There’s so much to do at the intersection of grief, healing and creativity!
The following blog post is excerpts from the Reclamation Ventures Impact Grant Application for leaders making wellness more accessible.
The grant committee acknowledges that society often views grief in a narrow and limited mindset. Their definitions normalized a more nuanced and complex perspective on grief that includes grief as:
Loss of life on an individual or collective level
Loss of liberty and freedom related to incarceration, mobility, institutional policies and practices that limit our ability to just be.
Loss of dreams due to how dominant culture limits our capacity to dream and steals our dreams from us
Loss due to uncertainty related to political upheaval, Covid-19, and a lack of a collective commitment to mutual care for one another and all beings.
"How do I define grief?" This is the question I asked myself as I started the grant application...
Grief as an opportunity to honor what was and accept what is. Wave of strong, often difficult, emotions that rise to the surface as we experience change. Grief is a guaranteed byproduct of healing work, and should be expected whenever we let go of what no longer serves us and/or take steps to re-integrate/reclaim parts of the self that have been judged, dishonored, or abused in the past.
Application Question: Why do you believe providing healing practices to address grief is important?
I was not called into spiritual & wellness communities or the entertainment industry to be another white lady serving capitalist, white-supremacists norms through bypass, superiority and cultural appropriation. I'm here to disrupt & atone for the violence enmeshed in these cultures. I believe it is irresponsible, harmful, and downright dishonest to disregard the role grief plays in the transformative work of spiritual seekers & artists. Trauma-informed healing practices guide us into remembrance of our agency and steep us in a felt-sense of safety. This work is beautiful & powerful, but it is only a band-aid-spa-day-escape unless we address how to metabolize & mobilize our learnings into skillful action. I call for disclaimers naming grief, discomfort, fragility and trauma-symptoms alongside touted benefits of great sex, better sleep, health, happiness, & bliss sold to us by whatever--personal-development-diet-exercise-yoga-program claims can fix you. I drank all that kool-aid and still felt stuck. By the alchemy of persistence & mercy, I found myself in the hands of great teachers, truth tellers, and therapists who guided me to know grief as a companion on the path to changing culture and getting truly free.
Grief Work & Me In This Moment:
I feel like a spiritual warrior apprentice. The last 2 years have been deep dive after deep dive into committed, embodied practice of anti-racism, healing trauma, expanding consciousness, and knowing unconditional love. All against the backdrop of pandemic, industry shutdowns, and racial uprisings. I feel the integration of so much growth and pain at play. As a result, I have a deepened ability to check my capacity and honor my needs on a moment to moment basis. I can discern what is and what is not my responsibility. I can offer love via boundary setting and accountability. I can slow down. I can befriend grief. I have found humor, poetry, voice and movement arise from my grief work. I know what I am moving through now will be instrumental in my work to come. I’m gentle with the parts that want to rush the process. I talk to myself out loud a lot now, and am almost always sweet and curious, even in my discipline. My therapist had me repeating, “I am not there yet, and that is okay.” While I tell other people that kind of thing often, now I take it to heart and receive it for myself.
Thank you to my teachers. I am humbled, grieving, in celebration and awe.
Who is writing this?
Hi! I am Leah Raidt (She/her): Chicago-based, white-bodied, ADHD, queer “creative leader” (AKA Actor, Producer/Director, Educator, Private Coach) here to serve the advancement of queer narratives in the battle for collective liberation. My mission is to transform personal & collective traumas into opportunities that disrupt broken systems, build resilience, and expand our capacity for bravery & joy.