MARIA RENéE JOHNSON
GROUP GRIEF CONSULTING
Work directly with me to process your grief in a supportive space
-- work with environmental organizations
-- communities impacted by environmental disaster
-- work with school groups / kids
I describe my approach as "ecological grief work". This means that it is both informed by ecology as well as is a process that guides us in recognizing our inherent belonging and connection. The earth offers an ever-present support system that we can recognize and lean into when processing grief.
I can also consult on movement toward activism and finding your role/sustaining yourself through it.
"Grief is a recognition, it's not an affliction. Grief is
a wisdom. It's a willingness for things to register upon you as they are. And it you're willing to grieve... that's the cradle of your love of life."
-- Stephen Jenkinson, "Haiku"
+ We meet virtually twice per month on the first and third Thursday from 6pm - 7pm PST.
+ Each session contains a practice (creative, emotional, somatic, and/or connective) that will guide us in coming into contact with our grief. We will also have space to share among each other. There will be some educational aspects to each session to explore different ways of approaching grief, but the focus is on the emotional experience.
+ In an effort to keep this affordable, this is offered by donation. The suggested donation is $10 - $30 per session. If this is inaccessible to you, please let me know. I will forward you the payment information when you register below; you will have the option to attend sessions here and there or pay for 6-month blocks of time.
+ In speaking about the climate crisis, we recognize that this is not solely about the environment, but is ultimately, a social justice and relational topic. Our climate grief is tied to all grief; all of it is welcome.
+ We find paths toward respectful relationship with other human beings and the more-than-human world. We assume one another's best intentions and approach others with curiosity and space to grow. Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.
+ We all bring different strengths and perspectives while coming from varied backgrounds that will inform our understanding and relationship to both the climate crisis and to grieving. We recognize that time and space to grieve is not a given in our society. We respect our differences and learn from one another; our variation creates a rich and strong ecosystem.
+ We bear witness to one another's grief while not attempting to fix or change it. What comes up is welcome. Witnessing is powerful.
+ Emotional and social health are essential to dealing with the climate crisis. These matter just as much as political action. While we can touch on other dimensions of the crisis, this space makes prominent and specific room for our grief.
+ This space is not therapy and I am not a licensed mental health professional. Please ensure you have any additional support you may need outside of this group.
Hi, I'm Maria. My background is highly interdisciplinary spanning from science, conservation, social justice, environmental education, the arts, and community organizing. Much of what I've done throughout the years has had an underlying or direct connection to environmental grief including my work with Bycatch and Mother Earth and the accompanying Climate Ribbon Project as well as facilitating a Dark Mountain Project reading group for years. My perspective is informed by my educational and professional background, though I experience the world through an animist understanding ("people who recognize that the world is full of persons, only some of whom are human, and that life is always lived in relationship with others", as defined by Graham Harvey).
In 2020, I reached a turning point in my life. I had recently completed a Master's degree in marine science while recognizing that I felt more suited to work with people and the environment in a more relational and emotional way. Producing knowledge and all the complicated aspects of this felt far less important than working toward a cultural and relational shift. All the while, I was dealing with what felt like insurmountable loss and grief in my own life as well as from what was occurring globally. I was struck by the lack of resources, support, and even basic acknowledgement of what we all were (and are) going through. The times we are living in are calling us to reexamine how we do everything -- including how we support one another.
So, I dedicated a lot of time and energy towards creating what I wish existed more readily. In addition to the experience stated above, I've taken a Grief Immersion certification course with Inviting Abundance as well as received certification to be "trauma-informed" through a Somatic Embodiment and Nervous System Regulation Strategies course with Linda Thai. I've learned significantly about grief from the teachings of Martín Prechtel, Stephen Jenkinson, Francis Weller, among countless others.
Perhaps more importantly, I have been a griever with particular attention to the living world since I was a child. Some of my first memories are connected to this grief and the questions it has stirred, all of which has informed my work to this day. I've been privileged to have had significant access to the natural world and talented teachers of art, ecology, and the social spheres, who have challenged me to see and connect in different and deeper ways. The more-than-human inhabitants of the deserts, marine environments, and forests where I've lived have taught me about connection, relationship, and grief more than any human teacher. It has often been a lonely experience to feel such grief in an over-culture that diminishes, pathologizes, and lacks space for it. What has made the difference for me is to have community with others who grieve collectively. I feel that grieving, holding space with compassion, and finding intricate human-ecological connections are my strengths, all of which I bring to this circle. I'm comfortable talking about the heavy things and find that they often open us up to incredible joy, gratitude, and a rich experience of life.
If you have any questions before registering, please email me at email@example.com
Where I'm Coming From