I felt trepidation as well as relief as a group gathered for the first in person Grief tending indoors since before COVID dramatically changed how we meet, more than a year ago.
In the correspondence before the workshop I felt a new part of my role, to help figure out how to meet possibly different needs about COVID precautions, behaviours, proximity and contact in a grief tending space.
Grief is not a tidy and controlled process by its nature. Involving body liquids, loud noises, and often, the longing for touch.
Kind touch is one of the few ways we generate oxytocin – as well as singing together, giving birth and breastfeeding. Oxytocin helps us to feel a sense of bonding with others, of deep connection
We often speak about the two wings of the bird in grief tending – an image that comes from Martìn Prechtel. The two wings represent grief and praise, the pain of life and the joy of life. In the teaching as I’ve come to understand it, a full life means one where both wings are strong. We cannot love deeply without deep grief. We cannot celebrate beauty, open to the joy of the moment, let ourselves be free with laughter or creativity without also meeting those moments when the loved one is gone, the laughter and beauty is finishing. Impermanence means every sources of joy comes to an end, everything living dies, every moment passes.
In Devon I feel particularly blessed that there are several people holding grief spaces in different ways, and that we meet occasionally to share experiences. Many are listed on our website so you can find your way to other offerings. It’s been rich to come together and ask questions – this month we asked “what are we learning?” which generated a wide ranging sharing. About the times we are living in.. about the need for our own support, and spaces for our own grief tending .. about the nature of grief and trauma, and the importance of support or resources for people coming to do grief work, so there is holding also when the grief tending space comes to an end. Continue reading “On grief, trauma and the importance of support”