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The Dirt on Grief: How to Thaw Your Own Heart

As our gardens thaw, let us invite what is rigid, closed and unyielding in ourselves to melt, as well.

The Dirt on Grief is a seasonal offering of rituals and seeds to scatter, giving us all a chance to be in the mud of our private and communal grief, and revel in these healing plants as they grow and bloom (and yes, eventually die). This project grew from the seeds of friendship and inspiration between Katrina Goldsaito (The Sound of Silence and so much more), Jessica Gath (artist and so much more) & me, Petra Page-Mann. We look forward to feeling together and with you. And to seeing who and what comes up in future seasons’ incarnations.

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Invitations to Thaw Your Heart

  • A Poem from Katrina
  • How To Make & Thaw Your Own Heart Zine from Jessica
  • Seeds to Sow Across the Seasons
  • Glimpses into & an Invitation to the Installation at FDR Park in Philly
  • You Can Thaw Your Own Heart Wherever You Are: Reflection Questions
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A Poem from Katrina

here‘s a printable .pdf for you


How To Make & Thaw Your Own Heart Zine from Jessica

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~ First, download and double-sided print the zine here! It perfectly fits on a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

~ Next, follow the steps on the sheet as well as video below to fold, cut & configure your zine. It’s only challenging the first time!

~ Then, make and freeze your own seed-studded heart-sicles!

~ Finally, we prepare a bit of soil and offer our frozen hearts to thaw, our seeds to grow, our hearts and world to heal.

Here’s the pages to print:

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and here are the instructions for folding from page 15 of Esther K. Smith’s “How To Make Books”:

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Seeds to Sow Across the Seasons

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Glimpses into & an Invitation to the

Installation at FDR Park in Philly

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The Meadows at FDR Park:

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Dive deeper with these additional grief resources, offerings and information about their accompanying exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Elegy: Lament in the 20th Century

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You Can Thaw Your Own Heart Wherever You Are

“​N​ow, if we put our frozen hearts in a place where the sun can shine on them and they are nestled on some rich soil, what is hard and cold can, with time and attention, transform into shoots of something new, something soft, something lovely to behold.

And just like (most) everything that finds its way into our hearts, the seeds that become flowers will grow and bloom and wilt and die, leaving withers petals and stems in their wake. Everything comes and goes, waxes and wanes.

Sometimes it hurts to see the flower die but there is always hope that in doing so some seeds are dropped for the future. The hope that with more patience and care, sunshine and rich ground, more beauty, love and magic will unfurl — magic we could hardly imagine as we held our icy heart, full of potential, at the beginning of the process.​”

~ Jessica Gath

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Reflection Questions:

~ How can you tell if your heart is icing up? What do you feel in your body? What stories do you tell yourself? What other signs can you notice? They’re different for us all.

~ How did you learn to turn to ice? How does this protect you? How does it not? What seeds can withstand your freeze?

~ Ice melts with warmth. What warms you? Who warms you? How can warmth infuse this season of your life?

~ Think of a time you have you thawed your own heart. What seeds emerged from the thaw? Who can you thank for helping you melt and grow again? How can you thank them now, even if they’ve passed on?

Sow Seeds & Sing Songs,

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& the whole Fruition Crew


5 thoughts on “The Dirt on Grief: How to Thaw Your Own Heart

  1. What a beautiful, caring offering! Thank you, I can’t tell you how much it’s touched me ❤

  2. this is a beautiful idea. thank you! ❣🌱

  3. Thank you for the “emotional content”, so many people need to thaw out and Feel again. I’m going to use this in my upcoming horsecamp and get the girls involved in making a garden bed similar to yours and when they come back for summer horsecamp they can see how it has blossomed! Fabulous visual using flowers from the heart!

  4. Thanks a lot for making me cry again. Kind of.
    Did not expect to get blindsided here. But. Please add alpine or woodland strawberry seeds to the seeds that can be frozen. Sweet rewards for the thawing.

    1. Sending you a lot of love, Muddy! <3 & what a great suggestion re: the strawberry seeds! Thank you for sharing!

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