As promised, below is an outline of my dream walking exercise, which has evolved out of my own cemetery walks, as well as my search for appropriate documentation techniques.
DREAM WALKING EXERCISE
A community group (based on geography) chooses a cemetry in their local area.
A meeting place is chosen, approximately a 1hr walk away from the cemetry.
A route is agreed upon. The most picturesque / natural / calming route is preferred.
Participants are to wear comfortable “mourning” clothes (individual interpretation is encouraged) and bring flowers.
Each participant is to dedicate the walk to a deceased loved one. Participants may choose someone whose grave is a long way away or close by. Or maybe their loved one isn’t deceased at all. Maybe they’re simply long lost. Or maybe what the participant misses most isn’t a person. Maybe the participant wishes to mourn a pet / object / club / fictional character that holds significance for them. Genuiness is favoured over ingenuiness but there are no emotional police.
A time is decided upon and the group meets at this time.
The convenor hands out string and a small card with a web address on it. The participants attach the card using the string to their flowers.
Participants separate into pairs and the walk begins.
Participants share stories of their loved ones. Happy stories, sad stories, stories that make them laugh, stories they regret. After 10min, participants swap partners, and the process repeats itself.
Arriving at the cemetery, the convenor hands out simple topographical maps showing the arrangement of graves. The same web address is also listed on the maps.
The group splits up and each participant finds a grave that suits them. They mark the grave on their map. They say a few words for their loved one whilst also thanking the person whose grave it is for allowing them to mourn in this way. But again, these are merely suggestions. More importantly, the moment should be what the participant wants it to be.
Participants place their flowers on their chosen graves and take a photo of the tombstone. The group reassembles, thus concluding the walking exercise.
At home, participants can go to the website where they will find a digital version of the map of the cemetery. By clicking on the corresponding grave, each participant can upload the photo they took, whilst also listing the loved one they remembered and some information about them.
In the future, a member of the public may visit a grave at the cemetery, find the flowers and card with the web address on it, and check out the website. The site will explain the nature of the exercise and prompt them to click on the grave they had visited. If they are related (in some way) to person whose grave it is, they can upload information on this person, whilst also reading about the walker’s loved one. In this way, the walking exercise will be documented via a constantly growing digital map of spiritual associations.
Stay tuned for my final reflection.