Drinking the Tears of the World: Grief as Deep Activism

“No-one escapes suffering in this life. None of us is exempt from loss, pain, illness and death. Yet, how is it that we have so little understanding of these essential experiences? How is it we have attempted to keep grief separated from our lives and only begrudgingly acknowledge its presence in the most obvious of times. Without some measure of intimacy with grief, our capacity to be with any other emotion or experience in our life is greatly compromised. It is our unexpressed sorrows, the congested stories of loss, when left unattended, that block our access to the soul.” – Francis Weller

There is so much loss in the world at the moment – death of those too young to die, destruction of the environment, losses of homes due to fire, the slaughtering of rhino……the list goes on.

In this article on grief  Francis Weller speaks of the Four Gates of Grief:

  1. the losses connected to losing someone or something we love
  2. the grief that occurs in the places never touched by love – these are the places within us that have been wrapped in shame and that we do not show to the world
  3. the losses of the world around us
  4. the expectations coded into our physical and psychic lives – expectations of a connection with the sacred

“It is difficult to resist the temptation to retract and close down the heart to the world. What then? What becomes of our concern and our outrage for the way things are going? Too often we go numb…”

It is a long article but really worth the read.

Weekly TRE® (Trauma and Tension Releasing Exercises) ‘Drop In’ Group

The weekly TRE® (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) ‘drop in’ group is restarting on Tuesday 24th January. This group is open to all people who have some experience of TRE®.

WEEKLY TRE® ‘DROP IN’ GROUP EVERY TUESDAY EVENING IN CLAREMONT

We are all affected by stress – it is part of life.

Designed by David Berceli, TRE® is a simple technique that helps your body release stress or tension that has accumulated from day-to-day life experiences, immediate or ongoing stressful situations, and traumatic life events. A set of simple exercises invokes a mild tremor which helps bring the nervous system back to a state of calm and balance. Once learned TRE® is a gentle and effective self-healing tool.

Some of the reported benefits of TRE® include:

  • Greater sense of calm and inner peace
  • Less anxiety and worry
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Increased emotional resilience
  • Relief from chronic medical conditions
  • Release of muscular tension from exercise and sport
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Thriving in times of safety
  • Increased spiritual connection

Date:  Every Tuesday

Cost:  R100 per session

Time:  7.00pm to 8.15pm

Venue: Claremont

Please phone or email to make your booking before you come as spaces are limited.

The Roots of Shame – the Shaming Witness

“When we become more compassionate witnesses to people’s challenges and traumas, we not only open ourselves up to better understanding of others and healthier relationships with them, but we also set ourselves up to receive that same compassion and understanding for, and relationship with, ourselves; and we then contribute to the growth of a society that makes validating and embracing our genuine experiences and feelings the new norm.” – David Bedrick

In this article on shame David Bedrick writes about the Shaming Witness – a really good read and sadly also very true for many people.

Flourishing with TRE

In his article on Kicking the Stress and Trauma Bucket Before it Kicks You Richmond Heath speaks about how our bodies possess ancient wisdom and movements designed to recover from stress and trauma, and to move towards thriving during times of safety.

TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) is one of the most wonderful modalities I have come across and it enables the body to shift into a restorative mode. Please come and join me on my next 6 week course and learn how to use it by yourself at home.

6 WEEK TRE GROUP COURSE STARTING ON TUESDAY 6 SEPTEMBER IN CLAREMONT

We are all affected by stress – it is part of life.

Designed by David Berceli, TRE is a simple technique that helps your body release stress or tension that has accumulated from day-to-day life experiences, immediate or ongoing stressful situations, and traumatic life events. A set of simple exercises invokes a mild tremor which helps bring the nervous system back to a state of calm and balance. Once learned TRE is a gentle and effective self-healing tool.

Some of the reported benefits of TRE include:

  • Greater sense of calm and inner peace
  • Less anxiety and worry
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Increased emotional resilience
  • Relief from chronic medical conditions
  • Release of muscular tension from exercise and sport
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Increased spiritual connection

Date:  6 Sept – 11 Oct (every Tuesday for 6 weeks)

Cost:  R950 (paid upfront)

Time:  7.00pm to 8.15pm

Venue: Claremont

Touch

Touch – David Whyte

Touch is what we desire in one form or another, even if we find it through being alone, through the agency of silence or through the felt need to walk at a distance: the meeting with something or someone other than ourselves, the light brush of grass on the skin, the ruffling breeze, the actual touch of another’s hand; even the gentle first touch of an understanding which until now, we were formally afraid to hold.

Whether we touch only what we see or the mystery of what lies beneath the veil of what we see, we are made for unending meeting and exchange, while having to hold a coherent mind and body, physically or imaginatively, which in turn can be found and touched itself. We are something for the world to run up against and rub up against: through the trials of love, through pain, through happiness, through our simple everyday movement through the world.

And the world touches us in many ways, some of which are violations of the body or our hopes for safety: through natural disaster, through heartbreak, through illness, through death itself. In the ancient world the touch of a God was seen as both a blessing and a violation – at one and the same time. Being alive in the world means being found by the world and sometimes touched to the core in ways we would rather not experience.

Growing with our bodies, all of us find ourselves at one time violated or wounded by this world in difficult ways, and still we live and breathe in this touchable, sensual world, and through trauma, through grief, through recovery, we heal in order to be touched again in the right way, as the physical consecration of a mutual, trusted invitation.

Nothing stops the body’s arrival in each new present, except death itself, which is intuited in all cultures as another, ultimate, intimate form of meeting. Nothing stops our ageing nor our witness to time, asking us again and again to be present to each different present, to be touchable and findable, to be one who is living up to the very fierce consequences of being bodily present in the world.

To forge an untouchable, invulnerable identity is actually a sign of retreat from this world; of weakness, a sign of fear rather than strength, and betrays a strange misunderstanding of an abiding, foundational and necessary reality: that untouched, we disappear.

Excerpted from ‘TOUCH’ From
CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment
and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© 2015 David Whyte: Now Available
http://www.davidwhyte.com/consolations.html

What it means to ‘Hold Space’

What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

In her article, Heather Plett gives eight tips on how to ‘hold space’ well. Holding Space is something that all of us can do for each other – for our partners, parents, children, friends, neighbours and even strangers. All of us need to know that there are people in our life with whom we can be vulnerable and weak without fear of being judged.

TRE and the Vagus Nerve

In the article, Hacking the Nervous System, the importance of vagal tone in our health is discussed. Tension and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), deep breathing and meditation all activate and improve the health of the vagus nerve.

Hacking the Nervous System

The vagus nerve ‘wanders’ through our body connecting to our organs and conveying sensory information to and from the Central Nervous System. It is the information highway connecting the body to the brain and is vital for keeping our bodies healthy.

Post Traumatic Growth

People often ask me how I manage to work with trauma, especially in this wonderful but violent country that we live in. Results of several studies show that trauma does not need to be shattering and debilitating and that most people are resilient and even grow in the wake of a trauma.

The Post Traumatic Growth Inventory developed by R Tedeschi and L Calhoun in 2006 measures positive outcomes reported by persons who have experienced traumatic events. These positive outcomes include:

  • new possibilities that have arisen from the trauma
  • improvement in relating to others
  • personal strength improvement
  • spiritual change
  • greater appreciation of life

In the video below Dr Megan McElheran speaks about how we need to stay engaged in both our inner world and the outer world so that we can begin healing from a trauma.