Every third Thursday of the month, the Reimagine community holds space for those mourning loss. Volunteers facilitate these peer-led gatherings using art and prompts to spark conversation and reflection. Room for Grief gatherings are intended for adults across generations.
Mangda Sengvanhpheng is an artist, contemplative care practitioner, and the Founder of BACII. She is devoted to creating a deeper culture of care, transcending our circumstances, and expanding our experiences through the wisdom of impermanence. Mangda offers supportive services, regenerative programming, and intentional products for individuals, communities, and organizations alike. Her life and death work is guided by her Laotian last name, which means “the light of the full moon.”
BACII is inspired by all of her experiences with loss and life, and specifically the loss of her mother. This life-changing experience of helping her mother through the dying process included being with her in the final moments, washing and dressing her body, arranging a funeral service, and managing a household of tasks that come with death. This experience revealed to her how difficult and isolating grief and loss can be. This led her to reimagine our society’s relationship to the end-of-life as a healthier and more supportive experience.
Driven by these experiences, Mangda became a certified death doula through Going with Grace and an end-of-life volunteer. She then launched BACII as a platform to integrate death into our lives so that we can better support ourselves and those we love.
Additionally she has been immersed in the mystical, creative, and healing arts for over 15 years and is certified and trained in pranayama, asanas, and meditation with Bhooma Chaitanya and Swami Yogeshananda through Aarasha Yoga Vidya Peetham in Kerala, India, Reiki 2 accreditation by Joanna Crespo, NYC, 13th Octave LaHoChi accreditation from Soul Healing, CT, Grief Literacy from Be Here, and Contemplative Care from New York Zen Center.
Mangda was an awarded recipient of Reclamation Ventures grant for under-represented leaders making pathways to addressing grief and loss.
Her work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, NY Mag’s Curbed, Brydie, Chacruna Institute, Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish Wall Street Journal) and more.
What’s said here stays here, what’s learned here leaves here.
See these questions (and this whole experience) as an invitation, not a demand. If you are moved to answer a different question than one we have listed, go for it. If you’re moved to sit and listen, that’s ok too - just being here is participating.
Speak from the heart
We’re used to speaking what we think we should, what we think others want to hear, or from ideas or stories we’ve told ourselves over and over. See if you can take risks to root into what is true and to share from that vulnerable place.
Listen from the heart
See if you can be fully present to what’s here, listening with compassion to whoever is speaking. Try on turning any judgement that arises (including judgment of yourself!) into wonder. “I wonder what brought her to this belief?” “I wonder what I don’t get?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?” See if it’s possible to set aside judgment to listen to others—and to yourself—more deeply.
No one right way
There’s no one right way to grieve, to do this retreat, or to express yourself (for example: totally ok to cry, and totally ok not to cry). Try to reserve judgment, of others and of yourself.
Trust the silence
Take a few breaths before even thinking of responding or offering your own words. Learn to trust the silence, and to notice what arises in it. Take your time.
Cool is the enemy
Try on the idea that you (and everyone else here) totally belong. Let’s try to be an easy crowd for each other. That means presuming welcome, and extending welcome. What if we all let go of “cool”? Cool is the enemy. ;)
Share air time
Take space & make space. Groups work best when everyone has their eye on this.
Speak your truth in ways that respect other people’s truths. Consider using “I” statements so that you can speak from your center, instead of generalizing or making assumptions about everyone else.
No fixing, saving, advising, correcting
No need to jump in to fix anything, save anyone, or offer unsolicited advice. Trust folks’ own processes.
Focus on stories about loved ones
This is a space in which we center stories and support. If you are here to challenge or argue the safety practices of others (e.g., masking in public, vaccinations), this is not a space for you.