Hello! I'm Victoria Emanuela, MS, CYT, CRMT—writer, author, sound artist, meditation teacher, mind-body integration educator, co-founder of On Being in Your Body, and death doula with a passion for grief support. Behind all those labels, I'm an imperfect, tender, and gritty human learning to hold space for my full humanity, one curious day at a time.
Gentle Season grew from a seed planted in my heart long ago, a purpose enriched by my lived experience. That seed bloomed into a co-residency where residents can be fully present with their creative work, legacy, and mortality.
I believe that creation is a dance between lived experience, the collective unconscious, and untold ancestral stories etched into our DNA. Whether it's knitting, making a zine, or finishing a dissertation on climate justice, a resident's creation is also their legacy. While self-preservational, creation is equally life-affirming—a void we fill with endless possibilities while on this earth. I created Gentle Season's Creative Residency for residents to reflect on their life through their craft, its purpose, and the mark it leaves on their work, no matter how small.
My grandmother died when I was 6, and my grandfather would visit her grave every day, rain or shine. I spent many years of my childhood visiting my grandfather in Poland, so the "cmentarz" (cemetery) became my second home. You could find me telling jokes to my grandmother, helping clean the grounds, playing with ghosts, and engaging with a community of bereaved people who also visited their loved ones daily. There were graves dating back to 1905 with family or friends from their lineage maintaining it with candles, flowers, or a sign of remembrance. I, too, have a family friend taking care of my grandparents' grave between my visits from the US. From an early age, it was instilled in me that death and grief are processed through ritual and community, which isn't always the norm cross-culturally, and something that became harder to access after moving to the states.
Later, after a traumatic childhood that evolved into a C-PTSD diagnosis, I learned when grief has no place to go, no way of being witnessed—it ruptures one's mind, body, and spirit. While experiencing devastating loss throughout my years, including the sudden death of several people I loved, I hungered for a place where speaking openly about death and showing up untamed in my heartbreak wouldn't be met with discomfort, platitudes, and aversion. I hosted my first Death Cafe in 2016, shortly after my father died, desperate to connect with others about the fragility of life and how to function with my heart bleeding in my hands. In both my healing journey and career, dismantling oppressive stigmas attached to death and loss have lead me here. Gentle Season is the nest I wished existed for me, those I love, and anyone in need of a soft ground to restore their relationship to grief through ritual and community.