My loves,

Welcome to the second installment of our spring series! This is a time of unprecedented grief — pandemic, climate crisis, racial violence, economic pain, and war. It’s easy to be ashamed of our grief, or bury it to get through each day. But being brave with grief is how we survive, heal, and rise.

This week, we explore what it means to GRIEVE — the practice of feeling the pain of loss, your own or another’s.

Grief is the price of love. 

Loving someone means that one day, there will be grieving. They will leave you, or you will leave them. The more you love, the more you grieve. And so I invite you to honor your grief: it’s a sign of how deeply you have loved.

Loving someone also means grieving with them. It means letting their pain and loss bleed into your own heart. When you see that pain coming, you may want to throw up the guard rails, sound the alarm, raise the flag, but you must keep the borders of your heart porous in order to love well. Remember there is no fixing grief, only bearing it. There are no right words, only deep witness.

You don’t have to know people in order to grieve with them. You grieve with them in order to know them. 

What grief are you carrying in your body right now? What do you need to be brave with grief? Scroll down for your Grieve Practice. To go deeper, share this email with a friend and practice together.


Where do you notice feeling grief in your body? What is the quality of that grief? What is the shape of grief inside of you? If it feels uncomfortable, take another deep breath and stay with it. Breathe through it.

What does your body need to be brave with this grief? What do you need to feel it and to move through this energy? What rituals are you called to? Who do you need by your side.

Who have you not yet grieved with? Whose story have you not fully let into your heart? What community’s struggle have you not fully taken in? Notice what is happening in your body. If your fists tighten, or your heart beats fast, or if shame rises to your face, it’s okay. Breathe through it. Trust that you can. The heart is a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. You don’t need to know people in order to grieve with them. You grieve with them in order to know them.

What do you need to do to be able to grieve with them? What vigils or marches need you? What houses of worship are you ready to visit? What phone call are you ready to make? You can begin where you are, with a simple text or email, saying to someone “I’m here for you.”

#1 Create a container for your grief. You can make a grief altar with objects and photos and lit candles. You can plant flowers or seeds. Create art or scrapbooks with photographs. Write letters to your loved one and go to the sea or forest to read out loud the words that were unsaid. Choose a sacred prayer or song or mantra to recite. Carry an object that reminds you of who you are grieving. Love outlasts life. They are still part of you.

#2 Reach out to someone who you know who is grieving. Listen to them. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say; your presence is medicine. If you need words, you can say: You are grieving but you are not grieving alone. Notice what it feels like in your body as you do this. What are you learning about them? about yourself?

Go gently. If you find a moment when you say: It’s too much—all this grief, all this violence and injustice, it’s too hard — do not to judge the emotions in your body. Let them come and go. There is something called “empathy fatigue” that happens when we get overloaded by other people’s pain. The good news is that you don’t need to feel empathy all the time. Remember our definition of love: Love is not a rush of feeling: Love is sweet labor. It begins with wonder. Let the feelings come and go. What matters is the work your hands do. Rest, then return with wonder.

Read an Excerpt

“Just one week after the murder [of the Sikh American father Balbir Singh Sodhi], three thousand people came to Balbir Uncle’s memorial for prayers and tears and resolutions against hate, and this outpouring of love was enough to change [his widow’s] experience of the loss. She bore the pain, but she did not bear it alone. She shared it with people she had never met before. “They didn’t even know me,” she kept saying. “But they cried with me.” America as a whole did not grieve with us after 9/11, but it happened in pockets throughout the country where our stories were told and people showed up. In person. On the ground. At the memorials. To grieve with us… was the first step to understanding us.”                                                                                                    — excerpt from SEE NO STRANGER, Chapter 2

Start here with our introduction to the compass. I teach ten core practices of revolutionary love, backed by research and infused with ancestral wisdom. Imagine these practices as points on a compass. Point the compass toward whomever you want to practice loving— another, an opponent, or yourself. Decide what practice you need. You can use this compass as a tool in all arenas in your life.

Listen to Valarie walk you through the compass and explore stories, lesson plans, meditations, and music on our learning hub. Click here to explore!

Take the Revolutionary Love Training Course. Just pop in your earbuds and go on a journey with me. Intimate, inspirational, and practical, this course is a deep immersion in the practices of revolutionary love: How do we love when it’s hard? How do we tend the wounds in ourselves, and others? How do we stay awake to the world and still find breath, pleasure, and joy in our bodies? If you are hungry for transformation that bridges the political and personal, spirituality and social justice, this is for you.