5 Steps to Keening - Using water to release sorrow

Using keening, a powerful form of weeping, I was able to more fully experience and release the sadness and sorrow of grief. Here are some steps to try it for yourself.

1. Prepare safely and privately

Keening is a very intimate practice so you want to find a place where you can feel safe to really let go and be vulnerable.  For me, it is in the shower with the doors closed or out in the ocean. Also, bring warm and comfortable clothing and towels (if you are doing it in a shower), socks, blankets for when you exit the keening practice.  Pictures, lotions, water, tea or anything that makes you feel comfortable for when you exit the practice. 


2. Let people know

The sound of keening is equivalent to hearing weeping and shouting and might concern your loved ones or neighbors if they are unaware of when the practice is taking place.  If possible, let your family, roommates, neighbors and anyone that might hear you (doesn't have to be everybody) know if they do happen to hear you crying and shouting that you are okay.  Tell them about the practice of keening and how you are using it to release sorrow.  I have found people to be very open to supporting this practice.


3. Wail and shout

Sometimes crying comes first and other times it doesn't and anger or a shouting feeling is present.  Open your mouth and begin to wail and shout, "AHHHHHH" getting louder and louder.  Wail from the depths of your body, imagining your sadness and the person or experience you are grieving.  Ball it up in side of you and use the wail and shout to exit it out of your body over and over again.  Do this until you cry, weep, shake or feel complete with a release in your body.  It can be as short as 10 minutes or longer than an hour. 


4. Let go of body resistance


Emotions can get stuck in our body and when we don't move and open, our bodies hold on to them often stifling healing and burying our grief in our bodies for years to come. Allow the body to shout until it shakes, to curl up in a ball, to fall to the ground, clench the fists, move and away. Make sure your environment is safe to do this. 


5. Find calm after the storm

Take care in exiting your keening.  Close the practice with your hands placed on your heart and say "I love you. Thank you body for allowing me to release sorrow" as many times as needed. Take time to journal, get into comfortable clothes and transition into your next activity slowly and gently.  Give yourself a rest period after your keening session to either sleep or do no activity for an hour if possible.