Speaking of Sorrow: Writing as a Healing Practice in a Time of Loss (a Zoom retreat)
Led By: Marilyn McEntyre
Suggested Donation: $45
Tuesday, 28 July to Thursday, 30 July 2020 at 2pm on Zoom
Sometimes great sorrow drives us to silence. But even in that silence we may find ourselves wanting to find words. As we move beyond the first shock of grief, sorrow may become story, or poetry or prayer. Sometimes in a season of loss we discover a voice we didn’t know we had, and an unsuspected power in words.
Words can do sacred work. In this retreat we will explore and experiment with writing practices that may help sustain us as we grieve either personal losses or the widely shared losses many have sustained over recent months of pandemic. Simple writing exercises will offer ways of turning grief work into word work which may also become prayerful and playful.
Session 1 – The Small Things are the Big Things in Disguise
In this session we’ll consider the power of specificity and detail, how working on word choices (especially verb choices) can open surprising avenues of feeling and reflection, and how a closely detailed memory or image can awaken new awareness. We’ll read short poems and passages offer usable models.
Session 2 – “There is no single way it can be told.”
Sorrow is a shape-shifter. In this session we’ll consider how different forms may allow you to see and articulate different dimensions of loss or sorrow, again working with examples among which you may find an approach that serves your present purposes.
Session 3 – “Shared Sorrow is Halved.”
Rightly, we don’t want to “burden” others with recitations of grief. Most of us don’t want to whine or indulge in unbecoming self-pity. On the other hand, sharing our stories of sorrow or moments of pain can be a gift to others walking through their own dark valleys. As we share some of what participants have written in this session, we’ll reflect on how to make that gift an act of solidarity and a source of grace.
Each day, we’ll gather on Zoom at 2pm for sessions lasting around 90 minutes.
We suggest a donation of $15/session ($45 for all three sessions) for this retreat, which you can offer at the link below or by sending a check payable to Holy Cross Monastery to P.O. Box 99, West Park, NY 12493. Please put “speaking of sorrow” in the memo line of your donation. No one will be required to donate in order to join the sessions.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Marilyn McEntyre’s writing and teaching focus on spirituality, reading, writing, and healing. Her recent books include When Poets Pray; Speaking Peace in a Climate of Conflict; and Make a List: How a Simple Practice can Change your Life and Open your Heart. Two books that draw on her work as hospice volunteer are A Faithful Farewell and A Long Letting Go. She has taught college students, seminarians, medical students and adult learners for many years and leads retreats and writing workshops around the country. She loves to coach both experienced writers and anyone who wants to write just to see what happens. You can find out more about her at www.marilynmcentyre.com.