The Grief Shālā
When we peel back the layers of all the human maladies we will find grief at the core.
Why do we need a Grief Shālā?
Grief is not something we heal from.
Grief is not something we recover from. Grief is not an illness. But it is possible to reclaim a new kind of wholeness that facilitates continued co-existence with our sorrow. When we by-pass the act of purging the immediate, extreme reactions to bereavement they become repressed and ultimately manifest in countless ways as malaise in the body, mind, heart and spirit affecting not only individual persons but the well being of the collective, as well.
The importance of Village
With communal support and effective practices it is possible to unearth and transform our deepest wounds into sweeter sorrows. Most traditional cultures have always known that grief requires a truly cathartic expression in order for one to continue living in a healthy manner while remaining forever wounded. Elaborate mourning rituals were, and in some cases still are, performed to equally ensure the well being of those immediately impacted by loss and the overall health of the village, or community, at large.
The key to achieving this necessary balance is to reclaim the village-based model where we come together to courageously and vulnerably meet grief when it shows up; to honour it, to support the release of its most overwhelming features and welcome it in as a valid facet of our humanity. Likewise, we must commit to creating and holding space and for those who are grieving. We cannot accomplish this work alone; it truly takes a village.
Wash their body,
Sit with them,
Whisper I love you.
Carve their casket,
Carry their body.
Pick up the shovel
And dig their grave.
Give your grief
Somewhere to go.
"When modern people engage in grief rituals, they often say it feels familiar as if they’ve done this before. Yes, we have, for more than two hundred thousand years. And then, within the past few hundred years, it practically disappeared. That’s a profound loss.’’
- Francis Weller
What is The Grief Shālā?
The Grief Shala is a safe, supportive environment for tending to our deepest, too often unbearable wounds of grief. Whether grieving the death of a loved one, the lack of validation and nurturing of our personal needs, the bearing of the heavy load of inherited grief and trauma of our ancestors or grieving the senseless destruction of the natural world and its inhabitants, this co-created space provides us the opportunity to deeply engage in the practice of grief, together, through ritual and ceremony, embodied practices, expressive arts, sound, silence, storytelling, immersion in the natural elements, and more.