In the late-lunch break of a recent weekend workshop ‘Ease of Being’ I am drawn again to Grantchester churchyard, where so many times – at other workshops in this series – I’ve experienced successive waves of frustration, peace, delight in being received, and validation.
To my view, the essence of Joanna Watters’ enquiry work – explored with twelve others on a September weekend – is that we reply to the underlying question, offered in a compassionate holding:
“What’s going on for me right now?
What feeling, bodily sensation, or thought can I own, voice and let go?”
Today I am aware of loss, as I re-visit some of the places where ‘This Work’ with Joanna has yielded its own sweet fruits.
And, held by the dissonance of ill-tuned church bells – ringing now for a wedding – I linger beyond the allowed lunch-break, choosing to transgress the clearly negotiated boundaries.
I do this with my eyes open, and in the certainty – or at least probability – that each person work-shopping in that Village Hall knows me enough to be assured that I am OK, and indeed that I am very well.
(And at that very point the workshop host appears before me. Not to call me back! Rather, to relay Joanna’s consent: that indeed I can do what I know to be what I need, in this moment. To stay, alone and strangely content, in the graveyard, surrounded by the remains of the great and the good, the local and the unsung. And who is to know what is which?)
Returning to reflecting – and to writing about it – I consider again what has kept me here, sitting on Mark Anthony Larner’s memorial seat, marking the short compass of his life, opposite the headstone that celebrates his 24 years.
What holds me here is a recognition of my own continuing grief at the losses that have dogged my 65 years (and counting) of life. Losses of many and varied constants that are never constant, certainties that are seldom certain, permanences that are always impermanent. And experiences that shift, move, and fall away, even as I lean in to hold them.
Welcome, grief; welcome loss. Welcome, being human.
Saturday 15 September 2018, Grantchester Churchyard, Cambridgeshire, UK.