Last night at dusk a group of us gathered on the shore to honor the whales, dolphins, and other animals that have been dying in extraordinary numbers, as well as to honor our pain and other emotions.

After earth poetry and grounding, we shared a Truth Mandala in which participants take turns stepping into the center of a ritual circle we created in the sand, divided into four quadrants, each containing an object through which they can speak their pain for the world. The objects (dry leaves, a stone, a stick, and an empty bowl) are picked up and used to express the emotions of fear, sorrow, anger, and emptiness or hunger for what is missing.

Sometimes the circle itself is considered to represent hope. We added feathers found on the beach to symbolize hope (as in Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers…”).

Then we told the hard truth—about the state of the world, about the state of our emotions. Thanks everyone who came out and shared their selves in vulnerability and honesty.

Describing this practice in her book Coming Back to Life Joanna says: “Truth-telling is like oxygen: it enlivens us. Without it we grow confused and numb. It is also a homecoming, bringing us back to powerful connection and basic authority.”

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