My New Memoir Follows My Path Through Grief

My new book, written during the pandemic, lays out my emotional and artistic quest as I tried to find my footing after a family tragedy.

It’s also a travel memoir, following my adventures through Canada, Mexico, the Sierras, Hawaii, England, Portugal, Greece, Morocco and Egypt.

I’ve led a colorful life. Today I’m known as a Heartbreak to Happiness Grief Coach, dancer and costume designer. You’ll see in my story where the seeds were planted and when they began to bloom.  

Here’s what reader Carlyn N. says:

“I am so terribly sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you. I appreciate your deep sense of spirituality and I love your healing dancing tale! After reading your entire book yesterday, I was so struck by the fact that you understand so many things so well … reading between the lines … all the things you didn’t say … illuminating, healing, inspiring, wonderful. Your Dancing through Grief program sounds so interesting and healing. So, I am reaching out to say thank you. Your memoir has helped me in so many inexplicable ways.”

I’m excited that Dancing With Life has been nominated in the autobiography category at the San Francisco Book Festival. Wish me luck—results will be revealed in September.

We’ve also entered the Winters Digest Self-published Book Competition, Life Stories category, and expect news on that in October.

Illustrated with plenty of photos, my life story (at least the first volume!) is available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.  

I hope, if you read the book, you’ll leave your personal feedback on Amazon. Your thoughts mean a lot to me.

Learn more or purchase on Amazon.  


Shortcutting Grief?

No one is exempt from loss, the kind that affects our heart and stirs up a wide range of pink flowers to bring joy and healingemotions. Each significant loss affects us in ways we never imagined, requiring difficult
adjustments– ones we never wanted to make. Is there a shortcut through this painful time of grief?

If only there were. A magic wand would be mighty handy just now.

But alas, the truth is that facing grief is the only way to heal it. Support makes the crucial difference. It is just too hard to try and do alone.

Friends, church groups, etc. may be helpful. And a Grief Coach (not a therapist – this is not a mental illness) can help you sort out those overwhelming emotions. Trained to understand and anticipate your needs, these compassionate professionals are there to truly acknowledge and validate your individual grieving process, while helping to heal the emotional pain.

It is of foremost importance that we do face and deal with grief, It’s not enough to just get busy, deny it or stuff it. There is compelling evidence that unresolved emotions eventually show up in the body as physical disease. Therefore, allowing time to fully express grief is a necessary part of the process.

The power of letting it out
More often than not expressing grief means crying or actually wailing out loud. This is not a time to protect others by being quiet. For privacy, one idea is to park your car near a loud place like a freeway or beach and just let it out. Another idea is to turn up the volume on some music, either in the car or at home.

The value of voicing your grief is so powerful that in some cultures, wailing (also known as
keening) is done by professionals hired to aid the family. It may sound foreign or even scary to your own ears, but anyone who has fully grieved will recognize the sound as not
only perfectly normal but helpful too.

With help and guidance from those who have been there and have specific training, we do heal and experience surprising transformation.

Learn more
About Dhyanis and her approach to healing grief
How to love more and hurt less

Tips for supporting a grieving friend

The Healing Power of Gratitude

“You are what you love and you love whatever you are giving
your attention to.”

~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Have you ever said, “I can’t help thinking that . . . “? But can we help it? True, we “think” of our conscious mind as logical, as in “if this, then that must follow,” without any hint of our participation or power to change outcomes.

We generally have not been taught that our mind is a powerful tool which can be used as a creative instrument. In fact it is always creating, according to our beliefs and thoughts. Therefore if we feed it positive beliefs and thoughts we can move out of bondage of negative experiences (and preordained outcomes) and into manifesting our full potential on this ride we call life!

“You cannot simultaneously be worrying about life, and
still feel you are fully supported and completely taken care of..”

~ From You Are What You Love by Vaishali

Gratitude is one of the best mind foods available. Since, when you focus on something you appreciate, you cannot be simultaneously be feeling lack, wishing things could be different, or dwelling in the past. When you are worried, you are “loving” worrying, and creating more things to be worried about.

When you are actively grateful, you are “loving” the gifts life has given or is giving you, and magically creating more things for which to be grateful. Our mind never quits and is constantly creating from the raw material we feed into it.

“Our thoughts go out from us like ripples in a pond.”
~ From Meditations to Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Choosing gratitude every day, even when we have lost someone, our own health or capacity we once had, is the most powerful example of “the gift that keeps on giving.” Those grateful thoughts ripple outward, affecting every relationship, all of our own cells and functions, and our sense of abundance. If we truly are what we love (or give our attention to), then we can consciously choose what we are in every present moment.

Need help breaking a downward cycle and finding the positive in your life? Learn more about my compassionate approach and free introductory phone session.

The Season, and Life, Are About Change

The beautiful transition into fall gives us a chance to reflect and be aware of all life provides Beautiful blue fall sky behind yellow, orange and rust leaves, signifies change in nature and in, even while sitting in traffic, thinking about our to-do list or grieving a lost loved one.

I would like to share a couple of sage old Buddhist ideas to help us live fully in the present.

Everything in the universe is in constant flux – both pleasure and pain must pass away in this temporary world – our bodies, thoughts, loves, successes, possessions, illnesses, hard times, empires, stars — no exceptions!

Yet every fleeting moment is perfect to help us become who we’re meant to be and view ourselves and others with a compassionate heart.

Life on this earth gives us the opportunity to work with all the sets of opposites — light and dark, like and dislike, grasping and letting go. Since the nature of our experience is flux, we know each moment is going to vanish.

So for this season, why not appreciate all that is fleeting and changing around us?

Are you working through the changing feelings of a difficult loss? Click here to take my free Chakra Profile Quiz and assess how well you’re coping.

Tips for Loving More, Hurting Less

A recipe for discovering happiness, even in the midst of grief? Forgive everyone and treat yourself like your own best friend.blossoming-trees-in-marin

Concentrate on self care and follow these six tips to access your own innate power to love!

  1. Make sure you’re getting enough rest and drinking enough water to keep you hydrated.
  2. If you are grieving, release your grief by crying freely. When that wave passes, start having fun. Laughter and joy are the best medicines for the blues.
  3. Find some purposeful pleasure like a walk in the woods.
  4. Try listening to uplfting music or call a friend for a movie or brunch.
  5. Get plenty of enjoyable exercise, like a dance or yoga class.
  6. Have more than one session with your Grief Coach. They will help you come to a peaceful place during this time.If you don’t have the support of a Grief Coach this would be a great time to start working with one.

Another great resource:
 Zero Limits – The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace,
and More, by Dr. Joe Vitale

More about Dhyanis’s grief coaching services.

Overcoming Grief . . . The Power of Forgiveness

I am sorryserene water view signifying the healing of grief in Marin
Please forgive me
Thank you
I love you

Ancient Hawaiian Healing Prayer

This Hawaiian prayer asks us to assume 100% responsibility for everything that crosses our path. The best thing we can take from any experience is the lesson, without resenting the teacher or ourselves.

Anything that needs clearing can be done by repeating those four golden phrases. Try saying them over and over in your mind, either in solitude or while engaged in any “situation.”

Here is an example of how you can personalize the prayer:

I am sorry (for my part in this situation, for being unaware)

Please forgive me (for whatever contribution I made, I didn’t know what I was creating)

Thank you (for the miraculous possibility of erasing this, for taking care of this, God)

I love you (reconnect to Divine Love, God, universal intelligence, the person, or myself)

I apologize (for any hurt I brought you)

I forgive you (for any hurt you brought me)

Thank you ( for all the good times and the growth)

I love you (only love is real)

Louise Hay, in her book Meditations to Heal Your Life, wraps up her Forgiveness Meditation with this: “I go about my own business of clearing the unforgiving parts of my mind, and I allow the love to come in. Then I am healed.”

Let’s face it, being unforgiving is detrimental to our health. Plus, the energy it takes detracts from the success of our current projects and joie de vivre!

Even if someone appears to have been deliberately devious or hurtful, blaming them or replaying the bad soap opera reruns in our mind only punishes us, never the perpetrator.

Next week, I’ll give you five ways to be your own best friend, and support you in forgiving yourself and others.

Click to learn more about my personal journey through loss and recovery, as well as Moving Past Grief services.

6 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend or Relative

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing, not curing…that is a friend who cares.”  C.S. Lewis

  1. Your greatest gift is your presence. Just being there while a person cries or deals with grief in their own way is extremely helpful.
  2. Listen unconditionally and without distraction. If they want to talk about their loved one listen with an open heart.
  3. Avoid trying to make them feel better with platitudes or the “bright side.” No one wants to hear, “It was for the best,” even if it might be true. It is better to admit,”I don’t know what to say,” than try to cheer them up.
  4. Share your own happy memories of the loved one. A lovely memento of written stories, memories and photos compiled in a scrapbook will be treasured later (ask other mutual relatives and friends to contribute).
  5. Sending or preparing food makes a more practical gift than flowers. Grieving people can forget to eat. A meal or gift card from a restaurant that delivers is always appreciated.
  6. If someone remains in a hopeless state or has difficulty functioning in daily life, take action. Grief Coaching can provide the appropriate help and be a wonderful gift.

If you’re feeling helpless and would like additional tips for supporting your grieving friend or family member, contact Dhyanis for a free 1/2-hour phone session.

Tips for Surviving Grief During the Holidays

With any approaching holiday, feelings of sadness may arise even before the festivities begin. Knowing this can help you prepare for the additional emotional and physical stress that the holidays can trigger. When your loved one’s birthday or any of the dates you once celebrated together are coming up, take care of yourself and find joy by observing some of these tips.

  • Celebrate your loved one’s memory. Acknowledge their presence by lighting a candle in their memory or doing what they used to enjoy during the holidays. Or, volunteer to help someone out or give a gift to someone in need on behalf of your special person.
  • Talk to your loved one, letting them know how much you miss them and still love them. Don’t keep the love you have for them in your heart, share it with them and other people around you.
  • Be open with your friends and family about what you can handle and what you prefer to avoid. If having people over is too much, let everyone know and ask others to take your place.
  • Be sensitive about other family member’s feelings. They are also affected by grief, so plan events together and respect each others’ choices.
  • Make changes to old routines and traditions if that would feel more comfortable. For example, instead of gathering in the morning, meet and exchange gifts in the evening.
  • Make sure you are getting enough rest. The additional stress can cause fatigue. Always make sure you are drinking enough water to keep you hydrated.
  • Release your grief by crying freely. When that wave passes, start having fun. Laughter and joy is the best medicine for the holiday blues.
  • Find some purposeful pleasure, like a walk in the woods. Perhaps listen to uplifting music, or call a friend for a movie or brunch. Include plenty of exercise, like a dance or yoga class. And consider the benefits of meditation.
  • Schedule additional sessions with your Grief Coach. They will help you come to a peaceful place during this time. If you don’t have the support of a Grief Coach, this would be a great time to start working with one.

Feeling overwhelmed?
For more resources, tips and support, contact Dhyanis.

Learn more about:
Grief Coaching
Dhyanis and her healing approach

Moving Past Grief: Healing Through Dance

Dancing the Elements

Move freely to the music, selected for its suggestive rhythm and flow, and the poetic word pictures compiled for each of the four elements – Air, Fire, Water and Earth. This is a simple yet effective way to get fully into our bodies, release self-conscious inhibitions, and gently stimulate the mind/body spirit connection.

Dancing Your Spirit Animal (Totem)

In some cultures animals are considered guardian spirits. If an animal speaks to you it is offering its protection and powers. We will discover our power animal (with the aid of the Medicine Cards) and its qualities. Through drumming and movement we will merge with our guardian animal and derive the relevant message or knowledge it brings to our current situation.

7 Chakra Kundalini Dance

Each of the seven Chakras (Sanskrit word meaning wheel), or energy centers, are assigned a different function in the Eastern system of medicine. We will focus movements that relax and awaken each energy center, bringing awareness to the significance of each in our own lives.

  • Root Chakra (Connection to Earth and Community)
  • Spleen Chakra (Creativity, Sexuality)
  • Navel Chakra (Power in the World, Individuation)
  • Heart Chakra (Compassion)
  • Throat Chakra (Communication, Voice)
  • Brow Chakra (Intuition, “Third Eye”)
  • Crown Chakra (Spiritual Connection)

Dancing Mythology (Inanna’s Journey to the Underworld, Demeter & Persephone, the Minotaur, Kali, Kuan Yin or Tara for Compassion, etc.)

The power of myth (as purported by Dr. Joseph Campbell) works in us because the stories are visualizations of universal archetypes, shared by all of us whether consciously or not. As we enact these mythological journeys, we tap into the buried aspects of self. We are able to find the hidden meaning of events and circumstances, and heal the schisms between “dark and light,” “good and evil,” etc., as they play out in our lives.

Dancing Your Story (Day-long process, includes some drawing & poetry)

Lying on a large piece of paper, someone will trace the outline of your body. Throughout the day we will do movement explorations to help us fill in the background, representing our past (with relevant colors, words, shapes, etc.). Eventually we will fill in the image with what we would like our new future self to look like, and finally express that vision with new movement.

For more information, including scheduling, get in touch with Dhyanis.

Why Use Movement to Help Alleviate Grief?

I designed my Moving Past Grief program to identify and embrace your personal purpose, as well as the significance of deep loss. The customized class series helps us move through grief as an ultimately healing, liberating and empowering process. I tailor the program for each participant’s needs and abilities.

The imagery I select helps you move energy through your body in order to fully express and release your grief. One need not be a dancer or have had any dance training to receive the full benefits of moving to express emotion where words are not enough. Here are some ideas I share at the Movement Workshops:

  •  If your body is your temple, Dance is your prayer. It is your moving meditation. It is your sacred task to express your true self.
  • If anyone says they would like to dance like me, I tell them “Great – then dance like you.” H. Auden said, “Dance while you can.” He did not say dance well!
  • Allow yourself to use your powerful imagination. Children do it every day. As Pablo Picasso famously said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Imagination mobilizes our natural gifts and is very healing.
  • During the exercises, I invite you to surrender to your imagination and let your body playfully give form to the images I will suggest as the music plays. This is called authentic movement; there are no steps to learn. Just focus on describing with your body what you feel from the music and from my suggestions.

In the Moving Through Grief program, we are going beyond thought, beyond self-consciousness to merge with the music and the motion. You’ll let the force of life pulse through you, using your hands and arms, your heart, your belly, your legs and feet.

The result will surprise and delight you, and may even lead to ecstasy!

I have personally made healing dances on or these occasions:

  • Symbolic dance of death and resurrection – 7 Veils for Mom
  • Improvisational performance on the day I had to put my 21-year-old cat down – did a lot of floor work and even cried.
  • Eulogy dance for Princess Di

Find out about:
Moving Past Grief Movement Series
Dhyanis’s Dance and Coaching background