As a trauma therapist, I truly believe that you can’t do trauma without doing grief - they go hand in hand.
In my Sensorimotor Psychotherapy training, my trainer - Rebeca Farca PhD - would say that with all new awarenesses comes grief. Transformation entails grief, for we are now able to regard ourselves and our lives from a new vantage point.
I often say trauma is what happened that shouldn’t have happened; and it’s also what didn’t happen that should’ve happened.
=> someone who loves you, keeps you safe, protects you,
and takes delight in you <=
Similarly, grief is typically framed as “I had something, and now it’s gone”. So many of us move through the world experiencing the emptiness of “I didn’t experience something that I can’t quite name, and the not getting of this unnamable amorphous something has left an emptiness, a void, in my inner landscape.”
=> the grief of pervasive non-attunement and neglect <=
My hopes for you are to expand your conceptualization of grief and loss to encompass the nuanced complexities of what it means to live – to truly be alive – amidst personal struggles, societal upheaval and uncertainty, environmental destruction, within systems that have privilege some while oppressing so many others over the course of centuries.
To live - with heartbreak - in the midst of great anguish and great joys means to learn how to grieve. And we are not meant to do this work alone.
Together, we can dance at the wild edges of personal and collective grief and sorrow, to uplift with tenderness the beautiful, melancholy thread that weaves its way through all that we cherish and hold dear. Once metabolized, grief becomes fuel for mending broken story lines and disrupted song lines, and allows us to fully return to the land of risking loving once more, to drink the nectar of dignity as bountiful birthright, and to engage with outrageous tenderness and tender outrage to societal changes for those who have yet to come.
Grief becomes a way home when home itself is lost. ~ Meenadchi
I offer you these resources in the order in which they came to me, as well as in the order in which I have tendered offerings, with no imperative upon you to engage in these resources in any particular order whatsoever.
Francis Weller’s book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief (2015), cracked me open to the vast expanses of grief beyond the loss of a loved one (not to minimize in any way the loss of beloved ones).Buy The Book →
His Five Gates of Grief are:
While the book is excellent and highly recommended, you may also prefer to access his wonderful video summary here (13 min).
Francis Weller’s website contains more offerings, including communal grief-tending events.
“When our grief cannot be spoken, it falls into the shadow and re-arises in us as symptoms. So many of us are depressed, anxious, and lonely. We struggle with addictions and find ourselves moving at a breathless pace, trying to keep up with the machinery of culture.”
― Francis Weller
Francis studied alongside Laurence Cole, underneath West African elder, Malidoma Somé, who was sent to the West by his tribe, the Dagara people of Burkhina Faso, to help us to learn how to grieve.
Grief is a solitary journey that we cannot do alone
Last year, the Trauma Research Foundation sponsored me to offer 4 x 35 minute classes to the general public, Movement, Breath & Sound for Transforming Grief. You can access (for free) the recordings here.
Much of the inspiration for this offering came from my experiences in Frances Weller’s and Laurence Cole’s communities, as well as from completing a Grief Yoga Teacher Training with Paul Denniston and learning from international grief expert David Kessler, whose website is full of resources, and whose Facebook group, Grief: Releasing Pain, Remembering Love & Finding Meaning, is wonderfully supportive for those who have lost loved ones.
On this website, you will find a three-hour webinar, Healing the Legacy of Historical and Transgenerational Trauma: Addressing the Ambiguous Losses of Adult Children of Refugees and Immigrants. It is based on this Venn diagram (this is the latest version) which is a result of my own life’s journey of healing unnamable losses.
You may also wish to check out podcast interviews that I’ve done with Yin of Asians Do Therapy, Sue of Therapist Uncensored, and Laura Reagan of Therapist Chat Podcast (in this series, Laura…..)
Last year, I was a part of a podcast series hosted by The MashUp Americans, Grief Collected. The entire series is pretty epic (and culminates in an episode with adrienne maree brown!!!!) with grief resources available for each episode, as well as an entire grief book shelf.
“My” episode, about ancestral grief, is here.
For white-bodied folx who are looking for spaces within which to deconstruct the nuance and complexities of being White, that also provide the space for grief:
Eco grief is a very real phenomenon…..stay tuned for a separate eco-grief resources section!
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