Apprenticing to Grief

d whyte poem

A six day immersive journey for people wanting to deepen their relationship with grief, and strengthen their capacity to hold grief spaces for others.

We ran this workshop in 2019 – our first attempt at formally supporting others into this work. As we expected it was an intense, emergent, co-created time with a lot of rich learning for everyone.

“..a gathering of folk dedicated to bringing back the sacred art of grieving, on the beautiful wild Dartmoor. Reassured by the extensive knowledge and humility of the facilitators, we spent an alchemical week weaving stories, dance, laughter and tears, deepening our knowledge, finding our gifts and establishing what feels like a strong support network as we went forth. It was a week of pure soul food.

Our intention

The intention of bringing this workshop at this time is to share our learnings around holding grief spaces, and to help support and resource others that are stepping towards this work.

We recognise that we are still learning about holding grief spaces – and we see that more and more people seem to be drawn to the work – to hold spaces for grief as well as to participate in them. In a land where we have lost the role of elders and many other traditions we are feeling our way towards forms and practices that can be both accessible and powerful. So we are happy to share our understandings, hoping they can benefit others, honouring our teachers who have helped us to grow in this work, and knowing we will learn together when we gather a group around this intention.

What you can expect from us

Over six days we will work with practices and understandings from different traditions of grief work.

We will explore how the intention shapes the work – for example, that Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects has a different purpose to holding Grief tending spaces for Frances Weller’s 5 gateways.

We will explore how to open pathways into the landscape of grief, hold space there, and guide the journey back, integrating our experience so we can go forward in our lives in a good way.

“Sophy and Jeremy together share a deep passion for healing our relationship to nature and each other and skillfully created a communal space for us to approach grief with a slow gentleness. Going home, I feel more capable of serving my community in kind, inviting people to a monthly gathering where we can grieve together, and recognize our shared love of life.”

This is NOT a training

We want to be clear that we are not offering a training in facilitation, in holding people at depth, or in working with trauma. We have both completed trainings in counselling / therapy, as well as having many years of experience holding groups and individuals in deep work in a variety of contexts. When we work with grief we are likely to touch wounded places, including trauma. We see that facilitators of grief spaces need to have skills in group facilitation, working at depth, and meeting trauma. Whilst we can touch on these themes during the workshop it’s your responsibility to equip yourself to work safely with people in this field.

The workshop includes:

  • Looking at the elements of a safe, held and deep journey into and back from grief. We will include time to explore:
    • Welcoming and creating trust in a group
    • Building the “banks of the river” – accessing support and resources that we can continually return to
    • Introducing grief in ways that are inclusive, respectful, and help settle anxieties about going into often unfamiliar landscape
    • Practices to stir and express grief
    • Working with ritual and the design of grief ritual or ceremony
    • Integration and soothing
    • Making meaning and harvesting insights from grief tending
    • Reconnecting to resources and supporting people to leave in good shape for the return to their lives
  • Sharing different practices and philosophies around grief, trauma and healing
  • Reflecting on how we deepen into our own grief, and how this supports us to work with others – with the understanding that whatever we cannot face or facilitate in ourselves we are unlikely to be able to welcome or facilitate for others.
  • Looking at skills of facilitation – and asking how to develop these and other skills beyond what’s possible in this short course
  • Recognising that this can be challenging and difficult territory, we will look together at creating ethical and robust practices
  • Exploring how we each strengthen the skillset we need to be competent, skilled and ethical – whilst recognising that there is a deep and sometimes urgent need for this work, to which we are responding.
  • Building a network or community of practice if the group chooses to do this

If there is time we will also look at:

  • Including information about sources of grief that are particularly present in these times – including issues such as increasing social inequality, accelerating environmental degradation such as the climate crisis, intergenerational inequality and more. How are we in relationship to this information ourselves, and how do we include this in ways which are responsible and ethical?
  • Thinking about structuring, promoting and delivering an event

It’s a lot for just 6 days!

“Like the best grief rituals, we were guided gently, to give attention to our tender places through experience, ritual and community, and welcomed back to everyday life immensely enriched and inspired.”

 

What we expect from you

  • To attend the whole course, unless you have an agreement with us otherwise
  • That you are in some process of inner exploration, including ways of tending your own grief
  • That you have attended at least one Grief Tending workshop with us, preferably longer than one day, so you have a sense of our work and approach.
  • That you are resourced and supported so you can participate in and help to hold processes that invite the sharing of feelings, vulnerability and self exploration with others.
  • That you have experience of holding others either in one to one or group settings
  • To be willing to prepare something in advance to facilitate or share with the group
  • To take responsibility for the other aspects of holding grief work that are needed for you to be a safe and competent facilitator before you hold others in this work (including facilitation skills, working with others at depth and holding people as trauma surfaces)

 

To apply for this workshop

There is an application form for this workshop which we ask you to complete and send to us.

When we confirm that you have a place we will ask for your deposit to secure your place.

Cost: £410 – £660 sliding scale.  This includes accommodation in small dormitories, all food (organic and local where possible) and other workshop costs.

There are some bursary places available, and it’s possible to pay in instalments. For more details please contact us.

To Apply: Complete the application form attached and return to us.

On acceptance of your application, please pay a deposit of £75 to secure your place

Full payment is due by 3rd January 2020

Practical information

Dates – Friday 7th February – Wednesday 12 February 2020

Venue: High Heathercombe centre on high Dartmoor in Devon, UK.