Grief and Light Podcast

TENDING GRIEF: The healing power of care in community with Camille Sapara Barton

July 10, 2024 Nina Rodriguez / Guest: Camille Sapara Barton Season 3 Episode 41
TENDING GRIEF: The healing power of care in community with Camille Sapara Barton
Grief and Light Podcast
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Grief and Light Podcast
TENDING GRIEF: The healing power of care in community with Camille Sapara Barton
Jul 10, 2024 Season 3 Episode 41
Nina Rodriguez / Guest: Camille Sapara Barton

Camille Sapara Barton, author of 'Tending Grief, Embodied Rituals for Holding Our Sorrow and Growing Cultures of Caring Community,' discusses the importance of tending to grief and creating communal spaces for grief.

They emphasize the need to process grief through the body, and draw inspiration from the grief rituals of the Dagara people, who see grief as a generative force that supports the well-being of the community. They also highlight the significance of incorporating joy and pleasure into social movements, and the importance of creating spaces for the full range of emotions.

Takeaways

  • Unprocessed emotions can impact our ability to collaborate with others.
  • Tending grief can help build trust and create communal spaces.
  • The Dagara people view grief as a generative force and hold regular grief rituals for the health of the community.
  • Processing grief through the body is important for behavior and internal change.
  • Creating intentional spaces for communal grief tending can foster connection and empathy.
  • Collective grief work has the potential to bring about transformative change. The resilience toolkit and the GenGrief toolkit are embodied frameworks for navigating stress and grief.
  • Safety and facilitation are crucial when practicing these tools in group settings.
  • Dance and movement can be powerful tools for processing emotions and connecting to ancestral wisdom.
  • Incorporating joy and pleasure in social movements is essential for sustainability and longevity.
  • Tending to personal and collective grief can lead to a more beautiful and interconnected future.


Camille Sapara Barton Social & Websites


Nina Rodriguez Social & Website


Disclaimer: griefandlight.com/safetyanddisclaimers

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Please contact me via IG @griefandlight, via email at nina@griefandlight.com.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Camille Sapara Barton, author of 'Tending Grief, Embodied Rituals for Holding Our Sorrow and Growing Cultures of Caring Community,' discusses the importance of tending to grief and creating communal spaces for grief.

They emphasize the need to process grief through the body, and draw inspiration from the grief rituals of the Dagara people, who see grief as a generative force that supports the well-being of the community. They also highlight the significance of incorporating joy and pleasure into social movements, and the importance of creating spaces for the full range of emotions.

Takeaways

  • Unprocessed emotions can impact our ability to collaborate with others.
  • Tending grief can help build trust and create communal spaces.
  • The Dagara people view grief as a generative force and hold regular grief rituals for the health of the community.
  • Processing grief through the body is important for behavior and internal change.
  • Creating intentional spaces for communal grief tending can foster connection and empathy.
  • Collective grief work has the potential to bring about transformative change. The resilience toolkit and the GenGrief toolkit are embodied frameworks for navigating stress and grief.
  • Safety and facilitation are crucial when practicing these tools in group settings.
  • Dance and movement can be powerful tools for processing emotions and connecting to ancestral wisdom.
  • Incorporating joy and pleasure in social movements is essential for sustainability and longevity.
  • Tending to personal and collective grief can lead to a more beautiful and interconnected future.


Camille Sapara Barton Social & Websites


Nina Rodriguez Social & Website


Disclaimer: griefandlight.com/safetyanddisclaimers

Send us a Text Message.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening! Please share with someone you love.

Want your story featured in a podcast episode?
Please contact me via IG @griefandlight, via email at nina@griefandlight.com.

personal bereavement is incredibly important and that's a beautiful journey for people to be on. I hope we can also hold space for the collective reckoning and kind of grief composting so that we can leave a world behind that's worthy of our descendants. You just lost your loved one. Now what? Welcome to the Grief in Life podcast where we explore this new reality through grief-colored lenses. Openly, authentically, I'm your host, Nina Rodriguez. Let's get started. How do unprocessed emotions impact our ability to show up or be in collaboration with others? How can tending grief help us build trust with ourselves and each other? How can we build communal spaces for tending grief? Today's guest has been tending grief since 2017 and has developed public resources, programs, and tools to cultivate the practice with others. Camille Sapara Barton is a writer, artist, and embodied social justice facilitator. Their newly published book, Attending Grief, Embodied Rituals for Holding Our Sorrow and Growing Cultures of Caring Community explores many forms of collective grief, as well as the benefit of being with grief in community to reduce isolation, build trust, clarify what we care about, and move forward together. The book also speaks to the ways that BIPOC and queer readers disproportionately experience unique constellations of loss. Rooted in Black Feminism, Ecology, and Harm Reduction, They use creativity along with embodied practices to create culture change in fields ranging from psychedelic assisted therapy to arts education. Based in Amsterdam, Camille designed and directed Ecologies of Transformation, a master's program exploring socially engaged art making with a focus on creating change through the body into the world. They curate events and offer consultancy combining trauma in foreign practice, experiential learning and their studies in political science. Today's conversation is an invitation to explore our beliefs about grief and how we show up for each other. I'm excited to get into this conversation. Welcome to the Grief in Light podcast, Camille. Thanks for having me. It is such an honor and I want to congratulate you again for the upcoming launch of Tending Grief as... At the moment we are recording, it's about a week or so before the official launch of the book. This podcast will air afterwards, but at this time, how are you feeling? What is this moment like for you? I know it's been years in the making, so how are you feeling? In this moment, I feel some kind of calm, some calmness, but also some like bubbly curiosity. Yeah, I'm aware now that people are kind of... as yourself reading the book, it may not be out in the public yet, but people already reading it and having feelings about it. And yeah, I'm really curious about what is moving in people and what will kind of come from the unfolding of it. I don't know how I'm going to feel tomorrow or next week, but right now, calm and curious. This is the daily check -in. Thank you. I was commenting before we started recording that it is a book that centers the... BIPOC experience, and it's specific to your lived experience as well. But it's something that everybody can gain a lot from. So when I was reading it, an invited reflection into my own beliefs about grief, what I thought I believed about grief, how that manifests in community and in the spaces that we take up, and even in the historical context, in the present context, and in the where are we going to context. So I thank you for that. I'm surprised that it was such a easy read in the sense that I was able to read it in like two days, but there was so much to unpack in each section. I feel like each section could just be a whole dissertation in and of itself. You did a brilliant job of communicating what needed to be communicated very effectively in a way that's easy to digest for readers. So thank you very much for that. Thank you. I really appreciate that feedback. No problem. So before we get started into your story, let's get to the overarching definition of how do you define grief attending? What is grief tending for the audience who's never heard this? For me, grief tending is about being in the practice of being with grief, of making space to be in conversation with it. And for me, there's also this importance of being in conversation with it in an embodied way. So not just intellectualizing it, but really locating, what is it in the body? How is it affecting my body? What does my body need to do in order to be in conversation with this and maybe in some way release or allow this to change, to start shifting rather than being stuck and frozen, which is how I feel we're mostly being conditioned to exist in many parts of the West. So yeah, this idea of it being a practice is something we return to that we're cultivating a relationship with and through the body. a beautiful definition and what's the importance of processing this through the body versus just let's say a traditional form of therapy or spiritually if you will, what is the importance of the body? For me, I don't want to come for other people's approaches because we all have to find what works for us. But for me personally, I found talk -based therapy is really good at creating a story, really good at creating a narrative of what's happened, but not necessarily so good at helping my behavior change or how I feel internally change. Even though I do feel there's a spiritual paradigm I'm in relationship to, I'm also aware that my body is the vessel through which I'm engaging with this life and this reality. And so I feel like the body is a portal or a site of change that can bring in the spiritual, that can bring in healing, but also is relational. And so for me at least, a lot of the grief I've experienced has had relational impact. rights either impacted me with my family or the way I show up at work or whatever it may be impacting my ability to feel safe in my body and so there's had to be a level of engaging with my body to help that shift to help that ground to feel safe to be able to relate in more open ways that feel authentic that's taken a lot of work with the body in tandem with the grief that for me personally having tried talk therapy That felt like an important stage of creating the narrative. But then it's the somatic therapy and embodied rituals that have really helped me kind of shift how I'm in relationship with others as a result of the grief I've experienced. Beautifully said. And I think that's what you turned politicized somatics. Is that correct? Yeah. So your story really took the current pivot in 2017 after a grief spiral led to becoming aware of how little space there is in Western society for anyone to process feelings. that don't support productivity. That's a quote from your book. So tell us a little bit about how that brought this current reality of grief and the need to create spaces for it to your awareness. Yeah, thank you. I kind of described the last six or seven years of my life as being somewhat of a grief tornado or like a grief domino effect. There was the initial grief of 2017 and then it was like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Like all these other things were also unfolding. And I have from speaking to a few other people, that seems to be a common experience for many. Once we kind of enter that conversation with grief and suddenly there's a lot that's coming up. But for me, my kind of first entry point going really into the depths of grief was after having an abortion, which I felt very aligned with that decision. And so I wasn't expecting there to be so much grief that came up. And I felt, okay, I want to be in conversation with this. I want to be in relationship to this. But how do I do that? So I remember actually one night Googling abortion healing rituals into Google and all that came up were kind of pro -life organizations and I just realized, wow, there's nothing. I don't think I'm going to find anything in this format. And then when I was speaking to other people, either about abortion specifically or just other forms of grief, I realized that other people also didn't have anywhere to put it. It was like the kind of unspoken consensus in society was, well, you just go into a corner on your own and you deal with that. You know? Put back when you're ready to work. When you're ready to, you know, to be fun again. And that made me really angry. Made me really, really angry. And I realized that, you know, no one was coming to save me, essentially, like if I wanted to. make the space for it and be in a different type of relationship with it. I had to try and experiment and find my way through. And so that brought me to reading a lot of books and going towards elders like Maledoma and Sampuan Fusome and just trying to find different approaches that could help me create a bit of a foundation to experiment with kind of being a companion to myself through this. through this experience, given that I just saw very little space for it around me. Thank you for sharing that openly. And I agree, a lot of us grievers and the conversations that I've had over the past few years, that is a very common thread that runs through each of our experiences is the lack of space. And whatever little space there is, there is this underlying expectation of, okay, you have X amount of time to do whatever it is that you need to do and then just come back, okay? And like everything is normal. And that could be so detrimental. So there's many of us working to create the awareness that grief is not something to be fixed. It is something that we live with and grow around and integrate into our experiences. And you talk a lot about that in the book. And I thank you for bringing the chapter on the practices for the Daghara people was absolutely fascinating to me. So for context, your heritage is of Yoruba, Guyanese, and Celtic heritage, and you lived in the UK. and you have some experience in San Francisco, correct? Yeah. And that has shaped the lens through which you view the world and the experiences that you've had as well. So maybe share a little bit about how the grief rituals of the Dagara people influenced how you view grief and the need to tend more regularly. Yeah. So two elders that kind of shaped what's inspired me around grief tending in my own process. are Sobomfou Somme and Malidoma Somme, who are both elders of the Dagara people. And the Dagara are indigenous to a few different places in West Africa, but Malidoma and Sobomfou grew up in what we now call Burkina Faso. But the Dagara span borders because these borders were kind of drawn and created by the British not so long ago. And Malidoma and Sobomfou both actually lived much of their lives in the US. And so they a good amount of their years actually spreading dagara grief practices in the West because they saw that there was a real need for this. So a few of the ideas that I think are really pivotal to share with listeners is that in the dagara context, grief is seen as something that's a generative force that actually supports the wellbeing of the community. And so rather than being something that's taboo or hidden or that people have to deal with alone, is really embraced and held collectively in the community and seen as something that makes sense, that's valuable to engage in. So much so that traditionally there'd be a monthly grief ritual that everyone in the community is expected to attend. And it's actually taboo to miss that because in the Degara cosmology, there's the belief that untended grief will actually become harm in the collective. in the form of violence or other social ills. So they really have a very kind of spiritual connection and approach to grief tending that is not just seen as this individualized thing of you just have to go over there and deal with it. It's really like... By being in relationship to this, we are supporting the health and the wellbeing of the community and supporting space for ancestral wisdom and for blessings, essentially. And the last one I'll share for now is something Maledoma would speak to. One of his books, I think, it's The Healing Wisdom of Africa. He feels that the kind of lack of space for grief in the West is a kind of form of social control. That by not being in relationship to our feelings and by the kind of demand to numb, and be more and more like machines, that this is actually a way that we're more controllable, that we're more placated. And so they would see this as actually, yeah, something that was being weaponized against us, this lack of space to feel, to be in conversation with what's emerging in our bodies and our minds and our spirits. So yeah, their thinking, their writing, their speaking has been very influential for me. And I was lucky enough to be able to go to Edogara style grief ritual led by Sabanfu when I was living in California in 2015, 2014 or 15, sometimes forget the exact year. And that was the first time I'd really experienced anything like that. I kind of held space for grief and it was incredibly powerful and cathartic. And I guess that planted a seed in me when I went into my own grief experience. There was a kind of nugget or grain I could come back to and then go deeper into for my own process. So yeah, that's a little bit about Maladoma and Sobongfu and their impact on my thoughts around grief. Yeah. And I love that they had the perspective of their cultural heritage, but also the experience of living in the United States. So you have that contrast. Do you see how grief manifests and how different, I imagine, the outcome is when you create intentional spaces. to feel the grief communally. I mean, when I read that, it blew my mind because I said, could you just imagine if we made this a practice in our collective, within our communities, people could feel supported and know that if they're going through something, well, this month we're going to meet and we're going to talk about it and our elders are going to support us and our community is going to rally and it's okay to speak. publicly about this or in your groups, it would be so incredibly healing. And I don't mean in the fixing healing, I just mean in the sense that it could enable connection within us and each other to be able to do these practices. There is a paragraph in your book, it's precisely on this topic with your permission. May I read a brief excerpt from this particular part of the book? Sure. The Dagara people have a very different approach to grief than the Western world. Rather than being taboo or something to hide from public life, the Dagara see regular grief tending as necessary for the health of the community. Within Dagara customs, the entire community is expected to attend a monthly grief ritual because they believe that unaddressed grief becomes harm that impacts the community. As a result, personal grief work is not seen as an individual issue. because what can begin as something with limited impact can ripple through the collective if it is not given the space to be felt and experienced. The suppression of grief in the West means that we have a huge amount of harm spreading and rippling as a result of what has been left alone to fester. And this particular visual that you described next brings it to light. So it says, it is akin to a pile of rotting food that smells terrible impacting the environment around it. rather than a well -maintained compost heap that can be used to nourish the broader ecosystem. That's incredible. That is basically what you described, but I love that visual because it is so true. I've had this theory that we're subconsciously operating from our unhealed areas, the areas that are very untended. I mean, that's not saying unhealed. Untended areas. We're kind of spewing our grief and trauma and issues onto each other. Some of us more aware than others, but To be honest with the way that we're seeing our current issues play out politically, socially, communally, you could feel it, especially here. I don't know about where you are in Amsterdam, but especially here in the US, we have an election year coming up, there's war going on. There's all these changes that is just, it's palpable. And I love that there's this ritual. grief tending practice, could you just imagine if we could create more spaces, which I think is one of the points of your book about creating these spaces. And you work on that, you work on creating these spaces. So what have you seen working in the context of community and grief? Yeah, thank you for this question. To be honest with you, I feel very early in my journey with the community context of it, partially because so much of my early research was during the pandemic, when at least in the European context, I know it's different in different parts of the States, but we really were very, very isolated for longer periods of time. But when we did have permission to open up again, I did hold a grief retreat for five days with about 15 people. And then in the last year I've also been hosting regular group spaces online, but also now starting again more in person. I think what I'd notice through the work community so far is kind of what you referenced already, just the amount of intimacy and care and empathy that then emerges through the group, because there's something so beautiful about being witnessed with non -judgmental presence. and also understanding, wow, people are going through this too. It might not be exactly the same, but actually there's usually a lot of resonance in the groups, a lot of resonance. And so it really, I think reduces this isolation that can so often be present when we're grieving, feeling like I'm alone with this, I'm the only one, no one knows how it feels. And actually all you have to do is turn up to a grief space and witness and listen to others and realize, we are all. experiencing this and there's a kind of softening that comes with that. So that's definitely something I'm noticing. What I'm curious about and maybe I need to make some call outs to communities who've been experimenting with the grief toolkit, which was kind of the precursor to the book. But for those who say are organizing together or in a kind of shared community, I'm really curious to know for them after being in monthly practice, what else is developing? beyond kind of intimacy and care and solidarity. What else is showing up? Because I have the sense that this is really kind of durational, long -term work that kind of continues to unfold. One of my hopes is that there'll also be more space to start figuring out together what these shared points of discomfort are. And if there are systemic barriers or things that could be changed that would actually reduce the harm or the grief that's emerging from these things. My sense is that that may happen organically, but there also could be interventions that would support that kind of thinking or exploration. But yeah, I think it's early days for me, but I'm really curious to hear from people who have been experimenting for longer with the approach and I'm curious to continue learning about how it works and how to do it better. It would be fascinating to know that that long -term ripple effect in the communities that I have already employed some of these tools. And you touched on the toolkit. You have the resilience toolkit, which is an embodiment framework to navigate stress, increase resilience and grow the collective capacity to change the conditions that create systemic harm. And you also have the Gen Grief Toolkit, which is a collection of embodied grief rituals to support personal and community grief work. And I know that you included some of these toolkits in the book. You also explain that although they seem simple, there's a complexity and nuance to these practices. So maybe talk a little bit about both the resilience toolkit, how people can access it and use it, as well as the GenGrief toolkit and what this nuance is. Because when I read it, it does seem on paper quote unquote simple. But I could also see how profound it is. Things don't have to be complicated to be profoundly, deeply nourishing and life altering. So maybe touch on those different topics, please. Sure. So firstly, the Resilience Toolkit is an approach I'm certified in, but I didn't create it. It was created by Nken and Defo, who is the director of Lumos Transforms. which is kind of the organization that provides training, but also consultancy around the toolkit and kind of weaving that into organizations and different contexts where that work is needed. I started my certification with them, I believe in 2012, and the toolkit continues to be a really important sort of somatic practice that I engage in every day. So it's kind of a gift that's continuing to unfold. I've noticed a lot of changes in myself, but... There's probably more to come as I continue being in practice. So with the safeguarding, although the tools themselves are very simple and NChem in the certification very much encourages people to use them, try them themselves and maybe on a peer level with a friend, with a family member, that's totally welcome. But when it comes to really facilitating this, these practices in bigger groups, one of the challenges can be that not all tools will work for every person. And because there is so much numbing that we're engaging with just to get through the day and the things we have to navigate to survive, sometimes people aren't gonna be aware if their bodies are in distress, right, or not responding well to a tool. Some people will push through something because an instructor is telling them to or a teacher is telling them to. Or another potential negative that could be a bit more serious is if someone starts to have a trauma response. You want to make sure that the facilitator in that space knows how to skillfully bring someone back down or to regulate for them in the event that they can't regulate for themselves. And so that's where the safeguarding piece comes in because maybe I'm just pulling these numbers out of thin air, but maybe six or seven times out of 10, it might be fine. But three or four times out of 10, you might actually have someone who's in distress. that then is in a context where no one is able to support them to move towards ease. And that's one of the brilliant things I think about the resilience toolkit is it's not just developing a personal somatic practice, but it's learning to identify and track stress states based on people's facial expressions, their body language, and actually being able to support them to regulate if they don't know how to do that for themselves. So that's, I think, the nuance with it and why. in the book and generally I do encourage people to get training if they really want to be able to facilitate this with more safety and in a harm reduction way with bigger groups. And so with the GenGrief toolkit, it was just put together just as I was finishing my certification journey. And so I actually wove in the grief practices that I'd been experimenting on myself as well as using the Resilience toolkit. I combined them. So that when people begin an embodied grief practice, they're beginning with a resilience toolkit practice and using that kind of framework of noticing what their sensations are telling them. Like if something is feeling good, how do you know what signals are coming up in your body that demonstrate that? So some for me might be my belly softening, my heart rate slowing, my thoughts kind of clearing, becoming less busy. And other people might have other things for them. But equally, just as we have signals when we're relaxed or when we're feeling stressed, there are also signals that come when we're feeling stressed or activated. And it's really important to be able to start mapping that so that if we are in a grief practice or just moving through daily life, if we notice that we're getting activated or we're becoming overwhelmed or we're dissociating, it's really great to be able to track those signals and then think in the context of a grief practice, hey, I notice I'm not really here anymore. Maybe I need to pause. Maybe I'll do another embodiment practice or maybe that's enough for today. But just learning to stay within our tolerance, our kind of tolerance level around stress so that we can gradually build our capacity to be with bigger sensations. What we don't want is what we have to do in society a lot of just kind of grinning and bearing it, you know, like white-knuckling it or pushing ourselves, even though we might actually have lost connection with what's happening. in our bodies and we're no longer really fully present. So by using the resilience toolkit, there's a beautiful way that the approach to grief could also be weaving this kind of nervous system care that can have a really lovely effect over time and really build bigger capacity for people to be with sensation, whether that's grief or other things, so that we can become more responsive and reactive. So that's very powerful and I love. I love the nuance. I believe life is nuanced more than it is definitive. Grief is certainly nuanced more than it is definitive. There is consensus of throwing words out there, self -care and meditation, and do these self -care practices and grief. And it's most often not well -intended. So there's a good intention behind that. Usually it's to help each other move through whatever outcome that particular person wants. However, knowing what feels safe to a person is so crucial. One example I'll give is it's become trendy to do cold plunges. And for somebody who has high cortisol responses, who is a very anxious person, that could actually trigger these feelings of anxiety and high cortisol responses. And it's the complete opposite for somebody who doesn't experience these effects. So I appreciate deeply that there's a care that goes into helping other people navigate through their emotions. particularly because I am willing to say, I don't have the exact data on this, but I'm willing to say that most of us don't know how to feel our feelings. We don't even know what we're experiencing in the moment. And when we don't know, these new sensations can feel very scary. So somebody who understands what that person is going through, whether it's a response that agrees with them or not, how to guide them through that, how to provide safe containers around these emotions is so crucial. And I understand that you also teach these courses, you train people how to do this. It is part of my practice, do work that incorporates the resilience toolkit and that is helping people to learn about their stress responses. And I weave that in with different formats. I'm not currently a trainer, so I don't train people to get certified. But I do say teach the resilience toolkit to psychedelic assisted therapists in training and thinking about different applications for that in the work they're doing. And it was also woven quite deeply into the master's program I led in Amsterdam that was more about art making and socially engaged art making. So I think there were lots of different applications that I'm quite curious about experimenting with. Because kind of like what you said just before, I agree with you that many people don't know. how they're feeling and we're not often encouraged to become very emotionally literate and literate in our sensations. If you asked me five, six years ago if there was a difference between sensations and emotions, I might have said yes. But today I don't know if there's much of a difference to be honest. I think maybe different sizes are the same thing because ultimately when we feel an emotion, there is a sensation that comes with that. Yeah, I think that's something I hope that will become more understood that they're very interconnected. And so if we struggle with tracking our sensations, we might also struggle with tracking or understanding our emotions. And the only way around that really is to begin by reconnecting to that and developing that kind of conversation with the body. And I don't know what anyone else is feeling necessarily, but I can definitely detect certain states that my intention is really to. create a container where people can begin to have that conversation with their own bodies and start to understand what's happening there so that they can have more agency to get a sense of what's going on and to start feeling if what's coming up for them is actually adaptive for what they want in their lives or if there are other supports they can put in place to cultivate other sensations or emotions as much as we have control over, right? Because there's a lot we also don't have control over. How much? So much, sometimes I question how much we're actually. control of. You talk about it in the, I think it's called the violence of the void, the Cartesian dualism, I think it was, I'm pronouncing that correctly. But it's that separation that at one point in our collective history, there was a separation from mind and body. And the mind, everything from the neck up was prioritized usually to enable productivity and disabled feeling our feelings and emotions, right? And so that reconnection is, I believe what we're talking about here. And exactly what that looks like is a work in progress in terms of how we're learning it as a collective, relearning it as a collective, because we're taught to say, are you feeling today? I'm feeling good. I'm feeling this. I'm feeling that. Well, that's not a, that's not a feeling. Those are words, right? And so understanding that feeling is I'm feeling bubbly or my stomach feels tight or my shoulder hurts. There's a difference in how we feel. And as simple as that may seem, A lot of us don't know that, so it's important to teach that and you're doing a beautiful job in communicating these important concepts to help us reconnect through practices and through art and movement. And I believe that it's not just going within, going into your body. There's also music, rhythms, physical movement and dance. I know that that's a practice that has evolved for you and it's very present for you. So could maybe touch on that a little bit and how that's been helpful. Yeah. I love dance. It's one of the biggest joys of my life. And I was also tickled by a study recently. Maybe I'll try and find it before the end of our call. I can go in the show notes maybe, but it was a study with quite a large population that was comparing dance, other forms of physical exercise, and antidepressant drugs, SSRI drugs. And it found that dancing outperformed all of it. Outperformed the antidepressant drugs. outperformed every other form of physical exercise. I don't really need a scientific study to confirm or to like validate how dancing impacts me, but it's also just nice as a mirror or something that hopefully will give a bit more permission and encouragement for other people to try it. There's also for me a connection to my ancestry being someone that's very much of the African diaspora with Caribbean and West African heritage. Dance is incredibly important in many African... heritage context and cultures, because it's really not only a healing tool, not only a tool for celebration, for improvisation, but also for connecting to ancestral wisdom and the ancestral wisdom that kind of exists within our bodies and also outside of our bodies. And that's very much how it feels for me. It almost can act as a compass, as a way to get clear on what's happening with my sensations. It's a way that if I've been in conversation with myself or being confused about a project or something is a bit unresolved. I have a good dance session. It's like things come into alignment and I haven't had to do anything else. It's just, it kind of just drops in. And as this book is coming into the world and the last months I've been really reflecting on the ways that dance was kind of my first entry point into grief work in a sense. In my teens, what is clear to me is that that was a very effective way for me to navigate depression and to keep myself going through a period where I wasn't having the best mental health and I didn't have very many other supports, but dance kept me here, you know? And it really did a lot for me. So I, yeah, continue to try and be in relationship to it and weave it in with grief practice, even if I'm not having a kind of intentional dance or grief ritual. It's common for tears to come for me and for things to kind of release as if I'm the sponge that's being wrung out or something. It's just like whatever needs to kind of move starts to move when I'm engaging in dance and movement. So it's very, yeah, it's very special for me. Thank you. It's a beautiful practice and I can relate to the Caribbean side and Puerto Rican. So we have. a lot of the African and indigenous roots and traditional dances. And there's one in particular called the Bombay Plena. You dance to the beat of the drums and the drummer drum to the beat of the dancer. And it's an interplay between the dancer and the drummers. And that feeds the cultural aspect of it, the joy aspect of it, the somatic aspect of it, the breathwork aspect, the movement. It's all encompassing. It's all at once. And I think it's a beautiful way to process emotions and connect and speaking on that. thread of joy and movement. You touched on, and I'm paraphrasing, the importance of incorporating joy or fun because sometimes in caring so deeply, we think it has to look so serious and intense, the fiery energy that often leads to burnout. Talk a little bit about how incorporating grief rituals into social movements as an inherent part of the process can lead to more successful outcomes potentially. Yeah, I mean, I want to... firstly just uplift the work. I think I actually reference it in the book, just purely dedicated to this idea of talking about why joy is such an essential balm for social movements. So that was a point of inspiration for me, as well as Adrienne Marie Brown's pleasure activism. But ultimately, I mean, I was identified as an activist for a long part of my life, I'm 32. But I think I started identifying as an activist when I was like 12 or something. And it's only in the last few years that I've It's not that my work in the world has changed necessarily. It's just, I don't personally refer to myself that way anymore. But yeah, I resonate with this idea if we care, then we have to just be so focused on this. There's no time for pleasure until the revolution comes kind of energy. And I just didn't feel that they created very livable spaces. It felt to me that it was more spaces of surviving, right? Of having to like push through rather than being able to really soften. and be in our fullness. And so I think that for me, when it comes to social movements, my hope is that there can just be more space for people to be in their fullness with the full range of emotions, whether that is joy, pleasure, grief, of course anger, which seems to already be a very useful emotion in that space, but just for it to broaden out. So it's not necessarily as one-dimensional as it can be in certain contexts, because I know there are brilliant movements that already have healing justice and things woven into them too. So my hope is that if social movement organizers in their trusted groups could be experimenting more with grief rituals, that this will again help move out of numbness to be able to feel more of these emotions more deeply and ultimately get clear on what the values are and how those can be practiced and how as a group they can move more coherently together towards that. Because yeah, sometimes If you're just saying no to stuff, it can be really hard to know what you're saying yes to. And there's definitely a time to say no, 100%. We need to say no to certain things. But if we're just saying no and we're not actually creating what we want and how we want to be with each other, then I think it becomes a challenging dynamic to exist in and to really feel that you can thrive. So my hope is that grief tending and political somatics can be maps or compasses that allow for more clarity on what the yes is, on what the growing together is, of what the new infrastructure looks like. So there can still be some saying no, but it's more of a balance. I think it's also about doing things that are going to create communal cohesion and joy and sustainability, longevity, because yes, We can connect by doing actions together and by being in solidarity, reading similar things, being passionate about similar things. But there's such a deep intimacy that comes from being in grief with people, from holding space for sorrow, that tenderness. And my sense is that if that was also woven in, even just once a month, that will create even deeper relationships and ultimately create much more cohesive, robust movement. as well as helping folks deal with conflict when that comes up. Because if you have more trust with people, then maybe there's a little bit more capacity to actually bring things up and resolve them when there is conflict. So I think all of those things as well as just a deeper ability to regulate with each other, to co -regulate and be on the same page and move together are all, yeah, reasons I hope that social movements will. kind of weave these things in and yeah, just to see what it brings. Needs to experiment with it. The more I learn about grief, the more I realize, one, it's a long -term experience. We talk about grief in the context of the death of a person, but it's also the everyday feelings that we experience and the everyday experiences for some communities that are more impacted than others. Becoming aware of that and understanding it, how to move through it is very important. This book, provides context and tools for the grief experience. Being able to tend to your grief, I believe there is a joy to it as well, if you're going to be able to sustain it long term. And this is something that we can apply to social movements, private practices, communities, et cetera. But I know we are just touching the tip of the iceberg with the topics and everything that was embodied in your book. I want to be mindful and respectful of your time. I thank you for being here. So before we close out, is there anything that is in your heart to say today that we didn't touch on? And also where can people get a hold of you and your book? I feel the only thing I want to say is I really believe that if we, if we feel into the sorrow and the sort of ancestral dirty laundry, that we're kind of still navigating, if we really turn towards that and face that, I think we can create. features that are far more beautiful than what we can currently imagine and that allow us to really get clear on what the collective needs are that we have and how we can move towards worlds in which we all live with safety, dignity, belonging. I really, really feel those things are interconnected. So personal bereavement is incredibly important and that's a beautiful journey for people to be on. I hope we can also hold space for the collective reckoning and kind of grief composting so that we can leave a a world behind that's worthy of our descendants and the beings that are going to inherit this world. Yeah. And folks can find me either at kamilsaparabarton .com or on Instagram, also kamilsaparabarton. And I now have Substack. So if you are interested in having a couple of updates from me a month, usually a longer one, a shorter one, I am also on there and tend to go a little bit deeper on there than I do on Instagram. So. Yeah, that's what people can find me. Perfect. I'll link everything in the show notes, including where to get the book. And as a final question, what would Camille today say to Camille in 2017? Take your time, even if you're fumbling in the dark. Just try and follow the breadcrumbs. You've got this, my love. Thank you so much, Camila. It has been an honor. Thank you. or you can also visit griefandlight .com for more information and updates. Thank you so much for being here, for being you, and always remember, you are not alone.

Introduction
Anticipation of TENDING GRIEF book launch
What is grief tending?
Camille's Journey of Tending Grief
Grief Rituals of the Dagara People
Processing Grief through the Body
Communal Grief Tending
Grief and Resilience Toolkits
The Healing Power of Dance and Movement
Incorporating Joy and Pleasure in Social Movements