A small light in the absolute darkness of grief …

Oct 16, 2019 | General

In 2011 I was made aware of Deena Metzger through a workshop by a Shaman Jeanie Griffin at West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders (WCSAD) – a very welcome change from all the sessions on the BDMA – Brain Disease Model of Addiction I had sat through at other recovery conferences.  (The BDMA has its useful role and place but also its critics who claim that viewing addiction this way minimizes its important social and environmental causes, as though saying addiction is a disorder of brain circuits means that social stresses like loneliness, poverty, violence, and other psychological and environmental factors do not play an important role.

There’s quite a tale behind all that I’ve mentioned above, but that’s one of the stories I sometimes tell when we’re together in a YoR retreat …

As a result of Jeanie’s session, I read  “Entering the Ghost River” , prompted by this one quote – which I’ve had on the bio page of my website for years:

What carries a healer forward when she has no license because there is no license to be had for what she does, when the training for the license that theoretically covers her work undermines the basic principles she is pledged to uphold? When the other available licenses do not cover the work that she is called to do? And when one cannot and must not license the sacred work of the most ancient human traditions? What carries her is something in her heart tuned to the invisible voices who guide her and speak of goodness and a desire to comfort those who are completely bereft. What carries her is a song that comes at the edge of the wood or just where the stream cannot be distinguished from the bank and it hums the connection between one world and another. Then when someone dies or cannot breathe for the pain of living, she sings it under her breath and the prayer enters the room, a small light in the absolute darkness of grief.

I resonated so deeply with this, especially around my own Dharma which is currently the offering of Yoga of Recovery.

Today I share Deena’s essay “Extinction Illness: Grave Affliction and Possibility” which appeared in the January issue of Tikkun..  Its premise is that, as the reality of human-caused mass extinction sinks in, we are all succumbing to what she calls “extinction illness.”:

“Contemplating the extent and pervasiveness of despair and violence across the globe, the increasing aberrance of human and non-human behavior, I see that all humans and non-humans know this, all human people and all beings, animals, trees, birds, insects, fish, know this. And all of us are being driven to some form of madness, pain, or dysfunction.”

Lise Weil and Kristin Flyntz then put out a call for responses, and so many arrived – enough for a full issue of Dark Matter – Women Witnessing, #9: “Grave Affliction and Possibility.”  that highlights 12 of these responses: passionate, visionary, and wildly divergent but also, you’ll feel the authors are very much in conversation with each other.

I’ve described a web of connections in this post – such is life : )

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