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Grief and the Soulful Life

  • Victoria BC, Royal Roads University 2005 Sooke Road Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2 Canada (map)

Course Description

In a world so caught up in the business of coming out ahead on life's great balance sheet, we are frequently called to bear witness to the fact that our present day society leaves little room for mourning when mourning is clearly called for. We have become grief inarticulate. Our capacity to weather the tragedies and sorrows of life is painfully thin and in and of itself tragic and sorrowful.



Artwork by Deborah Koff-Chapin

Artwork by Deborah Koff-Chapin

A person's ability to navigate the terrain of grief is exactly that .. an "ability" .. something that must be learned throughout one's life. "Grief is a skill". Those are the wise words of author Stephen Jenkinson and subject of the film Griefwalker. Grief is also mysterious; in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book The Little Prince, the author writes, “What makes the desert beautiful, is that somewhere it hides a well…” He later says, “It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.” This land of tears is enormously rich and fertile, especially when we come together with others who are feeling the weight of their own grief bundles and who know something of the valley of aches and tears, whether by virtue of having been there or merely having heard rumours of such a place.

This day is for those who have felt the tug to venture into the rich terrain of grief and broken-heartedness. Here we will wrestle with letting life's both big and small endings have their way with us and turn us into persons of soulful depth as well as persons who can hold out a steadying arm to others facing endings of their own. By being willing to grieve, we might begin to trust and recognize that our tears are needed somewhere and our living becomes relevant beyond the periphery of our own self.

• Failure to grieve
• The broken heart is not broken
• The language of grief
• Myth, metaphor poetry, journalling and movement* as guides (* Movement will be guided by 5Rhythms® instructor Joanne Winstanley as a very gentle support and somatic invitation to reside more deeply in the soft and wise terrain of the body (no experience required).

Regarded for over 15 years for her work in helping people speak and relate with greater depth, honesty and authenticity, Rachelle has been a scholar of Stephen Jenkinson's (Griefwalker) Orphan Wisdom School in Deacon Ontario for the past 6 years.

Registration: Royal Roads University 250-391-2600 ext. 4801 (or online)

Shot over 3 days on Maui, this 14 hour set is available on DVD and by digital download at Music: Stephen Jenkinson Editing: Ian MacKenzie