Grief Tending FAQs

Grief Tending FAQs

Some Grief Tending FAQs answered if you are new to the concept of Grief Tending…

Does Grief Tending Work Online?

Working as an on-line group is different to sharing space in person. Ways to tend our grief together on-line have been prompted by Covid times. However, our experience is that it can be surprisingly powerful. We invite group members to look after their needs during an on-line session, in order to stay present to their physical experience. During the session we invite participants to move away from the screen as needed. This helps to avoid screen fatigue or disconnection.

Some people prefer to attend in person events.  They enjoy being in close contact with others, sharing a hug and chatting together in the tea breaks. There are also people who prefer to join a virtual Grief Tending event. This may be because they feel more comfortable at home, and more able to be vulnerable in their own environment. It may also be more practical for some participants to access a workshop from home. We are able to welcome participants from outside London, and with diverse needs.

Is Grief Tending Therapy?

This While Grief Tending in Community may be therapeutic or cathartic, it is not therapy or grief counselling. We recommend that you have other forms of support in place (which may include therapy or counselling), to allow you to be able to drop into a grief tending event. Attending a Grief Tending ritual can be helpful as a complement to more focused individual work or an ongoing group.

Will the Facilitators or Anybody Else Be Able to Help or Advise Me?

We encourage self-responsibility and offer practices to foster self-care. Ultimately it is you who will help yourself. You will come, work with and leave with your own issues. While we may work in pairs or small groups, we encourage respect and active listening between participants. Giving advice or passing judgement on others is not appropriate. The workshops are to allow grief space, not to fix it. We will ask each group member to agree to confidentiality.

Is This Outside My Comfort Zone?

Recognising and expressing feelings is something that takes practice. However, it’s normal to feel some resistance to the idea. Rest assured that every exercise is optional and you will be encouraged to take care of your needs during our workshops. We value the differences in people, and invite you to be present with whatever comes up for you. We hold space for you to give yourself time and attention without the distractions of daily life.

Who is Grief Tending For?

Grief Tending is not just for the bereaved, although they are welcome. Our workshops are for anyone who feels sorrow, disappointment or has experienced loss at some point in their life. Recognising and giving attention to our inner feelings is part of maintaining good emotional health. Unprocessed emotions can leave us feeling low, heavy, discontented or add to our stress load. So, touching into our feelings with care can help us move through them. As a result we may feel lighter, with more access to our energy. Afterwards some people report feeling more able to connect with joy.

This practice is for adults of all ages. You may be recovering from a specific loss, carrying the consequences of childhood issues, or holding the cumulative weight of changes. Perhaps you are worried about the future or going through a process of transformation? You may be exploring the roots of physical symptoms. Whatever the source of your grief, this can be a valuable way to enhance wellbeing.

What Are We Trying to Achieve?

A group of strangers come together for a workshop to share the experience of grieving with others. The facilitators invite the participants to do simple exercises so that everyone gets to know each other a little. We aim to build enough trust between group members so that we might be able to risk being more emotionally truthful than in everyday conversations. Using the body to connect with a deeper place may also allow us to feel vulnerable. We co-journey into a group ritual where we might express something, if it feels right. Being witnessed in this can be very powerful. Then we offer gentle structures to help the group to relax, so that we leave ready to return to our everyday lives.

Is My Grief Too Insignificant?

Sometimes you may feel as though others have better reasons to grieve, and it’s easy to feel as though my grief is not worthy enough. All loss matters. Our histories bring a complex mix of culture, experiences and socialisations. Rest assured, you are welcome, whatever you have experienced. Your grief may manifest in any number of ways. If you are uncertain whether this workshop is right for you right now please feel free to email us.

Is My Grief Too Big?

You may have experienced something that is currently so overwhelming that your sadness is bubbling over. If you don’t feel able to be present with the group, to be an active part of our holding circle, this may not be the right time to attend a Grief Tending workshop. Similarly, if you have a history of mental health issues and are concerned that a workshop may de-stabilise you, this may not be the right event for you. Do you feel able to hold yourself enough to touch into emotions and return again? We recommend that if you are dealing with a lot of grief or trauma you make sure that you are well supported before and after a workshop to help you to deal with anything that may arise. If you are unsure whether this is right for you right now please feel free to email us.

For urgent sources of help and access to other grief resources, see our Links page.

Is Grief Tending Cathartic?

The practice encourages workshop participants to pay attention to their own inner experience. We hope that each person will feel able to allow whatever expression arises for them naturally, without shame. Finding your authentic voice may include words, sounds, or silence and breath. Discovering feeling quietly numb can be just as valid a response as tears or other sounds.

Where Does Grief Tending in Community Come From?

Grief Tending in Community includes a range of practices from a variety of sources designed to encourage feeling and the expression of emotions in a group setting in order to attend to rather than heal grief. The teachings of Francis Weller, Joanna Macy, Sobonfu Somé, Martin Prechtel, Maeve Gavin have inspired this work. We also thank our teachers Sophy Banks and Jeremy Thres.

What Kind of Ritual Might Be Involved?

A ritual is a structured practice, which frames an experience. In a culture where many of our traditions have been lost, we are finding new ways to anchor meaning. While many of us have grown up with specific religious rituals, our intention is to work in an inclusive way that neither excludes anyone because of their belief, nor pushes any belief onto someone. You are invited to do your own emotional work in the way that suits you. Every exercise in our workshops is optional. Some participants may bring a talisman from their own spiritual tradition to support them. We may invite in gratitude to nature, ancestors, or other personal guides, focus attention on a shrine, and be inspired by spiritual words and actions, but none of our rituals are denominational.

How Do I Find Other Support?

Before, during and after a Grief Tending Workshop we will usually ask you to focus on support. We ask you to commit to checking in with someone supportive in the days after a workshop. It might be a trusted friend, therapist or bodyworker that you feel able to talk to. You may want to investigate additional people, practices, and places that might help you feel more grounded and connected. There are some suggestions for finding support to help deal with grief here.

What Should I Bring?

If you book a place on a workshop, you will be sent more detailed information on what to bring and any other recommendations.

If your query is not answered in these Grief Tending FAQs don’t hesitate to get in touch.