Making Beauty Out of Grief: Earth Altars

This 7-step practice of creating impermanent earth altars made from nature, akin to mandalas, is a time-tested mindfulness practice to express grief, memory, and love.

A resource by Morning Altars

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Grief is another way of loving what has been lost and love is another way of grieving what hasn’t yet left us. Yet, in our modern culture, we are grief-illiterate and death-phobic. We don’t know how to mark loss so that we can grieve-well and, therefore, love-well. Instead, our culture tells us to only value growth so many of us suppress, bypass or get stuck in our grief.

Grief must be metabolized and processed so that it can feed our life. Nature, art and ritual are three ways cultures around the world have been transforming grief into beauty for thousands of years. Separately, they open our hearts, bring us back to our center and connect us back into what’s meaningful. But TOGETHER, they become a resource and skill so we can feel human again.

Morning Altars is a 7-step practice of creating impermanent earth altars made from nature, akin to mandalas, that is a time-tested mindfulness practice to express grief, memory, love and prayers through nature, art and ritual.

In this workshop, we will dive-deep into the story of who we are grieving — be it the passing of a friend, the loss of a relationship or a major life change — and create impermanent earth art devoted to who we are letting go of. We will learn new ways to grieve through skills such as wonder, creativity, prayer, community and impermanence. This is a simple yet highly-effective practice for any stage of life, because learning to grieve-well is also learning to live-well.

Join Day Schildkret, internationally renowned earth artist and author of “Morning Altars” for a hands-on practice that BuzzFeed calls, “a celebration of life and nature.” This workshop will give you a much-needed digital detox that will calm your mind, connect you back to the wisdom of the earth and give you the tools and teachings to turn your grief into beauty.

My Inspiration

I’ve always felt a connection to nature. When I was a kid, after a rainstorm, I would go out to the pavement and rescue the worms and return them to the earth and grass in our yard. Later in life — after a difficult breakup — I was walking my dog one day when I spotted some mushrooms, eucalyptus bark leaves and twigs along the trail, and I instinctively began to arrange them into a pattern on the ground. Afterwards my grief felt lighter. The next day on my walk, I created another earth design along the trail, and I vowed to keep doing it for 30 days to ease my pain. Soon people noticed and wanted to know more. And eventually @morningaltars was born. I am honored that what began on a morning dog walk has turned into an international movement that has inspired tens of thousands of people to forage, build and be awed by earth art. This has become a spiritual practice that renews people’s relationship with nature, creativity and impermanence.

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