Sat, 20 Nov | Burgh

Grief Tending in Community

You are warmly invited to join us for two days of grief tending in community, as we come together to hold and witness one other in the beauty and complexity of this mystery we call grief. The November day will be facilitated by Sophy Banks, and the December one by Dita Vizoso and Liz Day.
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Grief Tending in Community

Time & Location

20 Nov, 10:00 – 18:00
Burgh, Burgh, Norwich NR11 6TW, UK

About the event

Who is it for?

We welcome those experiencing current grief for bereavement, health issues, life changes; and those seeking to heal or address long-term grief, passed down through families and culture. We welcome those grieving for the natural world, for the destruction of what we love, and for future generations. We welcome those whose grief is stuck or frozen, or who want to deepen their relationship with grief as a force for personal and cultural transformation and healing.

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The Shape of the Day

Together we will create a sturdy container, rooting ourselves in the web of life through invocation, gratitude and ceremony. Building the banks of support and safety as we go, we slowly allow ourselves to touch-in on the troubles of our individual and collective soul. 

Held in the sacred space of our pop-up village, the energy of our humanity in its myriad forms can begin to flow more freely. The unexpressed emotions that so often get stuck in our culture – the sadness and tears, the outrage and fear, the uncertainty and confusion – can emerge into the light. This in turn can connect us more fully with our compassion, our love, our courage and our joy. 

We will conclude our journey with a time of soothing, grounding and integration, and a final check-in. 

The Facilitators

Sophy Banks

Sophy's work draws on many years' experience as a therapist, an environmental activist, and a group facilitator and links together insights from the fields of somatics and neuroscience, power and oppression, trauma and the unconscious, nature connection, cross-cultural definitions of health, complexity and systems thinking, and more. 

Sophy’s eclectic life has been guided by an overarching question: why do humans create so much unintended suffering, and how can we stop? She has looked for answers in the worlds of engineering, grassroots football, psychotherapy, social movements for change and more. She worked for 10 years for the Transition movement, training people around the world in community based responses to global crises of world-view, environment and social justice. 

Sophy lives in Devon, where she grows fruit, vegetables and friendships, and can still just about get up the hills on her bike. You can read more about her work here and here

Dita Vizoso

Dita is a forager, farmer, facilitator, fermenter. A rewilder, of herself, of land and of people. In deep connection to the plant world since an early age, she is in the process of unlearning many years of academically-oriented herbalism in the hope of gaining a wisdom that can only come from intuition.

A trained evolutionary ecologist, Dita worked on the evolution of conflict for a couple of decades until the need to actively work on land regeneration and to break free from the Story of Business as Usual lured her to the UK, where she gave herself to the passion of working with the soil and living simply, and to travelling, teaching Permaculture and in the search of a community focused on stewarding and respecting nature.

While attending a grief ritual at a Permaculture course, she realised that without regenerating people’s souls there was little hope that any efforts in land regeneration would yield permanent fruit. A few hours later she had made a pact with the Earth - to find a way to invite the rewilding of souls. Some time after this, she discovered a path through Joanna Macy’s 'Work That Reconnects' and working with Sophy Banks as an Apprentice in the tradition of Grief Tending in Community.

Liz Day

Liz's lifelong quest has been around the question of 'What is community?' and 'How can we restore the lost circles of life?' This has lead her to study, train and practice a number of collaborative modalities including Sociocracy 3.0, Dragon Dreaming, the Way of Council, Open Space and more. It has also brought her to grief work, initially through attending a 7-day training with Joanna Macy at Findhorn. Last year she took part in a 5-day Apprenticing to Grief programme with Sophy Banks and Jeremy Thres. 

Liz is grounded in many years of her own therapy, personal development work and activism, and more than 30 years of service and abstinence in 12 step recovery groups. She has a lifetime of committed spiritual practice to draw on, and has run workshops and groups on meditation at the Norwich Christian Meditation Centre, and led church services and contemplative worship events. Liz is a campfire musician, an aspiring writer and poet in the mystical wisdom tradition (check out her blog here), and a 5Rhythms dancer.

Her work life has has included campaigning on international debt, lobbying against nuclear power, coordinating a regional social welfare advice network, and fundraising for a community farm. Liz is currently working on a project called the Gathering Gates, exploring ways of becoming increasingly regenerative on all levels, inner and outer, and looking to seed and nurture urban and land-based community hubs. 

The Lineage

Sophy's understanding of the importance of grief work started through attending workshops with [Joanna Macy] (https://www.joannamacy.net/), and later with [Maeve Gavin] (http://www.keeningwake.com/team/). She has also been deeply informed by the work of [Sobonfu Some] (http://www.sobonfu.com/) and [Malidoma Some] (http://malidoma.com/main/), and their teachings from the Dagara people in Burkino Faso. Other key influences include [Martín Prechtel] (https://www.floweringmountain.com/) and [Francis Weller] (https://www.francisweller.net/). 

"Shared practices that enable us to express and be heard in our grief provide a pathway for coming into right relationship", says Sophy. "This work of surfacing, witnessing and making meaning of our pain is crucial to transforming the systems of harm that abound in our world. It is how we create healthy relationships -- with ourselves and each other, with marginalised groups and with the living systems of the planet."

The Venue

We'll be meeting in the wonderful setting of North Farm, in Burgh, near Aylsham. The hall is a spacious converted barn, surrounded by natural beauty. It has been the container for many a deep dive into this territory of tending our grief in community, playing an important part in helping us create a safe and sacred space.  

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