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These days the concept of Oneness is very much on my mind. I came across this fitting quote that shares how I feel:

“The heart creates oneness,
And oneness is another name
For spontaneous joy.”

~Sri Chinmoy

Ah, joy! Who does not love this experience? I believe that it is beyond happiness as I like to share with clients because it is enduring; not transient like happiness which comes and goes based on (often) individual achievement or satisfaction. If you have ever worked with another person to achieve something together, you may have felt the feeling of joy. You may have felt joy in doing good for another or helping another achieve something by supporting in some way. Or maybe you have lifted another’s spirits by merely being Present for them. Each of these experiences can result in a heart-felt joy.

Since this blog is focused on healthy grieving, I thought I would bring light again to the awareness that grief can truly be the opportunity for Awakening that brings Joy. Healthy grieving can allow a person to transform their experience into Conscious expansion into the perfection of all that is. When I lost my brother many years ago, he was only in his 20’s and I had only just been accepted into the Naturopathic Medicine program in Ontario. I was going into this program partly because of my interest in helping many people and largely for my desire to help my brother. By the time I began the program, however, my brother had passed away. I will never forget the not-easy experience of seeing him go through a chronic illness for 7 years, and also never forget the gift it brought to me to provide the direction into my own healing work (as I was still determined to help others through this medicine and began the schooling after his passing). And what a joy that learning has been – not easy, but definitely joyful.

When I have experienced relationship break-ups (whether my own or through my clients), I am always amazed at the expansion of my own Awareness of the gift of more they have brought me. More compassion, more understanding, more empathy, and more peaceful knowing of the perfection of the experiences. Of course, I believe that the layers of thinking/feeling of the experiences are good to clear with Grief Recovery work (or meditation or both?!) for the ability to truly see the gift in the experiences too. This work can bring an objective mindfulness to the duality of the experience and then create an appreciation of how focused attention can re-direct us to Joy.

Now in relationship changes, I feel that this Joy is felt most often when there is a Conscious desire and hope for peace and happiness for all involved. When there is a loss of life, the Joy can come from the Conscious awareness of our own self-improvement from the experience. The gift that was left with us (or rather for us) as survivors. This gift can be experienced as a joyful awareness filled with gratitude. This is Oneness. The fact that our individual experiences are never truly individual and independent of each other. This is a joyful awareness itself.

All of this awareness today has then allowed me to stumble upon another great quote that I feel explains this concept simply and beautifully:

Now, to prepare the mind to accept far better things… that will be something I will shed more light upon this year, so wait for it!!

For an additional resource about some of my thoughts do watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SROXTRFlnpo

For now, open your heart and mind to the transformational opportunities inherent through the experience of grief and allow yourself to come back to Joy! The first step is the curiosity and openness to this possibility. Trust.

Wishing you all a fabulous New Year ahead filled with peace, love and joy!



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Divorces Are On The Rise

I certainly know the feeling of grieving during un-happy relationship experiences. They can take up space in our thoughts, words and actions and I suspect more people have worked with counselling for this and the loss of a family member to death, than any other areas of grieving. This is my experience in any case and these are often cited as the two highest causes of grief in many statistics too.

I recently read that our rates of divorce are steadily rising over the years and I suspect that the current pandemic of Covid is also contributing to extra strains in relationships. Job security has been questionable for several years before this time as you may have noticed that many large companies were already downsizing their salary budgets by hiring contractors for positions that used to be held by full-time employees, many top-level executives were being let go (fired) with enough financial incentive to avoid lawsuits, and it has been many, many years in most businesses that a single person is doing the work that would ideally be done by several. Today, we are seeing several businesses close down and many people losing their jobs and incomes. Many kids are home-schooling, many services and freedoms previously enjoyed are restricted. Of course this has an impact on marital relationships.

The emotion that is arising most notably is anger/frustration. Not only are people feeling this individually, but most of us can sense the general anxiety which is fed by media, daily conversations and a background fear in many people. More people are now working from home too, which as far as I can see has increased the workday for the majority of people rather than decreased it, as may have been expected by less travel time to get to work. All of this can then move into the feeling of frustration and anger, and often it is marital relationships that suffer first. The frustration can also spill over into other relationships (personal and/or professional) and soon there can be a domino-effect of un-easy times and experiences.

And guess what the most common cause for marital un-ease is due to? Financial distress. You can imagine that with the fear (or experience) of job loss, and the reality of restriction of regular activities (which may lead to overspending in other ways), money can often come up as a reason for divorce in these times. Especially as the financial strain on a single working parent or spouse is often non-sustainable for very long without a clearly building resentment which can result in marital strain and possible divorce.

Did you know that a study at Utah State University found that couples who disagree about financial matters once a week are 30% more likely to divorce? See: https://www.tesh.com/articles/do-couples-lie-about-money-to-each-other/ for other interesting information (and truths in my opinion and experience) about couples’ communication about money.

So what to do? Learn to communicate with each other openly, honestly and effectively. This can benefit from each person getting some counselling and guidance. Often the current situation is the “last straw” from a series of prior experiences in life (for each, likely) and if you know anything about the Power of NOW, you know that today, focusing on this moment/experience is most important. Yet most people feel that they “know” what to do (most often this involves changing the other person’s unacceptable behaviour- lol!) and it takes some self-awareness and drive to improve a situation to work with someone (coach/therapist/counsellor) that may help a person see things outside of their own direct perspective.

In my practice, I have found that often times people benefit from the validation of their feelings, honest communication, and encouragement for movement in new positive directions. The least easy part of this for most people is often the total honesty that each person needs first, about themselves. Understanding one’s own needs, worries, and fears first is a fantastic way to open honest and compassionate communication in even the most precarious of relationships. I truly believe that Grief Recovery (7 sessions total needed) has been a huge blessing for many couples I have worked with. Some people benefit from working with a Psychologist or a Psychotherapist. I encourage people to work with such help if they are contemplating divorce in a relationship that they truly would like to save from such a fate. This takes a sincere desire for healing at some level for both parties; either to stay together or to part amicably.

I believe that now more than ever, it helps to have loving and supportive relationships in our lives. If you or someone you know is going through some relationship un-ease please reach out for help. For those that are already working through a separation/divorce, know that I am very aware that this is definitely not an easy time to get through for most, and it needs the same care (maybe more?) to heal from this experience too. Please take the time to heal – and know that healing comes from first a desire to do so.

I wish you all good and healthy relationships, strength and courage to get through any un-easy times, and compassion for yourself through your process, wherever you are.



www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com; hanifahelps@gmail.com;

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Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings. I like to think of this as quiet reflection. This can be seen as using your mind in the best way – to objectively understand yourself – the good, the bad and the ugly. We all have all three. To do this without self-judgement or blame is a healthy way to approach this process. If thoughts of better actions that can be taken now arise, do enjoy these thoughts and put the thoughts into action. To focus on guilt/regret is not useful in this time. See here for my thoughts on guilt/regret: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku2V-0OlwKk

Introspection viewed from this perspective is a little (a lot) different from meditation. Some people will confuse the two as they might want to feel that quiet time is meditation. Now meditation can have a mindfulness component as lots of people know that many styles of meditation include a mindful-focus on breathing, some may use a focus on a mantra, some may look at a picture, or nature, sounds or even other sensual pleasures. The purpose with meditation is to not focus on thoughts. This process allows for a connection with a Higher Consciousness outside of the human-mind’s limited thinking. Some people call this a connection with God/the Universe/Brahman/Source/Spirit. It doesn’t really matter which term you apply to it in my opinion – the connection and experience is the same.

You may know people who meditate regularly and people that spend time in quiet reflection/introspection. You may notice that both seem to accomplish their goals and desired outcomes. What I believe is that goals achieved through introspection create a motivation to act – and goals can be achieved. This often comes from a sustained focus and effort. Goals achieved from meditation arise from inspired actions that feel easy and effortless. This does not mean that all of life becomes easy and effortless (but it can!). For this (easy and effortless life) a “mindful vigilance” would be required. Most of us are not so careful with our thoughts, words and actions in every moment to act from inspiration alone. Some people can get to this place – they are the ones we would think of as Enlightened beings. Did you know that “enlightened” is defined as “having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook” and also as “spiritually aware.” I most definitely feel it is both of these definitions and now you can understand why every Enlightened being has always said that what they have achieved is possible for any person to do.

In this post I also want to make sure I touch upon the idea of the term “Know Thyself” which, in Latin, is given as nosce te ipsum or temet nosce. The maxim, or aphorism, “know thyself” has had a variety of meanings attributed to it in literature and over time, but in early ancient Greek the phrase meant “know thy measure.” “Know Thyself” was carved into stone at the entrance to Apollo’s temple at Delphi in Greece, according to legend. Philosophers, psychologists, mystics and religious leaders have shared this idea with many using the same or different language and many individuals have contemplated this idea for many years.

I believe that knowing about ourselves helps us in so many ways. It helps to understand what motivates or inspires us, helps us see/understand what we value, what/why we judge, how we feel about ourselves and what we believe. All of these awarenesses can help to enhance our communication with others as well as with ourselves. If we understand ourselves, we can have compassion for our own thoughts, words, actions, emotions and feelings. From there, we can have empathy for the experience of others as well. We can begin to understand and truly appreciate the magical interdependence of our world and have an appreciation for it all. This experience is also known as an “Awakening.” To me, this is truly enhanced through meditation for a Spiritual awareness that I do not feel is easy (though not impossible) through reading and/or introspection alone.

I made a video about this recently so here is the link to the short video of my thoughts about the maxim “Know Thyself” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AesG7h_Qvh4

Through my meditative time this week I have been reminded:

I love giving and receiving; I love sharing; I love to be generous and receive from generous hearts too; I love laughing – alone or with others!; I love music; I have an incredible respect for people (including myself) when thoughts, words and actions are in alignment; I am compassionate and empathetic and I value others who are the same; I love learning and sharing wisdom gained; I am playful and I love other playful energies; I value full truth and honesty. Anything that is not in alignment (from myself or others) with these core values wakes me up… and then I learn something new. Then I re-balance myself as necessary. And I move forward positively.

Now my task is to act from this awareness daily. This means to be mindfully-aware of the energy that extends from me and the energy that I allow to be closest to me.

This is what I help clients do through Grief Recovery and/or Brain Re-Training. If you would like some assistance to help you move forward positively, do contact me at hanifahelps@gmail.com or call/text 416-920-8975. I’d be happy to help you.

You can also look at my website at www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com for more information. For details of my services and costs do see here: https://hearthealthbrainhealth.com/costofservices/

For now, I wish you a good day of learning more about yourself to share the best of you with yourself and with others too! Have a beautiful day.



Joyful Relationship Creations

Today I wanted to write about relationships.  This is especially for those looking to “find” or – I prefer saying “create” – loving relationships through the sheer strength of joyful creation.  I am going to combine vibrational energy thoughts (where sincerely good/joyful feelings are linked with “high vibrations” and anxious, fearful or worried feelings are linked with “low vibrations”).

All of us are vibrating based on our thoughts, words and actions all of the time.  With mindful attention, we can consciously create and hold on to the vibration we desire (I’m guessing you will all agree that feeling good feels better than feeling worried/anxious/fearful).

After the loss of a relationship, whether the loss is because of a breakup that happened after only a few weeks of dating, or whether it was after a 40-year long loving marriage that ended in a divorce, there will be thoughts, words and actions.  The experience will shape each of these, and repetitive thoughts are common in the healing time.  In the healing time I feel it’s best to first address the grief/loss of the experience for a clean slate to work with.  Then, begin to change thought patterns.

Remember that a belief is a thought that a person keeps thinking. Some of the common beliefs I’ve heard in my practice include the following:

I’ve wasted so much time; I’m never going to find something that good again; I’m no good; Men/Women can’t be trusted; My standards are too high; Most men/women are too set in their ways by now; I don’t want to be hurt again; I can’t imagine being with anyone else; Relationships are full of disappointments; People don’t change.

Any of these sound familiar?  Well they are certainly familiar to me.  I find that many (all?) of the people I know have thought some of these thoughts some times.  The way these thoughts become beliefs is by repeating them (silently or out loud) regularly.  Many people will say “well, that’s just the way I think… I’m just a realist.”  Well, some of you may know that realists are very close to pessimists.  And pessimists, realists and optimists can all create their own self-fulfilling prophecies.

For those that would like to change their pattern of thinking to a more optimistic place, you can.  Remember that the only way to learn how to do something new, is by doing it.

So in beginning an intention for a new relationship (could be romantic, a friendship, or companionship) – let yourself know that you can do this.  This is where a mindful intention makes a huge difference.  What are you thinking about and repeating in your mind regularly?  Start with statements like – “It’s easy to find good people when I feel good; I’m going to try to find the good in everyone I meet today (and then proceed to do so!); It really doesn’t take much to make me happy; I’m happy to connect with the people I meet; It’s fun to learn about myself as I become the best I can be; When my vibration is at its best, I meet with the best people for me.”

These sorts of statements raise vibrations within ourselves and around ourselves too.  You may think of them as affirmations but really they are just great ways of training your thinking.

And many begin dating again in this time of new resolve.  They meet wonderful people that they truly connect and resonate with.  And often, a little while into the relationship (could be days, weeks, months or even years) – something changes.  Now the awareness of things people do not like start becoming more prominent.  And the thoughts in the mind start focusing on these things.  Has the person changed or are you “finally seeing their true colours”?  Likely neither.  Some awarenesses are true and need to be considered clearly.  Maybe someone is paying for all the bills/expenses/outings or maybe there is a previous relationship still lingering creating a “love triangle”?  These do indeed require mindful attention because these sorts of patterns can linger even in the “best” new relationships.  In those relationships, individuals will often minimize such ideas as things that will change in time.  But they truly need to be addressed fully before continuing an unhealthy pattern that will inevitably become a bigger concern in time.

Most often, however, the details that one person may not like in another – like one is really messy and the other is particularly tidy; or that slurping noise that one of them makes when drinking water or the loud chewing or each wanting the other to take out the garbage weekly, etc. (insert innumerable ideas here) – these become bigger issues than necessary as people start to focus on them rather than the loving and kind interaction.  And many people become less mindful about the loving and kind interaction as a relationship becomes more comfortable.  Why?  Relationships need work.  Consistent work.  And it takes at least one person to lift the vibration of the couple back to its best.  Often by the time couples are openly talking about these differences, they have “tolerated” the other’s low-vibrational style for a while and matched that lower energy themselves.  It’s part of what has been called our “blame and shame” culture. Each partner will try to match the blaming or shaming of the other.  This is so unnecessary, but often leads to breakups.

The trick is to make an effort to keep your own vibration as high as possible.  To avoid pulling yourself or your new relationship down with you.  When you are in your best vibration, you will not even notice the other person’s lower vibration. At first, you will find this feels like you’re needing to take effort to lift yourself – over time this will come naturally.  Of course it’s always easiest when both partners are aware of their vibrational influences on each other.  But it never helps to blame the other for your own low vibration – even if your low vibration is your response to the other’s actions. This will only create tension and resentment in the relationship.  Come back to centering yourself.  This may mean you take a nap, go for a walk in nature, meditate, listen to your favourite music (my first choice for sure!), dance, sing, paint… anything to bring yourself into your best energy… and then get ready for positive changes within and around you.  Do not do this for the purpose of changing the other’s behaviour. Do it to feel good.  You will. And then watch the magic unfold!

Really – I have seen couples that truly apply this thinking from brain re-training with me that see profound changes in their relationships.  And often I am only seeing one person in the relationship (at first at least) – over time, both learn the vibrational “language” and soon either can lift the energy in their relationship.  It’s beautiful for me to see, and certainly magical for couples themselves.  I encourage you to try this out in any relationships you are in now. Could be parent-child, or even a relationship with a co-worker that needs some reshaping. Try it. I suspect you will be happily surprised with how wonderful loving creations can be.

Now go and create your joyful and loving relationship today.  If you need help, I would be happy to guide you to your best energy and creation. Email me at hanifahelps@gmail.com or call/text 416-920-8975.

Wishing you happy and healthy high-vibrational relationships ahead!




Will I Find Joy Again?

I must admit that inevitably this is the question I have heard the most often in the Grief Recovery and Brain Re-Training sessions that I do with clients.  And I have felt this during my own healing times too.  It’s amazing how sometimes this thought alone – or a belief that one will not find joy (in whatever form – food, sleep, sex, activities or friendships) that holds many people back from truly healing from their grief.  Many will use all of the “forms” linked with joy/happiness that I listed as merely a distraction from the pain within.

You can indeed find joy again. It’s not because you have given enough time for your healing (which is a myth that we do discuss in Grief Recovery) – and anyone who is aware of a significant grief that feels like it “just happened yesterday” even if it’s been over 10, 20 or even 50 years ago will know that time doesn’t heal pain. Transformation from a grief experience can heal the pain. It helps people move into a more consciously-reflective and empowered place of healing rather than fixed in obsessive rumination.

Do you know that one significant event that you know has effected your heart the most? It could be a painful childhood upbringing, or maybe strict words or abuse from a teacher/coach/boss, or it could be a sense of abandonment from someone you trusted that you could depend on.  These experiences could be very recent or may have happened many years ago. They still matter if they are on your mind.  And you can indeed get back to joy no matter what the time frame of your experience.  The important ingredient is your own awareness that maybe this IS possible. And it is.  If your awareness/belief is that this is absolutely NOT possible, Grief Recovery is not going to make much difference except as a time to discuss some important details to share with a kind practitioner over here.  This too can be good with any practitioner you have connected with and feel comfortable sharing with.  BUT… if there is even a sliver of a crack of possible belief in you that maybe… just maybe, you can feel joy again – you are in the right place!  I would love to help you create a burst of light through that crack of possibility for your healing and transformation.  You owe this to yourself.  And there is work to be done. Ah, but the rewards are so sweet… I wish you the joyful healing rewards you deserve.

If you are ready, I am ready to help you. Do send me an email at: hanifahelps@gmail.com or call/text 416-920-8975 to set up an appointment or to ask any questions that you may have.  For details about cost/services do visit my website here: hearthealthbrainhealth

Wishing you a healthy grieving journey ahead. You can do this.



Separation and Divorce

It’s time to discuss one of the top reasons for grief in our society today. Separation and divorce specifically, has often been noted for many years to be one of the biggest grief-experiences in a person’s life.

Poor communication and/or financial challenges are the most common reasons I have seen (and experienced) to be the root causes of many relationship downturns.

Today, I teach clients about the contrasts of yin/yang in each of our human experiences. So from an energetic perspective you will see that anything that we experience can be really great or really terrible. When one loves money they also often fear the loss of it; many people who have been millionaires have also been bankrupt.  And people who can be very loving to each other can also be very hurtful to each other too. These are the contrasts that exist in all of life experiences. Where we focus our attention regarding these contrasts is what matters most, as what we focus on will grow.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ~ George Barnard Shaw

How we communicate with our partner is important. How we communicate with ourselves is just as important. One thing I encourage people to do today is to really try to understand what is being communicated in relationships – whether spoken or not. Many times someone’s actions say much more than any words can express.  This is true for both good and not-so-good experiences. Our minds can often see and take note of the not-so-good easier than the good and that is often where our attention can focus.  We can do this when noticing our partner’s actions (and sometimes inaction) and we can do this for ourselves too. This leads to blame, guilt or judgment for one’s self or the other.

What most people do not take time to understand is what they are truly thinking, feeling, or doing – and why.  We think we know.  More so than knowing ourselves, we often believe we know our partners too. Yet many people stop thinking about their partners from this perspective even more than themselves – here again, we think we know.  Taking time to think calmly about both perspectives (meditation helps!), can be so useful in helping make clear decisions or taking clear action.  Here again, if either partner is not clearly communicating (verbally) about specific concerns that may be raised, the observation of action and behaviour is something to note as the communication that is unspoken.

In a loving and healthy relationship, each partner tries to improve themselves for the benefit of both. With good communication, each can share their fears, insecurities and worries openly and honestly.  Of course this is easiest when both are openly verbally communicating.  Yet many are not able, or sometimes unwilling, to openly communicate. In such experiences it is necessary to read between the lines by observing actions alone.

When finances are concerned, I am amazed at how many people believe they know what is happening with the finances from each side in the relationship.  Some that choose to hide, gamble, or otherwise use money secretly will likely not share these details with their partners.  Very often the trust built over many years in a relationship is shaken up by discovering financial indiscretions. Such discoveries have resulted in as many divorces (maybe more?) as those due to extra-marital affairs.  Both shake up trust in a relationship.  And the grief from the loss of trust in a relationship can be devastating.

Today I am helping people remember that energy in our human experience is filled with contrasts.  The people I speak with that have gone through highly emotional break-ups are also the ones that I see soon going through some of their most uplifting life experiences. Once their own heart is healed, a person can help bring such experiences to themselves through raising their own emotional vibrations. This means finding the pleasures that bring them joy and happiness – this is not easy in the middle of grieving, but it can be learned!  I have found that Grief Recovery is often a healing first step with clients after which brain-retraining with Mindfulness practice is helping people reach the joys that I believe each person is worthy of re-claiming and living.

I am so happy that in my many years of practice, I have helped prevent many divorces and improve communication between couples and families through counselling and heart-centred connecting with patients.  It took my own heart-centred healing for myself to learn new strategies to help my current clients and I am so happy to be doing so!

Some people benefit from learning to communicate more lovingly in their current relationships, and others benefit from learning how to communicate lovingly to themselves (don’t we all?!) through all of life’s ups and downs (the contrasts).  I believe that all people deserve to live joyfully without hurting themselves or others and it’s time to help as many people reach this space for our individual, and our collective benefit.

I wish you all a loving evening with compassion for your own and each others’ journeys.



hanifahelps@gmail.com; 416-920-8975


I’m Not Grieving!

people woman girl cute

lots of thought/feeling accompany grief including denial!

This is what I hear most commonly in my practice. Most people link grief with a death in the family or with a separation/divorce which undoubtedly does lead to the experience of grief.  In Grief Recovery people learn that any grief or loss is a situation in which there are conflicting emotions from any experience. This can come from a move where someone is excited about the new home they are moving to, and a disappointment of the loss of the previous home.  It could be related to getting married and being excited for the upcoming event while also fearing the loss of an independent life. Having a baby can be very exciting and very scary for new parents too.  This is how to look at grief from a broader perspective.  If you understand the implications, this means starting or stopping a new job, having an argument with a friend or family member, and even getting older (any age) can be filled with conflicting emotions.  So, most of us carry many “griefs” with us regularly.

In this time of the Coronavirus pandemic, many people are feeling many new and real experiences with grief. People who are front-line workers are feeling happy to have a job and know that their work is providing an essential service, but most are also fearful for their own health and the health of those they help too.

Can you imagine that each of us was already carrying so many life experiences of grief defined in this way, and now our world and our social-isolation is adding a whole new layer of grief that is (like most grief experiences) looked away from until a “better time” to deal with it?!  I have never felt there is a better time to work through grief patterns.

And all of us (or most) do not believe we need this unless we find ourselves in uncontrollable sobbing fits (in public at least). There is always the feeling that talking about grief only stirs it up and we are quite comfortable not stirring up such emotions. But this is what is unique – grief recovery is not about re-living past or current grief experiences. It’s about looking at them objectively, learning the lessons objectively, learning how to look from different angles to alter our perspective, and truly transcend the experience to expand mentally/emotionally and spiritually – with a bit of mind-re-training thrown in from my style of work!

When I learned this method myself, my intention was to help my own clients. I had no idea that I had my own healing to do too. I decided to work with an area of my life that I had already had really good grief-counselling for – my brother’s death (which happened over 20-years ago) – an area I “knew” I had learned from and could look back upon with ease.  Boy, was I wrong! I cannot tell you how incredibly powerful this process was for me. Everything I felt I had overcome was so clearly not overcome! And then I had my transformational experience with a clarity from a heightened awareness that I never knew was possible (as you know, most of us already think we know enough about ourselves and our personal life experiences – and boy was I in for a surprise)! Every single person learning this with me went through the same transformative experience for themselves. And since then, I have watched patient after patient experience this for themselves through our work together.

Does this mean we do not grieve any longer?  Not so. New things arise. Life can and often does, bring another grief – because life is like that. Yet the same tools that helped in my original healing when learning these tools are what helps me through all sorts of grief experiences now.  My patients reflect the same experiences.  Things are handled… differently.  I still feel the pain of the world (beyond the virus too) like many people out there do. And when I remember that I am not a victim of the experiences around me and that I can certainly actively guide my responses/interpretations, I am again transformed. I use the same tools, for new experiences.  This is what I encourage clients to do for themselves too.

Today, like always, change is the only constant in our lives. New things are being created (like more kindness between neighbours, a healing time for our air and waters) and things are lost too (like the luxury of going to a park or visiting with friends). More grief.  Knowing the grief-recovery tools to work through the various emotions raised with today’s experiences always allows me to re-centre myself.  I know the tools are helping others I have worked with too – and this is the most uplifting gift from this work! People benefit from it!

Grief Recovery is a process that once learned, is applicable in all grief experiences. I believe that 7-sessions are such a small investment of time and work to get to a place of certainty for moving forward positively.  My clients are sharing their appreciation for this work too through their feedback and I just know this work is certainly what the world needs today.

If you or someone you know could use a hand to help to work through past/current grief, please know you will help them by sending them my way.

email: hanifahelps@gmail.com; phone 416-920-8975

Stay healthy and stay mindfully-aware of the work that needs to be done for yourself and  for those you love!



This Moment is Everything

After completing a 6-month program with Eckhart Tolle and Kim Eng about one year ago, I realized that the power of NOW is always most important. Today, we are experiencing an opportunity for truly embracing this moment. Are you able to notice what you are valuing most in this time? What’s on your mind? Worries/fears/anxieties/joys?

What we choose to focus on in any given moment will guide our predominant feelings.

portrait of woman wearing black sunglasses

Photo by Heitor Verdi on Pexels.com

In this time of un-ease globally, do take time to really focus on what your mind thinks about most. Try to “observe” your thought patterns. You can learn to observe these – not for the purpose of judging yourself if you notice sad/unhappy thoughts, but to merely recognize that they are there. Then and only then, can you make a Conscious decision to change the thought pattern. Many people who come to see me feel “that’s just the way I think” – which I call “sloppy thinking.” And any of us can fall into sloppy thinking patterns at any time. All of us can and will be there sometimes. To catch ourselves in this pattern is such a beautiful awareness, since then we can choose to change it! This is not to say that sad or difficult experiences aren’t happening currently – but many of our thoughts are mostly about what has happened in the past or may happen in the future. So shifting from the feeling of sadness is a choice. Not always easy to do because it may require some grief-recovery work, and also requires some re-training of mind patterns which many people have not been trained to do.

Today, I work with people interested in re-training their minds as well as those hoping to overcome and heal from grief/loss experiences. I truly believe that becoming aware of our own thought patterns is a beautiful first step. Overcoming them and transforming from life experiences is where the real magic occurs.

There is no time like the present to get the help you may need to move into your own magic. Write to me at hanifahelps@gmail.com or call/text 416-920-8975 to set up an appointment. Note – most clients need about 10 sessions for healing unhealthy or non-helpful thought patterns.  Some people prefer 1-hour and some prefer 2-hour sessions for the discussion and healing communication through WhatsApp appointments. I charge $125 per hour session but through the Covid-19 experience I am offering a block of 10 1-hour sessions for $1000 to be completed within 3 months from starting the work! Let me know if you’d like my help – so far, feedback has been fabulous – and some of my client comments can be seen here: client feedback

Remember that where attention goes, energy flows! Let’s re-direct your energy flow!



Covid-19: What Emotion is this Amplifying in You?

Hello Everyone!

It’s time for me to write a post about something you may be experiencing around (and within) yourself.  Do you notice that when times are not easy (aka “difficult”), different people respond differently?  You will find that people who have unresolved anger will be quicker to anger, those who are passive-aggressive will be more angrily- withdrawn/sarcastic, those who have unresolved anxiety will feel more anxious and those who have unresolved grief will… grieve/cry.

What are the emotions you are feeling today? Whatever they are – they are not only about the current pandemic. If you are feeling helpless there is likely something else in your personal life that is contributing to this feeling too. If you are fearful about your finances, you likely had this fear before this time too. If you are feeling more pain, you likely have your physical vulnerability exacerbated because of the current times around us. We can look at our own personal experience as a guide as to what needs to heal within each of us. And only we can heal ourselves. What better time to do so? We have the time now and I hope each of us will work on the healing we need to do. This will bring strength to our individual bodies and minds which then will help the community and world around us. Together we rise as they say!

In the process of “Grief Recovery” grief/loss is defined as any experience that creates a conflicting emotion in a person. Like staying home from school seems exciting but can also be boring/frustrating without the stimulus of classmates; being with family all day seems lovely and can be annoying too; loss of work/home/income can inspire people into new action and be filled with fear too.  I suspect that we are all going through this definition of grief in some way at this time.  Awareness of our own un-healed past grief/loss patterns of coping can help transform them into healthy patterns of resilience to handle any changes that are ahead of us.

I encourage you to become aware and learn to transform your experience into the learning that will serve you in the days ahead of us.  This awareness and transformation leads to creating resilience to any changes that you personally, or we collectively face in the days, months and years ahead.

Today I am so happy that I have learned the principles and tools with which to do this, as they have certainly helped me (and continue to help me) in my own journey. What is even more uplifting to me is that recently, I’ve had a few patients reach out to thank me for the same tools I have helped them learn years ago – which are helping them get through their experiences today! This is true transformation! I wish this for all of us. And there’s no better time than now to learn.

It’s time to deal with grief and move forward wiser and stronger.




Grief Avoidance Patterns

I found some wonderful information online today about some of the common patterns of “avoiding” grief.  As most of us know, we can’t actually avoid grief forever as it will and does catch up with us.  But there are some interesting styles of behaviour that some of you may recognize from friends/family or colleagues that are grieving.  Here is the information I found.

Understanding Common Patterns of Avoiding Grief – By Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Grief has been described as the emotions that heal themselves. While this may have been true at some point in history, we now realize that the majority of people need some social context for healing to occur. Grievers need the opportunity to share their grief outside of themselves in a caring environment.
The unfortunate reality is that many grievers do not give themselves permission, or receive permission from others, to mourn or to express their many conflicting thoughts and feelings. We live in a society that often encourages the repression of the emotions of grief, as opposed to the expression. The result is that many people either grieve in isolation or attempt to run away from their grief through various means.
During ancient times, stoic philosophers encouraged their followers not to grieve, believing that self control was the appropriate response to sorrow. Still today, well-intentioned but uninformed people carry on this long held tradition. Yet, we know that a major task of mourning is to acknowledge and express the full range of thoughts and feelings connected to the loss.
A vital role of those persons who desire to help the bereaved is to encourage and support the outward expression of grief. The grieving person moves toward reconciling self to the loss when he or she can attend to his or her emotional experiences, accepting them as a result of the privilege of having been capable of loving another person. A renewed sense of well-being has the opportunity to evolve, as caring people accept the griever for who they are, as they are, and where they are.

The purpose of this article is to:
1. Identify common patterns that bereaved people tend to adopt in their efforts to avoid the pain of grief.
2. Define those avoidance patterns.
3. Outline the consequences of adopting those avoidance patterns; and
4. Reinforce the importance of encouraging the healthy expression of grief.

Common Avoidance Patterns
While there are a number of unique ways by which persons repress or “move away” from the expression of their grief, we can work to identify common patterns that are adopted. The various patterns of avoiding grief described below are not mutually exclusive. Some people will experience a combination of patterns while others will maintain one primary mode of avoidance. The specific combination of patterns (or primary mode used most often) will depend on one’s personal history, societal influences, and basic personality.
The destructive effect of the adopted pattern is typically directly proportional to the degree of avoidance. However, prolonged avoidance, whatever the degree, will always be destructive. In moving away from our feelings of grief, that is, in repressing, denying or deadening our feelings, we ultimately become destructive to ourselves. Our refusal to do the “work of mourning” destroys much of our capacity to enjoy life, living, and loving. After all, how can we relate to ourselves or others if we don’t feel? Moving away from grief results in moving away from ourselves and other people. The avoidance patterns identified and described below are as follows:
1. The Postponer
2. The Displacer
3. The Replacer
4. The Minimizer
5. The Somaticizer

The Postponer
The Postponer is the person who believes that if you delay the expression of your grief, over time it will hopefully go away. Obviously, it does not. The grief builds within and typically comes out in a variety of ways that do not best serve the needs of the mourner. This person may feel that if the grief doesn’t vanish, at least there may come a point in time when it will feel safer to experience the pain. Unaware that through expression comes healing, he or she continues to postpone. The grief builds up inside the person, pushing toward the point of explosion, thus, making him or her feel even less capable of experiencing feelings related to the loss. Without self-awareness or intervention, a vicious cycle is firmly rooted in place. Often, the more the person senses grief yearning for expression, the more an effort is made to postpone or put off.
Postponing is frequently an automatic unconscious process. A few people will consciously acknowledge this pattern with comments like: “I just don’t want to grieve right now. I’ll think about it later.” However, the majority of people do not know they are postponing the work of their grief. They initiate this pattern of avoidance quietly and quickly and society often perceives them as “doing very well.”

The Displacer
The displacer is the person who takes the expression of their grief away from the loss itself and displaces the feeling sin other directions. For example, while not acknowledging feelings of grief, the person may complain of difficulty at work or in relationships with other people. Another example is the person who appears to be chronically agitated and upset at even the most minor of events. While some awareness may be present, displacing usually occurs with total unconsciousness.
Some persons who adopt the displacer orientation become bitter toward life in general. Others displace the bitter unconscious expression of their grief inward and become full of self-hate and experience debilitating depression. So, while at times this person displaces their grief in interactions with other people, at other times, he or she believes that other people dislike him, once again projecting unhappiness from the inside to the outside.
The main intent of the displacer is to shift grief away from its sources and onto a less threatening person, place or situation. Personal relationships often become stressed and strained for the displacer who is unable to acknowledge the occurrence of this common pattern of grief avoidance.

The Replacer
The replacer is the person who takes the emotions that were invested in the relationship that ended in death or other loss and reinvests the emotions prematurely in another relationship. Again, there is little, if any, conscious awareness for this person of how their replacement efforts are really a means of avoiding the work of their grief. Observers from the outside will sometimes assume the replacer must not have really been grieving their loss all that much if they can so quickly become involved in a new relationship. In actuality, the replacer has often lost very much and out of the need to overcome the pain of confronting feelings related to the loss, moves into an avoidance pattern of replacement.
The replacement pattern does not only occur in relationships with other people. For example, another common replacement appears to be the person who overworks. The compulsive overworker is the person who, with no prior history of doing so, begins to over-invest himself or herself in work to the point where no time is available to think or feel about the loss. An example of this is a man I recently saw in my practice who, following the death of his wife, found himself working eighteen to twenty hours a day. It became apparent that he was funneling all of the emotions related to his wife’s death into and through his work. Once this pattern was acknowledged for the need it was serving in him, he could begin to do the work of his mourning in healthy, life-giving ways.

The Minimizer
The minimizer is the person who is aware of feelings of grief, but when felt, works to minimize the feelings by diluting them through a variety of rationalizations. This person attempts to prove to self that he or she is not really impacted by the loss that was experienced. Observers of the minimizer may well hear them talk about how well they are doing and how they are back to their normal routine. On a conscious level his or her minimizations may seem to be working and certainly conform to society’s message to quickly “get over” one’s grief. However, internally the repressed feelings of grief build within and emotional strain results. This person often believes that grief is something to be quickly thought through, but not felt through. This is typically an intellectual process in which words become a substitute for the expression of authentic feelings. Any feelings of grief are very threatening to the minimizer who seeks to avoid pain at all costs. Unfortunately, the more this person works to convince themself that the feelings of grief have been “overcome”, the more crippled he or she becomes in allowing for emotional expression. The result is the evolution of a destructive, vicious cycle.

The Somaticizer
The somaticizer is the person who converts their feelings of grief into physical symptoms. This converted physical expression of grief can range from relatively benign minor complaints to the severely malignant chronic pattern of somaticization disorder, i.e., multiple vague somatic complaints with no organic findings.
Unfortunately, many people in grief unconsciously adopt the somaticizer role in an effort to get their emotional needs met. By taking on the “sick role” people around them legitimize their very real need to be nurtured and comforted. This person often fears that if they were to express their true feelings of grief that people would pull away and leave them feeling abandoned.
The somaticizer may become so completely preoccupied with bodily involvement and sickness that they have little or no energy to relate to others and to do the work of their mourning. Even in the absence of real illness and emotional support from medical caregivers, no amount of reassurance or logic convinces them that they are not “physically sick” – or perhaps less than they feel they are.  The unconscious need to protect oneself requires that this person desperately needs the belief in illness to mask feelings connected to the loss.
We should note that this somaticizer avoidance pattern described above is different than the person who experiences real physical illness during the mourning process. Some degree of physical disturbance is a common dimension of the normal grief process. As caregivers we would never want to automatically assume that a bereaved person is converting all of their emotions into physical symptoms. Numerous investigations have documented a definite physical risk for the griever much greater than that of the nonbereaved population. A general medical examination for bereaved persons is always an excellent standard of care.

Consequences of Adopting Grief Avoidance Patterns
The specific reasons bereaved people adopt grief avoidance patterns are often multiple and complicated. For the purpose of this article we will simply note that the major impediments to the healthy expression of grief are usually problems in allowing oneself to feel and to express deep feelings. Some people have struggles with a high need for self-control, others may have an intolerance to feelings of pain and helplessness, while still others may lack a support system that encourages the expression of their feelings. The result of grief avoidance is a virtual epidemic of complicated and unreconciled grief in our country. This writer’s clinical experience suggests that a tremendous amount of anxiety, depression, and physical illness has resulted from many persons’ needs to avoid their grief. Among some of the more common consequences of adopting grief avoidance patterns are the following:
• Deterioration in relationships with friends and family.
• Symptoms of chronic physical illness either real or imagined.
• Symptoms of chronic depression, sleeping difficulties and low self-esteem.
• Symptoms of chronic anxiety, agitation, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating.
This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Different people will experience a wide variety of fall-out consequences from their adoption of avoidance patterns.

Encouraging the Healthy Expression of Grief
Healthy mourning is based on an assumption that feelings are best accepted and expressed. Confronting one’s grief and the pain inherent in the experience is not always an easy task. However, for reconciliation to occur it is a task that must be done.
One of the reasons for many people’s preoccupation with the question, “How long does grief last?” may well be related to society’s impatience with grief. Shortly after a loss the grieving person is expected to “be back to normal.” Persons who continue to express grief are often viewed as “weak,” “crazy” or “self-pitying.” Grief is something to be overcome rather than experienced.
The result of these kinds of messages is to encourage the repression of the griever’s thoughts and feelings and often leads to the adoption of the grief avoidance response styles outlined above. Refusing to allow tears, suffering in silence and “being strong” are thought to be admirable behaviors. Yet, the most healthful approach to grief is to approach it head-on.
The lack of expression of outward mourning has brought about the evolution of the “silent mourner.” Even those persons who want to be supportive cannot identify the mourner. The relegating of grief to behind closed doors reinforces the importance of being outreach-oriented with one’s helping efforts.
All too often our society continues to fail to support the bereaved person, particularly during the lengthy transition period after the loss. An emphasis on being rational and staying under control influences the mourner to reintegrate into the social network and keep their tears, fears and hurts to themselves. We must work to reverse this trend that fails to acknowledge the continuing need for support and understanding of the bereaved.0

The Grief Recovery Method is able to help grievers in each of these pattern-styles.

Call today 416-920-8975 if you would like to start working with Dr. Menen in your own Grief Recovery.  Or email hanifahelps@gmail.com. Looking forward to helping you in your personal grief recovery!!

Dr. Menen (past) – now just Hanifa!