Through the Dark Woods
Real Life Skills for Navigating Grief & Trauma
When we learn the skills to walk through the dark woods of grief and trauma, we develop the capacity to hold the fullness of life.
let me ask you...
WHY GRIEF WORK?
“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
Amongst the oldest peoples it has been said that grief and gratitude are but two sides of the same mandala called Love, and are so intertwined that if we suppress our grief for too long, we also lose our ability to love fully.
And yet, enduring our grief without support of connection and community can be simply unbearable.
We are conditioned to turn away from or suppress our pain, and we are often encouraged to ‘stay positive’ or ‘look on the bright side.’ This turning away from the pain allows violence to continue in the world, as pain unprocessed soon becomes either so deeply internalized that we get sick, or projected on those we deem “Other.”
In order to return again and again to our fullest joy, aliveness, connection with each other and love for life we must have a space to express and process our grief.
Why grieve in Community?
I believe firmly in the intertwined health of individual, community & ecosystem. As the world falls apart around us, we need each other now more than ever. We need to hold and be held by each other through our grief, so we can bring back resilience and vibrant health to ourselves, each other and our earth.
“To speak of sorrow works upon it, moves it from its crouched place barring the way to and from the soul’s hall.”
Grief, honoured in community, helps us to find the beauty in our common humanity.
We see and feel in our bones that we are truly not alone.
This builds resilience and increases our capacity to be with the harder emotions.
Being witnessed in a compassionate and mutually vulnerable group increases our ability to have deep compassion for ourselves and others.
When we share and witness each other’s grief in community, we transform in a profound way that simply is not possible in isolation or in 1:1 therapy.
…Such as systemic racism, isolation, ancestral trauma and colonial structural trauma must be healed collectively, together, not in isolation.
Personal grief, when witnessed & supported in community, slowly metabolizes into something that is easier to carry on our own.
This process-based group is intended as a container to touch deeply into emotions that society has rejected – emotions that are rooted in love and our sense of justice for self, community, culture and planet.
All forms of grief are welcome – this includes personal loss and trauma, both ‘minor’ and devastating, as well more transpersonal/collective grief. All is welcome.
but what actually is
Most of us aren’t raised with an intimate understanding of grief. It’s not something that we realize we might even be feeling or experiencing in the day to day. In our culture, it’s only really discussed when someone dies.
Grief shows up in unexpected ways. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re lost in the dark woods of grief. Grief can feel like heartbreak, anger, resentment, stuckness, depression, and even anxiety.
With every loss, every life change and transition, every personal evolution, there is grief.
Even if we’re excited about moving in new directions, and becoming more of who we are, we need to grieve the person, life, and experiences that we’re leaving behind.
Not to mention the grief in the world around us, seemingly not ours, yet still felt by our soul, our body, and our heart as we are interconnected with all things.
“Grief is the expression of healing in motion. As you make the seemingly bottomless descent, it helps to remember that grief is the downpour your soul has been thirsting for. Because what remains hidden for too long doesn’t change. It is calcified in place, often sealed by shame, left untouched and forgotten by time. But when it can finally come into the open to be seen, it is exposed to new conditions and it begins to move. It rises on a salty geyser of tears, sometimes sung to the surface by a terrific moan, streaming down our cheeks until it moistens the soil where we stand, preparing us for new growth.”
—Toko-pa Turner, Belonging
This work is for you
if you are struggling with:
What will you gain?
Personal grief and healing skills
Learn how to enter and tend to grief in a deep, meaningful and transformative way, while also improving the ability to live with the emotional ups and downs of our day to day lives.
An Approach of Balance and Self-regulation
To approach grief skillfully allows us to avoid the extremes of either suppressing our grief or being consumed by it. You’ll learn to walk the middle path - to build your capacity to be present with your grief while staying tethered to the joys available in everyday life.
Layers of Holding
Learn how to hold space for the deepest depths of emotion - your own and that of others - while also experiencing the holding of community, nature and the ancestors.
Gently Building Capacity
Your capacity to hold yourself in these tender and vulnerable places will expand, so that then even when you are alone and grief arises, you will have more ability to stay with it. This will also increase your capacity for growth, greater self expression, leadership, and the holding of the grief of others.
Trust in Yourself Thought Commitment
It is not that this process will be easy, in fact it will be difficult and there may likely be setbacks along the way, and yet progress simply for the sake of progress was never the point. Commitment to meeting yourself and showing up for these parts is where the healing happens.
Real Life Skills
You will gain the skills to move in any direction with a profound sense of choice & resilience.
You will learn to ask for help directly from each other, Nature and the Ancestors, and to offer thanks in return. Because we all need help along the way, and reciprocity is key.
What will be let go of?
You may (gently) release along the way:
This group runs from Monday March 8th through Monday May 17th ~ six sessions over 12 weeks with weeks in between each session for integration & rest.
Sessions are two hours long, from 5-7pm pacific standard time:
March 8 & 22nd
April 5th & 19th
May 3rd & 17th
NOTE: Since we are aiming to approach our work with balance and self-regulation, the flow of our time together is designed to have weeks where we dive deep balanced with integration weeks. Because just like the casserole needs to sit and cool on the counter after we bake it so all the flavors can meld together in harmony and deliciousness, so to is integration key for our full deliciousness as humans to develop. <3
Each session will include a teaching part (the skills) as well as a process-based part which will include writing practices, somatic/embodied practice, group as well as partner/trio work, held in confidence among participants.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
payment plans available: email email@example.com for details.
The dark woods of grief can be frightening...
…to you if you haven’t had someone to lead you through and show you the lay of the land.
We can get stuck in the darkness of our grief, eyes-closed, terrified to open them because we don’t know what could be lurking in the shadows. And yet what is there doesn’t change, eyes open or closed.
But how do we gather the strength to open our eyes and face where we are? It helps enormously to know that we are not alone, and that we have some guidance from one who has traversed these woods before.
That’s what this group is offering. A hand to hold. Someone to lead you through the dark woods. A community to walk with you, so that you know you aren’t alone.
About Your Facilitator
I’m committed to helping people to access the innate wisdom of their physical & emotional bodies as a doorway to deeper awakening and freedom. I believe that while 1:1 therapy can be profound and life changing, there are things that can only be healed in the presence of community/group work.
I have over 20 years of study and experience in working with trauma and grief and have been facilitating Grief Ritual and process work for the past four years. My work is grounded in training in Somatic Therapy, Attachment Theory, Healing Sexual Trauma, Deep Nature Connection, Craniosacral therapy, Somato Emotional Release, Shamanic Study, Tibetan Buddhism and Yoga.
I have trained with expert grief facilitators Francis Weller (author, Wild Edge of Sorrow) and Randy Jones (author, Medicine Without an Expiry Date), as well as key Somatic & Relational Therapy teachers Mariah Moser (Relational Somatic Psychotherapy), Peter Levine (SE), Diane Poole Heller (DARe), Irene Lyon (SmartBodySmartMind), Elizabeth Claire Burr (CST, SER & Vijnana Yoga) & 8 Shields Institute.
I am a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor through the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada and am generally covered by Pacific Blue Cross, Sun Life, Manulife, Claimsecure, Equitable Life of Canada, Alberta Blue Cross & Green Shield and can provide receipts for both 1:1 counselling and group work.