Thresholds – Rituals of Renewal
Grief and Gratitude are held within the larger field of Grace and are an equal and essential part of the journey of being human
Reasons for coming
- Because you love life
- Because you hold precious those close to you and want to open your heart even more to them.
- Because you’re not sure how to be with your feelings in relation to what’s happening in our world.
- Because you love the natural world and want to do all you can to nurture and protect it.
- Because someone important in your life has died or a significant relationship has ended.
- Because you are searching for deeper meaning and purpose in your life.
- Because you feel numb to grief
- Because you are depressed or angry with life.
- Because you want to be more connected to your heart and your capacity for love to open you.
- Because you’re navigating physical illness and/or finding it hard to accept.
“. . .We only grieve for what we love so wherever there is love there is grief and wherever their is grief there is love. . . ” Frances Weller
Gratitude is the heart’s language of love
The degree to which we are able to honour our losses and allow our grief to be fully felt is equal to our ability to love, to truly open our hearts and be a wellspring of lifeforce. To dare to love fully is to open to the possibility of loss.
Grief and Loss
There are different forms of grief, all of them however are evidence of our love. All of them are a gateway to our hearts, whoever one we enter through.
Ecological grief – grief for the loss and destruction of our natural world
Human grief – grief for the loss of someone important in our life
Domestic animal grief – grief for loss of domestic animals in our life
Political and social grief – grief at the way the world is being run
Sacred or spiritual grief – grief and loss in relation to the absence and disconnect for this
Grief is a radical spiritual act that breaks our hearts open to Love and to the vast and beautiful landscape of gratitude, for we only grieve for what we love. It opens us to depths of love in ourselves in a way that few others things can. It carves love into our souls like water carves valleys into the mountains, it is a gift to all that are courageous enough to travel along her.
Grief reminds us that we are part of the web of life and that Love is at the centre of our experience.
Grieving is the missing component right now in the collective field of human evolution. We have for many decades lost touch with the value of grief and therefore lost touch with our authentic love and gratitude for life. We don’t have to look very far to see the impact of this in our lives, communities and across the earth.
It is an emotion that needs our deep embrace at this time, for the wellbeing of ourselves and also for the health of our communities and the entire planet. It is not about feeling grief to get rid of it, and it is not a desperation to break through to a false sense of ‘being positive’. Rather, allowing it as a tender, vulnerable, wild and soul-deepening gateway to connect to something that is life affirming and authentically positive.
Grief wants to flow in us, it does not need to be pushed. gIt is not that we don’t have any grief, we all have a well of unexpressed grief within us that is waiting to be welcomed and without the flow of this grief, the capacity to experience love and really open to life has a limit
“. . . . at this time on Earth it could be argued that to NOT be on our knees broken with immense feelings of grief is the true madness of humanity . . . . “
Grief is not just the gentle tears that subtly role down our cheek from time to time with an apology. Nor is it only the depressed hopeless empty void of despair.
Grief is an alive, wild, cathartic rainbow of emotional expression that includes our anger, fear, despair, confusion and heart break in all of it’s colours. It is not to be analysed or fixed but to be felt like the weather, held in sacred space.
Each of us has our own way of it moving though us and the invitation from love is to feel it fully uncensored. It comes in waves, as the ocean brings her waters to the shore and all we can do is surrender. If we try to fight with the waves we will exhaust ourselves and drown. If we agree to dive into grief’s waters we will discover the grace that brings us home, back to serenity and a deeper peace.
“. . . . In order to take action to protect and nurture life, grief is the first essential step, then our action comes from deep inside our love . . . . “
The gift of collective ceremony
So how do we open to the grief inside when it has been dammed up for so long?
We need to grieve in the company of others. This is counter to what we have been taught but the truth is that grief is most transformational when experience with others. It is not meant to be felt alone. When one person allows their grief to flow in the company of others they are not just gifting themselves, they also gifting the collective field.
Some cultures are still in touch with this wisdom – at funerals, everyone wails and lament by the coffin allowing grief to be fully felt, seen, uncensored, without embarrassment.When we grieve this way something catalytic and transformational happens for all involved.
When we and our grief are held within a sacred collective context and we grieve until we are fully given, lament through our bodies, breath and heart a cleansing of the soul happens and a natural authentic joy enters our hearts. Not a superficial joy from denial or suppression but from a deep embrace of life.
Ancient indigenous teachings
A living example of this is the Dagara people of Africa, they understand this deeply. They give space to grieve together in their village on a regular basis. Every month there will be a grief ritual in the village, all work stops and everyone comes, from the grandmothers to the youngest children and they purge their losses, feel their grief, witness each other, support each other and a YES to life is the outcome.
The workshop is offered specifically at this time of year, the season of winter, which in the cycle of life is the season of death/letting go. In this way nature will support our journey of grief and keep us connected to the web of life and our place in it. Over these 4 days we will walk the path of grief. We will become intimate with how it moves in us, including our tears, anger, fear and so on – because grief has many ways of moving in us. We will be creating a ceremony inspired by the Dagara tradition and other traditions of our ancestors.
This work is informed by: Joanna Macy, Sobonfu Some, Francis Weller, Stephen Jenkinson, Stephen Levine.
Whoever you are and whatever you have lost or fear losing – you are welcome to join us on this journey.
Still not sure ?
Read an article from ‘The Guardian’ newspaper on the subject of grief and how it affects the world around us when we cannot fully grieve.
We will be working with Francis Wellers‘ Five Gateways as our guide map for our journey with grief.
- The First Gate: Everything we love, we will lose
- The Second Gate: The places that have not known love
- The Third Gate: What we expected on arrival and did not receive
- The Fourth Gate: The sorrows of the world
- The Fifth Gate: Ancestral grief
Watch this short film by Francis Weller to find out more.
The workshop runs from 12 midday on 29th December until 12noon on 1st January
“. . . . It was such an amazing and transformation experience for me, to have grieved collectively in the way we did, wow, a weekend I’ll never forget. I feel I had something resembling a rebirth, feel so much lighter and softer and internally cleansed.. . . “ Chris – university politics lecturer
“For the first time in my entire life I have a feeling of being complete” Participant in 2017/18 Grief, Grace & Gratitude