Dear tender-hearted friends,
To say the last year has been intense is an understatement. You may be grieving the loss of loved ones, a loss of income, a loss of lifestyle, a loss of the illusion of certainty. You may be grieving with loneliness or the longing for more alone time. Maybe you’re grieving the suffering of others; grieving violent deaths like that of George Floyd and so many others, grieving systemic racism or grieving the inequity across our communities in suffering the effects of Covid-19. Maybe you’re grieving the ongoing destruction of our beautiful natural world, the many giant wildfires, the extinction of species, the loss of wilderness. Or perhaps your grief is for the divisiveness and meanness unfolding in a polarized culture. Perhaps your grief is for pregnancy loss, a pet dying, difficult relationships, health crises. Maybe you’re carrying all of this and more.
Join us in a communal place to welcome these feelings without anyone attempting to fix you. Join us in a place where you can let yourself acknowledge and release this weight that makes your chest and guts and jaw clench. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you’re not alone in this very humbling human experience of grief?
You’re invited to join us for a day of grief-tending
on Saturday, April 3 from 9 am -Noon Mountain Time.
Our time together will include:
- gentle grounding practices to help us unwind and soften the bracing we carry in our bodies,
- authentic conversation and compassionate listening,
- soulful poetry,
- guided writing and sharing in small groups,
- and will conclude with a community grief ritual.
All of this will unfold aided by the miraculous technology of Zoom that lets us come together from the comfort and safety of our own homes. We’ll send the zoom link to all registered participants before the event.
Please know that it’s a come-as-you-are gathering with zero pressure as to how you express grief or not. You may weep, you may be a quiet witness, you may be numb, you may be surprised. However you come, your presence is a valued thread in our community tapestry. All that’s required is your humanity and your willingness to be present and bear witness with compassion. You’re welcome to come whether you are grieving, tearful, pissed off, numb, awkward, or full of trepidation. You are welcome just as you are.
To have your grief held and witnessed in the compassionate space of community is a gift. To witness the grief others carry, with compassion, is a gift. It’s no longer “MY grief.” It’s just grief, and something each of us carries. We are not alone.
Our ritual bowl of stones and flowers from a past in-person grief tending ritual.
All monies received will be donated to Treesisters, one of our favorite charities.
We appreciate your generosity!
“Grief is praise of those we have lost. Our own souls who have loved and are now heartbroken would turn to stone and hate us if we did not show such praise when we lose whom we love. A nonfake grieving is how we praise the dead, by praising that which has left us feeling cold and left behind. By the event of our uncontrolled grief, wail, and rap, we are also simultaneously praising with all our hearts the life we have been awarded to live, the life that gave us the health and opportunity of having lived fully enough to love deep enough to feel the loss we now grieve. To not grieve is a violence to the Divine and our own hearts and especially to the dead. If we do not grieve what we miss, we are not praising what we love. We are not praising the life we have been given in order to love. If we do not praise whom we miss, we are ourselves in some way dead. So grief and praise make us alive.”
– Martin Prechtel from The Smell of Rain on Dust
Please arrive on time and please plan to be in a quiet place. Bring a bowl of water, a stone, paper and pen or pencil.
After the ritual there will be a break for all of us to carry our bowl of water and stone away and to ritually release the water and stone and the grief they have held for us. Please think about where this pouring of water might happen for you . . . outside, under a favorite tree, in the garden . . . or inside, in the sacred kitchen sink if need be.
“How I will cherish you then,
you grief-torn nights!
Had I only received you,
on more abject knees, only
buried myself with more
in your loosened hair. How we waste
We study them, stare out beyond them
into bleak continuance,
hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas
our wintering foliage, our dark greens
of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine
year — ; not only
a season –: they’re site, settlement,
shelter, soil, abode.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Pema Chodron writes: “Without realizing it we continually shield ourselves from this pain because it scares us. We put up protective walls made of opinions, prejudices, and strategies, barriers that are built on a deep fear of being hurt. These walls are further fortified by emotions of all kinds: anger, craving, indifference, jealousy and envy, arrogance and pride. But fortunately for us, the soft spot—our innate ability to love and to care about things—is like a crack in these walls we erect. It’s a natural opening in the barriers we create when we’re afraid. With practice we can learn to find this opening. We can learn to seize that vulnerable moment—love, gratitude, loneliness, embarrassment, inadequacy—to awaken bodhichitta. An analogy for bodhichitta is the rawness of a broken heart. Sometimes this broken heart gives birth to anxiety and panic, sometimes to anger, resentment, and blame. But under the hardness of that armor there is the tenderness of genuine sadness. This is our link with all those who have ever loved. This genuine heart of sadness can teach us great compassion. It can humble us when we’re arrogant and soften us when we are unkind. It awakens us when we prefer to sleep and pierces through our indifference. This continual ache of the heart is a blessing that when accepted fully can be shared with all.”