Capture Your Grief is a mindful healing project for anyone who is grieving the death or a baby (of any age or gestation) child, or loved one. We welcome anyone and everyone to take part. This year’s Capture Your Grief is a little different. There are 31 acts, one for each day in the month of October. You are invited to perform each act and share a photo, artwork, video or written word that captures your own journey. Capture Your Grief is about becoming more present and conscious in your grief experience so that you may learn more about yourself and hopefully discover more ways of healing to aid you in your journey of grief and personal growth. It is also my hope that through the magic of social media you will find and connect with new people and make some beautiful friendships. You can join the project at any time of the month and there is no pressure to take part every single day. This year, I am inviting you to create a legacy of loving kindness in memory of your baby/child/love ones. The theme is “Their Light Shines On”. Over the course of October, I will be inviting you to perform different acts of kindness. Each act/day is to be done to benefit your own well-being and healing as well as others. October can be draining if you belong to the bereaved parents community so instead of exploring our grief that takes you to all kinds of places, like we have done in previous years, we want this month to lift your spirits. You can choose to do just one act, every act or pick and choose your acts. There is no pressure to do them all.
CAPTURE YOUR GRIEF INTUITION
Listen to it. If something in this project feels like too much for you to do or if it becomes a chore – stop. You need to ask yourself if this is helping you or harming you? There is absolutely no pressure to complete this whole project. Set no goals other than to do what feels right for you. You are not letting anyone down if you do not take part everyday. I promise.
I want you to treat Capture Your Grief as if you were on a heart healing retreat. In my perfect world, this project would not be done online. We would all come together in person and spend a month together connecting with each other and reconnecting with ourselves. This Capture Your Grief journey is more about transforming your grief, with one soul purpose – to create meaning and beauty in our lives after the death of our babies, children and loved ones. How will we do this? By taking this month to honour their lives by spreading kindness and compassion in their names, because their light shines on – through us.
While this is a month of spreading awareness for our community, Capture Your Grief is about becoming more self-aware. Taking time out of our day to slow down. To be mindful. To reconnect. To feel. To clear and let go. To create. To honour. To shine. Our lives are filled with so much these days. People are busy, stressed, sick and so often everything feels rushed. In this project I invite you to slow down. Sundays in Capture Your Grief are days to rest. We will have a Tribe check in, but there is no subject for that day with an exception of October 15th. Our tribe will come together for a live facebook + instagram chat and if you cannot make the time zone the chat will be available to watch in facebook at any time.
Most of the people who join Capture Your Grief are bereaved parents. For this reason, below, I will use the word child when it comes to the different acts we shall be performing instead of baby/ies, child/ren, loved one/s. It just ends up being very long winded. Please interpret the word child to suit your situation.
RESPECT + COMPASSION
We are a compassionate, empathetic Tribe here at Capture Your Grief. We all belong. It does not matter how your child died or what age or gestation they are. It does not matter where you live or what your spiritual beliefs are. What matters is that you are here because you are living without a piece of your heart. What matters is that they existed and that you are here with us to honour them. If you see a post from someone else that does align with your beliefs or journey, we kindly ask to keep any negative thoughts to yourself. In this project, we send out only love to one another. We are here to hold space for ourselves and each other. The only time we look down on another is if we are lifting them up. Thank you for respecting and honouring what he have here at Capture Your Grief.
HOW DO I TAKE PART AND WHERE?
Below are the 31 acts (Please feel welcome to copy and share the acts image with your own support communities and friends!). You are welcome to keep this project private and to yourself or share it on your favourite social media platform. Most people who take part share a photograph for each day. If you are choosing to share your project online please make sure that the beginning of your photograph caption is titled with the project name, day number and subject, for example: “Capture Your Grief – Day 1. Sunrise Blessing”. Each day of the event there will be a new photo and video up on my facebook page and also on my instagram. Only share online what you feel completely comfortable with.
ARE THERE ANY RULES?
Yes. The first rule – take good care of yourself and remember to listen to your intuition. A good way to remember this is if you are feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself if this is helping or harming you? The second rule – use your own photographs and words. This is your own authentic journey. You do not need google images to tell your story. The third rule – be kind.
OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA HOME LINKS
Please use the hashtags #captureyourgrief2017 and #whathealsyou to spread the word about the project and have others to find you. You could also use #captureyourgrief on its own or even add your home city to the end to help others find you if you are open to connecting with new people close by. For example #captureyourgrieflosangeles Please share this project with your friends, family and support groups. Every year we hear the same “I wish I had of known about this!” comments. So please help us to spread the word!
The Capture Your Grief Acts of Kindness and Compassion for 2017
1. SUNRISE BLESSING | Rise early to see the sunrise. Step outside into the fresh air and take some time to breathe the sunrise in. Watch all of the colours of your world transform before your eyes. Spend some time reflecting upon what you want you want to cultivate this month. If there is no visible sunrise in your part of the world because of the weather, that is okay, this is life and mother nature. All that matters is that you take the time out of your day to be with us all in spirit and make space for a new beginning. Take a photograph of your sunrise where you are right now and if you post it online share what State/Country you are in and the time of the sunrise. You can google the sunrise time in your part of the world and set your alarm if you are a sleepy head like me. Send some love out to everyone else in the world who is grieving the death of a child and remember those gone before us who were made to grieve in silence. We honour these people too. Take a deep breath. This sunrise is a symbol of a new beginning. A new month. A new time. A new grief. A new love. A new meaning. I will be streaming the sunrise here in Perth live, via facebook.
2. RISE + SHINE MOURNING RITUAL | Create a new mourning ritual. When you rise in the morning spend a few moments in silence and create space for yourself. Wherever you choose to do this, whether it is at the end of your bed as you wake up or out side with a cup of tea, take a few minutes to ground yourself. You can do this by either sitting on the ground or placing both feet flat on the floor. Take a good posture and close your eyes. Take some slow relaxing breaths in and out. Envision your child’s light burning bright like the sun from your heart. Once you feel calm, awake and present, dedicate your day to living for your child and set an intention for how you want your day be. Write it down and share it with us.
3. MEANINGFUL MANTRA | Create a mantra for yourself for this month. Something that you can say to yourself over and over. Something that lifts your spirits. An example – “Today, I live for you. Today I love for you.” Your mantra can be anything that you want. If you say it over an over enough, you will find yourself beginning to live that mantra. Write your mantra down. Write it down multiple times. Put it in different places where you will see it during your day. On your fridge, in your bathroom mirror, one the steering wheel of your car, etc. You may change your mantra up as we move through this month if you want to. Share your mantra with your tribe.
4. BELONGING | When your child dies, your sense of belonging can be torn apart. Friendships change and we often become the elephant in the room. The circles we belong in no longer feel comfortable. This is a secondary loss. As human beings we need to feel that we belong. If we do not belong, we are left feeling isolated which is a lonely place to be. Have a think about the relationships you have in your life. Have you found your tribe? What do they mean to you? Are you in need of a new tribe? Surrounding yourself with like-hearted people – people who make you feel good, the people who make you feel at home will become cherished like family. “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to BE who you are” – Brene Brown.
5. SOUL THERAPY | What is good for your soul? What brings you calm, joy or healing? Is it walking through a forest or on the beach? Is it creating art or spending time in your garden? Is it listening to music? Connect with that part of you that longs to do these things and start booking yourself a soul appointments in your diary each week. Making time to do these simple things that lift your spirits and feed your soul is essential to living a meaningful life after loss. We often talk about how we don’t have the time, when really we can create the time 🙂 Do something special for yourself today. Even if it is just taking an afternoon nap. Share your soul therapy.
6. BELLA LUNA | This evening there is going to be a beautiful full moon rising. Google the time that it rises in your city and take some quiet time out to watch it. You may even want to make a night of it and watch it with your loved ones. Have a think about making it a tradition in your home as it is truly a beautiful thing to watch happen before your eyes. Share a photo of the moon rising in your part of the world and make sure you share where you watch it from. Tonight I will be hosting a live guided meditation on facebook and instagram and everyone is welcome to join in. I will post the time of the meditation closer to the day.
7. FOR THE FIRST TIME | So often in this community, we talk about firsts. Especially firsts without our children. First birthday, first day at school, first Christmas, first Father’s Day etc. Today, holding your children in your heart, I invite you to do something for the first time. It could be exploring your home town in places you have never been before. It could be buying some paints and paint brushes and painting out your grief. Maybe it is getting up in the middle of the night to sit outside and star gaze. Whatever your first is, make it beautiful and do it to honour your child and share your experience with us all!
8. SUNDAY TRIBE CIRCLE | Rest my beautiful friends. I will update you all on my facebook page when our chat will go live.
9. CLEAR + LET GO | Today we are letting go in the physical sense to help let go in the spiritual sense. Today, we clear space in our homes to make room for tomorrows gorgeous act. Clearing clutter in your home does wonders for your mental and physical health. It gives you room and space to breathe. We fill up our lives with so much stuff that we really do not need. Happiness exists not in possessions but in experiences. Abbey Lincoln’s song “Throw It Away” comes to mind. “Throw it away. Give your love, live your life. Each and everyday. Keep your hands wide open. Let the sun shine through. ‘Cause you can never lose a thing, if it belongs to you”. Today, be ruthless. If you are not sure whether or not to throw something out, ask yourself, do I actually use this and if not – does it bring me joy? If you have been on the minimalist journey before (and what a wonderful journey it is!), I invite you to clear your social media as well. Ask yourself when looking at the groups you are in and the pages you like, if they are helping or harming you in this walk of grief and healing. Clean up your friends list. If you do not want to delete a friend but you know their posts are not good for your heart, you can always unfollow them.
10. A SPACE RE-IMAGINED | Today I invite you all to start creating a new healing space in your home. It doesn’t have to be a large area, just a space where you can sit to just be, but of course if you have a spare room that collects clutter, this is the perfect opportunity for you create a healing room for you and your family. Dedicate this space to your child and to all who mourn their death. What do you put in your healing space? I guess it all comes down to how much space you have. Ideally it would be wonderful to have a comfy chair or cushion for you to sit on. Bring in meaningful mementos that remind you of your child. Fill your space with colour and life. Photographs, inspiring words, pieces of earth, plants etc. This space is for quiet times. Reading, meditating, praying, colouring in, writing, resting and just being. This space could be your mourning ritual space. Taking time each day to slow down and reconnect is so important for the soul. Enjoy creating your new space in loving memory of your child. I cannot wait to see all of your new space grow and evolve over this next month.
11. LIFE IS SHORT | If you are here, you know that statement is oh so true. Today, think about the people in your life who mean so much to you. When was the last time you told them how much they mean to you? We never know what the future holds for any of us, so today, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.
12. A DAY TO SHINE | Today set yourself a challenge to spread as much love as possible, In real life and online. This is your day to let your child’s love shine through. Do your best to spread loving kindness wherever you go. That may come in the form of smiling at strangers, complimenting the person behind the counter, offering to help someone out, etc.
13. STUDENT OF LIFE | Today, lets learn something new. You can choose any topic that you wish to learn about. It could be about a place, a person, history, geography, philosophy. Your options are infinite. You can stay inside and search the internet or maybe if you feel like getting out, you could go and visit your local library or even an art gallery. Share what you chose to learn about and why.
14. SECRET ACT OF KINDNESS | Today, perform a random act of kindness but tell no one what it was. Not even us. Just share how it made you feel.
15. SUNDAY TRIBE | Wave of Light | Tonight at 7pm light a candle in loving memory of all the babies and children who have gone too soon. Tonight we shall gather online for our Sunday Tribe Circle by candlelight. I will be reading some poetry and playing some music as well.
16. CONSCIOUS GRATITUDE | Telling people to be grateful while they are grieving is kind of insulting, especially if it comes from someone who has not experienced the death of a child. You cannot force a person to feel gratitude, just like you cannot force someone to feel forgiveness. You either feel it or you don’t. Never the less, today we look a little deeper into this notion of gratitude. Even if it is just entertaining the idea of it. Cultivating gratitude can be a powerful healing tool. When we become grateful, our hearts and eyes are open to all the good in our lives. Are you grateful for anything? What are your thoughts on this subject?
17. MAKE BELIEVE | “Make believe I’m everywhere. Given in the light” – The Never Ending Story. These lyrics have been a huge part of my grieving life. To make believe he is everywhere. I promised him that I would live a beautiful life. These lyrics hold me to that promise. I fail and succeed at keeping it all the time but that isn’t the point. The point is that I hold on to that idea that he is everywhere. I try to live my life to make him proud. Our world is in much need of kindness and compassion. Today, imagine that you child is with you. Hold them in your heart everywhere you go. Teach them about kindness when you interact with others.
18. THE GRIEF SHIFT | I have always loved this quote by Rumi – “Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”. What has your experience with grief been like? Do you think of your pain as an enemy or have you made friends with it? Do you believe you can transform the way you feel about it? Where are you currently in your grief journey? Have you had any enlightening moments that you would like to share with others?
19. EARTH LOVE | Do something good for our planet today. Whether it is plant a tree, pick up some litter at a local park or swap a cleaning product for an environmentally friendly one, do something that helps rather than harms our beautiful planet.
20. LAUGHTER MEDICINE | Let me remind you of our Capture Your Grief Intuition before I share about today’s act. If this is too hard – it’s okay 🙂 Do what is right for you. Take today off if that is what’s best. Laughing after loss sometimes seems impossible. There are feelings of guilt and even unworthiness, especially if your grief is new and raw. How could we possibly laugh after what has happened? But the reality of life is that it is beautiful and devastating and difficult and exciting and sometimes funny. I remember the first time I laughed after our son died. I went from laughing out loud to having to leave the room because of the onslaught of guilt that I felt. If my family saw me laugh, they might think I am all better now. But then I thought of him and what he would want me to be doing. I knew straight away that he would want me to laugh and laugh often. So I started self-medicating with humor. My husband and I lay in bed each night and exchange funny videos on facebook and youtube. It might sound silly to you, but wow does it help. I usually end up crying from laughing so much and that is a release in itself. Today, surround yourself with humor. If you are on facebook, ask your friends to share their favourite funny videos with you and watch them all. If feelings of guilt come up, that’s okay. Feel them. But then remind yourself of what your child would want you to feel if they were here and remember that you are honouring them by enjoying times like these. Share something that makes you laugh 🙂
21. NOURISH | There is a famous quote that goes “Don’t regret getting older. It’s a privilege denied to many” – And don’t we know it. I love this quote because it reminds me how lucky I am. It brings me to a place where I look at my life and the choices I make for my own personal health. As a chronic pain survivor and bereaved mother – I turn to sugar on an almost hourly basis. I am not going to try to inspire you all to jump on the healthy lifestyle wagon, but I am going to ask you today to do something today that nourishes your physical body. It could be choosing to have a really healthy lunch or maybe it is getting outside for some fresh air and a walk or maybe it is going to bed early. Whatever it is, enjoy it. Do it to honour you. Have a think about adding a nourishing act into your everyday life.
22. SUNDAY TRIBE CIRCLE | Rest my beautiful friends. I will update you all on my facebook page when our chat will go live.
23. ACTS OF KINDNESS | Today is a day to channel all your child’s light into acts of kindness. Try to be kind to yourself and everyone who you come into contact with. I dare you to smile at that stranger that you make eye contact with at the store. You never know, you might just be the first person to smile at them in a long time. Send out love, even if it is silent in your heart to everyone around you. Invite your friends to join you. Share how today made you feel.
24. CAPTURE THIS MOMENT | Today is just a moment in time and before we know it, it will be over. How are you today? What are you feeling. Write it all down on a piece of paper. Make sure you write where you are and what the date is. A beautiful idea is to press a flower with what you write in a book. Now put that book away in a safe place for you to rediscover in the future.
25. INDESTRUCTIBLE HEART | As bereaved parents we hear things like “You are so strong” all the time. Interesting how many people do not feel it though. The truth is, we are pretty resilient. If you are here to read this, it means you have survived every difficult, horrific, tragic day of your life. That is all kinds of mighty. But we can be more than survivors. Charles R. Swindoll says “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” We have power here and we can change at any time. You are the author of your own story. How are you writing it? You have the power to live a beautiful life. What are you thoughts on this subject?
26. UNIVERSE MIRACULOUS | What helped me to continue moving forward in my grief were times that I was reminded that this world we live in is miraculous and full of wonder. Today, like last week’s act of laughter medicine, I invite you to spend some time today exploring the beauty and wildness of this universe. Invite your friends to share their most favourite, amazing, jaw dropping videos, photographs etc on social media. If you are stuck on what to look up, here are a few ideas. Look up time lapse atsrophotography. Look up anything that David Attenborough has done, or step outside into nature itself and take it all in. Share with your Capture Your Grief Tribe what left you in awe today.
27. PASSION | Creating meaning in life is your key to healing after the death of your child. How do you create meaning? You create it by living your passions in honour of your child. Bring passion into your daily life. Not sure what you are passionate about? Think about what brings you joy? If you are stuck on what that is, ask yourself if any of the acts in this project have brought you any joy. If they haven’t, think back to your previous life before loss. Reconnect with what that was. You might feel like a completely different person now and maybe you are but there maybe a passion laying dormant in your subconsciousness. Ask yourself how you want to feel in 10 years time? What do you think you need to start doing now to get to that point?
28. UPSIDE DOWN | Grief turns your world upside down and we sometimes feel like we have lost control over everything. It is then that we fall into routines and habits. Sometimes those routines create a mundane sense of life. It is then when we are at risk of existing instead of fully living. Today change up your routine. Especially if you live by one. Add something in, leave something out. Do something spontaneous. Be a little wild! Move furniture around, paint a wall a different colour, have dessert for dinner – whatever it is, make it something different and memorable.
29. SUNDAY TRIBE CIRCLE | Rest my beautiful friends. I will update you all on my facebook page when our chat will go live.
30. REFLECT | Today have a look back on your Capture Your Grief journey. What brought you joy? What helped? What didn’t? Moving on after this project, what new practices will you bring into your life?
31. SUNSET BLESSING | As the sun sets on another year of Capture Your Grief let us come together in spirit in our own home towns. We give thanks to everyone who shared their hearts with us this month. We give thanks to those who supported us in this journey. May we always stand strong with the light of our children in our hearts. May that light always shine bright for them and for us. I look forward to seeing all of your sunsets. I will give you all the details to our live chat closer to the day.