MARIA RENéE JOHNSON
COLLECTIVE GRIEF RITUAL
This grief ritual is a celebration of what we love, for grief cannot be felt without the loss of an aspect of life held dear. We may experience grief in a multitude of circumstances including the death of a human or non-human person, the loss of a place, a home, a way of life, a relationship, a job, an ability, or a dream. Grief can also be felt in response to loss that has not touched us directly, as we are affected by and connected to what occurs on other parts of the earth. The year 2020 has brought layers of grief to many ~ and many of us are processing that grief alone. To help "move" and feel our collective grief, mend the gap of individualism, and co-create a creative space for connection, vulnerability, empathy, and witnessing, this ritual is offered to you. Let this be an avenue into our shared humanity.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
You'll first fill out a short form (below), then will be paired with another participant via email. You might know them, or they might be a stranger to you. Each of you will play two parts in this ritual. The first part will ask you to creatively express your grief; this could take the form of a letter, a drawing/painting, a poem, a quote, an object, a filmed dance, a symbolic representation, etc. Creativity can be a powerful way to feel, process, and express grief. This will require some vulnerability on your part and can be as detailed or simple as you'd like. You will send it to your partner by email or snail mail and they will send theirs to you.
Upon receiving your partner's expression of grief, your second role will be that of a witness. With kindness, you'll read or see or listen to their grief, without trying to fix or change it. You'll respond in any form you see fit; it can be a letter, or a simple note stating, "I see you", a drawing, a small treasure like a feather, or a poem written by you or someone else. It can be anything that shows that you've witnessed their experience and are compassionately responding.
...Trust yourself in how you express your grief and trust yourself in how you respond as a witness.
** This project linked about 30 people in early 2020, and has since slowed.
You'll have the option to digitally contribute any aspect of your exchange on this webpage, as a collection of our shared grief. Or, you may choose to keep your ritual between you and your partner; that's fine too. Check back on the below space for future contributions:
^ Submission by Anonymous
^ Submission by Sarah Modene