On a cold Sunday afternoon the ALN studio was transformed into a sanctuary of remembrance bringing warmth and comfort to those who came to the book and film release event offered by Ira and Nadine Baumgarten.
Greeted at the door and guided up the staircase to the presentation space by photos of an embodied spirit, guests were welcomed to a Forest of Remembrance. The art installation was created by ALN Fellow, Keren Mendjul, and visiting Artist-in- Residence, Jenny Zander. Classical music was performed by Charlotte Hill, Ellie MacPhee, and Elizabeth Kate Hall-Keough , a trio from Oberlin College who were also Artists-in-Residence.
Reading portions from A Pilgrim’s Way through Grief – A Guide to a Night on Buddy’s Bench, Ira invited attendees to join him on a pilgrimage of grief and loss. Sometimes the first step of this journey is accepting the call to the bench where we decide to step toward, rather than away from grief. Once on the bench, we seek meaning from our grief, and finally, we return home holding grief and gratitude together as we continue to live our lives.
In their film, Spirit Calling, embodied spirit (Nadine Baumgarten) welcomes you to the bench:
she reminds you that
the gift of grief is a great mystery
when we face it
when we allow ourselves to
wrestle with it
when we allow grief to flow
it can release us to know
the rhythms of life
where strength and courage
can be found
“That was such a moving gathering, so alive with all energies and hearts in the room…I am really touched by the whole story with all of its layers of lives and deaths, lights and leaves, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, trees, lights and benches!” One Participant