Dear tender-hearted friends,

To say the last few years have been intense is an understatement. It doesn't appear that we're heading into a decade of ease and relief. Growing our capacity to grieve well is an essential skill for both our personal and communal well-being; essential to keeping our hearts open and permeable to beauty and resilient to despair.

You may be grieving the loss of a loved one, a loss of income, a loss of wellness or physical capacity, a loss of lifestyle, or a loss of the illusion of certainty. You may be grieving in loneliness or longing for more alone time. Maybe you're grieving the suffering of others; grieving violent deaths like that of George Floyd or those killed in tragic mass shootings, the war in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, genocides happening in Gaza, Congo, Sudan, and elsewhere; grieving systemic racism, or grieving the inequity across the globe in suffering the effects of Covid-19 and the climate emergency. Maybe you're grieving the ongoing destruction of our beautiful natural world, the absence of birds, the many giant wildfires, the ongoing extinction of species, the reversal of rights happening in the courts, or the devastating loss of wilderness. Or perhaps your grief is for the divisiveness and meanness unfolding in a polarized culture. Perhaps your grief is for personal regrets, a pregnancy loss, a pet dying, difficult relationships, health crises, harm you've caused, or general overwhelm. Maybe you're grieving the absence of community and the longing for a life-giving culture. Maybe you're carrying all of this and even more.

"The sheer weight of these personal and collective sorrows is enough to crush our hearts, forcing us to turn away and find solace in anesthesia and distraction. When we come together, however, and share these stories of sorrow in grief rituals, something begins to change. When our sorrows are witnessed and held within a community of compassion, grief can surprisingly turn to joy, to a love emboldened for all that surrounds us. Love and loss have been eternally entwined. To acknowledge our grief is to free our love to fall outwards into the waiting world. Something is stirring in the depths of the times. Our collective denial appears to be cracking. We can no longer deny the fact that the world is radically changing. We sense in our bones the breakdowns occurring and, along with it, our hearts feel weighted with grief. It may be our shared sorrows, stirred by our love of this singular, irreplaceable planet, that will ultimately activate our communal commitment to respond to the rampant denigration of the world. Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again.”  

– Francis Weller

 

 

You are warmly invited to join us for a powerful weekend retreat; a gathering of courageous, tender-hearted people co-creating a sacred space where grief is welcomed and can move through, making beauty and birthing profound compassion as it does.

You don't need advice. You don't need to be cheered up or talked out of it. You need a safe and respectful space to feel it – to be seen, heard, witnessed, and wholeheartedly welcomed, even thanked, for sharing your tender, broken-open heart.

Join us for a transformative weekend in just such a sacred circle.

Click here to apply. 

We will make a generous welcome for grief and sorrow without forcing it, without anyone attempting to fix you or tell you to rise above. Let us enter a holy ground where you can let yourself fall down and weep. You can honor the weight that makes your chest, guts, jaw, and heart clench. It's a gift to know you're not alone in this very heavy, very humbling, and very human experience of grief. 

We will gather at a beautiful private location in Lyons, Colorado over Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 24, 5-8:30 pm

Saturday, May 25, 10-6 pm

Sunday, May 26, 10-4 pm

The cost for the entire weekend retreat is $595.

Please note - this is a non-residential retreat and participants are responsible for their lodging accommodations.

Space is limited.

Click here to fill out our brief application.

Once we review and accept your application we will send a link where you can register and thus reserve your spot. We are accepting applications on a first come first serve basis while taking diversity into account. 

Once you pay and complete registration, you'll receive all you need to know, including details on the location, what to bring, and how to prepare.

 

 

 

Our time together will include:

  • authentic conversation and compassionate listening
  • abundant soulful poetry and song
  • potent grounding practices to help us find deep support as we unwind and soften the bracing in our bodies
  • quiet time indoors and/or outside
  • the creation of two beautiful shrines
  • micro-rituals of guided writing practices that include an opportunity to share and witness in small groups
  • gentle somatic movement practices
  • and will culminate in a powerful community grief ritual.

Please know that it's a come-as-you-are gathering with no pressure as to how you express grief or not. Grief does not show up on demand. You may weep, you may be a quiet witness to others, you may be numb, you may be full of outrage, you may be surprised. However you come, your presence is a valued thread in our community tapestry and will be met with respect and never with unsolicited advice. All that's required is your humanity and your willingness to be present and to bear witness with compassion.

Whether you are actively grieving, tearful, outraged, numb, awkward, or full of trepidation, you are welcome just as you are. 

To have your grief held and witnessed in a compassionate, listening circle is a gift.

To witness the grief others carry, with empathy, is a gift. 

It's no longer "MY grief."

It's just grief and is something each of us, all of us carry.

It is the holy ground of compassion. And we are not alone. 

 

The photo above is our ritual bowl of stones and flowers from a past in-person grief-tending ritual.

The event will be held at a beautiful private venue in Lyons, Colorado. (The location details will be sent upon your payment and completed registration.) 

We will gather there at the following times. 

  • Friday, May 24, 5-8:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 25, 10-6 pm
  • Sunday, May 26, 10-4 pm

We strongly encourage you to plan on arriving at least 15 minutes early to each session to park and to settle into your space in the room so we can begin each session right on time. Thank you for leaving plenty of buffer time and for supporting the whole group in making the most of our brief time together. On that note, we heartfully invite you to refrain from making any plans other than the retreat, and time to rest and digest it, over the whole weekend. We predict you'll be glad to protect a sense of spaciousness around our time together. 

On Saturday and Sunday, we will be pausing midday for a lunch break.

We will be participating in an ancestor ritual on either Friday evening or Saturday morning. Please bring photos and/or other objects that speak to those you relate to as ancestors. This could include direct lineage ancestors, places that informed and held you in your life, and/or persons who inspired and nourished your calling. We will be asking for their support for the work we are doing as well as offering our support to those who have come before and to those yet to come. This brings us close to the timeless dimension of the sacred.

Please also plan to bring any items you’d like to include on our grief shrine on Sunday. Photos, stones, flowers, art, and any meaningful objects which either represent a thread of grief you carry or objects that support you to welcome grief - all are welcome on the shrines. We hope to make our central shrine, the ancestors’ shrine, and the grief shrine lavish with abundant beauty. 

We invite you to bring a journal and pen for our writing micro-rituals, a reusable travel mug or water bottle for liquids, and whatever you might need or want to be comfortable. The venue has chairs, cushions, backjacks, and more. We are happy to provide tissues for tears, though you may wish to bring a reusable handkerchief or two if you like. 

If you have any questions or need information on any details we've missed here, don't hesitate to ask. 

Looking forward, 

Erin, Holly & Carl 

 

 

“How I will cherish you then,

you grief-torn nights!

Had I only received you,

inconsolable sisters,

on more abject knees, only

buried myself with more

abandon

in your loosened hair. How we waste

our afflictions!

We study them, stare out beyond them

into bleak continuance,

hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas

they're really

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

 

 

"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

 

 

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.