darkness has its own light.

For more than four decades, Miriam worked as a therapist specializing in women survivors of misogyny, abuse, and trauma. Her first book, A New Approach to Women and Therapy, helped pioneer the fields of feminist psychology and psychotherapy--for which she has been honored as a 'Feminist Foremother.'
Her best-selling book, Healing Through the Dark Emotions: the Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair won the 2004 Nautilus Award in psychology for “books that make a contribution to conscious living and positive social change" and has been translated into French, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, and Korean. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, including Psychology Today, Ms., Body & Soul, Shambhala Sun, New Woman, Tikkun, Spirituality & Health, and the Sun. 
Miriam has enjoyed speaking and facilitating workshops on Healing through the Dark Emotions throughout the United States and  Canada. She teaches at Kripalu Yoga Center and many other venues, including colleges, conferences, and retreat centers. 
More recently, Miriam has become a writer for Huffington Post, where she is passionate about addressing the social and spiritual crises of our era, in particular the degeneration of American democracy and  the deadly opiate epidemic. As the mother of an addict in recovery, she knows the devastation and heartache of the epidemic first hand and has devoted her writing in the past few years to breaking through the stigma of addiction and telling the truth of the epidemic through her poetry. She is an emerging, published poet who has completed a manuscript, The Heroin Addict’s Mother, which is searching for a publisher.