“I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to speak and comprehend word of wounding without having these words become the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of stars.” Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
Sometimes I feel like an alien anthropologist sent to Earth to observe her beauty and violence. Poor Gaia, I think, and how much she must be suffering from withstanding the invasive human species endlessly sucking up her resources. Maybe I’m just projecting my angst and Gaia is merely a reflection of all of us. She’ll be fine, I tell myself; but many species, including homo sapiens, may go the way of the DoDo.
I know I am not alone when I express having ‘world grief’. The older I get, the more sensitive I become to the continual crimes against humanity and senseless destruction of Earth flora and fauna. Sometimes bearing witness to the pain, suffering and losses of the world becomes excruciating. Anger and despair are partners to this grief where the heart cannot feel settled and cries out to be heard. I can only dream of awakening from our collective blindness into a world where all life is honored, protected and celebrated. Before any major change can occur, however, I feel we must be able to acknowledge and express our grief.
Over the years I have envisioned establishing a worldwide Grieve-In to honor and express the pain of being human. I can imagine people coming together in open, green spaces or in welcoming institutions to share grief in the company of others. Those who are sensitive to the world and its suffering and stand for a sustainable, cooperative and peaceful society will fill the parks. We would be dressed to express the spirit of compassion and the wonder of creation. This would be a place beyond blame or duality consciousness, sharing the burdens and finding the freedom to release them through personal ritual. Our coming together will make visible to the world the need for accountability for so many past and present heinous acts and the need for acknowledgment.
Coming together through the powerful emotion of grief creates an opening to heal our personal and collective wounds. To grieve is really to express great love for that which has been lost, wounded or denied. Through grief and acknowledgment of our vulnerable humanness can we get to the most primal need and expression of Love. Through grief may we experience greater Joy.
My vision of a worldwide Grieve-In would be akin to the Love-Ins of the 60s, that I was privileged to experience. Love-Ins were a spontaneous gathering of young souls exploring and expressing themselves during a tumultuous time of war. To our dismay, wars have not ceased. Grieve-Ins would be organized to allow for individuals’ different levels of evolution, growth and expression. I can imagine establishing ‘Sacred Zones’, e.g., a ‘Zone of Safety’ where some could be left alone in silence while others choose to be encircled by caring arms. (Note the irony here of caring arms vs. carrying arms!)
We might start with a ‘Zone of Learning’, where those who were called would serve as ‘midwives’ to witness and hold space for those in need. Primarily, we would be midwives to each other, to hold each other and bear witness. This is not bereavement counseling which some might need and would be directed elsewhere. This is a place to be, to feel and to express the grief of living and of loss and to celebrate our precious human birth. I imagine that the freedom to grieve and to release suppressed emotions would naturally lead to a lightness of being and a need for celebration of our oneness. Therefore, a ‘Celebration of Life Zone’ could be demarcated for drumming, dancing and expressing joy.
A WWGI is essentially a Love-In and a coming together in Oneness on a more spiritually mature level and continues where we left off in the 60s. A WWGI gives us an opportunity to consciously embrace our fragile, vulnerable humanness and our impermanence. Through this acknowledgment might we be able to open into the Big Joy of Akashic consciousness and establish a deeper relationship with our infinite Souls and with each other.
May 2020, with its intense Saturn/Pluto/Jupiter conjunction demanding change, lead us home to the Aquarian Age of unity consciousness at last!
Essay originally written on Earth Day, 2013, and revised in 2015. The plea is stronger now in the post-truth Trump era.