Grief tending and COVID-19 April 2020

Corona, Connection, Grief, Initiation, Transformation

How are you doing in these extra-ordinary times?

We’re offering some Grief Tending events on line, you can find full details on our Events page

Below you can find some words from Sophy and Jeremy, and a bit about what is shaping our offerings. Sophy held a one day Grief Tending day on March 21st as we took the planned Norfolk workshop on line, just as lockdown was about to get more rigorous. She’s been thinking about what might be supportive and deepening in these times, and invites you to let us know if there are things you would like us to offer. Jeremy has been reflecting on the opportunity this time brings, to move towards change bringing frames of transition, initiation, and themes of living and dying and is inviting people moved to explore Quest work as a pathway.

Summary of Grief Tending Events

Friday 24 April morning: Tending grief with writing / drawing. Sharing mostly in smaller groups and learning or revisiting a practice you might continue with friends.

Tuesday 5 May morning: Tending grief in community, on line. Honouring and calling in support, then sharing grief in a circle / council.

Time for both: 9.30 – 1.15

Group numbers will be limited so book soon if you know you want to join.

Cost: from £15 – £40. Bursary places available.

Weekend Grief Tending – create spacious, online, deep, experimental ceremony together

On May 16 – 17 Sophy is offering a 2 day grief tending workshop on line and in your own home. If you have a lot of grief moving, or your grief feels distant and you want more time it may be helpful to give yourself more time for the journey.

See the Events page for details

If you’re interested in attending something that’s not here, please tell us what you’d like us to offer! Just fill out this short questionnaire (it will take a couple of minutes to complete)

May you find all the support, love, connection and beauty that you need to hold you during this huge personal and global upheaval.

From Sophy – Reflections on Times of change and Tending Grief on line

I’m feeling grateful for the warmth of the sunshine, the beauty of spring unfolding, the rhythm of nature, leaves unfurling, birds nesting and hatching, blossom that is unstoppable.. Grateful to feel held by this as so much of the structure and rhythm of life dissolves or shifts.

I often talk about the “banks of the river” in grief tending, the things that are needed to hold and create ground so there can be a strong container for whatever needs to flow. I wonder how that is for people in this time, where can there be some holding and ground so the layers of response to these times of change can surface, be felt, and can move through?

I’ve offered a couple of grief tending spaces through Zoom, the Norfolk on line event on March 21st, and another shorter peer group sharing since then. I was struck by the reflection from some that they had been able to go deeper than with other on line conversations. I remembered Brene Brown’s beautiful research, that intimacy can only come with vulnerability, so perhaps hearing each other’s grief helps us to connect with our own, and to feel safe enough to feel and share a deeper level of what is true.

I know I have a lot of support and resources and still have felt overwhelmed often during the past weeks. Coming back to small things has helped me, not spending too much time absorbing news or reading the myriad reflections and interpretations of what’s happening. How to just be with this present moment unfolding, this conversation, this feeling, this step.

Listening to some family and friends I hear how the fear of death can create a contraction, a gripping on. I feel it in myself. What if I get ill? Would my body be able to fight it off? I’m not “high risk”. But who knows? Can I trust life, trust death? What does that even mean? How could we possibly come out of lockdown without facing that? I know that I feel most peaceful when I zoom out and can find that much bigger perspective of connection to ancestors, to those already dead, to the knowledge that this body will have its time and then pass, and that already my life has been amazing, privileged, rich and fulfilled.

I’ve been taking a week off, and am picking up work again feeling refreshed and available to hold spaces where they’re wanted. I know there is a huge amount on line, and don’t want to add to that overwhelm! So I’ve set up two offerings. It’s likely I’ll offer May 16 / 17 weekend as a longer on line workshop, and I’m interested to hear what, if anything you’d like – shorter? more often? longer and deeper spaces? something beyond grief? Let us know here.

From Jeremy– invitation to Quest work and this time as initiation

As some of you will know my core life time work has been supporting those called to a vision quest/fast, which also as a form can be worked with as a core element of a rite of passage. There is talk of how the coming of this virus and consequent lock down can offer an opportunity for the deep introspection such rites offer, indeed even the voicing it as a rite of passage.

I agree it is a change time, and a real opportunity we can work with. Life, as it does through birth, death, joy, and grief and numerous other ways is initiating us into itself, its reality, and we and our cultures are dancing in relation to that from our understandings. However one of the keys to a rite of passage in my understanding, is the deliberateness of them. For although in pattern they mirror a life crisis, and so are good preparation for them, they are also what I call “the Ancient’s conscious way to deliberately support and prepare for transition” and as such there are carefully considered seeds, form and practices offered to support the health of them, for All our Relations.

One of the west’s most erudite and wise elders Noam Chomsky (now 92) in a recent interview reflects along the lines of: humanity will likely emerge from Coronovirus relatively unscathed, but beyond this sit different perils we would not return from, those being nuclear war and runaway climate change.  As Arundhati Roy reflects: “Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality”.

Personally I’d like some normality, but she is right, the way we have collectively been living is, like a doomsday machine, and the clock is ticking. The official world “doomsday clock,” now evidently is set at a hundred seconds to midnight thanks to current political and ecological conditions and prior to the emergence of coronavirus. So there is no doubt this is not just a good time for deep introspection, but an urgent time to dream deep With the Earth, to explore how can we better bring our, and our people’s, lives back into greater alignment with our life serving values and life giving planet. It is not just “without vision that the people perish,” but more that without Earth and love aligned vision, the people perish.

I feel consciousness and engagement with the seeds, form and practices I mentioned earlier can serve those who would like to engage with this quest/rite of passage opportunity in a more deliberate manner and, for those who feel the call, I’d love to offer support drawing on over twenty five years experience in this field.

So do be in touch if you are interested by this, be great to talk it through with you. The practices and offerings can be adapted according to your circumstance, commitment and calling. As well as varied length deliberate quest time, embedded within wise preparation and incorporation assignments/support, there are also individual exercises I can offer and another wonderful form very deliberately looking at living and dying in our lives, pertinent always, but particularly at this time – this involves and exercise and reflection each day over a four and a half day period with a preliminary exercise in the week or so before to set the ground.

Be in contact with me if you hear something of the call and would like to hear or communicate more. I have worked with these practices over skype before, so know that this can work, though also it does have its own particular needs to function well. I can also share numerous testimonials about the work.

Love and best wishes



Author: sophybanks

living in south west England

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