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Navigating Grief: Understanding the Dynamics of a Grief Circle

As a trained death doula (sometimes referred to as an end-of-life doula), offering grief circles to community are a large part of my practice. Because Westerners tend to grieve in isolation or by and large not have access to grief and loss support beyond an individual scope, grief circles are a transformative experience.


If you would like to attend one of my grief circles, either in-person in Southern California or virtually, please check out the Events page on Abeja Rise.


What the Abeja Rise Grief Circles Are

Different grief workers can have different elements in grief circles. For me, a few things are necessary in holding space for grief and loss.


There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

I firmly believe there is no right or wrong way to grieve or to experience loss. In practice, this means that I reject pathologizing people experiencing grief and commit to not trying to "fix" or "relieve" intense or heavy emotions that can come up around loss. My grief circles, and many others', are a no judgement zone. We are in these circles to create a container where grief can be expressed openly and honestly and where people grieving can be held by community.

Any experience of grief or loss is valid.

Living creatures can experience loss in a multitude of ways around a multitude of situations. My grief circles, and many others', are not limited to expressions of loss around the death of loved ones. While this is a traditional and very much welcomed topic of grief, other topics can include the loss of identity, the loss of career or a job, the ending of a relationship - whether romantic, family, or friendship, experiences of rejection, the loss of pets, animals, or plants, ancestral grief, loss of culture, experiences around capitalism, racism, and SO MANY other types of grief. If you are grieving about something, it's welcome to be shared in my grief circles.


What the Abeja Rise Grief Circles Are Not



Grief Circles are not a place for offering advice.

Again, this goes back to a commitment to not pathologizing each other or trying to "fix" or "relieve" intense or difficult emotions. These commitments come from a place of honoring autonomy and a rejection of the idea that if you grieve a certain way, you have a problem or there is something wrong with you. As a millenial, I consider this a form of concern-trolling and it is not a practice I encourage in any of my Grief Circles.


Grief Circles are not about education or hierarchical roles.

Workshops, courses, talks, etc. around grief and loss are super valid and necessary. Learning about grief and loss can only help us navigate our own grief or loss with more ease. That said, my grief circles are not workshops. I am not in a educational or hierarchical role other than to help create the container. I, too, have deep grief. I consider myself a wounded healer. And still, I am not in Grief Circles to heal any attendees. I hold the Grief Circles as a place to commune together around experiences of grief and loss. A platica. A community talk.


My Role as a Death Doula

As a trained death doula, I facilitate grief circles to create a space to grieve in community around different types of grief. My role is to listen and reflect back what I am hearing and experiencing from someone expressing grief. I am there to gently encourage everyone to follow our Community Guidelines so that we can show up as our best in these circles. My role is also to model the importance of collective grieving, whether or not we are grieving about the same thing.


If you are interested in learning more about grief circles or my work as a death doula, please comment below. 💫

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