Claire B. Willis, a clinical social worker, has been working in the fields of oncology and bereavement for more than twenty years. Her work and her life experience were the primary sources of inspiration for Opening to Grief. 

A former staff member of The Wellness Community, a national organization, and cofounder of the Boston nonprofit Facing Cancer Together, Claire has led bereavement, end-of-life support, and therapeutic writing groups. She has co-taught Spiritual Resources for Healing the Mind, Body, and Soul at Andover Newton Theological School. Claire maintains a private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Claire has worked in hospice care for many years, both as a volunteer and a social worker. As a lay Buddhist chaplain ordained by Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, she focuses on contemplative practices for end-of-life care. For the past five years, she has been a student of Koshin Paley Ellison, a founding teacher at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Claire is the author of Lasting Words: A Guide to Finding Meaning Toward the Close of Life (Green Writers Press, Brattleboro, Vermont, 2014).

Note from Claire:

“Thank you for joining me for the Quantum Miracles Mastery docu-series. I am pleased to have participated in the series and hope you found comfort and inspiration from those of us who shared our stories and ideas.

Everything changed when COVID-19 came crashing into our lives. My hope is the following articles will assist you in healing and deepen your understanding of grief. There are no rules and no clear path; grieving is as unique as we each are. I created a Q&A about the grieving journey and invite you to download it, along with a couple of articles that I hope help you.”

If you would like to hear more about my book, Opening to Grief, which I co-wrote with Marnie Crawford Samuelson, please visit: I also have a YouTube channel which offers short videos and three meditations, which you can access here.

Click here for a general Loving Kindness Meditation.

About Opening to Grief: Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace

“A wise and sensitive book, this guide to working with grief is a treasure.”

— Joan Halifax, Upaya Zen Center, author of Standing at the Edge and Being with Dying

“Full of sage advice, thoughtful suggestions, practical exercises, guided imagery, mindfulness meditations, healing prayers, inspirational poetry, and comforting words of wisdom that are at once both simple and profound. Open to any of the pages in this ‘companion guide,’ relax into its uplifting flow, and you will know that you are not alone on your journey back.”

Martha Stark, MD, Faculty, Harvard Medical School

“A succinct, comforting reference for those dealing with the loss of a loved one. The authors weave clinical observations, consolations, and practices (such as blessings to repeat and guided journaling prompts) into short chapters that explain the process of ‘opening to grief.’ Anyone suffering loss will find wisdom and helpful practices here.”

Publishers Weekly

Grief can hit us as quickly as a bolt of lightning or silently creep up on us before we even know we’re in its grip. Opening to Grief is a comforting and elegant collection of healing wisdom that offers differing paths to healing, through poetry, prose, mindfulness practices, art, and professional counseling experience. The perfect book for our times!”

—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

Opening To Grief available at Powell's City of Books
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