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MartyT

Creative Approaches to Grief

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From friend and colleague Kara LC Jones:

How do I answer that?

My work, from exploring my own personal grief experiences to the work I now do professionally as an educator, have always been out on the Net and in print and on film, pretty publicly. I'm used to getting random private messages across multiple social media platforms and plain old email. But this one came and it took me a few to figure out how to answer:

"You're the grief expert...tell me what to do!"

On so many levels, I was confounded on how to answer. I am *somewhat* of an expert on *my own* grief experiences, in that I continue to creatively explore and develop my sense of being and emotional life. But I am, in-no-way-at-all-possible, an expert on *your* grief experience. In fact, I believe *you* are the expert, but just maybe are feeling overwhelmed or stumped or would like a bit of help in sifting through your experience to find what you know.

In that way, I have made a life and work experience that allow me to spend a lot of time creating space for people to explore. I'm pretty skilled at coming up with creative prompts that give you ways to explore grief beyond just talking about the loss experience itself. I'm darn good at understand that looking at grief straight-on is often useless (overwhelming, difficult, a puzzle, just something we don't want to do) and then finding ways you can look sideways, upside down, inside out, or with some other perspective that allows you to uncover your own answers.

Over the last two decades, it has become fairly clear to me that often when we grieve, we *need* to know we are not alone. Knowing this has led me to explore how to support people who are personally grieving while creating group and community spaces for us to know we are not alone. Sometimes that can happen in person, IRL, but very often online groups and workshops serve us very, very well. I think the online space can serve especially when the grief experience includes those insomnia nights, when at 3am we feel so alone. Online spaces are often available to us 24/7, so we can connect *as needed* instead of having to wait til the 3rd Thursday of the month to attend a meeting!

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With all these things in mind, I found the above private message, asking me to tell the person what to do, was actually an invitation for me to flesh out these realities. No. I'm very sorry if you got the impression I was *the* grief expert. I can invite you in creative ways to explore so that you find your own answers and begin to express your own expertise about your grief experience. But I cannot tell you what to do. I am profoundly sorry if that is a disappointment. But I am willing to be with you as you creatively explore if you like.

And for any and all of you who want to explore together, next week another invitation to creative space opens. We'll start next Wednesday to come together online with new creative prompts each week for 6 weeks in the Poetry Basics For Exploring Grief Experiences workshop. You are most welcome to join us. Looking forward to exploring with you!

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As always, thank you for asking me the difficult questions. Thank you for continuing to be a reader here and participant in the various creative spaces online. If you have questions about any of the upcoming workshops this year, just email me. And I'll be back next week with another issue of the eZine to send you a new, free, creative grief prompt worksheet.

Reiki to all eyeballs who made it this far! :)
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Kara

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