21.4 C
Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

What the world needs now is… grief, sweet grief

Latest News

Not quite ‘too late’

Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia Sir David Attenborough, the world’s most famous naturalist, has just addressed the United Nations Security Council to...

Other News

Ballina Shire Council meeting wrap-up

The last Ballina meeting was another bruising encounter for some councillors, though there were several unanimous decisions too.

Naming Ben Franklin

Cecily McGee, Mullumbimby It's very misleading for the Byron Shire Echo to repeatedly give Ben Franklin free media coverage,  as in...

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 3 March, 2021

Nimbin medicinal cannabis event, March 27

Two experienced medical cannabis doctors and a retired magistrate who is passionate about changing the drug driving rules will take part in the MEDICAN gathering in Nimbin.

Be proud of Ballina, help clean up our beaches

This Sunday, 7 March, Ballina Coastcare is inviting everyone who cares about Ballina's environment to Step Up To Clean Up, and join a special event for Clean Up Australia Day.

Action on Cumbalum Interchange at Ballina?

Following multiple community requests, Cr Phillip Meehan brought a motion to the last Ballina Council meeting calling for additional ramps to be built at the Cumbalum-Pacific Motorway interchange.

Paul Bibby

Late last year Ella Rose Goninan lost a loved one.

‘I dropped everything and stayed with family for six weeks,’ the co-founder of Renewfest (the Shire’s festival of ecological renewal) says.

‘It was exactly at the time when I would have done a lot of work on the festival but I just couldn’t.’

She thought about postponing the event entirely, but there was one speaker who had already been booked in.

It was Stephen Jenkinson – a Canadian author and teacher who speaks with incredible insight and eloquence on a range of topics, most notably grief and death.

‘I just thought, let’s go ahead with Stephen and let’s have a vigil for grief and loss,’ Ella says.

Scores of locals attended a vigil for grief in Mullumbimby as part of a weekend of grief and renewal.

So it unfolded that The Shire experienced a different kind of ‘renewal’ last weekend; one that was perhaps more sober but with a no-less profound message for the future of the planet.

From lunch time on Saturday to Sunday night, a vigil for grief was held at the Mullumbimby showgrounds.

Around 400 people of all different ages attended, with up to 50 there at any one time.

Locals sat quietly in contemplation, walked in the Autumn sun, accompanied by birdsong and the deep, ethereal soundscape created by Ella’s partner and festival co-curator Luke Jaaniste.

Mr Jenkinson gave two talks during the course of the weekend – one on eldership and the other on grief and loss.

Drawing on 10 years experience working in the palliative care unit of a major hospital (which he described as being in ‘the death trade’) Jenkinson says that contemporary western society had become ‘death phobic and grief illiterate’.

‘Grief is a thing to be learned not a thing to be endured,’ Mr Jenkinson has said in multiple talks and interviews, as well as his award-winning book Die Wise.

‘I’ve been teaching that grief is a midwife to what it means to be alive and to be human.’

The author of four books argues that in western culture we have lost the traditional ceremonies and rituals that once imbued us with a deeper understanding of grief from a young age.

He describes this as a ‘radical moral intelligence’ that is an essential part of learning how to love.

Ms Goninan shares the author’s belief that our ‘grief phobia’ is part of a broader disconnection that is a root cause of the current climate crisis.

‘I think that when we lost our connection to grief and death we lost our connection to being fully human,’ she says.

‘We became obsessed with always having more – more happiness, more material things. And I think all of these were root causes of the climate emergency.’

A true and loving sense of grief was needed now more than ever, she said.

‘It has been my experience that the well-spring of grief is also the well-spring of true love, purpose and energising joy,’ she says.

‘These are the human qualities we need in bucket loads, to guide and direct us safely through and out of the current climate emergency.’

She said the vigil had been profound and moving for many, and suggested that those who attended make time for their feelings and ‘creating space for what is unfolding’.

‘If you are seeking further support, please be in touch, and we can see who in our community of carers we could connect you with,’ she said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Suspicion and belief

Fast Buck$, Coorabell My suspicion is that the mayor and the senior staff have been helping Michael Lyon become electable as mayor by scripting his...


I Menahemi, Myocum In his editorial Hans Lovejoy says – ‘the optics from The Echo have been and hopefully always will be independent.’ As long as more...

Suffolk Park pump track

Jinesh Attard, Suffolk Park Many in the local community of hillside Suffolk Park have come to understand the impact the pump track will have on our...

New Greens team

Matthew O’Reilly President of CABS and a proud member of the NEW Byron Greens team It seems that some readers have taken my comments on the...