March 17th, 4pm – March 19th, 2pm
Brittany’s Mountain Retreat
Leicester, NC

“The Well of Grief”
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface of the well of grief
turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear, nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown away by those who wished for something else.”
~David Whyte

There is a tribe of Mayans that call longtime, unexpressed emotions “petrified sorrow.”  Their understanding is that if feelings such as sorrow, anger, shame or hatred go unattended for too long they can become solidified in the body creating chronic pain and disease. In that village, a person in grief is provided whatever they need to completely lose control and fully release what needs to flow through them as a way of honoring the personal pain or loss and as a means of maintaining a more optimum physical, mental and emotional state.
In many indigenous cultures public expression of grief is common place.  It is done in community with the understanding that a person in crisis is a reflection of a collective crisis and is providing an opportunity for the entire village to heal.  It is considered a group endeavor where one person’s tears help to activate and pull out another person’s tears.  In this sense, we contribute to each others’ healing and actually embody the idea that everything is connected.

Where grief is stifled, one’s imagination, soul and the earth all suffer.  The buildup of emotional debris becomes an obstacle to accessing one’s authenticity and the capacity to carry the responsibilities of life in an integrated manner.  Descending into the “dark well,” as the poem says, requires courage, but what waits for us in that deep darkness is a light, vitality and lightness that cannot be retrieved otherwise.

“After experiencing my own spontaneous physical healing with this ritual, I am compelled to offer it to others recognizing the tremendous affect the emotions can have on our bodies and psyches depending on what we choose to do with them.  The grief ritual we will be engaged in has been brought to the West by initiated elder and shaman Malidoma Somé of the Dagara tribe in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  I have been working with Malidoma since 2007 and have received his blessing to bring this profound and deeply healing ritual to the larger community. “  Jon Rousseau

“People who do not know how to weep together are people who cannot laugh together.”
–Malidoma Some`

Some benefits that have been reported by people after doing this work include shifting old behavioral or mental patterns, feeling increased vitality and energy, improved mental clarity and acuity, accessing a deeper connection to joy and healing chronic pain in the body.

Proper grieving is our birthright as humans.  To grieve together is to create more beauty on earth.  Give yourself the gift that will nourish and revitalize your soul.  Bring your voice, your stories, your song, your heart beat and contribute to the rebuilding of the world.  Let us come together and remember our responsibility to ourselves, one another, nature and the ancestors.

Some Additional Details about Our Time Together

We will gather together within community for 3 days & 2 nights. Our venue is located just 12 miles NW of Asheville, NC amidst the beautiful blue-ridge mountains and offers us the option of indoor lodging, or camping on the land (you bring your own tent and camping supplies). Meals will be provided for you, or you may choose to bring your own food and use the onsite kitchen. Depending on your lodging and meal preferences:

Tuition Range for this 3-day Intensive is $240-$320
For Additional Details and/or to receive your Registration Packet,
please e-mail

Your Guides for this 3-day intensive are Jon Rousseau, MSW & Theresa Sykes Brittany, MS.
To learn more about Theresa, please feel free to follow this link:

Theresa’s Website: