New Year's Eve Grief Ritual with Robert and Gary

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Please join Robert and Gary for a powerful New Year's grief ritual to pave the way for joy, forgiveness, and compassion in the coming year. December 31st, 8:15pm till 12:30am.

Please arrive at the PIMC Dharma Hall by 8:00pm on Dec. 31.


America, and western culture generally, is dysfunctional around grief. In this culture, we don't learn how to grieve openly or in a healthy way, and most of us get stuck as a result. Part of life as a human is that we all experience so many losses - childhood illness, adult illness, sickness of parents, childhood neglect and abuse, loss of employment, homelessness, the end of relationships, dreams that didn't come true, longings for relationship and children that didn't come through, the loss of pregnancies, death of parents and children, and the death of beloved pets, to name only a few. Most of the time, we don't allow ourselves to experience these losses fully.
There is a great cost to this suppressed grief. We fall out of touch with our spontaneous feelings of life energy and live in a much more constricted way, with much less empathy and compassion. We are less available to comfort others when we have not done this work for ourselves.

Every time we experience a loss, we have the opportunity to open to The Grief, one major part of the dukkha of humans. This big universal grief is something that can be only experienced as bearable and transformational in the embrace of loving community. 

This special New Years gathering will offer everyone who attends the rare opportunity to go forward unburdened, with their BIG Grief called into the open and lovingly supported.

This will be the same type of grief ritual that Robert has conducted on many retreats . No one will be asked to do anything more than they wish. People may simply observe and bear witness if they wish.

Those who want to attend are invited to reflect on losses both recent and in the past. In preparation for the ritual, find a number of pebbles or small rocks to bring with you. These will symbolize or represent your losses. 

During the ritual, the group will be sitting in circle around a large stainless steel bowl with candles in the center. chanting. Individuals who want to will approach the bowl, one at a time, and will speak out loud about the losses in their lives, dropping a rock in the bowl for each loss. People can give voice to their sadness or their anger or whatever else arises for them. If people wish to be heard by the group, they can lower their arms as a signal for the chanting to lower in volume. If they wish to not be heard, they can raise their arms as a signal to increase the volume of the chanting.
Once everyone who wants to approach the grief bowl has done so (people can approach more than once if they wish), Robert will lead the group in practices of joy, forgiveness, and compassion. There will be sitting, walking, and movement meditation. Finally, approaching midnight, the group will formally affirm the refuge of The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and will chant The Precepts. 
A donation of $15 per person is requested. All are welcome regardless of ability to pay.