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Community Grief Ritual

Sunday, Oct 4, 2020 | Seal Rock, OR


“When after heavy rain the storm clouds disperse, is it not that they’ve wept themselves clear to the end? —Ghalib

~ Ghalib

Grief is a natural response to loss. When we grieve we allow ourselves to feel and accept the truth of our losses. It takes courage to grieve, to honor the depth of the sorrow we carry. Grieving communally and ceremonially lies in the opportunity to create a safe and sacred space for coming together with open hearts and minds to hear and witness each other, metabolize our sorrows, search for new meaning, and restore a sense of trust and belonging. During this daylong gathering we will engage transformative communal grieving practices and explore the work of teachers, poets, ritualists, and wisdom carriers such as Michael Meade, Francis Weller, Martin Prechtel, and Sobonfu Somé to guide us through rough times. Together we will share poetry, song, and simple to connect with and transmute our grief and increase emotional resilience in these deeply uncertain and challenging times. 

Grief is one of the heart’s natural responses to loss. When we grieve we allow ourselves to feel the truth of our pain, the measure of betrayal or tragedy in our life. By our willingness to mourn, we slowly acknowledge, integrate, and accept the truth of our losses. Sometimes the best way to let go is to grieve.

It takes courage to grieve, to honor the pain we carry. We can grieve in tears or in meditative silence, in prayer or in song. In touching the pain of recent and long-held griefs, we come face to face with our genuine human vulnerability, with helplessness and hopelessness. These are the storm clouds of the heart.

Most traditional societies offer ritual and communal support to help people move through grief and loss. We need to respect our tears. Without a wise way to grieve, we can only soldier on, armored and unfeeling, but our hearts cannot learn and grow from the sorrows of the past.

To meditate on grief, let yourself sit, alone or with a comforting friend. Take the time to create an atmosphere of support. When you are ready, begin by sensing your breath. Feel your breathing in the area of your chest. This can help you become present to what is within you. Take one hand and hold it gently on your heart as if you were holding a vulnerable human being. You are.The grief we carry is part of the grief of the world. Hold it gently. As you continue to breathe, bring to mind the loss or pain you are grieving. Let the story, the images, the feelings comes naturally. Hold them gently. Take your time. Let the feelings come layer by layer, a little at a time. Keep breathing softly, compassionately. Let whatever feelings are there, pain and tears, anger and love, fear and sorrow, come as they will. Touch them gently. Let them unravel out of your body and mind. Make space for any images that arise. Allow the whole story. Breathe and hold it all with tenderness and compassion. Kindness for it all, for you and for others. The grief we carry is part of the grief of the world. Hold it gently. Let it be honored. You do not have to keep it in anymore. You can let it go into the heart of compassion; you can weep. Releasing the grief we carry is a long, tear-filled process. Yet it follows the natural intelligence of the body and heart. Trust it, trust the unfolding. Along with meditation, some of your grief will want to be written, to be cried out, to be sung, to be danced. Let the timeless wisdom within you carry you through grief and awaken a tender, open heart. Keep in mind that grief doesn’t just dissolve. Instead it arises in waves and gradually, with growing compassion, there comes more space around it. The heart opens and in its own time, little by little, gaps of new life—breaks in the rain clouds appear. The body relaxes and freer breaths appear. This is a natural cycle you can trust—how life and the heart renews itself. Like the spring after winter, it always does.


This gathering will take place outdoors and on the beach to support needs for social distancing and to be with the ocean. As part of our time together we will engage in a beach clean-up as part of our time together gathering micro plastics 

We see that in life it is necessary to grieve those things that no longer serve us and let them go. We experience conflicts, loved

ones die or suffer, dreams never manifest, illnesses occur, relationships break up, and there are unexpected natural

disasters. It is so important to have ways to release those pains to keep clearing ourselves.

Sobonfu Somé


Lara Lwin Treadaway facilitates healing and transformation in community, weaving earth-honoring ritual, experiential group work, ways of council, poetry, storytelling, and song. She believes that sacred grief work, ancestral healing, earth reconnection, and the creative arts are pathways to restoring deep belonging within ourselves, between each other, and with the other-than-human world. Lara’s personal story includes many deep initiations through grief, loss, and trauma, leading to a hard-won respect for the alchemical journey of transmuting our pain into medicine for the world.

DATE/TIME: Sunday, September 22, 2019 | 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM

LOCATION: The Little Church, Portland, OR 97211

RECIPROCITY: Suggested Sliding Scale $50 - $150

In the spirit of the gift economy, you are invited to give what you are able to.

Work trade and scholarships are available. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

If you are able to contribute more than suggested please consider doing so to support this work.

Limited to 10 participants. Early registration recommended.

If you have any questions please contact Lara:  |  541-740-3933


from previous gatherings led by Lara Lwin Treadaway

"The ritual cleared and cleansed me, the next day I felt a great capacity to hold life and things that were unbearable before.

It was a life-changing practice that I intend to make a part of my life on a regular basis. Lara is an extraordinary

spirit and a skillful facilitator. The container she created felt incredibly safe and inclusive allowing me

to do very deep work. This ritual is a much-needed balm for healing the collective."

~ Jana Holm, Portland, OR

"This work was very powerful and transformative for me and I highly recommend it. Thank you Lara for sharing such a

beautiful, ancient, communal way to tap into this universal well of grief we all drink from, giving access to new

perspectives, through deeper understanding of and befriending of our grief. I cannot say enough about

you and the safe space you held communally. You are masterful at what you do, and so clearly and

beautifully committed to helping heal the planet with this work. Deep bow of gratitude.”

~ Laura Ghiringhelli Knutson, San Luis Obispo, CA

"I found that we are all grieving and we all want and need a community to share and release this and feel the embrace of love.

I’ve been needing, wanting, searching for a way to process my loss and grief and I found this Grief Ritual to be perfect

for my needs. I found more layers of past grief bubbling up and I was able to let more go more than just

what I thought I was grieving. Thank you so much for this amazing work and healing gift.”

~ Cathy Jamieson, San Luis Obispo, CA

"Lara’s insight, knowledge and compassion to serve people through the process of grief is so powerful and wise.

It’s very evident she has devoted herself to this much needed practice of healing. The love and

acceptance she evokes in this work is truly moving and powerful."

~ Gina Shuman, San Luis Obispo, CA

"Grief work is such a vital part of our lives as full humans, and something so missing from our Western society. Lara brings

this sacred technology and offerings back into our remembrance, awakening it from our deep ancestral knowledge.

It is amazing what a strong practice these rituals can be for cultivating our capacity to love and

hold ourselves and each other through life's waves of grief."

~ Alexa Lindahl, San Luis Obispo, CA

"Everyone has something to grieve. I went specifically to grieve about the Earth and all we are losing. Those of us who love the

earth and are awoke to what is happening are carrying so much grief. Taking the time to feel and express grief for

disappearing species, desecrated places, and our difficult future does not mean we are giving up, but rather

it can re-energize us to continue our activism. Grief is the other side of love and we can’t have one

without the other, yet there are so few places where our grief is welcomed and

accepted and can be fully expressed in community."

~ Sharon Blick, Eugene, OR

"If you want a deeply poignant and absolutely beautiful experience, I most highly recommend this sacred work. If you

at all interested, go. If you are curious, go. If you are doubtful, go. If you think this is for you or if you

think this is not for you, go. You will be forever blessed and eternally grateful."

~ Chante Dao, Hugo, OR​

"Lara is a gifted guide through the deep well of sorrow and grief. She is receptive to the needs of each participant being aware

of the community as a whole. Lara holds a safe container in which participants can let go in ways many of us

have never been able to before. The deep joy which follows the out-pouring of grief is truly profound.

These rituals have been life-changing for me."

~ Oshi, Coos Bay, OR

"I found myself feeling amazed the morning we parted ways, as tears sprang up. I had come to know and care for my fellow Villagers,

made friends, heard stories, saw inside their hearts briefly. A true community holds the capacity to experience many things

together without busting at the seams. Grief bonds when held with compassion and understanding. Grief shows us

our capacity for Joy as well. A community that learns to hold both is strong, resilient, and capable

of changing the world. Thank you, Lara Lwin Treadaway, for guiding us."

~ Michelle Madgett, San Luis Obispo, CA

"Having a strong leader who kept structure, time and process in check made me feel safe and secure and helped ease any tension

about the day. I feel like the ritual took off another “layer” of stress and tension that I was experiencing and I was

able to let go of some things I was holding onto, thinking and feeling I needed to deal with it on my own.

I have recommended this event to many friends already and I have told them

it was deeply nourishing and healing on many levels."

~ Jeanean Rauch, Corvallis, OR

"I would absolutely recommend this ritual for anyone who is longing for authentic, safe, and reverent engagement

of our deepest most profound emotions. This is profound experiential work for both personal

and communal nurturance and therefore healing.”

~ Richard Leversee, Morro Bay, CA

"So much gratitude Lara for leading this life changing event. The village we created was stronger than I imagined possible,

and carried me to depths I've not reached in so long. Gratitude to all my villagers too, for embracing my

grief and beauty and strength. May all share in this powerful healing."

~ Öcean MacConnell Liff-Anderson, Corvallis, OR

"The Drinking from the Well Retreat opened up the pain of deep unresolved guilt, resentment and anger I held for my mother and

allowed me to see who she was and why for the first time. It was a true epiphany that I wouldn't have had without

being present in this beautiful circle Lara gave us. I feel I am at peace for the first time in my life."

~ Robin Clark, Coos Bay, OR

"I cannot suggest enough how much this event changed me. For anyone feeling the loss of another or loss of a dream.

This event helped me, in my darkest time, to begin my healing process. Sign up, you will not be disappointed."

~ Scott Roberts, Ashland, OR

"Each time I tell of the experience I had of "Drinking from the Well" to a friend who didn't get to experience it they are amazed

and my story becomes a little more complete and clearer to me. You blessed us all with this gift. You truly created a sacred

space, of trust, holiness and safety. What a combination. Thank you so much, Lara."

~ Lois Williams, Coos Bay, OR

"The songs. The jubilation. The celebration. All in front of the villages Altar. It was beautifully put together in a way that made

it easy to do the work with everyone. The poetry was profoundly moving. I believe this was just a beginning and still a

palpable lesson I have been waiting for, to share my tears with others. To be seen. And to be thanked for doing so.

I felt very present. I felt connected. You must experience this ceremony to whatever capacity you can. 

It is simple. It is powerful. And it is moving."

~ Blake S., Corvallis, OR

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