I’ve been studying, practicing, and teaching spirituality for over 30 years. I’ve had over 10,000 client sessions, led hundreds of workshops all over the US and in Japan, and countless people have told me that I changed their life.
But it hasn’t always been easy.
Five years ago, my boyfriend Daniel died quite suddenly. It was so painful because he was an incredible man. He was the first person I had opened my heart to in many years, and he met me there and loved me fully. We were very happy and our connection was full of fun — dancing, laughing, hanging out at the river. I missed him so much when he was gone. I was in despair, heavy with grief. I even started fantasizing about killing myself so I could be with him. I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains not far from a town called Truckee. There’s this long steep downhill slope coming into Truckee, and an overlook at the end of that slope. I would imagine that I was driving down that hill, going fast, and I would just keep going into the overlook rather than take the curve that keeps you on the highway, and I would drive right over the edge of the mountain and into Donner Lake. I thought about this all the time. But something kept me from acting on it.
One day, I had an experience that woke me up.
It was Thanksgiving weekend, and we had a lot of guests visiting for the weekend. The house was full, and when I went into the kitchen to make myself some breakfast one morning, there was chaos everywhere. You could barely see the counters for the dirty dishes. I exploded in anger. I scared one young woman so much she even apologized for bringing a pie! My friends gathered around me, and asked what I needed. It quickly became apparent that my reaction had very little to do with the mess in the kitchen. There was so much chaos in my mind that I couldn’t stand the external chaos. I realized that I had to do something to shift my energy. My grief was not only causing me misery, but it was affecting the people I love too.
There were two things that I did that were the most effective in lightening up the heaviness of my grief.
Since we were in the dark time of year at Thanksgiving, I gave myself permission to go fully into my darkness between then and the winter solstice. I sat in my little cottage in the long dark nights, in front of the flickering fire, and I felt the sadness fully. I cried, I wailed, I screamed. I wondered if I was becoming insane. But I knew to keep going, to keep exploring what was there. And when I let myself feel the sadness fully, to cry until there was nothing left, I started to get glimpses of the light.
I also started working with a healer who happened to be in another state. I did phone sessions with him weekly, where he led me in breath work practices. The breath work helped me crack open the heaviness of grief and to feel more alive. I visited him a few times to do private intensives. These allowed me to heal deeply, starting with the feelings of grief, but going far beyond that to the most core issues that I had.
A few days after the winter solstice, on my former boyfriend’s birthday, I did a spirit journey, a day-long guided experience with a trusted healer and teacher. My intention was to complete this phase of darkness and to find out what was next. During this day, I did practices that helped me connect fully with the light, with Spirit. To my surprise, I emerged from this journey saying over and over, “There’s so much fun to be had!”
Soon after that, I started coming back into life again.
I met a man who I am partnered with still, who is loving and kind and so much fun. I began dancing again, and found lots of new ways to have fun as well. And my spiritual life began to open up exponentially. Now, when I close my eyes to meditate, I feel a shimmer of light all over my body, that is the reflection of how much I know that Spirit and my body are one and the same.
The spiritual opening that I experienced permeates all of my life. I am calm and peaceful and full of joy most of the time. (I’m still human so I do have my moments.) Life flows easily and magically because I’m aware of the unseen energies that make the material world operate. I can truly say that Daniel’s death was his last gift to me, because it cracked my heart open and took me to a place where I was so desperate to find peace that I devoted myself to my spiritual process.
So that’s why I’m so passionate about helping people who are grieving lighten up the heaviness of their grief, lessen the pain, and eventually find the gift in the loss.
“Before this work, I felt that my emotions were weighing me down. Now I feel like I have ways to express them and find joy.”
– T.I., Tokyo, Japan
Here’s more about my credentials.
Here’s more about my life.