The Gifts of Grief
July 2, 2014
Hosted by Cheryl Jones
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Sometimes the worst thing you can imagine leads you to your calling. For Nancee Sobonya, that was the death of her father at 17. How did that early loss lead to a lifetime of healing work as a grief counselor, filmmaker and workshop leader? How does the loss of her father continue to impact her beliefs about grief and about life? Join us as we explore how this experience continues to impact her and what unfolded from that early loss.
Good Grief with Cheryl Jones
Wednesday at 2 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel
On Good Grief we explore the losses that define our lives. Each week, we talk
with people who have transformed themselves through the profound act of
grieving. Why settle for surviving? Say yes to the many experiences that embody
loss! Grief can teach you where your strengths are, and ignite your courage. It
can heighten your awareness of what is important to you and help you let go of
what is not.
On Good Grief, we are inspired by people who have made something miraculous out of their deepest heartaches! We listen as they share how they have walked through their own exquisite pain and what they have gained as a result. We come away ready to follow our own dreams to a deeper, more meaningful time on this beautiful earth! Listen for Good Grief, broadcast live every Wednesday at 2 PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel.
Cheryl Jones is a grief counselor. During her education as a Marriage and Family
Therapist, her first wife was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which was at the
time a uniformly terminal illness with a six month to one year prognosis. In the
eight years that followed, Cheryl engaged daily in the work of preparing for her
death. She received training during this period from Stephen and Ondrea Levine
(Who Dies and Grieving Into Life and Death) and Richard Olney (founder of Self-Acceptance Training). After her wife’s death, Cheryl immersed herself in her own multifaceted grief, surprised by frequent moments of joy.
Cheryl is a consultant and group leader at the Free Therapy Program of the Women’s Cancer Resource Center. She has trained extensively with Erving Polster, leader in the field of gestalt therapy and author of Everybody’s Life is worth a Novel. She was Clinical Director at the Alternative Family Project, which served the therapeutic needs of LGBTQ families in San Francisco. She also wrote a column called Motherlines for the San Francisco Bay Times and ran Considering Parenthood groups for the LGBT community.
Before becoming a therapist, Cheryl enjoyed careers as a musician, a restaurant owner and a carpenter. She still enjoys singing with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, eating food in outstanding Bay Area locations and remodeling her Craftsman. She lives with her wife in Oakland, California and especially savors time with her family and friends.
- 7/30/2014: Mother in the Middle Listen Now
- 7/23/2014: Three Months Listen Now
- 7/16/2014: From Mindfulness to Mendfulness Listen Now
- 7/9/2014: On Loss and Living Onward Listen Now
- 7/2/2014: The Gifts of Grief Listen Now
Marilyn Ababio is a skilled administrator with over 25 years experience managing complex systems infrastructure projects. Ms. Ababio’s specific expertise have been applied to Alameda County’s Health Care Services Agency’s Advance Health and Hospice Program called “Getting the Most Out of Life”. She is serving Alameda County by working to integrate County systems to include advanced care planning services and then to ensure equitable access to advanced care planning and hospice services. A graduate of UCLA, Yale University and Occidental College, Ms. Ababio is a presenter and participant with prestigious organizations such as the National Academies of Science, Transportation Research Board (TRB), Stanford University I Sage Program, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and Harvard University Civil Rights Project on issues of Environmental Justice. View Guest page
Kylie Agllias (PhD), author of Family Estrangement: A Matter of Perspective, is a social work researcher and educator. She is a conjoint lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Kylie has been researching the ‘lived experience’ of family estrangement since 2007 and disseminating her findings through books, articles, professional workshops, public lectures and media interviews. She is committed to strengths-focused research that ‘gives voice’ to people and topics that are generally unheard, minimised or misunderstood by larger society. View Guest page
As a direct outgrowth of losing his wife and children, Benjamin Allen has worked with grieving individuals and groups for many years and recently completed the book Out of the Ashes: Healing in the Afterloss. He has been trained and certified by The Grief Recovery® Institute (GRI). Beginning his career as a Southern Baptist minister, he worked for the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas from 1985-1991, was the founding Director of the Dallas AIDS Interfaith Network, and a member of the Texas Legislative Task Force on AIDS and the National AIDS Commission. From 1991-1995 he worked with the HIV Research Group at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. He now defines his beliefs this way; “I have no labels, no attachment to a particular belief. All I know is that I am a human, born of Spirit. And in Spirit, there is only love.” Benjamin can be reached at www.theafterloss.net. View Guest page
Deborah Allen, Counselor, educator, and artist. Screenwriter, JANE the movie, a feature film in development about how music and poetry anchor a 15 year-old-girl in the face of sexual violence, family upheaval and change she cannot control. As a rape survivor, artist, and counselor, Deborah teaches workshops that nurture the development of a creative inner life. Currently, she is working with 20 artists to perform FIRE IN THE HEART, a stage piece including gospel, hip-hop, classical music, spoken word, poetry and dance, that explores how the arts can serve as a catalyst for healing trauma and grief. She has been teaching mid-life professionals in the healing arts for the last twenty-five years, with an emphasis on depth psychology and trauma repair. She teaches in the USA, Europe and Japan. Between 2010 and 2013, 5 of her closest people died: mom, dad, sister, sister-in-law and therapist. View Guest page
Amikaeyla, author of Embracing Dynamite: A Step by Step Guide to Your Best Life Through the Power of Sound and Spirit unlocked her self expression and healing in a burn unit after a near fatal hate crime. Told that she would never walk again, she now travels the world using music to help others lift themselves out of painful circumstances. Amikaeyla’s music and presence opens paralyzed voices and transforms wounded spirits. She is a lay ambassador worldwide for the United Nations and her non-profit ICAHSI (International Cultural Arts and Healing Sciences Institute) develops innovative programs to unlock dynamic living and authenticity. She has worked with NGOs, universities, corporations and in private workshops to open paralyzed creative potential. She has also sung worldwide with many accomplished musicians, (including Sweet Honey in the Rock and Pete Seeger) and sung for the Dalai Lama. Her unique and powerful voice is found on many recordings, including the recent Being in Love. View Guest page
Rudi Raab and Julie Freestone
Julie Freestone was born in the Bronx, N.Y., to immigrant Jewish parents in 1944. Rudi Raab was born in Germany six days after World War II ended in Europe. His father was a high-ranking Nazi. They met when Julie, a reporter, was doing a story and interviewed Rudi, a cop. They live in Richmond, California. They both lived in Hamburg, Germany in 1950 eight miles apart. View Guest page
Britta Aragon founded CV Skinlabs, an innovative line of skin care products setting a new standard for safety in the beauty industry. Her blog, Cinco Vidas, and book, When Cancer Hits, help those with cancer and others with sensitive skin navigate towards better choices in caring for their bodies. As a caregiver during her father's eight-year battle with cancer and a survivor of Hodgkin’s disease herself, she understands firsthand the devastating effects of cancer. She found that products for “sensitive skin,” often contained harmful chemicals that irritated her father’s fragile skin. As a result, she dedicated herself to providing information and choices for others facing the same challenges. Britta has lectured for Gilda's Club, iThrive in Survivorship and the Stupid Cancer Show, among others. Her features include US Weekly, People En Espanol, Crazy Sexy Life, Self.com, Telemundo, Well and Good NYC, Real Simple Magazine and Organic Spa Magazine” and more. cvskinlabs.com View Guest page
Marcy Baskin’s story is a poignant example of grief as a life changing experience. Marcy’s parents, both in their seventies and in poor health, moved to California to be near their children. Marcy was stunned when they arrived, over-medicated and under-attended by their respective physicians.
The jigsaw puzzle of obtaining medical records, finding providers, going to medical appointments, supervising caregivers, eventually finding appropriate placement for Mom, who had Alzheimer’s, all became a full time job for Mary, leaving little time for taking care of herself, her career, health and her relationships.
Marcy’s takeaway from this experience was that being the decision maker for a loved one was a rugged task. If only she had had another pair of eyes and ears to help. Despite the unwavering support and love offered by her husband, her ongoing grief was huge and relentless.
A fierce advocate for her mother, she was drawn to enrolling at Sonoma State University in their health navigation and advocacy program.
Today, Marcy has a private practice in eldercare management and family coaching, helping those who are in an all too familiar situation, as she was. She is on the faculty at SSU teaching the very program that was life changing for her. View Guest page
Ash Beckham, a lesbian from Colorado, was living a private life, working for her family business and part time at a local restaurant (where the staff had become like family) when a friend suggested she apply to speak at the Boulder Ignite conference, then signed her up before she decided yes and no and without a topic. She was accepted, and her speech about the term “that’s so gay” and how to decide when it’s use was inappropriate and derogatory led to a TEDX talk about having the hard conversations we all need to have in our lives. She learned these lessons after facing up to the need to come out to her own family and now speaks about the imperative for all of us to “come out” with the truth of our lives. She speaks to numerous groups, including a recent talk at the LGBTQI conference at Harvard, about the importance of honest conversations. She has become an advocate fro support of several nonprofit groups that support causes she believes in. View Guest page
Marcy Rosen Bernstein
Marcy Rosen Bernstein, is a social worker who has been working in hospice in New York City since 2006. She started her journey as a hospice volunteer. After her husband died of Multiple Myeloma, she went back to school at the age of 60 to earn an MSW at Fordham University. Marcy is also a graduate of the End-of-Life Practitioners Program of the Metta Institute, Sausalito, CA. As a psycho-social counselor she served thousands of patients and families. Her expertise and compassion helped to normalize and bring resolution to the end of life challenges of her patients and their loved ones. Marcy created endoflifewisdom.org to assist people navigating the challenges presented at end of life. After years of answering the questions of patients, family and friends, Marcy saw the need to extend her knowledge to others in need of end of life guidance through Advice to the Living about Dying View Guest page
Claudia Biçen is a self-taught British-American artist living in San Francisco. Her work has been selected for a number of exhibitions including the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at the Mall Galleries in London and the Pastel Society of America at the National Arts Club in New York where she was awarded the Herman Margulies Award for Excellence. Fascinated by the human condition, Claudia has worked with communities across the world in both mental health and therapeutic art settings. She holds a BA in Philosophy & Psychology from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Social Anthropology from University College London. View Guest page
Claire Bidwell Smith
Claire Bidwell Smith is a therapist specializing in grief and the author of two books of nonfiction: The Rules of Inheritance and After This: When Life is Over Where Do We Go? both published by Penguin. The Rules of Inheritance, a coming of age memoir about grief, was a Books for a Better Life nominee, a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick, has been published in 17 countries, and is currently being adapted for film. After This chronicles Claire’s journey as a grief therapist searching for meaning as she explores various beliefs about the afterlife. Claire has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from The New School University, and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University. She teaches numerous workshops around the country and has written for various publications including The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Slate, Chicago Public Radio, The Guardian and BlackBook Magazine. Claire currently works in private practice in Los Angeles. View Guest page
Joshua Black’s research interest is in the area of grief dreams, with a special focus on dreams of the deceased. He first investigated this while doing his Master’s at Trent University. His thesis examined themes and personal meaning on dreams of the deceased. Joshua is currently in the PhD program (Psychology) at Brock University and continues to investigate grief dreams. He has published scientific literature in the area. As a way to raise awareness on the topic he has set up a website (griefdreams.ca) to help the bereaved and those who assist them. He frequently does presentations/workshops on the topic, runs the Grief Dreams Podcast (with co-host Shawn Ram), facilitates a Grief Dreams Facebook Group, and has an active Instagram page and Twitter account (search @griefdreams). For the last 7 years, he has provided volunteer one-on-one and group support to individuals who are bereaved. View Guest page
Roselee Blooston is an award-winning writer whose plays have been produced in New York and internationally. Her articles and fiction have appeared in consumer and literary magazines including AARP: The Magazine, Moxie, and Pulse Literary Journal, and as part of the anthology, The Widows' Handbook. Roselee has taught on the faculties of several universities. For more information, visit http://roseleeblooston.com View Guest page
Julie Bond Genovese
Julie Bond Genovese is an inspirational speaker, workshop leader, artist and the author of the bestselling memoir, Nothing Short of Joy, which was endorsed by Wayne Dyer, Dr. Christiane Northrup & Dr. Bernie Siegel. She has been featured on TV shows (NBC LX, Anderson Cooper Live, & My Fox Boston) as well as radio shows across the country, including Oprah.com with Gayle King. Being born a dwarf, with degenerative arthritis, was not the curse Julie originally believed; it turned into magic. After desperate years of humiliation & shame, medical studies & operations (including two brain surgeries) Julie realized that joy wasn’t dependent on circumstances but on her response. Human trials came with a heavenly purpose; the growth & glory of remembering the love we were born forgetting. Julie mentors others on how to use empowered self-expression to transform life's grief into gratitude and troubles into triumph. View Guest page
Robin Perry Braun
Robin Perry Braun, MPsy is a licensed therapist, a certified Emotion Code Practitioner and ordained minister. She has spent more than 20 yrs searching for tools that bring authentic healing to the tough-to-heal afflictions. She is the author of “A believers guide to the Law of Attraction” and “30 Days to Peace and Joy” Her passion is the educate people on the power of the subconscious in attracting our life. She helps people release trapped emotions and reprogram limiting beliefs. Her toolbox also contains spiritual and nutritional tools as well. She is passionate about helping people manage their brain chemistry, physical health and mental/emotional wellbeing. Clients come to her to release blocks to weight loss, success and love as well as for depression, anxiety and emotional distress. She is a keynote speaker, does customized workshops and retreats and works with individuals and corporations. View Guest page
Hattie Bryant has made a living since 1979 in adult education and she is the author of the new book, I’ll Have It My Way: Taking Control of End of Life Decisions. At the age of 27 she bought a franchise of Leadership Management and for the next fifteen years, she taught management, sales and customer service in the conference rooms of small businesses and from convention platforms. Hattie is the creator of the made-for-PBS television series, Small Business School, which was filmed in 34 states and 150 cities. Sponsorship came from IBM, Verizon, Qwest, Travelers, Dun & Bradstreet, AT&T, MassMutual , Microsoft, and others. It reached into most US homes via some 300 PBS member stations from 1994-2012 and it was also translated into French, Spanish and Arabic and aired around the world through over 1000 affiliates of the Voice of America-TV. Hattie is also the author of the book, Beating the Odds, and in 1997 was given the Award of Excellence from the White House View Guest page
Erica is a writer and journalist, mostly for the Guardian. After studying Philosophy at Durham University she went to live in Mexico for two years, where she became fluent in Spanish. She now also speaks Italian and French. Erica was blindsided by the sudden loss of her father-in-law. When the anxiety that followed – which involved a bout of agoraphobia and an intense fear that anyone she wasn't looking at was already dead – her fears were ignored or dismissed as "normal" by those around her, the subject swiftly changed. She became interested in why no one wanted to talk about death directly. This has led to what is probably the opposite of agoraphobia: Erica is travelling the world attending death festivals and writing a book about it. She lives in England with her husband, puppy and three cats. View Guest page
Ned Buskirk is the creator and host of You’re Going to Die, a movement to bring people creatively into the conversation of death and dying, while helping to inspire and empower them to unabashedly confront loss and mortality.
The first live event was held on March 6th, 2009, as a simple poetry night held in the golden belly of a San Francisco apartment. After that first occurrence, it quickly spilled into the community spaces of the city, filling local cafes and dark bars with the words and songs of its people. And now the live event series, YOU’RE GOING TO DIE: Poetry, Prose & Everything Goes… [with its current form and home as a half open mic/half curated event that’s held every month in San Francisco’s Mission district] has giving way to a larger manifestation of its title, one that encompasses more than simply open mics and live shows, but is now also an online international community creatively engaging with our shared mortality and all its inevitabilities. View Guest page
Dr. Shakti Butler
Dr. Shakti Butler is the Founder & Creative Director of World Trust, a nonprofit based in Oakland, CA. She is the producer and director of groundbreaking World Trust documentaries including The Way Home: Women Talk about Race in America, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, and Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity. She travels extensively across the United States to share the films and catalyze change. Dr. Butler is a master at inviting people to see themselves as indelibly connected to each other and the world we live in. Dr. Butler is a multiracial African-American woman (African, Arawak Indian, and Russian- Jewish) whose work as a creative and visionary bridge builder has challenged and inspired learning for over two decades. To learn more about Shakti Butler and see footage of her, and the films, go to www.world-trust.org. View Guest page
Katy Butler is an award-winning journalist who has written for the New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. After eight years as her parents’ part-time caregiver and fulltime medical advocate, she wrote the bestselling memoir, Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death. [http://www.amazon.com/Knocking-Heavens-Door-Better-Death/dp/1451641982/ref=tmm_pap_title_0] A lyrical memoir of the redemptive power of familial love and a passionate argument for better end of life medicine, it explores how difficult “the good death” has become in an era of advanced medical technology. Part memoir, part investigative reporting and part spiritual guide, it was named a “New York Times Notable Book of 2013.” The San Francisco Chronicle called it “a lyrical meditation on death, written with extraordinary beauty and sensitivity.” Katy has lectured at Harvard Medical School and medical centers across the country. www.katybutler.com/site View Guest page
Isabel Yuriko Stenzel Byrnes
Isabel Yuriko Stenzel Byrnes, MSW, MPH (Stanford, ’94, University of California, Berkeley, ’98, ‘99) is a bereavement social worker at Mission Hospice, where she counsels and leads writing group for those who are grieving. She has lived with cystic fibrosis for 43 years and received a double lung transplant eleven years ago. Isabel has been an active leader for various cystic fibrosis and organ transplant organizations for two decades. Isabel and her late twin published the memoir, "The Power of Two,"and served as international patient advocates in her mother's country, Japan, which led to the creation of a documentary film of the same title. Isabel has lectured around the country on topics such as living well with illness, end-of-life issues and organ donation, including a TEDx Stanford talk in May 2014. For fun, Isabel plays the bagpipes to celebrate her lung donor. She lives in Redwood City and is happily married to Andrew Byrnes. View Guest page
Marianna Cacciatore is an author and public speaker. Her book, Being There for Someone in Grief has been used as a guide for hospice volunteers and as a textbook for Spiritual Directors. It was endorsed by Stephen Levine, Mark Nepo, Wayne Muller, and Parker Palmer. She has just completed the manuscript for her second book, The Way of Love, Generosity, and Grief: An Intimate Portrayal of Stitching the Heart Back Together. She was the Founding Executive Director of the philanthropic organization, Bread for the Journey (BFJ). From 1998 to 2014, she directed the development of BFJ from a single chapter in Santa Fe, NM to a national organization with the capacity to create affiliate chapters throughout the United States. She serves as a Lifetime Emeritus Board Member of Tu Nidito (Your Little Nest) the parent agency for the organization she founded in 1990 called Children to Children—A Center for Children & Families in Grief. Tu Nidito is in Tucson, AZ, where it remains one of the most View Guest page
Marina Cantacuzino is an award-winning journalist who in 2003, in response to the imminent invasion of Iraq, embarked on a personal project collecting stories from people who had lived through violence, tragedy or injustice and sought forgiveness rather than revenge. In 2004, she founded The Forgiveness Project (www.theforgivenessproject.come), a highly influential charitable organization that uses personal narratives to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution can be used to impact positively on people’s lives. View Guest page
Kelly D. Carlisle
Kelly D. Carlisle, Founder and Executive Director of Acta Non Verba, is a veteran of the United States Navy and has been the recipient of many awards, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. She is an avid gardener and is an Alameda County Master Gardener Trainee. She is an active member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. Ms. Carlisle was selected as one of 200 U.S. Delegates to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto in 2012 and one of only five selected from the San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Carlisle is the December 2011 Bon Appetit Good Food Fellow. She has worked with and mentored pre-teen and teenage youth since the age of 14. A native of East Oakland, California, she is committed to creating positive change in her childhood city. Previously, Kelly ran a successful catering business dedicated to utilizing local and sustainable produce. She is a mother, activist, and concerned citizen. www.anvfarm.org View Guest page
Regi Carpenter is a performance artist, author, and coach who tours nationally and internationally. Regi's tales celebrate the glorious and gut - wrenching lives of four generations of Carpenter’s raised on the Saint Lawrence River in Clayton, New York. Her memoir, “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner-stories of a seared childhood” will be published in September of 2016. View Guest page
Katrina Cavanough is a woman who ‘knows’. Her ability to connect to the past, present and future has allowed her to offer insights, healing and inspiration to thousands of people as a grief and trauma therapist, a life strategist and a spirituality coach. She believes we all have the power to tap into with our inner wisdom in order to create lives full of happiness, wealth and health. She is the Spirituality and Intuitive Coach on Deborah Hutton’s new media website – Balance. Katrina is also a published Author, Speaker and lover of life. Katrina is a regular contributor to MariaShriver.com, appeared on Channel 7′s Weekend Sunrise and was featured on Channel 7’s 2011 series of The One. Katrina has been heard on radio across Australia, featured in national print and online media. She has her own radio show – I AM Wisdom – on OMTimes Radio. Her first book ‘Wisdom For Your Life’, published by Allen & Unwin is now available in Australia, NZ, USA and Canada. www.katrinacavanough.com View Guest page
Award winning Mirabai Ceiba is a duo consisting of guitarist/singer Markus Sieber and singer/harpist/keyboardist Angelika Baumbach. They come from different parts of the world. Markus is East German. Angelika was born in Tucson, Arizona, and grew up in a small village near Mexico City, the daughter of a Mexican mother and German father. Together, Angelika and Markus have forged engaging new style of world devotional music blending Gurmukhi mantras from the Kundalini Yoga tradition with original songs in English and Spanish that reflect a Native American influence and also draw words of wisdom from Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Guru Nanak and Yogi Bhajan. View Guest page
Lynda Cheldelin Fell
Lynda Cheldelin Fell is an inspirational visionary, creator, producer, post tragedy community facilitator, and an international bestselling author who found herself beginning the long journey through profound grief when her 15 year-old daughter died in a car accident in 2009. Two years later, Lynda's world took another unexpected turn two years later when her 46 year-old husband suffered a major stroke leaving him with permanent disabilities, leaving her with a new layer of grief. Through the darkness, Lynda found comfort by helping others who were struggling, and this fueled her passion to create a legacy of help, healing and hope. Lynda now enjoys creating projects that bring light to the world on both small and large scales. She founded AlyBlue Media, in memory of her beloved daughter, to house her growing endeavors that now take her across the country. View Guest page
Marilynne Chöphel, MA is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has offered depth psychotherapy since 1990 and specializes in the treatment of trauma. She brings to her work a strong foundation in mindfulness meditation and yoga, both of which she has taught for more than twenty-five years. The healing process of Unfinished Conversation is inspired by her study of leading clinical treatments for trauma, as well as early experience working on a suicide crisis line, and as a therapist supporting individuals at the edge of life and death. Marilynne’s website, www.dharmaspirit.com, offers resources and practical tools for those seeking healing through the challenges and losses in life. She is the mother of her adult sons, Brian and Kevin, two of her main teachers and companions on life’s journey. She lives close to nature in San Rafael, California. View Guest page
Tracey Cleantis holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and has built a national reputation as an expert on healing losses through her popular blog, La Belette Rouge, Freudian Sips on PsychologyToday.com, and her writings for the Huffington Post. She also has had interviews and advice featured in articles in Psychologies Magazine, Redbook, and on Fox News Boston, among others. Her book, The Next Happy: Let Go of the Life You Planned and Find a New Way Forward, has just been released by Hazelden Publishing. www.traceycleantis.com View Guest page
Kaye Lesley Cleave began her career as a teacher in Australia before heading off to travel the world. She earned an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Adelaide. From 2008–2010 she was a research scholar at UC Berkeley, examining the connection between mindfulness and healing grief. Her first book, Once More with Feeling: How to Manage Your Emotions in the Workplace was published in 1996 and recently she wrote a children’s book, A Kangaroo Tale, about the power of mindfulness. She is completing a book of poems about mothering and loss as well as working on her documentary, Finding Freedom Through Grief. View Guest page
Deanna Cochran is a nurse, end of life guide and trainer. She mentors pioneers in end of life worldwide to serve and empower their communities. She founded Quality of Life Care in 2005, after her mother's death, to advocate for palliative care from the moment of diagnosis, regardless of diagnosis and long before hospice is necessary. She developed "Accompanying the Dying: A Practical Guide and Awareness Training," which has been featured in major media such as the New York Times, Medscape and Austin American Statesman. Trained as a RN, Deanna has served the dying and their families in various settings, mostly hospice since 2000 and as an End of Life Guide and Doula since 2005. She has been mentoring others since 2010.
QLC's private programs fund her public education efforts, services for those in need and the Journey Podcast. Her forthcoming book ‘Accompanying the Dying: Practical, Heart Centered Wisdom for End of Life Guides, Doulas, and Educators’ will be available soon. View Guest page
Single Mother Anne-Marie Cockburn lost her daughter, 15 year old Martha Fernback, in 2013 to an accidental ecstasy overdose. Within hours she began to write down her feelings as a way to channel her shock and try to make sense of the tragic loss of her only child. -Her book, 5,742 Days (the number of days Martha lived), is a real-time account of the first 102 days without her girl, poignantly finishing on what would have been Martha's 16th birthday.
After the sentencing of the 17 year old drug dealer, Anne-Marie publicly forgave him and over an 18 month period - they corresponded through letters, which Anne-Marie believes has aided her healing.
Describing herself as a peaceful protester, Anne-Marie regularly visits schools and prisons to tell her story. In her own words: “As I write this, I have been without my girl for 1,121 days - it sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But in the aftermath, time becomes distorted - the pain of bereavement doesn't wear a watch.So to represent my beloved Martha, it is my quest to keep this conversation going in order to save other families from a similar loss to mine.” View Guest page
Melissa Dalton-Bradford is an author, independent scholar, popular public speaker, wife, and bereaved mother, who has published essays, poetry, and two books, Global Mom: A Memoir, and On loss and Living Onward: Collected Voices for the Grieving and Those Who Would Mourning with Them. She holds a BA in German and an MA in Comparative Literature, speaks, reads and writes fluent German, French, and Norwegian, is conversant in Mandarin, is studying Italian, and has taught language, humanities and writing on the university level. She and her husband Randall have built their family in Vienna, Hong Kong, Oslo, Paris, Munich, Singapore, Geneva, and are presently moving to Frankfurt. It was in the middle of a major move–from Paris to Munich–that the Bradfords lost their son Parker as he attempted to save the life of a fellow student caught in a lethal hidden whirlpool. The loss catapulted Melissa into the most foreign world of all; the entirely alien, but transformative, land of loss. View Guest page
Terri Daniel is a hospice and hospital-trained chaplain and certified thanatologist who helps dying and grieving people discover a more spiritually-spacious understanding of death and beyond. Her unique perspective helps the dying and the living find meaning and healing through meditative and ritual practices that open a conduit to other dimensions. Her unique form of "radical mysticism" incorporates elements of Buddhism, Shamanism, ancient pagan practices, gnostic Christianity and other spiritual traditions to break down limiting beliefs about forgiveness, divine judgment and negative experience. Terri is the author of three books on death and the afterlife: A Swan in Heaven: Conversations Between Two Worlds; Embracing Death: A New Look at Grief, Gratitude and God; and Turning the Corner on Grief Street: How Trauma and Loss Can Transform Us. She is also the founder and president of the Afterlife Education Foundation and producer of the annual Afterlife Awareness Conference. View Guest page
Outstanding singer and vocal activist Melanie DeMore believes in the power of voices raised together to bring social and political change. As the subject of 'Stick and Pound,’ she has helped preserve the African American folk tradition through song and Gullah stick pounding. In her 30 year career she has taught, lectured, mentored, conducted, directed and inspired both children and adults. She has presented, conducted and soloed internationally, including Festival 500 in New Foundland, Canada and Chorus America. She’s adjunct faculty at California Institute for Integral Studies, lead teaching artist for TEMPO at UC Berkeley and a featured presenter for SpeakOut! Institute for Social and Cultural Change. She has performed with Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Odetta, Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, the Trinity Choir, and MUSE Cincinnati Women's Chorus, among others. She truly embodies her own principle, 'A song can hold you up when there seems to be no ground beneath you". View Guest page
Cheryl Patrice Derricotte
Cheryl Patrice Derricotte is the founder and editor-in-chief for 30 Minute Manager, an indie press she created in 2011. A life strategist for the 21st century, she is a frequent contributor to numerous publications, an engaging speaker, a trusted confidant and highly respected consultant. Cheryl is the author of Being the Grown-Up, Taking Care of Someone with a Terminal Illness (2013). The book is available in paper and ebook formats. Her bio can be tweeted in four words: Artist/Activist/Writer/ Vegan. For more information, visit http://www.30minutemanager.com. View Guest page
Kicking off her thirtieth birthday with a surprise celebration in Iceland, Aimee DuFresne was oblivious to the fact that the year would soon be filled with tragedy and unimaginable heartbreak. In the next 12 months Aimee lost the two most significant men in her life: her ailing father and her young husband. In her deepest state of grief, Aimee realized she had a choice: she could simply give up or she could fight to keep going. She began letting go of fears to live her life to the fullest and realized her dream of being an author, a speaker, a radio show host and healthy living chef. After transforming her own life, she now empowers other women around the world to do the same. View Guest page
Cath Duncan has her Masters in Social Work, as well as certifications in coaching, neuro-linguistic psychology, and narrative inquiry methods. She has grown to love narrative inquiry, and now practices and teaches within a narrative approach. Cath’s work focuses on grief and loss support. She offers resources for bereaved people at RememberingForGood.com, trains Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioners at CreativeGriefStudio.com, and collaborates with Vicky Culling to provide information about the option to bring stillborn and deceased babies’ bodies home for family time or a home funeral at WhenYourBabyDies.com. Cath’s creative and flexible approach to grief support has been strongly shaped by her own love of art-making, her Masters research on the role of shame in grieving, and her own experiences of different kinds of losses, including pregnancy losses, the failure of Cath’s kidneys, and the loss of her focal vision. View Guest page
Nicki Boscia Durlester
Nicki Boscia Durlester is a breast cancer survivor and patient advocate. Following her diagnosis in 2009 she penned her memoir Beyond the Pink Moon. As a carrier of a BRCA2 mutation, inherited from her mother, she told the story of her family’s staggering history of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Her Facebook group, by the same name, has close to 4,000 members in 30 countries. Founded in 2010 and moderated by Nicki, it is an active forum for discussion for survivors, previvors, caregivers, MDs and health care professionals. Nicki's second book, The Pink Moon Lovelies, Empowering Stories of Survival, is an anthology of 50 stories from breast and ovarian cancer survivors and BRCA previvors from her Beyond the Pink Moon Facebook group, with a Foreword written by internationally renowned breast surgeon, Dr. Kristi Funk. Nicki and the Pink Moon Lovelies can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BeyondthePinkMoon/ Nicki is also active on Twitter at: @nickidurlester View Guest page
Every day millions of people are asking the question, “How am I going to survive this?” Motivated by personal tragedy, the death of her firstborn (and other big & little life grievances), Annah Elizabeth set out to uncover the secrets that allow some people to triumph over tragedy. She has spent more than twenty years studying how we recover from mayhem and mishap. She is passionate about the power within each of us to heal our heartaches and to triumph over tragedy. She shares her insights and discoveries through writing and from the stage. Through her explorations of loss, grief, and healing, Annah not only discovered that the answers are as universal as the mystery itself, she unearthed essential grief event recovery tools which she assembled into The Five Facets Philosophy on Healing, a three-part, groundbreaking program that acts as a roadmap to help us make the transition from grief to healing. She presented her talk, “The Power of ‘What if’” at TEDx Nacogdoches. Her writings have been featured in numerous online magazines. She’s been a guest speaker on several BlogTalk Radio programs and has adapted several of her favorite stories into videos, which can be found on YouTube. Annah Elizabeth is an emerging leader in the realm of healing grief. Her Five Steps of Healing is to recovery what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief is to bereavement. The strength of Annah's voice lies in a hope that transports all of us into the realm of possibility and peace, to that place where we can live our best personal, professional, and philanthropic lives, even in the face of adversity... She lives in upstate New York with her husband, numerous pets, and is the proud mother of three, charming and witty young adult/college-aged children in varying states of independence. She loves connecting and invites you to join her at The Five Facets, www.thefivefacets.com, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest ,Google+, and at firstname.lastname@example.org. View Guest page
Joules Evans describes herself as “occasionally radioactive with a chance of superpowers,” which she uses to fight cancer. She’s the author of Shaken But Not Stirred... a Chemo Cocktail and is working on several other books, including Bottoms Up...”Getting Over” Cancer. Joules is a contributor to “A Year of Living Sincerely”, a VLOG in honor of Vanessa Blust Tiemeier of The Live Sincerely Project. She videos for a series, Take Down Cancer, close to once a day. As an activist in the fight for a breast cancer cure, Joules acts as exhibition coordinator/ consultant for The SCAR Project, fashion photographer David Jay’s project to bring awareness to breast cancer by exhibiting his photographs of young survivors. She facilitated a SCAR Project exhibit in Cincinnati, Ohio. Joules also works with The Dragonfly Foundation, a Cincinnati organization whose mission is to bring comfort and joy to kids fighting cancer. joulesevans.wordpress.com. View Guest page
Sara Feldmann Sheehan
Sara Feldmann Sheehan, the co-founder of Working Pictures, is an executive producer, producer and director who got her start in advertising and publishing. She appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show and co-produced segments for Oprah. Sara has produced numerous television commercials, public service announcements, films, and television series. She has worked with many celebrities and motivational speakers like Dr. Oz, Michael J. Fox, Richared Gere, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, and several others. She is now working on a series of films to follow the groundbreaking documentary "Mortal". View Guest page
Kevin Thaddeus Fisher-Paulson
Kevin Thaddeus Fisher-Paulson lives with his husband Brian, their two sons, and their four rescue dogs in San Francisco. When not writing, he serves as Captain of the Honor Guard for the San Francisco Sheriffs Department. He earned a degree in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1980 and subsequently studied writing with Dorothy Allison, Jessica Hagedorn and Steve Abbott and has attended courses at the University of Iowa and the University of Oregon. Kevin contributed regularly as a writer to The Sentinel, and his stories and poems have been seen in The James White Literary Review, Amethyst, Oberon, RFD and Suburban Wilderness. His essay, Virtue Enough for Miss Grrrl was published as part of an anthology, When Love Lasts Forever, by Pilgrim Press. His plays and monologues have been produced in the ODC Summerfest, Theater Rhinoceros, and the National AIDS Theater Festival. Kevin contributes irregularly to the National Public Radio Perspective Series View Guest page
Zoe Fitzgerald Carter
Zoe FitzGerald Carter is the author of the memoir, Imperfect Endings: A Daughter's Story of Love, Loss, and Letting Go, an account of her mother's decision to end her own life after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Imperfect Endings, published by Simon & Schuster, was excerpted in O magazine, chosen as a finalist for the National MS Society's Books for a Better Life Awards in the "Inspirational Memoir" category, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer's pick. People magazine says Imperfect Endings "coaxes beauty from the bleak" and Paula Span of The New York Times wrote, "I could quote from this book all day." Zoe was born in Paris, France and grew up in Washington D.C. A lifelong writer and graduate of Columbia Journalism School, Zoe has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon and Vogue. She is a proud member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto where she teaches classes in memoir and is currently at work on a book about race. She also plays guitar and sings in an indie stringband called Do Wrong Right. View Guest page
Dr. Michael Fratkin
Dr. Michael Fratkin is a father, husband, brother, son, and physician, He is dedicated to the well being of his community. Since completing his training, he has made his home and built his family in rural Northern California. He has served his community in primary care in a community clinic system, as a medical director of the local hospice, as a leader in the community hospital medical staff, and a transformative voice for improving the experience of people facing the end of life. At a time of great demographic and cultural change in our society, Dr. Fratkin has created ResolutionCare to insure capable and soulful care of everyone, everywhere as they approach the completion of life. View Guest page
Allison Gilbert is the author of the bestselling book Passed and Present (available at Amazon), the first how-to guide ever written for discovering creative and meaningful ways to keep the memory of loved ones alive. Inspiring and empowering, this much-needed, easy-to-use roadmap reveals 85 imaginative ways to celebrate and honor the family and friends we never want to forget. You can learn more about Allison by visiting her website www.allisongilbert.com and by connecting with her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/agilbertwriter/. View Guest page
Rabbi Mel Glazer
Rabbi Mel Glazer has been the Rabbi of Temple Shalom in Colorado Springs, CO since July 2007. A 1974 ordainee of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, he received his Doctor of Ministry (concentration in death and mourning) degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1995, and his Doctor of Divinity degree in 2001. He has served congregations in the United States, Canada and South Africa. He is the author of “When Death Visits A Jewish Home: 99 Actions For Mourners” (Fall 2007) and “And God Created Hope: Finding Your Way Through Grief with Lessons from Early Biblical Stories” (Del Capo Publishers, Jan. 2007).
His latest book is “A GPS For Grief and Healing (2014).” In addition, he has contributed articles and chapters on grief and mourning to numerous publications. He has been a member of the Board of Kavod V’Nichum, an international organization which supports the creation of local groups which care for the dead and their families. He has participated in their Conferences, and has led sessions on “The Double Silence: In and Out of Tahara.”
He has led bereavement groups and enjoys helping people move “from mourning to morning.” Find out more about Mel at http://www.griefok.com. View Guest page
Robert Goor is a husband, a father, a writer, a mathematician, a scientist and a teacher. He has been writing for over 20 years and has been a father for over 40. Dear Andrew is his first literary publication. He is an active member of the Bethesda Writer’s Center and of The Compassionate Friends, where he is a group facilitator. View Guest page
Dawn Gross earned her BA from USC and a combined MD and PhD from Tufts University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Tufts and received fellowship training at Stanford in Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant. Dawn became a hospice physician after her father’s death and was subsequently invited to attend on the palliative care team at UCSF. She has recently joined the Palliative Care Committee in San Francisco’s Department of Aging, as well as become host for the first of its kind live, call-in radio program, Dying To Talk. Compelled by her experiences as a mother, hospice and palliative care provider and caregiver to her father at the end of his life, Dawn continues to speak and write extensively and is hard at work on her first book. View Guest page
Jordan Grumet was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1973. His interest in becoming a doctor formed when his father, an oncologist, died in the early eighties. He graduated from the University of Michigan and moved to Chicago and received his medical degree from Northwestern University. After relocating to St. Louis for residency, he returned to Evanston and now practices Internal Medicine in Northbrook, Illinois. He is the acting medical director of two nursing facilities and is an associate medical director of hospice and palliative care. Jordan is married and has two children. Jordan’s chapbook of poetry, Primary Care, was released by The Lives You Touch publications in winter 2012. His short stories have appeared in Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine and Medical Economics. He is also a frequent contributor to the popular physician web site KevinMD. Jordan updates his blog regularly (www.jordan-inmyhumbleopinion.blogspot.com) and can be followed on twitter (@jordangrumet). View Guest page
Daniella is a compassionate and dedicated woman with a background in corporate event marketing and a passion for helping others. In coping with the loss of her family members she recognized the overwhelming amount of planning, paperwork, and bureaucracy that comes with the ending of one’s life. This insight and empathy are what led Daniella and her business partner Heather to found Life After.
With over nine years of sales and marketing experience Daniella brings many valuable skills to the business. Her years of corporate event planning have refined her organizational and planning skills. That paired with her natural creative vision make Daniella an irreplaceable member of our leadership team. But it is her bubbly personality and kind nature that make her the heart of our organization. View Guest page
Elizabeth Hack is the founding director and editor of San Francisco Peace and Hope, a literary arts publication. The anthology is a collection of poetry and artwork with local and international voices that offers a positive vision for peace and hope in the world. Ms. Hack founded SFPH the day after 9/11 and it was part of her personal grieving process since she has strong family ties to NYC. The book recently received a Gold Seal award at the Dancing Poetry Festival held at the Legion of Honor. View Guest page
The winner of numerous awards including a World Press Photo prize, the RF Kennedy Journalism Award, the W.Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, and four Amnesty International awards for Human Rights journalism, Robin Hammond has dedicated his career to documenting human rights and development issues around the world through long term photographic projects. His latest work on homophobia and trans-phobia, Where Love Is Illegal, has become a popular social media campaign that shares stories of discrimination and supports advocacy groups in Africa. Robin is the founder of Witness Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing human rights through highly visual story telling. View Guest page
Chelsea Hanson is an author, grief educator, and founder of www.WithSympathyGifts.com, which is an online gift shop that helps you remember and honor the lives of loved ones with beautiful and lasting memorials. Chelsea’s published works and grief support programs have been used by over 700 funeral homes across the country to provide comfort, hope and inspiration to those who have lost loved ones. Because she has the unique combination of being heart-based and brilliant at business (owning 2 successful businesses and working in corporate banking), she can help your spiritual business bloom in ways that feed your bottom line and authentic spirit as well as serve others by applying your exceptional gifts. Inspired by the loss of her parents, the underlying theme of her work is to help you make each day count by living a purposeful life in honor of those who have gone before you. View Guest page
Edie Hartshorne, M.S.W., and certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner combining spiritual inquiry with music, poetry, and somatic practice. With over 35 years of counseling experience using meditation, somatic practices and music, Edie's guidance promotes new insights and a sense of well being.
For the last two decades Edie has dedicated her work as a musician to creating peace. Specializing in meditative music, she composes and records on Japanese Koto, Native American, bamboo and clay flutes. She’s performed with Thich Nhat Hahn and the Dali Lama and was elected a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. Her audio recordings are available for performances, retreats or conferences. Edie's prize winning memoir Light in Blue Shadows has offered solace and hope to hundreds of bereaved families and individuals. In a series of finely rendered vignettes, Hartshorne unfolds the emotional and spiritual odyssey following the unexpected death of her 20 year-old son. www.edie.hartshorne.net View Guest page
Lorraine Hedtke MSW, ACSW, LCSW, Ph.D. is employed by California State University San Bernardino where she coordinates and teaches the MS graduate counseling & PPS credential programs. She also is the founder of The Fabula Center, a counseling and training center located in Southern California. Lorraine teaches about death, dying and bereavement throughout the US and internationally. Her unique ideas and practices are drawn from narrative therapy and represent a departure from the conventional models of grief psychology. Her articles have appeared in numerous professional journals and magazines. She, along with John Winslade, co-authored “Remembering lives: conversations with the dying and the bereaved” (Baywood, 2004). Her children’s book, My Grandmother is Always with Me (2005; 2014, 2nd edition), is written with her daughter, Addie. Her text, Breathing life into the stories of the dead: Constructing bereavement support groups (2012) is available from Taos Publishing View Guest page
Jethro Heiko is a Partner in the Action Mill, a human-centered design firm in Philadelphia. The Action Mill improves communication and decision-making about end-of-life care. Following the death of his father 20 years ago, Jethro founded REFLECT, the 5 College Bereavement Support Program, which worked to help college students cope with the terminal illness or death of a loved one. View Guest page
Dorothie and Martin Hellman
Dorothie and Martin Hellman married as polar opposites, leading to fights that nearly destroyed their relationship. Their book, A New Map for Relationships: Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet, explains how staring divorce in the face led them to recapture the true love that they had felt in their initial infatuation and to fall in love with the world as a whole.
Marty’s research on encryption was originally seen as a fool’s errand, but recently won him the top prize in computer science—the million-dollar Turing Award. Following Dorothie down an uncharted path until they reclaimed true love also seemed like a fool’s errand, but proved even more rewarding.
Dorothie spent several decades following a relationship map that had her repeatedly driving off cliffs until she found the courage to piece together a new map. To do that, she has spent more than half her life studying anger, fear, and grief, as well as joy, love, and especially compassion. View Guest page
Dr. Clifton Hicks
Dr. Clifton Hicks is the Founder of Urban-based Adventures ™: Adventure-based Psychotherapy™. He is also a Psychiatric Social Worker for the Department of Public Health in San Francisco, CA, providing individual, group, and family psychotherapy. In both capacities, Dr. Hicks specializes in the treatment of trauma for under-served children of color and their families in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Dr. Hicks has provided Continuing Education Units (CEU) Training to clinicians on Adventure-based Psychotherapy™, conducted Community-based Seminars on trauma and continues to provide ongoing In-Service Trainings to Educators in the San Francisco Unified School District on helping traumatized children learn. Recently, he was spotlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle, “An Uphill Climb” and highlighted in The RV Project Blog: “Climbing to Repair a Child”. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has also recognized his work. View Guest page
Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes
Ingrid Blaufarb Hughes was born in London in 1945 and grew up in New York, Athens, Saigon, Singapore, Colorado and Washington D.C. She settled in New York with Arthur Hughes, raised their children there, and taught English to immigrants and native New Yorkers at the City University of New York. Her poems and stories have appeared in a number of literary periodicals. She now lives in New Paltz, New York with her husband, Jay Klokker. View Guest page
Katherine Ingram, MA
Katherine Ingram, MA, is a writer, therapist and soul coach. She received degrees from Northwestern University, the University of San Francisco, and did doctoral work in depth psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara. For almost two decades she has actively studied Jungian psychology, Taoism, metaphysics, and Native American spiritual traditions. Her first book, Washing the Bones: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Transformation, was awarded a 2014 Nautilus silver medal and the Next Generation Indie Book Award and she is a contributing author to Unwavering Strength, being released in February. For five years she has written a regular column titled Soul Matters, about life at the intersection of spirit and matter, for the Jacksonville Review. She lives with her family in the beautiful wine country of Southern Oregon. Find out more at www.katherineingram.com View Guest page
Susan Jacobi, host of the groundbreaking podcast, Conversations That Heal, author of How to love yourself: The Hope after child abuse and speaker, is committed to speaking about the impact of childhood trauma on the adult survivors. Susan has healed from her own personal journey of severe childhood abuse and has turned her hardships around to create a positive path for her life. Practicing healthy ways to think, feel and act is where the hope lives to a life we dream of. Susan can be reached at susan jacobi dot com or email susan at susan jacobi dot com. View Guest page
Nick Jehlen is the lead designer of My Gift of Grace, a conversation game for living and dying well. He specializes in designing tools and processes for challenging conversations creating workplaces that support empathy and communication. The tools and methods that Nick has developed as a partner at The Action Mill break the limiting beliefs that organizations and individuals have about their ability to affect change.! View Guest page
Stephanie Anne Johnson is a second-generation theater practitioner. She has been a lighting designer working locally, nationally, and internationally for over forty years. She is also a visual artist who has had two one-person shows in San Francisco. Dr. Johnson is a founding faculty member at California State University, Monterey Bay in the Visual and Public Art Department. As an educator she has taught courses in art history, studio art, and service learning. She holds degrees in Theater (B.F.A. - Emerson College, Boston), Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A. – S.F. State University), Art (M.F.A. - University of California, Berkeley) and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Public Policy (Union Institute & University, Cincinnati). Her play Every Twenty One Days: Cancer, Yoga, and Me has been performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Her new play Mrs Reiff and the Counterfeit Shop will be performed at the Jewish Community Center in Berkeley on January. View Guest page
Kara LC Jones co-founded The Creative Grief Studio in 2011 with Cath Duncan to begin offering a continuing education program that would explore the intersection of grief and creativity. Their work is steeped in their personal experiences of learning to live wholeheartedly after loss and is informed by over 25 years of collective professional practice. The Studio now hosts a full professional Certification program offered twice a year, on-going short course for professional development, as well as a newly launched Summer Playshops program that is offering experiential sessions for personal development, too. See CreativeGriefStudio.com for details. Kara is an Author and Artist as well as a Carnegie Mellon University Graduate, certified in both Appreciative Inquiry/ Whole Systems Coaching with the Hero's Journey as a key model + as a Reiki Master Teacher. To learn more about Kara and follow Kara's blog visit MotherHenna.com. View Guest page
Rev. Denah Joseph
Rev. Denah Joseph is a California licensed marriage and family therapist who has specialized in traumatic grief for 35 years. In her 50’s she became a hospital chaplain to more comfortably integrate her interest in spirituality into her psychological work. She currently works as the chaplain at UCSF Medical Center’s palliative care service, addressing the emotional and spiritual needs of the seriously ill and their families. She is an ordained Buddhist minister and pastoral caregiver in the Theravada lineage and is board certified as a Buddhist chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains. Besides caring for patients and families who are receiving palliative care in a hospital setting, Denah is passionate about education, and has worked with numerous groups in hospitals and non-profits on issues of resilience and sustainable practice in high-loss work environments, including oncology and ICU units, physicians-in-training programs, and hospice programs. View Guest page
Dr. Lucy Kalanithi
Dr. Lucy Kalanithi is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine and widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, When Breath Becomes Air, for which she wrote the epilogue. She completed her medical degree at Yale, residency at University of California-San Francisco, and post-doc fellowship at Stanford's Clinical Excellence Research Center. In the 22 months between Paul's diagnosis and his death from stage IV lung cancer (2015), they continued to work as physicians (he as chief neurosurgical resident at Stanford) and had a baby daughter. At the cross-section of her medical career and her personal experience walking with Paul, she has special interests in healthcare value, meaning in medicine, patient-centered care and end-of-life care. She has been interviewed by PBS NewsHour, Charlie Rose, NPR's Morning Edition, yahoo news with Katie Couric, and the New York Times. She lives in the Bay Area with her daughter, Cady. View Guest page
Barbara Karnes, RN, is an internationally respected speaker, educator, author and thought leader on end of life. She is a renowned authority, explaining the dying process to families, healthcare professionals and communities. Her books, including Gone From My Sight, are used in hospice environments throughout the country.
Barbara has held both clinical and leadership positions, including staff nurse, clinical supervisor and executive director at Hospice Care of Mid America in Kansa City, MI, as well and Olathe Medical Center and Home Health in Olathe Kansas. She received the Heart of Health Care Award from Kansas University Nursing, the Horizon Award for Education from Nebraska Methodist College and the International Humanitarian Woman of the Year 2015 from the World Humanitarian Awards.
Barbara has traveled the country speaking about end of life issues and the dynamics of dying at conferences, state associations, colleges, nursing schools, hospitals and local hospices. View Guest page
Terrance Kelly has been called everything from “a man of great passion and conviction” to a “demanding taskmaster” to “an absolute musical genius.” And to prove them all, he has garnered extensive credentials in both gospel and jazz music. His operatic range and jubilant emotion make him a popular soloist as well as an accomplished director, composer, and arranger. His credits include choral arrangements on albums by Linda Ronstadt and the Kronos Quartet and gospel arrangements of popular music for TV and video soundtracks. In addition, he wrote or arranged most of the music on each Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir album. Terrance received an Emmy Award in 1995 for his choral arrangement of OIGC’s KGO-TV public service announcement. In 2005, he received a “Local Heroes Award” from KQED Television for his directorship of the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir and was also honored at the Gospel Music Awards. In 2013, he was awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award. View Guest page
Mary Potter Kenyon
Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from University of NorthernIowa with a BA in Psychology and is the Director of the Winthrop Public Library. She is widely published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Her essay on the connection between grief and creativity was published in the January/February 2013 issue of Poets & Writers magazine.
Mary writes a weekly couponing column for the Dubuque Telegraph Herald newspaper and conducts writing workshops for libraries, community colleges, and bookstores. Mary’s does presentations and public speaking on the topics of writing, utilizing your talents in your everyday life, and finding hope and healing in grief. Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession was published by Familius in 2013. Chemo-Therapist: How Cancer Cured a Marriage was released in April 2014. Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief and Grace was released in October. Mary lives in Manchester, Iowa, with three of her eight children. View Guest page
Judith Redwing Keyssar
Judith Redwing Keyssar has traversed an amazing 25+ year journey during the infancy and evolution of Palliative Care. After having a transformative experience at the bedside of a dear friend, her intention in becoming a nurse was to be a midwife to the dying and care for the critically and terminally ill. As her career migrated from oncology to critical care to hospice and palliative care, her own cancer diagnosis thrust her into the world of her patients’ experiences, and to facing her own mortality. Redwing Keyssar is an author, teacher, national presenter and frequent contributor to the public debate about Palliative Care. She currently serves as the Director of a unique community based Palliative Care program at Seniors at Home, a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services in San Francisco and as an adjunct faculty member of the California State University Institute of Palliative Care. She is an author and poet, and is studying to be a Poetic Medicine Therapist. View Guest page
Azim Khamisa is an inspiration. Hailed by dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama, Former President Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Azim carries his inspirational message of forgiveness, peace and hope into a world in desperate need of each. Following the loss of his only son Tariq in 1995 to a senseless, gang-related murder, Azim chose the path of forgiveness and compassion rather than revenge and bitterness, and this amazing choice led to the establishment of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and the subsequent forgiveness movement which has reached millions. Azim is an award winning author, international speaker, and peace advocate. Website: www.AzimKhamisa.com View Guest page
Rachel Kodanaz is an author, speaker and coach who provides encouragement to those who are suffering a loss or setback. Overcoming her own adversary following the sudden death of her husband, leaving her with a two-year-old daughter, and her experience in the management of large corporations led her to develop and publish resources about how to support grief and loss in the workplace. Rachel holds a BS in Business Administration from Bryant University. She is a columnist for Living with Loss Magazine and has published numerous articles on grief; a Grief in the Workplace Management guide and her book, Living with Loss One Day at a Time, have received international acclaim. Rachel speaks nationally to organizations and has appeared on Good Morning America. Rachel is available for speaking appearances, educational programs, interviews, and community outreach. She has inspired thousands of people with her unique blend of presentations and workshops. Her authentic, down to earth messages are sure to inspire you to learn, laugh, and live. More information is available at www.rachelkodanaz.com. View Guest page
Dr. Kiley Krekorian Hanish
Kiley Krekorian Hanish, OTD, OTR/L is a bereaved mother and occupational therapist living in Los Angeles. She is interested in the transformative aspects of grief, specifically how storytelling, meaningful activities, experiences, and environment contribute to healing after loss. Kiley and her husband Sean are creators of the Emmy-nominated film Return to Zero starring Minnie Driver and Paul Adelstein. It is based on their personal experience of their son Norbert, who was stillborn, and is the first feature film to tackle the taboo subject of stillbirth. Through Return to Zero Kiley has found much healing. Her willingness to share her story and most vulnerable life moments has connected her to a community of families who have endured the unimaginable death of a baby, leaving her feeling less isolated in her grief. This experience inspired her to create the Return to Zero Center for Healing, which through retreats, research, education, and outreach will help others live wholeheartedly after loss View Guest page
Anne Kubitsky is a biologist-turned-artist and community leader of The Look for the Good Project, a worldwide gratitude initiative. She is author/illustrator of a number of books, a popular speaker, and has been featured on MSNBC and WNPR as well as in The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, and Reader's Digest. www.annekubitsky.com View Guest page
Robert Emile Lesoine
Robert Emile Lesoine, MA, Ed. is an educator, musician, writer, singer, and composer. His poetry, stories, and articles have been published in a number of alternative journals. He brings the strength and compassion developed through years of teaching music to inner-city children and teens to his support for survivors of suicide. Meditation and the study of Buddhism have been the ground of his daily life since 1990, and they lend a deep spiritual base to the healing process he offers in his book, Unfinished Conversation. His own experience of healing his grief through writing is the basis of the book and of his support for other survivors. Robert’s website, www.unfinishedconversation.com offers many resources for those healing from suicide and loss. He is the father of an adult son, Charlie, and lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife Amy and their new dog Frisbee. View Guest page
Mark Liebenow writes about grief for The Huffington Post and on his blog Widowers Grief (widowersgrief.blogspot.com). He is the author of four books, and his essays, poems, and reviews have been published in journals like Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry, Fifth Wednesday, DMQ Review, Open to Hope, Under the Sun, and The Good Men Project. His work has won the River Teeth Book Award, the Chautauqua Creative Nonfiction Prize, Literal Latte’s Essay Award, been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and named a notable essay by Best American Essays 2012.
His account of hiking in Yosemite to deal with his wife’s death, Mountains of Light, was published by the University of Nebraska Press. He has also written about the theology of fools. Five of his poems have been set to music, including a choral arrangement with soprano saxophone, and several were published in a letterpress anthology. In his spare time, he helps on the organic farm of friends. View Guest page
Sybil Lockhart is a former lab scientist and teacher, current science writer and mother, compulsive journal writer and inchoate novelist. She was trained in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley; in science and education at San Francisco State University; and in cell and molecular neuroscience at Brandeis University, where she received her Ph.D. in 1994. Her teaching experience includes English and French at Maybeck High, biology and physiology at Brandeis, neuroscience at U.C. Berkeley, expository essay at Classroom Matters, and English at Bentley School. Her writing has appeared in anthologies, scientific journals, parenting magazines and a children’s magazine. Sybil is also one of the creators of Literary Mama Magazine, where she wrote her column, Mama in the Middle. Her book Mother in the Middle was developed from that column and published by Touchstone/Simon Schuster in 2009. View Guest page
Joy Loverde is the best-selling author of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, How to Find Help.
She is a Keynote Speaker who employs expertise based on experience. Joy offers keynotes to the mature market, family caregivers, and the professionals who assist them. Her keynotes have included the National Institutes of Health, American Business Women’s Association, American Seniors Housing Association, Society of Human Resource Management and Xerox Women’s International Conference. As a Mature-Market Consultant, Joy offers her expertise to attorneys, financial planners, clergy, healthcare providers, senior housing administrators, and other members of the fast-growing eldercare advisory industry. She has been interviewed and represented products relevant to the eldercare industry on many platforms, including the Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, Fox News, NPR, ABC News, and Bloomberg. View Guest page
Cynthia Luce is a mother, friend and compassionate woman sharing her book, Invisible Girl, to inspire you to implement change. She wants you to see what is necessary so we can collectively work to help save or alter the path of our youth. She is an inspirational speaker and advocate for change. For more information visit www.cynthia-luce.com View Guest page
Award-winning producer, director, and writer, Johanna Lunn has crafted, and assisted in crafting, many compelling, entertaining, and profoundly thought-provoking programs during her 20+ years in the business. Her work has received eight Gemini nominations (Canadian equivalent of an Emmy) and taken home three awards. In addition to producing more than 150 hours of television series and one-offs as an in-house executive producer, she has made independent documentaries for her own companies, Wild East Productions and Centre East Media, and won best documentary at Hot Docs International Film Festival for her moving and timely film, Forgiveness: Stories for Our Time. Johanna has worked as Director of Programming for Alliance Atlantis and played a key role in the launch of IFC—The Independent Film Channel Canada. Prior to that she was Head of Independent Production for CTV, Canada’s #1 network. She created View-finders, the first competitive international children’s film festival in English View Guest page
Stu Maddux is a multi-award winning filmmaker with international credits whose many goals include strengthening the queer community by bringing together its different generations.
His films include Gen Silent, the widely used documentary about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender older people hiding their lives to survive discrimination, bullying and abuse.
His first documentary as an independent filmmaker was the critically-acclaimed Bob and Jack’s 52-Year Adventure about an Army sergeant who began an affair with his commanding officer in 1952. The two men came out to the troops in their unit and are still together a half-century later. View Guest page
Gary Malkin is a multiple Emmy® and Clio® awardwinning composer, producer, performer and public speaker dedicated to making a difference in the world by creating music-driven media and experiences that inspire the heart and catalyze individual and societal healing. As a keynote presenter, he is passionate about the vital role music, media, and the arts can play during these extraordinary times of change as an innovative tool to enhance our humanity, deepen our sense of meaning during the transitions of our lives, and cultivate greater emotional intelligence in an increasingly complex and distracted world. Through his public engagements, he serves healthcare, corporate, and faith communities addressing themes such as Creativity, Integrative Health, Cross-Cultural Healing, Care for the Caregiver, Healing through Music and the Arts, End of Life Care and Media for a Sustainable World. To learn more about Gary’s work , visit www.wisdomoftheworld.com o r www.whatmakesyourheartsing.net. View Guest page
Elaine Mansfield’s book Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief was published by Larson Publications in October 2014. Elaine writes from a spiritual perspective that reflects over forty years as a student of philosophy, meditation, Jungian psychology, mythology, and meditation. Elaine gave a TEDx talk called “Good Grief! What I Learned from Loss” on November 8, 2014 with TEDx ChemungRiver at Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.
After a career as a health counselor and writer, Elaine’s work has focused on bereavement and loss since her husband’s death in 2008. Elaine facilitates bereavement support groups at Hospicare and Palliative Care Services in Ithaca, NY and writes for the Hospicare newsletter and website. She also writes a weekly blog about the adventures and lessons of life and loss, leads workshops, and lectures on bereavement topics. Her articles have been published in The Healing Muse (print journal and on line), Open to Hope, Shambhala Sunspace, KirstyTV, Caring.com, Alzheimers.net, GriefHealing, and elephantjournal.
Elaine and her husband Vic became students of the Dalai Lama on his first visit to the United States in 1979. Six weeks before Vic’s death, he taught with the Dalai Lama in a science and religion colloquium and the Dalai Lama wrote an introduction for Vic’s last book, Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge. View Guest page
Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D.
Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D., is an author and ordained Zen Buddhist priest. She combines Zen meditation, intuitive knowing, and indigenous ritual in a path of liberation. She is the guiding teacher of Still Breathing Meditation Community. She is the author of Tell Me Something about Buddhism with a foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh and The Black Angel Cards: 36 Oracles and Messages. Her most recent book is The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender with a foreword by Charles Johnson, author Middle Passages and many Buddhist books. View Guest page
Dr. Ivy Margulies
Ivy Margulies, PsyD of Angels Born Still is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles specializing in maternal mental health, including stillbirth, miscarriage, infertility, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, and newborn loss. Ivy brings mindfulness, ritual, and awareness to the mind-body-spirit connection through meditation, visualization, and breath work. In addition to Dr. Margulies' clinical practice, she is a death midwife, assisting and helping educate the family on processes associated with the transition of life into death, at any age. The work Ivy does is designed to create a sacred space for parents who have lost their newborn for reasons that are unknown and make no sense. She is dedicated to improving the care and information families need in the hospital. Dr. Margulies is a member of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, working to reduce the stigma and shame around maternal mental health issues while raising awareness of the #1 complication of pregnancy and childbirth. View Guest page
Laura Mayer, founder of SoulDancing Healing Practice, is an International healer, teacher and inspirational speaker. She is the author of Unlocking the Invisible Child: A Journey from Heartbreak to Bliss, co-author in ‘Healing from Within’ part of the best selling series Adventures in Manifesting and is currently writing her second book, Step Up to the Plate: Heal for Real. Laura knows first hand what it means to heal for real™. She utilizes an integrative approach to Inner Child healing for personal transformation, bridging decades of clinical experience with her spiritual knowing, along with her intuitive prowess, into a road map for anyone willing to step up and take healing into their own hands. For additional information on her programs and individual sessions visit www.dancingheartdancinghands.com View Guest page
Emily McDowell, the creator of Empathy Cards and a cancer survivor herself, has been disrupting the stationery industry since 2013 with her “greeting cards for the relationships we actually have.” She has appeared on Good Morning America, NPR, NBC, and CBC News, and has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, Women's Health, Business Insider, and Life & Style Magazine, and on Elle.com, Cosmo.com, HuffPo.com, and Today.com, among others. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Emily’s cards, stationary, and other gifts can be found at http://emilymcdowell.com/. View Guest page
Peggy McGuire joined the staff of the Women's Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) as Executive Director in 2005. Founded in 1986, WCRC's staff and volunteers provide case management, high intensity cancer navigation, information and referral, community resources, support groups, psychotherapy, financial assistance, in-home support, cancer and wellness education and targeted outreach to underserved communities. All services are offered free of charge. Peggy is a non-profit leader motivated by a deep commitment to this sector as a vehicle for social change. She served on Rosalynn Carter's staff during the Carter administration and has held leadership positions at Kaiser Permanente, Golden Gate University, Leadership High School and the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco. Says Peggy, "In working with people facing prolonged illness, grief, death and dying, I've witnessed the profound personal healing made possible by engagement in a community of support. " View Guest page
Kath McIntyre holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Screen Studies from Flinders University and has worked as an Assistant Director on over 12 feature films and numerous Television series. Kath has produced/directed 14 hours of broadcast factual television and has worked for Channel 4 UK, PBS USA, Film Australia, Network 10, Channel 9, and SBS. After working in production for almost 20 years Kath went back for a Graduate Diploma in Grief and Palliative Care Counselling from Adelaide University in 2011, then started working as a grief counsellor and making films and content involving grief and loss. View Guest page
Diane E. Meier, MD is Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), a national organization devoted to increasing access to palliative care in the United States. Under her leadership the number of palliative care programs in U.S. hospitals has more than tripled in the last decade. She is co-director of the Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center; Vice-Chair for Public Policy and Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; Catherine Gaisman Professor of Medical Ethics; and was founder and Director of the Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, all at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Meier’s numerous grants and awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, acknowledgement as one of 20 People Who Make Healthcare Better and AARP. She's Principal Investigator of an NCI-funded multisite study on hospital palliative care services in cancer patients and consults on numerous projects evaluating palliative care. View Guest page
Angelo Merendino's photo-documentary, The Battle We Didn’t Choose – My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer, has received worldwide recognition. Intimate, honest, and moving, Angelo’s photographs offer viewers a look inside the day-to-day life of a young couple facing breast cancer together. More than a story about loss, this is a story about love and life. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Angelo does freelance work for both Corbis News and Getty Images. Angelo’s photographs have been exhibited in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy. Online features have appeared on The New Yorker Photo Booth, The Huffington Post and The Guardian. Printed press includes The New York Times, The USA Today and Polka. View Guest page
Kate Munger of the Threshold Choir has devoted herself to creating non-hierarchical, collaborative models for singing, community-building and fellowship for over 40 years. In 2000 she founded the first of over 130 Threshold Choirs worldwide, singing tribes for those of us who love choral singing and want to offer it in service, those of us who are called to sing at the bedsides of people who are dying, in coma, newborns and folks who are incarcerated. email@example.com View Guest page
Barbara Musser is an intimacy and sexuality speaker, educator, coach, facilitator and author. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, as a young single woman, she has benefitted thousands with her programs to re-ignite intimacy, sexuality and relationships after cancer.
Founder/ CEO of Sexy After Cancer, she authored Sexy After Cancer ~ Meeting Your Inner Aphrodite on the Breast Cancer Journey. She’s a member the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She writes the Sexy Saturdays blog, hosts the Inspire Program for Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine and writes for Breast Cancer Answers and Nou magazine.
Barbara is the "sexpert" in Melanie Young’s Getting Things off My Chest and has contributed chapters to 10 to Thrive ~ A Comprehensive, Easy-to-read Guide to Life After Cancer for Young Adults and to American Breast Care’s Faces of Inspiration (Finding Your Joy). View Guest page
Marie Mutsuki Mockett
Marie Mutsuki Mockett was born and raised in California to a Japanese mother and American father, and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Her first novel, Picking Bones from Ash, was shortlisted for the Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and a finalist for the Paterson Prize. She has written for The New York Times, Salon, National Geographic, Glamour, and more and has been a guest on Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered on NPR. In 2013, Marie was awarded a Fellowship by the NEA and Japan US Friendship Commission, which enabled her to live in Japan. While there, she was featured in the NHK (Japanese National Broadcasting) Documentary, Venerating the Departed, which was broadcast internationally several times. In her spare time, Marie loves to take dance class, read, travel, study languages, knit, listen to live music, enjoy old and new friends and birdwatch. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. View Guest page
Lily Myers Kaplan
Lily Myers Kaplan’s thirty year career, prior to establishing Spirit of Resh Foundation, centered on guiding people to create lives of meaning and purpose as a form of healing. She has worked with hundreds of people individually, on retreats in wild settings, and through workshops at her company, SoulWorks (www.aboutsoulworks.com). Lily currently offers counseling and consulting through the Spirit of Resh Foundation (www.reshfoundation.org). Foundational to Lily’s work is a love of the natural world, a value for service, and her belief that connection to soul revitalizes life. She holds a master’s degree in culture and spirituality from The Sophia Center of Holy Names College. In addition to her private counseling practice she has been a graduate program director, a hospice volunteer manager, and an executive director of a small non-profit organization. Lily says, “My most valued credential is my personal experience of living a soul-path grounded in the everyday world.” View Guest page
Psychotherapist, author, speaker and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of Health Journeys guided imagery audio series, helping listeners manage stress, chronic illness and emotional challenges. Her first book, Staying Well with Guided Imagery (Warner) is a widely used primer on imagery and healing. Her second book, Your Sixth Sense (Harper Collins), has been translated into 9 languages. Her book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award and was called “the most useful book for trauma survivors to be published in the last decade”.
As Prevention Magazine has noted, Belleruth has been quietly creating an underground revolution among mainstream health and mental health bureaucracies, by persuading major institutions to distribute her guided imagery recordings, in most instances free of charge to recipients. View Guest page
Julie Saeger Nierenberg
Julie Saeger Nierenberg is a freelance writer and editor, lifelong educator and artist. A proud parent and "grand-partner," Julie lives with her spouse in Canada. Inspired by the experience of her father’s dying and death, Julie published a short memoir about her family’s grief and loss. Daddy, this is it. Being-with My Dying Dad launched a true journey of connection and transformation, as Julie reached out to share it with those who assist the dying and bereaved. Since her book's publication, Julie received numerous end-of-life perspectives from others, some of which will soon be available in a next book called Journey's End: Death, Dying and the End of Life, coauthored with Victoria Brewster, MSW. Writing and publishing in this heart-led direction, Julie hopes to contribute to a cultural shift in how we prepare and support others in the final chapter of life. Julie also enjoys editing legacy writing, fiction and nonfiction works; she feels privileged to help writers succeed. View Guest page
Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D.
Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D. is board certified in both Critical Care and Palliative Care medicine. Despite being trained at top medical centers, she was shocked at how ill-prepared she was to help patients die well, propelling her to enter the world of palliative care medicine before it became an official subspecialty. She has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Journal of the American Medical Association, the Journal of Palliative Medicine, and the Journal of Participatory Medicine. She completed an Internal Medicine residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a Pulmonary/Critical Care fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She co-founded Vital Decisions, assisting patients in end of life care decisions. She attends on the ICU and Palliative Care Medicine services at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California and is hard at work on her first book. Find her at jessicazitter.com. View Guest page
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye lives in old downtown San Antonio, Texas, a block from the sleepy river. She has written or edited 30 previous books including Red Suitcase, Fuel, and You and Yours with BOA Editions, Ltd. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her collection Honeybee was awarded an Arab-American Book Award. Her poetry anthologies include Time You Let Me In, What Have You Lost?, and This Same Sky.She is also the author of the novels Habibi and Going. Her book of short-short fiction from Greenwillow books is called There is No Distance Now. She is the two-time winner of the Jane Addams Book Award for Peace & Justice, and four-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, as wekk as the recipient of several fellowships, including a Lannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. She is currently serving on the Board of Chancellors for the Academy of American Poets. View Guest page
Mary O’Malley is an author, counselor, speaker, and awakening mentor. Her books include What’s in the Way IS the Way, The Gift of Our Compulsions, Belonging to Life and The Magical Forest of Aliveness. Her work evolved from a powerful awakening which set Mary on the path to changing her whole relationship with the challenges of life, freeing herself from a lifelong struggle with darkness. Since that time, Mary has taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Denmark. She is an inspirational speaker who leads retreats that transform people’s lives. She also provides individual counseling, and offers ongoing groups where people can come together to experience the miracle of Awakening. Her strength lies in her ability to be fully present in the moment, integrating information, technique and insight with simplicity and compassion. www.maryomalley.com and www.whatsinthewayistheway.com View Guest page
Frank Ostaseski is a pioneer in contemplative end of life care. He cofounded the first Buddhist hospice in America, Zen Hospice Project, and created the Metta Institute, providing education on mindful and compassionate end of life care. He has been widely featured in the media, including Bill Moyers’ On Our Own Terms, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and numerous print publications. He was honored by H.H. Dalai Lama for his years of compassionate service to the dying and their families. He is a welcome speaker in such venues as Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Frank leads two multiyear training programs, the End of Life Practitioner Program and the Spirit Rock Heavenly Messengers Program. His CD series, Being a Compassionate Companion, focuses on grief as a path to wholeness. Frank’s website, www.mettainstitute.org, is a link to all of Frank’s work, including several short videos various aspects of end of life care. View Guest page
Sonika Ozdoba, a Zimbabwe-born writer, artist and musician, has written her first book – a memoir that encompasses a series of life experiences that were put into motion by a dramatic and life-changing event. After working as a professional opera and concert singer for seventeen years, Sonika very suddenly lost her voice. This incident forced her to leave her profession, and to embark on an intense spiritual journey in search of her true identity and purpose. “The Soul with Two Voices” is a fascinating story of how she discovered the voice that was hidden beneath her performing artist voice, and how it finally broke through the “mask” to reveal the voice she needed to find. In a story that spans three continents, and includes key defining moments in Zimbabwe, South Africa, England, Switzerland and California, Sonika takes us on an incredible journey of self-discovery and intense personal transformation that is, in itself, a truly life-changing experience. View Guest page
Deborah Pardes studied Creative Writing at The Johns Hopkins University, and received her BA from Barnard College at Columbia University. She is the founding director of Artists for Literacy, an organization that uses the power of art to make books accessible to low-level readers. Deborah is also a founding producer for LitRemix, a new online learning platform that encourages the exploration and creation of art inspired by literature. Additionally, Deborah is a critically acclaimed producer and songwriter with 8 CD’s to her name. View Guest page
Divya Parekh is an in-demand motivational speaker, a leading business relationship and leadership coach, and an Amazon best seller. Divya has guided many entrepreneurs and professionals into realizing their goals and achieving accomplishments. Divya’s books, include her upcoming, The Entrepreneur’s Garden that serves as the foundation for many leaders in business and organizations as well as Mindfulness, Critical Thinking, Leadership and Influence, and Emotional Intelligence. Her connection with clients and audiences makes her so effective. Divya works globally with leaders, achievers, and entrepreneurs. She believes the key factor in success is the partnerships we cultivate. For her, the relationship is king. She helps others to learn the exponential power in developing a thorough understanding of your business partners and giving of yourself. Her compelling interactive presentations, talks, and workshops are always well received and given high marks of success and acclaim. View Guest page
Gewanda Parker is the founder and CEO of Hope and Healing Corporation a 501(c)3 organization that serves the community and marginalized society through humanitarian efforts. Inspired by her own childhood struggles, Gewanda has written Volume I of her autobiography: It Only Hurts When I Can’t Run. The book tells of the traumatic experience she encountered in her childhood and the start of her healing. She is in the process of completing other self-help books that speak to the nature of women’s issues, hope and healing, protecting our young, and emotional wholeness. Gewanda holds a Master’s of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and currently pastors two congregations. She is the proud mother of her newborn baby girl, Adira and wife of Dr. Elvin J. Parker III. View Guest page
Marian Partington was born in Oxford UK in 1948. She is a British author of the acclaimed Guardian essay, Salvaging the Sacred (1996, Quaker Books 2004) and If You Sit Very Still (Vala 2012/Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2016) which was chosen by Rowan Williams (Former Archbishop of Canterbury) as his Book of the Year for the Times Literary Supplement and the New Statesman in 2012. Marian has always been engaged with healing, in her work as a homœopath for thirty years, in prisons and schools as a story teller and facilitator for the Forgiveness Project (www.theforgivenessproject.com) since 2005, and as a writer. In 2015 she was a community sabbaticant at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria BC Canada for 3 months, researching into indigenous approaches to traumatic loss, restorative justice and reconciliation. She continues to engage with the territory of traumatic loss, brutality and the restoration of the human spirit within and without. View Guest page
Dave Pelzer is a sought-after keynote speaker on the subject of resilience, and a recipient of the National Jefferson Award. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, A Child Called It, and seven other books. His new book, Too Close To Me, provides an honest and courageous look at how, no matter your upbringing, everyone can strive for excellence in life, including a happy marriage, a positive relationship with your children, and a satisfying career. View Guest page
Bridgett Perry was diagnosed in 2013 with stage IV ovarian carcinoma. She has been a lifelong learner of spiritual teachings, prompted by the sudden death of her brother, and the loss of two close friends before the age of 20. Over the years, cancer took the lives of several more friends and loved ones. With each loss, she experienced a deepened awareness of grief, and the uncanny beauty of witnessing death. Now, her own life has been pulled into the vortex of cancer. Out of the entanglement of grief and loss have come incredible gifts of self-acceptance, self-awareness, profound relationships, and an increasing willingness to experience life as it unfolds. Today, Bridgett lives in upstate NY, sharing with her wife a commitment to living from the heart. As a personal coach, Bridgett offers guidance through life’s transitions, challenges, and transformations. You can learn more and read her blog at bridgetperry.com View Guest page
Grief transformation specialist, filmmaker, sociologist and speaker, Michelle Peticolas is dedicated to shifting the way people deal with death. In response to the loss of her own parents, she produced the award-winning film series, Secrets of Life and Death, focusing on death as an impetus for personal and spiritual change. Her twenty-five plus years with a Sufi Master from Baghdad (continuing to this day) are evident in the films. She uses the films in workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including JFK University, The Cancer Support Community, UCSF’s Helen Diller Cancer Clinic, Charlotte Maxwell Complimentary Care, Alta Bates and John Muir. In her private practice, using breath-work, guided visualizations, role-play, body awareness, dream work, and thought reframing, Michelle helps her clients navigate their grief and discover new life possibilities. She is committed to helping grievers release their pain to discover life's greater possibilities. View Guest page
Jan Phillips is an artist, author, workshop director and social activist. She’s Executive Director of the Livingkindness Foundation and co-founder of Syracuse Cultural Workers. She's taught in 23 countries, made a peace pilgrimage around the world, produced 2 CDs of original music and creates videos on the power of creativity to transform consciousness. Her books include The Art of Original Thinking-The Making of a Thought Leader, Divining the Body, Marry Your Muse, God is at Eye Level—Photography as a Healing Art, Making Peace, Born Gay, and A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind. As an artist/speaker, Jan brings music, poetry, and images to all her audiences, using the arts to inspire and inform. Blending east and west, art and activism, reflection and ritual, Jan’s transformational presentations provoke original thinking and evolutionary action. With stories, humor and cutting edge creativity, she connects the dots between science, spirituality and social action.www.janphillips.com View Guest page
Leanne Pooley is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished documentary filmmakers having directed over 20 films. In 2011 Leanne’s work was recognized by the New Zealand Arts Foundation and she was made a New Zealand Arts Laureate. In February 2016 Leanne was the recipient of the WOMEN IN FILM AND TV-NZ (WIFT) Award for “Achievement in Film”.
Pooley’s films have screened in more than 100 countries, on most of the world’s major broadcasters and include topics ranging from rugby to the Pope. Her independent production company is Spacific Films.
Leanne Pooley has received numerous awards for her large body of work, including 25 April (an animated feature about the ill-fated WWI Gallipoli campaign, Beyond the Edge (a 3-D feature), Topp Twins – Untouchable Girls (Theatrical Documentary).
Leanne has served as a judge for the International Emmy Awards, has extensive teaching experience, and has published several articles on documentary filmmaking. View Guest page
Caron Post received her doctorate in clinical psychology from New York University. She is a clinical psychologist who works with adolescents and adults who are struggling with depression anxiety, trauma and loss as well as parent child relationships and perinatal mental health. She is the founding Executive Director of Maternal Mental Health Now and maintains a private practice and lectures in Los Angeles, California. View Guest page
Winston Marshall Price
Winston Price, Senior Executive Producer, has over a decade and a half of marketing, advertising and public relations experience. He began his business career in 1995 and is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington. Winston also is a master martial artist and personal trainer with over 2 decades of knowledge and experience.
As an executive producer for VoiceAmerica, Winston utilizes his skills in business and personal training to help new and existing hosts maximize their opportunity with the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network by supporting his hosts with the business and personal aspects of creating and developing their show. Winston believes that each host brings their own flavor to the Network. By properly coaching and motivating his hosts, they are able to produce THEIR show with THEIR style and THEIR passion being at the forefront of every broadcast. View Guest page
Robert Pruitt provides leadership training, motivational speaking, workshops, seminars and spiritual life coaching around the world. His programs for growth support youth and adults to share the gift they are with the world. Robert works with Dr. Iyanla Vanzant, Host of Iyanla Fix My Life and creator of InnerVisions, providing public workshops and a coaching certification program, which Robert directs. His work has been acknowledged with a Congressional Stem Champion Award (2011), and the Influencer Award from The Gridiron Foundation (2013). Robert has appeared on Iyanla Fix My Life, Egyptian TV (Cairo), CNN, Oprah and Peace from Broken Pieces with Iyanla Vanzant. He has hosted two radio shows (The Gift and Mining the Heart) and authored several books, including Out of the Box: Sharing the Gift You Are With the World and It is Well with My Soul: Watching Daddy Live. Robert and his wife enjoy a combined family of four children and three grandchildren. www.RobertPruitt.com View Guest page
Nora McInerny Purmort
Nora McInerny Purmort is a Contributing Editor for Elle.com, and a frequent contributor to Cosmo.com, the Huffington Post, and the Star-Tribune. She has been featured on NPR, Slate, TIME, Entertainment Tonight, Refinery29, and more. Nora is the founder of Still Kickin and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her son, Ralph. They really like it there. View Guest page
Ann Randolph is a playwright and performer. Her shows, including LOVELAND, Squeeze Box (produced by Mel Brooks) Down Home, Shelter, and Miss America have won numerous awards and played to sold out crowds nationally and internationally. Her personal essays and interviews have been featured on NPR, PBS and the BBC. Ann has performed her original material in countless comedy shows with fellow comedians including Will Ferrell, Kat Williams, Cheri Oteri, Maria Bamford, Drew Hastings, Mo Collins, Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant. As member of the WGA, she has written for Gullane Pictures, Lifetime TV, Brooksfilms, PAX, Klasky Csupo in addition to writing the series pilot for If the Show Fits, Wear It. As a nationally recognized educator and keynote speaker she has spoken and performed at universities, conferences, and mind/body/spirit centers. Her widely popular “Write Your Life” workshops are offered across the US with annual stops at Kripalu, the Omega Institute and Esalen. View Guest page
Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. is Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine and Founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal. She is one of the best-known early pioneers of Holistic and Integrative Medicine. As a medical educator, therapist and teacher, Dr. Remen has enabled many thousands of physicians to practice medicine from the heart and thousands of patients to remember their power to heal. Her groundbreaking curriculum for medical students, The Healer’s Art, is taught in nearly half of America’s medical schools and 7 countries abroad. A master storyteller and observer of life, her bestselling books have sold more than a million copies and are translated into 22 languages. Dr. Remen has had Crohn’s disease for more than 60 years and her work is a unique blend of the wisdom, strength and viewpoints of both doctor and patient. View Guest page
Deborah Rich, PhD
Deborah Rich, PhD, is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Perinatal Loss Caregiver. Dr. Deb Rich, Founder of Shoshana Center for Reproductive Health Psychology, is a Minnesota pioneer in reproductive health psychology, providing clinical care, consultation and professional training for over 25 years. She is credentialed by Bereavement Services, RTS as a perinatal bereavement caregiver and organizational coordinator, and serves on their National Faculty. In June 2013, Dr. Rich was among the first multidisciplinary cohort receiving Perinatal Loss Caregiver certification by the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses. She is one of only a handful of mental health professionals in the field nationwide. This summer, Dr. Rich launched a perinatal bereavement training workshop for psychotherapists. Deb’s work honors the memory of her first child, a daughter named Shoshana, who was stillborn a week before her due date in August 1985. You can find Dr. Deb Rich at www.shoshanacenter.com View Guest page
Melinda Richardson is a Motivational speaker, Certified DoD Mediator, Lecturer, Parent Advocate, Certified Grief Recovery Coach and CEO/Founder of Emerging Beyond. She travels extensively throughout the nations with a unique gifting that assists in facilitating inner healing, wholeness and recovery to those who are “emotionally incomplete” due to the trauma associated with unresolved loss. She is passionate about this process of recovery not mere support, but WHOLENESS, which brings about results through Faith & Hope. Melinda also has a foundation within Emerging Beyond named A’Myracle’s Touch. Her desire is to see the miraculous healing process give hope to all who have suffered the loss of a child by mirroring the concept of the butterfly’s metamorphosis, thus producing a beautiful ending out of a tragic event. All are welcome to EMERGE BEYOND with us! It’s not a journey either of us would have chosen but we’ve discovered how to make “lemonade out of lemons”! View Guest page
Betsy Rose is a singer/ songwriter whose music blends compassion, mindfulness, depth and humor. She’s presented and sung for educators, hospice workers, parents, and spiritual communities. Visionaries such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Matthew Fox, and Joanna Macy have used her music in their work. Betsy’s a long time leader in the family practice program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
After Sept 11, Betsy created Singing For Peace, non professional singers who gather in public to sing songs of healing and peace. She’s a frequent voice at public gatherings for peace, reconciliation and justice. Her numerous recordings include Welcome To The Circle, songs of empowerment and healing especially for women and Calm Down Boogie, children’s music celebrating the joys of mindfulness, simple living, earth care and family bonds. Her latest recording is Long For This World, songs of loss, remembrance and comfort for those experiencing bereavement. www.betsyrosemusic.org View Guest page
Aida Salazar is a multidisciplinary writer, educator, arts administrator and mother that uses text to explore issues of identity and social justice.
With an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the Arts, her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post and Women and Performance: Journal of Feminist Theory. She was a resident writer at Hedgebrook Writer’s Colony attended Squaw Valley Writer’s Workshop.
She currently lives in Oakland, CA with her husband, Latin jazz musician, John Santos and home-schools her two fiery artist children for whom many of her children’s stories have been written.
Her story, By the Light of the Moon, is being adapted into a ballet production by choreographer, Isabelle Sjahsam for the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance. This Chicana ballet will be one of the few of its kind in ballet history.
She is at work on a novel in verse for middle grades and a book-length memoir, In the Womb of Love, about the death of her first-born infant child. View Guest page
Liz has blogged about her brain cancer experience since her diagnosis, just one week after her 29th birthday. Her website, TheLizArmy.com, now receives over 30,000 visits each year. Cofounder of Brain Tumor Social Media (#BTSM), a patient-run community for patients, caregivers and clinicians, Liz connects people diagnosed with brain tumors around the world. She speaks regularly on how healthcare professionals and patients are connecting through digital media, including a TEDx Talk (2013) on how patients are using the Internet to form their own support networks. In 2016, Liz participated in the Stanford Medicine X conference as an e-Patient delegate, and is featured in the documentary The Open Patient: Healing Through Sharing. Liz is director of communications for the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, insuring all people with chronic or serious illnesses receive education on advance care planning and have access to quality, patient-centered palliative care View Guest page
Brendon & Justine Schulz
Brendon & Justine Schulz live in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Brendon works as a Development Services Coordinator in planning and development assessment. Justine is a middle school teacher who is currently at home caring for their youngest child and also undertaking relief teaching when the opportunity arises. They have two boys, Regan aged 10 and Lucas aged 4, and Sophie, who died in a tragic accident beneath a hydraulic massage table in Adelaide in 2009, at the age of 18 months. ￼ In memory of Sophie and to help other families and friends of children who have died, Brendon and Justine agreed to participate in a documentary which follows them as they cope with the sudden death of their beautiful daughter, and associated coronial inquest. ‘Remembering Sophie’ gives hope to others struggling with their grief, and helps raise awareness of the dangers of height adjustable treatment beds and tables with the aim of saving other children from death or serious injury. View Guest page
Kelley Scott, RN, BSN, CHPN, has cared for dying people throughout a 29 year nursing career. Her clinical experience includes inpatient oncology, bone marrow transplant, chronic ventilator patients, home hospice case management, and palliative consulting. Ms. Scott is the Executive Director of Clarehouse, a social model hospice providing a loving home and care for dying people in need. She co-founded Clarehouse and has overseen all aspects of start-up and development. Nationally, she provides consulting to aspiring social model hospices. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and maintains specialty certification in the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. In 2008, her work with Clarehouse was recognized by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association with the Innovation in End-of-Life Nursing Care Award. Ms. Scott is a frequent speaker in end-of-life care and education, and non-profit start-up and development. View Guest page
Purvi Shah, long-time Bay Area resident, identified a way to leverage training and a career in design and hard-won experience in dealing with pediatric cancer for a compassion project. As Executive Director of Kids & Art Foundation, she helps other families confront the disease. The Foundation teams children touched by cancer with artists. Shah founded Kids & Art in 2008 after her son Amaey was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She sought a way to make a difference for her own child and thousands more like him. It also served to create some order in her overturned world. Amaey passed away after battling the disease for six of his nine years in 2011, fighting ALL twice and developing chemo-induced AML. Shah offers a lot to the community with her many talents as entrepreneur, connector, artist and writer. She’s also a certified yoga teacher. The Foundation is both a loving tribute to her son, Amaey, and a place where her son, Arjun, now a teen, also has a role. View Guest page
Bobby Sheehan is a co-founder of the New York-based film company Working Pictures. He is a director, producer, writer, and cinematographer who began his his career in highschool. He graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and ultimately started his own production company. He has directed over 500 commercials for companies such as Adidas, GE, the American Red Cross, Amereican Express, Budweiser, Pepsi, Nabisco, and Special Olympics. His first feature film was the critically acclaimed "Seed," which explored unscripted conversations about death. Fifteen years later he has maintained his commitment to addressing topics concerning mortality by writing, producing, and directing the documentary "Mortal." View Guest page
Tara Shuman is a public high school English and history teacher. In August 2012, Tara was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was 32 years old, with no family history. She immediately began to write about her journey as a way to cope and update friends and family. Thousands of people all across the world soon began to follow Tara’s blog (www.tarabeatscancer.com). Tara is a member of the Patient Family Advisory Council at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and helps to raise funds for cancer research and patient care year-round. She is the proud founder of the non-profit organization, Writing Saves Lives, and a true believer in the healing powers of writing. Tara lives in Canton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian and their two children, Teddy and Annabel. She is grateful for each day and believes deeply in the value of truth, humor, hope, love, and hard work. Tara recently published a memoir, Hope Is a Good Breakfast, which she describes as a dream come true. View Guest page
Joyce Simard, MSW, is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Nursing, University of Western Sydney, and a private geriatric consultant. She's been involved in long-term care for 37 years serving as Alzheimer’s specialist for healthcare companies providing services in skilled nursing homes, assisted living communities and hospice organizations. Ms. Simard has written numerous articles and chapters in healthcare books. Her books include “The Magic Tape Recorder”, a book for children about Alzheimer’s disease and “The End-of-Life Namaste Care Program for People with Dementia”. Professor Simard has implemented Namaste Care in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Iceland and the Netherlands funded by various grants to study the outcomes of Namaste Care on residents, staff and families. In January of 2013, Provider Magazine recognized her as one of “20 To Watch” for her leadership and commitment to improving the lives of residents in long-term care facilities. View Guest page
Amy Van Atta Slater
Amy Slater, Founder and CEO of Amy Slater Consulting, has more than 25 years of leadership and global sales experience, with an unyielding focus on customer value and expertise in business and marketing transformation through technology. Amy provides personal and professional coaching services to create an integrated life fueled by the power of positivity and authenticity. She’s a sought after speaker on building your professional brand and leading through the cultivation of culture. Amy is a member of Advancing Women Executives (AWE) and Women in Technology International (WITI). She is also an Amazon best-selling author of Moments: Magic, Miracles, and Martinis. How to move forward in times of uncertainty. She holds an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She and her three daughters live in the San Francisco Bay Area. View Guest page
Claire Bidwell Smith
Claire Bidwell Smith lives in Los Angeles. She is a psychotherapist specializing in grief, and the author of the memoir The Rules of Inheritance (Penguin 2012), soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence. Claire received a BA in creative writing from The New School and a MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University. She has written for many publications including The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Slate, BlackBook Magazine and Chicago Public Radio. Her background includes travel and food writing, working for nonprofits like Dave Eggers’ literacy center 826LA, and bereavement counseling for hospice. Claire is available for one on one therapy for issues related to grief and will be co-facilitating a Transformational Grief Retreat in Ojai, California January 24-26, 2014. She is currently working on her second book. View Guest page
Nancee Sobonya, MA is a minister/teacher of the Diamond Approach guiding people on their inner journey of self-discovery in the Bay Area and Europe. She is also a Grief Counselor and Educator and the producer/director of The Gifts of Grief. She presents this highly acclaimed educational documentary at conferences, churches, retreats and hospices worldwide. Nancee has been working in the field of death and bereavement for the past 28 years. Her website is http://www.giftsofgrief.com/ View Guest page
Barry and Maya Spector
Maya Spector is a poet, storyteller, ritualist, retired children’s librarian, and trained SoulCollage® facilitator. She is the author of a book of poetry, The Persephone Cycle, and has been published in a number of poetry anthologies. Maya has performed in Great Night of Rumi, Great Night of Soul Poetry and Rumi’s Caravan events in the San Francisco Bay Area. She blogs at www.hangingoutwithhecate.blogspot.com. Barry Spector is the author of award winning Madness At The Gates Of The City: The Myth Of American Innocence. He's lectured at several Bay Area graduate schools and Osher Lifelong Learning. His writing looks at contemporary cultural and political events from the perspectives of mythology, archetypal psychology and indigenous wisdom traditions. He serves on the planning committee of the Redwood Men’s Center and performs regularly as part of Rumi’s Caravan. Maya and Barry have been leading grief rituals for over fifteen years. Their website is: www.barryandmayaspector.com View Guest page
Rachel Stephenson is a writer, speaker, educator, and administrator who is living fully with grief. She is currently the University Director of the CUNY Service Corps at The City University of New York, and her professional experience includes designing and implementing innovative experiential education programs in civic engagement, workforce development, and youth development; writing interactive curricula; facilitating/emceeing professional development workshops and special events; fundraising; and more at a range of educational institutions and non-profit organizations in New York City. She is married with three daughters. Though Rachel has not spent her career in the world of grief and bereavement, she has spent her life thinking about her own grief – her mother died suddenly when Rachel was five – and knowing that she would one day revisit her own story to connect with others about navigating loss. Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmariestephenson/ View Guest page
J. Dietrich “Diet” Stroeh
J. Dietrich “Diet” Stroeh is an engineer whose projects range from great to small. His first book, The Man Who Made it Rain (co-written with Michael McCarthy) is based on his management of the Marin Municipal Water District in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record. He founded Stuber-Stroeh Associations, a civil engineering firm that grew into CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group in Novato, California, located in Sonoma County and Sacramento. He is a Director of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, member of the California State Earthquake Committee and sits on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Marin. He is active in the community and has sat on many state wide and national boards. His hobbies include working in his shop on wood projects, restoring cars, tending to the garden and spending time with friends and family. He lives in Marin County with his wife. Three Months: A Caretakers Journey From Heartbreak to Healing, is his second book. View Guest page
Author Tom Sweetman wrote “From Grief to Greatness: A Collection of True Stories and Lessons on Living Life after Loss” following the passing of his mother in 2012 due to cancer. He realized that the average person is not prepared for the array of emotions that accompany loss, and he wrote his book as a way to help others struggling with similar situations.
Through stories of how others have gone from grief to greatness, the work offers hope and relatability to those experiencing grief and looking for inspiration to help them through this tough time. It offers a chance to turn pain into potential for those who know they have more to give to the world. Sweetman wants to offer relief to those feeling isolated after the loss of someone or something important in their life.
The book is available on Kindle: http://amzn.to/10vPUuT View Guest page
Therèse Tappouni is the author of six published books—four of which have received major awards—and creator of two meditation/visualization CDs with her voice over the Prague Symphony Orchestra. Her latest book is The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss. She recently collaborated with Grammy®-nominated composer Michael Hoppé on his CD “Tapestry”. She is the founder of Whole Heart, which she dedicates to helping people live a balanced, loving and creative life. She teaches writing workshops, workshops for women in mid-life, grief workshops, resilience workshops and coaching created from her certification as a HeartMath® Trainer and her studies with transformational teacher Jean Houston. She has also trained in many other modalities, including Somatic Intuitive Training™ and Time Dimension Therapy™. View Guest page
A month before she was to celebrate her 40th birthday in Italy, single, freelance writer Dena Taylor was diagnosed with breast cancer, and indefinitely postponed her trip. Instead of strolling through the Old Country and flirting with Italian men, she grappled with fear and sadness, and guilt about a rather strong dislike of pink ribbons. Several months of treatment and a few uncomfortable breast cancer awareness events later, Dena accepted that she was diagnosed with a disease, not a cause, and resolved to support research but ultimately live life undefined by cancer. Nearly complete and available for representation, I Don't Wanna Be Pink is Dena’s candid, sharp-witted memoir about reclaiming love, sex and adventure in the wake of cancer. Dena is an award-winning copywriting, and has written for Austin Woman magazine, Fresh Yarn, Yankee Pot Roast, and the Seeking Shama- and Cancer, Cancer bo-Bancer blogs. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado. Learn more at www.denataylor.com View Guest page
Lorrain Taylor is Founder/CEO of 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence. She founded the organization in response to the murders of her 22 year old twin sons on February 8, 2000 in Oakland, CA. A community organizer/activist, Lorrain serves as Advisor to the Oakland Police Department. In 2013, her nonprofit, 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence was featured community based organization at OPD Open House. A prayer warrior and renowned gospel recording artist, she has recorded and written 2 CDs. Hers awards and honors include ABC 7 TV Profiles of Excellence, the Oakland A's Bullpen Relief Award, The Bay Area Jefferson Award and Legal Community Against Violence Distinguished Leadership Award. Lorrain was named by Ebony Magazine as one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the USA (2013) along with Oprah Winfrey, TD Jakes, Magic Johnson and others. She holds a BPA, MHROD, Nonprofit Management Certificate and MSW (candidate). A mother of three sons, she has one living son, Gregory, Jr. View Guest page
Lyna Tevenaz Jones
LYNA TEVENAZ JONES is a writer, motivational speaker, and spiritual mentor. She lives with her two daughters in Westchester, NY. Originally from Normandy, France, Lyna moved to the U.S in 2001 to begin a new life and pursue her dreams. She earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Brigham Young University in Idaho, and earned her Life Coach certification through the World Coaching Institute. Lyna is a regular contributor to the inspirational blog Live Through the Heart and the lifestyle e-magazine Greenwich Girl. Her articles have been featured on Womenforone.com and Elephant Journal. As a motivational speaker, Lyna holds monthly lectures in Westchester and holds a weekly teaching spot on the spiritual radio show Awakening Together. She is the founder of A Course in Miracles Live, a digital network for spiritual seekers and students of metaphysics. FROM ASHES TO THE MOON, her memoir on abandonment, abuse, and spirituality is scheduled to be published Summer 2015. lynajones.com View Guest page
David Tuccaro Jr.
David Tuccaro Jr. is a Mikisew Cree First Nation who overcame his fight with Leukemia, chronicled in his memoir, Bad to the Bone: The True Story of David Tuccaro Jr. Born and raised in Ft. McMurray, Canada. He shares his tumultuous journey of self-discovery through pain, hopelessness and the feeling of inadequacy to inspire others to overcome adversity. After finding his purpose, he is living out his passion of teaching others to save lives by registering to become a bone marrow donor. David spends his free time with his family and enjoying music. For more information about David Tuccaro Jr. visit: www.davidtuccaro.com View Guest page
Heather is a natural born leader with a background in business and marketing who always dreamed of starting her own business. With 15 years of marketing experience, 10 of those in corporate sponsorship and event marketing, she was looking to do something meaningful beyond influencing the bottom line.
In experiencing loss in her own life previously, and helping her coworker at the time Daniella cope with her recent losses, Heather discovered a major gap in the services available for processing the loss of a loved one here in the U.S. This is when the partnership was born. View Guest page
Eleanor Vincent is an award-winning writer whose memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, was nominated for the Independent Publisher Book Award in 2004 and was reissued by Dream of Things press in 2013. Appearing on the New York Times best-seller list twice, the book was called “engaging” by Booklist. Swimming with Maya chronicles the life and death of Eleanor’s nineteen-year-old daughter, who was thrown from a horse and pronounced brain-dead at the hospital. Eleanor donated her daughter’s organs to critically ill patients and poignantly describes her friendship with the middle-aged man who received Maya’s heart. Eleanor is a national spokesperson on grief recovery and organ donation, appearing on CNN and San Francisco’s Evening Magazine. She has also been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and interviewed on radio and television programs around the country. Eleanor received an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. www.eleanorvincent.com View Guest page
As a Medical Intuitive, Lynn Waldrop is known as "The Body Channel" and energetically dives into the each of the body systems of her clients (such as the nervous system, organ systems…). The body talks to her showing her areas of "dis-ease" AND the means to change it while she is in there! Lynn is the Creator of “The Body Channel”, a Certified Color Therapy & Tuning Fork Master, Reiki Master & Certified Access Consciousness Facilitator and 3-Day Body Class Facilitator. Lynn empowers her clients to create and generate change in their own life & body! Life is like Play Dough; if you don’t like what you have created, laugh at it, smash it, and create something new! View Guest page
Lynette Wallworth is an Australian artist/filmmaker whose immersive video installations and film works reflect on the connections between people and the natural world, as well as exploring fragile human states of grace. Her work uses immersive environments, interactive technologies with gestural interfaces and narrative long form film to engage with viewers. Her most recent works include the feature documentary TENDER tracing the beginnings of a community-led funeral company and CORAL an immersive film for full-dome digital planetariums with an augmented reality companion work. Wallworth’s work has been shown at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the American Museum of Natural History, New York; the Sundance Film Festival; the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; the Smithsonian, Washington; Royal Observatory Greenwich for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad; Auckland Triennial; Adelaide Biennial; Brighton Festival and the Vienna Festival among many others. Wallworth has been awarded an International Fellowship from Arts Council England, a New Media Arts Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, the inaugural Australian Film, Television and Radio School Creative Fellowship in 2010 and the AIDC David and Joan Williams Documentary Fellowship in 2014. View Guest page
Harriet Warshaw is the Executive Director of The Conversation Project, a public engagement campaign to get everyone’s end of life wishes expressed and respected. Harriet brings over thirty-five years of management experience in both the public and private sectors. These include senior positions at The Boston Hospital for Women, New England Baptist Hospital, Genzyme Corporation and the New England Healthcare Institute. In addition she has held elected office in the Town of Wellesley, Ma including 10 years on the Wellesley Board of Health and 9 years as a member of the Wellesley Board of Selectmen. She has served on numerous commissions and boards including chairing Combine Jewish Philanthropies’ Commission on Caring and Social Justice and as President of Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA Board of Trustees. It was a commitment made to her mother as she was dying that drew her to this work. Harriet’s mom wanted Harriet to help others die as graciously and with as much compassion as she did. View Guest page
Lucinda Weatherby, MA (psychology) is a writer and grief counselor who has a passion for sharing her experience of her infant son’s birth, life, and death. Her memoir, Five Hours: How My Brief Son’s Life Changed Everything has been described as brave, beautiful, and accessible. She runs support groups and does individual sessions for bereaved parents and is a board member of WinterSpring, a grief support nonprofit in Southern Oregon. She loves to hear from readers and anyone interested in grief. She can be reached through her website, www.fivehoursbook.com. View Guest page
Woody Weingarten, author of Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner’s breast cancer, can’t remember when he couldn’t talk — or play with words. His first poem was published in high school, but when his hormones announced the arrival of adulthood, he decided to eat rather than rhyme. So he switched to journalism, jumpstarting his career in New York almost 60 years ago. Now he’s a columnist, reviewer-critic, blogger and publisher — despite being “retired.” Earlier, he was executive editor and writer for daily and weekly publications in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York for five decades. He won writing awards for public service and investigation, features, columns, editorials and news. Woody, whose previous spouse died after her breast cancer metastasized, also has published newspapers, and written a national column. The father of two and grandfather of three, he's lived in San Anselmo, California, for 29 years. He figures he’ll stay. View Guest page
Francis Weller, MFT, is a psychotherapist, writer and soul activist synthesizes disciplines to create pathways to “unforgotten wisdom” in the heart of the psyche. Author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, he is widely published was featured inThe Sun magazine (October 2015. His organization, WisdomBridge, offers educational programs integrating the wisdom from traditional cultures with the insights and knowledge gathered from western poetic, psychological and spiritual practices. Francis received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and two Master’s Degrees from JFK University (Clinical Psych and Transpersonal Psych). He is on staff at Commonweal Cancer Help Program, and is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker. He has taught at Sonoma State University, the Sophia Center in Oakland and the Minnesota Men's Conference and is currently completing his second book, A Trail on the Ground: Tracking the Ways of the Indigenous Soul. View Guest page
Susanne West is a Professor of Psychology and teaches in the B.A. Psychology and Consciousness and Transformative Studies programs at JFK University. She is also a life coach and the founder of Insight to Action Coaching. Susanne is the author of Soul Care for Caregivers: How to Help Yourself While Helping Others. www.susannewest.com View Guest page
Claire B. Willis is a clinical social worker, an ordained lay Buddhist chaplain and a yoga teacher. In her private practice, she has spent over two decades working with oncology patients and with end-of-life issues. A co-founder of Facing Cancer Together: A Community of Hope, Claire is also an adjunct faculty member at the Andover Newton Theological School and a former group facilitator and instructor at The Wellness Community. She earned an M.A. from Episcopal Divinity School and a MSW and a M.Ed from Boston University. Claire lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Author photo © 2013 Marnie Crawford Samuelson) View Guest page
Bart Windrum, a lay person, became an end-of-life reform advocate after his parents’ sudden hospitalized demises. Bart helps civilians identify, assess, mitigate, and overcome the everyday obstacles to peaceful dying. Recognized and endorsed by ethicists, doctors, nurses, policymakers, spiritual leaders, healthcare think tanks, healthcare visionaries and activists, Bart’s body of work includes: the (unadopted) state initiative The Option to Die in PEACE; the award-winning book Notes from the Waiting Room: Managing a Loved One’s End-of-Life Hospitalization; the TEDx talk Dying IN Peace to Die AT Peace: New Terms of Engagement; the Never Say Die Rap; the Journal of Participatory Medicine article It’s Time to Account for Medical Error in Top Ten Causes of Death Charts; Windrum’s Matrix of Dying Terms, and the in-depth program To Die in Peace: Our Rights of Passage. Bart founded and curates the Facebook group To Die in Peace: Overcoming Obstacles, currently with over 650 members. View Guest page
A breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 30 changed everything for Terri Wingham. Inspired by the isolation and depression she felt when treatment ended, Terri left her corporate job in 2011 and packed her bags for a volunteer trip in Africa. Since then, she's lived out of her suitcase so she can build the Fresh Chapter Alliance Foundation. She loves helping other cancer patients and survivors discover fresh possibilities, purpose, and connections in their lives through volunteer programs and bucket-list adventures. Terri is a daughter, sister, friend, travel junkie, global volunteer, motivational speaker, wine lover, photographer and writer. Although cancer may be part of her story, it’s far from the whole story. www.afreshchapter.com View Guest page
Dr. Karen Wyatt
Dr. Karen Wyatt author of the book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, spent most of her 25-year career in medicine caring for patients in challenging settings such as nursing homes, hospices, free clinics and homeless shelters. Her work with patients who were facing the end of life inspired her to write What Really Matters, which describes the spiritual lessons she learned from her hospice patients. Dr. Wyatt also hosts End-of-Life University, an online interview series that features conversations with experts who work in all aspects of end-of-life care. She is widely regarded as a thought-leader in the effort to transform the way we care for our dying in the U.S. In addition, she is valued for her application of spiritual principles to illness and healthcare and teaches that in order to live life fully we must each overcome our fear of death and embrace the difficulties that life brings us. Learn more about her work at www.karenwyattmd.com. View Guest page
Tom Zuba is a life coach, author and speaker teaching people all over the world a new way to do grief. Tom offers those living with the death of someone they love dearly the tools, knowledge, and wisdom to create a full, joy-filled life.
In 1990, Tom’s 18-month-old daughter Erin died suddenly. His 43-year-old wife Trici died equally as suddenly on New Year’s Day 1999 and his 13-year-old son Rory died from brain cancer in 2005. Tom and his son Sean are exploring life one day at a time in Rockford, Illinois.
Tom’s first book “Permission to Mourn: A New Way to Do Grief” is available in paperback and as an eBook at both Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
To learn more visit www.TomZuba.com, join Tom’s Healing Circle on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tomzuba1), follow Tom on Twitter @ TomZuba and visit his Youtube Channel. View Guest page
Andrea Zucker was ordained as an interfaith minister through the Chaplaincy Institue of Maine (ChIME) in 2012. Her training included working in hospitals and with seniors in the nursing care, assisted, and independent living units of two sister Erickson retirement communities in eastern Massachusetts. Most recently, she served as a chaplain for Baystate VNA and Hospice in Springfield, where she worked with hospice patients and families, as well as with the pediatric palliative program to support families with children experiencing life-threatening or life-limiting illness. Before becoming a minister, Andrea taught high school English and creative writing, and theatre to young people from elementary through high school. She loves knitting, gardening, and writing poetry and personal essays--currently through her journal on Caring Bridge. She lives with her husband Rob in western Massachusetts, with two adult children close by, and their first grandchild due in January! View Guest page
Robert Zucker is author of The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief Is Shared, published by St. Martin’s Press. Library Journal cited his book as one of the four best books for grieving adults preparing for difficult conversations about death with their children. ("In this tender and compassionate book, social worker and bereavement specialist Zucker helps parents and children explore their grief with practical advice for the ongoing journey to healing." -Library Journal). Rob has presented several hundred evening, daylong and multi-day bereavement workshops, and keynote addresses
across the United States and Canada. Guest faculty positions have included Harvard University Medical School Cape Cod Seminars, Smith College School of Social Work Continuing Education programs, and Dalhousie University School of Social Work in Halifax, Canada. He maintains a grief counseling, consulting and training practice called Counseling for the Journey. View Guest page