Passionate One Spirit presenter Rev David Wallace visited CIC in November, focusing on “Grief as Spiritual Companion.” David eloquently made the case that if we as Spiritual Counselors are to deepen our capacity to companion others with loss, we must start with ourselves. To this end, he introduced Francis Weller’s 5 Gates of Grief.
Grief is a universal experience, and Weller’s Five Gates are a profound inquiry. Identify your losses in each of the gates and feel into what kind of emotional support is needed – both for yourself and for others you may companion.
Francis Weller’s 5 Gates of Grief:
Everything you love you will lose. What conditions allow this grief to flow naturally?
Places inside you that have not known love. What does it take to grieve what we don’t see and have never known?
Sorrows of the world.We inter-are with everything, including the profound suffering of the world. As we open to the world’s sorrows, how does this impact our capacity to be with our own?
What we expected and did not receive. How might we serve our counselees better if we tended to our own unrealized expectations with clear-eyed acceptance?
Ancestral grief – holding grief of our ancestors.How might it open our hearts to shed light on our ancestors’ unresolved grief?
The Five Gates into our own grief help us recognize and transform this most human experience. Weller believes we can only hear and address the “constant humming” of others’ grief if we are willing to hear our own.