“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life.” — Akshay Dubey
As a certified Grief Recovery Specialist since 2014, I combine my education and life experience as a movement instructor, somatic bodyworker, circus aerialist, street medic, and massage therapist in my approach to teaching The Grief Recovery Method, a proven recovery program for those experiencing the confusion, isolation, and loneliness caused by loss.
In a program of 8 sessions, that are ~90 minutes each, we will:
- Define grief and loss in a tangible, straightforward way
- Dismantle the myths and misconceptions regarding “the grief process”
- Learn to respectfully enroll others in parts of our grief processes.
- Empower ourselves to better support loved ones through loss.
- Address what about your most impactful loss is left incomplete, and complete it.
- Leave with a repeatable structure from which to efficiently approach future (and past) grief experiences.
The Grief Recovery Method is much more than a support group, it is a program of action that will help you change. I will teach you measurable steps to peel away your own layers of rationalization and avoidance to get to the heart of the matter, while enrolling your bodies inherent wisdom in the process.
What is Grief?
“Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
Grief is a stigmatized and misunderstood emotional experience that is most often automatically met with immediate and relentless intellectualization. It’s a lot like expecting yourself to get to the top of a pair of aerial silks by standing stubbornly at the bottom of them, squinting strenuously.
To cope with this incongruence, we most often focus on our circumstantial stories of loss in attempts to belittle and rationalize intangibles that must otherwise be witnessed and honored to be handled effectively.
But conflicting emotions are your normal, natural response to loss, and what we commonly learn about navigating them are myths that encourage us to quietly poison ourselves by effectively holding on to what is meant to move through us.
We in our culture of imperialism and consumption are taught an avalanche about how to acquire; people, money, valuables, mementos, even freedom, identity, employment. Most of us in what is known as the Western world have been presented with virtually no relevant, useful guidance regarding how to handle the inevitable loss of these things we covet; a skill that our ever-changing planet, failing economies, evolving consciousness, and sociopolitical climate demand of us more and more every day.
Our familiar grief-related behaviors are rooted in ways of thinking that keep us fundamentally disconnected from the relief and social interconnection that comes from authentically experiencing the impacts of loss, and then moving on.
How are we to reconcile inter-generational trauma, meet the social demands of a fast-shifting world, or even just return to work after the sudden loss of a loved one, when the grief recovery advice we’ve gotten is shit like:
There are 7 tidy “stages” of grief
Time heals all wounds
Replace the loss
Don’t feel bad
You probably not only recognize, but have likely heard and experienced these pervasive, insidious myths about grief in constant roiling action for most of your life.
For example: “Don’t feel bad” often takes the form of statements like “It could have been so much worse”, “Remember the good times you had together”, “Don’t cry”, “She wouldn’t want you to be sad”, “She’s at peace with God now”, and “Look on the bright side”.
Another example: “Time Heals”. It’s one of the most common of the myths about grief, and potentially the most devastating of them as well, because it paralyzes us into non-action when waiting for time to heal your emotional wounds is like waiting for time to fill a flat tire.
At best, the notions encapsulated in these myths we semi-consciously propagate offer a temporary, superficial distraction. Their healing power is mythical, rooted in expressing intellectual truths, rather than addressing the holistic emotional process of grief that’s underway.
Though we often buckle under the cumulative weight of these approaches, and sometimes internalize this collective phenomenon of misunderstanding as being an inescapable lack within ourselves, our difficulty and confusion in maneuvering grief experiences is not a personal failure, a lack of some supposed “positivity” mindset, or a personality disorder.
Try looking at it this way; Whether the wound be present in the physical tissues of your body (which respond autonomically with inflammation, fluids, and fibroblasts to begin the repair process), in the form of teargas burning your face, or in the emotions of your perceptive being: correct and appropriate actions are what heal, not time.
So imagine then for a moment, “being strong”, and “staying busy”, potentially attempting to “replace your loss”, “grieving alone”, trying “not to feel bad”, all while plowing down the road of your life on flat fucking tires.
You are not alone
How often have you noticed conflicting feelings (I.E. more grief!) regarding the status quo responses to heartbreak?
Perhaps you’ve even felt a sense of anger, resentment, or hopelessness simply due to the expectation that you must respond with gratitude to these unhelpful platitudes.
How often have you noticed grief when you automatically run this superficial script in an attempt to support others, knowing deep down that something isn’t right about it?
How often have you felt frustrated that no one seems to know how to actually HELP?
Misguided grievers are not lacking in courage, or even the desire to feel better, nor are their loved ones who wish to help.
Yet, embodying the myths of grief and grieving is what most of us have been taught, so that is what we do, because we only have immediate access to what we have already learned, and we are also taught to stigmatize ourselves and each other for what we don’t already know.
How are we to do right by our lands, our families, our friends, our neighbors, or our selves, under these circumstances?
For many people, the decision to commit to doing something new to help themselves is in itself a turning point in the quality of their relationships, and in their life. What better time to rise to this challenge than now?
About the program
The Grief Recovery Method® program is non-secular, and will work for anyone, regardless of your faith, spiritual belief system, or other forms of orientation.
The Grief Recovery Method® is not a support group, counseling, or extended open-term therapy. It is a method of completing grief through simple and small actions outlined in the course book The Grief Recovery Handbook.
It is possible to work through this book alone. It’s not recommended, because of the role that isolation and shame plays in our misguided understanding of grief. But if you’re sitting here reading my words, believing that you will never join a group or seek a specialist, weighing the option of getting the book or not; get the book, with my encouragements and blessings for a successful solo recovery experience.
When facilitated by a specialist, the Grief Recovery Method is taught in-person (not online) as either a one on one setting or in a small group.
We begin by further examining and dismantling the unhelpful coping strategies that were passed down to us — we’ve started with the myths already (Yeah! Fuck you, “Time heals!”), establishing rapport and introducing key concepts.
I then guide you through experiential learning of a better way (that actually works) of completing your emotional losses, by working one of your losses through the method with you.
Material and time commitment
All Grief Recovery programs I offer require your own copy of The Grief Recovery HandBook. You will need to bring a notepad and pen to every session, and expect to do 2-4 hours of ‘homework’ between weekly/bi-weekly coaching sessions.
Programs are offered in the following three formats:
Weekly for 8 weeks
Twice-weekly for 4 weeks
In a 2-day weekend intensive
Group sessions are up to two hours, one on one sessions are usually an hour to 90 minutes, intensives are 8 hours daily.
Please note that it is often very difficult for me as an itinerant artist to organize a group; they generally only happen when a participant enrolls their community in creating one. Keep in mind, though, that lovers, partners, family, and very close friends should not work together in the same group.
If you have questions, interest, or would like to talk with me about offering grief recovery to yourself or your wider community, please fill out the form below.