May 25, 2023
Grief is as natural a human response to a loss as joy is to a win. Yet somehow, saying or hearing the word “grief” can conjure up a sense of heaviness in our bodies and dread in our minds. As with most experiences that we consider negative, grief is one that in many cases and even cultures, is limited, postponed, or turned away from altogether. But why? What are the reasons we put so many constraints on such a human experience? What are the costs associated with such restraints? Even more so, what are the costs on the human collective when losses are shared, generational, and yet unnamed or denied? In this with-in, EP’s LeTonia Jones and Dr. Chris Walling will create a container to hold space for participants to write and share “grief narratives.” Together, participants will release silences around both personal and collective losses. Participants will also have an opportunity to express their feelings of letting go and explore how holding sacred the experience of collective grief is necessary to advance social justice.
In this with-in, participants will . . .
- Learn about the costs of limiting, postponing, and denying experiences of both personal and collective grief.
- Learn examples of how naming and honoring collective losses has and can mobilize and transform societies toward equity and social justice.
- Learn about and experience the potential for letting go through the contemplative writing practice of grief narratives.
- Participate in the creation of a collective space designed to hold and support one another in the expression grief and hope for renewal.
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LeTonia A. Jones, MSW is a Kentuckian who has used the alchemy of arts and activism for over 25 years. She’s led public arts campaigns and projects to center the lived experiences of marginalized people. Her purpose is to stir emotions, facilitate space for insight, and move individuals and communities toward greater acts of care and love.
In 2007, she collaborated with author and award-winning playwright Eve Ensler to pilot a two-week arts and activism festival and campaign to end violence against women and girls in Kentucky. In 2009, she co-created a writing group for incarcerated women called SwallowTale Project. In 2020, LeTonia co-founded Bloodroot Ink, a writing collective for BIPOC Womyn.
Presently, LeTonia is the Members Editor at Embodied Philosophy. She is also the author of her debut full length poetry collection called Black Girl at the Intersection.
Ultimately, LeTonia is a poet, writer, and activist who believes acts of witnessing and of being witnessed are revolutionary.
Dr. Chris Walling, PsyD, MBA, C-IAYT, SEP is a licensed clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, and researcher. Dr. Walling is an Adjunct Professor of Somatic Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and is the Research Chair & Past-President of the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy. He is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium located at Indiana University where he also serves on the International Advisory Council at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Dr. Walling is the Vice President of Education & Outreach for the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation and serves as Dean of Faculty at the Embodied Philosophy Institute. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the International Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Walling maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, California.