My experience of the retreat with Joyce and Melody was heart-connecting and soothing for my soul. They co-created a sacred space that felt safe for participation, for sharing my loss and expressing personal experiences of sorrow. This sacred space is a very delicate place indeed. Joyce and Melody skillfully supported the group as a whole and honored each individual’s needs. No loss was too small or insignificant, no grieving process too long. In their wisdom, we were guided towards a resolution of equilibrium and vitality. Towards feeling again that life has a purpose.
I was filled to capacity with grief at the start of the retreat and wondered if I would have some type of release or feel a little less burdened by the end of the program. Working with Melody and Joyce was a gift and by the end of the program I was feeling lighter; I was provided with the tools to help me better manage my emotions and to control the levels of sadness and grief that I was experiencing.
I also felt that the memory of my loved one was honored and that his life mattered. I was comforted and provided with tools for remembering his life as that was one of my greatest fears that I was starting to forget him. I was able to share my story with a group of women who were all grieving and together we listened, shared, encouraged, and supported each other.
I left the program feeling much stronger knowing that I wasn’t alone on this journey and that loss and grief are inevitably a part of life, but with time and support, healing can begin. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who has experienced any type of loss.
Melody & Joyce, thank you, ladies, for the great work that you do and for using your knowledge and talents to improve the lives of others
I appreciated the teachings, journaling processes and exercises, including the preparation we did ahead of time. Identifying the “threads of grief” in my life and seeing how they were connected, then finding an image or symbol to represent them, was powerful. Melody and Joyce created a safe container in which we could freely share our stories and feel heard and understood without judgment. We learned to notice the beauty and joy, as well as sorrow, in grief, and to practice self-compassion. I came away feeling more whole and grounded than I had been. I was now connected with parts of myself that had been hidden.
This grief retreat changed my life. We rarely get permission to FEEL our grief COMPLETELY and be WITNESSED. Melody created such a sacred and safe container for us to dive in and fully explore our grief. I had not realized how many aspects of my human experience I had not fully grieved. The result is that I was living half a life, utilizing only half of my emotions. After the retreat, I began putting what I had learned to immediate practice. I was finally free to feel with ALL of my feelings. I also found myself able to compassionately witness other people’s grief without holding onto it.
I am now able to say to someone “share your pain with me, let me feel it with you because we are ONE. “In the past, I could not do this because I would hold onto other people’s pain for too long and end up taking it on as my own. Now that I realized I am fully capable of feeling something completely, I no longer hold on to it, no matter how deep it is. Instead, as soon as I feel it completely it passes through me. I can only imagine what a beautiful world we could live in if we could all do this for one another and for ourselves.
My heart was, and still is warmed by the depth of sisterhood that was established in such a short time, especially online.
I found the journey of discovery to be profoundly moving. Through various writing prompts and intermittent sharing, we traveled together from the grief of the past to the pain of the present, then dared to conjure the fire of resolution beyond the here and now.
My experience of the retreat was one of growing and healing, both collectively and individually. My greatest gift from spending this time with Melody and Joyce and the other wonderful women on the retreat is a deeper understanding and recognition of just how much grieving I have already done — far more than I had previously been able to embrace; this realization is both liberating and life-affirming. Thank you!
Diane Tower Jones