Transforming Grief Blog

Dolphin Encounters: A Celebration of Life

For my 50th birthday in February, I decided to gift myself by following one of my long-held dreams…to swim with the dolphins.

I don’t recall when this dream originated. It may have formed while sailing for six-months in the South Pacific in 1998. The crew and I had several encounters with dolphins swimming at the bow of our 46-foot sailboat. During our first ocean passage, sailing from Fiji, I felt excited, but also quite nervous. Even though I grew up sailing, I had never been away from the sight of land. As we sailed west towards the crimson sunset, dolphins joined us at the bow of the boat, as if to provide a personal escort for us out to sea. Their presence elicited feelings of deep joy and comfort and my nervousness subsided. Even though the swells were large, I knew we would be safe. The dolphins signaled a good omen.

Four years later, while sailing with friends from Dana Point to Catalina Island in California, a pod of dolphins greeted us. I laid down on the bow of the boat and dangled my arm overboard hoping to touch one of these magnificent creatures. I didn’t make physical contact, but I […]

By |March 28th, 2017|Living Fully, Transformation|

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Coming Alive After Loss

After eating breakfast at the Aquarius restaurant at the Dream Inn, which overlooks the ocean, boardwalk and Wharf in Santa Cruz, my boyfriend Mark and I decided to stroll on the Wharf where “Woodies on the Wharf” was taking place, a car convention featuring more than 200 stylish, pre-1952 “wood-bodied” cars, known as “Woodies”. Walking hand-in-hand we admired these classic cars which have been restored by their caring passionate owners.

Each car was unique with varying colors, designs, interior upholsteries and decorative ornaments. A few had the doll “Woody” from the movie Toy Story sitting on the dash or the hood of the car. Some had surf boards on roof racks. The varnished wood was gorgeous and the paint jobs exquisite.  The cars appeared shiny, polished impeccably. I wanted to rub my hands all over them to feel their smoothness on my skin. I barely touched them, though, so as not to leave even a finger print on these perfect works of art.

My senses were fully alive after a morning of passionate love making with Mark and a deep, lively conversation over breakfast about possibility, transformation and the nature of existence. Not only was I moved by the beauty of […]

Creative Expression – My New Year’s Theme

Every year on New Year’s, John and I have a tradition of sitting down to review our personal and professional accomplishments from the previous year, and set our intentions for the year to come. We include our financial goals, as well as, our ideas for exploring Santa Cruz and having fun. I love this process and the opportunity to start anew. Typically, New Year’s is my favorite holiday.

This year was different. I woke up yesterday feeling tired and depressed. When we sat down to review our accomplishments, I had difficulty remembering what I did “right”. Instead, all I could think about was the financial mess I had created by investing in my business and going into debt. How was I going to pay rent? Buy groceries? I felt angry with myself for not meeting my goals and intentions from the previous year around growing my business. After all, I had attended seven business training conferences and now had all of the tools. But, nothing had changed. I was in the same place as I was last year…stuck and frustrated.

Instead of creating specific or lofty intentions like having my next book published by the end of the year. (This was […]

Rainbow Moon – Hope in the Storm

It had rained all day and two more storms were expected. That evening we got a reprieve as the clouds parted and the full moon lit up the night sky. From our house, just blocks from the beach, we could hear the waves crash and the fog horn blare. They sounded like a train engine roaring. Excited to see the huge breakers, John and I walked arm in arm to the beach, while sharing about our days.

The sand was unrecognizable. Half of it had disappeared under water. The waves rolled in fast, one stacked on top of the other four at a time. The remaining sand was re-shaped into different patterns. Where the beach once sloped gently towards the water, there were now large two foot drop offs. White froth from the tips of the waves skimmed over the sand like desert tumble weeds. Tangled bunches of salty smelling seaweed strewn among rocks, drift wood, broken clam and mussel shells, skeletons of dead sand crabs, and lifeless seabirds. I watched each step carefully as I walked through this obstacle course. Despite the wind the air was unusually balmy for this time of year. I was comfortable in just jeans […]

By |December 10th, 2012|Grief and Loss, Transformation|

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Quantum Leap Healing through Community

Are you someone who has experienced loss? Do you find yourself grieving alone or suppressing your feelings altogether? If so, you may be afraid of burdening friends and family with your grief. Or, perhaps you feel like no one understands what you are going through, so you hide your deepest thoughts and feelings of loss.

Nearly two years ago, I found myself feeling stuck, depressed and very alone in my grief related to not being able to have a baby. I had been through an eight-year cycle of hope, despair and loss during which most of my grieving I did alone. Finally, I joined a pregnancy loss support group with five other women, which catapulted my grieving process in three short months to an entirely new level.

Not only did I feel witnessed, supported and acknowledged for my loss, but I got in touch with and expressed some deep anger I didn’t even realize was there. The group acted as a safe container for me to explore all of my feelings. During the final session, a member shared with me, “You look lighter.” The burden of my grief had been lifted and I felt more joy.

Today, I have more vitality […]

Grieving: A Catalyst for Spiritual Awakening

The grieving process can be a powerful catalyst for our spiritual awakening. When we experience loss, such as the death of a loved one, we long for the connection we once had. We long for what was that isn’t anymore. In our longing, we are invited to surrender and let go of control of how we think life should have turned out. We are invited into a deeper relationship with the Divine as we let go and trust the great mystery of life.

Over the past ten years, I have desired to have a baby but have experienced one early miscarriage after another, with no medical explanation. Each month I become pregnant, I get excited and think, maybe this time! Then, my period comes and I experience grief and despair only to ride the cycle again the following month.

The more I allow myself to express my grief and anger, ALL of my feelings, the more energy I have. My vital life force is allowed to flow and move…to create new life. Thus, my journey through infertility and grief has opened me to new possibilities for living a fertile life. Not only have I birthed a greater version of myself…a stronger, […]

Unleashing the Genius Within

John and I attended a concert at a local jazz venue in Santa Cruz, CA on Monday night. The band was Acoustic Alchemy…a couple of English men on acoustic guitar, a drummer, bass player and keyboardist. We had heard them once before in Big Bear Lake, CA at an outdoor venue and fell in love with their passion and musical genius. This venue put us up close and personal, only three rows back from the stage.

Sitting closest to the keyboard player, I witnessed his hands dance along the keyboard. Each finger found its perfect place on key and in tune with the rest of the band. His body bobbed up and down to the beat of the music. At times he appeared to be making love to the keyboard. His energy was so present and intense, as his fingers gently tapped each key. At others, he appeared to be attacking it with fierceness and passion. The drummer and bass player smiled frequently and acknowledged each other with a nod of the head. Both exuded joy and clearly loved what they were creating. The lead guitar players were brilliant musicians. The man sitting next to me suggested they were the […]

By |July 5th, 2012|Living Fully|

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The Cosmic Shakeup

Have you ever had a day when everything went “wrong”? Perhaps your computer crashed or you locked your keys in the car. You feel like things are “off” but you can’t quite put your finger on it.  You wrinkle your brow, shrug your shoulders and say, “That’s strange? I wonder what it could mean. Is the Universe trying to tell me something?”

Recently, I came down with the flu…fever, cough, sore throat. The fever subsided but this nasty cough and sore throat have persisted. I finally took the time to be still and ask, “Is there a message in this for me?” The obvious answer was…YES! Since the throat chakra has to do with creative expression and communication, I suspected the Universe was trying to tell me that I needed to focus more on my writing and to express more from my heart and soul. The words I hear now as I write this are, “Don’t hold back!” I have been playing it safe recently with my writing and not showing up for it as often as my heart and soul would like. This illness is a clear message and indicator for me to get out of my own way […]

Creating Room for Grief

The grieving process is natural. Similar to the cycles of the seasons or the ebb and flood of the tides…it is not linear and straightforward, but it comes and goes. At times, we may feel good about life…inspired, energized and in our passion. At others, we may feel sad, fatigued and depressed. Each of these seasons requires something different from us.

          For example, if we are grieving, we may need to draw our energy inward and spend more time resting and focusing on self care. We may have less energy to give and create. Like the winter season, this is a good time to restore our energy for when the spring arrives, allowing the seeds of new life to germinate in the dark soil.

          A couple of weeks before Christmas I found myself feeling blue, heavy-hearted and moody. I was surprised to tune into my body and find hidden grief, sitting under the surface, waiting to be acknowledged. The previous month, I had felt energized and inspired about my business and life, so when grief surfaced, I was resistant at first. There is too much to do to prepare for Christmas. I don’t have time to be sad. Plus, […]

Grief Counseling Services Now in Santa Cruz!

If you’ve experienced a major loss in your life such as the death of a loved one or pet, a divorce, illness, miscarriage or job lay-off, it is normal to go through a grieving process. Unfortunately, society today does not honor the mourning process and encourages us to “get over it”. Many of us feel we have to quickly move on with our lives. If we repress our grief, though, it can cause all sorts of problems such as anxiety, depression, physical illness and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. If we express our grief on the other hand, we will experience more joy, vitality and purpose in our lives. Here are some suggestions to help you express your grief:

1. Feel your feelings. Meditate and journal every day to get in touch with your painful feelings. Start writing using the prompt, “What I really lost is…” Write for ten minutes without stopping. Then, sit and meditate for ten minutes. Continue to write as new thoughts, feelings and insights surface.

2. Engage in activities that keep you in the present moment. Move your body through exercise. Engage in hobbies such as painting or gardening. Spend time in nature to help you feel […]