Sunday, December 28, 2008

An En-Couraging Verse -- "All Soul's Day"

The more I'm involved in this End-of-life and Grief Coaching work, the more I'm realizing how many "learning opportunities" our society has in these areas. We are a culture that for the most part would like to ignore death and grief at any cost. We would rather do almost anything else than speak about the inevitable. How ironic, especially since we consider ourselves to be an "advanced" culture...

This work is actually some of the most important work we could be doing while we are alive. A volunteer firefighter on Whidbey Island who happens to be Buddhist once told me that in his religious thought, birth was the difficult part; "death is easy, because we have the rest of our lives to prepare for it!" he commented. So, it is critical that we find ways to create courage and speak creatively around these still unpopular and rather taboo topics.

Recently, I was online, visiting a local death midwife's website, and I found this most beautiful poem called "All Soul's Day". Thank you, Marilyn Strong and D.H. Lawrence, for reminding me how gentle we need to be around our dying; and how necessary it is to be ready for it when it comes. I love the idea of helping each other prepare a "little ship" for our voyage to the great beyond. I invite you, too, to savor this delightfully creative verse about death and the hereafter:

Be careful, then, and be gentle about death.
For it is hard to die, it is difficult to go through
The door, even when it opens.
And the poor dead, when they have left the walled
And silvery city of the now hopeless body
Where are they to go, Oh where are they to go?
They linger in the shadow of the earth.
The earth's long conical shadow is full of souls
That cannot find the way across the sea of change.
Be kind, Oh be kind to your dead
And give them a little encouragement
And help them to build their little ship of death.
For the soul has a long, long journey after death
To the sweet home of pure oblivion.
Each needs a little ship, a little ship
And the proper store of meal for the longest journey.
Oh, from out of your heart
Provide for your dead once more, equip them
Like departing mariners, lovingly.

-- D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

Blessings be upon us as we say goodbye to one year, and welcome in a new and hopeful one -- another death and rebirth experience that can help us prepare for life's last great adventure! Happy "releasing" into 2009, Dancing heart~~~

P.S. If you are local, please note that I will be leading a Day Seminar on "Joyful Transitions" on the second day of the New Year -- this coming Friday -- at the Nonviolent Communication Training Center in the Greenwood Neighborhood of Seattle. Please see details on how to register on the Scheduled Events page of my website.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No One Can Predict What Will Happen

A lovely synchronistic re-connection happened to me last week. I literally "ran into" a friend I hadn't seen in months at the SF Airport upon heading to the Big Island in Hawaii. My friend is in the midst of caring for his 94-year-old mother who is receiving hospice care. As we talked further about his situation a few days later over some lunch, my friend shared with me that he had made a rather magical connection with a well respected Emergency Care doctor in a coffee shop earlier this year. As soon as this doctor heard that he was caring for his dying mother, she told him the following four things:

1) You are on a severe learning curve;
2) No one can predict what will happen (despite many who may think that they can!);
3) You are under more stress than you think you are; and
4) You must do things to take care of your stress, both for you and for the sake of your mother who you are caring for.

My friend acknowledged that he has used the doctor's words as his mantra as he's been caring for his mother over the course of the year. His mother is very close to death now; and the words still ring true for him. I wanted to share them with you here, as they ring true for me also. As I have mentioned before, if you are caring for a loved one, please remember to take very good care of yourself. Your life (and your loved one's life) depend on it.

Have a wonderful, joyous holy-day season. And Blessed Solstice, Dancing heart~~~

p.s. While on the Big Island, I also met Phillip Jones, a hospice spiritual counselor, psychotherapist, and author of a beautiful book titled Light on Death: The Spiritual Art of Dying. I invite you to take a look at it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Number One Job for Caregivers: Take Good Care of Yourself!

Recently I put together an article on Spirituality and Caring for the person dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. As I wrote the article, I realized that the most important thing a caregiver can do is take good care of him or herself, so that they can keep doing the important work of care giving that they do. Here are suggestions I might offer anyone who is caring for their loved one, especially during the holidays.

1) Do you sometimes take time out to grieve and let the emotions flow?
2) Do you have good friends and/or a counselor you can completely “be yourself” with?
3) Do you have a spiritual life that you are developing? It’s good if you have a spiritual community you worship with as well as a private spiritual practice that you honor daily -- or at least frequently -- in your life.
4) How and when do you have fun? Who are the people in your life that you can “play with”? Are there ways that you can foster humor and laughter in your life?
5) How and when do you take time to relax? Did you know that something as simple as holding each of your fingers for 3 – 4 minutes can help you relax (See p. 198 of my 2nd edition book)? You could also take a bath with some Lavender or Frankincense oil sprinkled in to help you relax and connect with Spirit – your inner wealth of joy, peace, harmony, and courage! (Frankincense is a wonderful oil to help your loved one when he or she may be belligerent. Simply place a few drops of it in the palm of your hands, rub your hands together and smell the oil yourself. Then, make sure that you are in close proximity to your loved one and that they get to smell the aroma, too. You should see them relaxing very shortly. Another thing you might try is to visualize your loved one surrounded by the color pink. Pink is a wonderful color to help sooth anyone who is stressed…)
6) Who and what nourishes you? Do you take time to go to classes and/or practice any of your hobbies? Creativity, along with gratitude, is one of the fastest ways out of fear (and depression), so find new and fun ways to be creative in your life.

Here's to you taking better care of yourself in this Season when we celebrate Love. May you always know the Beauty, Love, and Light who you are, Dancing heart~~~

p.s. You might also take a look at the bibliography I offer specifically for the caregiver on pp. 241-242 (2nd edition). Here's the link to the bibliography on my website.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to Send Holyday Greetings to One Who May Be Very Sick or Facing Death

I just got this question on email, and I've decided to answer it here as well. I would say first and foremost, write/come from the heart! Be as open and honest as you can be with your friend. Let them know that you are concerned about them, that you wish the best for them, and that you still hope that they might be healed. Remember that there are all kinds of "healing," when you say/write this. And include this feeling as you write. Also, if you are someone who prays, let your friend know that you are praying for them; this almost always means a lot. Perhaps, too, you can remind them that their Spiritual Selves are completely whole and well, and that they can let their Spiritual selves guide and nourish their way...

Please also feel free to visit my website and links here and also share it with others ;) Additionally, I have developed some lovely gift baskets called Soul Baskets for those going through all kinds of transitions! Please visit this website for more information on these. During the month of December, I can send these baskets out with FREE SHIPPING. Just let me know that you saw my message here when you order.

Blessed Advent, and Happy Holydays! Dancing heart~~~

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Arizona Trip and Ho'oponopono

I've been readjusting to being back in the Seattle area after a magnificent trip to the Tucson/Phoenix/Sedona area. What beautiful energies I experienced on this informal Book Tour! Such lovely people nourished me and supported me through ten "gigs" in six days! I truly enjoyed a remarkable time, visiting churches, hospices, and even a bank that hosted me (for hospice volunteers) in Tucson! It renewed my commitment to share the message of my book and work -- I know it is needed in these changing, transformational times. It also reminded me of all the wonderful volunteering spirits that help to make hospice what it is... Thank you to all of you who are reading this who helped and guided me on this recent journey. And may we all be guided and strengthened as we together make the larger journey we are all on in these transformational times.

Upon my return, I met with a soul sister who told me about a healing book called Zero Limits. It's by Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D., or "E" for short. It is a book about the Hawaiian Ho'oponopono system that incorporates the four short phrases I referred to a few postings ago -- "I love you," "I'm so sorry," "Please forgive me," and "Thank you." It turns out that these are very powerful phrases that one Hawaiian man used to heal a whole State Hospital in his native state. I will not spoil the fun for you and share any more details here. Let it suffice to say that this one book could change your life in a Huge Way if you practice what it preaches. We are truly in some amazing times with incredibly powerful healing possibilities coming to the fore! May we all keep on keeping on with what we know to be true. May we be encouraged by the new political climate that is afoot and a new incoming president who understands the Oneness of All, too.

Indeed, the times, they are a'changin', and we will be blessed for it and by it! Happy Thanksgiving to each of you, Dancing Heart~~~

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Last Burst of Energy -- in Brilliant Color!

I've been enjoying watching the turning of the seasons in beautiful color these days... some of the trees have some amazingly brilliant, gorgeous colors, they're captivating!

These autumn leaves remind me of how often, in people's lives, too, there's that last hurrah, a final burst of energy expressed just before a person lets go and transitions into the next world. I think back to almost twenty years ago now, when my own mother was dying. She was being cared for at home, by one of my sisters and some very generous women from her church. Essentially, she had been lying in bed and not doing much for the previous two weeks. My sister, who'd been with her for the duration, called up my other sister and me on a Friday to let us know that she felt the time was close for mom's death. She suggested that we both make the trip out to see her if we wanted to say our final goodbyes.

My sister and I both got in on the Saturday before Father's Day to be with our mother. She was still alert enough to greet us and spend some time honoring us with her energy and love, even though there were very few words shared at that point. Although mom was not eating much at that point, she shared a bite of zaru soba, one of her favorite Japanese dishes that we prepared for the gathered family. Dad made the comment "Something's keeping you going, Betty," and my mom opened her eyes wide and spoke one word, "LOVE!" I remember having a strong feeling of her essence that day, something like having the layers of an onion skin peeled away and the core essence of who she really was remaining at the center -- and I was privy to experiencing that center and essence of who my mother truly was and is, even now, in my heart.

The next morning, on Father's Day -- which also happened to be my father's 40th ordination anniversary day -- my mother awoke saying that she wanted to attend church with us. Unfortunately, there was no way to get her to church with us, even though she and dad were living next to the church in the parsonage. As soon as we all got back from church, however, we were able to get mom out of bed and into the living room for an informal indoor picnic. Then, right on cue, a couple that my parents had known and loved for many years, showed up at their doorstep to say hello. They joined our "picnic" and there was more laughter and positive energy shared. That evening I remember thinking: Wow, mom seems to be getting her energy back. Maybe she'll be able to live another week!?!

The next morning, on Monday after Father's Day, my mother took her last breath around 8:30. Clearly, she had rallied the last remaining energy she had for all of us and on our father's special day! What a gift. And what profound beauty we can share with one another, right up until the very last breath of life.

I honor the beauty of the leaves as I honor the beauty of my mother's soul.

A Blessed All Saints Day to you, Dancing heart~~~

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Miracle of Death

I was recently at a Biznik meeting in N. Seattle and started a conversation with someone who's writing about his son who died awhile ago. This conversation made me think of one of the most profound books I've ever read about death, grief, and the afterlife. It's called The Miracle of Death, by Betty J. Kovacs, Ph.D. Betty lost her mother, then her only son, then her husband, all in a matter of a few years. She could have been devastated and lost all reason for living. Instead, she allowed it to open her up to the true meaning of life. She had always had powerful dreams, and after her losses, her dreams became more and more telling. She eventually opened up to be able to communicate with her son and husband on the other side.

Dr. Kovacs is now teaching what she learned from her experiences with death and grief to others through The Kamlak Center. She is one courageous woman who is helping to show us the way through these transformational times we're living through.

I have just recently interviewed with Darren Main, a fellow author through Findhorn Press. It was a very good interview, as Darren has done his homework in the area of death & dying. He understands the anamoly of death (and grief) in our culture. I invite you to listen to our conversation here.

May we each be open to exploring the deaths and griefs that come into our lives such that we can ride the waves of transformation that are knocking on our doors on a fairly frequent and intense basis these days! Dancing Heart~~~

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're All in this Hospice Experience Together!

I have said in the past that we're all going through a kind of "hospice experience" in our lives these days. In the last few weeks, as the powerful money institutions of the world are beginning to crumble, I'm sensing even more that this is a time for profound change on our planet. We are beginning to realize, and wake up to our senses, that we cannot base our lives on the material aspects of life. If we are "spiritual beings having a human experience," then it's the spiritual that we can truly trust and make our foundation.

This past weekend I had the good fortune to work with an amazing healer and hypno-therapist named Yvonne Oswald. She is a remarkable woman who embodies what she teaches. Her book is called Every Word Has Power, and it is one of the most practical and profound books I've ever read to help me change my way of thinking and being. As I learn from Yvonne and read and practice what she shares in her book, I'm literally shifting myself from negative thought patterns to positive ones. And it is creating a difference in my life! I'm a happier person as I tune into the true essence of who I really am, and as I love myself, forgive myself, and am more gentle and nourishing to myself.

One related exercise that I've learned and am practicing is to spend time telling myself how much I love myself. Besides the phrase "I love you, Dancing Heart (you can substitute your name here)," I'm learning that there are three other simple phrases we can use to honor ourselves: "I'm so sorry," "I forgive you," and "Thank you." These are phrases that as children, we yearned to hear more. However, due to the reality on the planet, most of us never got to hear these powerful, loving phrases as much as we needed. This is why we need to let ourselves hear these words now, as adults who can also honor the Inner Child within.

In these times of deep change, I invite you to find new ways to honor and love yourself, however those opportunities may come to you. By the way, I would invite you to visit Yvonne's website, too. Abundance, Joyful Blessings! Dancing Heart~~~

P.S. Don't forget: I offer wonderful Soul Baskets for anyone going through a time of transition in their lives, at my website,!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How can we reach the doctors?

I recently stumbled across some fax numbers for nursing directors across the country. One of the numbers I called turned out to be for a clinic, so the receptionist at the other end of the line kindly gave me the phone number for the local hospital. I was able to reach a nurse through the hospital operator. After briefly mentioning to her the title and some information about my book, she responded: "So have you found a way to reach the doctors?"

What an insightful question... This one nurse's words have been ringing in my ears. It seems that the key to creating space for death in our hospitals is to get through to the doctors. A medical social worker who works at a cancer center commented that doctors can hear you better individually more than they can in a group setting. And perhaps especially when a doctor is moving through his or her own personal loss or transition, they are more likely to appreciate the need to "make space" for grief and death -- not only in their lives, but in hospitals as well.

One of the most hopeful aspects in this regard is the possibility that medical schools and younger doctors are changing, recognizing the need to have a different kind of relationship with death. I've heard that today there is more education around palliative care and hospice in medical schools compared to what there used to be. Along these lines, I've discovered a wonderful book by a young surgeon named Pauline W. Chen. Her book is called FINAL EXAM: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality.

May we all become more aware of how we push death (and grief) aside in our lives. May we create new ways to incorporate it more fully into our lives by honoring it making a new space for it. And when the opportunity arises, I encourage you to have conversations around this topic with your physicians, and healers of all kinds, for that matter!

Deep Blessings of Peace and Hope, Dancing Heart~~~

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Feeling Our Feelings, Holding Deep Compassion

Recently, I came across these sentences from a very fine book called The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche. They are sentences that remind us how important our feelings are:

Don't waste the love and grief it arouses; the moment you feel compassion welling up in you, don't brush it aside, don't shrug it off and try quickly to return to 'normal', don't be afraid of the feeling or embarrassed by it, allow yourself to be distracted from it or let it run aground in apathy. Be vulnerable; use that quick, bright up rush of compassion; focus on it, go deep into your heart and meditate on it, develop it, enhance and deepen it. By doing this you will realize how blind you have been to suffering.

These words remind me of a counselor who used to challenge me, when my heart was moved and the tears would well up in my eyes, to "Stay with what you're feeling." lt was usually a challenge to do so, because my tendency is to go back to my brain, go back to analyzing and being where I'm comfortable (in my head), where I can "be in control," I suppose. However, whenever I could and did stay with the feelings, there was a sense of release and healing that would come.

This weekend I'm involved with a Landmark Forum, a few intense days I've set apart for myself to examine some of the things that "I don't know that I don't know" -- the unconscious, if you will -- with a community of courageous people. Yesterday, our fearless leader shared a very personal story and was moved to tears. He shared his tears and his being moved openly with us. Other men in the group also shared their tears. It was very powerful and moving to experience especially these men I did not know share their intimate feelings so freely and honestly.

It always feels powerful and important to me to experience people allowing their feelings to be present and real. Too often in our society we are trained to hold our feelings inside, not to share what we're really feeling. Somehow we've made it okay to think, but not so okay to feel.

I encourage you to notice and BE with your feelings in these days of great change and transformation. They will be your guide into the future. Trust your feelings... they can guide you to the Deep Compassion that resides within you. They may even open doors that you never even knew existed!

Blessings on the Journey, Dancing Heart~~~

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Healing Power of Essential Oils

Recently, I was reminded of the power of essential oils, especially to help us through transitions, while reading something that I came across through a piece I'd received through a friend: "One evening, I was burning essential oil in my bathroom. Somewhere between lighting the candle and smelling the oil, I had a vision. It was just a flash, but I saw a death ceremony from another time. I didn't get any details on the people at the ceremony, but I did pick up on their determined knowledge to send the smell of the oils, with the recently deceased, up to the heavens."

The fact is, these healing oils have been around for a very long time and have been used for many purposes, including ceremonial and at the end of life. Frankincense has been considered a most healing oil and a oil to help us connect with Spirit since the ancient of days. There is no mistake that Jesus received this oil that was considered more valuable than gold from the three wise men at the time of his birth. Myrrh is also a powerfully healing oil, associated particularly with the skin; here again, there's no mistake that Jesus was gifted this oil at the time of his birth, a reminder that it would be needed at the time of his burial. Many of the scriptural oils such as Cedarwood, Spikenard -- the oil Mary Magdalene used to anoint Jesus, Myrtle, Hyssop, Sandalwood, and Rose of Sharon are very helpful oils to use when one is ill, needing refreshment, or getting ready to depart this world. I highly recommend that you go to the Essential Oil Page on my website to see more about on the protocols for a variety of oils. Then, you may go to the Young Living website to order some of the oils, using my distributor #: 705841. Or contact me, and I can help you sign up with Young Living over the phone.

If you would like to read about one of the most powerful and mystical experiences I had surrounding a death using the oils, you may go to pp. 178 - 180 of the 2nd edition of my book. The whole section on Aromatherapy shares some important information on the history of the oils and their use. Another idea would be to go to my other Soul Baskets website and purchase a Soul Basket that has some of these wonderful oils included in them. If you call me directly at (888) 409-1678, I can offer you a variety of the oils separately, too. (Usually, they are $10 per bottle, and I'm now offering some new blends like Release and Thieves as well.)

Stay Beautiful, and Keep Shining! Dancing Heart~~~

Friday, August 29, 2008

Visit to an Amazing Hospital in Stockton, CA

This past week I was invited to attend a kick-off for a "No One Dies Alone" Hospice Volunteer Program at the Community Hospice in Modesto, CA. It was a beautiful event and I was honored to be a part of it. It reminded me of how volunteers are the true heart of hospice. They are such dedicated and loving, spiritually motivated souls who do this work. It is always inspiring to be among them -- and all hospice workers, for that matter.

On my way home to Seattle, I also had the honor to speak informally with a group involved with palliative care at the St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton, CA. I was greatly impressed by this group, especially because of how they seem to be promoting the body-mind-spirit connection, not only among their cancer patients, but also among their entire staff at the hospital.

I heard that very recently, during the course of a day, they had 155 staff members receive hands-on Reiki treatments from practitioners who made themselves available to them. Hospital staff being cared for in this way is something I'd not heard of before. This is truly a sign of our times! We are not only learning about, but also practicing new ways to care for the caregiver in ways that help us connect the body, mind, and spirit. This is most encouraging and enlightening to me. Is there anything like this going on in your corner of the world? If so, I'd love to hear about it.

By the way, if you'd like to know more about Reiki, a form of "laying on of hands" healing using light and energy that originated in Japan, you can go to pp. 206 - 207 in my book, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE (2nd ed.). Or, you could visit this website for more information.

Deep Blessings of Hope and Healing, Dancing Heart~~~

Monday, August 25, 2008

Listening to Silence

I wanted to share this poem that I came across by James Dillet Freeman before I head for Modesto, CA today. I'll be sharing with a hospice volunteer group that's starting up a "No One Dies Alone" program -- a wonderful way to make sure that every single person has support at the very end of their lives! Here's the poem:

There is a music just in being still,
A sound of silence that you only hear
When you are in attunement with God's will
And listen in your soul, not with your ear.
Then comes a blessedness that is not sound
Or soundlessness, and you become aware
Of the beauty that is always all around
Us and the truth that is forever everywhere.

How are you honoring the Silence in your life?!?

Also, I've just begun preparing some U-tubes to go on my website. I hope to have some of them up within the month. Have a blessed day filled with Gratitude and Deep Blessings, Dancing Heart~~~

Thursday, August 21, 2008

DAY SEMINARS -- First One This Sunday in Bellingham!

As a way to teach and help people move through the grief and forgiveness (life review) work in my book, I am starting to offer Day Seminars. These will be interactive and transformative, addressing questions such as: 1) What or who do I need to grieve and let go of in my life right now? 2) Who do I need to forgive in my life at this time to help me live more fully in the moment? and 3) What are some ways that could help me relax and bring more Joy and Delight into my life right now? You will be given time to delve into an old grief and spend some reflective time with it. We will then share in dyads, then as a larger group. We will do the same around some forgiveness issue you are dealing with. Then, I will share some relaxation and healing tools from the book so you will experience these first hand. If time permits, we will view together a magnificent film called Appointment with the Wise Old Dog: Dream Images in a Time of Crisis by David Blum, a musician and conductor who shares his drawings of a series of inspirational dreams he had during a long period that he lived with cancer.

These "Joyful Transitions" seminars would be especially helpful for someone moving through a grief, caregivers, or someone who has a friend or family member who is troubled, sick, or dying. But actually, anyone interested in joining us could benefit from these seminars because we all have grief and forgiveness work to do! And the more we let go of these, the more freedom we have to live in the NOW.

If you are interested in attending the first of these seminars in Bellingham this Sunday (24th), please contact me immediately. Otherwise, there will be others coming up in the Puget Sound area soon. Please go to the "Schedulted Events" page of my website to see the details. Also, if you or your organization would like to host a day seminar, please contact me and we will arrange one.

Enjoy these last days of summer, Dancing Heart~~~


Friday, August 15, 2008

The Call -- Awakening the Angelic Human (or the Divine Self)

This week, I would like to introduce you to some information from a friend and colleague that you may find very helpful at this time. In the present earth's culture, the message of the soul is largely gone unheard and ignored. Often the doors of transition open and close before a person has the opportunity to reveal the message encoded within cellular memory.

In her book, The Call ~ Awakening the Angelic Human, Toni Sar'h Petrinovich defines the physical embodiment of the gifts that each person carries – the actual reason that he or she made the decision to incarnate into earth and distribute a particular message before resuming life in the etheric realm. "Angel" means "messenger". Each person living in earth is that messenger as the choice to awaken to the delivery of the message is consciously chosen.

Have you heard the subtle voice of your soul speaking through your heart? Do you wish to answer The Call inviting you to unfold the attributes actually contained within your DNA? Now is the time! Read The Call – Awakening the Angelic Human to understand the ease in which you consciously become the messenger – an Angelic Human.

To order: Human

Blessings of Light, Love, and Understanding, Dancing Heart~~~

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gangaji on "Facing Death"

A couple of days ago I learned about a most remarkable piece through my friend and faculty member at Daytona Beach Community College that's available for viewing, on line. It is called "Facing Death," and in it, Gangaji, an awakened woman shares her truth about the Gift of Death and Grief in a powerful way. After an introduction, she sits with half a dozen people who are in some kind of deep pain to allow them the space to be with that pain. When you have some time, I highly recommend that you view it here.

Gangaji was born in Texas in 1942, into a noncommunicative alcoholic family. She grew up in Mississippi without a happy childhood. Even after she moved to S.F. as an adult, she continued searching for truth, and a teacher who could point her in the right direction. Finally, her prayers were answered in 1990 -- 48 years after her birth -- when she met Poonjaji, a disciple of Ramana Marharshi, in India. Her new teacher pointed out that she herself was "freedom" and "truth." This realization and looking into her new teacher's eyes transformed Gangaji.

Following the Advaita, or nondualistic tradition, Gangaji directs her students to ask again and again "Who Am I?" To be quiet, and fully present in the moment. To be willing to surrender wholeheartedly the sense of personal identification, acquisition, and doing. To stop trying and instead, not go anywhere -- the secret of going deeper. There is nothing to accomplish. All that is asked of us is to BE, in the current, present time, attending to what is happening right now.

When I encountered Gangaji online, I was deeply moved. I feel as if I have found my teacher and mentor. Thank you John, and thank you Gangaji, for the gifts you offer me at this time in my life. May the Gift of Death and Grief show you who you really are -- a beautiful Child of the Universe!

In Love and Light, Dancing Heart~~~

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Synchronicities Abound -- through essential oils, of all things!

Last week, I had a delightful synchronicity take place related to the Soul Baskets that I sell in conjunction with my book. I got a call from a woman who was looking for a Young Living essential oils distributor. Her elderly cat named Gandalf was getting weak and close to dying, and Andrea had heard of a YL blend called "Release" that can help at the end of life. She had called to see if she might purchase a bottle of this oil through me.

Well, we got to talking, and in the process, I couldn't help but share about my book and the Soul Baskets (naturally :). She was most interested, and eventually decided to purchase a Soul Basket for herself and Gandalf. I didn't have a whole bottle of Release on hand, but I was happy to include the small amount of Release oil that I happened to have remaining in a bottle with the Soul Basket that I sent her. She was delighted; and I got the Basket off to her in a timely manner.

After a few days (the weekend) had passed, I gave her a call, wondering what had happened. Well, it turned out that things had gone amazingly well for dear Gandalf's crossing over; and Andrea was just thinking about being in touch with me, she said. We talked for quite awhile, and Andrea let me know how grateful she was for the Soul Basket and the customized ingredients I had sent her. Thanks to Andrea's inner wisdom and guidance, and a little help from Gandalf and the oils and music, Andrea said that she had had one of the most powerful experiences of her life! Her very special and close companion -- practically soulmate of a cat -- Gandolf, taught her how peaceful and graceful the passage into death can be. One of the key things she shared was that she let Gandalf guide her, because she didn't really know what to do. (She didn't consider herself an expert on death.) The other key piece she shared was how peaceful and even joy-filled about the whole experience she felt. There have been some moments of grief, she explained, but very little sadness and sorrow around the whole experience, and even now, a couple of days afterward.

I feel deeply honored and grateful to have been a part of the process of this dear woman and her wise old cat's bidding their final farewells to one another. What an amazing, mystical experience death and life are! And how gifted we are to be blessed by one another, animals and humans, too. Enjoy your life, and keep shining!

Love and Blessings to you each, Dancing Heart~~~

p.s. Andrea promised to write the first testimonial for my Soul Baskets website, so do keep your eye out for that.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Inter-dependence Day!

Dear Friends, I have never quite been able to fully appreciate the name of today's holiday, Independence Day. Perhaps this has something to do with growing up in Japan and knowing on some level that we cannot live independently from one another? The challenge of our modern lives seems to be about maintaining some sense of self and independence from others, but also being aware that we very much need one another to live happy and fulfilled lives.

Recently I have been a Book Study facilitator at a retirement facility. We have been having some lively discussions around my book and related topics. One day we were talking about the sections of the retirement home and how there was an Independent Living section and an Assisted Living section. As we talked, we came upon the reality that no one there really lives "independently". In fact, the truth is that the longer a person lives in such a place, the more dependent they become on others. So, why not coin the term "Inter-dependent Living" for that section of the facility, rather than Independent Living? And perhaps something similar could be said for this day in our country: Perhaps it's time to call this day Inter-dependence Day, acknowledging that our country cannot live completely independently from any other country in the world? After all, we are all inter-connected through the One Spirit, the One Source of All!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Flowering of the Heart: The Greatest Gift of These Times

I attended a Heart Math workshop this past Sunday and learned some amazing things. Our hearts are so much more powerful than we realize! If even a small portion of the world's human beings became truly aware and knowledgeable about the potential of our "heart power," we could change how we live life on the planet in a big way. For instance, if women who are even vaguely thinking about becoming pregnant focused on the state of their hearts before, during, and after their pregnancies, they could help create a huge positive effect on the kind of children who are born into this world. And this would over time create a powerful impact on all life on earth.

This focus and learning around the heart has had me reflecting back on one of the most powerful and hopeful passages in my book that also happens to be my favorite. This passage represents "new words" spoken by Jesus through the artist and author Glenda Green in her work, LOVE NEVER ENDS: Jesus Speaks, referring to the flowering of the Sacred Heart. I will let these words speak for themselves:

"'The long era of judgment has been man's darkest night, but that will end soon when the last judgment has been made. The last judgment will be the judgment against judgment itself. At that time, human consciousness at last will rise in splendor like a valiant bridegroom to join his bride, the Sacred Heart. This is the Holy Wedding which has been the dream of prophets. After this marriage occurs, there will be peace on earth. In the meantime, it is your right to seek a betterment of life in all the ways that are available to you. Enjoy every opportunity for positive change. Make the most of every day.'" (p. 81, 2nd edition, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE)

I hope and pray that each of us will be learning more and more about the power of the heart and the Sacred Heart within the heart, where I've learned that we can connect with everything, the Oneness of All. (We can begin by taking the simple step of focusing on the heart when breathing and recalling a pleasant experience that we've had as we do so.) As we focus on and take care of our hearts, we will help them flower and come back to life!

May you notice the flowering of your heart in these days. And may focusing on the well being of your heart be your special gift to yourself and others in these changing, growing times.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Helping People Through the Transition

Sometimes people are at a loss as to what to do or say when their loved one is very close to death. Actually, you don't have to do much. Sitting and quietly BEING with your loved one is probably the most important thing you can do.

If you feel that you'd like to speak words, you might quietly encourage your loved one on their journey by repeating phrases like "Go to the Light. Follow the Love and Light that you know is waiting for you... Remember the Love and Light who you are. God/dess will be waiting for you with their Love and Light. Watch for the Love and the Light." If you would like longer scripts to use, I recommend Bruce Goldberg's Before and After Death Meditations that can be found in his book, Peaceful Transition. My book introduces his General Meditation and Before-Death Meditation (see end of Chapter 7). Another beautiful piece I recommend is a piece or incantation from Phyllida Anam-Aire's book, A Celtic Book of Dying, on pp. 113 - 115.

Most of all, however, focus on your heart and send the love in your heart to your Beloved. They will feel your love and be able to trust their process more readily, knowing that your love is with them all the way.

Have a most Blessed and Bright Summer Solstice, Dancing Heart

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Recording of Recent Presentation Now Available

The 2nd edition of THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE has now been released, and I had my first book presentation since its release earlier this week. The theme is around my new focus: "JOYFUL TRANSITIONS -- Bringing Death Back to Life," and I share some of the well-kept secrets of hospice.

It's been recorded so that you can listen to it. If you're interested, please go to Then, scroll down to where my picture is under "Whidbey Writers Assn. Open House." Just beneath my picture is the recording. You can press the bent arrow to hear the recording (about an hour).

Blessings of Deep Peace, Grace, and Understanding, Dancing Heart~~~

p.s. Please pass this info on to anyone who you feel might appreciate. Also, please send me an email with any feedback you have. I'm still learning as I go ... ;)

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Second Edition Coming Out!

Just two days ago, I received the very first copies of the New Second Edition of my book, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor! Wow, how exciting. It was so thrilling to have this beautiful new book in my hands -- truly, a bit like giving birth to a new being! I felt awed, humbled, deeply grateful, and incredibly joyful and thrilled all at the same time. It is wonderful to know that the information I have compiled will be getting out to the world in this new and unique way.

Findhorn Press has done a terrific job: The book has a tighter look than the first edition, a little more subdued and expressive of the bittersweet aspect of death/grief that combines with life/love/joy to make up the whole. It does include some new material, including some pieces that I've gathered from friends and co-workers in the field of death, grief, and healing. I invite you to see this new work for yourself. You can go to my website ( or to for more info. Better yet, go to your local bookstore and order a copy :)

Many Blessings to you on this Memorial Day, Dancing Heart~~~

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Tragedy in Myanmar

The current situation in Myanmar is indeed a travesty. A military government is keeping people from the assist they need. A sad turn of events like this effects us all -- we all feel the grief of this unfortunate turn of events.

I encourage us all to keep Myanmar and its people regularly in our prayers. May we especially pray for the government leaders, that somehow they will see it in their hearts to open up the channels of communication with the rest of the world and receive the help they so desperately need. It heals the whole world when we are allowed to help one another, give and receive love.

Let me take this opportunity to share below the 10 tips for grieving that I outline in my book, The Last Adventure of Life. Many of us are grieving for a variety of reasons at this critical time on Earth. May we each learn to take care of ourselves and one another in new and deeper ways.

Ten Ways to Move Through Grief

1. Take one day at a time, doing one thing at a time.
2. It's good to let the tears flow. If you need to excuse yourself and find privacy, do so. Do not "stuff" your feelings.
3. Let go of the idea of "normalcy." When you're in grief, normal time goes out the window. Since it's a crazy time, strive to see the adventure and opportunities in it. See if you can enjoy doing things and "being" in new and creating ways.
4. Prepare yourself for other losses. Everything is undergoing a change in your life.
5. Ask for what you need. Remember to process your grief with friends, counselors, and whoever will listen.
6. Exercise as much as possible. It's good to keep the emotions and energy moving.
7. Sleep when you can or need to. You may become exhausted at time.
8. Don't forget to eat! Easily done, but your body and stamina will pay a price.
9. Reconnect with Spirit; and seek out new ways to develop your spirituality. Learn to meditate, for example! This could be one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself when you are going through a change of any kind.
10. Honor your memories and your intuition. By the way, meditating will strengthen your intuition.

In a couple of weeks, a 2nd edition of The Last Adventure of Life is coming out through Findhorn Press of Scotland! Thank you, in advance, for asking your local bookstore or library to review and possibly carry a copy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Seeds of Compassion and Beauty Being Sown in Seattle and Environs

I have just had three remarkable days of receiving through the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama here in the Puget Sound Area. I was aware that he was coming, but I had no idea how personally touched and moved I would be...

Two days ago, on Thursday, I was to have lunch with a wonderful woman I hadn't seen in over a year. She called me in the morning to say that a sand mandala was being made in the Monti Cristo Hotel in downtown Everett (just a couple miles from where we had planned to meet), and would I like to meet her there before going out for lunch? I had no idea about this until Lynette called to let me know! We met at the Hotel mentioned above to watch two gracious, humble Tibetan monks (from the Dalai Lama's own monastery, Ithaca, NY branch) work on the most beautiful mandala -- representing the quality of compassion -- I have ever seen. It was so beautiful that it made me weep.

I was so taken by the experience of seeing this mandala in the making that I decided to take my daughter to see it the next day. They were going to have a "dismantling ceremony" for the mandala at 4PM, so my daughter and I went to see the completed mandala just before the appointed time. The small lobby of the Hotel was filled with the hum and beauty of a diverse group of people. The ceremony of taking the mandala "down" was a very thoughtful and reflective one, honoring of everything and everyone who had helped to create the experience, as well as those who had participated by coming to see and take part in the receiving of its beauty. There was a deeply reverent quality to the whole experience, and again, I was moved to tears. Clearly, the entire area around the Monti Cristo Hotel was blessed by this gentle, thoughtful, and heart-felt creation and later dissolution of the Compassion Mandala. (The colored sand, by the way, was placed in a beautiful glass vase, then covered with an ornate "hat" and textile covering that made it almost look like a large doll, and was later released into the Everett Harbor. Some people even caravaned to the appointed place to witness this process.)

Then today, thanks to a generous healer and friend of mine, I was gifted tickets to attend His Holiness's talk on "Seeds of Compassion," held at the Qwest Field Events Center in the South end of Seattle. There were around 55,000 people who attended this powerful event from across our state. Many people from all cultures and diverse groups came from the four corners of Washington. Two hundred drummers opened this gathering with a powerful rhythm symbolizing the Heart of Mother Earth. It was deeply inspiring to hear from so many, including His Holiness, about how we can plant Seeds of Compassion, especially as we connect with our children. How we care and honor our children is a testament to how we are living our lives. Our children reflect the abundance (or lack thereof) of our compassion. We were all encouraged to find and commit to new ways of connecting with our hearts, with the present moment, and to create more gentle moments to be human -- to connect one to another, from heart to heart.

These three days have opened up my heart and helped me to see that indeed, there is a new rhythm blessing our world today, a rhythm that is more gentle, more humble, more creative and healing. I sense that we are all opening up to the Seeds of Beauty and Compassion that reside deep in our souls. May Peace, Hope, and Compassion prevail on Earth, Dancing Heart

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Bittersweet Holy Week

Blessings to you on this Good Friday. It's been awhile since I've blogged, and today I was reflecting on what a "full" and bittersweet week this is. We are in Holy Week, the week in which in the Christian Church we honor and remember the events surrounding Jesus' death. It is a week usually filled with remembering the grief and heaviness of what humanity did to life's finest prophet, and how Jesus had to endure it all. On the other hand, this particular week we have also celebrated St. Patrick's Day and the first day of Spring. And then on Sunday, Christians will celebrate the joy of Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ! These are festive days, full of hope and celebration of the Earth.

Sometimes the fullness of life comes together, and the joy and the sadness get all mixed up. These days seem rather intense like that. I sense that there's a lot of change going on; and many of us are feeling the effects of this. A week like this reminds us of how life can be very full, intense, and bittersweet, too -- sometimes all at the same time.

May your springtime be full of meaningful new beginnings, and have a joyous, wondrous Easter celebration!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The True Gift of Kindness

Yesterday I was reminded of the most generous gift that kindness can be. I had received some difficult news the day before yesterday. Then, yesterday morning I had to go and see an ophthalmologist for the first time, related to my driver's license and an eye condition I have. Honestly, I was feeling quite fragile in the morning and not particularly eager to meet a brand new doctor. However, once I met Dr. Rachel, I immediately began to feel better. My new eye doctor turned out to be one of the most kind, gentle people I've met. Her considerate nature opened my heart and almost brought me to tears on a couple of occasions. We even had a lovely conversation around how she came to be an ophthalmologist.

This experience brought back memories of another day late last year when kindness had meant so much: My daughter and I were returning from a vacation in Sedona, AZ. We took a little too long getting a bite to eat at the airport and due to a long line in security, ended up missing our flight. It turned out that we had to spend a good part of the day at the airport.

On that day, too, I became very aware of all the kindness that was offered me throughout the day. It made all the difference in the world. The thoughtful, gracious behavior of complete strangers made a most challenging day palatable. It forced me to dive inside myself and develop more patience and love for myself and those around me. I especially recall meeting a man who had just lost his brother and was on his way to the funeral. He had such kind things to say about hospice and hospice workers... it warmed my heart!

The next time you meet someone, especially a stranger, please do not underestimate how your kindness might make a difference in their lives. I invite you to give them the benefit of the doubt; treat them as you would want them to treat you. Honor them, love them, and find commonalities with them, as they will notice how they are treated and feel the difference.

Blessings of Love, deLight, and Kindness, Dancing Heart

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Gift of the Fluidity and Flexibility of Water

Happy 2008! And what a year it promises to be... I can feel some very new energy coming in -- can you? The synchronicities and "magic" seem to be happening at an accelerated pace now. One of the pieces of magic that's happened in my life is that a dear friend placed a copy of The Expected One (by Kathleen McGowan) in my hands at the very end of last year. It's a historical fiction narrative about Mary Magdalene and her "lost gospel". I've hardly been able to put the book down as we enter 2008; and it's literally been changing the way I view myself and the world. I highly recommend it to you if you are drawn at all to the goddess material that's resurfacing in our world today.

Speaking of change, this promises to be year of more creative change. A key symbol for the energy and consciousness our world is moving toward is water. (See p. 256 in my book for more.) This year, I encourage us all to meditate on the element of water. This will provide us with some keys as to how to move with the changes. Water flows, with grace and flexibility. It does not force, but rather moves around and with all that it encounters. Water deserves our deepest respect and gratitude -- even as it causes tremendous havoc in some parts of our world, sometimes even in our own neighborhoods. As we contemplate the gift of water, we are encouraged to go with the flow, move forward joyously, with flexibility and ease, enjoying the buoyancy. We might also ask water to connect us more deeply to our subconscious aspect, the feminine part of ourselves rich with symbols and images, represented by the dream world.

May 2008 create more fertile ground in each one of us for new growth and change. May we move with the changes, rather than resist, making our lives easier and more fun along the way. Deep Peace, Flexibility, and deLight, Dancing Heart