“There are those that are not frightened of grief: dropping deep into the sorrow, they find therein a necessary elixir to the numbness. When they encounter one another, when they press their foreheads against the bark of a centuries-old tree…their eyes well with tears that fall easily to the ground. The soil needs this water. Grief is but a gate, and our tears a kind of key opening a place of wonder thats been locked away. Suddenly we notice a sustaining resonance between the drumming heart within our chest and the pulse rising from the ground” – David Abram
Among the gifts Sacred Groves offers are regular opportunities to be with personal and collective grief, held in a ritual container with sacred intention amongst a supportive group of women and men. For several years we have hosted an evening Wailing Ritual. Twice a year we host a 2 day Grief Ritual Retreat. The development of this grief work has been inspired by the ‘Despair and Empowerment’ work of Joanna Macy, the Grief Rituals offered by Sobonfu Some and our own very deep and personal experiences of grief.
Many traditional indigenous cultures hold that the ritualized sharing of grief provides a most essential “glue” for the connectedness of a community. As someone once said, “You never forget the people with whom you’ve cried.” Grieving is one of the ways we express love for what we’ve lost, and in the process helps us ground in what most deeply matters to us. Whether it be from the loss of dear ones, cherished dreams, places, communities, lost health, abilities and skills, dropping into the deep feelings of grief can be immensely restorative, particularly when witnessed, held and allowed to run its full course by an empathetic and respectful community who are nourished by their mutually shared support of each other. As Sobonfu has said, “The village is the place you go to be seen.” It is this being seen for what we most deeply value that helps repair the “break in belonging,” and lets us plant the seeds of hope and renewal.
2018 Grief Support Opportunities
Grief Ritual Retreat at Sacred Groves, March 3-4, Nov 3-4 2018
The format of the Grief Ritual Retreat includes heart-opening talking circles, grounding meditation, and a variety of activities and rituals that culminate in a late night ritual around a grief shrine, accompanied by African drumming and a repetitive chant.
This retreat is co-facilitated by Therese, Tere, Kendra E. Thornbury, Mary Hart, and Laurence Cole. More details about this event, click here.
“Lean-In–Embrace your Grief” a retreat at Indralaya on Orcas Island, April 19-22
We’ll follow a similar format as our Grief Retreats at Sacred Groves with a little more spaciousness for rest, reflection and time on the beautiful land at Indralaya. We’ll gather Thursday evening for the initial introductions and bring closure to our time together after our morning circle on Sunday. Contact Indralaya for more information and registration.
“Leaning into Grief ” Evening Rituals at Dayaalu Center, Feb 22, March 19, April 17
This is an opportunity to gather with others for an evening in order to honor and release our heartache and grief. After introductions, a grounding meditation, check-ins and a vocal/body warm-up we go into the heart of the ceremony. Accompanied by steady shamanic drumming, participants open their throats to express in a wordless way what is in their hearts. Once the energy winds down we sit quietly for awhile, share some about our experience and get grounded. Fee is $35. Please register and pay through Dayaalu. (scroll down until you see this workshop)
More about working with grief:
Instrumental to allowing aliveness in life is taking time to release and honor emotion. For many cultures, there is no place for the expression of our grief and sadness. Yet feelings of loss and heartbreak are a fundamental part of our human experience. If the feelings are not released, they become repressed. Repressed grief becomes depression, a feeling of being ‘stuck,’ unable to access joy, laughter, even sadness.
At the Groves we believe that to be truly alive and healthy, the full range of our feelings must find safe expression. We are committed to providing a safe place for both men and women to bring their emotions so as to allow them to pass through. This expands our vitality. We offer these opportunities for those feeling acute grief from personal losses as well as those who feel grief as a result of the state of the environment, political systems, social structures and family systems of our troubled world.
For more information about these events or to set up personal grief counseling session, e-mail or call Therese.
Other Resources for Grief Work:
Sobonfu Some continues to offer Grief Rituals in various parts of the country. Click here for her calendar.
**Francis Weller recently published an excellent book about grief: “The Wild Edge of Sorrow; Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief.” Francis has worked a lot with Malidoma Some (Sobonfu’s husband) so his model is near-identical to what we do here at Sacred Groves.
**Martin Prechtel has a new book “The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise” that shares his perspective on grief and all he learned from the culture in Central America where he mentored for many years. In addition, he made an audio recording called “Grief and Praise,” available by clicking here
**The Grief Cheatsheet, a YouTube presentation. Click here.