Doing the Hokey Pokey with Grief – Turning Harm into Harmony

I am so excited to be posting my VERY FIRST VIDEO BLOG EVER!


I wasn’t expecting to dive in quite yet. This new website (which I’m annoyingly excited about) has just a few little bits and bobs I’m attending to so that it’s super fun and inspiring to engage with. But I couldn’t help myself. This transmission came through about grief and I just had to share it. It felt too important to wait. If you stick with me to the end of this transmission you’ll get:

1) Some great insights about how we humans turn grief into MORE grief even when we don’t want to and, even more importantly . . .


Below I’ll include 7 great ways to let go of grief so it doesn’t get passed on AND HERE’S THE KICKER- it’ll feel really good doing it.

And so, without further adieu, here’s what I learned about Grief and how to heal ourselves, our ancestral wounds, and feed the Holy with it. Sound too good to be true? Watch this video above and then read on, I’ll explain.

So, I decided to NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY, but that actually opened the door for the real, deep, archetypal and ancestral grief to show up. And at first I didn’t want to have that grief handed to me, but when I saw this woman’s spirit handing me her grief, I realized I didn’t have a choice. Well, truthfully, what I realized is that I actually had several choices, but the ONLY ONE that felt right was the one that was going to be the most painful for me at first.


What we tend to do with grief: a) send it inward and cause disease and/or depression inside of us, b) pass it forward to the first person who accidentally stumbles across our path and steps on our toes, or c) ricochet it back to the source we think we got it from. ALL of these choices magnify the harm, feed it, and make it to grow. The only option that actually heals and prevents the spread of more harm is to be willing to d) process (or metabolize as my teacher, Martin Prechtel, so beautifully puts it) the pain through our body, our mind and our spirit so that it becomes food for the Holy instead of fuel for more pain.

How do we metabolize grief?

GREAT QUESTION! One we don’t tend to address in any way in our modern “civilized” culture. We tend to justify and condone the anesthetization of the grief: TV, depressive fatigue/sleep, food, alcohol . . . Ironically, even at this amazing class on Restorative Justice, I didn’t hear any talk about the grief that’s brought up and responsible ways for releasing it so it doesn’t generate more of the same (maybe, just maybe, this is why I was gifted with this missile launch, so I could have this deeper “ah-ha” moment and help to raise awareness about it). We aren’t taught how to do it, or that it is even important to do it in the first place.

Here is what I do to process the pain so it not only doesn’t cause harm, it actually turns into something(s) beautiful:

1) I cry – a good hard cry, especially in front of an altar, holding a medicine bundle, or out in nature with your bare feet touching the earth and your heart pressed up against a big old mossy tree is the best, but any way it comes out. Just allowing the grief to flow authentically is what matters.

2) I tone – a nice deep sigh, a moan, sounds that resonate from the belly and the heart that vibrate out feel SOOO DELICIOUS. I like to morph the grief toning into chants or, if it feels appropriate, into ridiculous sounds and pulling silly faces that help me to laugh at myself and what I have chosen to get caught up in.

3) I move – it used to be, and sometimes still is, that really intense exercise that gets my heart-rate up, sweat pouring and body feeling its strength was what I needed. Now, I find that dance (at home, Ecstatic Dance, Sweat Your Prayers, Barefoot Boogies, Dance Jams . . .) are my most helpful practices for letting the grief out of my body. I also really need Yoga to release stuck energies, and bring myself back into alignment after getting “bent all out of joint.”

4) I talk – it is so helpful to share what’s happened, but IT’S PARAMOUNT to share with someone who knows how to hold that experience with me. Someone who won’t magnify it, turn it into drama, or try to fix me or my “problem.” Someone who WILL simply hear me, understand my process as a sacred witness and love me no matter what, is ideal. If I don’t have access to that, I write about it, or literally talk to an imaginary person so I can get it out of my system but not launched as an angry attack at anyone.

5) I feel – it is the most difficult piece, but it’s the key to the real healing and it creates immense insights and SUPERPOWERS that only reveal themselves when I allow myself to feel everything. I think it is necessary that we really feel, deeply, all of what is being grieved on all sides. It’s painful, but it has so many gifts inside of it and once you experience it a few times, you start to really like feeling the whole spectrum of the human experience. If I hadn’t chosen to just sit with the grief as it metabolized, I wouldn’t have seen and learned so much. It was completely worth every tear I shed to have this greater capacity to be compassionate and to be less likely to cause future harm to myself or others. And there’s something really nourishing & satisfying about being totally real.

6) I pray – this one is key in my daily life. I pray for help in letting it go, and insight on how to turn my pain and grief into beauty that feeds the Holy. I’m always guided in a direction that dazzles and delights me with its richness and deeper connection to joy.

7) I transform – through the art and alchemy of spiritual composting, I’ve learned that when I strip away the projections and story-lines wrapped up in any negative feeling, what I’m left with is just pure energy which I can then use to fuel my body, mind & spirit through the metabolization process. It turns the GRrrrr! into (deep breath in and a long sigh out) Aahhh!

If you try all this stuff and still find yourself wanting to make an all out assault on someone or something, consider testing out my Love Bomb. It’ll work wonders and you’ll still love yourself in the morning ; )

So, that’s pretty much it.

I know it isn’t popular to choose to metabolize grief. Few people will recognize the hard work you are doing. Few people are going to come up and say “Hey, I’m really glad you processed your pain in a helpful way and didn’t crap all over me today.” BUT, if EVERYONE chose to metabolize the grief that they were holding, we’d have an immediate mass shift in consciousness that might just blow our minds into permanent joy. It’s one of those things that is almost invisible, and yet it is what this conscious evolution thing is all about.

Yes, my friends, THIS IS THE HOKEY POKEY.

It’s painful, it’s real, and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. Are YOU ready for the stealth superhero ride?

GOOD! Stay tuned, I’m still putting the pieces together and not even officially opened up shop yet, but soon, yes very soon we’ll be riding the magic carpet together.

Now, as promised, here are the resources I was given for Restorative Justice:

Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth:

Community Works:

Restorative Justice Training Institute (Rita Alfred):

Insight Prison Project:

National Council for Crime and Delinquency:

These resources were taken from handouts offered at the California Institute of Integral Studies Public Programs Course: The Emerging Field of Restorative Justice, taught by Fania Davis & Sonya Shah

xo & <3

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.