Grief Inquiry 3

(May 21, 2021)

Hello friends.

This is the third of four weeks of shared inquiry around grief.

I am trying to metabolize the isolations of this time. I feel the huge zoom-out of awareness that has come with so much coordinated loss. I desire many small ceremonies.

These prompts are an effort to bring a quality of presence to what already is, so that we can recognize and tend the processing we’re doing together and alone. So we can let sticky spirits move through. So we can pre-figure collective transformation. But, mostly, so we can treat as precious what is precious.

If you want accountability, feedback, or just to build connection, I would love to hear your reflections. Please reply to this email. This week is a walking/ photography/ cell phone prompt.

I want to invite you on a photo-walk with me. Bring your image making device aka “phone.” If it helps you, put it on airplane mode. Head out your door. 

Make as many photos on this walk as you like, but don’t use your phone for anything else. Each time you see something that really catches your attention, pause. Before you make a picture, take a breath. Try to make only one photo each time you stop. 

A short or long walk is fine. 5 pictures or 20 pictures is fine. Now you can go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Later on: at a time when you are picking up your social-media or news-reading or checking-emails device (aka “Phone”), I invite you to look at these photos you made instead. Check back in with your own experience. 

With each image, pause. Take a breath.

What do you see in what you were called to witness? What does it remind you of?

How close did you stand? Did you look down or up?

Can you remember what you were feeling or thinking or sensing when you made these photos? 

Look through the photos as many times as you like. Now, you can delete them.

If you feel glad to delete them, consider this. If you don’t want to delete them, consider this.  

When you look around the place where you live, do you see what is there? Or what isn’t there? Which parts of your story do you see? Who else’s stories depend on these sites? What was here before you?

The photographs in this email are from a single roll of slide film, one walk, early in the winter of 2019. 

When I look at them, I see my neighbors; the place my kids are growing up.

I see the steady theft and erasure of Gentrification, an arm of the vast creature of Racialized Capitalism. I see Family. Ritual. Routine. The effort and accident and pressure of Home.

I’m reminded always of something my kiddo said when she was very young, and accompanying me on many a photo walk: “People are Monsters, for Plants.” I wonder about this all the time. What is it to live as a lone topiary in a mown lawn? 

I see the Animal Spirits who know these corners in ways I never will. I see Art: the act of making the immaterial, material. I see Reflection and Light, tellers of Time. 

Feeling grief helps me locate myself in relationship. With Change, with Community, with the Spirits whose interactions make Culture. 

I notice how much harm and injustice I attune to through my phone. Also there is a lot of delight. This is the nature of grief and growth. Like weight and support, they move through the same channels. One flows down, maintaining connection; the other flows up, allowing expression. We don’t need to know the names of the spirits to feel the pull to sorrow, the lift of hope. I’m curious what catches your eye before you know why.

This week’s prompt is an experiment for connecting to place, in the body, through time. Intentionally, it happens through the same device that often both brings the world in, and carries us away. All the spirits we can feel there – in the vast web – are also here, in our bodies and the air we breathe.

Let me know who you meet?

Grounding Practice (helps me feel safe with grief)

Sunday afternoons, 4-5pm Pacific, zoom-landia // Drop-in, every week!         

Can’t wait to lay on the ground with youNewsletter YES

Published by Devon Riley

lately: youth work, parenting, sorcery, books, walks in the woods

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