Last weekend twenty five tender hearted grief warriors gathered with me in beloved community to drink deeply from the well of communal sorrows, and to open to the joy and gratitude that comes when we honour the fragile beauty of this precious life gifted to us by the Great Mystery. Together we shared stories and sang, and danced, and wailed, and yelled, and held each other close as we remembered how to be fully human again, and in so doing wove ourselves back into a collective prayer for all life.
The following day I attended a Life Cairn, a Memorial in Remembrance of Lost Species, in Laguna Park, San Luis Obispo, led by local activist and heart warrior Linda Seeley. I brought with me the foliage and flowers from the grief and compassion altars we had created the day before and offered them to these sacred stones. Each of these ancient story keepers was laid down in mourning and remembrance, in honour of a species that will never dance with life again, the gift of their existence having been broken and buried by the march of human progress.
Sometimes when I tell people I work with grief they thank me and then tell me they have nothing to grieve. Nothing to grieve. Really? Look around. People are hurting everywhere. Earth is grieving the loss of her biodiversity through the poisoning and violation of her body. Humankind is drowning in war, poverty, trauma, corruption, enslavement, ignorance and injustice. The clarion call to acknowledge, grieve, heal and transmute the pain of our world is being sent out to awaken your heart daily.
Seems to me that the willingness to honour our grief and to harness its transformative power is a mark of human maturity. If we as a species had continued the ancient traditions of our ancestors and indigenous peoples - registering each and every loss and crisis that ruptured the web of nature and community in sincere ceremony, and offering our heartbreak as a song and a prayer to the sacredness of all life, we simply would not have had the time to do all the damage we have done.
In holding our sorrow up as a sacrament we are demonstrating humbleness and devotion to the mystery that birthed us between the divine realms of Earth and Sky. We are reversing the numbness that our domination culture relies on to continue "business as usual", and we are bringing ourselves back to life as the wild hearted, brave spirited, wise minded, peace keepers, earth shakers, soul wakers, and beauty makers we were all born to be. We become a walking prayer, one who listens to the cries of the world, lays their weapons down, acts wisely with insight and compassion, and bows deeply in reverence to it all.
later that night i held an atlas in my lap ran my fingers across the whole world and whispered where does it hurt?
everywhere. everywhere everywhere
~ warsan shire
Photograph: from the Life Cairn led by Linda Seeley, in honour of Remembrance Day for Lost Species, at Laguna Lake Park, San Luis Obispo, on Dec 2nd, 2018.