Day: May 5, 2020

Grieving and Awakening

“You may say: It’s too much — all this grief, all this violence and injustice, it’s too hard. You are right: The mind can comprehend one death, but it cannot comprehend thousands, especially when one’s own community, nation, or ancestors played some part in causing the death. Mother Theresa once said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” And so, begin with one. Can you choose one person to practice wondering about? Can you listen to the story they have to tell? If your fists tighten, or your heart beats fast, or if shame rises to your face, it’s ok. Breath through it. Trust that you can. The heart is a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.”  –– Valarie Kaur, See No Stranger: a Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love

Friends,
Last week, the death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 65,000 in the United States. We believe that grieving together is frontline social justice work. But how do we grieve together when are physically distant?

WATCH our virtual event on grieving and awakening here.

My teammate Melissa Canlas and I were joined by more than six hundred of you in our virtual gathering. Together, we created a container to explore what it looks like to grieve during this pandemic. Anchored by the music of our movement sister, Ari Afsar, we allowed ourselves the breath and space to feel in to the grief we had been holding in our own bodies.

We explored the many waves of grief we may be facing. In addition to our personal losses we are faced with the reality that this virus is disproportionately killing black people, devastating indigenous communities on reservations and the poor. In less than a month’s time, we have seen 1500 reported hate incidents targeting our Asian American brothers, sisters, and siblings. And so we breathed to grieve with communities who have long suffered in the United States. And we embraced what we have learned from our ancestors – that grieving together is a political act. For when we learn to be with the pain of vulnerable communities, we are also gaining the information necessary to fight for them.

Some were surprised by where they found the grief living in their body, while others awakened to waves of grief unrelated to this moment but activated by the heaviness of the current reality. Some were inspired by their experience to write poetry, still others found rage closely connected with their grief. No matter the experience, we allowed for it all. It was a powerful, life-giving evening. For with grief, there is no fixing it, only bearing it. And even in this time of physical distancing, we can find ways to bear it together. Grieving together is an act of revolutionary love.

Thank you to all of you who participated in cultivating this sacred space and time together. Deep gratitude to our partners at Dream Corp. for co-hosting these gatherings with us.

We are excited to announce that our next gathering is happening this month. Sign-up for the next virtual gathering on May 14th.

You are not alone. We are in this together.

Valarie


You are invited to our third Virtual Gathering on Thursday, May 14th. Joined by Dr. Melissa Canlas, Valarie will orient us to the historical moment, read an excerpt from her forthcoming book, lead a practice and host a live Q&A. We encourage you to pre-order SEE NO STRANGER: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love.
All are welcome.


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