1. How do I know if the Creative Healing Collective is right for me?
Have experienced the loss of an immediate family member or close relative/friend.
Want to find ways to voice or feel emotions that have been difficult to express or come to terms with.
Just want to be able to be with your loss in a space where people get it, no questions asked, no explanation necessary.
2. Why is this specifically for younger people (20s - 30s)?
First, we've found that there's a unique kind of isolation that comes from significant loss when you are among the first in your peer network to undergo the experience. Our friends, while supportive, didn't know how to relate to the experience. We had no other examples to help us discern if what we were feeling was normal, and no mile-markers to see if we were on track. Each of us found that loss plays a major role in shaping who we are precisely because the loss occurred when we were young, and just beginning to understand our place in the world.
Second, we see loss as a surprisingly powerful tool for community- building. Surprising, only because we generally work so hard to avoid talking about. Our hope is to use loss as a door-opener to lasting friendships, and profound connections with people who can celebrate your good days and stick with you through the bad. We find the relationships that last the longest are those where the connections run deep, and through creative expression, we can begin to open up to ourselves and to the people surrounding and supporting us in this experience.
3. Is this a grief group?
No. There are lots of highly trained people who are expert in handling trauma and working with the bereaved, and we're not trying to replace them. This isn't about fixing, or advice-giving, or even coaching. It's not really even about grieving, at least in the traditional sense. While some folks that attend our workshops identify as actively grieving, many of us have moved into that nameless space we've come to simply call, "life after," recognizing that loss continues to color our lives in profound ways, even if we've adjusted to a new normal. We're interested in creating accessible and safe spaces where you can "speak your truth" with peer - or more to the point, friends. None of us are qualified to tell someone what they need, as we're all still trying to figure out that answers for ourselves.
4. Are CHC workshops an alternative to therapy or other forms of grief support?
Yes and no. Our workshops can be experienced as an additional alternative therapy but are by no means a replacement for other modes of healing or self care. Our hope is taht though workshops in art, music, dance, yoga and any other creative expressions we explore, you will find a way to connect to your pain in a constructive manner, by finding an outlet that at the very least can give voice to your thoughts and emotions. It's so easy to bury our grief, but through art we can find a way to begin to accept and move forward.
5. ARE CHC hosts trained professionals?
No and yes. We are just three humans who wanted to create a space for shared experience. We aim to seek out sensitive and thoughtful instructors for each event and workshop. Most often, our instructors are professionals within the field of their workshop, like yoga instructors, but sometimes we just get really good vibes from someone that is willing to share their art and we trust they can lead us to a place of healing.
We see ourselves as a complement to, not a replacement for, the other places you can go to see a professional - therapy, grief counseling, even spin class. For us, we’ve found that real life experience, and providing a safe space to sit with our thoughts, can be the best form of expertise. We’re less prone to advice-giving, or attempts to “fix” something, recognizing that what most of us are looking for is a chance to feel, to hear and be heard, and to identify with others who’ve been there.
6. Are there any rules?
There aren’t any rules per-se but we ask our community to use these guidelines:
Be non-judgmental of yourself and others. Avoid filtering yourself, and don’t feel as though you should or shouldn’t be feeling something at any given moment. Your experience is yours and please honor and respect that others’ is theirs.
Being here is participating. You are, at no point, under pressure to talk. We welcome silence just as much as we welcome sharing. When you speak, do so intentionally, and know that here, there’s no such thing as an awkward silence.
All conversations are confidential. While The Creative Healing Collective isn’t a secret society, it helps participants to know that the intimate stuff they may want to share won’t be passed along the grapevine. We take the Vegas approach, and ask that what happens at The Creative Healing Collective stays at the Collective. Facilitators might discuss themes and anecdotes from events with CHC HQ to improve the overall experience, but no direct names will be used.
7. How can I participate and support CHC if I've never experienced close loss?
At the moment, the most helpful support would be to spread the word and share this collective with people you think would benefit from our community. We are always seeking out facilitators to lead future workshops so if you know of anyone thoughtful souls that would be interested in collaborating please share the love!
8. Are there any other resources you recommend for life after loss?
(answer sourced directly from The Dinner Party)
Take a look at some of the rituals and practices for navigating life after loss that have surfaced across our tables here. Also, a few quick-ish reads we’ve loved:
The Long Goodbye, Slate, Meghan O’Rourke (A series of nine articles that ran a few years back, each pulled from O’Rourke’s book by the same name. Our fave entry: “Hamlet’s Not Depressed, He’s Grieving”)
A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma, Sojourners, Catherine Woodiwiss
In Grief, Try Personal Rituals, The Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith
If you’re actively grieving & looking for support, check out:
And if you’re into Twitter, these folks are worth a follow.
We get that all of our stories are different, and what works for one may not work all. At the end of the day, find what feeds you.
9. How do I find out about upcoming events?
*Thank you to our friends at The Dinner Party for letting us use their thoughtful answers to these sensitive questions.
Still have questions? Email us at Creative.Healing.Collective@gmail.com