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Clea Jonquil Hargreaves, MAS, E-RYT-500+, Archivist, Grief Counsellor, Somatic Therapist, Movement Instructor, Trauma Informed.

As an Archivist, Grief Counsellor, Yoga and Dance Instructor, Somatic Therapist, Recovering Addict, Complex Trauma Survivor and Compassionate Human it is my desire to provide a safe space for witnessing and healing as we journey together through this beautiful and at times heartbreaking gift of Life.

Throughout my life I have danced between embodiment and disassociation as a way to deal with grief, loss and complex trauma. Over thirty years have been consumed with trying to find a “fix” for my brokenness, often focusing solely on the mind as a way to reconcile the many damaging effects of abuse, addiction, neglect, grief and loss. I have waded through the muck of too many rock bottoms to count. I have lived a half-life. Held hostage within my body and mind, numb to the beauty of imperfection and paralyzed beneath the debilitating weight of shame, regret and unworthiness. Learning to re-establish, trust and connection and embrace all parts of myself in love, has allowed me to surrender my survival shame and reawaken to the grace of being fully human. No longer seeking a “fix” for my brokenness I find myself more readily embracing self-compassion and presence as a way to navigate my existence in the world. I am so grateful to be on this path and to explore deeper and with more authenticity awaken to the beauty of my broken and wonderful life.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle stated that “Memory is the scribe of the soul”[1] calling awareness to the fact that the body absorbs both life and memory like ink on paper. A compelling observation, Aristotle linked the now scientifically proven theory that physiological effects of trauma are not only stored within our brains and bodies, but that they can also reprogram our autonomic nervous system creating new insights into the effects of trauma, memory, and functional capability. This means that memory can serve to shape not only ourselves but also our societies and the world as a whole, past, present, and future. It also means that memory holds an astonishing amount of power, accurate or not, in a rather uncertain world.

For years I have been enraptured by the connection of body, mind, and soul, and the increasing awareness that is being explored as a way to explain how  grief, loss, trauma and memory affect our most basic functions of life and survival. Growing up as a dancer and then training in later years as a yoga teacher, grief counsellor, somatic trauma practitioner, archivist, and healer, I have had the privilege of experiencing the body as both a vessel for movement and emotion, as well as, a somatic memory bank of not only our lived experiences but also of the generational imprints that have come before us. As well, my specific training in yoga for depression, trauma, and grief, somatic trauma therapy, and my own creation of grief dance, has allowed me to observe the body mind connection and to see how the manifestation of simple and often unconscious bodily acts such as breathing, fight or flight response, movement, and so on, can be impacted by grief, loss, trauma, memory, and environment, both internal and external, on an individual and collective level.

In my Master of Archival Studies degree I was able to explore the connection to ephemeral memory and personal story and to study and observe the impact that narrative, trauma, experienced memory and myth, have on our conscious and unconscious minds. I was tasked with research that allowed me to delve into the idea put forth by Dr. Peter A. Levine, PhD, of whether or not “a memory [can] be trusted”[2], and how that question alone can encompass a myriad of variables including how we define ourselves and what it means to be human. As well, I was able to research the process of archival trauma and memory through the lens of individual and collective survivor testimony and witness how the process of deaccession and repatriation, along with the construction of a safe space for witnessing and voice to emerge, ultimately led to the retelling of their own cultural narrative after experiencing the trauma of dictatorship and the creation of a representative healing space. Throughout my work as a freelance personal archivist and grief counsellor I have repeatedly witnessed the power of memory on both a personal and collective level and continue to learn about the power of memory in aiding and abetting traumas stronghold on individuals, families, community, and the world.

I believe passionately that everyone deserves to be supported in their grief, trauma and loss and offer unconditional acceptance alongside tools and practices designed to help discover, honour and integrate the numerous individual and collective losses, traumas, and disconnections we all experience within our Mind, Body and Soul. In combining intellectual, sensory, somatic, and energetic modalities we will be able to illuminate and work with many parts relating to the impermanence of life, loss, and death while exploring how archival work seeks to shape and re-shape the narratives of the past and present allowing for a more expansive and inclusive historical record.

"It is said that in every loss there is an opportunity to uncover and heal the losses of a lifetime. The deeper the loss, the deeper the opportunity" (Stephen Levine).

In working to Embody our Grief we are learning through Mind, Body and Soul how to once again dance with life in a way that allows for presence at the edges of our discomfort and gently guides us towards unconditional love, compassion and safety. It is an immense honour to hold space for you as you journey home to yourself, thank you.

[1] Aristotle, trans. 2015.

[2] Peter A. Levine. 2015. Trauma and Memory: Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past : A Practical Guide for Understanding and Working with Traumatic Memory, p. 4.