Introduction to Grief Work: A Weekend Training for Activists

Facilitated by Amy Wright Glenn and Naima Beckles
June 18-20 or June 25-27

The Watershed Center is pleased to announce that we will be offering 2 weekend retreats addressing grief, loss, and revitalization this summer. This training is a collaboration between Watershed and the Institute for the Study of Birth Breath and Death.  

Due to overwhelming interest, we are at capacity for the June retreat dates. We are accepting applicants for our waiting list and we also anticipate adding more weekends later this summer. If you would like to be added to our waiting list or to know about future dates, please fill out the below application.

As people engaged in social change, we know grief. We carry our own stories of loss and we encounter deep wells of sorrow through our work. This past year through the Covid pandemic, both our individual sorrows and the collective experience of loss has magnified, significantly. So many of us have found ourselves moving through a loss of connection, loss of livelihood, loss of identity, loss of hope ~ and for many of us, also, the loss of loved ones. 

Our hearts hurt. 

Yet, we live in a “grief-phobic” culture. Rampant consumerism, addictions, and busyness assuage and cover our individual and collective grief. Generational trauma is relegated to repeat over and over again. If Covid has taught us anything, it has shown us that now is the time to engage directly with grief work. Covid may serve as a catalyst for deepening our personal and collective understanding of what it means to grieve. May we use this time to learn how to hold space for these deep energies, and in doing so, transform ourselves and support each other in transforming the world. 

As we choose to engage with grief, as we set aside distractions and open our hearts to our own sorrows ~ we reclaim and redefine our ancestral, biological, and spiritual connection to death, loss, and renewal. We can feel a liberatory shift in how we approach both our lives and our social change work.

This weekend training, led by author, hospital chaplain, birth/death doula, and mother Amy Wright Glenn is focused on an in-depth introduction to grief work. How can we shift our own orientation to loss and sorrow? We can build communities of care ~ and transform how we engage our work in this world. 

Introduction to Grief Work includes: 

  • An exploration of grief, mourning, and holding space 
  • Deeping into what it means to love, to die and to let go
  • Creating a safe space for us to share our stories and challenges
  • Making commitments to our own resilience practices
  • Holding compassion and patience for all the ways we mourn
  • Learning how to hold space emotionally and energetically for both self and others through grief
  • Envisioning a culture that embraces the existence and wisdom of grief, death, and mourning in community
  • Relaxing, being in our bodies, in nature, eating good food and restoring 

COVID-19 Precautions

While we are thrilled to be offering retreats this summer, we all know that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. We at Watershed are going to do all we can to make your experience as safe as possible. All of our staff are vaccinated and very careful. We do ask that you also do all you can do to ensure the safety of your fellow participants. Due to this fact, we must ask that you attend this retreat having been fully vaccinated.  

Due to COVID-19, we will be asking that most participants sleep in our deluxe tents (7 foot ceilings, led lights, closets, air mattresses…) in our tent village. If you have access needs requiring indoor sleeping accommodations, we will be offering a few indoor sleeping spaces. You can indicate this on your application. 

We will be having our meals under our 40 foot tent, and using our well ventilated yurt for meeting space. 


We received a generous grant to offset the cost of this retreat. We asking participants to pay $200 for the weekend, which will cover food, accommodations, and the training. We welcome you to offer a donation at your comfort level. 

Prerequisite reading: Holding Space ~ On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go by Amy Wright Glenn 


Amy Wright Glenn holds an MA in Religion and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Amy taught for eleven years in the Religion and Philosophy Department at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey earning the Dunbar Abston Jr. Chair for Teaching Excellence. She is a birth and death doula, hospital chaplain, Kripalu Yoga teacher, and founder of the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death. From 2015 to 2020, Amy served as an active contributor to PhillyVoice writing on topics relating to birth, death, parenting, and spirituality. Amy is the author of Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula and Holding Space: On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go. Currently, Amy is writing her third book focusing on self-care for educators co-authored with Nicole Furlong, Professor and Director of the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. Amy has trained over 900 professionals in the work of holdings space for life’s transitions ~ and focuses specifically on grief and bereavement care. To learn more, visit:

Naima Beckles holds an MA from Loyola Marymount University and taught middle and high school students in Los Angeles, DC, and New York City. Naima is an educator, doula and founding director of For Your Birth – an intentionally diverse doula agency. Soon after the birth of her first child, she chose the work of supporting expectant parents and earned certifications from Lamaze and DONA.  While training with Amy Glenn Wright in a pregnancy loss course, the desire to hold space for life’s big losses, including death, was sparked.  As a teacher, doula, and mother; Naima lovingly stands alongside individuals navigating difficulties and triumphs. Naima offers private consultations with individuals who are experiencing any kind of loss during this confusing and difficult time.