: Last weekend, Matt and I attended a grief retreat called "Wintering, Tending the Dark Waters of the Soul," which draws inspiration from the work of Francis Weller and his book, "The Wild Edge of Sorrow." This retreat centers around communal support and the use of rituals to navigate the complexities of grief. One particularly moving ritual took place on the retreat's final day, where we crafted what is known as a grief bundle. Throughout the weekend, we gathered fallen leaves and branches, and each of us penned a heartfelt letter on compostable paper, which we then bound together with string. Together, we made our way down to the river, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and there we released our grief bundles, asking the earth to receive them and transform them through the composting process.
The act of composting, a natural process of renewal, resonates deeply with the journey of grief. Just as composting takes what is no longer useful in its present state and reintegrates it into the soil, transforming it into something new and enriching, so too does grief transform us. It flows through us, much like a river, carrying our emotions, memories, and pain. Society often imposes sharp expectations regarding grief, nudging us to conform to certain standards of behavior and to expedite the healing process. Yet, as we allow ourselves to experience and process these emotions without resistance, we find ourselves broken open, able to acknowledge and embrace each feeling for what it truly is.
Grief isn't solely about the loss of a loved one; it has a way of unearthing all the buried hurts, the places devoid of love, the deep wells of shame and guilt. It offers us the chance to extend love and compassion to these neglected parts of ourselves, fostering a path towards healing, however, that may manifest. the Dark Waters of Soul Grief Retreat: Tending the Dark Waters of Soul Grief RetreatWintering: Tending the Dark Waters of Soul Grief Retreat