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 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: 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.


Hanifa; 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:; 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

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 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 Looking forward to helping you in your personal grief recovery!!

Dr. Menen (past) – now just Hanifa!

Unresolved Grief – Can Homeopathy Help?

Many people believe that they are struggling through day-to-day “stress” when in fact they are struggling through unresolved grief.  Through the decades, grief/loss have been identified through various terms – stress, pressure and anxiety being some of the more common terms.  The reality is that many people are living lives that are heavy with unresolved grief.

What kind of symptoms might unresolved grief present with in our lives?  Here are a few:

  • excessive worry
  • insomnia
  • palpitations
  • racing pulse
  • fear of failure
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • blurred vision
  • loss of voice
  • trembling
  • sweating
  • sensation of a lump in the throat
  • memory loss
  • headaches
  • hysteria
  • nervous dread
  • irritability
  • indecisiveness
  • dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • weight gain/loss
  • gas/bloating
  • nausea/indigestion
  • constipation/diarrhea
    …and the list goes on

So it’s no surprise that many people are missing the root cause of their symptoms when unresolved grief is never really discussed in our society.

Each person’s grief/loss is unique to the individual experiencing it.  No two people who have even experienced what seems to be the “same loss” – e.g., death of a sibling – will experience the event in the same way.  The length of grieving will differ, the style of grieving will differ, and the effects of the grief will differ for each person.  This is why telling anyone “I know how you feel” is one of the most hurtful/dishonest comments that can be shared with grievers.  Because NO ONE will understand your pain, frustration, or overall experience in the way you will experience it.

Since I am a Naturopathic Doctor, I thought I might show you how one branch of Naturopathic Medicine has known this for ages – and I hope it will help you identify some unique features of yourself through your own journey with this experience.

In homeopathic medicine, about 100 (or more) different remedies could be used for treating the symptoms related to an individual’s grief.  I thought I would elaborate on only 10 to give you some awareness of different grievers.  Each remedy is followed here by a description of the person who would best benefit from the particular remedy – homeopathy looks at the unique physical symptoms, mental/emotional states, and even personalities of individuals to determine the best remedy for effective treatment.

1) Ignatia:
You are overcome by grief, feel angry and bitter. You find yourself sobbing
uncontrollably and do not want consolation. You cannot eat, sleep or
function. You find yourself sighing or hiccoughing frequently. You cannot stop crying,are hysterical, and inconsolable. . You are in shock or disbelief.  You feel as if there is a lump in your throat.
Your feelings are easily hurt. Your emotions may be hard to release, or may be cramped inside.
You may feel defensiveness, suspicious or challenging.
This is an excellent remedy for physical symptoms from grief or shock. Your emotions are all over the place, one moment you’re laughing, the next you’re weeping.You feel worse for consolation or sympathy
2) Natrum Muriaticum:
For those who experience silent grief. They are reserved and do not feel comfortable talking about or showing their emotions. They hold it all inside,keeping a stiff upper lip, trying to hold themselves together. They prefer to be alone with their grief and feel worse for sympathy or consolation.
They are very sensitive to the suffering of others.They crave salt and tend to be constipated.
3) Phosphoric acid:
Is for an extreme reaction to grief or shock.You are so completely overwhelmed by your loss that you feel stunned, apathetic and unresponsive. You become weak, apathetic, slow to answer,
fatigued and drained. You feel flat, indifferent, lifeless. You feel more collapsed or exhausted than grieving. You feel depressed, apathetic – almost dead inside. Your grief makes you forgetful and
slow to answer questions. For mental weakness and confusion after grief. You become indifferent to all external events. You no longer enjoy the things you used to. All you want to do is sleep or watch TV.
4) Pulsatilla:
For those who feel weepy, needy and desire company, affection and consolation during their grieving process.They are open and cry easily. They feel lonely and forsaken and feel better for a hug or a friend to be there to reassure them. They are naturally gentle and yielding. They tend to
run warm and are not generally thirsty. They crave ice-cream and pastries which upsets their sensitive digestion. They feel better for fresh air or being outside.
5) Aurum metallicum:
For the deepest imaginable depression and suicidal states. You may feel no connection to life, existing in a dark and isolated void. Usually indicated for people who are intense, idealistic, high achievers. They set very high goals for themselves.Devastated by grief and disappointed love.
Deep depression and suicidal states.Your grief may result in drug addiction or alcoholism.
6) Natrum sulphuricum:
For depression after a spinal/head injury or concussion.They can also have depression brought on by excessive alcohol or drug use. They become dull, confused and even suicidal.
7) Nitric Acid:
For feeling of anger and bitterness driving you to feel hateful and seeking revenge. Your anger feels like acid eating away at you. Your anger is extreme and exhausting.You cannot comprehend what happened and react with hatred, fantasizing revenge against the “enemy,”unable to sleep at night and becoming absolutely exhausted. You may feel anxiety about your health.You feel bitter, revengeful and are contemplating suing the offending party or finding some way of getting
revenge for their wrong doings.
8) Staphysagria:
For repressed anger in sweet, gentle people.You feel humiliated, mortified, treated unfairly. You dislike confrontation.It is hard for you to stand up for yourself. You try to keep your emotions inside and act in a noble way, however,occasionally your anger comes out indirectly.You may fantasize about punching the person who hurt you, or kicking the door in.You are sentimental and
romantic. For people who have been victimized, abused, or taken advantage of.
9) Phosphorous:
For those who are deeply saddened by the suffering of others. They cannot bear watching the news. They are very sympathetic and cannot stand seeing the suffering of others. They are open, generous and always wanting to help. They tend to have poor boundaries which get them into trouble. They are anxious, impressionable, excitable, and easily distracted. They are friendly, bubbly and full of life, but tend to lose their sparkle under stress.They become depleted, like the bubbles in champagne that fizzle out.
10) Gelsemium:
For shock after hearing about bad news, such as the death of a loved one.They develop a type of shock that makes them numb and shaky. They feel sleepy, heavy and can barely keep their eyes open. They become slow and dull and find it difficult to think or concentrate.They cannot cry, instead they may tremble uncontrollably or develop a numb, catatonic state. Their reaction is similar to that of Phosphoric acid however, those needing Phosphoric acid are thirsty especially for fruit juices and pop, whereas those needing Gelsemium are not.
You are unique in your individual grief

You are unique in your individual grief

So from reading these descriptions alone, you can see that everyone grieves differently.  And no way is the “right way” – it is just an individual’s personal way.  I feel that homeopathic remedies can help immensely with moving through an individual’s grief.  Remember that I have only described 10 of over 100 remedies for grief from homeopathy.  An individual assessment with a Homeopathic Doctor or a Naturopathic Doctor with a focus on homeopathy will be the best way to determine which remedy is best suited for you (which often requires a 2-3 hour assessment with the practitioner – but is well worth it!).

And although I do believe homeopathy can be very helpful to an individual in working through their symptoms of grief/loss, I also strongly believe that nothing replaces the work that needs to be done with a Grief Recovery Specialist for long-term healing.  Do try to heal the root of your loss – there is work to be done (for yourself) that can help.  I encourage you to search a Grief Recovery Specialist near you for assistance.
I do hope this information has been helpful to you.
Dr. Menen (past) – now just Hanifa!

Understanding Grief Recovery


“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.”  ~Author Unknown

 The Definition 

Simply defined, grief is the normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. While we can never compare losses, any list would include death and divorce as obvious painful losses. Our list also includes many others; retirement, moving, pet loss, financial and health issues, marriage, graduation, end of addictions, and unmet hopes, dreams, and expectations. There are approximately 43 losses which can produce the range of emotions that we call grief.  The range of emotions associated with grief is as varied as there are people and personalities. There is no list of feelings that would ade­quately describe one person’s emotions, much less an entire society. Grief is individual and unique. As every rela­tionship is unique, so are the feelings and thoughts each person will have about the rela­tionship that has been altered by death, divorce, or for other reasons.

The Challenge

While grief is normal and natural, most of the information passed on within our society about dealing with grief is not normal, natural, or helpful. Grief is the emotional response to loss, but most of the information we have learned about dealing with loss is intellectual.

The majority of incorrect ideas about dealing with loss can be summed up in six myths which are so common that nearly everyone recognizes them. Most people have never questioned whether or not they are valid. The misinforma­tion is best described in the following:

The Six Myths
  • Time Heals All Wounds
  • Grieve Alone (since it’s too hard on others to help)
  • Be Strong
  • Don’t Feel Bad
  • Replace the Loss
  • Keep Busy
Just looking at the myth that “time heals” creates the idea that a person just has to wait and they will feel better. There are people who have waited 10, 20, 30, and 40 years, and still didn’t feel better. They would tell you that not only had time not healed them, but that it had compounded the pain. The other five myths carry equally unhelpful messages.
The Solution
Recovery from loss is accomplished by discov­ering and completing all of the undeli­v­ered communications that accrue in relationships. We are all advised to “Let Go,” and “Move On” after losses of all kinds. Most of us would do that if we knew how.
Completion of pain caused by loss is what allows us to let go and move forward. It is almost impossible to move forward without first taking a series of actions that lead to completion.
Before taking the actions to complete, it is im­portant to look at and often dismiss some of the ideas or myths that we have tried to use with loss, but which are not working.
The Correct Actions
The Grief Recovery Method® Programs provide the correct action choices that help people move beyond the pain caused by loss. I work with 7-week (individual sessions) although some psychotherapists/counselors also offer the possible 8-week group sessions.  I find that the one-on-one sessions provide a safe environment for individuals to comfortably look at their own old beliefs about dealing with loss; to look at what losses have affected their personal lives; and to take new actions which lead to completion of the pain attached to one of their losses. 
As a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, Dr. Menen, BSc, ND works with individual grief support to suit individual and unique needs.
Grief Recovery® services are conducted in association with
The Grief Recovery Institute®.  
Cost for personalized individual sessions for 7-week one-on-one program is $135 per session.
A group approach to Grief Recovery® allows you the opportunity to connect with others who have also experienced significant emotional losses in their lives and are ready to take action to heal their hearts.
The groups are not a drop-in style format. You are asked to commit to the 8-week program as weekly attendance is vital for maximum benefit in the healing process. You may be able to find practitioners offering group sessions in various locations near you.
The text that is used to guide you to recovery is The Grief Recovery Handbook – 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition – The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses by John W. James and Russell Friedman. The text will be provided to you upon commitment to the program. 
What are you investing in?  
With over 35 years in existence, The Grief Recovery Institute® has helped hundreds of thousands of people across the world heal from significant emotional loss.  The Grief Recovery Method® is a tried, tested, and true way in which to acknowledge and become complete with losses of any kind. 
What is unique about The Grief Recovery Method®?

Grief support groups provide a safe and non-judgmental environment for you to verbalize the thoughts and feelings you experience following a loss. While there is an absolute benefit to that kind of expression, it may not be enough. Talking about how you feel often does not complete the unfinished emotional business that is attached to your loss. The Grief Recovery Method® Programs are designed to guide you through a series of actions to not only verbalize your feelings, but to also help you complete the pain associated with those feelings. It is not time that heals our wounds, it is the actions we take within time that does. This action-oriented program requires total honesty and commitment. 

How soon after a loss can you begin Grief Recovery®?
Effective Grief Recovery® can begin immediately. We tend to create larger-than-life memory pictures in which we either enshrine or bedevil a person who has died or the person from whom we are now divorced, estranged, etc. This phenomenon increases with time, making it more difficult to discover the truth within our relationships. It is never too soon or too late to address your grief. 

Grief Recovery Method® 7-Session One-on-One Program                        

An individual approach to Grief Recovery® allows you to work through your grief at your own pace. Because everyone grieves differently, you may require more than 7 (one-hour) sessions to complete your relationship to any pain, isolation, and loneliness caused by the loss.  You are asked to commit to 7 sessions minimum to effectively complete the program and allow sufficient time to benefit from the emotional work you will be doing.

The text that is used to guide you to recovery is The Grief Recovery Handbook – 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition – The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses by John W. James and Russell Friedman. The text will be available to you upon commitment to the program.
If you would like to request an appointment for Grief Recovery sessions do email Dr. Menen, BSc, ND at or call/text to 416-920-8975.  I’m looking forward to helping you move through your own areas of grief with compassion and positive direction!
Dr. Menen (past) – now just Hanifa!

Your Thoughts

grief changes us

This page is for any questions/comments you might have for me, Dr. Menen or for any other readers of this blog.

Grief does change us.  It can allow us to freely express the emotions that are part of our human existence.  How will you use your experience of loss to enhance your life rather than hold you back? I hope you will learn the process of Grief Recovery to help yourself and benefit those you love as well.


Dr. Menen (past) – now just Hanifa!