23 Jul Six Legs and Feet
Before a grief tending session, we recommend connecting with support. We suggest checking in with someone before and after a group. We often ask, “How resourced do you feel?” Responses to this question vary, and sources of support can range hugely too. They may include some very general terms like ‘nature’, ‘friends’, and ‘my community’, as well as more specific ‘my cat, therapist or partner’, or reveal an absence of dependable support. The Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective focuses on “building relationship and trust” in transformative justice. Their work includes those whose need for support may be affected by a history of abuse, isolation and oppression. Mia Mingus writes an exploration of ‘pods’ and ‘pod mapping’ for the collective, which illuminates some very common gaps in support networks. “Most people have few solid, dependable relationships in their lives.” Mingus goes on to say, “Although ‘community’ is a word that we use all the time, many people don’t know what it is or feel they have never experienced it… Asking people to organize their pod was much more concrete than asking people to organize their ‘community’.”
I used the ‘pod mapping’ worksheet to identify my own sources of support. It was a really useful exercise. I wanted to look at my ‘pod’ in the context of grief in particular, but also reflected on maps for other themes. My grief ‘Venn diagram’ features particular people, inspirations and practices. A few key people overlap in several of my ‘pods’. These are the ones who stand near the centre of my life in multiple roles. They are often my first port of call to witness tears of sadness or joy. I find it helpful to consider, who I can really count on. ‘Chosen family’ is also an important part of my own queer social network. Widening my pod identified people with shared interests to connect with for reciprocal support. I found it helpful to get clear about what feeds me, and where there are sources of emotional credit to draw on when I need it, as well as the places that could use more resilience building.
See The Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective for pods and pod mapping article and worksheet.