Ritual Grief Space
Time & Location
About The Event
Please join us in a trauma informed, on-line ritual space for grief. We are committing to holding a space where truth can be spoken and held, a space where care can be embodied and shared, and a space that is accessible. Please let us know in advance if you have accommodation needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to join us, please complete this short registration form: https://forms.gle/t2jEUKnvxA2pzXm28. The Zoom link will be emailed to you approximately 60 minutes prior to the gathering. This form helps us protect the integrity of the space.
This gathering is free of charge. If you're able to offer a donation of any size, it would be greatly appreciated. Please visit paypal.me/TruthandTitus.
In the early days of the pandemic, we felt bewildered, unsettled, and terrified. And now, in the aftermath of the murders of Black people at the hands of police and vigilante civilians, and the resulting state-sanctioned, violent repression of our outrage, we feel these deep emotions are heightened beyond words.
We put our heads and hearts together at TnT asking ourselves: what is required of us now? How can we support each other, our families, our collective, our communities? We shared with each other, we supported some direct needs in the community, we saw mutual aid relief efforts afloat, we researched some resources, and eventually decided that we wanted to offer a grief space. We’ve taken much of our rationale for and guidance of creating this grief space from the work of Malidoma Somé, specifically from his book The Healing Wisdom of Africa. We give thanks for his work.
We’ve now hosted two ritual grief spaces online. When we host those spaces, we ask for a donation, but money is not required for participation. We open with some container-setting and introductions. Then folks are asked to share what grief they’re carrying, what needs to be let go, and in conclusion, we share self-care commitments. We are thankful to all the people who have joined us. And while we know there are clearly limitations to online rituals, we remain deeply impressed by the depth of vulnerability, the sharing, and the support we’ve experienced together in these sessions.
We’ve learned that grief takes on many forms. We of course hear about the literal loss of life, the ongoing death tolls, and the threat to everyone’s health constantly looming due to the Coronavirus. However, there are other griefs we are learning/hearing about too. The grief of isolation. The grief now that unleashes all the grief of the past. The grief of economic devastation. The grief of separation. The grief of not getting to experience milestones like graduations, or being present when a new baby comes into the family. The grief of alienation that comes from being cut off from colleagues and meaningful, life-giving work. The identity loss that accompanies being laid off. The grief of not being able to fully protect one’s children. The grief of facing a scary future. The grief of overwhelm. The grief of fatigue. The grief of not knowing the difference between appropriate health-related caution and crushing hyper-vigilance, especially among those with pre-existing conditions. The grief of there being just.so.much.grief.
So few of us are actually taught how to consensually accompany our own bodies and each other through trauma and tragedy. So we’ve also been paying attention to new critical questions emerging in that context. When are we resonating with someone else’s experience and when are we turning the focus prematurely to ourselves? Does there always need to be a response when someone has voiced pain or does reverent silence go the distance? And how do we know when our responses are truly in service to the other or instead are about absolving our own pain with cliche? Can we truly show up for others in their grief if we haven’t ever gone into the depths of our own? Given how much gaslighting and shaming happens when people show up emotionally authentic in this society, who has actually had the time/space to do their own grief work? Are our expectations too high? If so, how can we learn and do and be better? What level of emotional differentiation and personal boundaries are required for communal grief work, particularly when it comes to dominant groups/people hearing the pain of marginalized groups/people? Is there truly a distinction between, say, grief and anger, or grief and depression? Where are those lines?
We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we sure are asking them in light of all that’s been shared among us.
We are growing and stretching beautifully in the sharing, in the learning, in the new questions. We are grateful.