We are dancing in an open circle deep in the fairy forest. My sister Kathy is freely moving her limbs and swaying with the beat of the forest sounds. The trees are tall and protective, the flowers singing, and the lights twinkling. I am there with her, my elder, and I too am dancing.
“Let go, allow the movement to extend all the way down your limbs,” my sister says.
In her earthbound days, Kathy was a dancer. In her spirit days, I see she dances still. It was me that invited her to the circle, to the forest. I had called her in to sit with me and she led me to the dance. I felt awkward, not in being with her, but awkward in the dancing, but I chose to listen and I released. I allowed my arms to flow and extend, I activated my hips and my legs began to sway in new ways. I was letting go.
This is not the first time I had asked Kathy to sit with me. Since her death, almost three months ago, I have called her more than once. I breathe into my heart and I call her name. I stay with the breath in and out of me, directed to my heart, until I can feel her. Each time she arrives my chest lights up and my body senses her. Most of the time I cry softly at her arrival. It feels warm.
This is the first time we have danced, the first time we met in a fairy forest.
I am the grief guide with a grieving heart and a new offering. I wish to create a circle of people ready for heart repair. I want to support them, to show them the way from loss to magic. And I am hurting. My heart, despite knowing a lot about grief does not get a free pass, grief sits with me in my heart now as I learn to live earthbound without my elder.
How does the grief guide who is grieving ask others into a circle?
I chose to embrace my broken heart and first invite Kathy into the circle, to be with me and to call them in, those in need of heart repair. We have been doing this for days now, each day I call her in and each day we together call them in.
And today we are dancing. As we dance I feel myself letting go, just as Kathy told me to. We are in fluid movement and limbs are alive with ease and flow.
“You need to let them know it is safe to enter the circle.” Kathy does not stop to share this with me, she dances on as she shares her guidance. I do not stop dancing, but something stops in me.
Ah! The piece I have been missing. I know it is safe as I have sat in circles with grief many times and I forgot that before I knew how, it was a scary place to be, it felt like a dark hole that does not promise wonderland, just darkness.
We dance and I invite safety to extend the full length of my limbs, to reach my fingertips and toes.
It is safe to enter the circle.
The tune of the forest shifts and the circle widens. I see beyond the circle and into the depths of the forest. I see there are pathways in, and most are covered in vines and dim in light.
The way in is not clear.
I am now clear.
My task now is to remove vines, add light, and create clear pathways. Open the spaces beyond the circle and send out the word, “I am creating space for you and it is safe to enter.”
As a grief guide and spiritual teacher, creating safe spaces is one of my superpowers. I claim it as I know it to be authentically charged through me, and I know it as so many have shared with me the difference it has made to them, to arrive at a space that feels scary from the outside but welcoming from within.
Almost ten years ago when my son Sage died I began to create safe spaces for myself all over the world. In my garden, down at the river among the trees, on beaches in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, in the thick bushland of the north and south of Australia, and in the bustling concrete jungle of New York City.
What I know about safe spaces is this…it actually doesn’t matter where you are, it matters how you are invited in, welcomed once in, and then held. In a safe space, you are not only invited, welcomed, and held, you are given the opportunity to hold yourself. So often we feel that we can’t, the broken pieces, our minds, and the loss, make it feel so hard, dark, and unknown. I will not tell you that the circle is wonderland, for that would be a lie. But I can tell you it is a space that invites all of you, a space where you get to decide if you wish to speak or not, a space where you can cry, laugh, dream, or collapse.
A circle that opens to hearts ready to repair…all the mess and all the magic too.
It is safe to enter the circle. I know, for I am creating it just for you.